Dakshinamurti Stotra, translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri, , at sacred-texts.com
Those who contend that the Ego is the body, or the vitality, or the sense-organs, or the fickle Buddhi, or the void, they are verily on the same level with women and children, with the blind and the possessed: they are quite deluded. To Him who destroys the mighty delusion set up by the play of Mâyâ's power, to Him who is incarnate in the Teacher, to Him in the Effulgent Form Facing the South, to Him (Siva) be this bow!
1. Pratyaksha is the sole authority; the four bhûtas (elements) are alone real. There is no moksha other than death; love and wealth comprise the end of man.
No anumana or inference can be relied on till it is confirmed by the senses. Such things as akasa which cannot be perceived by the senses do not exist. Carnal gratification is the primary end of man, while wealth, as conducing to this primary end, forms but a secondary end of man.
2. There is indeed no Isvara, the Creator; vain is all talk of the other world.
Things grow and change their form by svabhava, of their own accord; we see no agent at the back of every substance acting by way of changing its form; none, for instance, pushes an arrow forward once it has been discharged from the bow; once the seed is sown, none constantly helps it to grow into a tree. This is a fact of immediate experience. What need is there to postulate an Isvara? Again, variety in the amount of happiness found among
living beings can be traced to their own nature (svabhava); there is no need to suppose a super-sensuous cause such as Dharma.
2–3. If Atman exist apart from the body, let it be seen like a pot in front. It is the body that is perceived as short or tall, as a youth or a child.
All evidence goes to prove that the body is the Self, while there is none whatever pointing to the existence of a disembodied Self.
3–4. The six changes of phenomenal existence,—namely, being, birth, growth, change of form, diminution or decay, and death,—all these pertain to the body.
They are not spoken of as pertaining to an Atman distinct from the body. There is no need to suppose the existence of an Atman distinct from the body, as the subject of these changes.
4–5. Distinctions of caste and religious order are based on the bodies alone; such sacraments as jâta-karma (the birth-ceremony) are enjoined with reference to the body alone. It is with reference to the body that they pronounce the benediction "may thou live a hundred years."
6. Thus does the small-witted Chârvâka delude the world.
6–7. I breathe, I am alive, I feel hungry, I feel thirsty: on the strength of these and other notions of the sort, some conclude that Prâna is Atman.
Finding that the dead body which is to all appearance quite of the same nature as the living is yet not self-conscious and does not breathe or perform other functions of a living being, they hold that Atman must be the Prana, the vital
principle, whose presence in the body makes it alive and whose departure reduces it to a corpse.
7–8. I hear, I see, I smell, I cause motion: from an experience of this sort, some rise higher and look upon the indriyas, the sense-organs, as Atman.
As self-consciousness arises only when the sense-organs are active, Atman must be identical with the sense-organs. There is no evidence of the existence of Prana distinct from the senses; for no motion is observed during sleep when the senses are quiescent: and breathing, &c., visible during sleep are a mere illusion. As the sense-organs do not perceive objects simultaneously, i.e., as the scope of each sense-organ is restricted to one kind of objects and as there are several sense-organs occupying the body, each of them is an Atman by itself.
The logical order of this and the foregoing theory is reversed in the Vartikakara's exposition, which has only followed the order in which they are mentioned in the Hymn. The fact of Prana not ceasing to function during sleep when all the
sense-organs are quiescent, would naturally lead to the conclusion that Prana is the self more than the sense-organs. *
15. On the strength of the notion "I understand," others regard Buddhi (Intellect) as the Atman.
9–10. (The fifth stanza) is intended to refute the theories of those whose intellects are thus deluded by Máyà.
The meaning of the stanza may be explained as follows:
How can objects like the physical body which are insentient like stones, and are so different from, Atman, ever feel as the Ego, except by the Lord entering into them?
10–11. Now, the physical body cannot be Atman, because like a pot it is visible, insentient, endued with colour, etc., made up of parts and evolved out of matter.
Visible: Depending on something else for its manifestation. Insentient: as opposed to self-conscious.
11–12. Even in swoon, sushupti and death, the physical body is seen; then, being distinct from the physical body, etc., Atman is not seen.
12–13. The sun is the primary cause of all activities in the world; just so is Atman the chief cause of the activities of the physical body, etc.
13–14. "This is my body;" thus feels a woman, a child, and even the blind man; none ever feels "I am the body."
It cannot be contended that the feeling "I am a man " points to a valid experience of the body being the Ego,; for man sometimes dreams of himself being a tiger. Here the consciousness of Ego, the feeling of "I, "remains the same, unaffected by the different bodies with which the Ego has been associated in the two states of jagrat and svapna.
Now, as to the contention that anumana or inference cannot constitute an authority in itself. Our every day experience furnishes so many instances of our conduct being consciously based on no better authority than anumana. What basis, for instance, other than anumana or inference from past experience, is there for our belief that the food we are going to eat next moment will appease our hunger? But for this faith in anumana as the right source of knowledge, how can any one get on in life?
As to the remaining negative assertions of a sweeping character in the Charvaka's system, it is unnecessary to enter into a detailed discussion.
14. Not even the sense-organs are Atman, since they are mere instruments like a lamp.
15. Like a musical instrument such as vînâ, the ear is a means of perceiving sound. The eye, like the three lights (sun, moon and fire), is a means of perceiving form and colour.
16. The nose is a means of perceiving smell, like a flower-vase, etc., and the tongue is a means of perceiving taste, like curd, honey, or clarified butter.
17. "The sense-organs I have not; I am dumb, I am deaf." Thus say the
people who are wanting in the sense-organs. Are they selfless?
18–19. Not even Prâna is Atman; for there is no consciousness in times of sushupti. When man goes to sushupti to gain a respite from the worry caused by jâgrat and svapna life, Prâna acts for the mere preservation of the body, wherewith to reap the fruits of karma yet unspent.
20–21. If Prâna's unconsciousness then (in sushupti) be due to the inactivity of the sense-organs, how, then, while Prana acts, can the senses be inactive? When
the king is still engaged in battle, the army cannot, indeed, cease to fight. Prâna, therefore, cannot be the Lord of the sense-organs.
If Prana be the Atman seeking rest in sushupti, then it should be inactive. On the other hand, during sleep Prana is as active as before; it breathes and discharges other functions. If Prana be really the self-conscious Atman whose instruments of action and knowledge are the sense-organs, then it would be impossible for the latter to be inactive so long as the former remains active; and sushupti would not then be a period of inactivity.
22. Atman, the director of manas, ceasing to work, then all sense-organs cease to work. Their lord is therefore Atman.
Thus, Atman, the ruler of manas and other sense-organs, is distinct from Prana.
Now the Vartikakara proceeds to refute the Buddhistic theory that Atman is none other than the momentary state of consciousness (Kshanika-Vijnana).
23. Be it known that Buddhi is but a momentary thing which comes and goes. Illumined only by Atman's reflection, it illumines the universe.
Buddhi cannot be Atman as depending on another for its light. This is explained as follows:
24. In Atman is Buddhi born, in Atman alone does it dissolve; non-existent before and after, by itself it does not exist.
The origin and the end of a thing cannot be perceived by itself; and these cannot be facts of experience unless perceived by some conscious entity. It being thus necessary that there should be a self-conscious entity perceiving the changes which the Buddhi undergoes from moment to moment, no further evidence is necessary to show that Buddhi is not Atman.
To avoid this difficulty some contend that Atman is not a single detached momentary state of consciousness; that, on the other hand, Atman is a stream of states of consciousness of an infinite
number running in a current, each preceding state of consciousness giving rise to the next succeeding one and vanishing away as the latter arises. This stream of consciousness has neither a beginning nor an end, though the individual states of consciousness of which it is a stream are momentary in themselves. Even this theory is open to objection:
25. If each preceding cognition should give rise to the next succeeding cognition, there would be a simultaneous presence of innumerable cognitions at every moment.
26. No cognition can give rise, subsequently to its disappearance, to another cognition; because it does not then exist.
The Vijnana-Vadin may be asked: Does the preceding cognition exist or not exist in the succeeding one to which it .gives rise? In the first case, all cognitions being momentary, in every cognition will be present all the preceding cognitions which are infinite in number: a conclusion opposed to experience. If this simultaneousness should be avoided, the Vijnana-Vadin will have to give up the hypothesis that each state of consciousness
exists for only one single moment. In the second case, i.e., if the preceding cognition does not exist in the succeeding one, it is tantamount to saying that each cognition arises out of nothing. If so, everything may come into existence at one and the same moment.
26–27. Even supposing the aggregate of these be Atman: then when one part is severed, there could be no sentiency, because of the absence of an integral whole.
Here a question arises: Does the aggregate as a whole possess sentiency, or is each constituent of the whole sentient in itself? In the first case, when even one constituent—the eye or the ear—is severed from the aggregate, what remains should lose all sentiency. But, as a matter of fact, we see the deaf and the blind leading a sentient life all the same.
Neither can the other alternative be maintained; for,
27–28. If it be held that there are many sentiencies in the aggregate, then this composition of the many sentiencies will at once break up, or it will come to a stand-still.
Each member in the aggregate may seek to go in an opposite direction to others. One pulling thus one side and another on another side, the system may altogether be broken up; or even if such an extreme contingency be averted, life-functions would, at any rate, come to a standstill.
Though Atman has thus been proved to be distinct from the body, from the sense-organs, from the vital principle, from the intellect and from the aggregate of these, still there arises a doubt as to His size. The Jainas, who follow the teachings of the Arhats, hold that Atman is of the same size as the body in which He dwells for the time; some of the so-called Vedantins regard Him as atomic, as infinitesimally small in .size, while the Sankhyas maintain that He is infinite, all-pervading. The Vartikakara now proceeds to discuss the question:
28–29. Though dwelling within the body, Atman, to be sure, must be all-pervading. If He be of the size of an atom, He cannot pervade the whole body.
For, then, there could not happen that simultaneous sensation of heat and cold and of the like pairs of opposites, which we so often feel in the different parts of the body. Further, it militates against the fact of more than one member of the body being simultaneously put in action or withdrawn from action.
29–30. If Atman be of the size of the body, he who was the youth cannot be the same as he that is now old. If Atman be subject to change like the body, like it He shall also perish.
Atman cannot have a definite limited size of its own; for, one and the same Atman, having to reap the fruits of karmas of a great variety necessitating birth in various kinds of bodies, one body may be found too small for Him and another too big. Suppose, on the other hand, Atman is all-pervading; then,
30–31. As karma is ripe, Atman, all-pervading as He is, enters into the body of a worm, or of an elephant, and so on, like âkâsa (entering into) a pot or the like.
Though manifested in bodies of a limited size Atman is all-pervading. For instance:
31–32. He shines in manas which is infinitesimally small; in svapna, the universe, animate and inanimate, abides in Atman alone.
These two facts point to the all-pervading nature of Atman.
32–33. The illusion that the physical body or the like is the Self arises from (avidyâ which is the cause of) samsâra. "The Lord has entered within" (Taittirîya-Aranyaka
[paragraph continues] 3–11); thus the Sruti has taught with a view to liberation.
33–34 Thus, this mighty Mâyâ deludes even these disputants; for, once Sadâsiva is seen, it immediately vanishes away.
34–35. To Him who has neither body, nor sense-organs, nor vital airs, whose nature is inaccessible to all organs of perception, who is Consciousness and Bliss in essence, to Him in the Effulgent Form Facing the South, be this bow!
35–36. Thus ends the fifth chapter, in brief, in the work called Mânasollâsa which expounds the meaning of the Hymn to the Blessed Dakshinâmûrti.
101:* One of the manuscripts of Manasollasa consulted for this edition gives the text in the logical order of the two theories. Evidently the gloss-writer whose exposition of the Vartika I followed in my translation and notes had not this reading before him.