Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in it's petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
- Shakespear, MacBeth
The poets say that Apollo tended the flocks of Admetus;
so too each man is a God in disguise who plays the fool.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
both quotes found in "The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust" translated by Joachim Neugroschel
A Name for Mara
Pajapati A name given to Mara, because he uses his power over all creatures.
-DPPN, Volume II, page 97
MN 1 - Rhys Davids note 22
MA i.28, 33
MN 1 - Bhk. Bodhi note 10
Prajapati, "lord of creation," is a name given by the Vedas to Indra, Agni, etc., as the highest of the Vedic divinities. But according to MA, Pajapati here is a name for Mara because he is the ruler of this "generation" (paja) made up of living beings.
The fact of Mara being called Pajapati or Mara calling himself Pajapati is not the essential thing to understand in the case of Pajapati's Problem. The idea is that this god believes himself to be the Creator of the Created, and it is by the fact of being the Creator of the Created that he becomes the destroyer of the created, aka Death, the Evil One, Mara.
As a side issue Pajapati is a popular name for women for the obvious reason that they are the Mothers of us all.
This is the essence of the 'problem of existence' that perplexes thinkers not acquainted with Gotama's solution:
The 'living being' is a self-awareness bound up in perception through the six senses: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.
This identified-with living being is created by a previous living being identifying with the intent to create pleasure for itself through acts of thought, word, and deed.
Through this action, the eye comes into contact with a visible object and consciousness and 'visual consciousness' carrying with it self-identification results.
Identified-with visual consciousness and the identified-with consciousnesses of ear, nose, tongue, body and mind are the sense objects of the mind sense faculty.
The mind, perceiving (identifying) the consciousnesses of the senses put's together a picture of the world incorporating (as it were) the intent to experience an identified with self connected to the sense-consciousnesses and then running multiple thousands of such pictures together creates an illusion of a story of a being living in a world that is identified as belonging to the mind that is doing the perceiving, and the mind doing the perceiving is identified as 'me'. This is called a living being.
As long as there is wishing for pleasure, wishing to be or wishing of any sort, this phenomena will roll on without regard to the limits of the lifespan of an individual. What has been set going by the previously living being will roll on into renewed identified-with existences even after the death of the body.
Finding 'one's self' as this 'me' in this phenomena, is being an individual identified with the senses.
An individual identified with the senses is not able to 'see' beyond the senses. Such a mind has defined itself into a limited sphere. Once defined into the situation, to see, to even approach seeing beyond it is perceived as death's door.
Not being able to see beyond the senses, the highest mental state attainable to the individual is the state where there is perception of the coming into existence and passing away of sensation, the very beginning and the very end of the state of being an existing thing, the point of conjunction of name, form and consciousness.
The perception there, without knowledge of Gotama's system, is that the entry into existence of things is happening simultaneously with one's personal identified-with consciousness of them. Identified with identified-with consciousness the perception is that one is thinking things into existence.
Here is where the problems present themselves.
This self-manufactured world is as far as it can be said that things exist, and the perception is exactly that: that is that this self-manufactured world is 'the real' - to not 'do' this would be utter annihilation.
To experience this utter annihilation while at the same time continuing to identify with identified-with consciousness is to become 'the only real living being in existence'. The word 'loneliness' is inadequate to describe the mental state that results from that perception.
The decision that is invariably made at this point by anyone not having the vision and detachment taught in Gotama's Dhamma is that one must continue on 'doing' this world.
The perception that follows that is that if it is up to us to do this doing, then we are the one doing the creating.
The perception that follows that varies according to one's cultural background and any learned point of view. In a society where people are raised to believe that there is one and only one creator God, one must conclude that one is that God.
Some people are happy to play around with that for a while. Pajapati, for one.
Others in this situation will find themselves reborn as cockroaches. Or they will work out some arrangement with the rest of the gang. 'I'll just be one of the guys.' 'I'll pay for all your sins in the end by letting you nail me on a cross - after all, it was all my doing.' 'Put me on Trial, let's see where that goes.'
The smart one's play the fool playing a fool. What is really ridiculous in this case is to try to 'be someone'. To boast and brag. Or complain. Imagine what some guy who worked all his life to become King of New York would feel like at the end when he found out he was God! That's why the Bhikkhu is a Beggar. Why Sakka when he visits comes down as a beggar. Low profile! When you find out the story, you know that there is no bigger fool than the fool that thinks he is God. Only slightly less embarassing at the end is thinking one is some kind of big deal high mucky-muck.
The worst pickle is the one where some fool claims to have found salvation, who can lead the way to salvation, who claims to be an Arahant but who has not solved this problem. We been at this since forever, guy, no solution in sight. Bliss, joy, ecstasy, tranquility, equanimity and freedom from anxiety in this world, rebirth in heaven, just doesn't cut it any more. How do you explain yourself? The wider your fame has spread, the more wrath you face.
Then, after a long long while, but sooner or later the fun begins to wear thin. It becomes harder and harder to bring down the fog of blindness masking one's awareness of one's 'real' identity as God so as to be able to play the fool, Christ, Kafka, Frank Einstein, Knut Hamsen, Emmerson, Shakespear, Marcel Proust, Jack Kerouac, Rex Stout, Hofstedter, Lenard Levinson, Mara. You didn't know? Mara: another name for Pajapati.
It's true! There are those who decide to have fun at that role for a while too, but again, sooner or later it occurs to you that being reborn in Hell for being the Destroyer of the Created is just a little bit on the tiresome side.
That is Pajapati's problem.
That is the problem of rebirth that is solved by Gotama's Dhamma.
That's the beginning of the journey to freedom whether you take as your vehicle just the Four Aristocratic Truths or the whole of the Sutta Pitaka. There is a solution. It is right here in front of you. You have only yourself to blame if you do not take advantage.
Pajapati's Problem Archive discussion.
What is 2?
And this one set of suttas which is clearly pointed at this problem, more or less exactly as stated above.
- SN 2.14.3 Not if This and the whole series from which this was taken: SN.14.1-10