Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 

Dakshinamurti Stotra, translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri, [1920], at

p. 114



Sixth Stanza of the Hymn.

To the Atman who, going to sushupti on the withdrawal of sense-organs, becomes the One Existence, enshrouded by Mâyâ like unto the sun or moon in eclipse, and whose then existence is recognised on waking in the consciousness "I have slept till now;" to Him who is incarnate in the Teacher, to Him in the Effulgent Form Facing the South, to Him (Siva) be this bow!

p. 115

Buddhistic Nihilism (sunyavada).

In the preceding chapter, it has been shown that the whole universe we perceive in the jagrat state is only an illusion set up by Maya on the basis of Atman, the Paramesvara, and that Atman, subject to this illusion, is eternal, one, and immutable. As against this view the Buddhist asks:

1. If, as in svapna, the whole universe exists within even in jâgrat, (then tell me), does anything appear to any one in sushupti? Who persists there as a conscious entity?

The Nihilist means that there is no conscious entity present in sushupti; that there is no entity whatever conscious of anything in sushupti. Therefore, no eternal Atman exists, such as the one spoken of by Vedantins. The Buddhistic Nihilist states his doctrine as follows:

2. Everything is momentary and void; and everything self-defined.

p. 116

Everything in the universe including the Atman, exists only for one instant; and it did not exist before, and will not exist after, that instant.

Everything is self-defined, is cognised by itself; there can be no cogniser distinct from the object cognised.

Now, there is a school of Buddhists which maintains that the external world exists as well as the internal world: that the objective existence is as real as the subjective. They hold that the subjective existence is made up of five skandhas or "forms of mundane consciousness." Their doctrine is stated as follows:

Earth, water, fire, and air are mere aggregates of paramânus or atoms.

They are mere groups of the four kinds of atoms. They have no attributes of their own distinct from those of the atoms of which they are made; whereas the Vaiseshikas maintain that they have. Nor are they,—as the Sankhyas, the Parinamavadins say—different forms evolved from a previously existing cause, coming into manifestation one after another, though in substance one and the same with the cause. Such is the nature of the external world comprising elements of matter and material objects. As to the inner world:

p. 117

3. Human and other bodies are mere aggregates of the five skandhas or bundles of conscious states; and these skandhas are Rûpa, Vijnâna, Samjnâ, Samskâra, and Vedanâ.

4. The Rupas comprise sense-objects and sense-organs, in so far as they are represented (in the mind).

It is their subjective representations, i.e.. our ideas of the sense-objects and sense-organs, which go to form the Rupa-skandha, one of the five skandhas or "forms of consciousness." The objects themselves as well as the sense-organs belong, no doubt, to the external world.

The mere cognition of sense-objects and sense-organs is called Vijnana-skandha.

p. 118

5–7. The Samjná-skandha is represented by the Saugatas (Buddhists) to consist of five parts, viz., name, quality, act, species and the idea of a composite whole.

The name of the cow is 'cow'; the specific attributes of a cow abiding in all cows constitutes the species: whiteness, etc., are the qualities of the cow; going, etc., are her acts; the horned animal, the four-footed animal, the tailed animal,—each of these is an idea of a composite whole. Thus five-fold is the Samjna-skandha said to be.

8. Attachment and the like, as also virtue and sin, are said to comprise the Samskára-skandha, the bundle of tendencies.

p. 119

[paragraph continues] Pleasure, pain, and moksha constitute the Vedanâ-skandha.

Moksha is a continuous stream of pure states of consciousness, unmixed with alien ideas such as those of sense-objects. Some read Moha for Moksha, Moha meaning quite the reverse: it is a continuous stream of conscious states perplexed with ideas of external objects and the like.

9. Beyond the five skandhas, there is no other entity such as Atman. There is no Isvara, no Maker. The universe is self-made.

There is no persisting conscious entity within, beyond the skandhas made of these fleeting constituents. There is no Isvara, or Maker, combining the various elements of the universe with one another, guiding and regulating their orderly evolution. The universe is self-begotten, self-reliant and self-regulated. No intelligent operator is necessary.

p. 120

10. It is born of the fleeting (kshanika) skandhas and paramanus. From one momentary existence alone comes the next momentary existence.

Isvara cannot create without the materials which He has to elaborate in the form of a universe. Neither can He create a universe out of materials which do not possess the potentialities of the universe inherent in them. Isvara is, moreover, said to be immutable in Himself, whereas the whole universe is mobile, changing from moment to moment; so that it is unnecessary and even opposed to experience to postulate the existence of Isvara, as conceived by the Vedantin.

11. From the previous cognition itself arises the subsequent cognition. The cognition that this is the same as that is an illusion, like the cognition that this flame is the same as that (i.e., the previous) one.

As in the case of flame, the illusion is caused by a succession of things of the same sort, each of which exists only for one moment; so that pratyabhijna, the consciousness which refers to

p. 121

the continuous existence of one and the same thing, is a mere illusion.

12. The existence of the ego amidst non-ego is a mere imagination of those who are deluded by the idea that it exists and shines,—it being no object to be sought or avoided. Does âkâsa ever shine?

The Buddhistic metaphysicians regard akasa as a non-entity, because it is no object which one endeavours to secure or to avoid. Likewise, since the idea of the ego amidst the non-ego as existing and shining leads to no human endeavour to secure or avoid it, its existence and the light with which it is said to shine are non-entities.

Refutation of Nihilism.

13. The Buddhistic doctrinaire thus speaking is silenced (in the sixth stanza of the Hymn).

p. 122

The meaning of the stanza may be explained at follows:—

If the cause of the universe be void (Sunya), a non-entity, the universe itself cannot be as we find it.

14. Who ever says that the pot is a nonentity, or that the cloth is a non-entity?

The Buddhist says that there was nothing before the universe came into being,—that the universe was made out of nothing. But in our experience, whatever effect comes out of a thing as the cause, it is always conceived to be made up of that cause, and the cause is resorted to as productive of the effect. Thus a gold ring is always conceived to be made up of gold, and is resorted to as serving the purposes of gold. If the universe had been made out of nothing, we would look upon it as nothing and neglect it altogether as such. The Nihilistic theory, therefore, ought to be discarded by those who demand proof for things presented to their belief.

The Nihilist may perhaps say that, though the universe is really a non-entity, yet, owing to illusion, our conduct in life may go on as if the universe were real. To this the Vedantin replies as follows:

p. 123

14. If the universe were a non-entity, it would never have appeared, any more than a man's horn.

15. To what would one resort seeking to have a thing? What would one cast aside who is afflicted with a burden? Who is there to command or prohibit, when one's own self is a non-entity?

16. This whole universe, therefore, having no cause for its existence, may come to an end.

A non-entity cannot even be a subject of illusion any more than a man's horn.

Refutation of the doctrine of the five Skandhas.

16. Now as to the theory that there exists none who combines and elaborates the skandhas and paramânus.

p. 124

17. A combination cannot occur without a cause (i.e., the combiner). A pot, a cloth, and the like are inert.

They are insentient and cannot, therefore, combine together by themselves. Thread, for instance, cannot, by itself, form a cloth without a weaver handling it. Further, the theory that the Ego is momentary leads to many absurdities.

"I shall become an Exalted Being," thus thinks the deluded (Buddhist)

18. For what purpose does the Buddhist observe vows while denying the existence of Atman?

Pratyabhijna is no illusion.

If pratyabhijnâ, the recognition of identity, be an illusion, why should one eat or do any such thing?

p. 125

19. It is only in the belief that to-day food will satisfy the craving as yesterday's food did, that even a child resorts to eating.

This would be impossible if one and the same individual were not the subject of the two days’ experiences.

Atman's continuous Existence.

20. As affording space, Akâsa has a purpose to serve. So also, as the doer and the cogniser, Atman has a purpose to serve.

Thus, the contention that a continuous Atman, like akasa, is a non-entity as serving no purpose, falls to the ground. Akasa is not a non-entity, not a mere negative state of being unoccupied; it is, on the other hand, a diffused principle affording space for creatures to exist and move. So, having a purpose to serve as the doer and the knower, Atman's continuous existence cannot be denied.

p. 126

21. Even during sushupti, Atman is endued with being, consciousness, and bliss, because self-identity is recognise.; in the consciousness "I slept happy."

The Buddhist cannot consistently regard this consciousness of self-identity as a mere illusion based on similarity; for, according to his theory, there is no conscious entity persisting so long as to perceive a similarity between two things occurring in two different moments.

22. The expression "Atman is recognised " is in the reflexive passive voice. Being self-luminous, Atman knows Himself by Himself.

The expression "Atman is recognised." is in the reflexive passive voice, and it is equivalent to "Atman recognises Himself" in the active voice. Thus, the expression does not mean that Atman is perceived by another and so forms an object of consciousness like external objects. The use of the given expression does not, therefore, detract from the self-luminousness of Atman.

p. 127

23. Deluded as He is by Mâyâ in sushupti, He then appears as inert and unconscious; He shines as non-luminous and self-luminous.

In so far as He is not manifested in any special form of cognition, Atman shines as non-luminous. As His inherent consciousness never fails, He appears as self-luminous.

24. From the physical body and other upâdhis which are all unconscious in themselves, He is clearly distinguished as their Lord.

The upadhis are insentient. They are unconscious of themselves and of their own or others’ functions; whereas Atman, who is conscious of His own self-identity, illumines all thus: I, who then saw, now hear, now taste, now speak, now go, and so on. Thus Atman is clearly distinguishable from other things as the Lord of them all, as one to whom all else is subservient, subserving His interests and glory as it were.

p. 128

This verily is the stupefying power of the Mighty Lord's Mâyâ.

25. Removal of this illusion from the cognisers is spoken of as moksha.

Maya conceals the true nature of Atman. That being removed, the whole samsara vanishes away. It is this Maya which has deluded the Buddhists, and they have therefore come to argue against the existence of Atman.

Atman's true nature.

Free from the three states (avasthâs), tainted by no evil passion or thought;

26. The One Existence, which is like unto the ishika reed, like unto the nyagrodha (banyan) seed, like unto the inside stalk of the plantain trunk stripped off its outer and inner sheaths;

The ishika which is the slender fine stalk of munja grass, is intended to illustrate the homogeneity of Atman. The particle of the nyagrodha

p. 129

seed serves to illustrate the truth that Atman is a very subtle principle whence the mighty universe is evolved (vide Chhandogya-Upanishad, 6–12). The plaintain stalk shows that Atman is to be sought for in the innermost recesses of human nature.

27. Atman is said to be the Paramesvara Himself who is partless, changeless, unmanifested, stainless, all-pervading, and free (from all upâdhis);

28- 29. He from whom all words recede; in whom manas itself dissolves; in whom all beings and worlds merge into one, as also all principles, as rivers merge in the ocean. To him who sees this unity, where is grief and where is delusion?" (Isâvâsyopanishad, 7).

p. 130

30. Though differentiated as designations and the designated, yet by elimination of the physical body, etc., this one, the Ego, can be the Undifferentiated.

31. "Quite non-existent shall the man of knowledge be if he should know that Brahman is not. If he should know that Brahman is, then they say he is." (Taittiriya-Upanishad, 2–6.)

32. Thus ends the sixth chapter in brief, in the work called Mânasollâsa, which expounds the meaning of the Hymn to the Blessed Dakshinâmûrti.

Next: Chapter VII. Atman, the Eternal Light