Tulyata

Tulyata (Bhumi: तुल्यताय), literally meaning 'balance' is a syncretic faith native to the Bashurat Valley in Satria. Originating in the Sangma Empire around the 2nd to 3rd Century during the First Interregnum, Middle Period and Second Interregnum, Tulyata incorporated influences from Bashurati folk religion which had dominated the region before Tulyata, Irfan from the neighbouring Second Heavenly Dominion, Badi from across the Great Steppe and various gnostic Sotirian groups that brought their teachings to Satria after expulsion from the Solarian Empire during the early 2nd Century.

Tulyata believes that within everyone is the Divyata, that provides their consciousness, which is a shard of Jagaddhatr the lowest emanation of the Ishvara. Jagaddhatr was imprisoned by the Rakshasa, spirits which rule over the material realm, and that mankind, through the perfection of one's imbalances both mentally and materially, may break the prison of their bodies and free Divyata bound within them. This process can be helped or hindered through making offerings or the lack thereof to other spiritual entities.

Beliefs

Mythos and Cosmology

Tulyata believes in the existence of a single remote, supreme divine force, the Ishvara (Bhumi: ईश्वर), usually translated as 'supreme being'. The Ishvara is defined through negative theology; it is immovable, ineffable, invisible, intangible and neither male nor female. It is the source of the Satyaloka, the (Bhumi: सत्यलोक), the 'world of truth' and the Avatara Bhumi: अवतार), translated as meaning 'incarnation'., and bestows goodness onto the Satyaloka.

From the Ishvara emanate a series of Avatara. These Avatara come in fifteen male-female pairs, for a total of thirty Avatara. They rule over a different part of the Satyaloka. Each pair of Avatara birthed the pair that rules the next circle further from the center of the Satyaloka, ruling a series of concentric circles that embodies the aspect of the incarnation of the Ishvara that the ruling Avatara represents, with the aspects progressively growing more material in nature as one moves further away from the center of the Satyaloka.

Beyond the fifteenth circle, the aspects became material enough that the pair of Avatara born were Medha (Bhumi: मेधा), Avatara of the boundary between the material and the Satyaloka, and Jagaddhatr (Bhumi: जगद्धातृ), Avatara of the material.

Jagaddhatr, as the Avatara of the material, was unable to perceive the Satyaloka like the other Avatara, and in turn was likewise concealed from them, being not of the Satyaloka. Only Medha, of neither, could perceive both, but not seeing the value in the material chose to conceal herself from Jagaddhatr and to only communicate with the other Ishvara. Thinking itself alone, Jagaddhatr created the material realm, but finding it wanting, Jagaddhatr created six lesser beings from shards of himself and split his power among them, the Rakshasa (Bhumi: राक्षस), to rule over it and to create beings worthy to inhabit it and to be subjects to it and the Rakshasa.

The Rakshasa created thousands of beings of different forms, but all were found lacking by Jagaddhatr as unworthy of inhabiting all of his creation, and so they were bound to the parts of the material realm ruled by their creator Rakshasa. Fearing the wrath of Jagaddhatr for their repeated failures, the Rakshasa began to cooperate on their creations and they became more and more advanced as they learned how to better shape and mould the material realm into life, but even their best creations still lacked the same awareness that Jagaddhatr and the Rakshasa did.

Medha, curious about Jagaddhatr's creations, chose to reveal herself to him and briefly removed the boundary between the Satyaloka and the material. Jagaddhatr, humbled and wept from the beauty of the Satyaloka. Jagaddhatr returned to creation alone, and attempted to unmake all he and the Rakshasa had created, as well as the Rakshasa themselves. The Rakshasa fought back, and trumphed over Jagaddhatr who had given them too much of his power. The Rakshasa shattered Jagaddhatr and split him into an uncountable number of shards, which to prevent their reunification back into Jagaddhatr they bound into elemental prisons in the form of beings which would become man.

Elements

Tulyata shares the Badi belief about the nature of elements as the invisible component parts of creation; two key differences between Tulyata and Badi are that Tulyata has always maintained that elements are conceptual rather than physical as Badi did historically, and that Tulyata holds the existence of the element ofDivyata, normally translated as 'divine essence' or 'divine nature'. Tulyata belief holds that Divyata, unlike every other element, is a shard of Jagaddhatr, and is what is responsible for setting mankind above other forms of animal. Death occurs when the elemental balance that composes a living thing is disrupted enough that the Divyata that provides it awareness becomes detached from the rest of the elemental composition.

Tulyata also believes in reincarnation, where someone's Divyata, after leaving their previous body, is reattached to a new body by spirits or if properly unbound from its material prison through attainment of Sambodhi, then joining the forming hidden mass of Jagaddhatr.

The Divyata can be unbound from its material prison through the attainment of Sambodhi (Bhumi: सम्बोधि), usually translated to mean 'perfect knowledge' or 'enlightenment'. Tulyata believes that attainment of Sambodhi requires both physical and mental perfection due to the material nature of the world, which has led to a strong monastic movement among its adherents. Achieving Sambodhi can often require multiple lives working to achieve Sambodhi for the same shard of Jagaddhatr.

Practices

Rituals

Vyatikara

Most regular rituals in Tulyata are based on the concept of vyatikara (Bhumi: व्यतिकर) or exchange, between man and greater spiritual entities. Exchanges can consist of anything, from prayer (considered to be an exchange of time) to offerings of food, clothing and material goods can be considered an exchange. Exchanges are typically burned.

Exchanges are given to both the Avatara and the Rakshasa. For the Avatara, their ability to interact with the material is limited, and therefore parts of the material must be sacrificed to them to provide them with the ability to intervene on the behalf of man, as they desire the rebirth of Jagaddhatr. Normally, with all exchanges with the Avatara, a second, smaller exchange is conducted beforehand with Medha, the Avatara of the boundary between the material and the Satyaloka to ensure the offering is delivered. Exchanges are normally given in the hopes of achieving positive things, such as good harvests, recovery from illness, success in work etc.

The Rakshasa, by comparison, are offered to to appease their egos as the rulers of the material, and to pre-empt negative things, such as ill health, bad harvests and failures of all kinds. Historically, natural disasters and famines or wars were often blamed upon insufficient offerings being given to the Rakshasa before the disaster happened, which was the way of the Rakshasa of informing humanity of their displeasure.

Organsiation

Monasticism

Tulyata has a strict hierarchical system for the ranking of adherents. The ordinary practitioner outside of a monastery is referred to as a Abhyasi, lit. 'one who seeks'. A newly-initiated member of a monastery is referred to as a Sādhaka, lit. 'achiever'. Above these two basic ranks, which serve to distinguish between the non-monastic practitioner and the monastic practitioner, lie several more specialised ranks. The first rank above a Sādhaka is a Purohita, usually being translated as 'priest'. There are no specific requirements for the increase in rank, but it is usually only given after several months of time within the monastery training under an Acārya. A Purohita is not allowed to remain within the monastery permanently, and is instead expected to travel between communities to help Abhyasi while simultaneously meditating and exercising to mentally and physically balance part of their Divyata.

Above a Purohita is an Acārya, lit. 'teacher', who is an instructor to newly-initiated Sādhaka, although in many monasteries a Purohita may be instead promoted to another rank if it possesses a sufficient number of Acārya to instruct its Sādhaka. Some may be promoted to Mahat, lit. 'great', under which they assume responsibility for the administration and upkeep of the monastery and any surrounding lands the monastery may own while also being expected to continue to improve the balance of their Divyata. Other Purohita may become either a Sawai, lit. 'one and a quarter man', or Pandit, lit. 'wise man' if they are believed to have balanced their a physical element or conceptual element to perfection according to a Mahātmā, allowing them to focus solely on the perfection of one of the others to maintain the physical-conceptual balance of their Atman. Many Sawai and Pandit often leave the monastery to train in solitude or with other Sawai and Pandit from the same monastery.

Mahātmā, lit. 'Great Soul' is the second-highest rank and is the head of a monastery, responsible for the management of all the ranks below them. Paramahamsa, lit. 'supreme swan', is the final rank and refers to someone who has obtained physical and mental balance in multiple elements and perfected their Divyata as much as they can in one lifetime. Paramahamsa do not have any responsibilities within the monastery, except to determine when another has reached the level of being a Paramahamsa, and they primarily focus on maintaining their own perfected Atman and physical and mental balance. Many Paramahamsa use their lack of responsibilities to travel to inspire and advise lower-ranked adherents on practices. Historically, Paramahamsa often travelled in large groups to keep order in the lands around their monasteries and to protect the communities of Abhyasi from marauding armies or bandits.

History