The Tattva Muktavali

The Tattva-Muktavali
by Pūr.nānanda Chakravartin

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   1. Victorious is the garland-wearing foster-son of Nanda,--the protector of his devotees,--the destroyer of the cruel king,--dark-blue like the delicate tamāla blossoms,--formidable with his many outspread rays,--mighty with all his attendant powers,and having his forehead radiant like the moon.
   2. This follower of the Purā.nas, who holds by his own belief, reads to his heart's content the Purā.na in the morning, and he listens devotedly with profound meditation, his whole mind intent on the meaning of the book.
   3. Having abandoned the doctrine of the oneness of the individual and the Supreme Soul, he establishes by argument their mutual difference; having used Šruti and Šm.riti as a manifold proof, he employs Inference in many ways in the controversy.
   4. This individual soul must be different from Brahman because it is always circumscribed,--many are the similar arguments which are to be acknowledged in the course of our reasonings.
   5. "Might we not say that a jar and a web could be called identical because both are cognizable?" But we cannot say so in regard to these two things in question, for Brahman alone is that which cannot be cognized.
   6. The sentence "Thou art That" (tat tvam asi) which is understood in its primary meaning as referring to the object of the Veda,--the author thus explains its meaning, as he knows his own doctrine, and has fixed his mind on the system of Duality; since the word 'that' (tat) is here indeclinable and implies a difference, and the word 'thou' (tvam) means that which is to be differentiated, the sign of the genitive case has been elided; "thou only," such is not the meaning of the sentence.
   7. He is all-knowing, all-seeing, Himself the three worlds, in whose belly thou art thyself contained,--He causes at once by a movement of the brow the creation, preservation, and absorption of all beings! Thou art ignorant, and only seest relatively, He is the adorable, the one Witness of all worlds; thou art changing, He is One; thou art all dull and stained, not such is He.
   8. As for the text "I am Brahman," you must take the nominative case as only used there for the genitive by the licence of an inspired speaker. How, if it were otherwise, would there be a genitive in the illustration, as in the sentence "as the sparks of the fire"?
   9. The poets call a lad fire (from his hot temper), the face the orb of a full moon, the eye a blue lotus, the bosom mount Meru, and the hand a young shoot; by a confusion of the superimposed appearance we may thus have the idea of identity where there is still a real difference; and so too must we deal with those words of Šruti "I am Brahman."
   10. As there are many waves in the sea, so are we many individual souls in Brahman; the wave can never become the sea; how then wilt thou, the individual soul, become Brahman?
   11. In the depths of all Šāstras the two things are both recognized, knowledge and ignorance; so too virtue and vice; and thus also science, and next to it closely clinging behind, but other than it, appears false science; thus everywhere there are opposite pairs, and similar is the notorious pair, Brahman and the soul. How can these two have oneness? Let the good answer with an upright mind.
   12. Thou, O Soul, art the reflection of the Supreme Being, who possesses the power of illusion and is the substratum of all, while He, the adorable, shines forth as Himself the original; the one moon in the sky is seen manifold in water and the like; therefore there is a difference between thee and Brahman as between the reflection and its original.
   13. Yonder Brahman is described by the words of the sacred texts as not to be known, nor to be reasoned about, and as devoid of all desire; but thou art within the range of speech and of thought; how shall there be oneness of thee and Brahman?
   14. Thou art verily bereft of thy understanding, O individual Soul, by the darkness of this doctrine of Māyā, while thou constantly proclaimest like a madman "I am Brahman"; where is thy sovereignty, where thy empire, where thy omniscience? There is as vast a difference between Brahman and thee as between mount Meru and a mustard-seed!
   15. Thou art a finite soul, He is indeed all-pervading; thou standest only on one spot, while He is everywhere always; thou, being of a moment, art happy and unhappy; He is happy at all times; how canst thou say "I am He"? Fie! art thou not ashamed?
   16. Glass is glass, and a gem is a gem; a shell is but a shell, and silver is silver; there is never seen a transposition among them. But wherever other things are imagined, to be found in something else, it is through an error; and so it is when the soul utters such words as "that art thou!"
   17. The meaning of the word "that" (tat) is an ocean of immortality, filled with manifest and supreme felicity; the meaning of the word "thou" is a most miserable being, bewildered in mind through the burden of the fear of existence; these two can never be one, they are divided by the nature of things; the doctrine of Non-unity is the truth for all worlds, thou art but His slave.
   18. If Brahman were meant by these words, the power employed would not be Denotation, for their literal meaning does not apply; consequently it must be the second power of a word, Indication.
   19. Yet if so, why should it be Indication? for this arises from some association with the primary meaning; but with what can that substance be associated which is disconnected with everything and without a second?
   20. That power of a word is Indication, by which, when the primary meaning is precluded, some other meaning is indicated in connexion therewith, through some motive or through common currency; and its causes are thus three.
   21. Now if there is no Denotation in a phrase, how can there arise any Indication? First there should be some primary meaning precluded, and then there may be the Indication of something else.
   22. Where there is no accepted Denotation, how can you there have Indication? If there is no village, how can there be a boundary?--there is no child without a father.
   23. "The lances enter, the swords, the bows and arrows,"--here we have Indication; for the sentence must suggest something else to complete itself, as there cannot be "entrance" in the case of an inanimate subject.
   24. "A herd-station on the Ganges,"--here we have the self-sacrifice of the primary to another meaning, since the Ganges, as being in the form of water, cannot be the site of a herd-station.
   25. In the example "ghī is life" there is produced the idea of sameness of form; in the example "this is life" there arises the idea of identity; but the knowledge of the meaning of the sentences will be produced by a metaphor,--there is not brought about a real oneness.
   26. The doctrine of Identity is established with a desperate effort, and men have recourse to the power "Indication"; but there are three things which should rise to our view,--the primary meaning, the indicated meaning, and their connexion.
   27. There is here no Denotation from the absence of conventional agreement; there is no Indication from the absence of any reason [to establish it]; by what reason, on the theory of Māyā, can Brahman be ever made known?
   28. He is described in the Veda by the primary power of words [Denotation] as the Maker of the Universe; and by Inference we establish the conclusion that all these things have a Maker.
   29. The Vedas are a proof, the Šm.ritis are a proof; there is a being to be proved and known there in many passages; it is the great Personality which is to be made known by all the Vedas,--therefore it is this which the Veda takes as its subject.
   30. True verbal testimony produces knowledge even in regard to that which is absolutely non-existent,--then how much more in regard to Brahman the Lord, the maker of all that moves or is motionless!
   31. It is said,"Speech retires therefrom together with the Mind,"--but this is its explanation,--give ear: Together with the Mind Speech makes Him its object, and then retires, because His nature is not to be fathomed.
   32. "Brahman is not to be made the object of mind or of words,"--from this saying it is understood that he is only to be declared by Revelation, Revelation has no faltering action.
   33. "He who is versed in the Word-Brahman attains to the highest Brahman,"--surely such words of inspired sages are not mistaken babble.
   34. Assuredly the conventional meaning of the words "existent," "thought," and "joy" applies to Brahman, just as the words "pot," "cloth," etc., refer to those particular objects.
   35. The perception of the conventional meaning of words is aroused by the dialogue of the orderer and the ordered; and afterwards by insertion and omission the child becomes thoroughly skilled in the use of the words.
   36. So through hearing the words of the teacher and repeated study of the šāstras the conventional meaning of such words as Brahman, etc., is assuredly produced in the pupil.
   37. This earth must surely have had a maker; for its having the nature of an effect is a sign, just as we see to be the case in pots, etc.
   38. If it is established that the supreme Lord is the maker, then his having a body follows as a matter of course; for in all effects, as pots and the like, the maker is seen to have a body and not to be bodiless.
   39. [The objector urges] "If the supreme Lord has a body, then he will be like to beings such as we are; there cannot be a maker without an intermediate agency,--I see no difference whatever."
   40. But great is the difference which is declared to exist between the Adorable Lord and men working with spades, sickles, ploughshares, and hands; these are helpless in the six waves [of human infirmity,] and wearied with the burden of labour,--He effects everything by a mere motion of his brow.
   41. The Master can make, not make, and alter; hence one may learn that vast is the interval between the two.
   42. If the body is called the site of enjoyment, it is well known that this definition will hold good [even in this highest case],--there is nothing deficient but everything is present in the Lord's body, since He is the husband of Lakshmī.
   43. "Every body is influenced by deserts,"--if this universal law is accepted, then He who is the Maker of all must be impelled [to create the world] by the deserts which dominate over beings like us.
   44. "Every body must be non-eternal,"--this is a general law, yet still Īšvara's body may be eternal; for earth is everywhere seen to be non-eternal, while in the form of its atoms it is eternal.
   45. One must not say, "why should the desert of one attach itself to another?" For it was in consequence of the respective merits and demerits of the elephant and the crocodile that the holder of the discus made all haste to interfere in the battle.
   46. It has been heard of old that all this universe proceeded from the lotus of the navel of the Lord; hence is it established that be has a body, for how can there be a navel without a body?
   47. The body of God is very pure,--to be enjoyed by all the senses, as being richly endowed with the six qualities,--and to be discovered by means of all the Vedas,--Gangā verily is the water wherewith he washes his feet.
   48. Whenever by the influence of time there comes the increase of evil and the diminution of right, then the adorable Lord accomplishes the preservation of the good and the destruction of the wicked.
   49. The Lord is said to be twofold, as the Incarnation and He who becomes incarnate; so too the souls are twofold, as divided into faithful and faithless.
   50. Now some say that the personal soul is only the reflection of the Supreme; but their opinion does not at all hold, since it cannot be established.
   51. For how could there arise a reflection of that Infinite and stainless one? and how could an insentient [reflection] enjoy the pain and pleasure arising from the merit and demerit declared in the Veda?
   52. There may indeed be a reflection of that which is limited; but how shall there be one of Him whose attribute is infinity?
   53. Rāmānuja, the foremost of the learned, condemned this theory of an original and its reflection; the fact that this doctrine is not accepted by the learned, will not make it seem more plausible.
   54. There is an eternal division between the two, from the words of the Veda, "two birds;" from the mention there of "two friends," how can there be identity between them?
   55. I become Brahman, that is, I cease to have mundane existence through beholding the soul in Brahman; the result of this would be the abolition of sorrow, etc., but in no way absolute Oneness.
   56. I become Brahman also through beholding Brahman in the soul; the result would be the abolition of His being out of sight, but in no way Oneness.
   57. It must not be said that by continued meditation with intent thought a man becomes Brahman; there will only enter into him a little merit; as we see indeed in the case of worms, bees, and the like;
   58. By devotedly worshipping Brāhmans without ceasing, a Šūdra will never become a Brāhman; there may enter into him a little merit, but one of the Šūdra caste will never become a Brāhman.
   59. The venerable author of the Aphorisms himself established a duality when he spoke of the application of the terms "object" and "agent"; and thus has it been explained by the author of the commentary by quoting passages of the Veda which imply duality, as that which says "the two entered the cave."
   60. The soul is also shown to be different [from Brahman] by the evidence of Šm.riti; thus their difference is proved to be essential. If it were not so, how could the Commentator have used such an expression as "the worshipper" and "the worshipped"?
   61. I am sometimes happy, sometimes miserable; He, the supreme Soul, is always essentially happy. Such is the difference,--then how can there be identity between these two different substances?
   62. He is eternally self-luminous and unobscured,-- intensely pure, the one witness of the world; not so is the individual soul,--thus a thunderbolt falls on the tree of the theory of Identity.
   63. For those who maintain the identity of the individual and supreme soul, the hypothesis of a dvandva compound is precluded; or they bring forward such words as d.rishadupala as parallel cases; the dvandva is only consistent with "difference," but in no way with "identity."
   64. Where identity is the meaning, there arises the karmadhāraya compound,--for [such a karmadhāraya as] nīlotpala "the blue-lotus" is used as implying that the two members of the compound refer to the same subject.
   65. As there are many passages in Šruti such as that which says "food is Brahman," so too this passage "I am Brahman" is to be understood as meaning worship.
   66. The doctrine of Identity is not true; wherever it appears to be declared in Šruti, all those passages are to be taken as only meaning worship.
   67. There are many sentences in the ancient Veda which speak for non-identity as also for identity; having expelled envy and discussed the truth, let the wise declare that which each thinks wholesome.
   68. O soul, bewildered by a deceived opinion, drive far from thy mouth these words "I am Brahman"; how canst thou be That, O thou who art utterly at the mercy of fate, plunged as thou art in the great ocean of mundane existence hard to be crossed!
   69. He who is the beloved of Lakshmi, the ambrosia-ocean, full of manifest supreme joy; the water of whose feet is Gangā, worthy to be worshipped by Rudra and the other gods; who before creation created all instantaneously by a movement of his brow,--how canst thou say, O soul, "I am He,"--thou who art a poor beggar, not a king.
   70. O slow of mind, how canst thou say, I am He with whom are filled all the vast stores of this universe in its entirety? Collect thy faculties calmly in thy heart and consider thine own power; can a host of fierce world-supporting elephants enter into the belly of a gnat?
   71. Whose art thou? whence art thou come? how is the course of this mundane bondage? Ponder this matter in thy heart and forsake the path of the erring. Say not "I am He"; but worship Hari continually in the relation of adorer and adored; by this thou mayst attain the happy journey, but otherwise thou wilt assuredly fall.
   72. Great is the misery which thou hast experienced, O Soul, while dwelling in the womb in various births, and thou hast wandered again and again in heaven or in hell; this theory "I am He" is an error of thine,--worship thou Hari's lotus feet; thou art His worshipper, He is the adorable, for He is the lord of the three worlds.
   73. Renouncing the so-called theory of identity, forthwith devote thyself to duality, if there now dwells in thy heart a supreme feeling of faith in Hari; and, having learned the doctrine in Nārada's Pańcharātra and everywhere else, let all the hymns of the Vaish.nava sacred books be thoroughly examined, as is truly for thy good.
   74. By what foolish teacher hast thou been instructed, that thou utterest these words "I am Brahman"? How art thou that being who is continually worshipped by Rudra and all the gods? O fool, consider it and see aright.
   75. The wicked cannot understand the difference between the embodied and the Supreme Souls; the great reason for this is a mind possessed by an evil obstinacy in favour of the doctrine of Illusion; just as the tongue of those who suffer from excess of bile cannot taste the sweetness of molasses, nor the eyes of those afflicted with gutta serena or jaundice see the whiteness of a shell.
   76. He by a particle of whose intellect thou, O Soul, hast been produced the foremost of intelligent beings--say not, O knave, that thou art He; for who but the ingrate desires to seize the seat of his Master?
   77. A particle of intelligence has been deposited in thee by the supreme Lord in His mercy,--it becomes thee not, O knave, to say that therefore thou art God; just as if some evil-minded man had received elephants, horses, and infantry from the king and then set his heart on seizing his kingdom.
   78. He under whose control is that mighty illusion which deceives the three worlds, He is to be recognized as the Supreme Lord, the adorable, essentially thought, existence and joy; but he who is himself always under her control like a camel drawn by a string through his nostrils, is to be recognized as the individual soul,--vast indeed is the difference between the two!
   79. Having studied the doctrines of the Sā"nkhya, Ka.nāda, and Gautama, and the doctrine of Patańjali, the doctrines of the Mīmā.msā and Bha.t.tabhāskara,--amidst all the six current systems,--let the wise tell the final conclusion if they can as to the real nature of the supreme and the individual soul,--is it duality, or is it oneness, or is it again a oneness in duality?
   80. In five of the systems I have only heard peremptorily asserted in many places the difference between the supreme and the individual souls; what is this that I hear asserted in the Vedānta system? "Plurality, unity, both,"--this is a threefold marvel!
   81. He who is the maker of all and the Lord of the world is independent by reason of his essential independence; the individual soul is notoriously dependent; how can they say then that these two are identical?
   82. There are various flavours in honey [existing distinct] through the difference of the trees [from whose flowers it is produced]; how else could it remove the three-fold disorders? So the individual souls at the world's dissolution are absorbed in the Lord; but they do not become identified with Him, for they are again separated at the next creation.
   83. There is a difference between rivers and the sea, with their respective sweet and salt water; so too God and the soul are different and possessed of distinct attributes.
   84. Rivers, when joined to the sea from all sides, are not identified with it nor yet do they appear to be separate; but from the difference between salt water and sweet water there must be a real difference between them.
   85. Others see not the difference when water is mixed with milk, but the swan at once separates the milk and the water; so too when the souls are absorbed in the supreme Brahman, the Lord,--the faithful, who have received the Guru's words, can at once draw a difference between them.
   86. Even when milk is mixed with milk and water with water, they do not become absolutely identified, for they still retain their fixed measure as before; so, when the souls through intense contemplation are absorbed in the Supreme Spirit, they do not become identified with Him; thus say the pure-minded saints.
   87. There are certain disputants, sunk in a sea of false logic, addicted to an evil way, filled with a hundred imaginations of idle babble, deceived themselves and deceiving the world,--all that they say, "I am Brahman and all this visible universe also is Brahman,"--is now shown clearly to be an empty desire.
   88. If I and all this universe were Brahman, then there would be an identity between thee and me; then thy wealth, sons, and wife would be mine, and mine would be thine, for there would be no distinction between us.
   89. And how then could there be injunction or prohibition, since all are one, and there is no distinction of caste? If the doctrine of non-duality be thus held to be established, then what offence has the Buddhist committed?
   90. "The Soul is different from the elements, the senses, the internal organ, and primary matter, and also from that which is called the individual,"--thus has it been declared of old by Kapila to his mother in the third book of the Bhāgavata (Purā.na).
   91. Those who study the path pointed out by the teacher, resting upon a foundation of naught, and maintain with an empty understanding that all is void and that all the recognized deities are naught,--how can many words be uttered about them, for language fails in a topic of naught; naught indeed is their wisdom, and their fruit shall be also mostly naught.
   92. There are words uttered by Vyāsa in the Bhārata condemning this doctrine of the nothingness of all things; "their bodies are composed of the quality of darkness, and verily darkness shall be their end;"
   93. These words which were uttered of old by Kapila in the presence of the sage Syūmarašmi, were afterwards recounted by Vyāsa in the Bhā.rata.
   94. This theory of theirs concerning a void of qualities in Him who is the ocean of qualities,--it is but like the blind hurrying of sheep after the ewe that leads them! Having made a separate commentary of their own on the Sūtras they deceive those who follow their doctrine.
   95. All these qualities, sovereignty, creation, and the like, eternally belong to the Supreme Lord; how then can He be "without qualities" who is thus "possessed of qualities"? he theory of a void of qualities is mere disputation.
   96. The adorable one possesses knowledge, volition, and creative power; how then can he be destitute of qualities? or, if he is destitute of qualities, how can he be set forth by the Vedas? How can the absence of qualities be predicated of the sea of qualities, and yet all remonstrance be silent? Ponder it well in thine own mind, and then determine what is right.
   97. A substance without attributes, like the sky-flower, is not admitted either in the Veda or in the world; if the knowledge of such a thing were derived from the Veda, the Veda itself would then cease to be an authority.
   98. [The Vedāntin may reply] "The bunch of Darbha grass is said to be the sacrificer, as it is the means of performing the sacrifice; [as the Darbha grass is understood by this description,] even though the attributes thus ascribed are not found in it, so is Brahman understood when we ascribe certain qualities [as 'truth,' etc., even though these qualities are precluded in a being without qualities]."
   99. [I answer] A thorough Vedāntin like thee does not accept any where the existence of qualities or that which possesses qualities; but if imagined qualities are done away with [by deeper insight], real qualities are nowhere done away with.
   100. If Brahman is understood to be destitute of qualities, then "truth," etc., will not be applicable to Him; but, if so, there arises a contradiction in such passages [of Šruti] as "he is the truthful," etc.
   101. When the existence of such a thing as a quality is admitted, we can imagine it in something else; but to imagine that nacre is silver, we must first know clearly what silver is.
   102. This universe is based on the soul as its site, being imagined in it by ignorance; some teachers would describe it as an illusory emanation; but this is not a pleasing doctrine to me.
   103. It cannot be said that all this universe is false; since it is really the plaything of Hari, who is eternally engaged in sport.
   104. The external world is not like a dream; for in dreams there is sleep and a host of imperfections; what we eat or drink in dreams gives us no enjoyment, but these things are enjoyable in our waking state.
   105. If all that is seen were false, then how could it produce effects? The carrying of water in a jar is not false; all we can say is that it is transient.
   106. The idea that all this world is false, is opposed to experience; for of what use would be all the expiations for sin, prescribed in the law-books? Why are these thieves to be punished even by the king? The upholder of the doctrine of Māyā can assert anything on his oath, but all is false.
   107. Thou canst not say that the visible world is only like the transitory enjoyment of one who smells a wreath of flowers; however closely it is scanned, there is no overpowering evidence of its unreality [to preclude the presumption founded on experience]; it continually manifests itself to us as eternal in its stream of successive events.
   108. This world is not false but it is rendered true by's protection; thou art made pure by the knowledge of Him, as all minerals shine as gold [when brought in contact with the philosopher's stone].
   109. Dispassion and enjoyment stand equally aloof as disinterested spectators and are lost in faith; the partaking of the consecrated food is in no sense to be called an "enjoyment,"--it is itself an act of faith.
   110. By intense devotion to his object the man of the world will become the devotee of enjoyment, and by the absence of all enjoyment a man becomes absolutely dispassionate; this is the real truth.
   111. By association with the good and by repeatedly listening to the story of's sports there has arisen in the lake of the mind the great wave of pure faith and pure affection; abandoning the doctrine of unity and without hesitation embracing that of duality, we worship with our whole heart the lotus-feet of the beloved of Lakshmī.
   112. There is a rule in the things of the world, that he who is near the king may be called the king; so too in the things of Brahman and the soul must we understand the various sacred texts [which at first sight appear to identify them].
   113. He in whom the universe,--sun, moon, and the rest, with the three worlds,--rose into being,--in whom it all abides until it perishes,--and in whom, each in its own time, it is all finally dissolved,--He, the Lord, whom, being beyond all qualities, even Brahman himself cannot declare in the Vedas,--why, O teacher, dost thou teach this miserable me the words "I am He"?
   114. He in whom the storehouse of the universe with all its creatures great and small, was all contained like a line of insects drowned in a ripe fruit of the glomerous fig-tree,--in whom it abides until the final destruction,--and in whom it is eventually dissolved,--Ah! how can there come from my mouth, O teacher, these words "I am He"?
   115. Him, the Supreme Lord, by whose compassion even the dumb becomes eloquent, the lame in a moment obtains strength to leap mountains, and even the man blind from his birth receives eyes beautiful like two lotuses,--or what still greater marvel shall I add?--Him I worship, the moon-faced son of Nanda, the philosopher's stone of the faithful.
   116. Boundless is time, bounteous the earth, and great is the family of the devout worshippers of; somebody will be found at some time or other on the earth who will appreciate my merits.
   117. Having studied under my preceptor Nārā, the best of teachers, his book, which bears the title of "The Ornament of Faith,"--having read it with all its supplements and appendices, and by his kindness to his faithful disciples having mastered all its mysteries,--and having become a receptacle of faith myself, I have now composed according to my ability this century of stanzas, a necklace of pearls of good doctrine, which have for their subject the distinction of the individual Soul and Brahman.
   118. If we have uttered through inadvertence what is wrong, may the intelligent, observing it, correct all the errors; the feet of the traveller do sometimes stumble, and sometimes the speaker speaks through bewilderment what is incompatible.
   119. In a poem strung of all excellences the mean man hunts for faults and never an excellence; in a palace all compact of jewels it is the ant that will see a flaw.
   120. Let those who are envious and bereft of sense, detect a fault if they will; but let the connoisseurs count the merits; they who behold the merits and not the faults,--these are the good, these give the highest satisfaction.
   121. Let this work of the poet Pūr.nānanda be read and be heard, which is devoted to proving the difference of the individual soul from the Supreme,--which is excellent with its sentences that distinguish truth from falsehood, and is approved by the devotees of,--based on the doctrine of Madhva, and pleasing with a composition full of sweet words,--O ye best of the worshippers of Bhagavat, if faith be desired in your minds.
   122. On the neck of the faithful may this Tattvamuktāvalī abide for ever,--whose beauty is increased by the apt arrangement of sweet and soft words but which is free from rhetorical ornaments,--beautiful with a profusion of sentences sweet like milk, and with its parts all bright and elegant,--a special source of delight to the intelligent,--charming with a host of excellences and devoid of even the trace of a fault.

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