Panchadasi is a
thorough and useful text about the absolute reality in Advaita (Nondual)
Vedanta philosophy and the practices of contemplation and meditation. It
was written by Swami Vidyaranya in the fourteenth century CE. The text
has fifteen chapters, which is the source of its name Panchadasi,
literally referring to the fifteen chapters. Reality has been described
as "Sat, Chit, and Ananda" or "Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss." The
fifteen chapters are presented in three sections, with each referring to
Sat, Chit, or Ananda. (pdf of
1. Salutation to the lotus feet of my
Guru Sri Sankarananda whose only work is to destroy the monster of
primal nescience together with its effect, the phenomenal universe.
2. This discussion about the discrimination of Truth (Brahman) (from
untruth) is being initiated for the easy understanding of those whose
hearts have been purified by service to the pair of lotus feet of the
3. The objects of knowledge, viz., sound, touch, etc., which are
perceived in the waking state, are different from each other because of
their peculiarities; but the consciousness of these, which is different
from them, does not differ because of its homogeneity.
4. Similar is the case in the dream state. Here the perceived objects
are transient and in the waking state they seem permanent. So there is
difference between them. But the (perceiving) consciousness in both the
states does not differ. It is homogeneous.
5. A person awaking from deep sleep consciously remembers his lack of
perception during that state. Remembrance consists of objects
experienced earlier. It is therefore clear that even in deep sleep ‘want
of knowledge’ is perceived.
6. This consciousness (in the deep sleep state) is indeed distinct from
the object (here, ignorance), but not from itself, as is the
consciousness in the state of dream. Thus in all the three states the
consciousness (being homogeneous) is the same. It is so in other days
7. Through the many months, years, ages and world cycles, past and
future, consciousness is the same; it neither rises nor sets (unlike the
sun); it is self-revealing.
8. This consciousness, which is our Self, is of the nature of supreme
bliss, for it is the object of greatest love, and love for the Self is
seen in every man, who wishes, ‘May I never cease to be’, ‘May I exist
9. Others are loved for the sake of the Self, but the Self is loved for
none other. Therefore the love for the Self is the highest. Hence the
Self is of the nature of the highest bliss.
10. In this way, it is established by reasoning that the individual Self
is of the nature of existence, consciousness and bliss. Similar is the
supreme Brahman. The identity of the two is taught in the Upanishads.
11. If the supreme bliss of the Self is not known, there cannot be the
highest love for it. (But it is there). If it is known, there cannot be
attraction for worldly objects. (That too is there). So we say, this
blissful nature of the Self, though revealed, is not (strictly speaking)
12. A father may distinguish the voice of his son chanting (the Vedas)
in chorus with a number of pupils but may fail to note its
peculiarities, due to an obstruction viz., its having been mingled with
other voices. Similar is the case with bliss. Because of observation, it
is proper to say that the bliss ‘is known yet unknown’.
13. Our experience of the articles of everyday use is that they ‘exist’,
they ‘reveal’. Now an obstruction is that which stultifies this
experience of existence and revelation and produces the
counter-experience that they are not existing, they are not revealing.
14. In the above illustration the cause of the obstruction to the voice
of the son being fully recognised is the chorus of voices of all the
boys. Hence the one cause of all contrary experiences is indeed the
15. Prakriti (i.e. primordial substance) is that in which there is the
reflection of Brahman, that is pure consciousness and bliss and is
composed of sattva, rajas and tamas (in a state of homogeneity). It is
of two kinds.
16. When the element of sattva is pure, Prakriti is known as Maya; when
impure (being mixed up with rajas and tamas) it is called Avidya.
Brahman, reflected in Maya, is known as the omniscient Isvara, who
17. But the other (i.e. the Jiva, which is Brahman reflected in Avidya)
is subjected to Avidya (impure sattva). The Jiva is of different grades
due to (degrees of) admixture (of rajas and tamas with sattva). The
Avidya (nescience) is the causal body. When the Jiva identifies himself
with this causal body he is called Prajna.
18. At the command of Isvara (and) for the experience of Prajna the five
subtle elements, ether, air, fire, water and earth, arose from the part
of Prakriti in which tamas predominates.
19. From the sattva part of the five subtle elements of Prakriti arose
in turn the five subtle sensory organs of hearing, touch, sight, taste
20. From a combination of them all (i.e. sattva portions of the five
subtle elements) arose the organ of inner conception called antahkarana.
Due to difference of function it is divided into two. Manas (mind) is
that aspect whose function is doubting and buddhi (intellect) is that
whose functions are discrimination and determination.
21. From the rajas portion of the five elements arose in turn the organs
of actions known as the organ of speech, the hands, the feet, and the
organs of excretion and generation.
22. From a combination of them all (i.e. the rajas portions of the five
subtle elements) arose the vital air (Prana). Again, due to difference
of function it is divided into five. They are Prana, Apana, Samana,
Udana and Vyana.
23. The five sensory organs, the five organs of action, the five vital
airs, mind and intellect, all the seventeen together from the subtle
body, which is called the Suksma or linga sarira.
24. By identifying himself with the subtle body (and thinking it to be
his own), Prajna becomes known as Taijasa, and Isvara as Hiranyagarbha.
Their difference is the one between the individual and the collective
(i.e. one is identified with a single subtle body and the other with the
totality of subtle bodies).
25. Isvara (as Hiranyagarbha) is called totality because of his sense of
identification with all the subtle bodies (of the universe). The other
(the Taijasa) is called ‘individual” because it lacks this knowledge
(and is conscious only of his self, being identified with his own subtle
26. To provide the Jivas with objects of enjoyment and make the bodies
fit for such enjoyment, the all-powerful Isvara has made each of the
(subtle) elements partake of the nature of all others.
27. Dividing each element into two equal halves and one half of each
again into four (equal parts) the Lord mixed the subtle elements so that
each gross element thus formed should contain one half of its own
peculiar nature and one eighth of that of each of the other four.
28. From these composite elements the cosmic egg arose, and from it
evolved all the worlds as well as all the objects of experience and the
bodies in which the experience take place. When Hiranyagarbha identifies
himself with the totality of gross bodies he is known as Vaisvanara;
when Taijasas do so with individual gross bodies (e.g.) of the devas,
men or lower animals, they are known as Visvas.
29. They see only external things and are devoid of the knowledge of
their true inner nature. They perform actions for enjoyment, and again
they enjoy for performing action.
30. They go from birth to birth, as worms that have slipped into a river
are swept from one whirlpool to another and never attain peace.
31. When the good deeds performed by them in past births bear fruit, the
worms enjoy rest being lifted from the river by a compassionate person
and placed under the shade of a tree on the bank.
32. Similarly, the Jivas (finding themselves in the whirlpool of samsara),
receive the appropriate initiation from a teacher who himself has
realised Brahman, and differentiating the Self from its five sheaths
attain the supreme bliss of release.
33. The five sheaths of the Self are those of the food, the vital air,
the mind, the intellect and bliss. Enveloped in them, it forgets its
real nature and becomes subject to transmigration.
34. The gross body which is the product of the quintuplicated elements
is known as the food sheath. That portion of the subtle body which is
composed of the five vital airs and the five organs of action, and which
is the effect of the rajas aspect of Prakriti is called the vital
35. The doubting mind and the five sensory organs, which are the effect
of Sattva, make up the mind sheath. The determining intellect and the
sensory organs make up the intellect sheath.
36. The impure Sattva which is in the causal body, along with joy and
other Vrittis (mental modifications), is called the bliss sheath. Due to
identification with the different sheaths, the Self assumes their
37. By differentiating the Self from the five sheaths through the method
of distinguishing between the variable and the invariable, one can draw
out one’s own Self from the five sheaths and attain the supreme Brahman.
38. The physical body present in one’s consciousness is absent in the
dreaming state, but the witnessing element, pure consciousness, persists
(in both the waking and dreaming states). This is the invariable
presence (anvaya) of the Self. Though the self is perceived, the
physical body is not; so the latter is a variable factor.
39. Similarly, in the state of deep sleep, the subtle body is not
perceived, but the Self invariably witnesses that state. While the self
persists in all states the subtle body is not perceived in deep sleep
and so it is called a variable factor.
40. By discrimination of the subtle body (and recognition of its
variable, transient character), the sheaths of the mind, intellect, and
vital airs are understood to be different from the Self, for the sheaths
are conditions of the three gunas, and differ from each other
(qualitatively and quantitatively).
41. Avidya (manifested as the causal body of bliss sheath) is negated in
the state of deep meditation (in which neither subject nor object is
experienced), but the Self persists in that state; so it is the
invariable factor. But the causal body is a variable factor, for though
the Self persists, it does not.
42. As the slender, internal pith of munja grass can be detached from
its coarse external covering, so the Self can be distinguished through
reasoning from the three bodies (or the five sheaths). Then the Self is
recognised as the supreme consciousness.
43. In this way the identity of Brahman and Jiva is demonstrated through
reasoning. This identity is taught in the sacred texts in sentences such
as ‘That thou art’. Their method of explaining the truth is through the
elimination of incongruous attributes.
44. Brahman becomes the material and efficient cause of the world when
associated with those aspects of Maya in which there is a predominance
of tamas and sattva respectively. This Brahman is referred to as ‘That ‘
in the text ‘That thou art’.
45. When the supreme Brahman superimposes on Itself Avidya, that is,
sattva mixed with rajas and tamas, creating desires and activities in
It, then it is referred to as ‘thou’.
46. When the three mutually contradictory aspects of Maya are rejected,
there remains the one individual Brahman whose nature is existence,
consciousness and bliss. This is pointed out by the great saying 'That
47. In the sentence ‘This is that Devadatta’, ‘this’ and ‘that’ refer to
different time, place and circumstances. When the particular
connotations of ‘this’ and ‘that’ are rejected, Devadatta remains as
their common basis.
48. Similarly, when the adjuncts, Maya and Avidya (the conflicting
connotations in the proposition 'That thou art') of Brahman, and Jiva,
are negated, there remains the indivisible supreme Brahman, whose nature
is existence, consciousness and bliss.
49. (Objection): If the denoted object (of 'That thou art' i.e.,
Brahman) is with attributes, then it becomes unreal. Secondly, an object
without attributes is neither seen nor is possible to conceive.
50. (Reply with a counter question): Does the objection you have raise
relate to Brahman without attributes or with attributes? If the first,
you are caught in your own trap; if the second, it involves logical
fallacies of infinite regress, resting on oneself, etc.
51. The same logical fallacies may be shown in any object having
substance, species, quality, action, or relationship. So accept all
these attributes as existing (superimposed on) by the very nature of
52. The Self is untouched by doubts about the presence or absence of
associates, connotations and other adventitious relationships, because
they are superimposed on it phenomenally.
53. The finding out or discovery of the true significance of the
identity of the individual self and the Supreme with the aid of the
great sayings (like Tattvamasi) is what is known as sravana. And to
arrive at the possibility of its validity through logical reasoning is
what is called manana.
54. And, when by sravana and manana the mind develops a firm and
undoubted conviction, and dwells constantly on the thus ascertained Self
alone, it is called unbroken meditation (nididhyasana).
55. When the mind gradually leaves off the ideas of the meditator and
the act of meditation and is merged in the sole object of meditation.
(viz., the Self), and is steady like the flame of a lamp in a breezeless
spot, it is called the super-conscious state (samadhi).
56. Though in samadhi there is no subjective cognition of the mental
function having the Self as its object, its continued existence in that
state is inferred from the recollection after coming out of samadhi.
57. The mind continues to be fixed in Paramatman in the state of samadhi
as a result of the effort of will made prior to its achievement and
helped by the merits of previous births and the strong impression
created through constant efforts (at getting into samadhi).
58. The same idea Sri Krishna pointed out to Arjuna in various ways
e.g., when he compares the steady mind to the flame of a lamp in a
59. As a result of this (nirvikalpa) samadhi millions of results of
actions, accumulated in this beginningless world over past and present
births, are destroyed, and pure dharma (helpful to the realisation of
60. The experts in Yoga call this samadhi ‘a rain cloud of dharma’
because it pours forth countless showers of the bliss of dharma.
61. The entire network of desires is fully destroyed and the accumulated
actions known as merits and demerits are fully rooted out by this
62. Then the great dictum, freed from the obstacles (of doubt and
ambiguity), gives rise to a direct realisation of the Truth, as a fruit
in one’s palm – Truth which was earlier comprehended indirectly.
63. The knowledge of Brahman obtained indirectly from the Guru, teaching
the meaning of the great dictum, burns up like fire all sins, committed
upto that attainment of knowledge.
64. The direct realisation of the knowledge of the Self obtained from
the Guru’s teaching of the great dictum, is like the scorching sun, that
dispels the very darkness of Avidya, the root of all transmigratory
65. Thus a man distinguishes the Self from the five sheaths,
concentrates the mind on It according to the scriptural injunctions,
becomes free from the bonds of repeated births and deaths and
immediately attains the supreme bliss.
1. Brahman, who is, according to Shruti,
the non-dual reality, can be known by the process of differentiation
from the five elements. So this process is now being discusses in
2. The properties of the five elements are sound, touch, colour, taste
and smell. In Akasa (ether), air, fire, water and earth, the number of
properties successively are one, two, three, four and five.
3. Echoes arise in the Akasa (ether), and hence we infer that the
property of Akasa is sound. Air makes a rustling sound when it moves,
and it feels neither hot nor cold to the touch. A fire in flame makes a
characteristic crackling sound.
4. A fire feels hot, and its colour is red. Water makes a characteristic
rippling sound; it is cold to the touch; its colour is white, and it is
sweet in taste.
5. The earth makes a characteristic rattling sound; it is hard to the
touch; its variegated colours are blue, red and so forth; it is sweet,
sour and so forth in taste.
6. The earth emits smells, both pleasant and unpleasant. Thus the
characteristic properties of the five elements are well classified. The
five senses (which perceive them) are hearing, touch, sight, taste and
7. The five senses successively function through the external apparatus,
the gross organs, the ears, the skin, the eyes, the tongue and the nose.
The senses are subtle; their presence is to be inferred from their
functions. They often move outwards.
8. But sometimes we hear the sounds made by our in-going and out-going
breaths, and we hear buzzing sound when our ears are stopped. We feel an
internal sensation of hot and cold when food and water are swallowed.
9. When our eyes are closed, we see inside the absence of light, and in
belching we experience taste and odour. Thus the sense organs give rise
to experience of things within the physical body.
10. The various actions of man can be classified into five groups;
speech, grasping, movement, excretion and enjoyment of sexual
intercourse. Action performed in agriculture, commerce, service and so
forth may be included into one or other of the groups.
11. The five groups of actions are performed through the five organs of
action – the mouth, the hands, the feet, the anus and the genitals.
12. The mind, the ruler of the ten organs of sense and action, is
situated within the lotus of the heart. As it depends on the organs of
sense and action for its functions in relation to external objects, it
is called an internal organ (antahkarana).
13. The mind enquires into the merits and defects of the objects which
are perceived by the senses. Sattva, rajas and tamas are its three
constituents, for through them the mind undergoes various modifications.
14. Non-attachment, forgiveness, generosity, etc., are products of
sattva. Desire, anger, avarice, effort, etc., are produced by rajas.
15. Lethargy, confusion, drowsiness, etc., are produced by tamas. When
sattva functions in the mind, merit is acquired; when rajas functions,
demerit is produced.
16. When tamas functions, neither merit nor demerit is produced, but
life is wasted for nothing. Of the modifications of the mind that of
I-consciousness is the agent. In the practical world also we do the
17. It is quite evident that the objects in which sound, touch etc., are
clearly discernible are products of the five elements. With the help of
scriptural texts and reasoning it can be conceived that even for the
senses and the mind the subtle elements are the basis.
18. Whatever of this world is perceived by the senses, the organs of
action, the mind, reasoning and the scriptural texts, is referred to as
‘this’ (idam) in the Shruti text that follows.
19. “Before all this was created there was Being alone, one only,
without a second; there was neither name nor form”, so said Aruni.
20. Differences are of three kinds: The difference of a tree from its
leaves, flowers, fruits etc., is the difference within an object. The
difference of one tree from another tree is the difference between
objects of the same class. The difference of a tree from a stone is the
difference between objects of different classes.
21. Similarly doubt may arise that the one and only reality (Sat or
Brahman) may also have differences. So all the three kinds of
differences have been negated by the Shruti in three words denoting the
oneness of Brahman, Its definiteness and rejection of duality
22. One cannot doubt that Brahman, the one and only reality, has no
parts, for Its parts cannot be conceived of. Names and forms cannot be
Its parts, for before creation they did not arise.
23. As creation means the appearances of names and forms, they cannot
exist before creation. Therefore like the Akasa, Brahman is partless
(and there is no difference with It.)
24. The difference between objects of the same class can have no
reference to Sat, for nothing else exists. One object differs from
another on account of its name and form, whereas Brahman is absolutely
without name and form.
25. And about non-existence: we cannot say that it (is something that)
exists. So it cannot serve as a pratiyogin. If so, how can there be
26. So it is established that Sat is one only without a second. But
there are still some who get confused by texts and say that Asat
(nothing) existed before creation.
27. As a man who ha fallen into the sea is bewildered and loses the
power of exercising his senses, so they too become afraid and nervous
when they hear of the Reality as one only without parts.
28. The teacher Gaudapada speaks of the great fear of some yogins who
are devoted to Brahman with form, regarding the objectless
29. This identification with the ungrasped and ungraspable Reality is
difficult to achieve. They are indeed seeing fear in the fearless.
30. The highly respected Bhagavatpada Sankara also refers to the
Madhyamikas, experts in dry ratiocination (contradicting the vedic
view), as confused regarding the self-existent Brahman who is beyond
31. These Buddhists, merged in darkness, and seeing through the one eye
of inference and neglecting the authority of the Vedas, reached only the
32. (We ask the Buddhists): When you said, ‘nothing existed’ did you
mean it (nothing) was connected with existence (Sat) or it (nothing) was
of the nature of existence? In either case its nothingness is
33. The sun does not have the attribute of darkness; nor is it itself of
the nature of darkness. As existence and non-existence are similarly
contradictory, (you cannot predicate something about nothing, so) how do
you say ‘nothing existed’?
34. (The Buddhists retort): (According to you Vedantins) The names and
forms of Akasa and other elements are conjured up by Maya in (or on)
Sat, the existence or Reality. Similarly (according to us) they (names
and forms) are illusively produced by Maya in (or on) non-existence,
Asat. (Reply): Our answer is, ‘May you live long’, i.e. you have fallen
into a logical trap.
35. If you affirm that name and form attributed to an existing thing:
are both creations of Maya (an illusory principle), then tell us what is
the substratum upon which Maya creates names and forms; for illusion
without a substratum, is never seen.
36. (The opponent says): In the Vedic text ‘Existence was (sat asit)’ if
the two words mean differently then two separate things come in. If the
words refer to the same thing, then there is tautology. (The Vedantins
replies): Not that, i.e., the two terms certainly refer to the same
thing, but identical statements like this are seen in usage.
37. We all use the expressions, ‘What has to be done has been done’,
‘speech is spoken’, and ‘A burden is borne’. The Vedic text ‘Existence
was’ is meant for those whose minds are accustomed to such expressions.
38. Such text as ‘Before creation’ spoken in reference to Brahman who is
timeless, are meant for beginners who are used to the idea of time. They
do not imply the existence of duality.
39. Objections are raised and answered from the point of view of
duality. From the stand point of pure non-duality neither questions nor
answers are possible.
40. What remains after dissolution is an unmoving and ungraspable,
unnamed and unnamable, unmanifest, indefinite something, beyond light
and darkness, and all-pervading.
41. (Objection): When the molecules of the four elements earth, water,
fire and air are dissolved, we may have an idea of the dissolution of
those elements; but how can our intellect grasp the dissolution of ak
which is not composed of molecules? Hence Akasa is eternal.
42. (Reply): If your mind can conceive of the existence of Akasa in the
total absence of the (atomic) world (of names, forms and motions) why
could we not conceive of Sat without Akasa?
43. If the opponent holds that Akasa can be perceived in the absence of
the rest of the world, we may ask: Where can it be seen except as light
and darkness? (i.e. what you seem to perceive is not Akasa but light
and darkness). Besides, according to the opponent’s view Akasa cannot be
perceived by the senses.
44. Brahman the pure existence (without any reference to the world) can
be experienced without an iota of doubt, when all mentations cease. And
what we experience is not nothing, for we are not conscious of the
perception of nothing.
45. (Objection): The idea of existence is also absent in the state of
quiescence. (reply): It does not matter. Brahman is self-revealing and
the witness of the tranquil mind. It can be easily perceived by men
inasmuch as it is the witness of the cessation of all mentations.
46. When the mind is void of all mentations we experience the witness or
obscuring consciousness (in its purity) as calm and unagitated.
Similarly prior to the functioning of Maya the existence, Sat, remained
(in its purity) as quiescence, calm and unruffled.
47. As the power to burn exists in fire, so the power Maya, which has no
existence independent of Brahman and which is inferred by its effect,
exists in Brahman. Before the effect appears, the power behind the
effect is not directly experienced by anyone anywhere.
48. The power of a substance is not the substance itself, as for
instance, the power to burn is not the fire itself. (Similarly, Maya,
which is the power of Brahman, is not Brahman). If Power is something
other than Brahman, then define its nature.
49. (If you say the nature of) Maya is ‘nothingness’ (then you
contradict yourself inasmuch as in verse 34) you said that ‘nothing’ is
an effect of Maya (and an effect of a thing cannot be its nature, an
effect being poterior to the thing). (So you will have to admit that)
Maya is neither sunyam, non-existence nor Sat, existence, but it is as
it is (i.e. something undefinable by the two terms).
50. This peculiar nature of Maya is corroborated by the Vedic text which
purports, there was neither non-existence nor existence then (i.e.,
before creation) but there was darkness (by which is meant Maya). This
attribution of existence to darkness (or Maya) is due to its association
with existence, not by virtue of itself, in as much as it (existence) is
denied to it (in the just mentioned Vedic passage).
51. Hence like nothingness, Maya also cannot be a distinct entity in its
own right. In the world too, an able man and his ability are not
considered two but one.
52. If it is argued that increase in one’s power leads to the
prolongation of his life (we counter it by saying that) the prolongation
is not the result of power but the effects thereof, such as war,
53. Power is now here considered to be independent of its substratum.
Before creation no effects of power existed. What grounds are there for
assuming a duality?
54. Power does not operate in the whole of Brahman but only in a part of
it. Earth’s power of producing pots is not seen in all earth but in a
portion or mode of earth only, viz., in clay, i.e., earth mixed with
55. The Shruti says: ‘Creation is only a quarter of Brahman, the other
three quarters are self-revealing’ (i.e., not dependent on Maya’s
effects for its revelation). Thus does the Shruti say Maya covers but a
part of Brahman.
56. In the Gita, Sri Krishna says to Arjuna: ‘The world is sustained by
a part of Mine’, indicating that the world is sustained by a part of the
57. The Shruti supports the same view: ‘The supreme spirit, pervading
the world on every side, yet extends ten fingers beyond it’. In the
Sutras, too, Brahman is declared to transcend the world of differences.
58. Shruti, the well-wisher of the questioner, being asked whether Maya
pervades the whole or part of Brahman, speaks of the partless as having
parts in order to explain the non-dual nature of Brahman, by giving
59. With Brahman as its basis, Maya creates the various objects of the
world, just as a variety of pictures are drawn on a wall by the use of
60. The first modification of Maya is Akasa. Its nature is space i.e.,
it gives room to things to exist and expand. Akasa derives its existence
from Brahman, its substratum.
61. The nature of Brahman is existence only. Brahman is spaceless but
Akasa has both space and existence as its nature.
62. Akasa also has the property of (conveying or communicating) sound,
which Brahman does not have. Thus Akasa has two properties, sound and
existence, whereas Brahman has only one existence.
63. The same Sakti (power) i.e. Maya which has conjured up Akasa in the
real entity, Sat or Existence has also produced the difference between
them, after having shown their identity.
64. It is Sat which appears as Akasa, but ordinary people, and the
logicians say that existence is a property of Akasa. This is only to be
expected, for Maya is the conjurer.
65. It is common knowledge that correct understanding makes a thing
appear as it is in itself and illusion makes it appear differently.
66. A thing appears to be quite different after a thorough discussion of
the Vedic passage (concerned) from what it appeared before such a
discussion. So let us now discuss the nature of Akasa.
67. Brahman and Akasa are different entities. Their names are different,
and the ideas conveyed by their names too are different. Brahman
pervades air and other objects. Such is not the case with Akasa. This is
what we know to be the difference.
68. The entity, Sat, being more pervading, is the locus or substance;
and Akasa (being less pervading) a content or an attribute. When, by the
exercise of reason or intellect, Sat is separated from Akasa, tell me
what the nature of Akasa is (i.e., it is reduced to nothing).
69. If you hold that (when existence is abstracted from it) Akasa still
remains as space, we reply, it should be ragarded as ‘nothing’. If you
say: ‘It is different from Asat as well as from Sat’ you shift your
position (for you do not admit anything which is different from both,
which we, of course, hold.
70. If you argue that Akasa is evident, then we reply: let it be; it is
to the credit of the products of Maya. The appearance of an object which
is in fact non-existent is an illusion (mithya) just as that of the
elephant seen in a dream.
71. As there is a distinction between a class, and a member of a class,
a living man and his body, and the possessor of an attribute and the
attribute, so there is a distinction between existence (Brahman) and
Akasa. What is there to wonder at?
72. If you say that granting intellectually that there is a distinction
between Akasa and Brahman, yet in practice one does not feel convinced
of it, we ask, is such an absurd conclusion due to lack of concentration
or tenacious doubt?
73. If the first, be attentive by fixing the mind through meditation. If
the other, then study the matter carefully with the help of reasoning
and evidence. Then the conviction of the truth of the distinction
between Brahman and Akasa will be firm.
74. By means of profound meditation, evidence and logical reasoning,
Brahman and Akasa can be known to be different from one another. The
Akasa will not appear as real nor Brahman as having the property of
75. To a knower Akasa shows its illusoriness and Brahman also always
shines unassociated with its properties.
76. When one’s impressions (about the true natures of Sat and Akasa) are
thus quite deepened (by constant reasoning and meditation) one is amazed
to see a person attributing reality to Akasa and suffering from
ignorance about reality being pure existence (void of all attributes).
77. Thus when the unreality of Akasa and the reality of Brahman are
firmly established in the mind, one should follow the same method and
differentiate Brahman, whose nature is pure existence, from air and
78. The real entity (Brahman) is all-pervasive; the range of Maya is
limited, that of Akasa is more limited and that of the air yet more so.
79. The following are the properties air is known to possess: ability to
absorb moisture, perceptibility to the same of touch, speed and motion.
Existence and the properties of Maya and Akasa are also found in air.
80. When we say, air exists, we mean that it does so by virtue of the
universal principle, existence. If the idea of existence is abstracted
from air what is left is of the nature of Maya i.e. a non-entity. The
property of sound that is found in air is of Akasa.
81. (Objection): It was stated before (in 67) that existence was a
natural concomitant of every thing and that Akasa was not. Now you say
that Akasa is concomitant of air. Do they not contradict?
82. (Reply): We implied before that space as an attribute of Akasa was
not found in air; we now say that the ability to produce sound, which is
also the attribute of Akasa is found in air. Where is the contradiction?
83. (Objection): If you argue that because air is different from the
real entity it is unreal, why do you not infer that air, perceived by
the senses being different from Maya, is not unreal like Maya?
84. (Reply): Air is unreal because its nature partakes of the nature of
Maya. Unreality is common to Maya, and its effects, because both differ
from reality (existence), although Maya, being power, is not subject to
perception whereas its effects are.
85. There may be sub-divisions within non-existence. But what is the use
of considering them here?
86. What is real in air is Brahman, Sat; other portions are unreal as in
Akasa. Having made a deep impression (in your mind) about the unreality
of air (by reason and meditation) give up (the false notion about the
reality of) air.
87. In the same way we can think of fire which has a more limited range
than air. A similar consideration will point to the relative extension
of the other elements which envelop the universe (e.g. water and earth).
88. Fire is formed from a tenth part of air, and in this way each
element is one tenth as extensive as the preceding one. This is the
traditional theory described in the Puranas.
89. Heat and light are the specific properties of fire in addition to
the properties of the entities from which it is derived, namely
existence, a pseudo-reality apart from existence and perceptibility to
the senses of sound and touch.
90. Endowed with these properties of Brahman, Maya, Akasa and air,
respectively, fire has colour as its specific property; apart from
existence, all the other properties of fire are unreal. Understand this
91. Since the reality of fire as Brahman and its unreality apart from
Brahman has been established, it is easy to understand the unreality of
water apart from Brahman since it consists of only one-tenth part of
92. Its existence, its pseudo-reality apart from existence, its
perceptibility to the senses of sound, touch and sight are taken from
the entities from which it is derived (namely, Brahman, Maya, Akasa, air
and fire respectively). Its specific property is perceptibility to the
sense of taste.
93. Since the illusory character of water considered apart from
existence has thus been established, let us now take the case of earth,
which arises from one-tenth part of water.
94. The earth has for its properties existence, a pseudo-reality apart
from existence and perceptibility to the senses of sound, touch, sight
and taste. Its specific property is perceptibility to the senses of
smell. Their difference from Brahman should be understood.
95. The illusory character of earth is realised when it is considered
apart from existence. One-tenth part of it forms the cosmos.
96. The cosmos contains the fourteen worlds and all the living beings
suited to each world.
97. If we abstract from the cosmos the existence which underlies it, all
the worlds and all objects are reduced to a mere illusory appearance.
What does it matter even if they still continue to appear?
98. When a deep impression has been created in the mind about the
elements and their derivatives and Maya being of the same category
(viz., of non-existence), the understanding of the real entity as
non-dual will never be subverted.
99. When the Reality has been comprehended as non-dual and the world of
duality has been differentiated, their pragmatic action (however) will
continue as before.
100. The followers of Sankhya, Vaisesika, the Buddhist and other schools
have established with quite an array of arguments (the real nature of)
the multiplicity in the universe. Let them have these. We have no
quarrel with them. (In the pragmatic world we too accept them all.)
101. There are philosophers who, holding an opposite view, disregard the
real non-dual entity. That does not harm us, who (following the Veda,
reason and experience, are convinced of our own unshakable position and
therefore) have no regard for their conclusion.
102. When the intellect disregards the notions of duality, it becomes
firmly established in the conception of non-duality. The man who is
firmly rooted in the conviction of non-duality is called a Jivanmukta
(liberated in life).
103. Sri Krishna says in the Gita: ‘This is called having one’s being in
Brahman, O Partha. None, attaining to this, becomes deluded. Being
established therein, even at the last moment, a man attains to oneness
104. ‘At the last moment’ means the moment at which the mutual
identification of the illusory duality and the one secondless reality is
annihilated by differentiating them from each other; nothing else.
105. In common parlance the expression ‘at the last moment’ may mean ‘at
the last moment of life’. Even at that time, the illusion that is gone
does not return.
106. A realised soul is not affected by delusion and it is the same
whether he dies healthy or in illness, sitting in meditation or rolling
on the ground, conscious or unconscious.
107. The knowledge of the Veda acquired (during the waking condition) is
daily forgotten during dream and deep sleep states, but it returns on
the morrow. Similar is the case with the knowledge (of Brahman) – it is
108. The knowledge of Brahman, based on the evidence of the Vedas, is
not destroyed unless proved invalid by some stronger evidence; but in
fact there is no stronger evidence than the Vedas.
109. Therefore the knowledge of the non-dual Reality (thus) established
by the Vedanta is not falsified even at the last moment (whatever
interpretation be taken). So the discrimination of the elements (from
the non-dual Reality) surely ensures peace abiding or bliss ineffable.
1. It is possible to know Brahman which
is “hidden in the cave” (i.e., the five sheaths), by differentiating It
from them. Hence the five sheaths are now being considered.
2. Within the ‘physical sheath’ is the ‘vital sheath’; within the ‘vital
sheath’ is the ‘mental sheath’; still, within is the ‘intellectual
sheath’ or the ‘agent sheath’ and still within is the ‘blissful sheath’
or the ‘enjoyer sheath’. This succession (of one within another) is the
‘cave’ (that covers the Atman).
3. The body which is produced from the seed and blood of the parents,
which are in turn formed out of the food eaten by them, grows by food
only. It is not the Self, for it does not exist either before birth or
4. This body did not exist in the previous birth; then how could it have
produced this birth? (For that would be an effect without a cause).
Without existing in the future birth it cannot enjoy the results of
action accumulated here (in this birth). (And hence it would be a case
of ‘one does and another enjoys the fruits thereof’ – which is
5. The vital airs which pervade the body and give power and motion to
the eyes and other senses constitute the vital sheath. It is not the
Self because it is devoid of consciousness.
6. That which gives rise to the ideas of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ with regard to
one’s body, house and so forth, is the mind sheath. It is not the Self
because it has desires and is moved by pleasure and pain, is subject to
delusion and is fickle.
7. The intellect which has the reflection of pure consciousness, and
which pervades the whole body up to the tips of the fingers in the
waking state but disappears in deep sleep, is known as the intellect
sheath. It also is not the Self because it too is changeable.
8. The inner organ functions as the agent and also the instrument. Hence
though one, it is treated as two, viz., the intellect sheath and the
mind sheath. Their fields of operation are the inner world and the outer
9. There is a position or function (of the intellect) which, at the time
of enjoying the fruits of good actions, goes a little farther inward and
catches the reflection of the bliss and at the end of this enjoyment,
merges in deep sleep. (This is what is known as the sheath of bliss).
10. This bliss sheath also cannot be the Self because it is temporal and
impermanent. That bliss which is the source of this reflection is the
Self; for it is eternal and immutable.
11. (Objection): By granting that the sheaths beginning with that of
food (body) and ending in that of bliss (joy or sleep) are not the Self,
yet (when they are negated), no further object remains to be
12. (Reply): True, bliss sheath etc., are experienced and not anything
else. Yet who can deny that by which these are experienced?
13. As the Self is Itself of the nature of experience only. It cannot be
an object of experience. Since there is no experiencer nor any
experience other than It, the Self is unknowable – not because It does
not exist but because It cannot be an object of experience.
14. Objects of taste like sweet and bitter, impart their tastes to
others, that is their nature, they do not stand in need of their being
imparted to themselves. Nor are there other things to impart those
tastes to themselves.
15. Just as there is nothing to hinder a thing from possessing its
natural flavour even without being flavoured by another thing, even so
the Self there stands four-square as the experience (viz., the
awareness) even when It is not experienced (as an object of experience).
16. The Shruti declares: ‘This Atman is self-revealing’; ‘Before the
evolution of the universe, the Self alone was shining’. ‘It shining, all
follow (i.e., shine); by Its shine the universe shines (i.e., is
17. How can that, by which the whole universe is known, by known by
anything else? By what can the knower be known? The mind etc., the
instruments of knowledge, can know their own percepts only.
18. The Self knows all that is knowable. There is no one to know It. It
is consciousness or knowledge itself and is different from both the
known and the unknown (as also of the knowable and the unknowable).
19. How can a man teach scriptures to one who is a man only in form but
who is so dull as not to experience what consciousness is in every act
of knowing a thing?
20. As it is shameful for a man to express doubt if he has a tongue or
not, so also it is shameful to say, ‘I do not know what consciousness
is. I must know it now’.
21. From whatever objects are perceived, dismiss the objects and what
remains, viz., the pure consciousness, the awareness only, is Brahman.
Such an understanding is called the determination of the nature of
22. By dismissing the objective element, i.e., the five sheaths. That is
the real nature of the Self (viz., pure consciousness). Non-existence
cannot be attributed to it.
23. One’s self is surely existing; there cannot be any opposition to
that. Were it not so, who could be the opponent?
24. Nobody, except through delusion, can entertain the idea that he does
not exist. So the Shruti thus exposes the falsity of the position of one
who denies the existence of the Self.
25. ‘He who believes Brahman to be non-existent, becomes non-existent
himself’. It is true the Self can never be an object of knowledge. But
you must accept the existence of the Self (identified with one’s own
existence) as a fact.
26. If you ask what sort of thing the Self is, then we reply that the
Self cannot be described as being ‘this’ or ‘that’. It cannot be
conceived as being ‘like this’ or ‘like that’; so take it as your own
27. An object which the senses can perceive can be said to be ‘like
this’; an object which is beyond the range of sense perception is said
to be ‘like that’. That which is the subject cannot be an object of the
senses. But as it is the very Self of everyone, it cannot be said to be
beyond the ken of perception.
28. Though it cannot be made an object of knowledge, the Self is still
felt very directly. So it must be self-revealing. Existence,
consciousness and infinity, the indications used for Brahman, are all
present here also (in the Self).
29. Existence is what cannot be negated. If the Self which is the
witness of the perishable world becomes perishable, then who will be the
witness to the fact of its perishability? For destruction without a
witness of it cannot be postulated.
30. When all forms are destroyed, the formless space still remains. So,
when all the perishable things are destroyed, what remains is that,
(i.e. the imperishable Brahman or Self).
31. In the opponent objects ‘nothing remains’ after everything (name and
form) has been destroyed, then we reply that what you describe as
‘nothing’ is the Self. Here the language alone differs. But there surely
remains something (viz., the witness) after the destruction of all.
32. It is for this that the Shruti in the passage “That Atman is ‘not
this, not this’” negates all objects (having names and forms), but keeps
the ‘that’ (i.e. Atman) intact.
33. The entire world (severally and collectively) that can be referred
to as ‘this’ can be negated, but the thing which is not ‘this’ can never
be negated and this indestructible witness is the Self.
34. Thus has been established (here) the eternal existence of the Self
which, according to the Shruti, is Brahman; and Its nature of pure
consciousness has already been proved by statements like ‘It is
35. Being all-pervasive, Brahman is not limited by space; being eternal,
It is not limited by time; and being of the nature of everything, It is
not limited by any object. Thus Brahman is infinite in all three
36. Space, time and the objects in them being illusions causes by Maya,
there is no limitation of Brahman by them. Infinity of Brahman is
37. Brahman who is existence, consciousness and infinity is the Reality.
Its being Ishvara (the Omniscient Lord of the world) and Jiva (the
individual soul) are (mere) superimpositions by the two illusory
adjuncts (Maya and Avidya, respectively).
38. There is a power (called Maya) of this Ishvara which controls
everything. It informs all objects from the bliss sheath (to the
physical body and the external world).
39. If the particular attributes of all objects are not determined by
this power, there would be chaos in the world, for there would be
nothing to distinguish the properties of one object from those of
40. This power appears as ‘conscious’ because it is associated with the
reflection of Brahman. And because of Its association with this power,
Brahman gets Its omniscience.
41. Brahman is called the individual soul (Jiva) when It is viewed in
association with the five sheaths, as a man is called a father and a
grandfather in relation to his son or his grandson.
42. As a man is neither a father nor a grandfather when considered apart
from his son and his grandson, so Brahman is neither Ishvara nor Jiva
when considered apart from Maya or the five sheaths.
43. He who knows Brahman thus becomes himself Brahman. Brahman has no
birth. So he also is not born again.
1. In this section we shall discuss the
world of duality created by Ishvara and Jiva. By such critical
discussion, the limit of duality causing the bondage which the Jiva has
to renounce will be clear.
2. The Svetasvatara Upanishad says: ‘Know Maya as Prakriti and Brahman
associated with Maya as the great Ishvara’ (who imparts existence and
consciousness to it and guides it). It is He who creates the world.
3. The Aitareya Upanishad says that before creation there was Atman
only, and He thought, ‘Let me create the world’, and then He created the
world by His will (to create).
4. The Taittiriya Upanishad says that from the Self or Brahman alone
arose in succession the whole creation including Akasa, (ether), air,
fire, water, earth, vegetation, food and bodies.
5. The Taittiriya Upanishad says that desiring ‘I shall be many, so I
shall create’, the Lord meditated; and thus created the world.
6. The Chandogya Upanishad says that before creation Brahman or the Self
alone existed, and that His nature was pure existence. He desired to
become manifold and created all things including fire, water, food and
beings born of eggs and so forth.
7. The Mundaka Upanishad says that just as sparks emanate from a blazing
fire, so from immutable Brahman arose different animate and inanimate
8. It is also said that before its manifestation the whole world existed
in Brahman in a potential form; then, assuming name and form it came
into being as Virat.
9. From Virat came into being the ancient law-givers, human beings,
cattle, asses, horses, goats, and so on, both male and female, down to
the ants. Thus says the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
10. According to these Shrutis Brahman or Atman Himself, assuming
manifold forms as the Jivas, entered into these bodies. A Jiva is so
called because it upholds vitality (the Pranas) (in a body).
11. The substratum or the pure consciousness, the subtle body and the
reflection of pure consciousness on the subtle body – these three
together constitute a Jiva.
12. Maya of the great Ishvara has, like its power of creation, another
power which deludes all. It is this power which deludes the Jiva.
13. The Jiva, thus deluded to believe himself to be powerless and
identified with a body, becomes subject to grief. Thus is described in
brief the duality created by Ishvara.
14. In the Saptanna Brahmana of the Veda there is a description of the
duality created by the Jiva. By action and reflection the Jiva creates
seven kinds of food (objects on experience).
15. One kind is meant for men, two for the celestial beings, the fourth
for the lower animals and the remaining three for the Self. Thus the
food is divided.
16. Grains such as wheat (are for men), (the ingredients of) the
full-moon and the new-moon sacrifices (are for the Devas), milk (is for
the lower animals); and the mind, the speech and the vital airs (are for
the Self) – these are the seven kinds of food.
17. Though all these objects are in themselves created by Ishvara, still
by action and reflection the Jiva has converted them into his objects of
enjoyment, hence they are said to be his creation.
18. As they are created by Ishvara and become objects of experience and
enjoyment for the Jiva, so they are related to both, just as a woman is
related both to the parents who brought her into being and to the
husband who loves her.
19. In the actual creation of the objects the modifications or functions
of Maya, the power of the Lord are the cause; whereas for the actual
enjoyment of those objects it is the modifications or functions of the
inner organs of the Jivas that are responsible.
20. Objects created by Ishvara (e.g., gems) do not alter; they remain
the same. But gems may affect different people differently according to
their mental states.
21. One man may feel happy on obtaining a gem, whereas another may feel
disappointed at failing to obtain it. And a man uninterested in it, may
only look on and feel neither happy nor disappointed.
22. The Jiva creates these three feelings of happiness, disappointment
or indifference with regard to the gem, but the nature of the gem as
created by Ishvara remains the same throughout.
23. Through personal relationships, one and the same woman appears
differently as a wife, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law, a cousin and
a mother; but she herself remains unchanged.
24. (Objection): These different relationships may be seen, but no
changes in the woman’s appearance are seen to result from other people’s
ideas about her.
25. (Reply): Not so. The woman has a subtle body as well as a physical
body composed of flesh etc. Although other people’s ideas about her may
not affect her physical body, yet they can change her mental state.
26. (Objection): Though it may affect the objects perceived in the
states of delusion, dreaming, remembering and imagining, the mind cannot
affect the objects perceived through the senses in the waking state.
27. (Reply): True, Acharya Shankara, Sureshvara and others acknowledge
the fact that the mind assumes the form of the external object with
which it comes into contact and modifies that form to suit its purposes.
28. Sri Shankara says that just as melted copper assumes the form of the
mould into which it is cast, so the mind assumes the form of the object
perceived by it.
29. Or just as sunlight assumes the forms of the objects which it
illumines, so the mind assumes the forms of the objects which it
30. (Sri Sureshvara holds): Out of the cogniser (i.e. the Jiva)
cognition (an appropriate modification of the mind) is produced. Thus
born, the modification proceeds towards the object of cognition until it
gets into touch with the object, when it assumes the form of the object
(which is known as the cognition of the object).
31. So we see there are two kinds of objects, the ‘material’ and the
‘mental’. The ‘material’ is the object cognised by mind being modified,
by the form of the material object. And the ‘mental’ is cognised by the
witness-consciousness (as the Jiva being affected by the ‘material’
coming in contact with the mind and evoking its latent desire for
32. By the application of the double method of agreement and difference
we come to the conclusion that it is the ‘mental’ creation which causes
bondage to the Jiva, for when these ‘mental’ objects are there, pleasure
and pain are also there; when they are not, there is neither pleasure
33. In dream, when external (material) objects are absent, man is bound
by the intellect to pleasure and pain, although outer objects are not
perceived. In deep sleep, in a faint and in the lower Samadhi (when the
mental functions are temporarily suspended), no pleasure or pain is felt
inspite of the proximity of outer objects.
34. A liar told a man whose son had gone to a far-off country that the
boy was dead, although he was still alive. The father believed him and
35. If, on the other hand, his son had really died abroad but no news
had reached him, he would have felt no grief. This shows that the real
cause of a man’s bondage is his own mental world.
36. (Objection): This amounts to pure idealism and it deprives external
objects of all significance. (Reply): No, because we accept the fact
that external objects give shape to the modifications of the mind (which
create the mental world).
37. Or, we may admit that external objects serve little useful purpose,
yet we cannot dispense with them altogether. In any case, cognition is
concerned with the existence of objects and not with their utility.
38. (Objection): If the mind causes bondage by giving rise to the
phenomenal world, the world could be made to disappear by controlling
the mind. So only Yoga needs to be practised; what is the necessity of
knowledge of Brahman?
39. (Reply): Though by controlling the mind duality can be made to
disappear temporarily the complete and final destruction of the mental
creation is not possible without a direct knowledge of Brahman. This is
proclaimed by the Vedanta.
40. The duality of Ishvara creation may continue, but the non-dualist,
when conceived of its illusoriness, can nonetheless know the secondless
41. When all duality disappears at the time of the dissolution of the
universe, the secondless Atman still remains unknown, because then, as
in deep sleep, there is no teacher and no scripture, though there may be
absence of duality.
42. The world of duality created by Ishvara is rather a help than an
obstacle to a direct knowledge of the non-duality. Moreover, we cannot
destroy the creation, so let it be. Why are you so much opposed to it?
43. The world of duality created by Jiva is of two kinds: that which
conforms and that which does not conform with the scriptural
injunctions. The former should be kept in mind until Brahman is realised.
44. Reflection on the nature of the Self as Brahman is the mental world
that conforms with the scriptural injunctions. Even this duality in
conformity with the scripture is to be renounced after Brahman is
realised. This is the direction of the Shruti.
45. ‘An intelligent person, who has studied the scriptures and has
repeatedly practised what they enjoin should renounce them after knowing
the supreme Brahman, just as a man throws aside a flaming torch at the
end of his journey’. [Amritanada Upanishad]
46. ‘An intelligent person, who has studied the scriptures and has
practised what they enjoin should discard them after experiencing
Brahman as his Self, just as a man discards the husk when he has found
the grain’. [Amrita-Bindu Upanishad]
47. ‘A wise man, having experienced Brahman as his Self, should keep his
higher intuitive faculty (prajna) united with Brahman. He should not
oppress his mind with many words, for they are a mere waste of energy’.
48. It has been clearly told in the Shruti: ‘Know that One and give up
other talks’ [Mundaka Upanishad] and ‘A wise man should restrain his
speech and keep it within the mind’. [Katha Upanishad]
49. The duality of the mental creation of man which is not in conformity
with the scripture is of two kinds, violent and dull. That which gives
rise to lust, anger and other passions is called violent and that which
gives rise to day-dreams is called dull.
50. Before starting the study into the nature of Brahman it is necessary
to give up both; for, mental poise and concentration are the two
prerequisites for the study of Brahman, so says the Shruti.
51. in order to achieve and to be established in, the state of
liberation these two must be given up. One who is subject to the urges
of lust and other passions is unfit for liberation in life.
52. You may say: Let there be no liberation in life; I am satisfied if
there is no birth anymore. We reply: Then (if the desires remain), you
will have births also. So be satisfied with heaven only.
53. If you say that the pleasures of heaven are defective, having waning
and gradation, and so are to be renounced, then why don’t you give up
this source of all evils, the passions?
54. If cherishing the false idea that you have attained liberation, you
do not completely give up these passions, you transgress the laws of the
scriptures and are self-willed.
55. Sri Sureshvara says that one who pretends to be a knower of Brahman
and yet lives without moral restraint is like a dog that eats unclean
56. Before knowledge, you suffered only from the pain of your own mental
imperfections; but now, you suffer the censure of the world as well. How
glorious is the effect of your knowledge?
57. O ! Knower of Truth, do not sink to the level of pigs in the sty !
Freeing yourself from all the defects arising from your mind, be
worshipped by the world like a god.
58. The scriptures dealing with liberation proclaim that these urges of
passions can be overcome by (constantly) thinking over the fettering
nature of the objects of desire. Adopt these means, conquer the passions
and be happy.
59. (Objection): All right, let defects such as the impact of passions
be removed, but what is the harm in letting the imagination play on the
objects of desire? (Reply): Such mental preoccupation with the objects
of desire is the very seed of all evils, so says Lord Sri Krishna.
60. ‘If a man dwells mentally on any object of desire, he will become
attached to it. Attachment gives rise to a longing for it and the
frustration of desire leads to anger.’ [Gita-II.62]
60(a). ‘From anger comes delusion and from delusion loss of memory. From
loss of memory comes the ruin of discrimination and from the ruin of
discrimination the man perishes’.
61. This tendency of thinking on objects may be overcome by meditation
on the attributeless Brahman. This can gradually be done at ease by
first meditating on Ishvara.
62. One who has understood intellectually the nature of the secondless
Brahman and who is free from the defects of intellect, should live in
solitude and over a long period practise the Japa of Aum and thus
control the vagaries of the mind.
63. When the ‘mental world’ is thus conquered, (other) modifications of
the mind (gradually) cease – the mind keeps mum like a dumb person. This
method was variously explained by Vasistha to Rama.
64. With the direct knowledge of the unsubstantiality of the phenomenal
world arises the profound bliss of Nirvana.
65. A steady and concentrated study of the scriptures and discussion on
the truth with the teacher and other learned persons lead to the
conviction that the calm of deep reflection born of the disappearance of
the last vestiges of desires and passions is the highest state.
66. If sometimes owing to actions performed in previous births the mind
of a reflective man is distracted by desire, then it may be brought back
to a peaceful state by the constant practice of spiritual meditations.
67. That man whose mind is not subject to distraction is not merely a
knower of Brahman but Brahman Itself – so declare the sages versed in
the scriptures of Vedanta.
68. One whose mind does no longer dwell on whether he knows Brahman or
not but who remains identified with pure consciousness or knowledge is
not merely a knower of Brahman but Brahman Itself.
69. This liberation in life is the final step attained by sublating or
removing the mental creations of the Jiva (projected on the world of Ishvara). So in this chapter we have described how the duality created
by the Jiva differs from that created by Ishvara.
1. That by which a man sees, hears,
smells, speaks and distinguishes sweet and bitter tastes etc., is called
consciousness. [‘Prajnanam Brahma’ - Aitareya Upanishad III-i-1]
2. The one consciousness which is in Brahma, Indra and other gods, as
well as in human beings, horses, cows, etc., is Brahman. So the
consciousness in me also is Brahman.
3. The infinite, supreme Self remains manifested in this world as the
witness of the functions of the intellect in the body, fit for
Self-knowledge and is designated as ‘I’.
4. By nature infinite, the supreme Self is described here by the word
Brahman. The word ‘Asmi’ (am) denotes the identity of ‘Aham’ (I) and
‘Brahman’. Therefore ‘I am Brahman’ (is the meaning of the text). [‘Aham
Brahmasmi’ - Brihadaranyaka Upanishad I-iv-10]
5. Before the creation there existed the Reality, one only, without a
second and without name and form. That is even now (after creation)
exists in a similar condition is indicated by the word ‘That’. [‘Tattvamasi’
- Chandogya Upanishad VI-viii-15]
6. The principle of consciousness which transcends the body, senses and
mind of the enquirer is here denoted by the word ‘thou’. The word ‘Asi’
(art) shows their identity. That identity has to be experienced.
7. By (pronouncing) the word ‘this’ it is meant that the Atman is
self-luminous and directly experienced. That is known as Pratyagatman
which is the indwelling principle covering everything between egoity and
the body. [‘Ayamatma Brahma’ - Madukya Upanishad 2]
8. The essence of the entire visible universe is denoted by the word
Brahman. That Brahman is of the nature of the self-luminous Atman.
1. As there are four stages in the
painting of a picture, so there are four stages in the modification of
the supreme Self.
2. In a picture we have the clean canvas, stiffening with starch,
drawing of the outlines and the application of colour. In the case of
the Self there are correspondingly the pure consciousness, the
in-dwelling consciousness, the one identified with the totality of all
the subtle bodies and that with the totality of all the physical bodies.
3. The naturally white canvas is the basis of the picture; by the
application of starch it is stiffened; the outlines are drawn with a
black pencil; and when the appropriate colours are applied to it, the
picture is complete.
4. Brahman by nature is pure consciousness; with Maya He is called the
in-dwelling spirit; in relation to the subtle bodies He is the totality
of souls identifying Himself with them, and in relation to the gross
bodies He is again the one identifying Himself with their totality.
5. As in a picture on a canvas there are superior and inferior objects,
so in the supreme Lord there are grades of beings from Brahma down to
the animate and inanimate objects.
6. The men in a picture are painted wearing clothes of different kinds
and the clothes are so painted that they appear as real as the canvas of
7. On consciousness are superimposed various forms. In each of them
there is a reflection, i.e., a special function of consciousness. They
are known as the Jivas and are subject to the process of birth and
8. Ignorant people imagine that the colours representing the clothes of
the figures are real clothes, as real as the canvas on which the picture
is superimposed. Similarly the ignorant imagine that the transmigrations
of the Jivas are undergone by the supreme Spirit, the substratum, on
which the Jivas are superimposed.
9. Just as the hills etc., in a picture are not painted as dressed in
clothes, so the inert objects like earth, are not endowed with the
reflection of consciousness.
10. The confusion of considering this transmigration (with the attendant
pain and pleasure) as real and affecting the supreme Self is called
nescience. It is removed by the knowledge of Reality.
11. It is the Jiva, a ‘reflection’ of the Self, which is affected by the
pain and pleasure of this transmigratory life, but not the real Self.
This understanding is called knowledge. It is achieved through
12. Therefore one should always enquire into the nature of the world,
the individual Self and the supreme Self. When the ideas of Jiva and
Jagat (world) are negated, the pure Atman alone remains.
13. By negation it does not mean that the world and Jiva cease to be
perceptible to the senses, it means the conviction of their illusory
character. Otherwise people would be automatically liberated in deep
sleep or in a faint.
14. ‘The supreme Self alone remains’ also means a conviction about Its
reality and not non-perceiving of the world. Otherwise there would be no
such thing as liberation in life.
15. The knowledge arising from discrimination is of two kinds, indirect
and direct. This process of discrimination ends in the achievement of
the direct knowledge.
16. The knowledge that ‘Brahman is’ is indirect, the knowledge that ‘I
am Brahman’ is direct.
17. We now consider the nature of the Self with a view to having its
direct experience, through which the Jiva is immediately liberated from
all worldly fetters.
18. The Self as consciousness absolute is spoken of as Kutastha,
Brahman, Jiva and Ishvara, just as, for instance, Akasa (ether) is
called ‘pot-Akasa’, ‘all embracing Akasa, Akasa conditioned by water’
and ‘Akasa conditioned by a cloud’.
19. The sky with clouds and stars reflected in water contained in a pot
which encloses space, is known as ‘Akasa in water’.
20. The sky reflected in water particles forming a cloud suspended in
space is known as ‘Akasa in a cloud’.
21. As a cloud is composed of a water in a particular state, it is
therefore reasonable to assume the existence of the reflection of Akasa
in a cloud.
22. The consciousness which is conditioned by the gross and subtle
bodies, on which they are superimposed and which knows no change, is
known as Kutastha.
23. On the Kutastha is superimposed by imagination in the intellect (buddhi).
The reflection of Kutastha in the intellect is animated by vitality and
is called the Jiva. It is subject to transmigration.
24. As the Akasa in a pot is concealed by the Akasa reflected in the
water with which the pot is filled, so Kutastha is obscured by Jiva.
This principle is called mutual obscuring or superimposition.
25. Under the delusion of mutual superimposition the Jiva cannot
discriminate and realise that he is not Jiva but Kutastha. This
non-discrimination is beginningless and is known as the primal
26. Nescience or Avidya has two functions: Avarana or the power to
conceal and Viksepa or the power to project. The power of Avarana
creates such ideas as ‘Kutastha shines not nor exists’
27. If a wise man asks an ignorant man about Kutastha, he replies:
‘There is no such thing as Kutastha. It does not manifest nor exist’.
Thus he feels and says.
28. The opponent may raise such questions as: ‘How did the self-luminous
Kutastha come to have ignorance; and without it how could there be
obscuring?’ Such arguments are falsified by one’s (direct) experience.
29. If one disbelieves one’s own experience and since logic is not
final, how can one know the truth about anything by mere reasoning?
30. The chief function of reasoning is to explain things clearly. One
should employ logic following one’s own experience and not misuse it.
31. That we do have experience of ignorance and its obscuring power has
already been shown. So rather argue that Kutastha and nescience are not
32. If Kutastha were contradictory to ignorance and its obscuring power
then who is the experiencer of this obscuring? It is the discriminating
knowledge which is contradictory to ignorance, as is seen in a knower of
33. On Kutastha, covered over by (the concealing power of) ignorance,
are projected or superimposed the subtle and gross bodies, thus
producing the Chidabhasas or Jivas. It is like the superimposition of
silver on a mother of pearl. This is called projection or Viksepa.
34. In the illusion ‘This is silver’, the pearl oyster shell is the
thing perceived and is real, but by an error these notions, viz.,
‘this-ness’ and its ‘reality’, are transferred to the imaginary silver.
In the same way the ideas of ‘Self’ and ‘existence’ which belong to
Kutastha are transferred to the Jiva through the error caused by
35. As the blue exterior and triangular form of the mother of pearl are
lost to the vision, so the non-tactility and blissness of Kutastha are
obscured by superimposition.
36. In the illustration that which is superimposed is called silver; so
with the power of illusory projection that which is superimposed on
Kutastha is called ‘I’, ego, or the sense of individuality.
37. As people think of ‘this’ (something seen) as silver though they
really see the mother of pearl, so in self-cognition the Self is
mistaken for the ego.
38. In the illustration the idea of ‘this’ and the idea of silver are
not identical, similarly, in the human personality the idea of Self and
the idea of ego are not identical. In both there is a common element and
also a variable element.
39. People use such expression as ‘Devadatta himself is going’, ‘you
yourself see this’, and ‘I myself am unable’.
40. The demonstrative pronoun ‘this’ is common to such diverse
perceptions as ‘This is silver’, ‘This is cloth’ and so forth.
Similarly, the word ‘self’ is applied to all three persons, first,
second and third ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘he’.
41. (Doubt): The concept ‘I’ (egoity) may be different from the concept
of the Self (Atman), but what has this to do with Kutastha? (Reply):
The word ‘self’ denotes Kutastha and vice versa.
42. (Doubt): ‘Self’ merely excludes the idea of another and does not say
anything about Kutastha. (Reply): This ‘exclusion of others’ is the
‘Self’ of Kutastha. So exclusion is in favour of our idea.
43. People ordinarily use Self and Atman as synonymous terms; and so
both terms are never used together. In fact each of these terms excludes
the idea of ‘another’.
44. (Doubt): We often use such expressions as ‘The pot itself does not
know’. Hence the word ‘Self’ is applied to an inanimate object. (Reply):
Such language is used because Atman is the basis of the inanimate
45. It is not the immutable Kutastha or Atman which makes the difference
between the animate and the inanimate; it is the Jiva, the reflection of
Kutastha in the intellect, which makes the difference.
46. Just as the conscious Jiva is created by illusion based on Kutastha,
even so, on it the inanimate objects are created by Avidya.
47. (Doubt): Like the word ‘Self’ the words ‘this’ and ‘that’ can be
applied to all persons, ‘I’ and ‘he’, etc. It is therefore reasonable to
conclude that the objects denoted by ‘this’ and ‘that’ are also the
48. (Reply): ‘This’ and ‘that’ do not refer only to ‘I’ ‘you’ and ‘he’
(as distinct entities), but also to Atman, which is the common element
in them all. They are like ‘correctness’, ‘incorrectness’, etc., not
synonymous with Atman, (because they are of wider denotation.)
49. Besides, the ideas of ‘this’ and ‘that’ the ‘Self’ and ‘the other’
‘you’ and ‘I’ are opposite pairs it is well known in society. There is
no doubt about that.
50. The opposite of ‘the other’ is the Self, which is the same as the
Kutastha. The opposite of ‘you’, however, is ‘I’, which is the egoism,
the Jiva, which is superimposed on Kutastha.
51. As the distinction between ‘silver’ and ‘this’ is clear, so also the
difference between ‘I’ and ‘Self’. But the people in the grip of
delusion identify ‘I’ with the immutable Self.
52. That the superimposition causing the identity of ‘I’ and ‘Self’ is
caused by nescience has already been treated. When this nescience is
negated, its effect is also terminated.
53. The veiling of the real nature of the Self and the identity
superimposition, are caused by nescience, and they are destroyed when
nescience is negated. But so long as the fructifying Karma continues,
the mind and body, the effects of illusory projection of nescience,
54. The logicians hold that when the material cause of an object has
been destroyed its effect continues to appear for the next moment.
Similarly why cannot the body of a knower of truth persist for some time
when its cause, the nescience, has been destroyed?
55. According to the logicians the cloth keeps its form for the next
second – the threads (its material cause) that last for a few days are
destroyed. On the same reasoning, the body may persist for a
proportionately long time when its cause, the ignorance of countless
ages, is destroyed.
56. (Doubt): The logicians have assumed the truth of this theory without
any proof. (Reply): We assume it on the ground of Shruti, experience and
reasoning; why should it be improper?
57. There is no use entering into a controversy with the unreasonable
Logicians. The fact is that the difference between Jiva and Kutastha is
caused by illusion.
58. People who consider themselves scholars and the hair-splitting
logicians overlook the authority of the Veda and wander due to their
59. Some others accept the authority of the Vedas; but owing to their
inability to harmonise the meaning of the texts which have gone before
with those that follow, they become confused. They take some isolated
passages out of context and quote them in support of their own views.
60. The materialists (Lokayatas) and vulgar persons depending on false
perceptual evidence, regard the aggregate beginning with the Kutastha
and ending in gross body as the Atman.
61. To support their materialist views, they quote some passages from
the Shruti to show that the gross body is the Atman, which is the
doctrine of Virochana.
62. There are other thinkers who point out that the body dies and decays
when life leaves it. They conclude that the Atman is something other
than the gross body.
63. There are others who think that in such expressions as ‘I am
speaking’, the senses together with the intellect are seen to be
distinct from the gross body and that therefore they are the Atman.
64. In the Shruti we hear of the senses, such as speech and so forth,
quarrelling among themselves, which implies that they have
consciousness. Therefore some thinkers have concluded that the senses
are the Atman.
65. The followers of the school of Hiranyagarbha hold the vital airs (Pranas)
to be the Atman. They point out that when the eye and other senses are
inoperative the vital airs still continue to function, keeping the man
66. The vital airs continue functioning even in sleep. In some Shruti
passages the vital sheath is given pre-eminence and dealt with in
67. The people devoted to worship call the mind as the Atman. They argue
that the vital airs have no faculty of enjoyment, but that the mind has.
68. The Shruti says that the mind is the cause of the bondage and the
release of man and it speaks of the mind-sheath; therefore these people
conclude that the mind is the Atman.
69. The Buddhists believe that the Atman consists of the momentary
states of the intellect, because the intellect, endowed with the faculty
of understanding, is the basis of the mind and through it the mind
70. The internal organ (Antahkarana) has two kinds of vrittis, viz., the
‘I’-consciousness, and ‘this’ consciousness. The first constitutes the
intellect, the subject-consciousness and the second the mind, the
71. Since without the sense of egoity, it is not possible to cognise the
outer world, it is clear that the idea of egoity is the cause of the
mind and without it the cognisance of the external world is impossible.
72. As ‘I’ - consciousness appears and disappears every moment, the
intellect is transitory and it needs no further principle to illumine
73. The intellect sheath is the Self. The whole world is cognised by it,
and birth and death, pleasure and pain, affect it. So say some Vedic
74. The intellect is momentary like the flashes of lightning in a cloud
or the twinkling of an eye, and that because we know of no other Self
beyond the intellect, the Self is nothing or void. So say the Madhyamika
75. Quoting the Shruti, ‘In the beginning all this was non-existent (Asat)’,
the Buddhists say that perception and the objects of perception are the
creations of illusion.
76. The Vedantins refute them by saying that there can be no illusion
without a substratum which is not an illusion. The existence of the
Atman must be admitted. Even the void has a witness; if not, it would be
impossible to say, ‘There is a void’.
77. The Vedic view, say the Naiyayikas, in that beyond the intellect
sheath there is yet another sheath, the bliss-sheath. It is existing
(not something that does not exist).
78. Other philosophers, recognising the authority of the Shruti, still
dispute variously as to whether the Atman is atomic in size or
all-pervasive, or something between the two.
79. There are philosophers called Antaralas who hold that Atman must be
atomic in size because it is said to pervade capillaries as fine as a
thousandth part of a hair.
80. In support of their thesis they quote many Vedic texts, which
describe Atman as ‘smaller than the smallest’, ‘minuter than an atom’
and ‘more refined than the most refined’.
81. They produce as an authority the Vedic text which says: Jiva is the
hundredth part of the tip of a hair which has already been divided into
a hundred parts.
82. The Digambaras hold that Atman is of medium size because it animates
the body from head to foot. They too quote the Veda: ‘Atman, the
conscious principle, pervades the body from the head to the tips of the
83. They state that Atman become subtle and enters into the finest
capillaries, as the arms of a man slip into the sleeves of a coat.
84. They conclude that the Atman is of medium size but that it is
capable of adapting itself to any size. It enlarges or diminishes its
size to accommodate itself to the parts of the bodies into which it
85. This view is not valid, because if the Atman has parts it must be
perishable like a pot. In that case there will arise the two logical
fallacies viz., the cause will not produce any effect and an effect will
have homogeneous cause.
86. So the Atman is neither atomic nor of medium size, but is infinite,
partless and like Akasa all-pervasive. This view accords with the Shruti.
87. Thus about the nature of the Atman there are many differences of
opinion, whether it is unconscious, conscious, or a compound of the two.
88. The followers of Prabhakara and the logicians state that Atman is by
nature unconscious; it is a substance like Akasa and consciousness is
its attribute, as sound is an attribute of Akasa.
89. They state that not only consciousness, but also desire, aversion,
effort, virtue, vice, pleasure and pain, and also the impressions are
the attributes of the Atman.
90. According to them, Atman and the mind combine together due to the
effects of previous actions and this combination produces the different
properties. When the past Karma ceases to operate as cause, the Jiva
goes into deep sleep and the properties too become latent.
91. The Atman possesses intelligence and is therefore called
intelligent; it manifests intelligence in the form of desire, aversion
and effort. As a doer it performs good and bad deeds and is, in
consequence, the experiencer of pleasure and pain.
92. In this life, subject to action, Atman sometimes experiences
happiness; so too, when it takes birth in other bodies, desire, etc.,
arise due to Karma.
93. They further hold that despite its all-pervasiveness Atman goes from
birth to death. The whole ritual part of the Veda (Karma-kanda), they
say, supports them.
94. The first of the sheaths, the bliss-sheath which persists in the
state of deep sleep and which does not manifest consciousness fully, is
taken as Atman by the followers of Prabhakara and some logicians. What
they state to be the nature of the Self, is in fact, characteristic of
95. The followers of Bhatta hold that consciousness is hidden in Atman
and that its nature is both consciousness and unconsciousness. This is
inferred from the fact of the remembrance of sound sleep by the awakened
96. ‘I became unconscious and slept’, such feeling expresses the memory
of that inert state which he actually experienced. But this remembrance
of unconsciousness in deep sleep would not be possible unless there were
at the same time a conscious element.
97. The Bhattas say that the Shruti declares; ‘In sleep neither the seer
nor seeing is absent’. Therefore the nature of Atman is both luminous
and dark, like that of a fire-fly.
98. The Sankhyas, who separate Purusha and Prakriti, reject the
possibility of both consciousness and unconsciousness being the nature
of Atman. According to them the Atman is without parts and must be of
the nature of consciousness only.
99. Unconsciousness is the nature of Prakriti (the primordial substance)
which is ever-changing and composed of three modes, Sattva, Rajas and
Tamas. The Prakriti functions for experience and release of the Atman.
100. Though Purusha is non-contactible and pure, he is said to be
subject to bondage and release because of a confusion between the
natures of Prakriti and Purusha. The Sankhyas, like the earlier
Naiyayikas, postulate a plurality of Selves and explain how different
individuals have different destinies to fulfil in this life. The release
of the individual Purusha is due to his knowledge of his real nature.
101. They quote the Shruti which says that Prakriti, the
undifferentiated matter, which is unmanifested, is not the same as Mahat,
the differentiated matter and that the Spirit is unattached and pure.
102. The Yogis postulate the existence of Ishvara. Prakriti functions
owing to the proximity of consciousness and Ishvara is the controller of
Prakriti. He is quite distinct from and superior to the Jivas, says the
103. The Shruti declares that Ishvara is the Lord of Jivas and also of
Prakriti. He controls the Gunas too. In the Aranyaka part of the Shruti
He is respectfully called the Inner Controller.
104. Here too there are many philosophers who by their arguments
maintain different views about Ishvara. They quote suitable texts from
the Shruti and interpret them according to their light.
105. According to Patanjali, Ishvara is a Special Purusha free from
miseries, actions, birth and death, enjoyment and suffering and the
latent impressions; Ishvara, like Jiva, is non-attached and conscious.
106. As person with a special nature, Ishvara rules the universe.
Without His rulership there would be no one to regulate bondage and
107. The Shruti declares that Nature functions in fear of Ishvara. He is
the ruler though unattached. The rulership is appropriately vested in
Ishvara, who is not affected by sufferings, works and so forth.
108. It is a fact that the Jivas, too, are not affected by sufferings
etc., as they too are unattached; but when they fail to comprehend their
real nature, they imagine that they are affected by sufferings, works
and so forth.
109. The logicians deny the controlling power to Ishvara, because He is
detached. They invest Him with the qualities of eternal knowledge,
effort and desire.
110. They say that owing to His possessing these three qualities Ishvara
is the Lord of the universe. In support they quote the Shruti verse: ‘He
has true desires and resolves’.
111. Ishvara being endowed with eternal knowledge and other cognate
attributes must be ever engaged in the creation of the world. He must
therefore be Hiranyagarbha who is endowed with a subtle body.
112. The glory of Hiranyagarbha has been given in detail in the Udgitha
Brahmana. He, the totality of all subtle bodies, is not to be considered
a Jiva because He is free from desires and Karma.
113. The worshippers of Virat hold that no subtle body is seen without a
physical body. So Virat, who has a physical body with head and other
organs, is the real Ishvara.
114. The Shruti says that the form of Virat is the form of the universe,
extending in all directions with an infinite number of heads and eyes.
So they meditate on Virat.
115. Then there are worshippers who object to the worship of Virat on
the ground that according to this conception of Virat even insects and
worms will have to be regarded as Ishvara. So the four-faced Brahma, the
creator, is Ishvara and nobody else.
116. So say people who worship the creator Brahma for obtaining children
and quote passages which say, ‘Brahma created the people’.
117. The Bhagavatas call Vishnu the only Ishvara because the lotus-born
Brahma issued from the navel of Vishnu.
118. The Saivas on the authority of their Agamas declare Shiva alone to
be Ishvara, as according to a tradition in the Puranas, Vishnu in spite
of all his efforts could not discover the feet of Shiva.
119. The followers of the creed of Ganesha say that the elephant-faced
Lord is the only Ishvara for Shiva in order to conquer the demons of the
three cities worshipped Ganesha.
120. There are many other sects which try to declare their own favourite
deity to be the supreme. They quote hymns from Shruti and alleged
traditions in support of their views.
121. So every entity from the Inner Ruler to inert objects is considered
as Ishvara by someone or other, for we find that even the sacred fig
tree, the sun-plant and the bomboo etc., are worshipped by the people as
122. Those who are desirous of ascertaining the real truth study the
Shruti and logic. Their conclusion is the same, that Ishvara is one only
and this fact we have set forth in this chapter.
123. The Shruti says that Maya is Prakriti, the material cause of the
universe, and the Lord of Maya is the great Ishvara who pervades the
whole universe, consisting of sentient and insentient objects which are
like parts of that Ishvara.
124. The correct definition of Ishvara is available from the Shruti
text. Then there will be no clash with even the worshippers of trees and
so forth as Ishvara.
125. The [Nrisimha-Uttara-]Tapaniya Upanishad declares Maya to be Tamas
or darkness. The empirical experience of all is evidence for the
existence of Maya, says the Shruti.
126. The Shruti points to the universal experience of the insentient and
illusory nature of Maya, as displayed by persons of undeveloped
intellect, such as children and dullards.
127. The nature of the poet and other inert objects exhibits insentiency
(which is a characteristic of Maya). People say that the intellect feels
shy to fathom the depths of Maya.
128. All people admit in their experience existence of Maya. From the
logical point of view Maya is inexplicable. Shruti too declares it to be
neither existence nor non-existence.
129. Since the effects of Maya are undeniably manifest, its existence
cannot be denied. Being stultified by knowledge, it cannot really be
said to exist. From the point of view of (absolute) knowledge (of the
Atman) it is always inoperative and hence negligible.
130. Maya is looked upon in three ways. From the point of view of
knowledge and Shruti it is negligible; for empirical reason it is
indefinable and for the ordinary people it is real.
131. Maya exhibits the appearance and disappearance (in waking or
sleeping state) of the world, just as by rolling and unrolling a picture
on a canvas it is exhibited or withdrawn.
132. Maya is dependent, for in the absence of the cognising faculty the
effects of Maya cannot be experienced. Again in one sense it is
independent too, for it can make the non-attached Atman appear to be
133. Maya transforms the immutable Kutastha, the ever association-less
Atman, phenomenally into the form of the universe. Casting the
reflection of Atman on itself, Maya Creates Jiva and Ishvara.
134. Without in any way affecting the real nature of Atman, Maya creates
the world. It makes the impossible look possible. How astonishingly
powerful Maya is !
135. As fluidity is the nature of water, heat of fire and hardness of
stone, so the making of the impossible possible is the nature of Maya.
It is unique in this respect.
136. The magic show looks wonderful and inexplicable as long as the
magician is not directly known, but when the magician is so known, the
magic show is known as such and is no longer wonderful.
137. Those who believe in the reality of the world regard the effects of
Maya as wonderful. But since the nature of Maya itself is astonishing,
one need not wonder at its power.
138. By raising objections to the wonderfulness of Maya we do not solve
the mystery. Besides, we also can raise serious counter objections. What
is essential is that we should eradicate Maya by systematic enquiry.
Further arguments are useless, so do not indulge in them.
139. Maya is an embodiment of marvellousness and doubt; the wise must
carefully find out means and make effort to remove it.
140. (Doubt): But the nature of Maya must be determined before trying to
eradicate it. (Reply): All right, do so ! Apply the popular definition
of magic on Maya.
141. People understand that to be Maya which though clearly seen is at
the same time beyond all determination, as in the case of magic.
142. The world is clearly seen, but its nature defies definition. Be
impartial, and regard the world as nothing but a delusion, the product
143. Even if all the learned people of the world try to determine the
nature of this world, they will find themselves confronted at some stage
or other by ignorance.
144. Tell us, if you can, how the body and senses came out of the seed,
or how consciousness was born in the foetus. What answers will you give
to these questions?
145. (The naturalist says): It is the nature of the seed to evolve into
the body with the sense-organs and so forth. (Reply): What is the basis
of your belief? You will perhaps say, application of the double method
of agreement and difference. But it is not confirmed because in a barren
woman seed produces nothing.
146. In the end you will have to say, ‘I do not know’. Therefore the
wise declare this world to be like a magic show.
147. What can be more magical than the fact that the seed in the uterus
becomes a conscious individual, that it develops head, hands, feet and
other organs, that it passes through the states of childhood, youth and
old age and that it perceives, eats, smells, hears, comes and goes?
148. Like the human body carefully consider also a tiny fig seed. How
different the tree is from the seed from which it grows ! Therefore know
all this to be Maya.
149. The logicians and others, proud of their dialectical ability, may
feel satisfied with their logical explanations; but the philosopher Sri
Harsha Mishra has exposed the error of their positions in his classic
150. Things that are inconceivable should not be subjected to canons of
logic; and this world is one such, for the mind cannot conceive of the
very mode of its creation.
151. Be convinced that Maya is the cause of this world, whose
comprehension surpasses the imagination. In the state of deep sleep we
are partly aware of this Maya, the seed of this world.
152. As the tree is latent in the seed, so the waking and dreaming
worlds are implicit in deep sleep. Similarly, the impressions of the
entire universe are latent in Maya.
153. On the impressions of the whole world, thus latent in the intellect
(during sleep) is reflected the immutable consciousness. Though it is
not experienced owing to vagueness it can be inferred to exist, in the
same way as the reflection of the sky is inferred to exist in the
water-particles of a cloud.
154. This seed, the Maya, in association with the reflection of
consciousness, which is not fully grasped, develops into the intellect;
and in this intellect, the reflection of consciousness becomes plainly
visible as the ego.
155. It is said by the Shruti that Jiva and Ishvara are creations of
Maya, being reflections of Atman in it. Ishvara is like the reflection
of the sky in the cloud; Jiva is like the reflection of the sky in
156. Maya is comparable to a cloud and the mental impressions in the
Buddhi are like the water-particles which make up the cloud. The
reflected consciousness in Maya is like the sky reflected in the
water-particles of the cloud.
157. Shruti says that this (pure universal) consciousness reflected in
Maya is Ishvara which controls Maya as well. The great Ishvara is the
inner ruler, omniscient and cause of the universe.
158. The Shruti, in the passage beginning with ‘the consciousness in the
deep sleep’ and ending in ‘He is the Lord of all’ describes this ‘sheath
of bliss’ as the Ishvara. [Mandukya Upanishad: 5-6; Brihadaranyaka
159. The omniscience and other properties of the bliss sheath are not to
be questioned, because the assertions of the Shruti are beyond dispute
and because everything is possible in Maya.
160. Since nobody has the power to alter the world of waking and dream
states which are projected from the bliss-sheath, it is proper to call
it the Lord of all.
161. In the bliss-sheath inhere all the desires and mental impressions
of all living beings. In as much as it knows them (impressions) all, it
is called omniscient.
162. (Doubt): The omniscience, alleged to be the nature of the
bliss-sheath, is not evident because the impressions are not known
directly. (Reply): Its knowledge of the impressions (though not directly
felt) is inferred from observation of its presence in all mentations.
163. Since Ishvara (the consciousness in the bliss-sheath) abides in and
activates and controls all the functions of all other sheaths beginning
with that of the intellect and elsewhere also in creation, it is called
the inner controller.
164. The Shruti says that the Lord abides in the intellect and has the
intellect as His body (instrument); but the intellect does not know Him;
it is itself controlled by Him.
165. As threads pervade a piece of cloth and constitute its material
cause, so the Inner Ruler, pervading the whole universe, is the material
cause of the universe.
166. Just as the threads are subtler than the cloth and the fibres of
the threads subtler than the threads themselves, even so, where this
progress from the subtle to the subtler stops, there do we confront the
167. Being minuter than the minute of the second and third degree, the
inmost Being is not subject to perception; but by reasoning and by
Shruti His existence is ascertained.
168. As a piece of cloth is said to be the body of the threads which
become the cloth, so when He has become the universe it is described as
169. When threads are contracted or expanded, or any motion is imparted
to them, the cloth similarly behaves – it has no independence at all.
170. Similarly the worldly objects assume the forms in the manner He
transforms them according to their past desires and impressions. There
is no doubt about it.
171. In the Gita Sri Krishna says: ‘O Arjuna, the Lord abides in the
hearts of all beings and makes them revolve by His Maya as if mounted on
a wheel’. [Gita: XVIII-61]
172. ‘All beings’ in the above passage means the Jivas or the sheaths of
intellect which abide in the hearts of all beings. Being their material
cause, the Lord appears to undergo changes with them.
173. By the word ‘wheel’ is meant the cage of the body with sheaths etc.
By saying that all beings are ‘mounted on the wheel’ is meant that they
have come to consider the body as the ego. By the word ‘revolve’ is
meant the performance of good and bad deeds.
174. The meaning of the expression ‘The Lord makes them revolve by His
Maya’, is that the Lord by his power of Maya becomes involved in the
intellect-sheath and seems to change with the operations of the
175. The same meaning is expressed by the Shruti saying that the Lord is
called the inner controller. By applying this reason one can come to the
same conclusion with regard to the physical elements and all other
176. ‘I know what is virtue, but my inclination is not mine to practise
it; I know what is vice, but my desisting from it is not mine but His. I
do as I am prompted by some god seated in my heart.’
177. From the above verse do not think that individual efforts are not
necessary, for the Lord transforms Himself as those efforts.
178. This theory does not contradict the idea of the Lord prompting
every thing, for one who has known Ishvara to be the controller of
things knows his Self as non-attached.
179. Both the Shruti and the tradition declare this knowledge of the
non-attachment of the Self to be the cause of release. It is also stated
in Varaha-Purana that both the scriptural and the traditional truths are
from the Lord.
180. The Shruti declares that in fear of Him the forces of nature
operate, showing that His commandments engender fear. So His lordship
over all beings is different from His inner Rulership of them.
181. One Shruti passage says that the suns and planets move at the
command of the Lord. Another Shruti passage says that the Lord entering
the human body controls it from within.
182. The Lord is said to be the source of the universe, for He causes
the creation and dissolution of the world. By creation and dissolution
are meant the manifestation and demanifestation of the world.
183. The world remains potential as impressions in the Lord and He
causes its manifestation in accordance with the past deeds of beings.
Creation is like the unrolling of a painted canvas.
184. If the painted canvas is rolled up, the picture is no longer
visible. In the same way, when the Karma of beings is exhausted, the
Lord withdraws into Himself the universe with all that it contains
(i.e., all remain in a latent form).
185. The creation and destruction of the world are comparable to day and
night, to the waking and sleeping states, to the opening and closing of
the eyes and the activity and quiescense of the mind.
186. Ishvara is endowed with the power of Maya which is the power of
manifesting and demanifesting, so the objections to the theory that
creation has a beginning or that it is evolutionary or that things are
naturally endowed with certain special qualities do not apply to it.
187. Ishvara through the Tamas of Maya is the cause of the inanimate
objects and through the reflection of the supreme intelligence Ishvara
is the cause of the Jivas.
188. It is objected that the cause of the bodies is that aspect of
Paramatman in which Tamas predominates and that of the Jivas is that
aspect where intelligence predominates. So Paramatman alone is their
cause in accordance with their inner impressions, moral and spiritual
189. Thus Sureshvaracharya, the author of Vartika, has attributed the
cause of the animate and inanimate creation to Paramatman and not to
190. Our reply is that Acharya Sureshvara holds Brahman to be the cause
of the world, but he has taken for granted the mutual superimposition of
Ishvara and Brahman even as that of Jiva and Kutastha.
191. The Shruti explains clearly that from Brahman, who is truth,
knowledge and infinity, arose Akasa, air, fire, water, earth, herbs,
food, bodies and so forth.
192. Superficially it looks as if Brahman were the cause of the world
and that Ishvara were a real entity. This cannot be explained except by
the mutual superimposition of the true nature of Brahman on Ishvara and
the creativity of Ishvara on Brahman.
193. In a piece of cloth stiffened with starch, the starch becomes one
with the cloth; so by the process of mutual superimposition the ignorant
conceive Ishvara to be one with Paramatman.
194. As the dull-witted imagine that the Akasa reflected in a cloud is
the Akasa absolute, so the undiscriminating do not see the distinction
between Brahman and Ishvara.
195. By deep enquiry and by the application of the rules of
interpretation to the Vedic text we come to know that Brahman is
associationless and unconditioned by Maya, whereas Ishvara is the
creator conditioned by Maya.
196. The Vedas declare Brahman to be truth, knowledge and infinity and
also that speech and the other organs cannot grasp it. Thus it is
determined that Brahman is associationless.
197. Another Shruti says that Ishvara, the Lord of Maya, creates the
universe, whereas the Jiva is controlled by Maya. So Ishvara, associated
with Maya, is the creator.
198. As the deep sleep state passes into dream state, so Ishvara who is
known as the sheath of bliss, transforms Himself into Hiranyagarbha,
when He, the one, wills to be many.
199. There are two types of Shruti text describing the creation of the
world either as a gradual evolution or as instantaneous. There is no
contradiction, for the dream world sometimes arises gradually out of
deep sleep, but at other times it arises instantaneously.
200. Hiranyagarbha or Sutratman, otherwise called the subtle-body, is
the totality of the subtle bodies of all Jivas. He conceives Himself as
the totality of all egos or ‘I’ - consciousnesses, like the threads of a
piece of cloth; and He is said to be endowed with the powers of
volition, conation and cognition.
201. The world in its course of evolution comes to rest in Hiranyagarbha,
but at this stage it is indistinct, just as an object seen in partial
darkness, at dawn or dusk.
202. As the outlines of a picture are drawn in black pencil on a
stiffened piece of canvas, so also the subtle bodies indistinctly appear
203. Like a tender offshoot of a germinated corn or like a tender plant
sprouting, Hiranyagarbha is the tender bud of the world which is still
204. In Virat the world appears distinct and shining, like objects in
broad day-light or like the figures of a fully painted picture or the
fruit of a fully matured tree. In Virat all the gross bodies are plainly
205. In the Vishvarupa chapter and in the Purusha Sukta there is a
description of Virat. From the creator Brahma to a blade of grass, all
objects in the world form part of Virat.
206. The forms of Virat, such as Ishvara, Hiranyagarbha, Virat, Brahma,
Vishnu, Shiva, Indra, Agni, Ganesha, Bhairava, Mairala, Marika, Yakshas,
207. Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Sudras, cows, horses and other
beasts, birds, fig, banyan and mango trees, wheat, rice and other
cereals and grasses;
208. Water, stone, earth, chisels, axes and other implements are
manifestations of Ishvara. Worshipped as Ishvara they grant fulfilment
209. In whatever form Ishvara is worshipped, the worshipper obtains the
appropriate reward through that form. If the method of worship and the
conception of the attributes of the deity worshipped are of a high
order, the reward also is of a high order; but if otherwise, it is not.
210. The Liberation, however, can be obtained through the knowledge of
reality and not otherwise. The dreaming does not end until the dreamer
211. In the secondless principle, Brahman, the whole universe, in the
form of Ishvara and Jiva and all animate and inanimate objects, appears
like a dream.
212. Maya has created Ishvara and Jiva, represented by the sheath of
bliss and the sheath of intellect respectively. The whole perceptible
world is a creation of Ishvara and Jiva.
213. From the determination of Ishvara to create, down to His entrance
into the created objects, is the creation of Ishvara. From the waking
state to ultimate release, the cause of all pleasures and pains, is the
creation of Jiva.
214. Those who do not know the nature of Brahman, who is secondless and
associationless, fruitlessly quarrel over Jiva and Ishvara, which are
creations of Maya.
215. We always approve those who appear to us to be devoted to truth and
pity others but do not quarrel with those who are deluded.
216. From the worshippers of objects like grass to the followers of
Yoga, all have wrong ideas about Ishvara. From the materialist Charvakas
to the followers of Sankhya, all have confused ideas about Jiva.
217. As they do not know the truth of the secondless Brahman, they all
are wrong. Where is their liberation or where is their joy in this
218. Some may say that these people represent grades of enjoyment from
the lowest to the highest. But of what use is it? A man when awake
derives no good from the dreams in which he may have played the part of
a king or a beggar.
219. Therefore the aspirants to liberation should never engage
themselves in disputations about the nature of Jiva and Ishvara. They
ought to practise discrimination and realise the reality of Brahman.
220. (Doubt): Such disputation is a means to the understanding of
Brahman. (Reply): It may be so, but be careful to avoid being drowned
helplessly in the sea of confusion.
221. (Doubt): All right, but the Vedantins must accept the Sankhya
doctrine that Jiva and Ishvara are associationless, pure consciousness
and eternal and the Yoga doctrine that Jiva and Ishvara, referred to as
‘thou’ and ‘that’ respectively in the dictum ‘That thou art’, are of a
222. (Reply): These two meanings do not accord with the Advaita view.
They postulate a difference between Jiva and Ishvara, but in the Advaita
doctrine there is no distinction between ‘That’ and ‘Thou’. Statements
appearing to make such a distinction are only steps towards
understanding of non-duality.
223. Influenced by the beginningless Maya, people think that Jiva and
Ishvara are totally different from each other. In order to eliminate
this erroneous belief the Vedantin enquires into the meaning of ‘That’
224. In order to demonstrate the truth of Advaita we have cited the
illustration of the Akasa conditioned by a pot, the unlimited Akasa, the
Akasa reflected in water and the Akasa reflected in a cloud.
225. In the last two aspects of Akasa the conditioning adjuncts are the
water and the cloud, but their basis, the Akasa of the pot and the
unlimited Akasa, is pure and unaffected.
226. The sheath of bliss and the sheath of intellect have as their
conditioning adjuncts Maya and the modification of Maya called Buddhi
respectively, but the basis of both is the one pure Atman, which is
227. As steps to our doctrine we use as illustrations the doctrines of
Sankhya and Yoga. Similarly we accept and make use of the doctrine of
the sheath of food, though we do not mean that the food-sheath is really
to be identified with the Atman.
228. The Vedantins will accept the doctrines of the followers of Sankhya
and Yoga provided they give up the doctrine of the existence of
distinction in Atman, the doctrine of the reality of the world and the
doctrine of Ishvara being a separate and special Purusha.
229. The Sankhyas hold that, for the Jiva to achieve his object and be
liberated, a knowledge of the eternal associationlessness of Atman is
enough. We reply that in their view he might just as well think that the
pleasures which he obtains from flowers, sandalwood and so forth are
230. Just as it is impossible to establish the eternal existence of
pleasure derived from flowers and sandalwood, so it is impossible to
establish the associationlessness of Atman as long as the world and
Ishvara are believed to be realities and ever-existing.
231. If Prakriti is imperishable as the Sankhyas say, she will continue
to produce attachment in the Purusha even after the dawn of the
knowledge of his complete isolation. If Ishvara is eternal, He will
continue to exercise control over the Purusha. In that case the poor
Purusha will never have emancipation; his bondage will be real.
232. (Doubt): The idea of attachment to the body and of control is due
to ignorance. (Reply): Then you accept the conception of Maya, which is
a violation of the shortsighted Sankhya doctrine.
233. (Doubt): To account for the idea of individual bondage and release,
the plurality of Selves must be accepted. (Reply): This is unnecessary
because Maya is responsible for bondage and release.
234. Don’t you see that Maya can make the impossible appear possible?
In fact, the Shruti can tolerate neither bondage nor release as real.
235. The Shruti declares that in fact there is no destruction and no
origination; none in bondage and none engaged in practice for
liberation; no aspirant for liberation and none liberated. This is the
236. Maya is said to be the desire-fulfilling cow. Jiva and Ishvara are
its two calves. Drink of its milk of duality as much as you like, but
the truth is non-duality.
237. The difference between Kutastha and Brahman is only in name; in
reality there is no difference. The Akasa in the pot and the unlimited
Akasa are not distinct from one another.
238. The non-dual reality, as declared in the Shruti, existed before
creation, exists now and will continue to exist in dissolution; and
after liberation Maya deludes the people in vain.
239. (Doubt): Even the knowers, who attribute the world to Maya, are
seen to be engaged in worldly pursuits. So what is the use of
realisation? (Reply): No, he is not deluded as before.
240. The ignorant are convinced that the happiness and grief which the
world and heaven offer are real; so they do not perceive non-duality,
nor think it exists.
241. It is clearly seen that the conviction of the knowers is opposed to
the conviction of the ignorant. They are free or fettered according to
242. (Doubt): The non-dual reality is not directly perceptible. (Reply):
This is not so, for reality is self-evident in the form of
consciousness. (Doubt): It is not fully known. (Reply): Is the world
fully known to you?
243. Both duality and non-duality are partially known. If from this
partial experience you infer the truth of duality, why should you not
from same premises infer the truth of non-duality?
244. (Doubt): Duality contradicts non-duality. So when duality is seen
manifest everywhere, how can you infer its opposite principle,
non-duality? Our consciousness does not contradict duality; so our
position is stronger than yours.
245. (Reply): Then listen. Duality is unreal and has no independent
existence, for it is a product of Maya. So when duality is negated what
remains as reality is non-duality.
246. The whole world is a product of the inscrutable Maya; be convinced
of this and know that the fundamental real principle is non-duality.
247. (Doubt): If the idea that duality is real occurs again and again in
daily life? (Reply): Repeatedly practise negating this erroneous idea of
duality. What is the difficulty in doing so?
248. (Doubt): How long should one continue this practice? (Reply): It
is a trouble to continue the pursuit of unreal duality, not so is that
of non-duality. For by the practice of non-duality all miseries are
249. (Doubt): But even after realisation I suffer from hunger and
thirst. (Reply): Who denies it? This suffering is in your egoity (a
product of duality) expressed in your use of ‘I’.
250. (Doubt): The sufferings may come to the immutable Self, because of
identification with the body. (Reply): Do not subject yourself to this
identification which is due to mutual superimposition, but practise
discrimination for its removal.
251. (Doubt): The superimposition, which is due to the first
impressions, suddenly may occur, because of the beginningless
association of Jiva and Avidya. (Reply): Then begin new impressions of
non-duality by means of repeated discrimination of the truth.
252. Do not say it is reasoning alone which demonstrates the unreality
of duality and not our experience, for we daily experience that
mysterious is the nature of the world.
253. (Doubt): Consciousness too is mysterious. (Reply): Let it be. We do
not say that consciousness is not mysterious, for it is eternal.
254. Consciousness is eternal, for its non-existence can never be
experienced. But the non-existence of duality is experienced by
consciousness before the duality assumes manifestation.
255. That duality of the phenomenal world is like the pot which is
non-existent before it comes into being. Still, its creation is
inexplicable. So it is unreal like a product of magic.
256. Now you see that both consciousness and the unreality of the world
are immediately experienced, so you cannot still maintain that
non-duality is not experienced.
257. (Doubt): Tell me why some who know this truth of Vedanta are still
not satisfied with it? (Reply): First tell me why the materialists, who
know logic, still believe the body to be the Self?
258. (Doubt): The materialists cannot properly discriminate owing to
some defect in their intellect. (Reply): Similarly all those who are
dissatisfied with Vedanta have an inadequate comprehension of the truth.
259. The Shruti says that he who has banished from his heart all
indwelling desires attains immortality. This is not merely a statement;
a knower’s actual experience proves it.
260. In another passage it is stated that all the knots of the heart are
loosened at the rise of true knowledge. The term ‘knots of the heart’
has been explained in the commentary to mean the desires of the heart.
261. Owing to lack of true discrimination a man identifies egoism with
the Self, and then thinks: ‘May this object be mine’, and so forth. This
is called desire.
262. When a man can disidentify the Self from egoism, and realise that
the Self is in no way connected with egoism, then though he may have
crores of desires they will not bind him, because he has cut the ‘knot
of the conscious with the unconscious’.
263. By the force of the fructifying Karma, a knower may be subject to
desires, as in spite of theoretically knowing the truth you are not
264. A man who has overcome egoity and realised identity with the
changeless consciousness is not distressed by desires or diseases and
other changing conditions of body and fortune, just as the growth and
death of trees in a forest do not affect him.
265. (Doubt): But it is well known that the immutable Self is ever
unaffected by desires even before illumination. (Reply): Do not forget
this truth. The realisation that Kutastha is ever dissociated from
desires is called the ‘snapping of the knot of ignorance’. It is this
knowledge which leads to the attainment of the purpose of life.
266. (Doubt): The dull-witted are ignorant of this truth. (Reply): This
is what we mean by the ‘knot of ignorance’, nothing else. The difference
between the ignorant and the wise, is the existence of doubt in the
former group and its destruction in the latter.
267. From the point of view of the body, senses, mind and intellect,
there is no difference between the ignorant and the illumined when they
engage themselves in action or abstain from them.
268. The difference between one who has been initiated into the life of
Brahmacharya and one who has not is that the former studies the Veda,
whereas the latter does not. But as regards food etc., there is no
difference. The same applies to the wise and the ignorant.
269. In the Gita it is said that the wise man who has destroyed his
desires does not hate what is present nor does he hanker after what he
has not. He sits like one who is disinterested. This is called ‘snapping
the knot of ignorance’.
270. (Doubt): Does the Gita enjoin want of interest? (Reply): No, if it
were so, the word ‘like’ (vat) would be meaningless. (Doubt): He may be
disinterested because his bodily organs have lost the power of action.
(Reply): Then he is a sick man and not a wise one !
271. These highly intellectual men who equate the knowledge of truth
with the disease of consumption are indeed remarkable for the clarity of
their intellect ! There is, verily, no deed too impossible for such
people to perform !
272. (Doubt): Why, the Puranas speak about Jadabharata and others who
were completely withdrawn and performed no action. (Reply): But have you
not heard also the Vedas speaking of other knowers who ate, played and
273. Jadabharata and others never gave up food and sleep nor were like
sticks and stones. It was because they were afraid of forming
attachments that they behaved as if they were completely disinterested.
274. The man who is attached to objects is troubled by the world;
happiness is enjoyed by the unattached. Therefore give up attachment if
you desire to be happy.
275. The slow-witted who do not understand the essence of the
scriptures, express their opinions in various ways. Let them form any
opinion they like. We will express our own, which accord with the
276. Absence of desires, knowledge of reality and withdrawal from action
mutually assist one another. Generally all three of them are found
together, but sometimes separately too, without the third.
277. The origin, the nature and the result of these virtues differ. The
real distinctions between them will be clear to a keen student of
278. The origin of detachment is an understanding that the joys derived
from objects are impermanent; its nature is a distaste for the enjoyment
of those objects; and its result is the feeling of being independent of
them. These three are peculiar to detachment.
279. The origin of the knowledge of reality is hearing, reflecting and
meditating on the reality; its nature is discrimination between the real
and the unreal; and its result is the restraint of fresh doubts from
arising. These three are peculiar to knowledge.
280. The origin of withdrawal from action is the cultivation of inner
and outer control and so forth; its nature is the control of the mind;
and its result is the cessation of worldly activities. Thus their
differences are described.
281. Of all the three virtues the most essential is the knowledge of the
Reality as it is the direct cause of liberation. The other two,
detachment and withdrawal, are necessary auxiliaries to knowledge.
282. The existence of the three virtues highly developed in a man is the
result of vast store of merit acquired in innumerable past lives. The
absence of any one of them is the result of some demerit acquired in the
283. Without the knowledge of Reality even perfect detachment and
complete withdrawal from worldly actions cannot lead to liberation. A
man endowed with detachment and withdrawal, but failing to obtain
illumination, is reborn in the superior worlds because of great merit.
284. On the other hand by the complete knowledge of the Reality a man is
sure to have liberation, even though his detachment and withdrawal are
wanting. But then his visible sufferings will not come to an end owing
to his fructifying Karma.
285. The height of detachment is such a conviction of the futility of
all desires that one considers like straw even the highest pleasures of
the world of Brahma; and the height of spiritual knowledge is reached
when one feels one’s identity with the supreme Self as firmly as an
ordinary man instinctively feels his identity with the physical body.
286. The height of withdrawal from action is the complete forgetfulness
of all worldly affairs in the waking state as in the state of deep
sleep. There are several intermediate grades which can be known by
287. Enlightened men may differ in their behaviour because of the nature
of their fructifying Karma. This should not make the learned think
otherwise about the truth of knowledge resulting in liberation.
288. Let the enlightened people behave in any way according to their
fructifying Karma, but their knowledge is the same and their liberation
is the same.
289. On the supreme consciousness the world is drawn like a picture on
canvas; thus is Maya superimposed on consciousness. When we forget the
adventitious distinctions, consciousness alone remains.
290. This chapter called the ‘Lamp of the Picture’, when regularly
studied, gives an intelligent aspirant freedom from the delusion due to
illusive appearances, even though he may see them as before.
1. ‘When a man (Purusha) has realised
the identity of his own Self with the Paramatman, desiring what and for
whose sake should he allow himself to be afflicted following the body’s
2. In this chapter we exhaustively analyse the meaning of this Shruti.
Thereby the perfect satisfaction of a man liberated in this life will be
3. The Shruti says that Maya reflecting Brahman, creates both Jiva and
Ishvara. Jiva and Ishvara, in their turn, create the whole of the rest
of the universe.
4. From the determination of Ishvara to create, down to his entrance
into the created objects, is the creation of Ishvara. From the waking
state to ultimate release, the cause of all pleasures and pains, is the
creation of Jiva.
5. The substratum of illusion is Brahman, the immutable, associationless,
pure consciousness, the Self of all beings. When through mutual
superimposition Brahman becomes associated with the intellect, an
association which is phenomenal and not real, He is known as Jiva or
6. Jiva, with Kutastha as his substratum, becomes an agent and seeks
liberation or the pleasures of heaven and earth. Chidabhasa, the
reflection of pure consciousness alone cannot be so, for superimposition
is not possible without a substratum.
7. When Jiva, having the immutable Kutastha as his basis, wrongly
identifies himself with the gross and subtle bodies, he comes to think
of himself as bound by the pleasures and pains of this world.
8. When Jiva gives up his attachment to his illusory portion, the nature
of the substratum becomes predominant and he realises that he is
associationless and of the nature of pure consciousness.
9. (Doubt): How can the idea of egoity arise in the detached Kutastha?
You have to attribute egoity to it. (Reply): ‘I’ is used in three
senses, of which one is primary and the other two secondary.
10. The immutable Kutastha becomes identified with the reflected
intelligence, Chidabhasa, due to mutual superimposition. This is the
primary meaning of ‘I’ in which the spiritually dull people use it.
11. ‘I’ in the two secondary senses refer to either Kutastha or
Chidabhada but one is differentiated from the other. The wise use the
same word ‘I’ either in the worldly or in the philosophical sense,
meaning Chidabhasa or Kutastha respectively.
12. From the conventional standpoint, the wise use the expression ‘I am
going’, meaning Chidabhasa, differentiating it from Kutastha.
13. From the philosophical standpoint the wise mean by their ‘I’ the
pure Kutastha. In this sense they say: ‘I am unattached. I am the Spirit
14. (Doubt): Wise or ignorant are terms that can be applied to
Chidabhasa and never to Kutastha. Then how can Chidabhasa who is
different from Kutastha, say: ‘I am Brahman or Kutastha?’
15. (Reply): There is no harm, for Chidabhasa has no real existence
independent of Kutastha. An image in a mirror is not distinct from the
object of which it is a reflection. When the adventitious factors are
negated, only Kutastha remains.
16. (Doubt): The idea ‘I am Kutastha’ is also illusory. (Reply): Who
denies it? Any motion attributed to the snake superimposed on a rope is
unreal and cannot be admitted.
17. The idea ‘I am Brahman’ leads to the cessation of pleasure and pain
of the world. There is a common saying that a sacrifice offered to a
deity must be appropriate to that deity.
18. The Shruti says that Chidabhasa, based on Kutastha and known as
Purusha, should differentiate Kutastha from illusion and that he is then
justified in saying ‘I am Kutastha (Brahman)’.
19. In speaking of himself the common man seems to be convinced of his
identity with the body. A similar conviction about this Self as Brahman
is necessary for liberation. This is the meaning of ‘this’ in ‘I am
20. When a man is as firmly convinced of his identity with Brahman as an
ordinary man is convinced of his identity with the body, he is liberated
even if he does not wish for it.
21. (Doubt): The term ‘this’ in ‘I am this’ refers to something knowable
and that it cannot apply to Brahman, who is unknown. (Reply): All right.
Brahman as the Self is self-luminous and can always be directly
22. The Self is ever cognised. We speak of Its being known directly or
indirectly, being known or unknown, as in the illustration of the tenth
23. The tenth man counts the other nine, each of whom is visible to him,
but forgets himself the tenth, though all the time seeing himself.
24. Being himself the tenth, he does not find him. ‘The tenth is not
visible, he is absent’, so he says. Intelligent people say that this is
due to his presence being obscured by ignorance or Maya.
25. He is grieved and cries, because he believes the tenth to have been
drowned in the river. The act of weeping, a result of false
superimposition, is due to illusion.
26. When told by a competent person that the tenth is not dead, he
believes by indirect knowledge that he is alive, just as one believes in
the existence of heaven on the authority of the Shruti.
27. When each man is told: ‘You are the tenth’ and he counts himself
along with the others, he stops weeping and grieving owing to the direct
knowledge of the tenth, that is, himself.
28. Seven stages can be distinguished in respect of the Self: ignorance,
obscuration, superimposition, indirect knowledge, direct knowledge,
cessation of grief and the rise of perfect satisfaction.
29. Chidabhasa with his mind devoted to the worldly existence does not
know that he is the self-evident Kutastha.
30. ‘Kutastha is not manifest, there is no Kutastha’ are the ideas that
characterise the obscuring stage caused by ignorance. The Jiva further
says ‘I am the doer and enjoyer’ and experiences pains and pleasures,
the result of superimposition.
31. From the teacher he comes to know of the existence of Kutastha
indirectly. Then, by means of discrimination, he directly realises ‘I am
32. Now he is free from the erroneous idea that he is a doer and an
enjoyer of the fruit of his actions. With this conviction his grief
comes to an end. He feels that he has accomplished all that was to be
accomplished and experiences perfect satisfaction.
33. These are the seven stages of Jiva: ignorance, obscuration,
superimposition, indirect knowledge, direct knowledge, freedom from
grief and unrestricted bliss.
34. The reflected consciousness, Chidabhasa, is affected by these seven
stages. They are the cause of bondage and also of release. The first
three of them are described as causing bondage.
35. Ignorance is the stage characterised by ‘I do not know’ and is the
cause of the indifference about truth, lasting as long as discrimination
does not mature.
36. The result of the obscuring of the spiritual truth caused by
ignorance is such thoughts as ‘Kutastha does not exist’, ‘Kutastha is
not known’, which is contrary to truth. This happens when discrimination
is not conducted along scriptural lines.
37. The stage in which Chidabhasa identifies himself with the subtle and
gross bodies is called superimposition. In it he is subject to bondage
and suffers as a result of the idea of his being the doer and enjoyer.
38. Though ignorance and the obscuring of the Self precede
superimposition and Chidabhasa himself is the result of this
superimposition, still the first two stages belong not to Kutastha but
39. Before the rise of superimposition the impressions or seeds of
superimposition exist. Therefore, it is not inconsistent to say that the
first two stages belong to Chidabhasa alone.
40. These two stages do not exist in Brahman, although they are
superimposed on Him, as Brahman is the basis on which the
41. (Doubt): ‘I am worldly’, ‘I am endowed with knowledge’, ‘I am
griefless’, ‘I am happy’ and so forth are expressions which refer to
states of the Jiva and they have no relation to Brahman.
42. (Reply): Then the two stages prior to superimposition also should be
attributed to the Jiva, for he says: ‘I do not know’, ‘I do not see
Brahman’, referring to ignorance and obscuring.
43. The ancient teachers said of Brahman as the support of ignorance as
a substratum, but ignorance is attributable to Jiva because he
identifies himself with it and feels ‘I am ignorant’.
44. By the two kinds of knowledge ignorance is negated and with it, its
effects, and the ideas ‘Brahman does not exist’ and ‘Brahman is not
manifest’ also perish.
45. By indirect knowledge the misconception that Kutastha does not exist
is negated. Direct knowledge destroys the result of the obscuring of
reality expressed in the idea that Brahman is not manifest or
46. When the obscuring principle is destroyed, both the idea of Jiva, a
mere superimposition and the grief caused by the worldly idea of
agentship are destroyed.
47. When the world of duality is destroyed by the experience of one’s
being ever released, there arises, with the annihilation of all grief,
an unrestricted and everlasting satisfaction.
48. The Shruti quoted at the beginning of this chapter refers to two of
the stages, direct knowledge and the destruction of the grief from which
49. The direct knowledge of the reality referred to in the Shruti as
‘this’ (in ‘This is the Self’) is of two kinds: Atman is self-luminous
and the intellect perceives it as self-evident.
50. In indirect knowledge this intellect is aware of the fact that
Brahman is self-evident and the self-evidence of Brahman is not the
least affected in such intellectual comprehension.
51. Indirect knowledge, which is the cognition ‘Brahman exists’ and not
the cognition ‘I am Brahman’, is not erroneous; because in the state of
direct knowledge this indirect knowledge is not contradicted but
52. If it could be proved that Brahman does not exist, this indirect
knowledge would be subject to refutation, but it is well known that
there is no valid evidence to refute the fact that Brahman exists.
53. The indirect knowledge of Brahman cannot be called false simply
because it does not give a definitive idea of Brahman. On that basis the
existence of heaven should also be false.
54. Indirect knowledge of Brahman, that is an object of direct
knowledge, is not necessarily false. For it does not aver that Brahman
is an object of indirect knowledge only. (Why do we then call it
indirect knowledge? For it does not say 'This is Brahman' which is
55. The argument that indirect knowledge is false because it does not
give a full knowledge of Brahman does not hold good. We may know only a
part of a pot, but this partial knowledge is not false on that account.
Though Brahman has no real parts, It appears to have parts due to false
superimposed adjuncts, which indirect knowledge removes.
56. Indirect knowledge removes our doubt that Brahman may not exist.
Direct knowledge rebuts our poser that It is not manifest or
57. The statement ‘The tenth exists, is not lost’ is indirect knowledge
and it is not false. Similarly, the indirect knowledge ‘Brahman exists’
is not false. In both cases the obscuring of the truth due to ignorance
is the same.
58. By a thorough analysis of ‘Self is Brahman’ the direct knowledge ‘I
am Brahman’ is achieved, just as the man after having been told that he
is the tenth comes to realise it through reflection.
59. If one of the ten asks who is the tenth, the answer is that it is he
himself. As he counts he comes to himself and then realises that he
himself is the tenth (which is direct knowledge).
60. His knowledge that he is the tenth is never negated. Whether he
comes to himself at the beginning, the middle or the end of his
counting, his knowledge that he is the tenth is never in doubt.
61. The Vedic texts, such as ‘Before the creation Brahman alone
existed’, give indirect knowledge of Brahman; but the text ‘That thou
art’ gives direct knowledge.
62. When a man knows himself to be Brahman, his knowledge does not vary
whether in the beginning, middle or end. This is direct knowledge.
63. The sage Bhrigu, in ancient times, acquired indirect knowledge of
Brahman by reflecting on Brahman as the cause of the origin, sustenance
and dissolution of the universe. He acquired direct knowledge by
differentiating the Self from the five sheaths.
64. Though Varuna, father of Bhrigu, did not teach him by means of the
text ‘That thou art’, he taught him the doctrine of the five sheaths and
left him to his discriminative enquiry.
65. Bhrigu considered carefully the nature of the food-sheath, the
vital-sheath and so forth. He saw in the bliss-sheath the indications of
Brahman and concluded: ‘I am Brahman’.
66. The Shruti first speaks of the nature of Brahman as truth, knowledge
and infinity. It then describes the Self hidden in the five sheaths.
67. Indra acquired indirect knowledge of Brahman by studying Its
attributes. He then went to his teacher four times with a view to
gaining direct knowledge of the Self.
68. In the Aitareya Upanishad an indirect knowledge of Brahman is
imparted by such texts as ‘There was only Atman before creation’. The
Upanishad then describes the process of superimposition and negating it
shows that consciousness is Brahman.
69. An indirect knowledge of Brahman by the intellect can be gained from
other Shruti passages also; but direct knowledge is achieved by
meditating on the great Sayings of the Shruti.
70. In Vakyavritti it is said that the great Sayings are intended to
give direct knowledge of Brahman. There is no doubt about this fact.
71. “In ‘That thou art’ ‘thou’ denotes the consciousness which is
limited or circumscribed by the adjunct the inner organ and which is the
object of the idea and word ‘I’.”
72. “The (absolute) consciousness conditioned by the primeval ignorance,
Maya, which is the cause of the universe, is all-knowing etc., and can
be known indirectly and whose nature is truth, knowledge and infinity,
is indicated by the word ‘That’.”
73. “The qualities of being mediately and immediately known and those of
existence with a second and absolute oneness are incompatible on the
part of one and the same substance. An explanation by implication or
what is called an indirectly expressed meaning has, therefore, to be
74. “In sentences like ‘That thou art’ only the logical rule of partial
elimination is to be applied, as in the terms of ‘that is this, not
others’.” (i.e., In ‘This is that Devadatta’ we negate the attributes of
time and place, both present and past and take into account only the
person himself. Similarly, in the text ‘That thou art’ we negate the
conflicting attributes such as the omniscience and the limited knowledge
which characterise Ishvara and Jiva respectively and take into account
only the immutable consciousness.)
75. The relation between the two substantives (‘thou’ and ‘that’) should
not be taken as that of one qualifying the other or of mutual
qualification, but of complete identity, of absolute homogeneity. That
is, the meaning of the expression, according to competent persons is
“what is ‘thou’ is wholly and fully ‘that’ and that which is ‘that’ is
wholly and fully ‘thou’” – both the terms indicate absolute homogeneous
76. What appears to be the individual conscious Self is of the nature of
non-dual bliss; and non-dual bliss is no other than the individual
conscious Self (so Brahman is Self and Self is Brahman).
77. When, by mutual identification, it has been irrefutably demonstrated
that the consciousness within and Brahman are same, then the notion that
Jiva, who is denoted by the word ‘thou’, is different from Brahman, at
78. Then the indirectness in the knowledge of Brahman, implied by the
word ‘thou’ in the text, also vanishes; and there remains only the
consciousness within in the form of absolute bliss.
79. Such being the case, those who suppose that the great Sayings can
give only an indirect knowledge of Brahman, furnish brilliantly shallow
understanding of the scriptural conclusions.
80. (Doubt): Let alone the conclusion of the scriptures, the knowledge
which the scriptural statements give of Brahman can only be indirect,
like that which they give of heaven and so forth. (Reply): This is not
invariably so, for the statement ‘Thou art the tenth’ leads to direct
81. Everyman’s knowledge of himself is a direct experience. It is indeed
a remarkable argument to suggest that in our attempt at identification
of ourselves with Brahman this direct knowledge, already present, will
be destroyed !
82. You are gracious enough to afford us an example of the well-known
proverb: In going for the interest the capital is lost.
83. (Doubt): Jiva, who is conditioned by the inner organ, can be an
object of direct knowledge with the aid of this conditioning adjunct;
but as Brahman has no such real adjunct, a direct knowledge of It is
84. (Reply): Our knowledge of Brahman is not altogether unconditioned,
as long as our own bodies, the conditioning adjuncts, persist. That is,
adjuncts that condition us positively condition Brahman negatively.
85. The difference between Jiva and Brahman is due to the presence or
absence of the conditioning medium of Antahkarana; otherwise they are
identical. There is no other difference.
86. If the presence of something (here the internal organ in Jiva) is a
conditioning adjunct, why not its absence (here of internal organ in
Brahman)? Chains whether of gold or iron are equally binding.
87. The teachers affirm that the Upanishads speak of Brahman both by
negating what is not Brahman and by affirming positive characteristics.
88. (Doubt): If the idea of ‘I’ is given up, how is the knowledge ‘I am
Brahman’ possible? (Reply): It is the false parts of ‘I’ which are to
be given up and the true part retained, following the logical rule of
89. When the internal organ is negatived what remains is the mere inner
consciousness, the witness. In it one recognises Brahman in accordance
with the text ‘I am Brahman’.
90. The inner consciousness, though self-luminous, can be covered by the
modifications of the intellect just as other objects of knowledge are.
The teachers of scriptures have denied the perception of Kutastha by
Chidabhasa, or consciousness reflected on the intellects.
91. In the perception of a jar the intellect and Chidabhasa are both
concerned. There the nescience is negated by the intellect and the pot
is revealed by Chidabhasa.
92. In the cognition of Brahman the modification of the intellect is
necessary to remove ignorance; but, as Brahman is self-revealing the
help of Chidabhasa is not needed to reveal It.
93. To perceive a pot two factors are necessary, the eye and the light
of the lamp; but to perceive the light of the lamp only the eye is
94. When the intellect functions, it does so only in the presence of
Chidabhasa, but in the cognition of Brahman Chidabhasa is merged in
Brahman. In external perception of a pot, Chidabhasa reveals the pot by
its light and yet remains distinct from it.
95. That Brahman cannot be cognised by Chidabhasa is corroborated by the
Shruti: ‘Brahman is beginningless and beyond cognition’. But Its
cognition by the intellects (in the sense of removing ignorance about
It), is admitted by the Shruti ‘Brahman can be cognised by the
96. In the first Shruti verse of this chapter, ‘When a man has realised
the identity of his own Self with That (Paramatman)…’, it is the direct
knowledge of Brahman (i.e., I am Brahman’) that is meant.
97. From the great Sayings a direct knowledge of Brahman is obtained,
but it is not firmly established all at once. Therefore Sri
Shankaracharya emphasises the importance of repeated hearing, reflection
98. “Until the right understanding of the meaning of the sentence ‘I am
Brahman’ becomes quite firm, one should go on studying the Shruti and
thinking deeply over its meaning as well as practising the inner control
and other virtues.”
99. The causes of the lack of firmness in the direct knowledge of
Brahman are: the occurrence of apparently contradictory texts, the doubt
about the possibility of such a knowledge and radically opposed ways of
thinking leading to the idea of doership.
100. Owing to the existence of different systems, dispositions and
desires, the Shruti enjoins different kinds of sacrifices etc., in the
Karmakanda. But about the knowledge of Brahman preached in the
Upanishads there is no scope for doubts; so practise repeated ‘hearing’
etc., about the truth (for firm conviction).
101. ‘Hearing’ is the process by which one becomes convinced that the
Vedas in their beginning, middle and end teach the identity of Jiva and
Brahman and this is the gist of Vedanta.
102. This subject is well explained by Acharya Vyasa and Shankara in the
Brahma Sutras in the section treating of the correct view of the Vedic
texts. The second chapter of the same classic treats of ‘reflecting’ by
which one is enabled to establish the doctrine of non-duality by
reasoning which satisfies the intellect and refutes all possible
103. The Jiva, as a result of the firm habit of many births repeatedly,
moment by moment, thinks that the body is the Self and that the world is
104. This is called erroneous thinking. It is removed by the practice of
one-pointed meditation. This concentration arises out of worship of
Ishvara, even before the initiation regarding attributeless Brahman.
105. Therefore in the books of Vedanta many types of worship of Ishvara
have been discussed. Those who have not done worship before the
initiation into Brahman will have to acquire this power of concentration
by the practice of meditation on Brahman.
106. ‘The practice of meditation on Brahman, the wise consider, means
reflection on It, talking about It, mutually producing logical arguments
about It – thus to be fully occupied with It alone’.
107. ‘The wise man, having known Brahman beyond doubt, ought to generate
a flow of unbroken thought-current on It. He should not engage in much
discussion, for that has but one effect – it tires the organ of speech’.
108. The Gita says: ‘Those who one-pointedly concentrate their mind on
Me and meditate on Me as their own Self, I give what those ever-devoted
ones need and protect what they have’.
109. Thus both Shruti and Smriti enjoin constant concentration of the
mind on the Self to remove the erroneous conviction concerning the Self
and the world.
110. An erroneous conviction is ignorance of the true nature of an
object and taking it as the opposite of what it really is. It is like a
son treating his father as an enemy.
111. The erroneous conviction consists in thinking the body to be the
Self and the world to be real, whereas the truth is that the Self is
different from the body and the world is unreal.
112. This conviction is destroyed by meditation on the real entity. An
aspirant, therefore, meditates on the Self as different from the body
and on the unreality of the world.
113. (Question): Are the ideas of difference of the Self from the body
and the unreality of the world to be repeated like the recitation of a
holy formula or the meditation on the form of a deity or by some other
114. (Reply): No, there is no injunction, for the result of the process
is directly perceived as every morsel of food going down the throat
satisfies hunger to that extent. A hungry man cannot be subjected to any
rules about the eating of food, as is done in ceremonial repetition.
115. A hungry man when he gets food, may eat it anyway he likes. And in
the absence of food he may divert his mind to some absorbing work to
allay the pain of hunger by whatever means available.
116. On the other hand Japa should be done according to prescribed
rules, otherwise one will acquire demerit. There is a risk of running
into distress if it is done irregularly by changing the letter or the
pitch of tone.
117. Now the erroneous conviction, like hunger, causes visible pain. It
must be conquered by any means available. Here there is no order or rule
118. The practice of thinking or talking of Brahman, etc., which helps
to remove the erroneous conviction has already been described. In
one-pointed devotion to the non-dual Brahman there is no fixed rule, as
in meditation on a form of God.
119. Meditation means the constant thinking of the form of some deity
without the intervention of any other thought. By such meditation the
mind which is naturally fickle, must be fully controlled.
120. In the Gita, Arjuna says: ‘O Krishna, the mind is fickle,
impetuous, uncurable and strongly attached. I consider it as difficult
to control as the wind’.
121. In the Yoga-Vasistha it is said: ‘It is more difficult to curb the
mind than to drink up the whole ocean or to dislodge Mount Meru or to
122. The mind cannot be chained like the body, so practise hearing about
Brahman. The mind is entertained by many religious stories and other
accounts, as by a dramatic performance.
123. The purpose of such account is to realise that the nature of the
Self is pure consciousness and that the universe is illusory. So they
are not a hindrance to the one-pointedness of meditation.
124. But when one is engaged in agriculture, commerce, service of
others, study of unspiritual literature, dialectics and other branches
of learning, there is no dwelling of the mind on the real entity.
125. The aspirant, engaged in keeping his mind on truth, however, is not
disturbed by taking food and so forth, as there is not much disturbance
in continuing the meditation. And even if forgotten for a moment the
truth can be easily revived.
126. Merely momentary forgetfulness of the truth is not disastrous; but
the erroneous conviction IS. As (in the former case) the recollection
immediately returns, there is no time for intensification of the
127. A man who is excessively engaged in subjects other than Vedanta
ceases to meditate on Brahman. Such an engagement compels him to neglect
intense meditation on Brahman and a break in the practice is a great
128. The Shruti says ‘Know that One alone and give up all vain talk’ and
again ‘Arguments and talks only fatigue the faculty of speech’.
129. If you give up food, you will not live; but will you not be alive
if you give up studies (other than scriptures)? So why so much
insistence on pursuing such studies?
130. (Doubt): How then the ancient knowers like Janaka administered
kingdoms? (Reply): They were able because of their conviction about the
truth. If you have that, then by all means engage yourself in logic or
agriculture or do whatever you like.
131. Once he is convinced of the unreality of the world, a knower, with
mind undisturbed, allows his fructifying Karma to wear out and engages
himself in worldly affairs accordingly.
132. Do not fear irregularity when the wise engage themselves in actions
according to their Karma. Even if it happens, let it be; who can prevent
133. In the experience of their fructifying Karma the enlightened and
the unenlightened alike have no choice; but the knower is patient and
undisturbed, whereas an ignorant man is impatient and suffers pain and
134. Two travellers on a journey may be equally fatigued, but the one
who knows that his destination is not far off goes on quicker with
patience, whereas the ignorant one feels discouraged and stays on longer
on the way.
135. He who has properly realised Brahman and is not troubled by
erroneous conviction, ‘desiring what and to please whom will he suffer
following the afflictions of his body and mind?’
136. When the conviction of the unreality of the world has been reached,
there is neither desire, nor the desirer. In their absence the pain
caused by unfulfilled desires ceases like the flame of a lamp without
137. When the visitor knows the magician’s city of Gandharvas and its
objects as unreal, he desires nothing and laughs at its deceptive
138. Similarly a wise man does not seek enjoyment in the pleasing
objects. He is convinced of their defects, their impermanence and
illusoriness and gives them up.
139. ‘Wealth brings worry in earning, anxiety in maintenance, grief in
loss and sorrow in spending. Woe unto this sorrow-producing wealth!’.
140. What real beauty is there in women, who are but a conglomeration of
fleshy muscles, bones and glands? They are a mass of flesh engaged in
141. Such are the defects of worldly pleasures, elaborately pointed out
by the scriptures. No wise man, aware of these defects, will allow
himself to be drowned in afflictions caused by them.
142. Even a man afflicted with great hunger does not wish to eat poison,
much less one who is already satisfied with sweetmeats.
143. If by the force of his fructifying Karma a wise man is compelled to
enjoy the fruits of desires, he does so with indifference and great
reluctance like a man who is impressed for labour.
144. The wise, having spiritual faith, if forced by their fructifying
Karma to live a family life, maintaining many relations, always
sorrowfully think ‘Ah, the bonds of Karma are not yet torn off’.
145. This sorrow is not due to the afflictions of the world but a
dislike for it, for the worldly afflictions are caused by erroneous
conviction about its reality.
146. A man endowed with discrimination sees the defects of enjoyment and
is satisfied even with little, whereas he who is subject to illusion is
not satisfied even with endless enjoyments.
147. ‘The desires are never quelled by enjoyment but increase more like
the flame of a fire fed on clarified butter’.
148. But when the impermanence of pleasure is known, the gratification
of desires may bring the idea of ‘enough of it’. It is like a thief, who
having been knowingly employed in service does not behave like a thief
but like a friend.
149. A man who has conquered his mind is satisfied with even a little
enjoyment of pleasure. He knows well that pleasures are impermanent and
are followed by grief. To him even a little pleasure is more than
150. A king who has been freed from prison is content with sovereignty
over a village, whereas when he had neither been imprisoned nor
conquered he did not attach much value even to a kingdom.
151. (Doubt): When discrimination is ever awake regarding the defects of
the objects of enjoyment, how can the desire for enjoyment be forced
upon him by his fructifying Karma?
152. (Reply): There is no inconsistency here, for the fructifying Karma
expends itself in various ways. There are three kinds of fructifying
Karma ‘producing enjoyment with desire’, ‘in the absence of desire’ and
‘through the desire of another’.
153. The sick attached to harmful food, the thieves and those who have
illicit relationships with the wives of a king know well the consequence
likely to follow their actions, but in spite of this they are driven to
do them by their fructifying Karma.
154. Even Ishvara cannot stop such desires. So Sri Krishna said to
Arjuna in the Gita:
155. ‘Even wise men follow the dictates of their own nature. Beings are
prompted by their own innate tendencies; what can restriction do?’
156. If it were possible to avert the consequences of fructifying Karma,
Nala, Rama and Yudhisthira would not have suffered the miseries to which
they were subjected.
157. Ishvara Himself ordains that the fructifying Karma should be
inexorable. So the fact that He is unable to prevent such Karma from
fructifying is not inconsistent with His omnipotence.
158. Listen to the questions and answers between Arjuna and Sri Krishna
from which we know that a man has to experience his fructifying Karma
though he may have no desire to experience it.
159. ‘O Krishna, prompted by what does a man sin against his will, as if
some force compels him to do so?’
160. ‘It is desire and (its brood) anger, born of the quality of Rajas.
It is insatiable, the great source of all sins; know it to be your
161. ‘O Arjuna, your own Karma, produced by your own nature, compels you
to do things, even though you may not want to do them’.
162. When a man is neither willing nor unwilling to do a thing but does
it for the feelings of others and experiences pleasure and pain, it is
the result of ‘fructifying Karma through the desire of others’.
163. (Doubt): Does it not contradict the text at the beginning of this
chapter which describes the enlightened man as desireless? (Reply): The
text does not mean that desires are absent in the enlightened man, but
that desires arising in him spontaneously without his will produce no
pleasure or pain in him, just as the roasted grain has no potency.
164. Roasted grain though looking the same cannot germinate; similarly
the desires of the knower, well aware of the unreality of objects of
desire cannot produce merit and demerit.
165. Though it does not germinate, the roasted grain can be used as
food. In the same way the desires of the knower yield him only a little
experience, but cannot lead to varieties of enjoyment producing sorrow
or abiding habits.
166. The fructifying Karma spends its force when its effects are
experienced; it is only when, through ignorance, one believes its
effects to be real that they cause lasting sorrow.
167. ‘Let not my enjoyment be cut short, let it go on increasing, let
not obstacles stop it, I am blessed because of it’ – such is the nature
of that delusion.
168. That which is not destined to happen as a result of our past Karma
will not happen; that which is to happen must happen. Such knowledge is
a sure antidote to the poison of anxiety; it removes the delusion of
169. Both the illumined and the deluded suffer from their fructifying
Karma; the deluded are subject to misery, the wise are not. As the
deluded are full of desires, of impracticable unreal things, their
sorrow is great.
170. The illumined man knows that the enjoyment of desires is unreal. He
therefore controls his desires and prevents impossible or new ones from
arising. Why should such a man be subject to misery?
171. The wise man is convinced that worldly desires are like dream
objects or magical creations. He knows further that the nature of the
world is incomprehensible and that its objects are momentary. How can he
then be attached to them?
172. One should, when awake, first picture to himself vividly what he
has seen in a dream and then carefully and constantly think over the
conditions of dreaming and wakefulness.
173. An aspirant must observe long and find out the essential similarity
of the dream and waking worlds. He should then give up the notion of the
reality of worldly objects and cease to be attached to them.
174. This world of duality is like a magical creation, with its cause
incomprehensible. What matters it to the wise man who does not forget
this, if the past actions produce their results in him?
175. The function of knowledge is to show the illusory nature of the
world and the function of fructifying Karma is to yield pleasure and
pain to the Jiva.
176. Knowledge and fructifying Karma are not opposed to one another
since they refer to different objects. The sight of a magical
performance gives amusement to a spectator in spite of his knowledge of
177. The fructification of Karma would be considered to be opposed to
the knowledge of truth if it gave rise to the idea of the reality of the
transitory world; but the mere enjoyment does not mean that the enjoyed
thing is real.
178. Through the imaginary objects seen in a dream there is experience
of joy and sorrow to no small extent; therefore you can infer that
through the objects of the waking state also there can be the same
experience (without making them real).
179. If the knowledge of truth would obliterate the enjoyable world,
then it would be a destroyer of the fructifying Karma. But it only
teaches its unreality and does not cause its disappearance.
180. People know a magical show to be unreal, but this knowledge does
not involve the destruction of the show. So it is possible to know the
unreality of external objects without causing their disappearance or the
cessation of enjoyment from them.
181. (Doubt): The Shruti passages say that he who perceives his own Self
to be all, ‘what can he hear or see, or smell or speak?’
182. Therefore knowledge arises with the destruction of duality and in
no other way. This being so, how can the knower of truth enjoy the
183. (Reply): The Shruti upon which this objection is based applies to
the states of deep sleep and final liberation. This has been amply
cleared in aphorism 4-4-16 in the Brahma Sutras.
184. If this is not accepted, we cannot account for Yajnavalkya’s and
other sages’ efforts to teach. Without a recognition of duality they
could not teach and with it their knowledge is incomplete.
185. (Doubt): Direct knowledge is achieved in subject-objectless
contemplation in which there is no duality. (Reply): Then why not apply
the same argument to the state of deep sleep?
186. (Doubt): In the state of deep sleep there is no knowledge of the
Self. (Reply): Then you admit that it is not mere absence of duality but
the knowledge of the Self that really matters.
187. (Doubt): True knowledge combines in itself both the knowledge of
Self and the absence of knowledge of duality. (Reply): Then inanimate
objects like pots in which the knowledge of duality is absent are
already half enlightened !
188. Then the pots are superior to you, for even the buzzing of
mosquitoes often distracts your attention and they have no such
awareness of duality !
189. If, however, you admit, the knowledge of the Self alone constitutes
realisation you have accepted our position. Again if you say, to have
realisation the troubling mind is to be controlled, we bless you. Be
happy, do control the mind.
190. We also like it, for the control of the mind is essential for the
realisation of the illusory character of the world. But although the
wise man may have desires, they are not binding as are the desires of an
ignorant man. This is the drift of the text ‘Desiring what …’.
191. There is therefore no contradiction between the two statements in
the scriptures that ‘desires are a sign of ignorance’ and that ‘the wise
man may have desires’, because the desires of a wise man are too weak to
192. Since he is convinced of the associationlessness of the Self like
the illusoriness of the world, the knower has no idea of himself as a
doer and enjoyer. The verse quoted at the beginning of this chapter,
‘For whom should he desire?’ applies to him.
193. Many Shruti texts declare that a husband loves his wife not for her
sake and the wife loves him not for his sake, but for their own sake.
194. Now who is the doer and enjoyer? Is it the immutable Kutastha or
the reflected consciousness, Chidabhasa, or a union of the two?
Kutastha cannot be the enjoyer since it is associationless.
195. Enjoyment signifies the change that results from identification
with the sensations of pleasure and pain. If the immutable Kutastha is
the enjoyer, it becomes mutable, then would it not be
196. Chidabhasa is subject to the changing conditions of the intellect
and he undergoes modifications; but Chidabhasa being illusory exists
only by virtue of his real substratum and therefore he cannot by himself
be the enjoyer.
197. In common parlance, therefore, Chidabhasa in conjunction with
Kutastha is considered to be the enjoyer. But the Shruti begins with
both the types of Self and concludes that Kutastha alone remains.
198. When King Janaka asked Yajnavalkya about the nature of the Self,
the sage first told him of the sheath of intellect and then, pointing
out its inadequacy (to be the Self), ended in teaching him of the
199. In fact, Aitareya and other Shruti texts, concerned with the
consideration of the Self, begin with an enquiry into the nature of the
enjoyer and end in a description of the immutable Kutastha.
200. Owing to ignorance the enjoyer superimposes the reality of Kutastha
on to himself. Consequently he considers his enjoyment to be real and
does not want to give it up.
201. The enjoyer desires to have a wife and so forth for his own
pleasures. This popular notion has been well described in the
202. The Shruti says that since the enjoyable objects are for the sake
of the enjoyer, they should not be loved for their own sake. Since the
enjoyer is the central factor, love should be given to him.
203. Prahlada prays in the Vishnu Purana: ‘Let the unending love which
the undiscriminating have for transient objects, be not removed from me,
O Lord but directed towards Thee so that I may have incessant flow of
204. Following this method an aspirant should become indifferent to all
enjoyable objects in the external realm and direct the love he feels for
them towards the Self and desire to know It.
205. As the fallen ones keep their minds ever concentrated on objects of
enjoyment, such as garlands, sandal ointment, young women, clothes, gold
and so forth, so an aspirant for liberation ought to keep his attention
fixed on the Self and never falter.
206. As a man desirous of establishing his superiority over his
opponents engages himself in the study of literature, drama, logic and
so forth, so an aspirant for liberation should discriminate about the
nature of the Self.
207. As a man desirous of heaven repeats the holy formula and performs
sacrifices, worship and so forth with great faith, so should an aspirant
for liberation put all his faith in the Self.
208. As a Yogi devotes himself with perseverance to obtaining
concentration of the mind in order to acquire supernatural powers, like
making oneself small or great, so should an aspirant for liberation
(perseveringly) differentiate the body from the Self.
209. As these people through perseverance increase their efficiency in
their fields, so for the aspirant for liberation through continuous
practice the idea of separateness of the Self from the body becomes
210. The real nature of the enjoyer can be understood by applying the
method of distinguishing between the variable and the invariable. In
this way an aspirant comes to know that the witness of the three states
is ever detached.
211. It is common experience that the states of waking, dreaming and
deep sleep are distinct from one another, but that the experiencing
consciousness is the same.
212. The Shruti trumpets that whatever objects are cognised by the Self
in any state, whether meritorious or unmeritorious, producing pleasure
or pain, are not carried over from one state to another.
213. ‘When a man realises his identity with that Brahman which illumines
the worlds of the waking, dreaming and sleeping states, he is released
from all bonds’.
214. ‘One should consider the Self to be the same in the waking,
dreaming and sleeping states. That Atman which knows itself as beyond
the three states is free from rebirth’.
215. ‘That Self which is not subject to experience in any of the three
states, which can be called pure consciousness, the witness, the ever
blissful and which is neither the enjoyer nor the enjoyment or the
object of enjoyment, That I am’.
216. When the Self has been differentiated in this way, what remains as
the enjoyer is Chidabhasa or Jiva who is also known as the sheath of the
intellect and who is subject to change.
217. This Chidabhasa is a product of Maya. Shruti and experience both
demonstrate this. The world is a magical show and Chidabhasa is included
218. In deep sleep the unchanging witness consciousness perceives the
absorption of Chidabhasa who is therefore unreal. By continually
differentiating the Chidabhasa one comes to understand his unreality and
his separateness from Kutastha.
219. When Chidabhasa or Jiva convinces himself that he is liable to
destruction, he no longer has a desire for pleasure. Does a man lying on
the ground in death-bed, desire to marry?
220. He is ashamed to speak of himself as an enjoyer as before. He feels
ashamed like one whose nose has been cut off and just endures the
experience of his fructifying Karma.
221. When Chidabhasa is ashamed to think of himself as the enjoyer, how
meaningless it is to say that he will superimpose the idea of being the
enjoyer on to Kutastha.
222. Thus the words ‘for whose gratification’ in the first verse, are
intended to denote that there is no enjoyer at all and consequently, to
the enlightened there are no bodily miseries.
223. Bodies are known to be of three types, viz., gross, subtle and
causal. And, of course, there are correspondingly three kinds of
afflictions or affections.
224. The physical body, composed of wind, fire and water (the three-humours
of the body), is subject to scores of diseases and also to many other
troubles such as bad odour, deformity, inflammation and fracture.
225. The subtle body is affected on the one hand by desire, anger and so
forth and on the other by inner and outer control, peace of the mind and
serenity of the senses. The presence of the former affections and the
absence of the latter lead to misery.
226. In deep sleep, the state of the causal body, the Jiva knows neither
himself nor others and appears as if dead. The causal body is the seed
of future births and their miseries. So saw Indra, as declared in the
227. These affections are said to be natural to the three bodies. When
the bodies become free from them, they cease to function.
228. As there is no piece of cloth without cotton threads, no blanket
without wool and no pot without clay, so the three bodies cannot exist
without these affections.
229. Yet, as a matter of fact, these affections are not natural to
Chidabhasa. (They belong only to the bodies with which Chidabhasa is
identified.) It is to be noted that the reflected consciousness is not
different from pure consciousness and both are self-luminous by nature.
230. None of these affections are natural to Chidabhasa. How then can
they be attributed to Kutastha? The fact is that through the force of
ignorance (Avidya) Chidabhasa imagines himself to be identified with the
three bodies and is affected.
231. Chidabhasa superimposes on the three bodies the reality of the
Kutastha and imagines that these three bodies are his real Self.
232. As long as the illusion lasts Chidabhasa continues to take upon
himself the states which the bodies undergo and is affected by them, as
an infatuated man feels himself affected when something affects his
233. An ordinary man is afflicted when his son or wife suffers;
similarly Chidabhasa unreasonably thinks that he is afflicted by bodily
234. By discrimination ridding himself of all illusion and without
caring for himself the Chidabhasa always thinks of the Kutastha. How can
he still be subject to the afflictions pertaining to the bodies?
235. When a man takes a rope for a serpent, he runs away from it. When
the illusion is negated and the true nature of the rope is known, he
realises his error and is ashamed of it.
236. As a man who has injured another through ignorance humbly begs his
forgiveness on realising his error, so Chidabhasa submits himself to
237. As a man does repeated penance of bathing etc., for repeated sins,
so Chidabhasa too, repeatedly meditates on Kutastha and submits to It as
his witness or substratum.
238. As a courtesan suffering from a certain disease is ashamed to
demonstrate her charms to a lover who is acquainted with her condition,
so Chidabhasa is ashamed to consider himself as the doer and enjoyer.
239. As a Brahmana defiled by contact with a vicious man of low caste
undergoes penance and subsequently avoids the risk of touching such a
man, so Chidabhasa, having known of his difference from the bodies, no
longer identifies himself with them.
240. An heir-apparent imitates the life of his father, the king, in
order to fit himself for accession to the throne. So Chidabhasa
continually imitates the witness Kutastha with a view to his being one
241. He who has heard the declaration of Shruti: ‘The knower of Brahman
becomes Brahman’, fixes his whole mind on Brahman and ultimately knows
himself to be Brahman.
242. As people desirous of acquiring the state of the deities immolate
themselves in the fire, so Chidabhasa renounces his identity in order to
be absorbed in Kutastha.
243. In the course of self-immolation a man retains his manhood until
his body is completely consumed. So the idea of Chidabhasa continues as
long as the body, the result of fructifying Karma, continues.
244. After a man has realised the nature of the rope, the trembling
caused by the erroneous idea of the snake disappears gradually only and
the idea of the snake still sometimes haunts him when he sees a rope in
245. Similarly the fructifying Karma does not end abruptly but dies down
slowly. In the course of the enjoyment of its fruits, the knower is
occasionally visited by such thoughts as ‘I am a mortal’.
246. Lapses like this do not nullify the realisation of truth.
Jivanmukti (liberation in life) is not a vow, but the establishment of
the soul in the knowledge of Brahman.
247. In the example already cited, the tenth man, who may have been
crying and beating his head in sorrow, stops lamenting on realising that
the tenth is not dead; but the wounds caused by beating his head take a
month gradually to heal.
248. On realising that the tenth is alive, he rejoices and forgets the
pain of his wounds. In the same way liberation in life makes one forget
any misery resulting from the fructifying Karma.
249. As it is not a vow and a break does not matter, one should reflect
on the truth again and again to remove the delusion whenever it recurs,
just as a man who takes mercury to cure a certain disease eats again and
again during the day to satisfy the hunger caused by the mercury.
250. As the tenth man cures his wounds by applying medicines, so the
knower wears out his fructifying Karma by enjoyment and is ultimately
251. In the first verse, the expression ‘Desiring what?’ indicates the
release from suffering. This is the sixth state of Chidabhasa. The
seventh state, which is now described, is the achievement of perfect
252. The satisfaction by external objects is limited, but the
satisfaction of liberation in life is unlimited. The satisfaction of
direct knowledge engenders the feeling that all that was to be achieved
has been achieved and all that was to be enjoyed has been enjoyed.
253. Before realisation one has many duties to perform in order to
acquire worldly and celestial advantages and also as an aid to ultimate
release; but with the rise of knowledge of Brahman, they are as good as
already done, for nothing further remains to be done.
254. The Jivanmukta always feels supreme self-satisfaction by constantly
keeping in view his former state and present state of freedom from wants
255. Let the ignorant people of the world perform worldly actions and
desire to possess wives, children and wealth. I am full of supreme
bliss. For what purpose should I engage myself in worldly concerns?
256. Let those desirous of joy in heaven perform the ordained rituals. I
pervade all the worlds. How and wherefore should I undertake such
257. Let those who are entitled to it, explain the scriptures or teach
the Vedas. I am not so entitled because all my actions have ceased.
258. I have no desire to sleep or beg for alms, nor do I do so; nor do I
perform the acts of bathing or ablution. The onlookers imagine these
things in me. What have I to do with their imaginations?
259. Seeing a bush of red gunja berries from a distance one may suppose
that there is a fire, but such as imaginary fire does not affect the
bush. So the worldly duties and qualities attributed to me by others do
not affect me.
260. Let those ignorant of the nature of Brahman listen to the teachings
of the Vedanta philosophy. I have Self-knowledge. Why again should I
listen to them? Those who are in doubt reflect on the nature of
Brahman. I have no doubts, so I do not do so.
261. He who is subject to erroneous conviction may practise meditation.
I do not confuse the Self for the body. So in the absence of such a
delusion why should I meditate?
262. Even without being subject to this delusion, I behave like a human
being through the impressions and habits gathered over a long period.
263. All worldly dealings will come to an end when the fructifying Karma
wears out. If it does not wear out, thousands of meditational bouts will
not stop the dealings.
264. To bring to an end your worldly dealings, you may practise
contemplation as much as you like, but I know the worldly dealings to be
perfectly harmless. Why should I then meditate?
265. There is no distraction for me, so for me there is no need of
Samadhi too. Both distraction and absorption are states of the
266. I am the sum of all the experiences in the universe; where is the
separate experience for me? I have obtained all that was to be obtained
and have done all that was to be done. This is my unshakable conviction.
267. I am associationless, neither the doer nor the enjoyer. I am not
concerned with what the past actions make me do, whether in accordance
with or against the social or scriptural codes.
268. Or, there is no harm if I engage myself in doing good to the world
following the scriptural injunctions even though I have obtained all
that was to be obtained.
269. Let my body worship God, take bath, preserve cleanliness or beg for
alms. Let my mind recite ‘Aum’ or study the Upanishads.
270. Let my intellect meditate on Vishnu or be merged in the bliss of
Brahman, I am the witness of all. I do nothing nor cause anything to be
271. How can there be any conflict between the actor and myself? Our
functions are as apart from each other as the eastern from the western
272. An advocate of action is mainly concerned with the body, the organs
of speech, the intellect and with Karma; he is not concerned with the
witness-consciousness, whereas the illumined one is concerned with the
associationless witness, not with other things.
273. If the advocates of Karma and Jnana, without understanding the
difference of their topics, enter into a dispute, they are like two deaf
persons quarrelling ! The illumined ones only laugh at seeing them.
274. Let the knower of truth know the witness-consciousness whom the
Karmi does not recognise, as Brahman. What does the Karmi lose by this?
275. The illumined man has rejected the body, speech and mind as unreal.
What does he lose if a believer in action makes use of them?
276. (Doubt): The knower of truth has no use for getting engaged in
action. (Reply): What use has actionlessness? (Doubt): Absence of
action is a help to the acquisition of knowledge. (Reply): Action too is
helpful in the search after knowledge.
277. (Doubt): Once the truth is known, there is no further desire to
know it (and so he has no need for action). (Reply): He has not to know
again (and so he has no need for inaction). The knowledge of truth
remains unobstructed and needs nothing further to revive it.
278. Nescience (Avidya) and its effects (the realm of duality) cannot
negate the knowledge of truth. The dawn of truth has already destroyed
them for ever in the case of the knower.
279. The realm of duality, destroyed by knowledge, may still be
perceived by the senses, but such perception does not affect
illumination. A living rat cannot kill a cat; then how can it do so when
280. When a man is so invulnerable that even the mighty weapon Pasupata
cannot kill him, how can you say that he will be killed by an edgeless
281. The knowledge of truth has fought and overcome ignorance even when
it was at the height of its power being helped by a variety of wrong
notions produced by it. How can that knowledge, firmer now, be
282. Let the corpses of ignorance and its effects, destroyed by
knowledge, remain; the Emperor, the conqueror, has no fear of them; on
the contrary they only proclaim his glory.
283. To one who is not separated from this all-powerful knowledge,
neither engagement in action nor actionlessness does any injury. They
relate only to the body.
284. He who is without knowledge of truth must always be enthusiastic
about action, for it is the duty of men to make efforts for heaven or
285. If the knower of truth is among people who are performing actions,
he too performs all actions required of him with his body, mind and
speech, so as to be in accord with them.
286. If on the other hand he happens to be among people who are
aspirants to spiritual knowledge, he should show defects in all actions
and himself give them up.
287. It is proper that the wise man when with the ignorant should act in
accord with their actions, just as a loving father acts according to the
wishes of his little children.
288. When his infant children show him disrespect or beat him, he
neither gets angry with them nor feels sorry, but, on the contrary,
fondles them with affection.
289. The enlightened man when praised or blamed by the ignorant does not
praise or blame them in return. He behaves in such a way as to awaken a
knowledge of the real entity in them.
290. With the ignorant a wise man should behave in such a way as will
enable them to have realisation. In this world he has no other duty
except awakening the ignorant.
291. As he has achieved all that was to be achieved and nothing else
remains for him to do, he feels satisfied and always things thus:
292. Blessed am I, blessed, for I have the constant vision of my Self !
Blessed am I, blessed, for the bliss of Brahman shines clearly to me !
293. Blessed am I, blessed, for I am free from the sufferings of the
world. Blessed am I, blessed, for my ignorance has fled away, I know not
294. Blessed am I, blessed, for I have no further duty to perform.
Blessed am I, blessed, for I have now achieved the highest that one can
295. Blessed am I, blessed, for there is nothing to compare with my
great bliss ! Blessed am I, blessed, blessed, blessed, again and again
296. O my merits, my merits, how enduringly they have borne fruit !
Wonderful are we, the possessors of this great merit, wonderful !
297. O how grand and true are the scriptures, the scriptures, O how
grand and great is my teacher, my teacher ! O how grand is this
illumination, this illumination, O how grand is this bliss, this bliss !
298. The wise who study repeatedly this chapter called the ‘Lamp of
perfect Satisfaction’ will dive in the bliss of Brahman and remain in
1. Just as a wall illumined by the rays
of the sun is more illumined when the light of the sun reflected in a
mirror falls on it, so the body illumined by Kutastha is more illumined
by the light of Kutastha reflected in the intellect (Chidabhasa).
2. When many mirrors reflect the light of the sun on to a wall which is
already illumined by the sun, spaces between the various reflections are
illumined by the light of the sun alone; and even if the reflections are
not there, the wall still remains illumined.
3. Similarly, both in the intervals between the modifications of the
intellect (Vrittis), in which Chidabhasa is reflected and during their
absence (in deep sleep) Kutastha abides self-illumined; and Kutastha is
therefore to be known as different from Chidabhasa.
4. An external object, such as a pot, is cognised through the Vrittis
(modifications of the intellect) assuming its form, but the knowledge 'I
know the pot’ comes (directly) through pure consciousness, Brahman.
5. Before the rise of the Vritti (i.e., before the intellectual
operation) my experience was ‘I do not know that there is a pot over
there’; after the rise, the experience is ‘I know that there is a pot
over there’. This is the difference the intellectual operation or Vritti
brings about. But both the above experiences of knowledge or
non-knowledge of the pot are due to Brahman.
6. Cognition or knowledge (of external thing) is the action (thereon) of
the intellectual modification tipped with Chidabhasa like the steel-head
of a spear. And non-cognition is the (beginningless but not endless)
dullness (of an external thing) covering its revelation. Thus an
external thing is spoken of in two ways, as a thing (pot) known or
unknown as the intellectual modification spear-headed by Chidabhasa
pierces its cover of dullness or not.
7. If the cognition of an unknown pot can be had through Brahman why not
that of a known pot? It does produce the cognition, for the Chidabhasa
ceases functioning, as soon as the pot is made known.
8. If the intellect is without Chidabhasa, the cognition of an object
cannot take place. For how does intellect in such a case differ from a
lump of clay which is unconscious and insentient?
9. Nowhere is a pot said to be known when it is besmeared with clay.
Similarly when a pot is besmeared or covered by a Vritti only (not along
with Chidabhasa) it cannot be said to be known (for both the clay and
the Vritti are themselves unconscious and insentient).
10. Hence cognition (of a pot) is that reflection of consciousness (on
the pot) which is produced as a result of the enveloping operation of
the Vritti-cum-Chidabhasa. Brahman or pure consciousness cannot be this
resultant reflection of consciousness inasmuch as it (being the eternal
and immutable existence) exists prior to cognition.
11. (But will it not go against Sureshvaracharya’s opinion expressed in
the following Vartika?) ‘According to the authoritative books on
Vedanta an object of cognition, in matters of external objects, is that
Samvit or consciousness which is the result of the act of cognition.’
12. Here by ‘Samvit’ or consciousness what Sureshvaracharya means is the
resultant reflected consciousness, for the great Sankaracharya himself (Sureshvara’s
guru) in his Upadeshasahasri has made the distinction between Brahman-Chaitanya
and the ‘resultant’-Chaitanya amply clear.
13. Therefore the reflection of consciousness produced on the pot is the
cause of its cognition; and the knownness or knowledge of this
cognition, exactly as its ignorance, is the work of the Brahman-Chaitanya.
14. The Vritti of intellect, the reflection of Chit on the pot and the
(object) pot – all three are made known by Brahman-Chaitanya; whereas
the (object) pot’s existence (at a particular place) is known by the
reflection of Chit on the pot, inasmuch as it is the ‘resultant’
15. So the knowledge of a pot involves a double consciousness, viz.,
Brahman-consciousness and Vritti-cum-Chidabhasa-consciousness (covering
the pot). Brahman-consciousness corresponds to the consciousness which
accompanies what the Naiyayikas call ‘knowledge of knowledge’ (Anuvyavasaya),
the knowledge which follows the cognition of objects (that I know my
knowledge or existence of objects).
16. The cognition ‘This is a pot’ is due to Chidabhasa, but the
knowledge ‘I know the pot’ is derived from Brahman-consciousness.
17. Just as in objects outside the body, Chidabhasa has thus been
differentiated from Brahman, so within the body too Chidabhasa is to be
differentiated from the immutable Kutastha.
18. As fire pervades a red-hot piece of iron, so Chidabhasa pervades
I-consciousness as well as lust, anger and other emotions.
19. Even as a red-hot piece of iron manifests itself only and not other
objects, similarly the modifications of the intellect (Vrittis), aided
by Chidabhasa, manifest themselves only, i.e., the things which they
cover and not others.
20. All modifications are produced one after another (i.e., with gaps in
between); and they all become latent during deep sleep and in the states
of swoon and Samadhi.
21. That consciousness which witnesses the interval between the
disappearance and the rise of successive Vrittis and the period when
they do not exist and which is itself unmodifiable and immutable, is
22. As in the (cognition of an) external pot, there is the play of
double consciousness, so also in that of all internal Vrittis. This is
evident from the fact that there is more consciousness in the Vrittis
than in their intervals.
23. Unlike a pot, the intellect is neither an object of cognition nor of
non-cognition. For it cannot grasp itself – no object can do so – so it
cannot be cognised; since, again, it removes ignorance settled on
objects it cannot be said to be non-cognised (for if you know what is
produced you know what produced it as well).
24. Since Chidabhasa is a double consciousness we see it manifested and
unmanifested, therefore, it cannot be called immutable, Kutastha;
whereas the other is Kutastha, for it undergoes no such change.
25. The earlier teachers have made it clear that Kutastha is the witness
in passages like ‘(It is) the witness of the intellect (Antahkarana) and
its operations (Vrittis)’.
26. They have also declared that Kutastha, Chidabhasa and the mind are
related in the same way as the face, its reflection and the mirror. This
relationship is proved through scriptures and reasoning. Thus Chidabhasa
also has been described.
27. (Objection): Kutastha conditioned by the intellect can pass to and
return from the other worlds, like the Akasa enclosed in a pot. Then
what is the necessity of postulating Chidabhasa?
28. (Reply): Being merely conditioned by an object (such as the
intellect), Kutastha does not become a Jiva. Otherwise, even a wall or a
pot which is also pervaded by Kutastha would become a Jiva.
29. (Objection): The intellect is different from the wall, for it is
transparent. (Reply): It may be so, but why do you bother about the
opaqueness or transparency of the conditioner? (For your concern is
with the condition, not with the conditioner).
30. In measuring out rice and other grains, it makes no difference to
their quantity whether the measure be made of wood or metal.
31. If you say, though it makes no difference in measuring, the metallic
measure does give reflection, we reply that such is the property of the
inner organ (Antahkarana), in that it can reflect consciousness as
32. ‘Abhasa’ means slight or partial manifestation, ‘Pratibimba’ is also
like that i.e., partial manifestation. It does not have the properties
of the real entity but resembles it in having some of them.
33. As the Chidabhasa is associated and variable, it is devoid of the
characteristics of Kutastha. But as it renders objects capable of being
cognised, it resembles Kutastha. Such is the opinion of the wise.
34. (Objection): Chidabhasa is not different from the intellect because
its existence depends on the existence of the intellect. (Reply): You
say little, for the intellect itself might also be similarly regarded as
not different from the body.
35. (Objection): The scriptures declare the survival of the intellect
after the body falls (and therefore the intellect is the same as
Chidabhasa). (Reply): According to the Shruti passages which declare the
entry of the Atman or the Self into the body, Chidabhasa is distinct
from the intellect.
36. (Objection): Chidabhasa and the intellect enter the body together.
(Reply): This is not so, for in the Aitareya Upanishad it is said that
the Self enters the body by its own will apart from the intellect.
37. The Upanishad says that the Self (Atman) thought: ‘This body with
the organs cannot live without me’, and so cleaving the centre of the
skull it entered into the body and started experiencing the changeable
states (e.g., wakeful, dreaming etc.,).
38. (Objection): How can the associationless Kutastha be said to animate
the body by entering it? (Reply): Then how did It create the universe?
(Objection): Both the acts of creation and entering the body are caused
by Maya. (Reply): Then they vanish too when Maya is destroyed.
39. The Self becomes the ego identifying itself with the body composed
of the five elements and when the body perishes (once for all) the ego
too perishes with it. Thus said Yajnavalkya to Maitreyi.
40. ‘This Self is not perishable’ – thus the Shruti differentiates the
Kutastha from everything else. ‘The Self is associationless’ – such
statements sing the ever-detached state of Kutastha.
41. The passage which says that the body only dies and not the Jiva does
not mean that he is released but only that he transmigrates.
42. (Objection): How can the changeable Jiva say ‘I am Brahman’ since
Brahman is immutable? (Reply): He can, because, in spite of apparent
discrepancy between Jiva and Brahman, the identity is established by
giving up the false notion about the Jiva. (What appeared, under the
influence of Maya, as Jiva is really none other than Brahman).
43. A man may be mistaken for the stump of a tree; but the notion of the
stump is destroyed when the man is known to be a man. Similarly, when
the Jiva knows ‘I am Brahman’, his notion ‘I am Buddhi (the
ego-consciousness in the mind)’ is destroyed.
44. Acharya Sureshvara in his Naishkarmya Siddhi describes clearly how
Jiva and Brahman are found to be identical when the false notion about
the Jiva (viz., its identity with the Buddhi) is destroyed. Therefore,
the text ‘I am Brahman’ is to be understood in this sense.
45. In another Shruti text: ‘Everything is Brahman’, Brahman and the
universe are shown to be identical; it also is to be interpreted in the
above sense, viz., what appears to be ‘all this’, i.e., the universe, is
really Brahman. Similarly, in the text ‘I am Brahman’ the same identity
of Jiva and Brahman is indicated.
46. It is true that the author of the Vivarana gloss has denied the
Badha-Samanadhikaranya interpretation (and has accepted the
Mukhya-Samanadhikaranya interpretation) of ‘I am Brahman’. It is because
he has taken the ‘I’ in the sense of Kutastha-Chaitanya and not in the
sense of Chidabhasa.
47. In the text ‘That thou art’ the word ‘thou’, freed from all
adjuncts, is Kutastha; and in Vivarana and other (advanced) works
attempts are made to establish its identity with Brahman.
48. The consciousness, the substratum on which the illusion of
Chidabhasa together with the body and the sense organs is superimposed,
is known as Kutastha in Vedanta.
49. The substratum, on which stands the illusion of the whole world, is
described in the Vedanta by the word Brahman.
50. When the whole world of Maya is recognised as a superimposition on
this one consciousness, Brahman, what to speak of Jiva who is only a
part of this world.
51. The difference between the entities indicated by ‘that’ and ‘thou’
is due to that of the superposed world and Jiva, which is only a part of
it; in reality they are one consciousness.
52. (That it is a genuine case of superposition is proved by the fact
that) Chidabhasa, the reflected consciousness, partakes of the
characteristics of both, the superposing intellect, such as agentship,
enjoyership, etc., and the superposed Atman, which is consciousness. So
the whole Chidabhasa is a creation of illusion.
53. ‘What is the intellect?’ ‘What is the reflected consciousness?’
‘And what is the Self?’ ‘How is the world here?’ – Because of
indecision about these questions ignorance has arisen. This illusion is
also called Samsara.
54. He is the knower of truth, the liberated, who knows the true nature
of the intellect, etc., mentioned above. Thus the Vedanta has decided.
55. The piece of sophistry advanced by the logicians and others, viz.,
‘Whose is the bondage?’ must be met by adopting the method of
Khandana-Khanda-Khadya by Sri Harsa Mishra.
56. It is said in the Shiva Purana that pure consciousness (Kutastha)
exists as a witness to (the rise and fall of) the mental modifications
(Vrittis), their prior (and posterior) non-existence and the state of
ignorance prior to inquiry about truth.
57-58. As the support of the unreal world, its nature is existence; as
it cognises all insentient objects, its nature is consciousness; and as
it is always the object of love, its nature is bliss. It is called
Shiva, the infinite, being the means of revelation of all objects and
being related to them as their substratum.
59. Thus in the Saiva-Puranas Kutastha has been described as having no
particular characteristics of Jiva and Ishvara and as being non-dual,
self-luminous and the highest good.
60. The Shruti declares that Jiva and Ishvara are both reflections of
Brahman in Maya. They are, however, different from material things in
that they are transparent (i.e., revealing) just as a glass jar is
different from earthen ones.
61. Though both are products of food, the mind is subtler and purer than
the body. Similarly, Jiva and Ishvara are more transparent than the
grosser products of Maya.
62. Jiva and Ishvara, because they manifest the power of revealing, must
be considered to be endowed with consciousness. For, nothing is
difficult for Maya, that is endowed with the power to create all things.
63. When we sleep, our dreams create even Jiva and Ishvara. What wonder
is there then that the Great Maya creates them in the waking state?
64. The Maya creates omniscience and other qualities too in Ishvara.
When it can create Ishvara, the receptacle of these qualities, is it
difficult to conceive that it can also create these qualities in Him?
65. If you raise the improper doubt about Kutastha, we say: do not
imagine that Kutastha is also a creation of Maya. There is no evidence
for that assumption.
66. All the classics of Vedanta proclaim the reality of Kutastha and
they do not admit the existence of any entity other than It.
67. These verses show the real meaning of the Shruti and do not consider
the matter from a logical point of view. The doubts of the logicians are
not considered here.
68. The aspirant for release should give up sophistry and should base
his conviction on the Shruti, which says that Jiva and Ishvara are
creations of Maya.
69. Ishvara’s creation extends from His willing to create the world to
His entrance into His creation; Jiva’s creation includes everything from
the world of the waking state to his release from ignorance.
70. Kutastha is ever associationless, it does not change. Thus one
should always meditate and reflect.
71. ‘(For Kutastha) there is no death and no birth, none in bondage and
none engaged in working out release (Sadhaka), no aspirant for release
(Mumukshu) and none liberated (Mukta). That is the supreme truth’.
72. The Shruti tries to indicate the reality which is beyond the body
and the mind by using the conceptions of Jiva, Ishvara and Jagat.
73. Acharya Sureshvara has said that whatever method helps one to
understand clearly the indwelling Atman is approved by the Vedantic
74. The dull-witted, ignorant of the real meaning of the Shruti, wanders
here and there, whereas the wise, understanding its purport, ever abides
in the ocean of bliss.
75. Like a cloud which pours out streams of rain, Maya creates the world
(Jagat). As the ether is not affected by the rain, so pure consciousness
(that I am) suffers neither gain nor loss from anything in the
phenomenal world. That is the conviction of the wise.
76. He who always reflects on this ‘Lamp of Kutastha’ ever abides as the
1. One may perchance obtain a thing by
following a wrong line by mistake; so also even by worshipping Brahman
one may get release, the desired goal. So various ways of worship are
described in the Nrisimha-Uttara-Tapaniya Upanishad.
2. A man sees a gleam of light emitted by a gem and another sees a gleam
of light coming from a lamp; and both imagining that they are gems run
to get them. Though (in both the cases) the notions are wrong, the
results are different.
3. There is a lamp inside the house, its light is visible from outside.
Similarly elsewhere the light of a gem is seen (from outside).
4. On seeing the two gleams at a distance, both (the men) took them for
gems and ran after them. Their notions are equally wrong, in that they
took the gleams for gems.
5. The man who ran for the gleam of the lamp did not find the gem, but
the man who ran for the gleam of the gem got it.
6. Mistaking the gleam of a lamp for a gem is called a Visamvadi Bhrama,
‘misleading error’ (or an error that does not lead to the goal).
Mistaking the gleam of a gem for a gem is called a 'leading’ or
‘informative’ error, though both are errors (or wrong observations).
7. On seeing a mist and mistaking it for smoke, if a man argues the
existence of fire there and goes for getting charcoal and accidentally
finds it, his mistake is called a ‘leading’ error, a chance coincidence.
8. Sprinkling on himself the water of the River Godavari thinking it to
be that of the River Ganges, if a man is actually purified this is
‘leading’ error (Samvadi Bhrama).
9. A man suffering from a high fever repeats ‘Narayana’ in delirium and
dies. He goes to heaven. This is again a ‘leading’ error.
10. In direct perception, in inference and in the application of
scriptural authority, there are innumerable instances of such leading
errors or chance coincidences.
11. Otherwise, how could images of clay, wood and stone be worshipped as
deities or how could a woman be worshipped as fire?
12. From the knowledge and (or) adoption of a wrong means, sometimes, by
accident, as in the sitting of a crow on the branch of a palm tree and
in the instantaneous fall of a fruit thereof, a desired result is
obtained. This knowledge and (or) adoption of a wrong means is called a
Samvadi Bhrama or a ‘leading’ error, or error leading to a right
13. The ‘leading’ error though a wrong notion is potent enough to give
the correct result. So also the meditation or worship of Brahman leads
14. After indirectly knowing the one indivisible homogeneous Brahman
from the books on Vedanta, one should meditate on or think repeatedly ‘I
15. Without realising Brahman to be one’s own Self, the general
knowledge of Him derived through the study of the scriptures, viz.,
‘Brahman is’, is here called indirect knowledge, just as our knowledge
of the forms of Vishnu etc., is called.
16. One may have knowledge of Vishnu from scriptures as having four arms
etc., but if one does not have a vision of Him, he is said to have only
indirect knowledge, inasmuch as he has not seen Him with his eyes.
17. This knowledge because of its defect of indirectness is not false,
for the true form of Vishnu has been revealed by the scriptures which
18. From the scripture a man may have a conception of Brahman as
existence, consciousness and bliss but he cannot have a direct knowledge
of Brahman unless Brahman is cognised as the inner witness in his own
19. As the knowledge of Sat-Chit-Ananda has been acquired in the
scriptural method, it, though an indirect knowledge, is not an illusory
20. Though Brahman has been described as being one’s own Self in the
scriptures and the great Saying, still, one cannot understand It without
the practice of enquiry.
21. As long as the delusion that the body is the Self, is strong in a
man of dull intellect, he is not able at once to know Brahman as the
22. As the perception of duality is not opposed to an indirect knowledge
of non-duality, a man of faith, expert in the scriptures, can easily
have the indirect knowledge of Brahman.
23. The perception of a stone image is not opposed to an indirect
knowledge of the deity whom the image represents. Which devotee
contradicts the idea of Vishnu in the image?
24. The disbelief of those who have no faith need not be considered, for
the believing alone are authorised to perform the Vedic actions.
25. An indirect knowledge of Brahman can arise even through a single
instruction by a competent teacher. It is like the knowledge of the form
of Vishnu which does not depend on intellectual enquiry.
26. As there may be doubts about them, ritualistic works and methods of
worship have been discussed (in the scriptures). Who otherwise could
have synthesised the directions about them, scattered as they are over
many branches of the Vedas?
27. Such rituals and methods of worship have been collected and
co-ordinated in the Kalpa-Sutras. With their help man, who has faith,
may practise them without further enquiry.
28. The methods of worship are described in other works by the seers.
Those who are dull of ratiocination go to a teacher and learn the
methods from him.
29. To determine the correct meaning of the Vedic texts let the learned
resort to enquiry, but practical worship can be performed (with benefit)
according to the teachings of a competent teacher.
30. The direct realisation of Brahman, however, is never possible only
from the instructions of a competent teacher without the practice of
31. Want of faith alone obstructs the indirect knowledge; want of
enquiry is however the obstacle to the direct knowledge.
32. If even by enquiry one does not get the direct knowledge of Brahman
as the Self, one should repeatedly practise enquiry, for enquiry, it is
prescribed, should continue until direct knowledge dawns.
33. If a person does not realise the Self even after practising till
death, he will surely realise it in a future life when all the obstacles
will have been eliminated.
34. Knowledge will arise either in this birth or the next, says the
author of the Brahma Sutras. The Shruti also says that there are many
who listen to the teachings on non-duality and yet do not realise in
35. By virtue of the practice of spiritual enquiry in a previous birth,
Vamadeva had realisation even while in his mother’s womb. Such results
are also seen in the case of studies.
36. In spite of reading many times a boy may not be able to memorise
something, but sometimes, next morning, without any further study, he
remembers all that he has read.
37. As the seed in the field or in the womb matures in time, so in the
course of time the practice of self-enquiry gradually ripens and bears
38. In spite of repeated enquiry a man does not realise the truth
because of three kinds of impediments. This has been clearly pointed out
in his Vartika by Acharya Sureshvara.
39. If you ask why the realisation (which did not arise before) comes
now, we shall reply that knowledge comes only with the total removal of
impediments which may be past, present or future.
40. Therefore only by studying the Veda and its meaning a man is not
released. This has been shown in the example of hidden gold.
41. There is the popular song saying that a monk could not realise the
truth, the impediment being his past attachment to his queen (or a
42. His teacher instructed him of Brahman knowing his attachment to her
(by telling him that Brahman was her substratum). When the impediment
was removed, the monk realised the truth properly.
43. The impediments of the present are (i) binding attachment to the
objects of the senses, (ii) dullness of the intellect, (iii) indulgence
in improper and illogical arguments and (iv) the deep conviction that
the Self is an agent and an enjoyer.
44. Through the practice of inner control and other qualifications and
through hearing the truth and so forth, suitable for counteracting the
impediments, the latter slowly perish and one realises his Self as
45. The future impediment has been well illustrated in the case of
Vamadeva. He overcame it in one birth and Bharata in three births.
46. In the Gita, it has been told that a Yogi who has not attained
illumination in this life may be freed from the impediment after many
births. Yet his practice of enquiry is never fruitless.
47. Because of his practice of enquiry such a Yogi enters into the
heaven of the meritorious and then if he is not freed from desires, he
is born again in a pious and prosperous family.
48. Or, if he has no worldly desires, he is born in a family of Yogis
who have pure intellect due to their practice of enquiry into the nature
of Brahman, for such a birth is hard to obtain.
49. He regains the Yogic intellect acquired in his previous birth and so
strives more vigorously; this birth is indeed hard to achieve.
50. He is borne on by the momentum of his Yogic practices in the
previous birth even against his inclination. Thus after many births he
achieves perfection and as a result is liberated.
51. A man who has a strong desire for Brahmaloka, but suppresses it and
practises enquiry about the Self, will not have realisation.
52. As the scriptures say, the monk, who has well ascertained the
meaning of Vedanta, goes to the realm of Brahma and is released at the
end of the four Yugas along with Brahma.
53. In some cases the enquiry itself is impeded because of the result of
their evil deeds as the Shruti says: ‘Even to hear about Him it is not
available to many’.
54. If a man cannot practise enquiry, either due to extreme dullness of
intellect or for want of other favourable circumstances, let him always
keep the mind on Brahman.
55. As it is possible to continue the thought-current regarding Brahman
with attributes, meditation on the attributeless Brahman also is not
56. (Doubt): Brahman is beyond speech and mind and so cannot be
meditated upon. (Reply): Then there can be no knowledge of Brahman too.
57. (Doubt): Brahman is known as beyond speech and mind. (Reply): Then
why cannot Brahman be meditated upon as beyond speech and mind?
58. (Doubt): If Brahman can be meditated upon He becomes invested with
attributes. (Reply): That happens if He is taken as knowable. (Doubt):
Brahman is knowable by Lakshana, indirect indication. (Reply): Then
meditate upon Brahman that way, i.e., by Lakshana.
59. (Doubt): The Shruti saying, ‘Know that alone to be Brahman which is
beyond the range of speech and mind and not that which the people
worship’, prohibits meditation on Brahman.
60. (Reply): Equally Brahman cannot be an object of knowledge, for the
Shruti says: ‘Brahman is other than that which can be known’. (Doubt):
The Shruti also says that Brahman can be known. (Reply): So also it says
that He can be meditated upon. So meditate on Him basing upon those
61. (Doubt): But Brahman as an object of knowledge is unreal. (Reply):
Why not as an object of meditation too? (Doubt): Covering and
apprehending by Vrittis is knowledge. (Reply): Similarly, doing that is
62. (Doubt): Why are you so devoted to meditation on the attributeless
Brahman? (Reply): Why are you so opposed to it? Say that. As there are
many Shruti texts prescribing meditation on the attributeless Brahman,
it is not proper to say that there is no authority for it.
63. Meditation on the attributeless Brahman has been prescribed in the
Nrisimha-Uttara-Tapaniya, Prasna (Saibya’s fifth question), Katha,
Mandukya and other Upanishads.
64. This method of meditation of the attributeless Brahman has been in
the Panchikarana Vartika by Sureshvara. (Doubt): This meditation is the
means of indirect knowledge of Brahman (but not of liberation). (Reply):
We don’t say that it is not so.
65. (Doubt): But most of the people do not practise this type of
meditation. (Reply): Let them not do. How can the meditation be blamed
for the short-comings of the meditator?
66. People of spiritually dull intellect repeat sacred formulas to
acquire power over others, finding it more immediately fruitful than
meditation on Brahman with attributes. There are people still more
dull-witted who concentrate only on agriculture.
67. Let the dull-witted do what they like ! Here we speak of meditation
on the Absolute. Since it is of one Vidya or Upasana, all the
qualifications of Brahman described in the various branches of the Veda
must be gathered for meditation.
68. The positive qualities of bliss etc., are all to be co-ordinated
into meditation on Brahman. This has been told by Vyasa in the
69. Similarly Vyasa speaks of all the negative indications of Brahman
such as ‘not gross’ in the ‘Aksharadhiyam’ Sutra.
70. (Doubt): Combining and thinking of these indications do not fit in
with meditation on the attributeless Brahman. (Reply): Then your doubt
is directed against Vyasa himself and not against me alone.
71. (Doubt): As (Vyasa) has not asked for the inclusion of the forms
such as of the sun with golden beard etc., meditation on the
attributeless is not contradicted. (Reply): Be satisfied with that; we
also do not ask for that.
72. (Doubt): Qualities are only indirect indications; they cannot enter
into the true nature of Brahman. (Reply): Let them be so. Meditate on
Brahman thus indicated.
73. The Self is here indirectly indicated by positive qualities like
‘bliss’ etc., and by negative qualities like ‘not gross’ etc. One should
meditate on the indivisible, homogeneous Self as ‘That I am’.
74. (Doubt): What is the difference between knowledge and meditation?
(Reply): Listen; knowledge depends on the object, whereas meditation
depends on the will of the person meditating.
75. By the practice of enquiry, the knowledge of Brahman arises; then it
cannot be prevented whether one likes it or not. Such knowledge, by the
mere fact of its arising, destroys all ideas of the reality of the
76. On acquiring knowledge the aspirant experiences unbroken
satisfaction and a feeling of having accomplished all that was to be
accomplished. He becomes liberated in life and awaits the wearing-out of
his fructifying Karma.
77. On the other hand, a believing man, putting his faith in the
teachings of his teacher and without practising enquiry, should meditate
on the object prescribed without being distracted by other thoughts.
78. He should continue the practice of meditation until he realises
himself to be identical with his object of meditation and then continue
this thought till death.
79. A certain Brahmachari used to go for alms keeping in his mind his
identity with the vital air within him.
80. Meditation depends on the will of a man whether he is to do or not
to do or to do it in a different way. One should therefore always
continue the thought current.
81. A student, diligent in reciting the Vedas, reads or recites them
even in his dreams through the force of habit. Similarly, one who
practises meditation, continues it even in his dreams.
82. Giving up contrary thoughts, if a man ceaselessly meditates, he
meditates even in his dreams because of the deep impression.
83. There is no doubt that while experiencing the results of his
fructifying Karma a man, because of his strong impression, is able to
meditate without intermission, just as a man attached to worldly objects
always thinks of them.
84. A woman devoted to a paramour, though engaged in household duties,
will all the time be dwelling in mind on the pleasures with him.
85. While enjoying in mind the pleasure of the company of her lover, her
household duties though not much disturbed, are managed indifferently.
86. The woman with attachment to a paramour cannot fully do the work as
a woman attached to her domestic duties does, with enthusiasm.
87. Similarly, a man who practises meditation one-pointedly,
indifferently performs his worldly affairs; but a man who has realised
the truth fulfils his worldly duties well, as they do not come in
conflict with his knowledge.
88. This world is illusory, Maya and the Self is by nature pure
consciousness. How can such knowledge be opposed to his worldly
89. To perform activities, the world need not be thought real nor Self
as insentient matter. To do so the right means only are necessary.
90. These means are the mind, the speech, body and external objects.
They do not disappear on enlightenment. So why can’t he engage himself
in worldly affairs?
91. If he controls and concentrates his mind, he is a meditator and not
a knower of truth. To know a pot the mind need not be controlled.
92. (Doubt): A pot once known by a modification of intellect, Vritti,
remains so always. (Reply): Is not the self-illumined Self also ever
93. (Doubt): Does the self-luminous property of the Self give you the
knowledge of Brahman? The Vritti with Brahman as the object is the
cognition of truth, but the Vritti perishes in a moment. (Reply): This
objection also applies to the cognition of a pot.
94. (Doubt): Once an intellectual conviction of the pot’s existence is
established, the cognition (Vritti) of the pot perishes. Afterwards it
can be recognised at the will of the cogniser. (Reply): The same applies
to the cognition of the Self.
95. Once the nature of the Self has been conclusively determined, the
knower can speak of it, think of it or meditate on it at will.
96. (Doubt): The knower too, like a meditator, forgets worldly affairs
in his contemplation. (Reply): Let him forget. This forgetfulness is due
to his meditation and not because of his knowledge of the Self.
97. Meditation is left to his will, for his release has been achieved
through knowledge. From knowledge alone comes release. This the
scriptures announce with drum-beats.
98. (Doubt): If a knower does not meditate, he would be drawn to
external affairs. (Reply): Let him happily engage himself in them. What
is the objection for a knower to be so engaged?
99. (Doubt): This sort of reasoning is wrong, for there the scriptures
will be violated. (Reply): If so, what is right reasoning please?
(Doubt): Right reasoning is to follow the injunctions and prohibitions
of the scriptures. (Reply): But they do not apply to the enlightened.
100. All these injunctions and prohibitions are meant for those who
believe themselves to belong to a certain caste or station and stage of
101. The knower is convinced that caste, station etc., are creations of
Maya and that they refer to the body and not to the Self whose nature is
102. The clear-sighted knower from whose heart all attachment has
vanished is a liberated soul whether he performs or not concentration or
103. He whose mind is free from all desires or former impressions has
nothing to gain from either action or inaction, meditation (Samadhi) or
repetitions of holy formulas.
104. The Self is associationless and everything other than the Self is a
display of the magic of Maya. When a mind has such a firm conviction,
wherefrom will any desire or impression come in it?
105. Thus when for an illumined sage there is no injunction on
prohibition, where is his violating them? Only for him can violation be
possible who is bound by them.
106. As a child is not subject to any injunctions and prohibitions, he
cannot be charged with their violation. In their absence, in the case of
a man of realisation too, how can there be any violation?
107. (Doubt): But a boy does not know anything. (Reply): A knower of
truth knows everything. The law applies to one who knows a little, not
to the other two.
108. (Doubt): He is a knower of truth who can bless or curse with
effect. (Reply): Not that, for these powers result from the practice of
109. (Doubt): Vyasa and others had these powers. (Reply): But these were
produced by some austerities. Austerities meant for knowledge are
different from them.
110. Those who practise both the types of austerities possess both
powers and knowledge. So each type of practice will produce the result
appropriate to it.
111. (Doubt): Ascetics and ritualists, despise the saintly monk who has
neither such powers nor follow the injunctions. (Reply): Their
austerities and rituals are also despised by the votaries of worldly
112. (Doubt): Monks too find a pleasure in the acquisition of alms,
clothes and shelter. (Reply): Then what wonderful renunciation they must
have being unable to move as it were with their dispassion !
113. (Doubt): It does not matter if the ritualists observing the
scriptural rules are abused by the ignorant. (Reply): It also does not
matter if a man of realisation is abused by the ritualists who identify
themselves with the body and so observe the rules.
114. Therefore as knowledge of truth does not affect the means, such as
the mind and so forth, a man of realisation is able to do worldly
activities such as ruling a country.
115. (Doubt): He may not have any desire for worldly affairs since he is
convinced of the unreality of the empirical world. (Reply): Let it be;
let him be engaged in meditation or work according to his fructifying
116. On the other hand, a meditator should always engage himself in
meditation, for through meditation his feeling of identity with Brahman
arises, as a devotee has it by meditating on Vishnu.
117. The feeling of identity, which is the effect of meditation, ceases
when the practice is given up; but the true Brahmanhood does not vanish
even in the absence of knowledge.
118. The eternal Brahmanhood is revealed by knowledge and not created by
it, for even in the absence of the revealer the real entity does not
cease to exist.
119. (Doubt): But the Brahmanhood of a meditator also is real. (Reply):
True, is not the Brahmanhood of the ignorant and the lower creatures
120. Since nescience is common, they do not realise the purpose of their
life. But just as begging is better than starving, so also it is better
to practise devotion and meditation than to engage in other pursuits.
121. It is better to perform the works ordained in the scriptures than
be engrossed in worldly affairs. Better than this is to worship a
personal deity and meditation on the attributeless Brahman is still
122. That which is nearer to the realisation of Brahman is superior; and
meditation on the Absolute gradually becomes like direct realisation of
123. A ‘leading’ error leads to the desired goal, when it becomes
knowledge. Similarly meditation on Brahman when ripened, leads to
release and becomes real knowledge.
124. (Doubt): A man working prompted by a ‘leading’ error gets correct
knowledge not by the leading error but by another evidence. (Reply): The
meditation on the Absolute may also be taken as the cause of other
evidence (Nididhyasana leading to direct realisation).
125. (Doubt): Meditation on the form of a deity and repetition of a
sacred formula also lead to the goal. (Reply): Let it be so; but the
speciality of meditation on the Absolute is that it is nearest to the
goal of Self-realisation.
126. When meditation on the attributeless Brahman is mature it leads to
Samadhi. This state of intense concentration at case leads on to the
Nirodha state in which the distinction between subject and object is
127. When such complete cessation of mental activity is achieved, only
the associationless entity (Atman) remains in his heart. By ceaseless
meditation on It based on the great Sayings, arises the knowledge ‘I am
128. There is then a perfect realisation of Brahman as the immutable,
associationless, eternal, self-revealed, secondless whole, as indicated
in the scriptures.
129. The Amritabindu and other Upanishads recommend Yoga for the same
object. It is clear therefore that meditation on the attributeless
Brahman is superior to other types of worship.
130. Those who give up meditation on the attributeless Brahman and
undertake pilgrimages, recitations of the holy formulas and other
methods, may be compared to ‘those who drop the sweets and lick the
131. (Doubt): This applies also to those who meditate on the
attributeless Brahman giving up enquiry into Its nature. (Reply): True,
therefore only those who are not able to practise enquiry have been
asked to meditate on the attributeless Brahman.
132. Those who are very fickle-minded and agitated do not have the
knowledge of Brahman by the practice of enquiry. Therefore control of
the mind is the chief means for them. By it their mind becomes free from
133. For those whose intellects are no longer distracted nor restless
but are merely covered by a veil of ignorance, the analytical system
called Sankhya (intellectual enquiry) is prescribed. It will quickly
lead them to spiritual illumination.
134. ‘The state of spiritual balance is obtainable by both the Sankhyas
(those who follow the path of enquiry) and the Yogis (those who practise
meditation). He really knows the meaning of the scriptures who knows
that the paths of enquiry and meditation are the same’.
135. The Shruti too declares that with both enquiry and meditation
people know the Highest; but whatever in the books of Sankhya and Yoga
are against the Shruti are to be rejected.
136. If one fails to perfect the practice of meditation in this life,
one does so either at the time of death or in the region of Brahma.
Then, obtaining direct knowledge of the reality, one is liberated.
137. The Gita says that a man attains that which he thinks of at the
time of death. Wherever his mind is fixed, there he goes, says the
138. So the future life of a man is determined by the nature of his
thoughts at the time of death. Then as a devotee of the Personal God is
absorbed in Him, so a meditator on the attributeless Brahman is absorbed
in It and obtains Liberation.
139. Brahman is called ‘eternal’ and ‘attributeless’ but in fact It is
of the nature of liberation itself, just as ‘leading’ error is an error
in name only, for it leads to the desired object.
140. As by meditation on the Personal God knowledge of the nature of
Ishvara arises, so by meditation on the attributeless Brahman, knowledge
of Its nature arises and destroys the ignorance which is the root of
141. A meditator becomes Brahman who is ‘unattached, desireless, free
from body and organs and fearless’. Thus the Tapaniya Upanishad speaks
of liberation as the result of meditation on the attributeless Brahman.
142. By the strength of meditation on the attributeless Brahman
knowledge arises. So the scriptural verse, ‘Verily there is no other
path to liberation (except knowledge)’ does not conflict with this.
143. So the Tapaniya Upanishad points out that liberation comes from
desireless meditation. The Prasna Upanishad also says that by meditation
with desire one enters into the region of Brahma.
144. The Prasna Upanishad says that he who meditates with desires on the
three-lettered Aum, is taken to the region of Brahma. There he comes to
know the attributeless Brahman who is beyond Hiranyagarbha, the sum
total of souls and becomes free.
145. The Brahma Sutras in the Apratikadhikarana say that he who desires
the region of Brahma and meditates with desires on the attributeless
Brahman attains that region.
146. Such a worshipper, by virtue of his meditation on the attributeless
Brahman, enters the world of Brahma and there obtains direct knowledge
of Brahman. He is not born again, he gets ultimate release at the end of
the four Yugas.
147. In the Vedas meditation on the holy syllable Aum in most places
means meditation on the attributeless Brahman, though in some places it
means meditation on Brahman with attributes.
148. Pippalada being asked by his pupil Satyakama says that Aum means
Brahman both with and without attributes.
149. Yama too, questioned by his pupil Nachiketas, replied that he who
meditates on Aum knowing it as the attributeless Brahman obtains the
fulfilment of his desires.
150. He who meditates properly on the attributeless Brahman gets direct
knowledge of Brahman either in this life or at the time of death or in
the world of Brahma.
151. The Atma Gita also clearly says that those who cannot practise
discrimination should always meditate on the Self.
152. (The Self as if says): ‘Even if direct knowledge of Me does not
seem to be possible, a man should still meditate on the Self. In the
course of time, he doubtlessly realises the Self and is freed’.
153. ‘To reach treasures deeply hidden in the earth, there is nothing
for it but to dig. So to have direct knowledge of Me, the Self, there is
no other means than meditation on one’s Self’.
154. ‘A man should remove the stones of body consciousness from the
field of the mind and then by repeatedly digging with the pick-axe, the
intellect, he can get the hidden treasure of the Self.’
155. Even if there is no realisation, think ‘I am Brahman’. Through
meditation a man achieves even other things (like the Deities), why not
Brahman who is ever-achieved?
156. If a man, who is convinced by his experience that meditation,
practised day by day, destroys the idea that the not-Self is the Self,
nevertheless becomes idle and neglects meditation, what difference, tell
us, is there between him and a brute?
157. Destroying his idea that the body is the Self, through meditation a
man sees the secondless Self, becomes immortal and realises Brahman in
this body itself.
158. The meditator who studies this Chapter called the ‘Lamp of
Meditation’, is freed from all his doubts and meditates constantly on
1. Before the projection of the world
the Supreme Self, the secondless, all-bliss and ever complete, alone
existed. Through His Maya He became the world and entered into it as the
Jiva, the individual Self.
2. Entering the superior bodies like that of Vishnu, He became the
deities; and remaining in the inferior bodies like that of men He
worships the deities.
3. Due to the practice of devotions in many lives the Jiva desires to
reflect upon his nature. When by enquiry and reflection Maya is negated,
the Self alone remains.
4. The duality and misery of the secondless Self, whose nature is bliss,
is called bondage. Abiding in Its own nature is said to be liberation.
5. Bondage is caused by want of discrimination and is negated by
discrimination. Hence one should discriminate about the individual and
6. He who thinks ‘I am’ is the agent. Mind is his instrument of action
and the actions of the mind are two types of modifications in
succession, internal and external.
7. The internal modification of the mind takes the form of ‘I’. It makes
him an agent. The external modification assumes the form of ‘this’. It
reveals to him the external things.
8. The external things (that are cognised by the mind in a general way,
their special qualities having been jumbled up) are cognised by the five
sense-organs quite distinctly as sound, touch, colour, taste and smell.
9. That consciousness which reveals at one and the same time the agent,
the action and the external objects is called ‘witness’ in the Vedanta.
10. The witness, like the lamp in a dancing hall, reveals all these as
‘I see’, ‘I hear’, ‘I smell’, ‘I taste’, ‘I touch’ as pieces of
11. The light in the dancing hall uniformly reveals the patron, the
audience and the dancer. Even when they are absent, the light continues
12. The witness-consciousness lights up the ego, the intellect and the
sense-objects. Even when ego etc., are absent, it remains self-luminous
13. The unchangeable witness is ever present as self-luminous
consciousness; the intellect functions under its light and dances in a
variety of ways.
14. In this illustration the patron is the ego, the various
sense-objects are the audience, the intellect is the dancer, the
musicians playing on their instruments are the sense-organs and the
light illumining them all is the witness-consciousness.
15. As the light reveals all the objects remaining in its own place, so
the witness-consciousness, itself ever motionless, illumines the objects
within and without (including the operations of the mind).
16. The distinction between external and internal objects refers to the
body and not to the witness-consciousness. Sense-objects are outside the
body whereas the ego is within the body.
17. The mind seated within goes out again with the sense organs. In
vain, people seek to impose the fickleness of the mind illumined by the
witness-consciousness on the latter.
18. The streak of sunlight coming into the room through an opening is
motionless; but, if one dances one’s hand in the rays, the light appears
to be dancing.
19. Similarly, the witness-consciousness, though really fixed in its own
place and neither going out nor returning within, yet appears to move
owing to the restless nature of the mind.
20. The witness-consciousness can neither be called external nor
internal. Both these terms have reference to the mind. When the mind
becomes fully tranquil, the witness exists where it shines.
21. If it be said that (when all mental operations cease) there is no
space at all, we reply: let it have no space. It is called
all-pervasive, because of the mind’s creation of space.
22. Whatever space, internal or external, the intellect imagines, is
pervaded by the witness-consciousness. Similarly will the
witness-consciousness be related to all other objects.
23. Whatever form the intellect imagines, the supreme Self illumines it
as its witness, remaining Itself beyond the grasp of speech and mind.
24. If you object ‘How such a Self could be grasped by me?’, our answer
is: Let it not be grasped. When the duality of the knower and the known
comes to an end, what remains is the Self.
25. Since Atman is self-luminous in its nature, its existence needs no
proof. If you need to be convinced that the existence of Atman needs no
proof, hear the instruction of the Shruti from a spiritual teacher.
26. If you find the renunciation of all perceptible duality impossible,
reflect on the intellect and realise the witness-consciousness as the
one witness of all internal and external creations of the intellect.
1. We now describe the bliss of
Brahman, knowing which one becomes free from present and future ills and
2. ‘A knower of Brahman achieves the Supreme’; ‘A knower of the Self
goes beyond sorrow’; ‘Brahman is bliss’; ‘One becomes blissful through
the attainment of the blissful Brahman’ and in no other way.
3. He who establishes himself in his own Self becomes fearless, but he
who perceives any difference from the Self is subject to fear.
4. Even Wind, Sun, Fire, Indra and Death, having performed the religious
practices in earlier lives, but failing to realise their identity with
Him, carry out their tasks in fear of Him.
5. One who has attained the bliss of Brahman experiences fear from
nothing. Anxiety regarding his good and bad actions which consumes
others like fire, no longer scorches him.
6. Such a knower through his knowledge takes himself beyond good and
evil and is ever engaged in meditation on the Self. He looks upon good
and bad actions done as the manifestations of his Self.
7. ‘When a man has seen the Highest the knots of his heart are sundered;
all his doubts are dispelled and all his actions perish’.
8. ‘Knowing Him, one crosses death; there is no other path than this’.
‘When a man has known the effulgent Self, all his bonds are cut asunder,
his afflictions cease; there is no further birth for him.’
9. ‘The man of steady wisdom, having known the effulgent Self, leaves
behind, even in this life, all joys and sorrows’. ‘He is not scorched by
thoughts of the good or bad deeds which he may have done or omitted to
10. Thus many texts in the Shruti, Smritis and Puranas declare that the
knowledge of Brahman destroys all sorrows and leads to bliss.
11. Bliss is of three kinds: The bliss of Brahman, the bliss which is
born of knowledge and the bliss which is produced by contact with outer
objects. First the bliss of Brahman is being described.
12. Bhrigu learnt the definition of Brahman from his father Varuna and
negating the food-sheath, the vital-sheath, the mind-sheath and the
intellect-sheath as not being Brahman, he realised Brahman reflected in
13. All beings are born of bliss and live by It, pass on to It and are
finally reabsorbed in it; there is therefore no doubt that Brahman is
14. Before the creation of beings there was only the infinite and no
triad of knower, known and knowing; therefore in dissolution the triad
again ceases to exist.
15. When created, the intellect-sheath is the knower; the mind-sheath is
the field of knowledge; sound etc., are the objects known. Before
creation they did not exist.
16. In the absence of this triad, the secondless, indivisible Self alone
exists. The Self alone existed before the projection of the world.
Similarly It exists in the states of Samadhi, deep sleep and swoon.
17. The infinite Self alone is bliss; there is no bliss in the finite
realm of the triad. This Sanatkumara told the grieving Narada.
18. Even though Narada was versed in the Vedas, the Puranas and the
various studies, he was full of grief because of not knowing the Self.
19. Before he began the study of the Vedas he was subject to the three
usual kinds of misery, but afterwards he was more grieved because of the
added afflictions of the practices of the study, the fear of forgetting
and slips or defeat and conceit.
20. ‘O Sage’, said Narada to Sanatkumara, ‘learned as I am in the
studies, I am subject to grief. Please take me beyond this ocean of
misery’. The Rishi told Narada in reply that the farther shore of the
ocean of misery is the bliss of Brahman.
21. As the happiness derived from sense-objects is covered by thousands
of afflictions, it is misery only. There is therefore no happiness in
22. (Objection): Granting there is no happiness in duality, there is no
happiness in non-duality either. If you maintain that there is, then it
must be experienced and then there will be the triad.
23. (Reply): ‘Let there be no experience of happiness in the state of
non-duality. But non-duality itself is bliss.’ ‘What is the proof?’
‘The self-revealing requires no other proof’.
24. Your objection itself is evidence of the self-revealing nature of
the existence of self-conscious non-duality; for you admit the existence
of the secondless and merely contend that it is not bliss.
25. (Objection): I do not admit non-duality but only accept it as a
hypothesis to be refuted. (Reply): Then tell us what existed before
26. Was it non-duality or duality or something different from both? It
cannot have been the last because it is impossible to conceive so. It
cannot have been duality because it had not yet emerged. Hence
non-duality alone remains.
27. (Objection): The truth of non-duality is established by argument
only and not by experience, it cannot be experienced. (Reply): Then tell
whether your argument can or cannot be supported by illustration; it
must be the one or the other.
28. You deny (the possibility of) the non-dual experience. (At the same
time if you say) there is no illustration (in support of the argument
that establishes non-duality) it would be a wonderful logic ! (You
cannot say there is no illustration in its favour, for an argument must
be supported by an illustration). In case there are examples please give
us an acceptable one.
29. (Objection): (Here is the argument with illustration). In
dissolution there is non-duality, since duality is not experienced
there, as in deep sleep. (Reply): Please give an illustration to support
your affirmation of the absence of duality in deep sleep.
30. (Objection): The sleeping state of some other person may be an
illustration. (Reply): You are indeed a clever man; you have no
knowledge of your own experience in deep sleep, which you are going to
prove by giving the illustration of another’s deep sleep and yet you
profess to know that of another.
31. (Objection): The other person is in deep sleep since he is inactive
as in my case. (Reply): Then from the force of your illustration you
admit the self-revealing nature of the non-dual truth in your own sleep.
32. (How?) There are no sense-organs (for you say you are inactive);
there is no illustration (for the illustration adduced by you is
inadmissible) and yet there is the non-dual (which you admit); this is
what is known as the self-revealing nature of the non-dual. So you are
forced to admit it.
33. (Objection)): Admitted that there is the non-dual in deep sleep and
that it is self-revealing, what about the bliss you spoke of? (Reply):
When all misery is absent, that which remains is bliss.
34. In deep sleep the blind are not blind, the wounded not wounded and
the ill no longer ill, say the scriptures. All people too know this.
35. (Objection): The absence of misery does not necessarily imply bliss,
since objects like stone or clay are not seen to experience either
misery or happiness. (Reply): This is a false analogy.
36. One infers another’s grief or joy from his face, melancholy or
smiling, but in clay this inference of grief etc., from such indications
37. Our happiness and misery, however, are not to be known by inference;
both their presence and absence are directly experienced.
38. In the same way the absence of all miseries is directly experienced
in deep sleep and since they are the opposites to bliss their total
absence is unhindered bliss which has to be accepted as our experience.
39. If sleep does not produce an experience of bliss why do people make
so much efforts to procure soft beds etc.,?
40. (Objection): It is only to remove pain. (Reply): That is true for
the sick alone. But since healthy people do so too, it must be to obtain
41. (Objection): Then the happiness in sleep is born of objects due to
the bed etc. (Reply): It is true that the happiness before going to
sleep is due to these accessories.
42. But the happiness experienced in deep sleep is not obtained from any
object. A man may go to sleep expecting to be happy, but before long he
experiences a happiness of a higher order.
43. A man fatigued in the pursuit of worldly affairs lies down and
removes the obstacles to happiness. His mind being calm, he enjoys the
pleasure of resting in bed.
44. Directing his thoughts towards the Self, he experiences the bliss of
the Self reflected in the intellect. But experiencing this, even here he
becomes tired of the pleasures derived of the triad (of experiencer,
experience and experienced).
45. To remove that weariness the Jiva rushes towards his real Self and
becoming united with it experiences the bliss of Brahman in sleep.
46. The scriptures give the following examples to illustrate the bliss
enjoyed in sleep: the falcon, the eagle, the infant, the great king and
the knower of Brahman.
47. Tied to a string, the falcon, flying hither and thither but failing
to find a resting place, returns to rest on the wrist of its master or
on the post to which it is tied.
48. Similarly the mind, which is the instrument of the Jiva, moves on in
the dreaming and waking states in order to obtain the fruits of
righteous and unrighteous deeds. When the experiencing of these fruits
ceases, the mind is absorbed in its cause, undifferentiated ignorance.
49. The eagle rushes only to its nest hoping to find rest there.
Similarly the Jiva eager only to experience the bliss of Brahman rushes
50. A tiny tot having fed at the breast of its mother, lies smiling in a
soft bed. Free from desire and aversion it enjoys the bliss of its
51. A mighty king, sovereign of the world, having obtained all the
enjoyments which mark the limits of human happiness to his full
contentment, becomes the very personification of bliss.
52. A great Brahmana, a knower of Brahman, has extended the bliss of
knowledge to its extreme limit; he has achieved all that was to be
achieved and sits established in that state.
53. These examples of the ignorant, infant, the discriminative king and
the wise Brahmana are of people considered to be happy. Others are
subject to misery and are not very happy.
54. Like the infant and the other two, man passes into deep sleep and
enjoys only the bliss of Brahman. In that state he, like a man embraced
by his loving wife, is not conscious of anything either internal or
55. Just as what happens outside in the street may be called external
and what is done inside the house internal, so the experiences of the
waking state may be called external and the dreams produced inside the
mind and the nervous system may be called internal.
56. The Shruti says: ‘In sleep even a father is no father’. Then in the
absence of all worldly ideas the Jivahood is lost and a state of pure
57. One having such notions as ‘I am a father’ experiences joy and
grief. When such attachment perishes, he rises beyond all sorrow.
58. A text of the Atharva Veda says: ‘In the state of deep sleep, when
all the objects of experience have been absorbed and only darkness
(Tamas) prevails, the Jiva enjoys bliss’.
59. A man from deep sleep remembers his happiness and ignorance and
says: ‘I was sleeping happily; I knew nothing then’.
60. Recollection presupposes experience. So in sleep there was
experience. The bliss experienced in dreamless sleep is revealed by
consciousness itself which also reveals the undifferentiated ignorance
(Ajnana) covering bliss in that state.
61. The Vajasaneyins say: ‘Brahman is of the nature of consciousness and
bliss’. Therefore the self-luminous bliss is Brahman itself and nothing
62. The mind and the intellect sheaths are latent in the state called
ignorance. Deep sleep is the condition in which these sheaths are latent
and it is therefore a state of ignorance.
63. Just as melted butter again becomes solid, the two sheaths in the
states following deep sleep again become manifest. The state in which
the mind and intellect are latent is called the bliss-sheath.
64. The modifications (Vritti) of the intellect in which, just before
sleep, bliss is reflected becomes latent in the state of deep sleep
along with the reflected bliss and is known as the bliss-sheath.
65. This Vritti thus turned within, which is termed the bliss-sheath,
enjoys the bliss reflected on it in association with the modifications
of ignorance, catching the reflection of consciousness.
66. The adepts in Vedanta say that the modifications of ignorance are
subtle, whereas those of the intellect are gross.
67. This is fully explained in the Mandukya and Tapaniya Upanishads. It
is the sheath of bliss which is the enjoyer and it is the bliss of
Brahman which is enjoyed.
68. This profusion of bliss (Anandamayah), having become concentrated
into one mass of consciousness in the deep sleep, enjoys the (reflected)
bliss of Brahman with the help of modifications (Vrittis) reflecting a
superabundance of consciousness.
69. The self (Chidabhasa) in the waking and dream states, is connected
or associated with various sheaths such as Vijnanamaya and appears as
many (i.e., plays various roles). In the deep sleep state, however, they
get merged and become latent like a dough of many (powdered)
70. The modifications of the intellect, which are instruments of
cognition, unite and become one in the state of sleep, just as drops of
cold water in the Himalayan regions solidify into a mass of ice.
71. This witness state of compact consciousness, ordinary people and the
logicians say, is characterised by the absence of suffering, because in
that state the mental modifications of pain and misery subside.
72. In the enjoyment of the bliss of Brahman in deep sleep, the
consciousness reflected in ignorance is the means. Prompted by its
Karma, good or bad, the Jiva gives up the enjoyment of bliss and goes
out to the waking state.
73. The Kaivalya Upanishad says that a Jiva passes from the sleeping to
the waking state owing to the effects of the actions of former births.
Reawakening thus is a result of actions.
74. For a short time after the waking up the impression of the bliss of
Brahman enjoyed during sleep continues. For he remains for some time
calm and happy, without taking any interest in the enjoyment of external
75. Then, impelled by his past actions ready to bear fruits, he begins
to think of duties and their implementation entailing sufferings of many
kinds and gradually forgets the bliss of Brahman experienced (a few
76. Experiencing the bliss of Brahman before and after sleep day after
day man develops a predilection for it. How can a man, therefore, doubt
it (i.e., the existence of the bliss of Brahman)?
77. (Objection): Well, if a mere state of quietude were enjoyment of the
bliss of Brahman then the lazy and the worldly would achieve the end of
their life. What then is the use of the teacher and the scriptures?
78. (Reply): Your contention would be correct, if he realised that the
bliss that he experienced was the bliss of Brahman. But who can know
Brahman that is so immensely profound without the help of the teacher
and the scripture?
79. (Objection): I know what Brahman is from what you yourself have
said. Why then am I without the bliss of realisation? (Reply): Listen
to the story of a man who like yourself imagined that he was wise.
80. This man, hearing that a large reward was offered to anyone who knew
the four Vedas, said, ‘I know from you that there are four Vedas. So
give me the reward’.
81. (Objection): He knew the number, not the text, of the Vedas fully.
(Reply): You too have not known Brahman fully.
82. (Objection): Brahman is by nature indivisible and is bliss absolute,
untouched by Maya and its effects. How can you speak of the knowledge of
Brahman as complete or incomplete?
83. (Reply): Do you simply say the word ‘Brahman’ or do you see its
meaning? If you know only the word, it remains for you to acquire
knowledge of its meaning.
84. Even if with the help of grammar and so forth you learn its meaning,
still realisation remains. Serve your teacher until you have realised
Brahman and known that there is nothing further to be known.
85. Leave the vain argument alone and know that whenever happiness is
felt in the absence of objects, that happiness is an impression of the
bliss of Brahman.
86. Even when on the acquisition of the desired external objects the
desire becomes quiescent and the Vritti is directed inward, it reflects
the bliss of Brahman. (This is what is known as ‘reflected’ bliss or
Vishayananda or bliss derived from the enjoyment of external things.)
87. There are thus only three kinds of bliss experienced in the world:
(1) Brahmananda, the bliss of Brahman; (2) Vasanananda, the bliss
arising in the quiescent mind out of the impressions of Brahmananda and
(3) Vishayananda, the bliss resulting from the fulfilment of the desire
to be in contact with external objects.
88. Of these, the self-revealing bliss of Brahman gives rise to the
other two kinds of bliss, the Vasanananda and the Vishayananda.
89. The fact that the bliss of Brahman is self-revealing in deep sleep
is established by the authority of the scriptures, by reasoning and by
one’s experience. Now hear about its experience at other times.
90. The Jiva which is called Anandamaya, enjoying bliss of Brahman
during sleep gets identified with the intellect-sheath during the
dreaming and waking states, as he changes his seat from one state to
91. The Shruti says that in the waking state the Jiva abides in the eye
i.e., the gross body; in the dreaming state in the throat and in deep
sleep in the lotus of the heart. In the waking state the Jiva pervades
the whole gross body from head to foot.
92. In the waking state the Jiva gets identified with the body, as fire
with a red-hot ball of iron. As a result of this he comes to feel with
certainty: ‘I am a man’.
93. The Jiva experiences the three states of detachment, joy and
suffering. Joy and suffering are the results of actions; detachment
94. Pain and pleasure are of two sorts as the experience is limited
within the mind or is external to it also. The state of detachment
appears in the intervals between pain and pleasure.
95. ‘Now I have no worries, I am happy’, thus do people describe the
natural bliss of the Self in the state of detachment.
96. But in this state the natural bliss of the Self is not primary for
it is obscured by the idea of egoity and the bliss so experienced is not
the bliss of Brahman but only an impression of it.
97. The outside of a pot full of water feels cold. Actually there is no
water outside but coldness only. It is from this property of water that
the presence of water inside is inferred.
98. Similarly, as one forgets one’s egoity by continued practice, one
can comprehend through intuitive perception one’s natural state of
99. By continued practice of all kinds the ego becomes exceedingly
refined. This state is not sleep because the ego is not completely
absorbed; moreover the body does not, as in sleep, fall to the ground.
100. The bliss in which there is no experience of duality and which is
not sleep either, is the bliss of Brahman. So said Lord Krishna to
101. ‘By the steady application of reason and discrimination an aspirant
should gradually control his mind. He should keep the mind fixed on the
Self and restrain it from thinking of anything else’.
102. ‘Whenever the mind which is restless and fickle, wanders away, the
aspirant should restrain it and concentrate it on the Self’.
103. ‘The Yogi whose mind is perfectly tranquil, whose passions are
subdued, who is sinless and has become Brahman, attains the supreme
104. ‘When by practice of Yoga, his mind is withdrawn and concentrated,
the Yogi sees the Self by the Self and finds supreme satisfaction in the
105. ‘When he obtains that supreme bliss which is beyond the senses, but
which can be grasped by the intellect, he becomes firmly rooted in it
and is never moved from it’.
106. ‘Attaining it he considers no other gain as superior. Once
established in it he is not disturbed even by great sorrow’.
107. ‘This science of separation from the painful association is called
Yoga. This Yoga must be practised with faith and a steady and
108. ‘A Yogi who is free from imperfections and is ever united with his
Self, experiences easily the supreme bliss of identity with Brahman’.
109. ‘The control of the mind can be achieved by untiring practice over
a long period, even as the ocean can be dried up by baling its waters
out drop by drop with a blade of grass.’
110. In the Maitrayani Upanishad of the Yajur Veda, sage Sakayanya spoke
of the great bliss experienced in Samadhi to the royal sage Brihadratha
while discoursing on Samadhi.
111. ‘As fire without fuel dies down and becomes latent in its cause, so
the mind, when its modifications have been silenced, merges in its
112. ‘To the mind fixed on Reality, merged in its cause and impervious
to the sensations arising from the sense-objects, the joys and sorrows
(together with their occasions and materials) experienced as a result of
the fructifying Karma seem unreal’.
113. ‘The mind is indeed the world. It should be purified with great
effort. It is an ancient truth that the mind assumes the forms of the
objects to which it is applied.’
114. ‘Through the purification of his mind a man destroys the
impressions of his good and evil Karma and the purified mind abiding in
Atman enjoys undiminishing bliss’.
115. ‘If a man were to focus his mind on Brahman, as he commonly does on
the objects of senses, what bondage would he not be free from?’
116. ‘Mind has been described as of two types, pure and impure. The
impure is that which is tainted by desires, the pure is that which is
free from desires’.
117. ‘The mind alone is the cause of bondage and release. Attachment to
objects leads to bondage and freedom from attachment to them leads to
118. ‘The bliss arising from absorption in the contemplation of the
Self, when all sins and taints are washed off through the practice of
Samadhi, cannot be described in words. One must feel it in one’s own
119. Though it is rare for men to keep their minds long in the state of
absorption, still even a glimpse of it confers conviction about the
bliss of Brahman.
120. A man who has full faith in the truth of this bliss and is
ceaselessly industrious about getting it, is sure to have it even for a
short while; but this is enough to convince him of its reality at other
121. Such a man ignores the bliss experienced in the state of mental
quiescence and is ever devoted to the supreme bliss and meditates on it.
122. A woman devoted to a paramour, though engaged in household duties,
with all the time be dwelling in mind on the pleasures with him.
123. Similarly the wise one who has found peace in the supreme Reality
will be ever enjoying within the bliss of Brahman even when engaged in
124. Wisdom consists in subjugating the desires for sense-pleasure, even
when the passions are strong and in engaging the mind in meditation on
Brahman with the desire to enjoy the bliss.
125. A man carrying a burden on his head feels relief when he removes
the load; similarly a man freed from worldly entanglements feels he is
126. Thus relieved of burden and enjoying rest, he fixes his mind on the
contemplation of the bliss of Brahman, whether in the state of
detachment or experiencing pain or pleasure according to fructifying
127. As a Sati about to enter the fire considers the delay in putting on
clothes and ornaments to be irritating, so also one devoted to the
achievement of the bliss of Brahman, feels about worldly objects that
obstruct the practice of meditation on bliss.
128. The sage, looking now at the bliss of Brahman and now at such
worldly objects as are not opposed to it, is like a crow that turns its
eye from one side to another.
129. The crow has only a single vision which alternates between the
right and left eye. Similarly the vision of the knower of Truth
alternates between the two types of bliss (of Brahman and the world).
130. Enjoying both the bliss of Brahman taught in the scriptures and the
worldly bliss unopposed to it, the knower of truth knows them both in
the same way as one who knows two languages.
131. When the knower experiences sufferings, he is not disturbed by them
as he would have been before. Just as a man half-immersed in the cool
water of the Ganges feels both the heat of the sun and the coolness of
the water, so he feels the misery of the world and the bliss of Brahman
at the same time.
132. The knower of truth, experiencing the bliss of Brahman in the
waking state experiences it also in the dreaming state, because it is
the impressions received in the waking state that give rise to dreams.
133. The impressions of ignorance still continue in the dreaming state.
So in a dream a wise man will experience sometimes joy and sometimes
suffering, without being affected by either.
134. In this Chapter, the first of the five dealing with the bliss of
Brahman, is described direct realisation of the Yogi revealing the bliss
1. (Question): A Yogi
can enjoy the natural bliss of the Self which is different from the
bliss of mental quiescence and the bliss of deep sleep; but what will
happen to the ignorant man?
2. (Reply): The ignorant are born in innumerable bodies and they die
again and again – all owing to their righteous or unrighteous deeds.
What is the use of our sympathy for them?
3. (Doubt): Because of the desire of the teacher to help his ignorant
pupils he can do something for them. (Reply): Then you must tell whether
they are willing to learn the spiritual truth or are averse to it.
4. If they are still devoted to external objects, some suitable kind of
worship or ritual can be prescribed for them. If, on the other hand,
they, though spiritually dull, desire to learn the truth, they can be
instructed in the knowledge of the bliss of the Self.
5. Yajnavalkya instructed this by pointing out to his beloved wife,
Maitreyi, that ‘a wife does not love her husband for his sake’.
6. The husband, wife or son, riches or animals, Brahmanahood or
Kshatriyahood, the different worlds, the gods, the Vedas, the elements
and all other objects are dear to one for the sake of one’s own Self.
7. A wife shows affection to her husband when she desires his company;
the husband too reciprocates but not when he is engaged in worship or
afflicted with illness, hunger and so forth.
8. Her love is not for her husband’s sake but for her own. Similarly the
husband’s love also is for his own satisfaction and not for hers.
9. Thus even in the mutual love between husband and wife the incentive
is one’s own desire for happiness.
10. A child, when kissed by its father, may cry, being pricked by the
latter’s bristly beard, still its father goes on kissing the child – it
is not for its sake but for his own.
11. Wealth and gems have no likes or dislikes of their own, but their
owner looks after them with love and care. It is for his own sake, none
doubts it to be for theirs.
12. A merchant forces his bullock, though unwilling, to carry a load. He
loves the bullock for his own sake, how can it be for the bullock’s?
13. A Brahmana knowing that he deserves respect, is satisfied when he
receives it. This satisfaction is not felt for his caste, an insentient
abstraction, but for the man himself.
14. A king feels exalted that he is a Kshatriya and hence is a ruler,
but the feeling is not for the caste. The same applies to men of Vaishya
and other castes also.
15. The desire, ‘May I attain the region of heaven or of Brahma’, is not
for the well-being of those regions but only for one’s own enjoyment.
16. People worship Shiva, Vishnu and other deities to destroy sins. It
is not for the sake of the deities who are already free from sins, but
for their own sake.
17. The Brahmanas study the Rig and other Vedas to avoid falling from
their (respectable) Brahminhood; this applies to men only and not to the
18. People want the five elements, viz., earth, water, fire, air and
Akasa, because of their usefulness to them in giving shelter, quenching
their thirst, cooking, drying and space for movement and not for the
sake of the elements themselves.
19. People desire to have servants or masters for their own benefit and
not for the benefit of (servants or masters) themselves.
20. There are plenty of such examples to enable one to study and come to
the same conclusion on all occasions. By these one should convince one’s
mind that for every man the Self is the only real object of love.
21-22. (Doubt): What type of love is it that the scriptures say is felt
towards the Self? Is it the passionate attachment which is felt towards
wife and other objects, the faith which is experienced in sacrifices and
other rituals, the devotion which a man cherishes towards God and his
teacher or is it the desire one feels for something one does not possess? (Reply): The real love of the Self is that which, in the absence of
these emotions, manifests itself owing to the preponderance of Sattvika
quality in the intellect. This love of the Self is different from
desire, for it exists even when desire is present or destroyed.
23. (Doubt): Be it so, but food, drink etc., are liked because of their
quality of giving happiness (and not for their own sake).
24. If you say that the Self is also a means to happiness like food and
drink, then we ask: who is it that enjoys happiness? One and the same
thing cannot be both the subject and the object of enjoyment.
25. Love for the means to happiness is partial love, but the love for
the Self is infinite. The love for the means passes from one object to
another, but the love for the Self is steadfast.
26. Love for an object of happiness always passes from one to another;
(they are objects that can be accepted or rejected); but the Self cannot
be treated like that; so how can love of Self change?
27. (Doubt): Even though it cannot be accepted or rejected the Self may
be regarded as an object of indifference, like a piece of straw.
(Reply): No, because it is the very Self of the person who is to regard
it with indifference.
28. (Doubt): People begin to hate the Self when they are overpowered by
disease or anger and wish to die. (Reply): This is not so.
29. When they desire to do away with the body it is an object for
rejection, not their Self. The Self is the subject that desires the end
of the body and it feels no hatred for itself. What harm is there if
they hate the body, an object?
30. All objects are desired for the sake of the Self and hence of all
the objects that are loved the Self is dearest. A man’s son is dearer to
him than his son’s friends.
31. ‘May I never perish, may I ever exist’ is the desire seen in all. So
love for the Self is quite evident.
32. Though the Self as the object of the highest love is taught by the
scriptures and proved both by reasoning and experience, there are some
who hold that the Self is merely secondary to son, wife etc., as an
object of love.
33. To support this they quote the Shruti: ‘The son indeed is the Self’,
which shows the superiority of the son. This has been clearly spoken of
in the Upanishad.
34. ‘The (father’s) Self, born in the form of the son, becomes his
substitute for the performance of meritorious deeds. The Self of the
father, having fulfilled its purpose (by begetting a son) and having
reached old age, departs’.
35. A verse in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says that in spite of the
existence of the Self a man who has no son does not go to heaven. So the
thinkers said that a son who is well trained in the Vedas helps his
father to attain heaven.
36. The joys of this world can be attained through the son and not by
other things. The dying father therefore should instruct his son the
Vedic truth, “You are Brahman”.
37. These Vedic verses are quoted to prove the importance of son, wife
and so forth (and one’s own Self as secondary). Ordinary people too
admit the greater importance of a son.
38. A father labours hard to acquire wealth for the maintenance of his
sons and others after his death. Hence the son is superior to the Self.
39. All right, but these texts do not prove the Self to be less
important. It is to be remembered that the word ‘Self’ is used in three
senses, figurative, illusory and fundamental.
40. In the expression ‘Devadatta is a lion’, the identification is
figurative, for the difference between the two is evident. Similar is
the case of the son and others as the Self.
41. Difference exists between the five sheaths and the Witness, though
it is not evident and so the sheaths are illusory, like the thief seen
in the stump of a tree.
42. The witness-consciousness is without a second and therefore in it
there neither appears nor is any difference. As it is the innermost
essence it is accepted that the word ‘Self’ in its fundamental sense
refers to the Witness itself.
43. As the word ‘Self’ has these three meanings in daily use the
suitable one becomes primary, the other two becoming merely secondary.
44. In the case of a dying man, giving charge of the family property and
tradition to his son, the figurative meaning of ‘Self’ fits in, not the
primary or the illusory meaning.
45. In the sentence ‘the reciter is the fire’ the term ‘reciter’ cannot
actually refer to fire, for the latter is incapable of reciting, but
must mean a Brahmachari who is able to do so.
46. In such expressions as ‘I am thin and I must get fatter’, the body
should be taken as the Self. For the sake of one’s own growing fat
nobody engages his son in eating.
47. In such expressions as ‘I shall attain heaven by austerities’ the
doer (the intellect-sheath) should be regarded as the Self. So ignoring
the physical enjoyment people practise severe austerities.
48. When a man says, ‘I shall be free’, he then acquires knowledge (of
the Self) from the teacher and the scripture and desires nothing else.
Here the word ‘I’ should be regarded as the witness Self.
49. Just as Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas are entitled to perform
the sacrifices called Brihaspati-sava, Rajasuya and Vaishyastoma
according to their fitness, so the figurative, illusory and fundamental
selves are meant in different contexts.
50. Infinite love is always left for the Self which is primary in any
particular context; and for whatever is related to it there is just
moderate love and for all other things there is no love whatsoever.
51. Other things are of two kinds, to be ignored or hated. Straws lying
on the road are disregarded, whereas tigers and snakes are hated. So
things are of four kinds, loved, dearly loved, disregarded or hated.
52. The primary Self, things related to the Self and objects to be
disregarded or hated – of these four categories of things there is no
sacro-sanctity attached to any one of them that it would always be
primary or secondary etc. But it (their being primary or secondary
etc.,) depends on the effect they produce under particular
53. When a tiger confronts man, it is hated; when it is away, it is
disregarded; and when it has been tamed and made friendly, it causes
joy; thus it is related to him and is loved.
54. Even though no thing is primary or secondary by itself, there are
some characteristics to distinguish them under certain circumstances.
These characteristics are: their being favourable, unfavourable, or
neither of these.
55. The popular conclusion is that the Self is the dearest, the objects
related to it are dear and the rest are either disregarded or hated.
This is also the verdict of Yajnavalkya.
56. Elsewhere too the Shruti declares: ‘Know this Self as the dearest
which is more intrinsic than son, wealth and so forth’.
57. Through the eye of discrimination following the Shruti it becomes
clear that the witness-consciousness is the real Self. Discrimination
means separating the five sheaths and seeing the inner substance.
58. That is the self-luminous consciousness, the Self, which is the
witness of the presence and absence of the states of waking, dreaming
and deep sleep.
59. The various objects of enjoyment, from life down to wealth, are
objects of varying degrees of love according to their proximity to the
60. A son is dearer than wealth, the body dearer than the son, the
sense-organs dearer than the body, life and mind dearer than the sense
organs and the Self is supremely dearer than life and mind.
61. In the Shruti there is a dialogue between a wise and a dull-witted
man which illustrates the point that the Self is the dearest of all
62. The wise man holds that the witness-consciousness, is dearer than
all objects. The dull-witted man maintains that son and other objects
are dearer and that the witness-consciousness enjoys the happiness
caused by these objects.
63. The ignorant disciple and the confirmed opponent both assert that
something other than the Self (Atman) is the object of greatest love.
The reply given will prove to be an instruction to the disciple and a
curse to the confirmed opponent.
64. The wise man quotes the scripture in his reply: ‘Your dearest thing
will make you weep’. The pupil analyses this reply and finds out his
error in considering something other than the Self as the dearest.
65. When a married couple desire to have a son and do not have one, they
are disappointed and miserable. After conception, a miscarriage or the
pain of labour causes sorrow.
66. When a son is born he may suffer from diseases or from the position
of the planets at his birth, or he may be stupid or obstinate, or after
the investiture of sacred thread, he may study nothing or if he is
learned, he may remain unmarried.
67. Again he may start pursuing the wives of others, or he may have an
unwieldy family and remain in poverty, or he may grow wealthy and yet
die in his youth. Infinite are the sorrows of parents.
68. Having considered all this, the disciple must abstain from forming
an attachment to other things. He should focus his love on the Self and
contemplate It day and night.
69. The confirmed opponent, who does not give up his contention due to
obstinacy and hostility to the knower of truth, sinks into the depths of
darkness and suffers the pains of innumerable births.
70. The knower of Brahman is of the nature of Brahman and is described
as Ishvara, the all-powerful. Whatever he says will come to pass for the
pupil and the opponent.
71. He who contemplates the witness Self as the dearest of all objects
will find that this dearest Self never suffers destruction.
72. The Supreme Self, being the object of dearest love, is the source of
infinite joy. The Shruti has it that from the sovereignty of this world
to position of Hiranyagarbha, everywhere, wherever there is greater love
there is greater bliss.
73. (Doubt): If the nature of the Self is bliss as well as
consciousness, bliss should be found in all the modifications of the
mind, as is consciousness.
74. (Reply): Not so. A lamp burning in a room emits both light and heat,
but it is only the light that fills the room and not heat; similarly, it
is only consciousness which accomplishes the Vrittis (and not bliss).
75. An object may be characterised by odour, colour, taste and touch,
yet each of these properties is cognised by one particular sense-organ
and not the others. It is the same with the bliss of the Self.
76. (Doubt): Odours, taste and so forth differ from one another, but in
the Self consciousness and bliss are identical. (Reply): Tell whether
this identity is in the witness Self or elsewhere?
77. The odour, colour and other properties of a flower are not separate
from one another in the flower. If it be said that the separation of
these properties is brought about by the sense-organs, we rejoin that
the seeming difference between consciousness and bliss is produced by
(the predominance of Rajas or Sattva in) the Vrittis.
78. When there is a predominance of Sattva in the Vrittis, we realise,
because of their purity, that bliss and consciousness are one and the
same, but when Rajas predominates, because of its impurity, the bliss is
79. As the intensely sour taste of tamarind when mixed with salt is
lessened and taste less sour, so with bliss (when it is obscured by
80. (Doubt): By discrimination one can feel that the Self is the
dearest, but without the practice of Yoga what good is it (for
81. (Reply): The goal which is reached by Yoga can also be reached by
discrimination. Yoga is a means to knowledge; doesn’t knowledge arise
82. ‘The state achieved by the Sankhyas is also achieved by the Yogis’.
Thus it has been said in the Gita about the identity of the fruit of
both Yoga and discrimination.
83. Knowing that for some Yoga is difficult and for some others
knowledge, the great Lord Sri Krishna speaks of these two paths.
84. What speciality is there in Yoga when knowledge has been declared as
common to both? Both the Yogi and the Viveki (he who practises
discrimination) are alike freed from attachment and aversion.
85. One who knows the Self as the dearest has no love for any object of
enjoyment. So how can he have attachment? And how can he who sees no
object inimical to himself have any aversion?
86. Both the Yogi and the Viveki dislike objects unfavourable to the
body, mind etc. If it be said that he who has aversion for such objects
is not a Yogi, then we rejoin that equally so is he not a Viveki.
87. It may be said that though in the world of relative experience both
accept the conception of duality, the Yogi has the advantage that there
is no duality for him while in the state of Samadhi. Our reply is that
he who practises discrimination about the non-duality does not
experience duality at that time.
88. In the next chapter, called the ‘Bliss of Non-duality’ we will
enlarge on the theme of the absence of duality. Therefore things told
till now are free from defects.
89. (Doubt): He is a true Yogi who in his contemplation is
ever-conscious of the bliss of the Self and is unconscious of the
external world. (Reply): May the blessings of contentment ever abide
with you. (For the point is gained, this is the position of the Vivekin
90. In this second chapter of the section in which the bliss of Brahman
is discussed we have dealt with the bliss of the Self (Atmananda) for
the good of persons of spiritually dull intellect.
1. The bliss of Yoga which was
described earlier may be said to be the bliss of the Self. (Doubt): How
can the bliss of the embodied Self which is in duality be identical with
the bliss of Brahman (who is non-dual)? (Reply): Please listen.
2. As described in the Taittiriya Upanishad, the whole world, from Akasa
to the physical body, is not different from bliss. Therefore the bliss
of the Self is of the nature of the non-dual Brahman.
3. The world is born of bliss, it abides in bliss and is merged in
bliss. How then can it be anything other than this bliss?
4. The pot made by a potter is different from him, but let this not
create any doubt, for like the clay, bliss is the material cause of the
universe, not like the potter the efficient cause.
5. The existence and destruction of the pot are never seen to rest in
the potter, but its material cause, the clay. Similarly, according to
the Shruti passages their (the existence and destruction of the
universe) material cause is bliss.
6. The material cause is of three kinds: (1) the Vivarta, which gives
rise to a phenomenal appearance, not materially related to the cause;
(2) the Parinama which gives rise to an effect which is a modification
or change of state of the cause; and (3) the Arambha which consists of
effect being different from the causes. The last two (which presuppose
parts) have no scope with reference to partless Brahman.
7. The Arambhavadins accept the production of one kind of material from
another, as cloth from threads and they consider threads and cloth to be
8. Parinama is the change of one state of the same substance into
another, as milk into curd, clay into a pot and gold into an ear-ring.
9. But Vivarta is mere appearance of change of a thing or its state, not
a real change: like a rope appearing as a snake. It is seen even in a
partless substance, e.g., the Akasa (which has no shape or colour)
appearing as the blue dome.
10. So the illusive appearance of the world in the partless bliss can be
explained. Like the power of a magician, the power of Maya may be said
to bring the objective world into being.
11. Power does not exist apart from the possessor of power, for it is
always seen as inseparable from him. Nor can it be said to be identical
with him, for its obstruction is met with. If identical, in the absence
of power, of what is the obstruction?
12. Power is inferred from its effect. When its effects are not seen we
conclude that there is some obstruction to it. For instance, if the
flames of a fire do not burn, we infer the presence of some obstruction,
such as incantation etc.
13. The sages perceived that the power of Brahman called Maya is
concealed by its own qualities. Many are the aspects of this divine
power, which is manifest as action, knowledge and will.
14. “The supreme Brahman is eternal, perfect, non-dual and omnipotent”,
so says the Veda and Vasistha supports this.
15. ‘With whatever power He means to sport, that power becomes manifest.
O Rama, the power of Brahman which manifests itself as consciousness is
felt in the bodies of all beings’.
16. ‘This power abides as movement in the air, as hardness in stone, as
liquidity in water, as the power to burn in fire’.
17. ‘Similarly it abides as emptiness in Akasa and as perishability in
the objects which are subject to destruction. As a huge serpent is
latent in the egg, so the world is latent in the Self’.
18. ‘Just as a tree with its fruits, leaves, tendrils, flowers,
branches, twigs and roots is latent in the seed, so does this world
abide in Brahman’.
19. ‘Due to variations in space and time, somewhere, some times, some
powers emanate from Brahman, just as varieties of paddy from the earth.’
20. ‘O Rama, when the all-pervasive, eternal and infinite Self assumes
the power of cognition, we call it the mind’
21. ‘O Prince, first arises the mind, then the notion of bondage and
release and then the universe consisting of many worlds. Thus all this
manifestation has been fixed or settled (in human minds), like the tales
told to amuse children’.
22. ‘To amuse a child, O mighty one, the nurse relates some beautiful
story: Once upon a time there were three handsome princes’.
23. ‘Two of them were never born and the third was never even conceived
in his mother’s womb. They lived righteously in a city which never
24. ‘These holy princes came out of their city of non-existence and
while roaming saw trees, laden with fruits, growing in the sky’.
25. ‘Then the three princes, my child, went to a city which was yet to
be built and lived there happily, passing their time in games and
26. ‘O Rama, the nurse thus narrated the beautiful children’s tale. The
child too through want of discrimination believed it to be true.
27. ‘Thus to those who have no discrimination the world appears to be
real like the tale repeated to the child’.
28. By such entertaining tales Vasistha described the power of Maya.
This power is now being described more fully.
29. This power is different both from its effect and also from its
substratum. The blister (which is the effect) and the charcoal (the
substratum) are cognised objects; but the power to burn is inferred from
the effect (viz., the blister).
30. The pot with its properties of thickness, roundness and so forth, is
the product of power acting on the clay with its five properties of
sound, touch, form, taste and smell, but the power is different here
(from both the pot and the clay).
31. In the power (that creates the pot) there is neither form nor
quality; as it is it remains (even when it has produced the effect, it
undergoes no change). It is therefore said to be beyond thought and
32. Before the creation of the pot, the power (of giving rise to a pot)
is implicit in the clay. With the help of the potter and other means the
clay is transformed into a pot.
33. People of immature minds confound the properties of the effect with
those of the cause, the clay and speak of it as the pot.
34. The clay, before the potter worked on it, cannot be called a pot.
But it is proper to call it a pot when it acquires the properties such
as thickness, hollowness and so forth.
35. The pot is not different from the clay, as it has no existence apart
from the clay; it is neither identical with the clay, as in the
unmoulded clay it is not perceived.
36. Therefore the pot (a product of power) can only be called
indescribable, like the power which produces it. Hence the product of
power when imperceptible is simply called power and when perceptible it
is called a pot.
37. A magician’s power is not apparent earlier; it is only when he
brings it into operation that it appears as an army of Gandharvas and
38. Thus being illusive, in the scriptures, the products of power are
called unreal whereas reality is predicated only of the entity in which
the power inheres, e.g., of the clay in which the pot inheres.
39. A pot taken as a product of power is only a name composed of words;
it is not a real entity. Only the clay that possesses sound, touch,
form, taste and smell, is a real entity.
40. Of the three entities, the manifest (i.e., product of power), the
unmanifest (i.e., the power itself), and the substratum in which they
both inhere, the first two exist by turns (thus cancelling one another);
but the third persists in both (and at all times).
41. A product of power though visible has no real substance, as it is
subject to creation and destruction. When it appears, it is given a name
42. When the product perishes, its name continues to be used by men.
Since it is indicated only by name, it is said to be of nominal
43. This form of the product (of power, like the pot) is not real like
clay, because it is unsubstantial, destructible and a mere name based
44. The substance clay is said to be the real entity because by nature
it is unchanged, substantial and indestructible at all times, before the
production of the pot, after its destruction and even while it is
45. (Doubt): If the thing indicated by the three terms i.e., the
manifest, the pot and the modified form is unreal, why is it not
destroyed when the knowledge of its substratum (clay) dawns?
46. (Reply): With the knowledge of the substratum the pot is destroyed,
for your idea of the reality of the pot is removed. This is what is
meant by the destruction of the pot through knowledge; it does not mean
that the pot would cease to appear.
47. Though a man appears head downwards when reflected in water, he is
not so. No one would ever mistake it for the real person standing on the
48. According to the doctrine of the non-dualists, such knowledge (i.e.,
the knowledge of the unreality of the superimposed thing, the world),
gives liberation, the supreme goal of life. As the substratum clay is
not rejected, the appearance of a pot in it is accepted.
49. In an actual modification of the substratum, when milk is turned
into curd (for example), the former form, milk, disappears. But in the
modification of clay into a pot or gold into an ear-ring, the substratum
does not change.
50. (Doubt): When a pot is broken into pieces, they do not resemble the
original clay, for broken pieces only are seen. (Reply): It is not so,
for when reduced to powder they do. The persistence of gold in the
ear-ring is very clear.
51. When milk is turned into curd, actual change of substance takes
place. Milk ceases to exist as such and cannot be recovered from the
curd. By this, the case of a clay-pot or a gold-ring (as examples of
Vivarta) does not suffer.
52. According to the Arambhavadins, clay should have two sets of
properties, viz., those of the cause and those of the effect, for they
hold, the properties of the effects are different from those of the
cause, which is, however, not the case.
53. The sage Aruni mentions the three examples of clay, gold and iron
(only to show that all effects are only phenomenal). Therefore one
should fix in mind the unreality of all effects.
54. Aruni holds that a knowledge of the cause implies a knowledge of all
its effects. But how would a knowledge of the unreal effects arise from
a knowledge of their real cause?
55. According to the common view, an effect, such as a pot, is a
modification of its material cause, clay; the clay portion of the pot is
the real substance. Therefore when the cause of the pot is known, the
real portion of substance of the pot is also known.
56. The unreal portion of the effect need not be known, because its
knowledge serves no useful purpose. A knowledge of the real substance is
necessary for men, whereas a knowledge of the unreal portion is useless.
57. (Doubt): The statement that through the knowledge of the cause you
arrive at a knowledge of the effect amounts to saying that by a
knowledge of clay you acquire a knowledge of clay. What is there
wonderful about it?
58. (Reply): The real substance in the effect (pot) is identical with
its cause. This may not be surprising to the wise but who can prevent
the ignorant being surprised at this?
59. The followers of Arambhavada and Parinamavada and ordinary men may
find it puzzling to hear that a knowledge of the cause should give a
knowledge of all its effects.
60. To direct the attention of the pupil to the non-dual truth, the
Chandogya Upanishad teaches that by a knowledge of the one cause all its
effects are known. It does not speak of the multiplicity of effects.
61. Just by knowing a lump of clay one knows all objects made of clay,
so by knowing the one Brahman one knows (the real element of) the whole
62. The nature of Brahman is existence, consciousness and bliss, whereas
the nature of the world is name and form. In the
Nrisimha-Uttara-Tapaniya Upanishad existence, consciousness and bliss
are said to be the ‘indications’ of Brahman.
63. Aruni described Brahman as of the nature of existence, the
Bahvirchas of the Rig-Veda as consciousness and Sanatkumara as bliss.
The same is declared in other Upanishads.
64. After creating names and forms Brahman remains established in His
nature, i.e., remains as immutable as ever, says the Purusha Sukta.
Another Shruti says that Brahman as the Self reveals names and forms.
65. Another Shruti says that before creation the universe was unmanifest
and that afterwards it became manifest as name and form. Here Maya, the
inexplicable power of Brahman, is referred to as ‘unmanifest’.
66. This Maya, which rests unmanifest in the immutable Brahman,
subsequently undergoes numerous modifications. ‘Know Maya as Prakriti
(the material cause of the universe), and the supreme Lord as the Ruler
(substratum) of Maya’.
67. The first modification of Maya is Akasa; it exists, is manifest and
is dear to all. The special form of Akasa is space which is unreal, but
its other three properties (derived from its cause, Brahman), are not
68. The spatial property does not exist before manifestation and ceases
also to exist after destruction. That which is non-existent before
creation and after dissolution is so even in the present (i.e., during
69. Sri Krishna said to Arjuna: ‘O descendant of Bharata, beings are
unmanifest in the beginning, manifest in the present and unmanifest
again at the end’.
70. Just as clay exists (in its modifications such as the pot) in all
the three divisions of time, so existence, consciousness and bliss ever
pervade the Akasa, when the idea of space is negated from Akasa, what
remains is one’s own Self-existence, consciousness and bliss (infinity).
71. When the idea of space is negated from Akasa, what remains of it?
If you say, ‘Nothing remains’, we accept it and say that that which is
represented by the word ‘nothing’ is revealed.
72. Because it is such that we must attribute existence to the remaining
entity. Being productive of no misery, it is bliss, for the absence of
both the favourable and the unfavourable is the bliss of the Self.
73. One gets pleasure from a favourable object and grief from an
unfavourable one; but in the natural state, free from both, there is the
natural bliss of the Self. There is never any experience of misery in
74. The natural bliss of the Self is uniform and steady, but the mind
due to its fickle nature, passes in a moment from joy to sorrow. So both
are to be looked upon as the creations of the mind.
75. Thus in Akasa also we accept bliss, i.e., it is fundamentally
existence, consciousness and bliss and similarly we can establish that
the fundamental nature of all objects from air to the physical body is
essentially the same.
76. The special properties of air have been determined as motion and
touch; of fire, heat and light; of water, liquidity; and of earth,
77. Similarly the special properties of plants, foods, bodies and other
objects can be thought of by the mind.
78. In the manifold objects, different in names and forms, the common
element is existence, consciousness and bliss. Nobody can dispute this.
79. Both name and form are without any real existence because they are
subject to creation and destruction. So know them as superimposed by the
intellect on Brahman, just as waves and foam are on the ocean.
80. With the direct knowledge of Brahman, the eternal existence,
consciousness and bliss, names and forms slowly come to be disregarded.
81. The more is duality negated, the clearer does the realisation of
Brahman become and as realisation becomes perfect, names and forms come
to be disregarded of themselves.
82. When through the continuous practice of meditation a man is
established in the knowledge of Brahman, he becomes liberated even while
living. Then the fate of his body does not matter.
83. Thinking of Him, speaking of Him and making one another understand
Him – this is what the wise call ‘practice of Brahman-realisation’.
84. The longstanding impressions of the world on the mind are loosened
if this training of knowledge is constantly practised with earnestness
for a long time.
85. As the power inherent in the clay brings the pot into existence, so
the power of Maya inherent in Brahman creates many unreal things. This
is illustrated by sleep and dream conditions of living beings.
86. Just as in the sleeping state a power inherent in the Jiva gives
rise to impossible dreams, so the power of Maya inherent in Brahman,
projects, maintains and destroys the universe.
87. In dream a man may see himself flying in the sky or being beheaded.
In a moment he may live through the experience of many years. Or he may
dream of seeing a dead son and so forth.
88. ‘This is proper (possible) and this is not’ such discrimination is
not possible then. Whatever one perceives in dreams seems to be in the
89. When such is the glory of the power of sleep and dream, what is
there to wonder at the unimaginable glory of the power of Maya?
90. In a sleeping man various dreams are created; similarly the power of
Maya creates diverse appearances in the immutable Brahman.
91. Akasa, air, fire, water, earth, the universe, the different Lokas
(worlds) and animate and inanimate objects are appearances produced by
Maya. Pure consciousness appears as a reflection in the intellects of
92. Brahman characterised as existence, consciousness and bliss is the
common basis of both the animate and inanimate objects; they differ only
in their names and forms.
93. Just as many objects are seen in a picture, so the various names and
forms exist in Brahman. By negating both names and forms, one can
understand that what remains is existence, consciousness and bliss.
94. Even though a man standing on the bank of a river sees his body
reflected upside down in the water, he nevertheless identifies himself
with his own body in the shore; similarly an aspirant after realisation
of Brahman should know himself as Brahman.
95. Just as in day-dreaming, people see thousands of mental pictures,
but in the practical world they disregard them all, so should names and
forms be disregarded.
96. Different mental creations are formed every moment, while those
which pass are lost for ever. The objects of the practical world should
be looked upon similarly.
97. Childhood is lost in youth and youth is lost in old age. The father
once dead does not return. The day which is past never comes back.
98. How do the objects of the practical world, which are destroyed every
moment, differ from the forms created by the mind in imagination?
Though they appear, the idea of their reality should be given up.
99. When the objects of the world are disregarded, the mind freed from
obstacles rests in the contemplation of Brahman. Then like an actor, a
wise man is engaged in worldly concerns with assumed faith (and so is
not affected by them).
100. As the big rock lying in the bed of a river remains unmoved, though
the water flows over it, so also while names and forms constantly
change, the unchanging Brahman does not become otherwise.
101. As the sky with all its contents is reflected in a flawless mirror,
so the Akasa with all the universe within it is reflected on the one
partless Brahman, who is nothing but absolute consciousness and
102. Without seeing the mirror it is impossible to see the objects
reflected in it. Similarly wherefrom can there be any knowledge of names
and forms without a knowledge of their substratum, which is existence,
consciousness and bliss?
103. Having learnt of Brahman as existence, consciousness and bliss, one
should fix the mind firmly on Him and should restrain it from dwelling
on names and forms.
104. Thus Brahman is realised as existence, consciousness and bliss and
devoid of the phenomenal universe. May all people find rest in this
secondless bliss of Brahman.
105. In this third chapter of the section called ‘the Bliss of Brahman’,
is described the bliss of Non-duality which is to be obtained by
meditating on the unreality of the world.
1. Now is being described the bliss of
knowledge experienced by him who has realised the bliss of Brahman
through Yoga, discrimination of the Self and thinking of the unreality
2. Like the bliss arising from the contact of the mind with external
objects, the bliss arising from the knowledge of Brahman is a
modification of the intellect. It is said to have four aspects, in the
forms of absence of sorrow etc.
3. The four aspects of the bliss of knowledge are: absence of sorrow,
the fulfilment of all desires, the feeling 'I have done all that was to
be done’, and also the feeling ‘I have achieved all that was to be
4. Sorrow is twofold, that of this world and that of the next. The
cessation of the sorrow of this world has been described in the words of
the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
5. ‘When a man (Purusha) has realised the identity of his own Self with
That (Paramatman), desiring what and to please whom should he allow his
body and mind to be afflicted?’
6. The Self is spoken of as of two types: the individual Self and the
supreme Self. The consciousness, through identification with the three
bodies, thinks itself as the Jiva and becomes an enjoyer.
7. The supreme Self, who is by nature existence, consciousness and
bliss, identifying itself with names and forms becomes the objects of
enjoyment. When by discrimination it is disidentified from the three
bodies and names and forms, there is neither the enjoyer nor anything to
8. Desiring the objects of enjoyment for the sake of the enjoyer, the
Jiva suffers, being identified with the body. The sufferings are in the
three bodies, but there are no sufferings for the Self.
9. The diseases due to the disequilibrium of the bodily humours are the
suffering of the gross body; desire, anger etc., are the suffering of
the subtle body; and the source of the sufferings of both the gross and
subtle bodies is the suffering of the causal body.
10. The knower of the supreme Self, while discriminating about it as
mentioned in the Chapter on the ‘Bliss of Non-duality’, sees no reality
in any object of enjoyment. What then should he desire?
11. When the individual Self is determined (to be identical with the
immutable) through the methods mentioned in Chapter 12 on the ‘Bliss of
the Self’, there remains no enjoyer in this body. So how can there be
sufferings which are the result of identification with the body?
12. Anxiety regarding virtue and vice are the sufferings of the future
life. It has already been told in Chapter 11 that such anxiety cannot
affect the illumined man.
13. As water does not stick to the leaves of a lotus so after
realisation future actions cannot stick to the knower.
14. Just as the cotton-like flowers of the Ishika reed are burnt by fire
in a moment, so the accumulated past actions of the knower are burnt up
because of realisation.
15. Sri Krishna says: ‘Just as a blazing fire reduces the fuel to ashes,
so, O Arjuna, the fire of knowledge burns up all actions’.
16. ‘He who has no notion of I-ness and whose mind is not tainted by
desire for results of action is not really a killer even if he kills
people; he is not bound by his actions’.
17. In the Kausitaki Upanishad it is said that killing of parents,
stealing, causing abortion and such other sins do not affect his
illumination, nor is the colour (serenity) of his countenance marred.
18. It has been said in the Aitareya Upanishad that like the cessation
of all sorrows, the knower achieves all the desired objects also: ‘He
becomes immortal, achieving all the desired objects’.
19. In the Chandogya Upanishad it is said that the knower of Truth may
be seen laughing, playing, rejoicing with women, vehicles and other
things but he does not remember the body. The vital breath, impelled by
his fructifying actions keeps him alive.
20. ‘The knower of Brahman attains fulfilment of all his desires’. For
him unlike others, there are no enjoyments through rebirths and actions.
His bliss is unqualified and immediate and devoid of sequence or degree.
21-22. Whatever bliss is attained by a satisfied king who is young,
handsome, learned, healthy, strong of mind, who has suitable army and
rules over the whole world full of wealth and as such is endowed with
the totality of all human enjoyments, even that bliss the knower of
23. For both the king and the knower there is no attraction for worldly
enjoyment and so their happiness and contentment are comparable. One has
desirelessness because of enjoyment, the other because of
24. The knower of Brahman knows through his knowledge of the Vedic
scriptures the defects of the objects of enjoyment. King Brihadratha
gave examples of those defects in some songs.
25. Thus Brihadratha described the defects pertaining to the body, the
mind and the objects of enjoyment. As no one has liking for porridge
vomited by a dog, likewise the man of discrimination also has no liking
for the body etc.
26. Though there is similarity between the king and the knower of Truth
in desirelessness, there was misery for the king in accumulating the
objects of enjoyment and the fear of losing them in future follows him.
27. Both these miseries are absent for the knower; so his bliss is more
than that of the king. Besides, the king may have desire for the bliss
of the Gandharvas, but the knower has none.
28. One who has become a Gandharva, because of the particular result of
his meritorious actions as a man in the present cycle, is called a
29. If one becomes a Gandharva in the very beginning of the cycle,
because of his meritorious actions in the earlier cycle, he is called a
30. The Agnisvattas and others who dwell for a long time in their region
are called the Pitris. Those who have achieved the state of deities in
the beginning of their cycle are called Ajana-devatas.
31. Those who obtain the glorious position and are fit for worship by
the Ajana-devatas by performing the Asvamedha sacrifice and other good
actions, are the Karma-devatas.
32. Yama and Agni are foremost among the gods. Indra and Brihaspati are
well known (and superior to them). Prajapati is mentioned as Virat and
Brahma is called the Sutratman or Hiranyagarbha.
33. From the king to Brahma each desires the joy of the one higher than
himself; but the bliss of the Self which is beyond the grasp of the mind
and the senses, is superior to that of all others.
34. As the knower of the Vedas has no desire for all those coveted
pleasures, the bliss of all creatures are his.
35. This is described as ‘achieving all the desired objects’. Or it may
be explained as the witness-consciousness of the knower experiencing the
enjoyments of all the bodies, like those through his own body.
36. (Doubt): Being the witness-consciousness, even the ignorant man has
this (universal enjoyment). (Reply): No, being devoid of the knowledge
of himself as the witness he does not experience satisfaction. The
Shruti says that he who knows the truth achieves all the desired
37. Or he enjoys everything because he becomes all, as that famous
passage which expresses his all-pervading selfhood sings: ‘I am the food
as well as the eater of the food’.
38. Thus are established the nature of both the absence of misery and
the fulfilment of desires (experienced by the knower of the Self). His
other experiences, viz., the satisfaction of having done all that was to
be done and of having achieved all that was to be achieved may be seen
39. Both the topics have properly been dealt with in Chapter 7 on the
‘Lamp of Perfect Satisfaction’. These verses quoted below should be
meditated upon for the purification of the mind.
40. Before realisation one has many duties to perform in order to
acquire worldly and celestial advantages and also as an aid to ultimate
release; but with the rise of knowledge of Brahman, they are as good as
already done, for nothing further remains to be done.
41. The Jivanmukta always feels supreme self-satisfaction by constantly
keeping in view his former state and present state of freedom from wants
42. Let the ignorant people of the world perform worldly actions and
desire to possess wives, children and wealth. I am full of supreme
bliss. For what purpose should I engage myself in worldly concerns?
43. Let those desirous of joy in heaven perform the ordained rituals. I
pervade all the worlds. How and wherefore should I undertake such
44. Let those who are entitled to it, explain the scriptures or teach
the Vedas. I am not so entitled because all my actions have ceased.
45. I have no desire to sleep or beg for alms, nor do I do so; nor do I
perform the acts of bathing or ablution. The onlookers imagine these
things in me. What have I to do with their imaginations?
46. Seeing a bush of red gunja berries from a distance one may suppose
that there is a fire, but such as imaginary fire does not affect the
bush. So the worldly duties and qualities attributed to me by others do
not affect me.
47. Let those ignorant of the nature of Brahman listen to the teachings
of the Vedanta philosophy. I have Self-knowledge. Why again should I
listen to them? Those who are in doubt reflect on the nature of
Brahman. I have no doubts, so I do not do so.
48. He who is subject to erroneous conviction may practise meditation. I
do not confuse the Self for the body. So in the absence of such a
delusion why should I meditate?
49. Even without being subject to this delusion, I behave like a human
being through the impressions and habits gathered over a long period.
50. All worldly dealings will come to an end when the fructifying Karma
wears out. If it does not wear out, thousands of meditational bouts will
not stop the dealings.
51. To bring to an end your worldly dealings, you may practise
contemplation as much as you like, but I know the worldly dealings to be
perfectly harmless. Why should I then meditate?
52. There is no distraction for me, so for me there is no need of
Samadhi too. Both distraction and absorption are states of the
53. I am the sum of all the experiences in the universe; where is the
separate experience for me? I have obtained all that was to be obtained
and have done all that was to be done. This is my unshakeable
54. I am associationless, neither the doer nor the enjoyer. I am not
concerned with what the past actions make me do, whether in accordance
with or against the social or scriptural codes.
55. Or, there is no harm if I engage myself in doing good to the world
following the scriptural injunctions even though I have obtained all
that was to be obtained.
56. Let my body worship God, take bath, preserve cleanliness or beg for
alms. Let my mind recite ‘Aum’ or study the Upanishads.
57. Let my intellect meditate on Vishnu or be merged in the bliss of
Brahman, I am the witness of all. I do nothing nor cause anything to be
58. As he has achieved all that was to be achieved and nothing else
remains for him to do, he feels satisfied and always things thus:
59. Blessed am I, blessed, for I have the constant vision of my Self !
Blessed am I, blessed, for the bliss of Brahman shines clearly to me !
60. Blessed am I, blessed, for I am free from the sufferings of the
world. Blessed am I, blessed, for my ignorance has fled away, I know not
61. Blessed am I, blessed, for I have no further duty to perform.
Blessed am I, blessed, for I have now achieved the highest that one can
62. Blessed am I, blessed, for there is nothing to compare with my great
bliss ! Blessed am I, blessed, blessed, blessed, again and again blessed
63. O my merits, my merits, how enduringly they have borne fruit !
Wonderful are we, the possessors of this great merit, wonderful !
64. O how grand and true are the scriptures, the scriptures, O how grand
and great is my teacher, my teacher ! O how grand is this illumination,
this illumination, O how grand is this bliss, this bliss !
65. This fourth chapter of the section called the ‘Bliss of Brahman’
describes the ‘Bliss of Knowledge’. Until that bliss is attained a man
should engage himself in the practice of the contemplation of Brahman.
1. Now, in this Chapter is described
the bliss which is derived from (the contact of the mind with) external
objects, which may be called a door to the bliss of Brahman and an
aspect of it. The Shruti has established that it is an aspect of that
2. The Shruti says that this is the supreme bliss which is indivisible
and homogeneous, it is Brahman Himself and that other beings
(individuated by Avidya) enjoy only a fraction of it.
3. The mental modifications are of three kinds: serene (Sattvika),
agitated (Rajasika) and dull (Tamasika). The Sattvika modifications are
detachment, fortitude, liberality and so forth.
4. The Rajasika modifications are thirst and love for objects,
attachment (to them as if they were real), greed and so forth. The
Tamasika modifications are said to be delusion, fear and so forth.
5. The consciousness aspect of Brahman is reflected in all these
modifications, but in the Sattvika modifications alone joy also is
6. The Shruti says that entering into different bodies the supreme Self
assumes different forms. Vyasa, the author of the Brahma-Sutras, wrote
the Sutra which illustrates the entry of Brahman into the bodies by the
example of the sun (taking different forms) when reflected in different
7. (Another Shruti says): ‘The supreme Self, though one only, exists in
every object. Like the moon reflected in water, though one It appears as
8. The moon which is reflected in water is faint in muddy water and
clear in pure water. Similarly Brahman is two-fold according to the
quality of the Vrittis (modification) of the mind.
9. Because of the preponderance of impurities of the Rajasika and
Tamasika Vrittis, the blissfulness of Brahman is obscured; but because
of their slight purity the consciousness of Brahman is reflected.
10. Or as in pure water when heated there is the transmission of heat of
the fire and not its light, similarly in the Vrittis (in which Rajas and
Tamas predominate) there is the manifestation of consciousness only.
11. But as in (a piece of burning) wood both heat and light are
manifested, similarly in the Sattvika Vrittis both consciousness and
bliss are manifested.
12. These two illustrations make it clear that it is the nature of
things which determines what kind of manifestation they may give and it
is by experience that these properties are established.
13. Neither in Rajasika nor in Tamasika Vrittis the experience of bliss
is seen but in Sattvika Vrittis experience of happiness is seen to a
greater or lesser degree.
14. When a man has desires for houses, lands and other objects then
because of the agitated quality of this desire which is an effect of
Rajas, there is no happiness for him.
15. There is misery in thinking whether it will succeed; in failure this
misery increases; when there are obstacles to success, anger arises or
if opposed, hatred.
16. If the opposition is too formidable to be overcome, there is
despair; that is born of Tamas. In anger etc., there is great misery;
indeed even the chance of happiness is remote.
17. With the acquisition of the desired object the pleasing Vritti is
calmed and there is great happiness; and in actual enjoyment, the
happiness is greater. Even in the prospect of acquiring it, there is
18. But the greatest happiness is the outcome of detachment. This
subject has been dealt with in the Chapter on the ‘Bliss of Knowledge’.
Like this there is happiness in fortitude as well as in liberality,
because there are no anger and greed.
19. Whatever happiness is experienced it is Brahman alone because it is
a reflection of the bliss of Brahman. When the Vritti is directed inward
or is withdrawn, the reflection of bliss is unobstructed.
20. Existence, consciousness and bliss – these are the threefold nature
of Brahman. In objects like clay, stone and so forth, only existence is
manifest, whereas the other two are not.
21. Both existence and consciousness are manifest in the Rajasika and
Tamasika Vrittis of the intellect and all the three are manifest in the
Sattvika Vrittis. Brahman associated with the world including the
Vrittis is thus described.
22. Brahman not associated with the world is comprehended by knowledge
and Yoga. They have been spoken of earlier, the topic of Yoga in Chapter
11 and knowledge in the next two chapters.
23. The two, absence of consciousness and misery, and non-existence –
these are the three forms of Maya. Non-existence is illustrated by such
expressions as ‘the horns of a man’; absence of consciousness is seen in
such objects as wood, stone etc.
24. There is misery in the Rajasika and Tamasika Vrittis. Thus Maya is
manifested. Because of His identification with the Vrittis of the
intellect, which are Sattvika, Rajasika and Tamasika, Brahman is called
‘associated Brahman’ i.e., Brahman is associated with the world.
25. Such being the nature of Maya and Brahman, the man who wishes to
meditate on Brahman should ignore the objects which have no existence
(such as the horns of a man) and concentrate properly on other objects.
26. In stone etc., he should reject both name and form and meditate on
existence; in Rajasika and Tamasika Vrittis he should reject the misery
(which is associated with them) and meditate on existence and
27. And in the Sattvika Vrittis he should contemplate on all the three –
existence, consciousness and bliss. These three kinds of contemplation
are successively called inferior, middling and superior contemplations.
28. Even for a man of dull intellect meditation on the characteristics
of Brahman is good. To tell this only ‘the Bliss of Objects’ is
29. After having had enough of enjoyments, when the mental modifications
become indifferent to objects and become detached, the contemplation
regarding the bliss of impressions arise, which is the highest. Thus are
the four kinds of contemplation on Brahman described.
30. As in these four types of meditation there is an admixture of
knowledge and Yoga they are not mere meditations; but should be
considered as a (direct means of achieving) the knowledge of Brahman
itself. The mind being concentrated by meditation, this knowledge of
Brahman becomes steady.
31. In steady knowledge, existence, consciousness and bliss shine as a
single homogeneous entity and not as separate entities, their difference
having disappeared with the disappearance of their Upadhis or adjuncts.
32. It is said that the adjuncts creating difference are the Sattvika,
Rajasika and Tamasika Vrittis. Through either Yoga or discrimination
these disturbing Vrittis are removed.
33. When the associationless, self-luminous and secondless Brahman is
grasped or known, there is then no triad of knower, knowing and known.
So it is called infinite bliss.
34. In this, the fifth chapter of the section called ‘the Bliss of
Brahman’, ‘the Bliss of Objects’ has been dealt with. Through this door
enter (i.e., into the bliss of Brahman).
35. May the Lord who is both Hari and Hara ever be pleased by this
‘Bliss of Brahman’ and may He protect all creatures who take refuge in
Him and are pure in heart.
This site is devoted to presenting the ancient Self-Realization path
of the Tradition of the Himalayan masters in simple, understandable and
beneficial ways, while not compromising quality or depth.
Those practices include yoga meditation of the Yoga Sutras,
contemplation of Advaita Vedanta, and purely internal
kundalini-shakti practices of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra.