Self-Realization through Yoga Meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra

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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 Panchadasi)


Sri Vidyaranya Swami
Translated by Swami Swahananda
Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai
(Translation under Fair Use, and believed to be in the public domain.)


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 Teacher.
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 too.
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 forever’.
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) revealed.
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 beginningless Avidya.
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 controls Maya.
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 and smell.
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 body).
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 sheath.
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 respective natures.
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 thou art’.
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 things.
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 breezeless spot.
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 Truth) grows.
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 samadhi.
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 existence.
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 detail.
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 smell.
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 same.
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 respectively.
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 vijatiya difference?
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 super-conscious state.
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 thought.
31. These Buddhists, merged in darkness, and seeing through the one eye of inference and neglecting the authority of the Vedas, reached only the ‘nothingness’.
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 contradicted.
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, agriculture, etc.
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 water.
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 Lord.
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 illustrations.
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 different colours.
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 space-giving.
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 other elements.
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 by discrimination.
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 fire.
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 with Brahman’.
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 never lost.
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 after death.
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 unreasonable).
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 world respectively.
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 experienced.
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 revealed).’
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 Brahman.
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 real nature.
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 awareness itself’.
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 respects.
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 therefore clear.
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 another.
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 things.
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 perceives.
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 enjoyment).
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 nor pain.
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 was aggrieved.
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 Brahman.
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’. [Brihadaranyaka Upanishad]
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 things. [Naiskarmyasiddhi-IV-62]
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 the picture.
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 death.
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 discrimination.
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 nescience.
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 contradictory.
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 truth.
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 nescience.
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 objects also.
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 Atman.
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, continue.
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 imperfect reasoning.
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 alive.
66. The vital airs continue functioning even in sleep. In some Shruti passages the vital sheath is given pre-eminence and dealt with in detail.
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 grasps matter.
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 object-consciousness.
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 it.
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 texts.
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 Buddhists.
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 nails’.
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 enters.
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 the bliss-sheath.
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 man.
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 Shruti.
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 release.
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 family deities.
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 attached.
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 of Maya.
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 ‘Khandana’ [Khandana-Khandakhadya].
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 water.
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 Upanishad: IV-iv-22]
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 Inner Ruler.
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 His body.
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 intellect.
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 objects.
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 actions.
189. Thus Sureshvaracharya, the author of Vartika, has attributed the cause of the animate and inanimate creation to Paramatman and not to Ishvara.
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 in Hiranyagarbha.
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 indistinct.
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 seen.
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, demons.
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 of desires.
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 awakes.
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 world?
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 pure nature.
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’ and ‘Thou’.
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 immutable.
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 also eternal.
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 transcendental truth.
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 their conviction.
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 destroyed.
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 satisfied.
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 enjoyed pleasures?
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 Vedantic doctrine.
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 scriptures.
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 past.
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 actual observation.
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 affliction?’
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 clearly known.
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 Purusha.
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 Itself’.
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 this’.
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 experienced.
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 man.
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 Kutastha’.
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 to Chidabhasa.
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 superimposition stands.
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 experienced.
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 Jiva suffers.
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 confirmed.
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 direct knowledge).
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 experienced.
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 resorted to.”
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 consciousness.
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 once disappears.
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 knowledge.
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 impossible.
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 partial elimination.
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 necessary.
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 intellect’.
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 and meditation.
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 objections.
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 real.
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 method?
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 regarding it.
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 eat fire’.
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 erroneous conviction.
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 obstacle.
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 the Karma?
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 grief.
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 oil.
137. When the visitor knows the magician’s city of Gandharvas and its objects as unreal, he desires nothing and laughs at its deceptive nature.
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 restless limbs.
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 enough.
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 enemy.’
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 grief.
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 its unreality.
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 objective world?
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 bind.
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 self-contradictory?
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 immutable Kutastha.
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 Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
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 Thy remembrance’.
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 stronger.
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 in it.
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 Chandogya Upanishad.
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 family.
233. An ordinary man is afflicted when his son or wife suffers; similarly Chidabhasa unreasonably thinks that he is afflicted by bodily ailments.
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 Kutastha.
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 with It.
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 darkness.
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 liberated.
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 satisfaction.
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 and duties.
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 actions?
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 changeable mind.
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 done.
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 ocean?
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 dead?
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 weapon?
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 obstructed?
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 for liberation.
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 where.
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 aspire to.
295. Blessed am I, blessed, for there is nothing to compare with my great bliss ! Blessed am I, blessed, blessed, blessed, again and again blessed !
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 perfect bliss.


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’ consciousness.
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 called Kutastha.
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 Chidabhasa.
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 classics.
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 self-revealing Kutastha.


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 knowledge.
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 to liberation.
14. After indirectly knowing the one indivisible homogeneous Brahman from the books on Vedanta, one should meditate on or think repeatedly ‘I am Brahman’.
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 are authoritative.
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 personality.
19. As the knowledge of Sat-Chit-Ananda has been acquired in the scriptural method, it, though an indirect knowledge, is not an illusory one.
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 Self.
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 inquiry.
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 this life.
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 fruit.
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 she-buffalo).
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 Brahman.
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 impossible.
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 Vedic texts.
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 meditation.
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 ‘Anandadaya..’ Sutra.
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 world.
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 activities?
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 manifest?
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 life.
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 pure consciousness.
102. The clear-sighted knower from whose heart all attachment has vanished is a liberated soul whether he performs or not concentration or action.
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 austerities.
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 pleasures.
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 Karma.
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 also real?
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 better.
122. That which is nearer to the realisation of Brahman is superior; and meditation on the Absolute gradually becomes like direct realisation of Brahman.
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 eliminated.
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 Brahman’.
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 hand’.
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 distractions.
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 Shruti too.
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 rebirth.
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 Brahman.


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 supreme Self.
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 knowledge.
11. The light in the dancing hall uniformly reveals the patron, the audience and the dancer. Even when they are absent, the light continues to shine.
12. The witness-consciousness lights up the ego, the intellect and the sense-objects. Even when ego etc., are absent, it remains self-luminous as ever.
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 obtains happiness.
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 do’.
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 the bliss-sheath.
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 bliss.
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 the limited.
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 duality emerged.
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 is impossible.
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 happiness.
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 to sleep.
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 nature.
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 external.
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 consciousness prevails.
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 else.
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) wheat-grains.
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 objects.
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 minutes before).
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 another.
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 comes naturally.
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 bliss.
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 Arjuna.
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 bliss’.
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 Self’.
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 undespairing mind’.
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 cause’.
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 release’.
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 heart’.
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 times also.
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 worldly matters.
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 in rest.
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 Karma.
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 of Brahman.


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 Vedas.
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 circumstances.
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 Self.
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 objects.
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 obscured.
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 Rajas).
80. (Doubt): By discrimination one can feel that the Self is the dearest, but without the practice of Yoga what good is it (for liberation)?
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 from discrimination?
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 also).
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 quite different.
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 existed.’
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 hunting’.
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 description.
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 the like.
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 by men.
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 existence.
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 upon words.
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 manifest.
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 bank.
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 phenomenal world.
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 unreal.
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 creation).
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 that state.
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, solidity.
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 right place.
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 living beings.
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 existence.
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 of duality.
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 achieved’.
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 be enjoyed.
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 Brahman achieves.
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 discrimination.
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 ‘human Gandharva’.
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 ‘celestial Gandharva’.
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 objects.
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 elsewhere.
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 and duties.
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 actions?
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 changeable mind.
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 conviction.
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 done.
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 where.
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 aspire to.
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 bliss.
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 reflected.
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 water-vessels.
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 many’.
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 some happiness.
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 consciousness.
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 described here.
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.






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Swami Jnaneshvara