Select Works of Sri Sankaracharya, tr. by S. Venkataramanan, , at sacred-texts.com
There is no known comparison in all the three worlds for the venerable teacher that bestows knowledge. If the philosopher's stone be assumed as such, it only turns iron into gold, but, alas! cannot convert it into philosopher's stone. The venerable teacher, on the other hand, creates equality with himself in the disciple that takes refuge in his feet. He is therefore peerless, nay, even transcendental. (1)
Just as, by virtue of the fragrance diffused by a sandal tree, other trees around it are also full of fragrance at all times and afford shelter from heat to diverse beings, so do they that have derived wisdom from the teacher, with hearts full of mercy, emancipate, by their teachings, all those who are fortunate enough to stand in their presence, from the three kinds of misery * and the three kinds of sin. † (2)
At the outset is enunciated the perception of the self and of the not-self by means, respectively, of true knowledge and illusion. Thus does scripture speak of the knowledge of Brahman as two-fold, namely, by means of experience relating to oneself (svânubhûti) and by conclusive certainty (upapatti). The former arises in correlation to bodily limitation, while the latter arises out of universality; at first springs up the experience "I am Brahman", and then "All this is Brahman." (3)
The nature of the self is consciousness. knowledge and bliss. It can be known by direct realisation. It. is the inspiring soul in all bodies, (senses), etc. And yet, the utterly ignorant person mistakes the transient body for the soul, although he knows again and
again that the body, whether his own or another's, is externally composed of bones, tendon, marrow, flesh, blood, nerves, skin and fat, and internally full of ordure, urine and phlegm. (4)
All these beings spend the whole of their valuable life-time on earth as followers of the philosophy of the flesh, imagining: "The body, wife, sons, friends, servants, horses, cattle,—these are the sources of my happiness." They fail to understand that inner, immortal Lord of Life, by whom they live, by whom they are rendered fit for the duties of life and by whom they are endowed with prosperity. (5)
Just as a sagacious insect (e, g., the silkworm) builds, by its own efforts, a cocoon around itself and, jointly therewith, moves about throughout its life in the discharge of its activities, so does the individual soul, by means of the fruits of various actions, build up a physical body and, remaining therein, move about along with it, day by day, on earth. (6)
Does a person who assumes the mask of a tiger for his livelihood and frightens the young ones, injure any man, beast or other living being, under the impression that he is a tiger? Or, does the actor, playing a woman s part, pant for a husband, imagining himself to be a woman? So is the self conditioned by
the body, but, being different from the body and from experience, is only the witness. (7)
Just as a mother, in order to pacify her child that has been weeping for a very long time, places before it a grape, a date, a mango, or a good plantain fruit, so well has the upanishad, by various teaching expedients, enlightened the utterly ignorant mind that wanders restlessly in consequence of the faculty of delusion acquired in numerous lives. (8)
That self, by reason of which being dear, all things like the body, wife, children and
wealth, are dear, must itself be dearer than those things. Those things, on the other hand, are sources of misery. How, then, can they be dearer (than the self)? For the sake of saving one's own life, one gives up even his wife and others, and, for the good of one's own. self, one gives up even one's own body. The wise should therefore cherish the self as the most beloved and not anything else. (9)
As long as one derives pleasure from an object, so long is it beloved; and as long as it gives rise. to pain, so long is it disliked. Neither pleasantness nor unpleasantness resides at all times in the same object. Sometimes what is unpleasant might become pleasant, and what is very pleasant might become unpleasant.
[paragraph continues] The reality known as the self is, therefore; the most beloved at all times. (10)
What is preferable in the world and what is pleasant are each said to be of two kinds, namely, that which is actuated by desire and that which is absolute. That which is actuated by desire is the sole source of sorrow and becomes insipid in an instant; it is sought after by the ignorant. Brahman alone is the absolute, being the repository of unsurpassed bliss; therein do they that know the truth take refuge. This is declared in the six divisions (vallî) of the Kathopanishad. (11)
Feeling, while going about, that he is a wave of the ocean of the self: while sitting, that he is a bead strung on the thread of universal consciousness: while perceiving objects of sense, that he is realising himself by perceiving the self: and, while sleeping, that he is drowned in the ocean of bliss;—he who, inwardly constant, spends his whole life thus, is, among all men, the real seeker of liberation. (12)
All this world, consisting of name and form, is only the particular manifestation (vyaskti) of the universal -Substance (virâj); it moves
and knows all objects by virtue of the primal life (mukhya-prâna) that inspires it. This self, like the sun, is neither the doer nor the enjoyer.—Thus, directly realising, does he that is full of knowledge and realisation live his life, through incessant contemplation of the supreme self. (13)
Non-attachment (vairâgya) is declared to be of two kinds, namely, that which springs from disgust (nirveda) and that which is inspired by knowledge. The former arises from the observation that desires, such as for home or friends or sons or wealth, generally end in sorrow; while the latter is the rejection of the above-mentioned things, by virtue of the wisdom imparted, as if they were vomitted matter. Renunciation too is of two kinds for those of
subdued mind, namely, that of the body and that of the home. (14)
Every one in all the three worlds strives for happiness and not at all fur misery. The two sources of misery are the sense of I-ness in the body and the sense of mine-ness, arising therefrom, in the objects of one's own consciousness; for, even the learned man undergoes suffering from disease or assault by mistaking the transient body for the self, and experiences extreme sorrow at the loss of wife, son or wealth, but not at the loss of an enemy. * (15)
Although dwelling in the house as the head of the family, he who is devoid of the feeling of mine-ness remains therein like a guest longing to reach his destination, * and feels not, with fervour, the happiness or the misery residing in the body. What must happen, whether it be the body or anything else, will surely happen, and what must be lost, will surely be lost, like the gathering of clouds. He who knows this truth remains at ease. (16)
He who, by strength of will, escapes from his own home like a snake out of its slough, might occasionally attend to the sustenance of his body like a traveller resorting to the shade
of a wayside tree, but should only beg of trees so much food, in the shape of fruits fallen of their own accord, as would be enough to appease his hunger. He should also go forth from his body in order to enter the garden of his own self that is full of bliss. (17)
There first arises, in the mind, desire. It then directs the mind to various objects. The mind then grasps those objects through the medium of the senses. When an object is not attained, there springs up anger. When an object is attained, there arises greed in the shape of eagerness to preserve that object. These three are the cause of every one's ruin. The .wise should therefore shun them by constant meditation upon the self. (18)
That is a gift which is made by men as a dedication to Brahman; patience is the absence of anger; faith is the belief in the existence of the self; and the reality is Brahman (sat). The four opposites of these are known as the barriers (setu), and tend to the bondage of every being. One should therefore overcome these barriers by means of the four gifts, etc., aforesaid, and should thereby attain happiness, immortality, heavenward progress, and the realisation of the light. (19)
Food that is dedicated to the Lord and to guests tends to immortality; otherwise, the food is useless. So, too, food that is cooked for one's own sake is said to be one's death. He, too, among men, who eats by himself becomes wholly sinful in this world. And he, too, who eats daily without the prescribed consecration of the food to the fire of life, remains a mortal. (20)
He alone, in the world, is the giver who offers food to the famished mendicant that comes to his house. To such an one there is plenty of food for sacrifice, and he becomes one that has no enemy. He, on the other hand, who does not offer food even to the friend that has constantly served him with attachment for the sake of food, is not a
friend. From such a miser one should be anxious to turn away, as it were, out of disregard. (21)
The manifestation and the dissolution of the universe have, for their respective cause, the ignorance or the knowledge of the self, and are applicable to all beings from the creator (hiranya-garbha) downwards,—so do the Vedas declare. When the self is realised, the universe is sacrificed * into Brahman, and, when the self is not realised, this Brahman is again sacrificed * into the universe, in the same way as the (illusory) silver disappears into the mother-of-pearl and the real substance (the
mother-of-pearl) into the (illusory) silver owing Ito the non-recognition of each of them in turn. (22)
Then was not non-entity, that being absolutely non-existent like the sky-flower; nor was then any entity that could divide. But something then was, different from these two. Then was not the universe as it (now) exists in its phenomenal condition; and yet it already existed differently, as the (illusory) silver already exists in the mother-of-pearl. Nor was then the primordial (cosmic) substance (virât) sprung from ether. For, what is there, like unto the water produced by magic, that can veil the unconditioned self? * (23)
If there was no bondage in the shape of origin and dissolution, neither was there liberation; just as there is neither night nor day in the sun, for, it is only a limitation of vision. The One, motionless and unconditioned, then became, by its own power of illusion (mâyâ), that which is known as the maker (kartri) *. And there was naught else than that. That alone, veiled by the unborn †, became the individual soul. (24)
In the beginning was darkness, * as an entity. Thus veiled by darkness, naught could then be seen, like the water that is contained-in milk. The birth of this universe, consisting of name and form, was by virtue of the will of the Creator desiring to create,—this will being induced by the actions (karma-bhih) of a continuous (anugata) universe constantly inspired by minds that are also continuous in a germinal form. (25)
This (goddess of) illusion (mâyâ) has four crests †. She is always fresh and therefore ever young. She is skilful, because she is an expert in accomplishing even the impossible. She is sweet-mouthed ‡ at the outset. Thus,
too, she veils the knowledge derivable from the upanishads. In her dwell, like two birds, the supreme self and the individual soul, for, they alone make all things manifest. (26)
Of these two, the former remains unattached, while the latter, on the other hand, falling into the ocean of ignorance and forgetting the real nature of the self, perceived the apparition of these various worlds. But no sooner has he turned his consciousness within himself than the unborn (mâyâ), abandons him and he abandons her. There is, thus, One only. But the wise, somehow, render that One variously by their teachings. * (27)
The inner self neither comes in at the time of birth nor goes away at the time of death; for, it is infinite. But it is the mind with the subtle body that enters thus and goes forth afterwards. The mind does not reproduce in itself the leanness or the stoutness of the gross body. But it departs, taking with it the two sets * of tendencies (samskâra) and the measures of light (tejo-mâtrâh) †, and returns again to this world along with these very appendages. (28)
There was, of old, a venerable Brâhmaṇa, named Subandhu, who was the priest of (king) Sanâti; he having died by the deceitful incantations of some Brâhmaṇas, his mind went to (the abode of the god of) death, and his brother brought it back by means of Vedic hymns,—so says the Veda. It follows from this that the mind alone, as related to the self, goes forth and not the inner self in any case. (29)
The one motionless self moves with the wandering mind, remains in it, and is also both before and behind it. But although it is
thus present throughout, the eye and other senses know it not. Water, for instance, moves about with the rolling waves raised by the wind, is in them and before them and behind them; and when the waves are still, it is as it ever is. (30)
The inner self was, at first, by itself. Then it seeks objects of enjoyment one after another: "Let me have wife and children and wealth to support them." For their sake the man works with very many difficulties even at the risk of his life and does not deem anything-else to be higher or greater than them. Even if any one of them is not gained, he feels himself to be incomplete and is as inactive as if he were dead; so, too, even if any one of them is lost, he feels he has entirely missed his purpose. (31)
The cloud that hides the huge sun leas not existed (ever) before nor will exist (ever) thereafter, but is visible only during that interval. And it obstructs the vision of the spectator and not the solar orb; for, if it were not so, how can the group of clouds be visible without the sun? In this manner does the universe (visva) * veil the understanding and not the supreme (self) that is its † own illuminer and inspirer. (32)
Having, in dream, ruled a kingdom with all the glories thereof, one does not, on waking thereafter, feel sorry that he has lost his kingdom, knowing, as he does, that it was unreal. Nor does one become liable to punishment by committing adultery or other evil deed in dream. So will it be, if one should forget all the activities of his waking state like dreams. (33)
The pleasure or pain experienced in the dream-state becomes unreal on waking, and the objects towards which the activities of the physical body are directed in the waking state become unreal during sleep. But, although unreality is thus established in both ways, the ignorant person still clings to it *, although its
illuminer is the self (satya). Surely, we are not aware why this should be so. (34)
One is filled with sudden grief on seeing the death, in one's dream, of a relation that lives in one's waking state. So, too, does one feel happy by seeing alive, in dream, one that was dead in the waking state. And although one remembers (in dream) the death or the life of the individual (in one's waking condition), he nevertheless converses with him. This being so, reality or unreality depends only on the length or shortness of time. * (35)
Although the pleasure of meeting a woman in dream is extremely unreal, yet the discharge resulting therefrom is visible. In the same way does the universe appear as almost real although it has sprung from unreality. The man in the (above) dream may be real, but the woman and her company are only unreal, and yet the cloth is actually soiled in the morning by the discharge. All this universe, therefore, has imagination (kalpanâ) * for its root-cause. (36)
All persons witness the sport of this (self) every day in the dream-state, and yet no one sees that (self) itself sporting with illusion (mâyâ) without any of the organs of sense *. Nor does any one realise it, in the waking state, as the illuminer of all objects and the inspirer of all creatures, nor, in deep sleep, as that which is full of supreme bliss. This is wonderful! (37)
The revelation of a sacred word (mantra) heard in dream becomes real on waking; and as the result of a benediction in dream, the desired object is actually attained in the morning. Thus the real may spring up even from the unreal. † Further, that (self) alone is self-resplendent by which are manifested all
animate and inanimate things, the entire variety of perceivable objects, nay, the whole universe itself. (38).
In deep sleep, fire, the sun and others * are merged in the medial life (madhya-prâna †) which is their source, and speech and others in the life-breath. Therefore is it declared that the cessation is of these senses and not of the breath. The appearance of objects through those senses (in the waking state) is known to be an illusion like that of silver in the ṃother-of-pearl. The practice of the control of life-forces enunciated in the Vedanta is therefore the only means of realising one's own self and not any other. ‡ (39).
Fire does not touch wet fuel even exceptionally, but only fuel that has been dried in the sun. So, too, the fire of knowledge does not touch the mind that is wet with attachments although it has acquired merit by the performance of prescribed duties, the preservation of progeny and gifts of wealth, but only the mind that is dried by non-attachment. Therefore is pure non-attachment taught foremost, for, by it is the success of realisation. (40).
Whatever is of the nature of name and form, whatever moves in this world, springs up as a mere unreality and should be veiled off by the Lord by whom it is manifest and by whom it is multifariously active, in the same way as the (illusory) snake is veiled off by the rope that is definitely known. (Only) by abandoning that (unreality) can unsurpassed bliss be enjoyed. Do not therefore covet any other thing like wealth, etc. (41).
To the aspirant for liberation there first comes liberation while living and then ultimate liberation. These two are the result of constant practice and realisation, which are only attainable by the contact of the teacher's feet and his merciful glance. Practice, too, is of two kinds according to qualification, namely, bodily and mental. Bodily practice consists
of postures (âsana), etc., while the other, previously explained as the path of knowledge, consists of abstention (uparati). (42).
Having rooted out all desires abiding in the heart as if their pegs were forcibly broken, he loses all attachment to the body and gives up his waywardness, his attention being wholly given to the self. Then will he of accumulated merit reach the highest abode * which is variegated by dark, white and red veins † and wherein ambrosia flows in plenty, and enjoy the bliss of the self. (43).
Such a person, while in this body, passes beyond sorrow, ignorance and other impediments and sees the universe as the self. * He then attains the shining Brahman † and becomes all-knowing and the repository of all occult powers. Afterwards, losing all sense of the gross, subtle and other bodies and devoid of all volition, he attains the fourth state ‡, and, purged of all merit and demerit, attains liberation even in this life. § (44).
As a result of such realisation of the self, there springs up the youthful life * which, although encased in a body and the senses, is unaffected by boyhood, old age and other bodily attributes, and is extremely blissful and capable of accomplishing the highest goal. It is this life † that is led up ‡, along with the purified consciousness, by those of supreme wisdom and unfailing resolution, who seek to become divine by spiritual practices. (45).
Such a one is almost without desire, for temptations have lost all power over him. He pants only for the realisation of the self for
the sake of its unsurpassed bliss. When he realises the self, he has attained all his desires, * and, remains in the final condition. † When the body dies, the life-breaths do not rise therefrom ‡, but are gradually dissolved in their respective causes. Then, where will the individual soul be, for it will be merged, like salt in water, and is then the Infinite Self itself? (46).
Water taken from the sea, when solidified, goes by the name of salt. When it is thrown back into the sea and is dissolved, it loses its name and form. So does the individual soul merge into the Supreme Self. At the same time, the mind is dissolved into the moon,
speech into fire, sight into the sun, blood and semen into water and hearing into the directions. (47).
Just as butter is contained in milk as indicated by the sweetness of the latter, but (when extracted) becomes separate therefrom, so too is Brahman in every being as indicated by the activity of the being. This (Brahman) is the cause of rest when one is tired. * Attaining it, one discards all other gain as straw. Therein springs up no fear. The concentrated bliss which thus glows within oneself is immortality. All else is transient. (48).
The many-coloured cloth is woven, crosswise and lengthwise, of threads of many colours. When this is understood, there remains nothing of the cloth but the threads. So is the manifold universe, with its mountains, cities, men, villages, beasts, etc., pervaded through and through, by the primordial substance *, that again by ether, and the latter by Brahman. (49).
This (Brahman), by virtue of its reflection by various objects †, assumes the various corresponding forms, in the same way as the one seer produces a second one (by reflection)
in water. The Veda too speaks thus of the all-pervading Brahman: "The resplendent one with its powers of illusion, has infinite forms on all sides." The Brahman, therefore, becomes the individual soul by its accidental reflection in the extremely clear consciousness. (50).
The knowers of the self discover, by their wisdom, that the individual soul, * besmeared by illusion, is only a ray of the omnipotent Supreme Self reflected in the ocean of consciousness. This Brahman is variously reflected in accordance with the form and measure of the medium reflecting it, in the same way that the face is variously reflected corresponding
to the mirror in hand; but it is at all times what it ever is. * (51).
Just as the one sun, independent of other objects, yet, by virtue of reflection in several waters, becomes † many and has the same stability or motion as the medium reflecting it; so does the Supreme Self seem to be affected by properties ‡ by virtue of its reflection in all beings, high and low, but, when clearly realised, shines unaffected by those properties. (52)
Just as the rays of the sun reflected by the moon or focussed by a metallic reflector dispel the utter darkness of the night or of the (interior of the) house as the case may be, so do the rays of the Supreme Self reflected by the consciousness and streaming forth through the outlets of the senses, immediately reveal to us the objects of perception around us, such as forms, etc. (53)
The Supreme Self has three aspects, namely, the full, the self and the not-self, the first being the unconditioned Self, the second being that which is conditioned * by the consciousness,
and the third being a mere reflection, in the same way as space has three aspects in respect of water, namely, that which is (everywhere) inside and outside of the water, that Which is conterminous with the water, and that which is reflected therein. When the conditioned self is merged in the unconditioned, then the condition * together with its consequences † vanishes altogether. (54)
Just as countless wooden figures of women, acted upon by means of posts and strings, simultaneously exhibit music and all other activities of common occurrence ‡, so does the world, including the regions of bhûr, bhuvar, svar and mahar, carry on all its activities by the inspiration of what is known as the
sûtra-âtman *, which pervades everything, whose potency is unique and whose inspiration is in proportion to the end to be achieved. (55).
That is real which is unaffected at all times. † Such are the unembodied things like life, space, ether. Even these ultimately resolve themselves ‡ into Brahman; hence is Brahman the reality of the real. There is naught else which excels it in its transcendentality or its infinitude; therefore is it termed the reality of the real. The lower § that is conditioned by embodied and unembodied things is called satya **, because it is both sat and tyat. ¶ Of this too, Brahman is the reality. (56).
Whatever unreal thing is, in every-day experience, perceived, like silver (in mother-of-pearl), serpent (in rope) and water (in mirage), depends for its perception on the real. This rule, with its limitation *, is well-established. So has this whole universe sprung into existence in † Brahman, the reality of the real. That too is called the real by virtue of which the unreal becomes an object of perception. (57).
The material Brahman *, known as virat, is such that the expanse of space, time, and the farthest extremities of the directions, are but infinitesimal parts thereof, and yet it appears to be so close at hand and face to face. From that arose the sûtra-âtman †, greater than the great, fuller than the full, in the same way as the commingled water of the (seven) oceans ‡ is fuller than the full ocean, etc. § (58).
Just as the one rain-water inside all herbs is transformed variously according to the numberless tastes, odours, properties and effects of the respective herbs, so is the inner self ** according
to the characteristics of the various kinds, of beings. By (virtue of) it does the earth support all creatures, the clouds rain profusely, fire cooks and burns. Hence is that the inner (self) of all. (59)
One should clearly realise the self in all beings and all successive multitudes of created beings in the self. He should, repeatedly and persistently, perceive all things as the self, having, for an example, the relation between water and waves. * There is only one Brahman without a second, as is declared by the Vedânta. The many do not in any way exist. But he who sees this universe as manifold passes from death to death. † (60)
In spite of the knowledge that the atmosphere exists all around the pot, there arises in men the false impression that it has its origin along with the pot, disappears when the pot is broken, moves with the pot when it is removed elsewhere, and assumes the same size and shape as the pot. So is the self in respect of the universe. (61).
As much as is a lump of sugar, so much is nothing but sweetness. As much as a piece of camphor melts, so much is nothing but
sweet fragrance. So, too, as far as the universe is manifest, with all the beauty of trees, mountains, cities, gardens and temples, so far does the one (pure) consciousness shine forth, for, in the end all that remains of the universe is the self. (62).
Although the hearing of the sound proceeds from the musical instrument, it is nevertheless produced only by striking the instrument. The sounds that proceed from striking the instrument are not heard separately but only in conjunction with the striking. So, too, this universe, whose efficient cause is illusion (mâyâ), is manifest, as it were, in conjunction with Brahman. But when that Brahman is inwardly realised, nothing will remain the object of perception. (63).
It is thus clearly seen that the Lord of all the worlds is of the nature of pure consciousness, is the one Immovable that is knowledge itself, is all-pervading like ether, and is the inner spirit of all beings. It is also seen that all this universe is different from Brahman, is unreal by nature, and is a mere semblance. One should, therefore, even now and here, give up all desires and remain for ever fixed in the thought "I am Brahman". (64).
When Indra and Indrânî have freely enjoyed the bliss of union, the cessation of their pleasure
is deep sleep. * Therein is a state that is fall of concentrated bliss and very difficult to comprehend; that is the ânanda-kôsa (the bliss-sheath). In that condition one is not conscious of anything, being deeply merged in unsurpassed bliss. If awaked, he becomes unhappy. A wise man should therefore never awake a sleeping person. (65)
All beings † enjoy bliss by attaining Brahman (yasas) which embraces within itself the eye and other sensory organs and which externally helps all perception. All individual souls are alike in nature as in deep sleep. ‡ Among
these, he who, for the sake of feeding the belly, remains only externally active and is enslaved by the senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste, becomes tainted with sin and suffers misery and confusion. (66).
The individual soul, during the waking state, puts forth innumerable efforts for the attainment of sensual pleasures, and when the entire group of sensory organs is fatigued, it forgets even the pleasure on hand and goes into sleep, in order that it may enjoy rest in its own nature. Ultra-sensual bliss is thus extremely easy of attainment and is far superior to the pleasure derived from the senses which always produces disgust in the end. (67).
The bird, by the motion of its wings, generates a breeze and, by its aid, reaches a great height, and there, having attained the vast expanse of the atmosphere, cures itself of its fatigue by spreading its wings. So, too, this mind, troubled by many evil desires and doubts in respect of objects of pleasure, and fatigued thereby, stretches forth the hands and feet and sleeps long for the sake of rest. (68).
The moment that the individual soul comes into union with the self (Brahman) *, it ceases to be conscious of anything, internal or external, like unto a lover fervently embracing his
beloved one on his return home from a foreign land. In that state all worldly activity that is the result of merit and demerit, disappears, and nothing is remembered of all these ups and downs,—sorrow, confusion, or fear. (69).
The disappearance of all gross and subtle existence, the cessation of the senses, and the attainment of bliss,—these three are common to liberation-while-alive and deep sleep. There is however this difference that, whereas he who is asleep comes back to life again and again * by virtue of the effects of his past actions, he that has attained illumination and liberation, never comes back (to worldly life), because the effects of all his past actions have been destroyed. (70).
If the bliss of a king endowed with all prosperity and enjoying every kind of happiness be taken as a unit, the bliss of the manes is declared to be a hundredfold. So, too, through the world of the gods higher and higher up to the world of Brahman, each (bliss) is a hundredfold of the next lower one. Singular and containing within itself all these (grades of bliss) is the bliss of (the supreme) Brahman, of which the pleasures of the senses are but an (insignificant) fraction. (71).
"Therein are included all degrees of bliss,—the bliss of men (ânanda), of the manes (moda), of gods (pramoda), etc. Therein all desires are fulfilled. Therein is the state of oneness owing to the cessation of all (phenomena). Make me live immortally for ever, O Soma *, in that abode of concentrated bliss, and vouchsafe to my soul † that is betwixt the brows an unceasing shower of immortality, ‡"—so do the Vedas declare. (72).
The self is unperturbed and its nature is bliss; the other (mâyâ) is quite the opposite; their steadiness or perturbation bears fruit in the individual consciousness. The perturbation of the mind, until a desired object is gained,
gives rise to misery. When that object is-gained, the pleasure (said to be) derived from that object is only so long as the mind remains steady. (73)
Just as there is a momentary bliss when the mind is absorbed in pleasure at the end of a sensual indulgence, so too there is unsurpassed bliss in deep sleep only so long as there is steadiness (of consciousness). In liberation, however, the consciousness is absolutely tranquil and there is eternal bliss. There is thus a constant relation between bliss and steadiness. It is therefore proper to speak of sensual pleasure as a fraction of eternal bliss. (74).
The mind, tired of external activities, draws them all in together, and carrying with it the tendencies resulting from them, ceases from them and turns inward in search of its own place. In the dream-body, it enjoys dream-objects generated by the combination of those tendencies. Abandoning these, again, it longs for the inner self, reaching which it attains perfect rest. * (75).
† "How is the enjoyment of pleasure, etc. possible in dream, while the instrument therefor
[paragraph continues] (the gross body) is inert? If (it be said that) a new dream-body fit for such activity springs up, wherefrom does it arise, since the means of its generation * is absent? If it be a product of the imagination, then how is it that, after the experience of sexual pleasure in a dream, the effect thereof is (actually) visible in the body that is inert? (76).
"It is with this (the gross body) that he weeps from fear, talks, laughs and exults." It † surely follows from this that the inner self does not abruptly sever its connection with the body during dream, although that body is inert; but, with the help of the subtle body, it creates again, in subtle form, those objects
which it had previously * experienced, such as the body, woman, horse, tiger, locality, etc. (77).
The second state, that of dream, is known by experience to be midway between waking and sleep. In that state the individual, having withdrawn all the senses, has only the light of the self remaining. The gross body having been laid down on a suitable bed, the inner self, experiencing the objects it likes in their subtle form, goes about as it pleases in the same manner. † (78).
Preserving the body lying in bed by means of the life-forces now reduced to mere breath, lest it assume the form of a corpse and become food for dogs, etc., it creates, in dream, by its own power, horses, chariots, rivers, ponds, playgrounds, companions, women, sons, friends,—all by way of imitation. * (79).
It creates elephants, tigers, robbers, enemies, snakes and monkeys. Sometimes it is playing with beloved damsels. Sometimes it laughs and sports. Sometimes it eats delicious food. At other times it is afraid of its kith and kin, because it has become an outcaste. And at other times it runs away for fear of tigers, etc. or is caught by them and wails. (80).
Whatever object is perceived, it comes into existence then and there by the ignorance of the true nature of the self that is in it. Its manifestation is like the unreal appearance of false silver owing to one's not recognising the mother-of-pearl, or of the mirage owing to one's not recognising the sun's rays, or of the serpent by one's not recognising the rope,—such appearance giving rise to joy or fear, only for an instant. Hence all this universe is really created by perception. * (81).
The Lord of the Universe has declared: "By me, on whom depends the illusion of mâyâ all this (universe) has been spread forth. Therefore, all things are in me, not I in them; for instance, although silver appears (falsely) in the mother-o’-pearl, there is naught of the mother-o’-pearl in silver. Therefore, * too, all things do not (in reality) exist in me." It follows from this that the whole objective world is as unreal as the products of jugglery. (82).
Action is the only cause of happiness or misery in this world. The ignorant, not knowing this, speak in vain of friend or enemy. † Yágṇavalkya, and Ártabhága of yore, in the palace of king Janaka, spoke only
of action and praised it. Even the ornament * of the race of Yadu declares: "None in this world remains without action." (83).
Although the axe is able to fell a tree, it should nevertheless be wielded by a living being. Food is, no doubt, a source of satisfaction, but the real cause thereof is the effort † of the eater. In the same way, former action is the cause of the good or evil results experienced; yet, being itself evanescent, it cannot do this by itself. It is impelled thereto by the inner self. (84).
The Vedas declare, with much propriety, that all rites, compulsory, discretionary, and so on, which are laid down by the Smriti for the various castes and conditions of men, are (in reality) dedicated to the Supreme Self *; in the same way that, by the satisfaction of the nose, eyes, tongue, hands, feet, head and ears, it is the inner man that is actually satisfied, and, by the watering of the roots of a tree, every part of that tree is nourished. (85).
After death, he who is ignorant of the self, although versed in the Vedas, and has performed the rites prescribed therein, exhausts his
merit after a brief enjoyment and undergoes very great misery in having to be born again. He who has realised the self and yet longs for reward, enjoys much greater and more lasting happiness accompanied by supernatural powers. Therefore, one should indeed realise the self; for, by realising it, one gains every happiness although he longs for no reward. (86).
It is no wonder that objects are not revealed by the sun, moon, etc., of their own accord nor is the sun directly perceived by its own light, nor the moon, nor fire. On the other hand, the sun, moon, etc., are perceived by means of the sense of sight inspired by (the inner) consciousness. Therefore, only the dweller in the body shines by his own light.
[paragraph continues] Yet, in the World, * the, deities † have their respective power to illuminate. (87).
Through the life-force called prâna the individual drinks plenty of water and eats food Then the abdominal fire, with energy derived from, that (prâṇa), digests it sooner or later. Thereafter the life-force known as vyâna carries the essence along the blood-vessels of the whole body for the nourishment of life; and the life-force termed apâna expels from the body the putrid non-essence. (88).
This life, with its five-fold energy *, residing in each body and being master of all the senses, distinctly and incessantly carries on all the activities appropriate to that particular body, by a power which belongs undoubtedly to the self that is pure consciousness. That self am I, the all-seer, the life behind all life, the consciousness behind the consciousness of all beings. (89).
By the light of that One Self that is pure consciousness, the earth, water, air, sun, moon, etc., shine after It, each with its peculiar
characteristics, and have their being in It. Can the flashes of lightning and flaming conflagrations and the vast expanse of starry galaxies illumine the Supreme Lord, the immutable, infinite light, the seer, without beginning and without end, eternal, because devoid of origin? (90).
If, by the favour of the nectar-like glance, full of unparalleled mercy, of the venerable holy Master, there arises, in any man whatsoever, the realisation "That very Brahman am I," he indeed loses all feelings of doubt and, with his mind free from illusion, attains liberation even while living in the body. (Thereafter), when the beginningless limitation * is completely dissolved, he is merged in the Highest, the sole abode of eternal bliss. (91)
I am neither the dense body nor the senses, nor the evanescent and most erratic mind, nor reason, nor life, nor the ego, nor wife, nor house, nor offspring, nor kith and kin, nor land nor wealth, and so on. For, how can I, the witness aloof, the pure consciousness, the inner self, be all these things which are purely objective? I am the Supreme * that is the reality behind all this Universe. (92).
In relation to all these plainly visible forms of dark, yellow and other innumerable colours,
the eye, which is one, is the seer, for, therein arises the perception. The eye, in its turn, is only objective, because the mind is its seer. And even the workings of the mind, objective forms transformed into thought, are, in their turn, objective. The Lord alone is the absolute seer, the witness, for, He is never, like the above, objective. (93).
Owing to the non-recognition of a rope in the twilight, over it appears a serpent all at once. In the sane way is the extremely unhappy condition of the individual soul imposed on the self by reason of the non-realisation of one's own self. Again, when the illusion of a serpent is dispelled by the admonition of a trustworthy friend, there is only the old familiar rope. So, too, by the admonition of my own Master, I am not
the individual soul, but the immutable Self that is the seer. I am the Supreme Bliss (Ṣiva.) (94).
Tell me what is thy light. You say: "The sun in the day and the moon, lamp, etc., at night." It may be so, but by what light do you see the sun, the lamp, etc? You say: "the eye." But when that is closed, what brighter light is there? You reply: "the mind." By what light is the mind revealed? "For that, I alone am the light," you say. You are therefore that Supreme Light. "I am, my Master." (95).
Such a one * after remaining on the earth for a time, never more returns to a body and its accompaniments; until the enjoyment of the ripe fruits of his former actions is completed, he lives in a peculiar manner, but blissfully, because his mind is free from all contrasts †, ever pure, devoid of my-ness and I-ness, always contented, identical in nature with infinite bliss, steady in thought, imperturbable, cleansed of all illusions. ‡ (96).
Such an absolutely resplendent realisation at once destroys the distinction between the individual soul and Supreme Self. In whomsoever such an unimpeded, unparalleled realisation springs up in consciousness, for him
the root-illusion (mâyâ) that is the source of births and deaths, is destroyed by that very realisation. Once destroyed, it can no more create illusions by its power of phenomenal manifestation. (97).
Knowing that the universe is unreal and bluing, therefore, completely destroyed all perception of phenomenal forms, he should taste, to his heart's utmost content, the morsel of immortal bliss that is the highest and most perfect concentration of being and consciousness, and, filled with the light of the self and with a tranquil mind, he should realise that all this universe is unessential and should therefore abandon it, in the same way as one, after drinking the juice of a fruit, throws it away although the remnant may be highly fragrant. (98).
The results of actions are destroyed, the bondage of the heart is broken, and all doubts, which lead one to births, and deaths, are removed, as soon as one realises that Supreme Lord, whose nature is pure consciousness, who is devoid of the stain of qualities, who is realisable by such teachings as "That thou art," the immutable inner self, the Brahman, the Lord, that is beyond all commandments and beyond all thought. (99).
One should understand the huge tree of phenomenal existence, which bears the fruits of births and deaths before, betwixt and after, whose roots are the results of past actions, whose countless leaves are delusions, vanities, joys and sorrows, whose branches are desire, anger, etc., and on which dwell the birds of sons and cattle, wives and daughters, in large numbers. Such a wise man should fell this tree down with the axe of non-attachment and should at all times meditate upon the Supreme Being (vâsudeva). (100).
The whole universe is born in me, has its support in me and dissolves in me. Therefore, that very Brahman indeed am I. Again, humbly and exultingly do I bow to that Immutable Being (achyuta), by whose mere
remembrance any defective procedure in all auspicious acts like sacrifices is rendered perfectly complete. (101).
Thus ends the Century of Verses.
86:* Adhyâtmika or bodily ailments, âdhibhautika or danger from other beings such as wild animals, and âdhidaivika or danger from forces of nature such as earthquakes, floods, etc.
86:† Sins of body, speech and mind.
95:* Because there is no I-ness or mine-ness in the case of an enemy.
96:* The Brahman.
100:* These two sacrifices stand respectively for the dissolution of the manifest or apparent into the unmanifest or real, and the opposite process of the unmanifest seemingly becoming the manifest.
101:* This verse deals with the cause of the universe, i.e., what was before creation.
102:* Otherwise known as hiranyagarbha.
103:* Ajnâna, nescience.
103:† I.e., eminent qualities.
103:‡ Ghritâsya, lit. ghee-mouthed, i.e., tempting at first but finally leading to ruin.
104:* For purposes of instruction, and not as representing the ultimate truth.
105:* Good and evil.
105:† The five senses of perception and the life-forces in their subtlest form.
108:* Appearance or phenomenal existence.
108:† Of the universe.
109:* Bodily enjoyment.
110:* The seeming reality of waking experiences and the unreality of dreams are distinguished only by the difference of their duration. From the ultimate standpoint, however, both are unreal.
111:* Illusion, nescience: The self is compared to the man, illusion to the woman, and the manifest universe to the discharge.
112:* Since the experiences of the dream-state are independent of the senses.
112:† Therefore, although all phenomenon is illusory, the realisation of Brahman is not an illusion.
113:* The presiding deities of the senses.
113:† Another name for virât, primordial substance.
113:‡ Such as the pandering to the senses or making them more acute or active.
116:* The thousand-petalled plexus of the yogins.
116:† Nâdi literally means a tube or vein, but there is no exact English equivalent for the word as used in yoga.
117:* And not as the external universe.
117:‡ The state beyond waking, dream and sleep.
118:* The mukhya-prâna or chief breath as distinguished from the five life-breaths, prâna, apana, vyâna, udâna and samâna.
118:‡ To the thousand-petalled plexus.
119:* He wants nothing else.
119:† The fourth state.
119:‡ The rising is only in case of future birth.
120:* E.g., during sleep.
121:† Technically, upâdhis or conditions.
122:* Called here patanga, because it eventually falls away.
123:* Just as the face remains the same, whatever the number and variety of its reflections.
123:† I.e., seems to become.
123:‡ Of things and individuals.
124:* Or differentiated.
125:* Lit: Nescience.
125:† The reflection, etc.
125:‡ In a puppet show.
126:* The thread-self, i.e., the self that pervades all, as a thread running through beads.
126:† Past, present and future.
126:‡ Lit: Repose.
126:§ The individual self, viewed singly or generically.
126:¶ I.e., embodied and disembodied.
127:* That the perception of the unreal is illusory and ceases when the real object is seen.
127:† Dependent on Brahman; with Brahman as the substrate.
128:* Matter viewed universally, primordial matter.
128:† The thread-self, otherwise known as hiranyagarbha.
128:‡ At the deluge.
128:§ The fulness of the diluvial waters is greater than that of the ocean, river, lake, etc., at ordinary times.
128:** The self in all beings.
129:* The water and the waves are identical with one another.
129:† i.e., will not attain liberation.
133:* Indra represents the 'man' in the right eye and Indrânî the light in the left eye that reveals all things to our vision. During waking, the two reside between the brows. When they descend into the heart and enjoy the bliss of union, it is then the dream-state. When that condition ends, the state of deep sleep sets in.
133:† Individual souls.
133:‡ Devoid of caste, colour, creed, etc.
135:* During deep sleep.
136:* Passes through births and deaths.
138:* Lit, the moon. Here "hiranyagarbha."
138:† 'Indra' in the text.
138:‡ Lit. nectar.
140:* Tranquillity, bliss.
140:† This and part of the next verse are the arguments of an opponent.
141:* Such as parents.
141:† This is the answer to the opponent.
142:* In the waking state.
142:† With the subtle body.
143:* Of its waking experiences.
144:* That is, the existence of any object is only so long and so much as we perceive it.
145:* Because the universe is the creation of mâyâ.
145:† One who gives happiness or one who causes misery.
146:† Cooking and eating.
147:* Whatever lesser deity might be invoked in practice.
149:* I.e., as far as the senses are concerned.
149:† The sun, moon, etc., which preside over the senses. In relation to objects, the senses have, power to reveal them, although their light is but a reflection of the resplendence of the self.
150:* Prânâ, apâna, udâna, samâna, vyâna.
151:* Mâyâ, the root-illusion.
152:* Siva, or parabrahman considered as ánandamaya.
155:* One that has realised "I am Brahman."
155:† Happiness and misery, gain and loss, etc.
155:‡ This verse describes a jivan-mukta.