Dakshinamurti Stotra, translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri, , at sacred-texts.com
To Him who by illusion of Atman, as by sleep, sees the universe existing within Himself—like a city seen to exist within a mirror—as though it were manifested without; to Him who beholds, when awake, His own very Self, the second-less; to Him who is incarnate in the Teacher; to Him in the Effulgent Form Facing the South, to Him (Siva) be this bow!
1. Felicity to me may Vinâyaka grant!
Felicity to me may Sarasvatî grant!
Felicity to me may Mahesvara grant!
Felicity to me may Sadâsiva grant!
2. The sages hold that there is no greater gain. than the gain of Atman, the Self. With a view to this gain, the sage adores his own Self, the Paramesvara.
3. In this Hymn is adored the Paramesvara Himself, who, having entered into the Universe created by His own will, manifests Himself in the mind of every one.
As a result of the accumulated good Karma of many past births, a man attains some control over his mind, conceives a certain amount of indifference to worldly objects, obtains slight glimpses of truth, is able to discriminate the real and permanent from the unreal and impermanent, and is led to a study of the scriptures. After a cursory study of the scriptural teaching and of human experience, he becomes the disciple of a Teacher and asks him the following questions:
4. Question 1.—We speak of things as existing and appearing. Wherein does this existence abide, as also the light by which they appear?
5. Is it in the things themselves severally, or in Isvara, the very Self of all?
Though the external phenomena themselves vary from moment to moment, the ideas of being and consciousness invariably associated with all of them do not vary. Hence the question as to
wherein they essentially abide. Do they inhere in each object separately like its specific size, etc., as it is quite natural to suppose that they abide where they are observed; or do they inhere in the one Isvara who is said to exist everywhere in the universe as the Self of all, like the genus in the individuals, as the Sruti declares in the Isavasyopanishad, "By Lord is all this to be dwelt in," no distinction being observed as to being and consciousness in all objects of perception except what prevails among the individual objects themselves?
Q. 2.—What is Isvara?
Is Isvara, the author of the universe, quite external to it? Or, does He form the very basis wherein the universe has its being?
Q. 3.—What is Jîva?
Is it in the very nature of Pratyagatman to be Jiva? Or, is it accidental, due to His connection with an upadhi?
Q. 4.—What is meant by "the Self of all?"
Is the Isvara, as a matter of fact, the Self of all? Or, is He so described by courtesy?
6. Q. 5.—How has Jîva to understand it?
What is the right knowledge of these things?
Q. 6.—What is the means to that knowledge?
Q. 7.—What good accrues to him from the knowledge?
Q. 8.—How can Jîva and Isvara be one?
7. How can Atman, the Self, be the All-knower and All-doer? To the pupil thus asking, the Guru proceeds to say as follows.
Being mutually opposed in their nature, either they (Jiva and Isvara) are said to be one only by courtesy; or, if they be one in reality, they are mutually opposed only in appearance. Which of these alternatives is meant here?
In answer to these questions, the Teacher chants this (Hymn to the Blessed Dakshinamurti).
The meaning (of the first stanza) may be explained as follows:
8. All the things which we perceive exist here within (in our Self—the Paramâtman,
the Highest Self). Within is the whole of this universe. By Mâyâ it appears as external, like one's own body in a mirror.
9. Just as in svapna (dream) the universe existing in one's own Self is seen as if it were external, so, be it known that even in the jâgrat (waking) state this universe exists within and yet appears to be external.
10. It is certain that the existence of objects seen in svapna is not independent of the existence of one's own Self. What difference is there in the objects of jâgrat consciousness, impermanent and insentient (jada) as they always are?
11. In svapna, things appear by the light of one's own Self. There is then indeed no other light. The wise have concluded that the case is just the same even in jâgrat.
12. Just as, when awake, a man sees not the things which were presented to his view during sleep, so, subsequently to the rise of right knowledge, he sees not the universe.
13. "When Jiva is awakened from the sleep of delusion which has no beginning, then does he realise the Unborn, the Sleepless, the Dreamless, the One without a second." (Gaudapadacharya's Karikas on the Mandukya Upanishad, i. 16).
14–15. When, by Sruti, by the master's favour, by practice of Yoga, and by the Grace of God, there arises a knowledge of one's own Self, then, as a man regards the food he has eaten as one with himself, the Adept Yogin sees the universe as one with his Self, absorbed as the universe is in the Universal Ego which he has become.
Thus far has the first stanza been literally interpreted. Now the Vartikakara proceeds to develop answers to other questions. First he shows, on the analogy of svapna, how by Maya the one conscious Atman becomes Isvara and Jiva:
16. Just as in svapna a man becomes a king, enjoys all the pleasures that can be wished for, conquers the enemy in the battle-field with the aid of a well-equipped army;
That is to say, like a man who in svapna regards himself to be an independent king, the Chidatman, the self-conscious Self, becomes Isvara, having subjected all external beings to his own control, and regarding Himself as the independent Lord of them all. Similarly, the Jiva state of the Atman is illustrated as follows:
17. then being defeated by the enemy, he goes to the forest and practises penance; in one short hour, he imagines himself to have lived for a long period;
That is to say, Atman is regarded as Jiva when he is under the control of another, and seeks unattained objects of desire.
18. so also, in jâgrat state, he imagines a fancied world of his own; he is not aware of life coming to an end in the swift current of Time.
19. Like the sun veiled by the cloud, Paramesvara, the Supreme Lord Himself, quite deluded by Mâyâ, appears to be of limited power and limited knowledge.
Isvara is Himself called Jiva when subject to the control of Maya. There is no independent entity called Jiva.
20. Whenever one does or knows a thing independently by one's own power, it is then that Paramesvara is said to be a king, a sage, a lord.
Thus the question as to what is meant by Isvara and Jiva has been answered. Atman becomes Isvara and Jiva by Maya. He is said to be Jiva or Paramesvara under certain conditions, but not in Himself.
21. All Jivas are endued with intelligence and activity, because they are one with Siva. Because Jivas are endued with
the powers of Isvara, we may conclude that they are (identical with) Isvara.
Intelligence and activity, jnana and kriya, are found associated with Jivas because these are identical with Siva, the Paramatman who alone has the power of knowing and acting quite independently of all. A mass of iron is said to burn only when regarded as identical with the fire burning in it. All Jivas being thus identical with Isvara, He is said to be Sarvatman, the Self in all.
22. In all our cognitions of external objects, such as are expressed in the words 'this is a pot,' 'this is a cloth,' it is the consciousness, forming the very nature of the Self, which manifests of itself, like the sun's light.
23. If consciousness were not self-manifested, then the universe would be blind darkness.
If there be no activity whatever in Him, how can any one be spoken of as the doer of an act?
Though formless, Isvara must possess activity inherent in Him, inasmuch as He is spoken of as the Creator, etc. What sort of activity it is, is explained in the next verse:
24. Activity, which is either motion or change of condition, becomes manifested as an offshoot of consciousness moving towards the external.
The sort of activity here defined is possible even in the formless Being when associated with an upadhi. When consciousness is in a state of motion as it were, when it is associated with manas set vibrating by the sense-organs coming in contact with sense-objects, then, as an effect thereof, the prana which is inseparable from the manas wherein consciousness abides is thrown into a state of vibration which expresses itself as some form of activity in the physical body ensouled by the prana. Thus the activity of prana, etc., being
dependent on the presence of the indwelling Controller, the Isvara, all activity seen in any being whatsoever pertains to none other than the Isvara. (Vide Chap. IV., 7–8).
Thus far activity manifested in the form of vibration has been illustrated. Its manifestation as change of condition is shown as follows:
25. Activity manifests itself in connection with a thing to be produced, or reached, or ceremonially regenerated, or modified in form; as when we say, he makes a thing, he goes to a place, he wipes off a sacrificial twig, he cuts a twig asunder.
Now he proceeds to show that Omniscience and finite knowledge pertain to the One alone according to the upadhi with which He is associated:
26–27. Siva manifests Himself as the Omniscient in the bodies of Brahma and the like; and in Devas, lower animals and man, He manifests Himself with a finite knowledge of various degrees. There are four kinds of bodies, the womb-born, the egg-born, the sweat-born, and the earth-born,—arranged in their descending order.
28. When the Paramâtman of infinite light is intuitively realized, all creatures from Brahmâ down to the lowest plant melt into an illusion like unto a dream.
29. Vedas speak of Him as smaller than an atom and greater than the great; and the Rudra-Upanishad, too, extols Siva as the Sarvâtman, the Self of all.
30. To Him who is manifested in the different forms as Isvara, as the Teacher, as the Self; who is all pervading like unto ether; to Sri-Dakshinâmûrti,—to the Effulgent Form Facing the South; to Him (Siva) be this bow!
To bow to the Supreme Lord means to offer one's own Self to Him in the thought that the two are one and identical. The term 'Dakshinamûrti' is variously explained: (1) it is applied to a special incarnation of Siva in the form of a Teacher, who, seated at the foot of a fig-tree with His face towards the south, is engaged in imparting spiritual instruction to the highest sages of the world such as Sanaka. (2) It is applied to Siva who, in His mighty form composed of Existence, Intelligence and Bliss, and with His beginningless and unthinkable power of Maya, can create, preserve and destroy the universe, and yet who has really no form whatever. (3) Siva is so called because the spiritual wisdom forms the only means by which He can be known and realised.
31. Thus ends the first chapter in brief in the work called Mânasollâsa expounding the meaning of the Hymn to the Blessed Dakshinâmûrti.