Translated by Swami Nikhilananda
Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta
1. I take refuge in the Self, the Indivisible, the Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute, beyond the reach of words and thought, and the substratum of all, for the attainment of my cherished desire.
2. Having worshipped the Guru who on account of his being free from the illusion of duality justifies the meaning of his name Advayananda, I undertake the task of expounding the essence of the Vedanta according to my light.
3. Vedanta is the evidence of the Upanishads, as well as the Sariraka Sutras (Brahma Sutras) and other books that help in the correct expounding of its meaning.
4. On account of its being a Prakarana treatise of Vedanta, the Anubandhas, preliminary questions of the latter, serve its purpose as well. Therefore they need not be discussed separately.
5. The preliminary questions of Vedanta are the determination of the competency of the student, the subject-matter, its connection with the book and the necessity for its study.
6. The competent student is an aspirant who, by studying in accordance with the prescribed method the Vedas and the Vedangas (the books auxiliary to the Vedas), has ordained a general comprehension of the entire Vedas; who, being absolved from all sins in this or in a previous life by the avoidance of the actions known as kamya (rites performed with a view to attaining a desired object) and Nisiddha (those forbidden in the scriptures) and by the performance of actions called Nitya (daily obligatory rites) and Naimittika (obligatory on special occasions) as well as by penance and devotion, has become entirely pure in mind, and who has adopted the four Sadhanas or means to the attainment of spiritual knowledge.
7. The sacrifices such as Jyotistoma etc., which enable their performers to get the desired fruits such as living in heaven etc., are known as Kamya Karma.
8. Actions such as the slaying of a Brahmin etc., which bring about undesired results as going to hell etc., are Nisiddha Karma or forbidden acts.
9. Daily rites, such as Sandhyavandana etc., the non-performance of which causes harm, are called Nitya Karma.
10. Jatesti sacrifices (which are performed subsequent to the birth of a son) etc., are called the Naimittika Karma or rites to be observed on special occasions.
11. Rites such as Chandrayana etc., which are instrumental in the expiation of sin, are Prayaschittas or penances.
12. Mental activities relating to the Saguna Brahman such as are described in the Sandilya Vidya are Upasanas or devotions.
13. Of these, Nitya and other works mainly serve the purpose of purifying the mind; but the Upasanas chiefly aim at the concentration of the mind, as in such Sruti passages, Brahmanas seek to know this Self by the study of the Vedas, by sacrifice (Brihadaranyaka-IV-4-22); as well as in such Smriti passages, they destroy sins by practising austerities (Manu 12.104)
14. The secondary results of the Nitya and the Naimittika Karma and of the Upasanas are the attainment of the Pitruloka and the Satyaloka respectively; as in the Sruti passages, By sacrifice the world of the Fathers, by knowledge (Upasana) the world of the Devas (is gained)"(Br. Up.I.5.16)
15. The means to the attainment of Knowledge are: discrimination between things permanent and transient; renunciation of the enjoyment of the fruits of actions in this world and hereafter; six treasures, such as control of the mind etc., and the desire for spiritual freedom.
16. Discrimination between things permanent and transient; this consists of the discrimination that Brahman alone is the permanent Substance and that all things other than It are transient.
17. The objects of enjoyment hereafter, such as immortality etc., being as transitory as the enjoyment of such earthly objects as a garland of flowers, sandal paste and sex-pleasures, which are transitory, being results of action an utter disregard for all of them is renunciation of the enjoyment of fruits of action in this world and hereafter.
18. Sama etc., comprise Sama or the restraining of the outgoing mental propensities, Dama or the restraining of the external sense-organs, Uparati or the withdrawing of the Self, Titiksha or forbearance, Samadhana or self-settledness, and Sraddha or faith.
19. Sama is the curbing of the mind from all objects except hearing etc.,
20. Dama is the restraining of the external organs from all objects except that.
21. Uparati is the cessation of these external organs so restrained, from the pursuit of objects other than that; or it may mean the abandonment of the prescribed works according to scriptural injunctions.
22. Titiksha is the endurance of heat and cold and other pairs of opposites.
23. Samadhana is the constant concentration of the mind, thus restrained, on hearing etc., of the scriptural passages and other objects that are conducive to these.
24. Sraddha is the faith in the truths of Vedanta as taught by the Guru.
25. Mumukshutva is the yearning for spiritual freedom.
26. Such an aspirant is a qualified student; for it is said in the sruti passages, quiet, subdued (Br. Up. IV-4.23). It is further said, This is always to be taught to one who is of tranquil mind, who has subjugated his senses, who is free from faults, obedient, endowed with virtues, always submissive, and who is constantly eager for liberation (Sankaras Upadesha-Sahasri 324.16.72)
27. The subject is the identity of the individual self and Brahman, which is of the nature of Pure intelligence and is to be realised. For such is the purport of the Vedanta texts.
28. The connection is the relation between that identity which is to be realised and the evidence of the Upanishads that establishes it, as between a thing to be known and that which tells of it.
29. The necessity is the dispelling of ignorance relating to that identity which is to be realised, as the attainment of bliss resulting from the realisation of ones own Self. As in such Sruti passages, The knower of Self overcomes grief (Ch. Up. VII-1.3), He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman (Mund. Up. III-2-9).
30. Such a qualified pupil scorched with the fire of an endless round of birth, death, etc., should repair just as one with ones head on fire rushes to a lake with presents in hand, to a Guru, learned in the Vedas and ever living in Brahman, and serve him as the following and other Srutis say: Let him in order to understand this repair with fuel in his hand to a spiritual guide who is learned in the Vedas and lives entirely in Brahman (Mund. Up. I-2-12).
31. Such a Guru through his infinite grace instructs the pupil by the method of de-superimposition (Apavada) of the superimpositions (Adhyaropa) as in such Sruti passages: To that pupil who has approached him with due courtesy, whose mind has become perfectly calm, and who has control over his senses, the wise teacher should truly impart that Knowledge of Brahman through which he knows the Being, imperishable and real" (Mund. Up. I-2-13).
32. Adhyaropa is the superimposition of the unreal on the real, like the false perception of a snake in a rope which is not a snake.
33. Reality is Brahman which is without a second and is Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss. Unreality is Nescience and all other material objects.
34. However, ignorance is described as something positive though intangible, which cannot be described either as being or non-being, which is made of three qualities and is antagonistic to Knowledge. Its existence is established from such experiences as I am ignorant, and from such Sruti passages as, The power belonging to God Himself, hidden in its own qualities (Svet. Up.I-3).
35. This ignorance is said to be one or many according to the mode of observing it either collectively or individually.
36. As, for instance, trees considered as an aggregate are denoted as one, viz., the forest, or water is collectively named as the reservoir, so also ignorance, existing in Jivas being diversely manifested, is collectively, represented as one as in such scriptural passages as, There is one unborn etc., (Svet. Up. IV-5).
37. This aggregate (of ignorance) on account of its appearing associated with Perfection (Pure Intelligence of Brahman) has a preponderance of pure Sattva.
38. Consciousness associated with this is endowed with such qualities as omniscience, universal lordship, all-controlling power, etc., and is designated as the undifferentiated, the inner guide, the cause of the world and Isvara on account of Its being the illuminator of the aggregate of ignorance. As in the Sruti passage, who knows all (generally), who perceives all (particularly) (Mund. Up. I-1-9).
39. This aggregate of ignorance associated with Isvara is known as the causal body on account of its being the cause of all, and as the Anandamayakosa (the blissful sheath) on account of its being full of bliss and covering like a sheath; it is further known as the Cosmic sleep as into it everything is dissolved, and, for this reason, it is designated as the state of dissolution of the gross and subtle phenomena.
40. As a forest, from the standpoint of the units that compose it, may be designated as a number of trees, and as a reservoir from the same point of view may be spoken of as quantities of water, so also ignorance when denoting separate units is spoken of as many; as in such Sruti passages as, Indra through Maya appears as of many forms (Rig-Veda VI-47-18).
41. Ignorance has been designated as individual and collective on account of its pervading the units and the aggregate.
42. The individual ignorance, on account of its association with the inferior being, is characterized by impure Sattva.
43. Consciousness associated with this has limited knowledge and is devoid of the power of lordship; it is called Prajna on account of its being the illuminator of individual ignorance.
44. It is called Prajna as it is deficient in illumination on account of its association with a dull limiting adjunct.
45. The individual ignorance, associated with it is also known as the causal body on account of its being the cause of egoism etc., and as the blissful sheath because it is full of bliss and covers like a sheath; it is further known as dreamless sleep since into it everything is dissolved; and for this reason it is also designated as the state of dissolution of the gross and subtle phenomena.
46. In the state of dreamless sleep both Isvara and Prajna, through a very subtle function of ignorance illumined by Consciousness, enjoy happiness, as in the Sruti passage: "Prajna, the enjoyer of bliss, with Consciousness for its aid (is the third aspect) (Mand. Up. 5); as also from such experience of a man awaking from dreamless sleep as, I slept happily, I did not know anything.
47. This aggregate and individual ignorance are identical like a forest and the trees, or a reservoir and the water.
48. As the Akasa enclosed by the forest is identical with the Akasa enclosed by the trees, or as the Akasa reflected in the water is the same as the Akasa reflected in the reservoir, similarly Isvara and Prajna associated with these (aggregate and individual ignorance) are identical. There are such Sruti passages as, He is the Lord of all, (He is omniscient, He is the inner controller, He is the source of all, He is the cause of the origin and destruction of creatures) (Mand. Up. 6).
49. Like the unlimited Akasa which is the substratum of the Akasa enclosed by the forest and the trees, or of the Akasa which is reflected in the water and the reservoir, there is an unlimited Consciousness which is the substratum of the aggregate and the individual ignorance as well as of the Consciousness (Isvara and Prajna) associated with them. This is called the Fourth. As in such Sruti passages as, That which is (tranquil), auspicious and without a second, That the wise conceive of as the Fourth aspect. (He is the Self; He is to be known) (Mand. Up. 7).
50. This Pure Consciousness which is known as the Fourth, when not discriminated, like a red-hot iron-ball, from ignorance and the Consciousness with which it is associated, becomes the direct meaning of the great Vedic dictum (Thou art That), and when discriminated, it gives us its implied meaning.
51. This ignorance has two powers, viz., the power of concealment and the power of projection.
52. Just as a small patch of cloud, by obstructing the vision of the observer, conceals, as it were, the solar disc extending over many miles, similarly ignorance, though limited by nature, yet obstructing the intellect of the observer, conceals, as it were, the Self which is unlimited and not subject to transmigration. Such a power is this power of concealment. It is thus said: As the sun appears covered by a cloud and bedimmed to a very ignorant person whose vision is obscured by the cloud, so also That which to the unenlightened appears to be in bondage is my real nature the Self Eternal Knowledge (Hastamalaka 10).
53. The Self covered by this (concealing power of ignorance may become subject to samsara (relative existence) characterised by ones feeling as agent, the experiencing subject, happy, miserable, etc., just as a rope may become a snake due to the concealing power of ones own ignorance.
54. Just as ignorance regarding a rope, by its inherent power, gives rise to the illusion of a snake etc., in the rope covered by it, so also ignorance, by its own power creates in the Self covered by it, such phenomena as Akasa etc., Such a power is called the power of projection. It is thus said: The power of projection creates all from the subtle bodies to the cosmos (Vakyasudha 13).
55. Consciousness associated with ignorance, possessed of these two powers, when considered from its own standpoint is the efficient cause, and when considered from the standpoint of its Upadhi or limitation is the material cause (of the universe).
56. Just as the spider, when considered from the standpoint of its own self, is the efficient cause of the web, and when looked upon from the standpoint of its body, is also the material cause of the web.
57. From Consciousness associated with the projecting power of ignorance which has a preponderance of the quality of darkness, has evolved Akasa which, in its turn, has produced air, from air has come fire, from fire water, and from water earth. As in such Sruti passages, From this Self has evolved Akasa (Tait. Up. II-1-1).
58. On account of the preponderance of inertia observed in them, their cause also must have an excess of the quality of darkness (Tamas). At that time the qualities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are reproduced in ether etc., in accordance with the law that the qualities of the cause determine the qualities of the effect.
59. These are called subtle matter, rudimentary elements (Tanmatras) and uncompounded (Apanchikrita) elements.
60. From these subtle elements are produced subtle bodies and gross elements.
61. The subtle bodies are what are known as the Linga-Sariras having seventeen component parts.
62. The component parts (of the Linga-Sarira) are the five organs of perception, the intellect, the mind, the five organs of action, and the five vital forces.
63. The five organs of perception are the ears, the skin, the eyes, the tongue, and the nose.
64. These are produced separately in consecutive order from the Sattva particles of ether etc.,
65. Intellect (Buddhi) is that modification of the internal instrument (Antahkarana) which determines.
66. The mind (Manas) is that modification of the internal instrument which considers the pros and cons of a subject (Sankalpa and Vikalpa).
67. The mind-stuff (Chitta) and egoism (Ahamkara) are included in the intellect (Buddhi) and the mind (Manas) respectively.
68. Memory (Chitta) is that modification of the inner organ which remembers.
69. Egoism (Ahamkara) is that modification of the inner organ which is characterised by Self-consciousness.
70. These, be it noted, are produced from the combination of the Sattva particles of ether etc.,
71. On account of their being luminous they are said to be the products of the Sattva particles.
72. This intellect (Buddhi) together with the organs of perception constitutes the intelligent sheath (Vijnanamayakosa).
73. This Vijnanamayakosa, on account of its being conscious that it is an agent and enjoyer and that it is happy or miserable etc., is called the phenomenal Jiva (the individual self) subject to transmigration to this and the other worlds.
74. The mind with the organs of perception constitutes the mental sheath (manomayakosa).
75. The organs of action are the organs of speech, the hands, the feet, and the organs of evacuation and generation.
76. These are produced separately in consecutive order from the active (Rajas) particles of ether etc.,
77. The five vital forces are the Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana.
78. Prana is that vital force which goes upward and has its seat at the tip of the nose.
79. Apana is that vital force which goes downward and has its seat in the organs of excretion.
80. Vyana is that vital force which moves in all directions and pervades the entire body.
81. Udana is the ascending vital force which helps the passing out from the body and has its seat in the throat.
82. Samana is that vital force which assimilates food and drink and has its seat in the middle of the body.
83. Assimilation means digestion of food and its conversion into chyle, blood, and other materials of the body.
84. Others say that there are five more vital forces known as Naga, Kurma, Krikala, Devadatta and Dhananjaya.
85. Of these Naga is that which causes vomiting or erection, Kurma opens the eye-lids, Krikala creates hunger, Devadatta produces yawning and Dhananjaya nourishes the body.
86. Some say that on account of their being included in Prana etc., the vital forces are really five in number.
87. These five vital forces, viz., Prana etc., are produced from the combination of the active (Rajas) particles of ether etc.,
88. These five vital forces such as Prana etc., together with the organs of action, constitute the vital sheath (Pranamayakosa). Its active nature shows that it is the product of the particles of Rajas.
89. Among these sheaths, the intelligent sheath (Vijnanamayakosa) which is endowed with the power of knowledge is the agent; the mental sheath (Manomayakosa) which is endowed with will-power is the instrument; and the vital sheath (Pranamayakosa) which is endowed with activity is the product. This division has been made according to their respective functions. These three sheaths together constitute the subtle body.
90. Here also the sum total of all the subtle bodies, when looked upon as one, like a forest or a reservoir, is called samasti or aggregate and when viewed as many, like the trees or quantities of water, is called Vyasti or individual.
91. Consciousness associated with this totality is called Sutratma, Hiranyagarbha and Prana etc., because it is immanent everywhere and because it identifies itself with the five great uncompounded elements endowed with the powers of knowledge, will and activity.
92. This aggregate made up of three sheaths such as Vijnanamayakosa etc., (which forms the limiting adjunct) of Hiranyagarbha is called the subtle body as it is finer than the gross universe. It is also called the dream state, as it consists of the impressions of the waking state; and for that very reason it is known as the merging place for the gross universe.
93. Consciousness associated with each individual subtle body is known as Taijasa (full of light) on account of its being associated with the effulgent inner organ (Antahkarana).
94. The individual limiting adjunct of taijasa too, made up of the three sheaths, such as Vijnanamayakosa etc., is called the subtle body, as it is finer than the gross body. It is also called the dream state, as it consists of the impressions of the waking state, and for that very reason it is known as the merging place for the gross body.
95. The Sutratma and Taijasa, at that time, through (subtle) functionings of the mind, experience the subtle objects. Witness such Sruti passages as, Taijasa is the enjoyer of subtle objects (Mand. Up. 3).
96. Here also the aggregate and individual subtle bodies are identical, like a forest and its trees or like a lake and its waters, and the Sutratma and the Taijasa, which have those bodies as their limiting adjuncts, are also identical like the spaces enclosed by a forest and its trees or like the skies reflected in the lake and its waters.
97. Thus do the subtle bodies originate.
98. But the gross elements are all compounded.
99. The compounding takes place thus: Each of the five elements, viz., ether etc., is divided into two equal parts; of the ten parts thus produced five being the first half of each element are each sub-divided into four equal parts. Then leaving one half of each element, to the other half is added one of these quarters from each of the other four elements.
100. Thus it has been said: By dividing each element into two equal parts, and sub-dividing the first half of each element into four equal parts, and then adding to the other half of each element one sub-division of each of the remaining four, each element becomes five in one. (Panchadasi I-27)
101. The authoritativeness of this method of compounding should not be questioned for the triple combination described in the Sruti indirectly refers to this.
102. Though these five gross elements are alike in so far as each of them contains the five elements, yet they are differently named as ether etc., owing to the preponderance of a particular element in them (Brahma Sutras II-4-22).
103. At that time ether manifests sound; air manifests sound and touch; fire sound, touch and form; water sound, touch, form and taste; and earth manifests sound, touch, form, taste and smell.
104. From these compounded elements have evolved the seven planes, existing one above the other, viz., Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Jana, tapas and Satyam; and the seven nether planes, one below the other, viz., Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Rasatala, Talatala, Mahatala and Patala; the world, the four kinds of gross bodies contained in it together with the food and drink appropriate to them.
105. The four kinds of gross bodies are those that are born of the womb, the egg, moisture and the soil.
106. Those that are born of the womb refer to men, beasts etc.,
107. Those that come out of the egg are the birds, reptiles etc.,
108. Those that are born of moisture are the lice, mosquitoes etc.,
109. Those that spring from the soil are the trees, creepers etc.,
110. Here also all the gross bodies, in their fourfold variety, may be spoken of collectively or individually according as they are thought of as one like a forest or a lake, or many like the trees and the quantities of water.
111. Consciousness associated with this aggregate of gross bodies is called Vaisvanara and Virat on account of its identification with all bodies, and from its manifestation in diverse ways respectively.
112. This aggregate gross body of his is called the alimentary sheath (Annamayakosa) on account of its being a modification of food, and is said to be in the waking state on account of its being the medium for the enjoyment of gross objects.
113. Consciousness associated with the individual gross body is designated as Visva on account of its entering the gross body etc., without giving up its identification with the subtle body.
114. This individual gross body of his (of the Jiva) is also called the alimentary sheath on account of its being a modification of food, and is said to be in the waking state.
115. Both Visva and Vaisvanara at that time, perceive the gross objects, viz., sound, touch, colour, taste and smell respectively through the five sense-organs, such as the ears etc., controlled respectively by (the presiding deities, viz.,) the Quarters (Dik), Air (Vayu), Sun, Varuna and the two Asvins. They also perform the functions of speech, acceptance, walking, excretion and enjoyment respectively through the five organs of action, such as the tongue etc., controlled respectively by Fire, Indra, Vishnu, Yama and Prajapati. They also experience uncertainty, determination, personality and remembrance, respectively through the four inner organs, viz., mind, intellect, egoism and memory (Chitta) controlled respectively by the Moon, Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Witness such Sruti passages as: Whose place is the waking state, who is conscious of the external world (Mand. Up. 3).
116. Here also the individual and collective gross bodies are identical as before, like the trees and the forest, or like the quantities of water and the lake; and so are Visva and Vaisvanara, which are respectively associated with those bodies, identical, like the spaces enclosed by the trees and the forest, or like the reflections of the sky in the quantities of water and the lake.
117. Thus has the gross phenomenal universe evolved from the five compounded elements.
118. The sum total of the gross, subtle and causal worlds makes a Vast Universe as the sum total of smaller forests makes a vast forest, of a collection of smaller lakes makes a vast expanse of water.
119. Consciousness associated with this, from Vaisvanara to Isvara is also one and the same, as the space enclosed by a number of smaller forests is the same as that enclosed by the big forest of which they form part, or as the sky reflected in different smaller lakes is the same as that reflected in the vast expanse of water which they form.
120. Consciousness, unassociated with any adjuncts (Upadhis) whatsoever, when not discriminated like the red-hot iron-ball from the Vast Universe and the Consciousness associated with it, becomes the direct import of the (great) Vedic dictum, All this is verily Brahman (Ch. Up. III-14-1) and when discriminated from them it becomes the implied meaning of that text.
121. Thus has been shown, in general, the process of superimposition, which is the attributing of unreality to the real.
The Jiva and Superimposition
122. Now will be considered, in particular, how people variously superimpose on the innermost Self such ideas as I am this, I am this, etc.,
123. (Thus for example) an extremely deluded man speaks of his son as his own Self, on account of such Sruti passages as, Verily the Self is born as the son, owing also to the fact that one loves ones son as ones own Self, and further because of the experience that one feels oneself prosperous or ruined according as ones son fares well or ill.
124. One school of Charvakas, however, holds that this physical body is the Self, on account of such Sruti passages as, Man is constituted of the essence of food (Tait. Up. II-1-1), owing also to the fact that a man rushes out from a burning house even leaving behind his son, and further because of such experiences as. I am stout, I am thin, etc.,
125. Another school of Charvakas speaks of the sense-organs as the Self, on account of such Sruti passages as, The sense-organs went to their father, Prajapati, and said, (Ch. Up. V-1-7), owing also to the fact that the movement of the body ceases when the organs cease to work, and further because of such experiences as, I am blind of one eye, I am deaf, etc.,
126. Still another school of Charvakas holds that Prana or vital force is the Self, on account of such Sruti passages as, Different from and more internal than this (the physical body) is the Self which consists of the vital force (Tait. Up. II-2-1), owing also to the fact that with the cessation of the working of the vital force, the sense-organs cease to function; and because of such experiences as, I am hungry, I am thirsty, etc.,
127. Yet another school of Charvakas holds that mind (Manas) is the Self, on account of such Sruti passages as, Different from and more internal than this (which consists of the vital force) is the Self which consists of mind (Tait. Up. II-3-1), owing also to the fact that the vital force etc., cease to work when the mind goes into deep sleep, and further because of such experience as, I am considering the pros and cons, etc.,
128. As against this, the Buddhists say that the intellect is the Self, on account of such Sruti passages as, Different from and more internal than this is the Self which consists of Consciousness (Tait. Up. II-4-1), owing also to the fact that the instrument becomes powerless in the absence of the agent and from such experiences as, I am the agent, I am the enjoyer, etc.,
129. The Prabhakaras and the Tarkikas on the other hand say that ignorance is the Self on account of such Sruti passages as, Different from and more internal than this is the Self which consists of bliss (Tait. Up. II-5-1), and owing also to the fact that during sound sleep the intellect etc., merge in ignorance, and further because of such experiences as, I am ignorant, I am devoid of Knowledge, etc.,
130. The Bhattas on the contrary say that consciousness associated with ignorance is the self, on account of such Sruti passages as, During dreamless sleep the Atman is undifferentiated consciousness and full of bliss (Man. Up. 5), owing also to the fact that both consciousness and unconsciousness are present in a state of dreamless sleep and from such experience as, I do not know myself, etc.,
131. Another school of Buddhists says that the Self is identical with the void, on account of such Sruti passages as, In the beginning there was non-existence (Ch. Up. VI-2-1), owing also to the fact that there is an absence of everything during dreamless sleep, and further because of the experience, regarding his non-existence, of a man who has just awakened; as when he says to himself, During the dreamless sleep I was non-existent.
132. Now it will be shown that all these items from the son to the void are not the Self.
133. Since in all these fallacious citations of scriptural passages, arguments and personal experiences, made by the different classes of people enumerated above beginning with the extremely deluded, in support of their respective views about the Self, the subsequent view contradicts the previous one, it becomes quite clear that all these items from the son to the void are not the Self.
134. Moreover none of the items from the son to the void is the Self, because all those fallacious citations of scriptural passages, arguments, and personal experiences in support of them are all nullified for the following reasons: first because they contradict strong scriptural passages which describe the Self as not gross, without eyes, without the vital force, without the mind, not an agent, but Consciousness, Pure Intelligence and Existence; secondly because they are material and are illumined by Pure Consciousness and as such are unreal, like a pot etc., and lastly because of the strong intuition of the man of realization that he is Brahman.
135. Therefore the innermost Consciousness which is by nature eternal, pure, intelligent, free and real, and which is the illuminer of those unreal entities (such as the son etc.,) is the Self. This is the experience of the Vedantists.
136. The above is an account of superimposition of unreality on the Real.
137. As a snake falsely perceived in a rope is ultimately found out to be nothing but the rope; similarly the world of unreal things, beginning with ignorance, superimposed upon the Reality, is realized, at the end, to be nothing but Brahman. This is known as de-superimposition (Apavada).
138. Thus it has been said: Vikara is the actual modification of a thing altering into another substance; while vivarta is only an apparent modification.
139. To illustrate: The four kinds of physical bodies which are the seats of enjoyment; the different kinds of food and drink etc., which are the objects of enjoyment; the fourteen planes such as Bhur etc., which contain them and the universe (Brahmanda) which contains these planes -- all these are reduced to their cause, the five gross elements.
140. These five gross elements, together with the five objects such as sound etc., and the subtle bodies all these are reduced to their cause the uncompounded elements.
141. The five uncompounded elements, together with the tendencies of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, in the reverse order to that of creation, are reduced to their cause, namely Consciousness associated with ignorance.
142. This ignorance and the Consciousness associated with it, such as Isvara etc., are resolved into the transcendent Brahman unassociated with ignorance, which is the substratum of them all.
143. By this process of superimposition and de-superimposition the precise significance of That and Thou is clearly determined.
144. To explain: Collective ignorance and the rest, Consciousness associated with it and endowed with omniscience etc., as also the Pure Consciousness unassociated with any attribute these three, when appearing as one and inseparable like a red-hot iron ball, become the primary meaning of the word That.
145. The unassociated Consciousness which is the substratum of the limiting adjuncts and of Isvara which they limit, is the implied meaning of That.
146. Individual ignorance and the rest, Consciousness associated with it and endowed with partial knowledge etc., as also the Pure Consciousness unassociated with any attribute these three when appearing as one and inseparable like a red-hot iron ball, become the primary meaning of the word Thou.
147. The unassociated transcendent Consciousness the inward Bliss - which is the substratum of the limiting adjuncts and of the Jiva which they limit, is the implied meaning of the word Thou.
148. Now is being described the meaning of the great Vedic dictum (Mahavakyam): This dictum is a proposition conveying identity, by virtue of the three relations of its terms, viz., Thou art That.
149. The three relations are: Samanadhakaranya or the relation between two words having the same substratum, Visesana-visesyabhava or the relation between the imports of two words qualifying each other (so as to signify a common object); and Laksya-laksana-bhava or the relation between two words and an identical thing implied by them, here, the Inner Self.
150. Compare (The relations are:) The relation between two words having the same substratum; that between two words qualifying each other (so as to signify a common object), and the relation between two words and an identical thing implied by them (here the Inner self).
151. Samanadhikaranya is the relationship between two words having the same locus. For instance, in the sentence, This is that Devadatta, the word That signifying Devadatta associated with the past, and the word This signifying Devadatta associated with the present, both refer to one and the same person called Devadatta. Similarly in the sentence, Thou art That, the word That signifying Consciousness characterized by remoteness etc., and the word Thou signifying Consciousness characterized by immediacy etc., both refer to one and the same Consciousness, viz., Brahman.
152. The second relation, that of Visesana-visesya-bhava is this: In the same sentence (This is that Devadatta), the meaning of the word That is Devadatta existing in the past and the meaning of the word This is Devadatta existing in the present. They are contrary ideas, but still they qualify each other so as to signify a common object. Similarly in the sentence, Thou art That, the meaning of the word That is Consciousness characterized by remoteness etc., and the meaning of the word Thou is Consciousness characterized by immediacy etc., They are contrary ideas but still they qualify each other so as to signify a common object.
153. The third relation, that of Laksyalaksanabhava is this: In that very sentence (This is that Devadatta), the words This and That or their meanings, by the elimination of contrary associations of past and present time, stand in the relation of implier and implied with Devadatta who is common to both. Similarly in this sentence (Thou art That) also, the words That and Thou, or their meanings, by the elimination of contrary associations of remoteness and immediacy etc., stand in the relation of implier and implied with Consciousness which is common to both.
154. This is also called Bhagalaksana.
155. The literal meaning in the manner of the sentence, The blue Lotus does not fit in with the sentence: Thou art That.
156. In the phrase (The blue lotus), the meaning of the word blue is the blue colour, and the meaning of the word lotus is the flower called lotus. They respectively exclude other colours such as white etc., and other objects such as cloth etc., Thus these two words mutually stand in the relation of qualifier and qualified. And this relation means their mutual qualification or their unity. This interpretation of the sentence, since it does not contradict any other means of knowledge, is admissible.
157. But in this sentence (Thou art That), the meaning of the word That is Consciousness associated with remoteness etc., and the meaning of the word Thou is Consciousness associated with immediacy etc., If it is maintained that these two ideas, since they eliminate their mutual distinction stand to each other in the relation of qualifier and qualified, meaning their mutual qualification or their unity, it involves a contradiction with direct perception and other means of knowledge, and therefore is inconsistent.
158. Therefore it has been said: In this sentence (Thou art That), the correct meaning is neither the union of the two ideas nor their mutual qualification. The real meaning of the sentence, according to scholars, is an absolute homogeneous principle. (Panchadasi VII-75).
159. Again in the sentence (Thou art That), Jahallakshana is not also admissible as in the sentence, The cowherd village is on (literally in) the Ganga.
160. In that sentence, as it is altogether absurd to construe the words, Ganga and cowherd-village, literally, in the sense of container and contained respectively, that meaning of the sentence must be entirely abandoned, and it should refer by implication to the bank of the Ganga. Hence in this case the application of Jahallakshana is admissible.
161. But this sentence (Thou art That) meaning the identity of Consciousness characterized by immediacy or remoteness involves contradiction in one part only. Therefore it is not proper to abandon the other part as well and indicate something else by implication (Lakshana). Hence in this case Jahallakshana is not admissible.
162. Nor can it be urged: Just as the word Ganga (in the sentence in question), gives up its direct meaning and implies the bank, so may the words That and Thou (in the sentence, Thou art That) give up their direct meaning and mean by implication the contents of Thou and That respectively. So why should it not be a case of Jahallakshana ?
163. In that sentence the word bank is not mentioned, and therefore the meaning, which is not explicit, can only be derived through implication (Lakshana). But in the other sentence (Thou art That), the words That and Thou are mentioned and their meanings are explicit; therefore it is not proper to use a Lakshana here in order to indicate through either of them the sense of the other (Thou or That).
164. Nor is Ajahallakshana applicable in this sentence as in the sentence, The red colour is running.
165. The literal meaning of that sentence, namely, the running of red colour, is absurd. This absurdity can be removed without abandoning the meaning of the word Red by interpreting it to imply a horse of that colour. Therefore in this case Ajahallakshana is admissible.
166. But here (in the sentence, Thou art That) the literal meaning, conveying an identical Consciousness associated with remoteness, immediacy, etc., is self-contradictory. If, without abandoning this meaning, any other idea connected with it be implied, still the contradiction will not be reconciled. Therefore, in this case Ajahallakshana is inadmissible.
167. Nor can it be urged: Either of the words That or Thou may exclude that portion of its meaning which conflicts with the other word and imply a combination of the other portion with the meaning of the other word (Thou art That). Therefore no necessity arises of admitting Bhagalakshana.
168. Because it is impossible to conceive the same word as indicating a part of its own meaning as well as the meaning of another word. Moreover, when the meaning is directly expressed by the other word, it does not require the application of Lakshana to the first word to indicate it.
169. Therefore, as the sentence, This is that Devadatta, or its meaning, on account of the contradictions involved in one part of their import, viz., Devadatta as existing in the past and in the present, implies, by abandoning the conflicting portion which has reference to time, only the non-conflicting portion, viz., the man Devadatta similarly, the sentence, Thou art That, or its meaning, on account of the contradictions involved in one part of their import, viz., Consciousness characterized by remoteness and immediacy, implies, by abandoning the conflicting portion which has relation to remoteness, immediacy etc., only Absolute Pure Consciousness which is common to both Thou and That.
170. Now is being described the meaning of the sentence, I am Brahman (Br. Up. I-4-10), expressive of intuitive experience.
171. When the teacher in this way clears the meaning of the words That and Thou by the removal of superimpositions, and makes the qualified student grasp the import of the sentence, Thou art That, which is Absolute Unity, there arises in his mind a state of Absolute Oneness in which he feels that he is Brahman, by nature eternal, pure, self-illumined, free, real, supremely blissful, infinite and one without a second.
172. That mental state, illumined by the reflection of Pure Consciousness, objectifies the Supreme Brahman, unknown but identical with the individual self and destroys the ignorance pertaining to Brahman. Then just as a cloth is burnt when the threads composing it are burnt, so all the effects of ignorance are destroyed when their cause, viz., ignorance, is destroyed. Hence the mental state of Absolute Oneness, which forms part of those effects, is also destroyed.
173. As the light of a lamp cannot illumine the lustre of the sun but is overpowered by it, so Consciousness reflected in that state of the mind is unable to illumine the Supreme Brahman, self-effulgent and identical with the individual self, and is overpowered by it. And on the destruction of this state of Absolute Oneness with which that Consciousness is associated there remains only the Supreme Brahman, identical with the individual self, just as the image of a face in a looking-glass is resolved into the face itself when the looking-glass is removed.
174. Such being the case, there is no contradiction between the following Sruti passages: By the mind alone It is to be perceived (Br. Up. IV-4-19), and That which cannot be thought of by the mind (Kena Up. I-5). We are to suppose that the unknown Brahman is brought into contact with only the mental state, but not with the underlying Consciousness.
175. Thus it has been said: The authors of the scriptures have refuted the idea that the individual Consciousness can manifest the Brahman. But they admit that the Brahman associated with ignorance is brought into contact with the mental states only for the purpose of dispelling ignorance regarding It (Panchadasi VI-90).
176. And: Brahman, being self-luminous, does not depend on the individual Consciousness for Its illumination Panchadasi VI-92).
177. But there is a difference when the mental state assumes the form of material objects.
178. Because, in the case of the experience, This is a jar, the mental state assumes the form of the jar, makes the unknown jar its object and dispels the ignorance regarding it. Then the Consciousness underlying the mental state manifests the material jar.
179. Thus it has been said: Both the intellect and the Consciousness underlying it come into contact with the jar. The intellect destroys the ignorance (regarding the jar) and the underlying Consciousness manifests the jar (Panchadasi VII-91).
180. Just as the light of a lamp coming into contact with a jar or cloth existing in darkness, dispels the darkness which envelops them and through its own lustre manifests them as well.
Steps to Self-Realization
181. Till such realization of the Consciousness which is ones own Self, it is necessary to practise hearing, reflection, meditation and absorption (Samadhi). Therefore these are also being explained.
182. Hearing is the ascertainment through the six characteristic signs that the entire Vedanta philosophy establishes the one Brahman without a second.
183. the characteristic signs are: the beginning and the conclusion, repetition, originality, result, eulogy and demonstration.
184. Thus it has been said: In ascertaining the meaning, the characteristic signs are the beginning and the conclusion, repetition, originality, result, eulogy and demonstration.
185. The beginning and the conclusion mean the presentation of the subject-matter of a section at its beginning and end. As, for instance, in the sixth chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad, Brahman, the One without a second, which is the subject-matter of the chapter, is introduced at the beginning in the words, One only without a second etc., (VI-2-1), and again at the end in the words, In It, all that exists has its Self etc., (Vi-8-7).
186. Repetition is the frequent presentation of the subject-matter in the section. As, for instance, in the same section, Brahman, the One without a second, is repeated nine times in the sentence, Thou art That.
187. Originality means that the subject-matter of a section is not available through any other source of knowledge. As, for instance, in that very section, Brahman, the One without a second, is not knowable through any other means except the Srutis.
188. The result is the utility of the subject-matter of a section e.g., Self-knowledge or its practice as mentioned at different places. As, for instance, in the same section, the words, The man who has got a teacher knows the Brahman. He has to wait only till he is delivered from the body; then he becomes united with Brahman (VI-14-2). Here the utility of the knowledge of Brahman, the One without a second, is Its attainment.
189. Eulogy is the praising of the subject-matter of the section at different places. As, for instance, in the same section the words, "Have you ever asked for that instruction by which one hears what has not been heard, one thinks what has not been thought, one knows what has not been known (Vi-1-3), have been spoken in praise of Brahman, the One without a second.
190. Demonstration is the reasoning in support of the subject-matter of a section adduced at different places. As, for instance, in the section in question, the words, My dear, as by one lump of clay all that is made of clay is known every modification being but an effort of speech, a name and the clay, the only reality about it (VI-1-4), furnish the argument that modifications are merely an effort of speech, to establish Brahman, the One without a second.
191. Reflection is the constant thinking of Brahman, the One without a second, already heard about from the teacher, by arguments agreeable to the purport of the Vedanta.
192. Meditation is a stream of ideas of the same kind as those of Brahman, the One without a second, to the exclusion of such foreign ideas as those of the body etc.,
193. Absorption (Samadhi) is of two kinds, viz., that attended with self-consciousness and that without it.
194. Absorption attended with self-consciousness (Savikalpa Samadhi) is that in which the mental state taking the form of Brahman, the One without a second, rests on It, but without the merging of the distinction of knower, knowledge and the object of knowledge.
195. In that state the knowledge of the Absolute manifests itself in spite of the consciousness of the relative, as when we know a clay elephant etc., the knowledge of the clay is also present.
196. Thus it has been said: I am that Brahman, the Intelligence absolute, formless like ether, Supreme, eternally luminous, birthless, the One without a second, immutable, unattached, all-pervading, ever-free (Upadesha-sahasri 73-10-1).
197. Absorption without self-consciousness (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) is the total mergence in Brahman, the One without a second, of the mental state which has assumed Its form, the distinction of knower, knowledge and the object of knowledge being in this case obliterated.
198. Then just as when salt has been dissolved in water it is no longer perceived separately, and the water alone remains, similarly the mental state that has assumed the form of Brahman, the One without a second, is no longer perceived and only the Self remains.
199. Therefore there is no apprehension of its being identical with the state of deep sleep. For, though the mental state appears in neither, yet the difference between them lies in this that it exists in the Nirvikalpa Samadhi, but in deep sleep it does not.
200. The steps to the attainment of this are general discipline, particular discipline, posture, control of the vital force, self-withdrawal, concentration, meditation and absorption (with self-consciousness).
201. General discipline (Yama) consists of non-injury, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence and non-acceptance of gifts.
202. Particular discipline (Niyama) consists of cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study of the scriptures and meditation on God.
203. Posture (Asana) means the placing of the hands, feet, etc., in particular positions, such as Padmasana, Svastikasana etc.,
204. Control of the vital force (Pranayama) refers to exhalation, inhalation and retention of breath, which are means to the control of the vital force.
205. Self-withdrawal (Pratyahara) is the withdrawing of the sense-organs from their respective objects.
206. Concentration (Dharana) means the fixing of the mind on Brahman, the One without a second.
207. Meditation (Dhyana) is the intermittent resting of the mental state on Brahman, the One without a second.
208. Absorption (Samadhi) is what has already been described as attended with self-consciousness (Savikalpa).
209. The Nirvikalpa Samadhi, of which these are the steps, has four obstacles, viz., torpidity, distraction, attachment and enjoyment.
210. Torpidity (Laya) is the lapse of the mental state into sleep because of the failure to rest on the Absolute.
211. Distraction (Vikshepa) is the resting of the mental state on things other than the Absolute, because of the failure to rest on It.
212. Attachment (Kasaya) is the failure of the mental state to rest on the Absolute, owing to the numbness brought on by impressions due to attachment even when there is no torpidity or distraction.
213. Enjoyment (Rasasvada) is the tasting by the mental state of the bliss of Savikalpa Samadhi owing to the failure to rest on the Absolute. Or it may mean continuing to taste the bliss of Savikalpa Samadhi while taking up the Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
214. When the mind, free from these four obstacles, rests unmoved, like the flame of a lamp sheltered from the wind, as one with Absolute Consciousness, it is called the Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
215. Thus it has been said: When the mind is torpid, rouse it; when it is distracted, bring it back to calmness; when it becomes attached, be aware of it; when it is established in equipoise, do not distract it any more. Do not linger on the bliss that comes from the Savikalpa Samadhi, but be unattached through discrimination (Gaudapada-karika III, 44-45). As a lamp sheltered from the wind does not flicker, so is a Yogis controlled mind (Gita VI-19).
216. Now are being described the characteristics of a man who is liberated in this very life.
217. A man liberated-in-life (Jivanmukta) is one who by the knowledge of the Absolute Brahman, his own Self, has dispelled the ignorance regarding It and has realized It and who owing to the destruction of ignorance and its effects such as accumulated past actions, doubts, errors, etc., is free from all bondage and is established in Brahman.
218. Witness such Sruti passages as: The knot of his heart is broken asunder, all his doubts are solved and his past actions are neutralized when He who is high and low (cause and effect) has been realized (Mund. Up. II-2-8).
219. Such a liberated man, while he is not in Samadhi, sees actions not opposed to knowledge taking place under the momentum of past impressions actions that have already begun to bear fruit, which he experiences through the physical body composed of flesh, blood and other things; through the sense-organs affected by blindness, weakness, incapacity etc., and through his mind subject to hunger, thirst, grief, delusion, etc., -- yet he does not consider them as real, for he has already known their nothingness. As a man who is conscious that a magical performance is being given, even though he sees it, does not consider it as real.
220. Witness such Sruti passages as: Though he has eyes he is as one without eyes; though possessed of ears, he is as one without ears, etc.,
221. It has further been said: He who does not see anything in the waking state as in sound sleep; who though seeing duality does not really see it as he sees only the Absolute; who though engaged in work is really inactive; he, and none other is the knower of the Self. This is the Truth. (Upadesha-sahasri 5).
222. In the case of such a liberated soul, only good desires persist, as do his habits of eating, moving, etc., which existed before the dawn of knowledge. Or he may become indifferent to all good or evil.
223. Thus it has been said: If a man who has known the truth of Oneness acts according to his whims, then where is the difference between a knower of Truth and a dog as regards eating impure stuff? (Naiskarmyasiddhi IV-62). Further, One who has given up the conceit that he has realized Brahman, is alone the knower of the Self and none else (Upadesha-sahasri 115).
224. After realization, humility and other attributes which are steps to the attainment of knowledge, as also such virtues as non-injury etc., persist like so many ornaments.
225. Thus it has been said: Such qualities as non-violence etc., come spontaneously to a man who has got Self-knowledge. They have not to be sought after (Naiskarmya-siddhi IV-69).
226. In short, such a mans soul remains as the illuminer of the mental states and the Consciousness reflected in them, experiencing, solely for the maintenance of his body, happiness and misery, the results of past actions that have already begun to bear fruit (Prarabdha) and have been either brought on by his own will or by that of another or against his will. After the exhaustion of the Prarabdha work, his vital force is absorbed in the Supreme Brahman, the Inward Bliss; and ignorance with its effects and their impressions is also destroyed. Then he is identified with the Absolute Brahman, the Supreme Isolation, the embodiment of Bliss, in which there is not even the appearance of duality.
227. Compare such Sruti passage as: His sense-organs do not depart elsewhere (for transmigration) (Br. Up. IV-4-6); They are absorbed in him (Br. Up. III-2-11); Already a liberated soul he is freed (from further rebirths) (Katha Up. V-1), etc.,
Translators Note: The essence of Vedanta is this: The Jiva or embodied soul is none other than Brahman and as such is always free, eternal, immutable, the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. Because the Jiva does not know his own nature, he thinks himself bound. This ignorance vanishes with the dawn of Knowledge. When this happens he re-discovers his own Self. As a matter of fact, such terms as bondage and liberation cannot be used regarding one who is always free. The scripture use the term liberation in relation to bondage which exists only in imagination.