There are three types of ‘lives’ in humanity. The remaining are contained within these three. The first one is Pushti Jeevi, the second one Maryada Jeevi and the third one is Pravaaha Jeevi.
Pravaaha Jeevitam means the life which is ever flowing. It is the one that centres on birth and death repeatedly (Punarapi Jananam, Punarapi Maranam). The main reason for birth is action. The basis for action is attachment (Raga) and hatred (Dwesha). The basis for attachment and hatred is illusion (Bhranti). The basis for illusion is ignorance (Ajnana). The result of ignorance is misery (Dukkha). So the beginning is action, the end result is misery, and all that goes on in between is ever flowing life: Pravaaha Jeevitam.
The lives of the Pravaaha Jeevis (the ones leading the Pravaaha Jeevitam) are dedicated to ephemeral, transient, physical and worldly matters. There is no trace of Divinity or sacredness in their life. There is no spirit of service or of helping others. With all the determination, such a person will accomplish what he wants to do. His ambition is important to him. He does not think of the actions and consequences thereof. These actions transform into various types of seeds. These seeds germinate into saplings. Therefore, Pravaaha Jeevi, the ever flowing life, is the path that germinates the seeds continuously. No attempt is made to end such a life once and for all. Therefore, in spite of ages (Yugas) gone, in spite of infinite time gone, such beings continue to spend their time between repeated births and deaths. Why is such a life called Pravaaha (flow) Jeevitam? In a river there is an incessant flow of water. The water continuously flows forward. Hence, such an ever-flowing life is called Pravaaha Jeevitam. It has no end. These Jeevas, in pursuit of the ephemeral worldly desires, spend their lives in such a manner. They do not bother about the consequences of their actions. They do not bother about what would happen to them in the future. They make every attempt to derive joy and happiness from the artificial and temporal scenario in the world all around them. There is no trace of theism, theistic atheism or atheistic theism in them. In this way, they go through various forms of life.
Maryada Jeevitam is a nobler level of life as compared to Pravaaha Jeevitam. The ones leading such a life are concerned with their desires, their happiness, their joy – for themselves and their family. They lead their life keeping in view the happiness and joy of others too. They also think of the life here and hereafter. In this world there are lot of people of this cadre. More than the ever-flowing life Pravaaha Jeevitam, there is scope for inquiry in Maryada Jeevitam.
Not able to understand the nature of Divinity, not able to understand the nature of the world, enquiring and relying on the physical world to experience temporary happiness, they step into the spiritual field. It is like riding two-horses in a race (the two horses symbolise the worldly life and the spiritual life). It is dangerous. In times of happiness, they do not have any faith in God. In times of difficulties, losses and problems, they think of God. What sort of life is that? They are frustrated with problems and get elated in happiness. Such a life of elation and frustration is full of bumps and jumps (unsteady). It also makes one restless.
From the worldly point of view, people respect the Maryada Jeevi as a respectable person, as the Maryada Jeevis are serving the society to a certain extent and also thinking of the welfare of others. However such people do not understand the inner feeling and do not know the inner nature. Though there is selfishness (Swartham) and self-interest (Swaprayojanam) in such people, they also express from the outside, the welfare of others and the society around. Therefore, it is a life of courtesy. Sometimes it may take us along the perverted path.
The next type of life is Pushti Jeevitam. Pushti Jeevitam means satisfying one’s own self, knowing the nature of one’s Self, conducting one’s own self according to the reality known, teaching the same to others, practising the same thing in daily routine, having full faith in Divinity, thus making one’s life sacred. The basis for the entire world is God. Those people who make false claims that they have done this or that are under the state of ignorance. It is only out of ignorance, that there is attachment and ego. For all difficulties, the basic reasons are ego and attachment. One may have attachment to the external world, but attachment to the Self (Atma) is more important. One should have attachment to the Self (Atmabhimanam) and not to the world (Lokabhimanam). People leading such a life are called Pushti Jeevi.
There is a subtlety here, which the students should clearly understand. In this world, there is no basis to prove the existence of God. One can repeat the Vedas, the Shastras, and the Upanishads, but none can specifically describe Divinity. But this Pushti Jeevi teaches one principle to the world. He declares that God is in the form of a human being (Daivam Manusha Roopena). What for? As long as there exists the feeling that ‘I am a human being’ none can imagine or comprehend the nature beyond. God is beyond (Ateeta). How can that which is transcendental be expressed? So long as there is the human illusion and attachment, none can comprehend the principle of that which is transcendental. If the narration proceeds along imagination, it lands up in foolishness.
Take the example of a buffalo. Suppose the buffalo decides to worship God. How does it feel? It would begin to feel that God would be just like itself. The buffalo would feel, “I am small here, while He is in infinite form”. The buffalo therefore starts worshiping the Lord imagining that the Lord is in the infinite form much bigger than its own size. So the buffalo imagines God in the form of a huge Buffalo. Take the example of a small fish who desires to worship God. It would also think, “God will be just like me”. It has not seen any form other than its own. The fish will expand its own feeling of its own form and start worshipping it. Similarly man also starts worshipping by imagining God in his own infinite form. No one can picture it, no one can understand and narrate that Transcendental Principle. Here you can think of one factor - buffalo and Brahma, fish and Brahma, human being and Brahma. All the three consider that this is Brahman, but Brahman is present in all the three as one form. The names and forms are different, but the unity in all the three is the three aspects of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Truth, Awareness and Bliss). They are also called Asti-Bhati-Priyam (Existence, Illumination, Satisfaction). These three are called Brahman, Atman, God and by many other names. But in the case of the buffalo, fish and human beings, these three have different names and forms. Therefore Asti-Bhati-Priyam are permanent, the name (Nama) and form (Roopa) are temporary.