A Free Rendering into English of





Published By



Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, U.P., Himalayas, India



Dedicated At The

Lotus Feet Of


Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj



Publishers' Note

Foreword (H.H. Sri Swami Chidananda)


Tattva Bodha

Chapter I                                


Chapter II


Chapter III


Chapter IV


Chapter V


Chapter VI


Chapter VII


Chapter VIII


Chapter IX


Chapter X


Chapter XI


Chapter XII



I. Vedanta Bodha (Sri Swami Sivananda)

II. Thou Art The Tenth Person

III. Chart showing the Categories of Vedanta or the Evolution of Consciousness


1. The Cosmic Family

2. Three Aspects of the Jiva

3. Chain of Bondage

4. Difference Between Ajnani and Jnani

5. Fire of Knowledge burns the Cotton of Ignorance through the Lens of Antahkarana

6. Svarupa-Jnana and Vritti-Jnana

7. Vyashti and Samashti

8. Position of 'That' (Tat)

9. Position of 'Thou' (Tvam)

10. Position of 'Art' (Asi) in the Mahavakya 'Tat Tvam Asi' or 'That Thou Art

11. What is Mind?

12. The Universe of Perception

13. Three Varieties of Karma

14. State of a Sage and a Common Man

15. Brahman, Maya and the Universe

16. Thou art the Tenth Person

Miscellaneous Particulars






The present publication, a unique one of its kind, is being released for the benefit of the students of Vedanta, who are in the initial stages of their course of studies and who are supposed to acquire a non-technical knowledge of the philosophy of the great doctrine of the unity of God, world and soul gradually getting revealed in systematic degrees of perception. A readable English translation of this original Sanskrit, known as the 'Laghuvasudevamanana' has not been published so far, to our knowledge, except one which is now out of print. The need for a new translation of the treatise was keenly felt at the Ashram's Headquarters, when Sri Swami Tejomayanandaji Maharaj of the Ashram commenced his discourses on the theme of this book and students found it necessary to have a guide to follow the line of the teaching. With this end in view, Swamiji has taken the pains of translating the Text unabridged, in an easy style suitable for beginners.

We introduce this valuable hand-book on the Vedanta to all those who are anxious to gain an access into the portals of the Ancient Wisdom of India.




Salutations to Adi-Guru Bhagavan Narayana, to Jagadguru Sri Adi Sankaracharya and to our worshipful Sadguru SRI SWAMI SIVANANDAJI MAHARAJ, whose grace and blessing be upon the revered Swami Tejomayananda Saraswati whose learned lectures in English upon the Vedantic text LAGHUVASUDEVAMANANA, which is an INTRODUCTION TO VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY, form the highly illuminating and instructive contents of this book. These lectures form a most excellent and a very helpful preparation for the students of Vedanta to take up the study of higher texts. Swami Tejomayanandaji's explanations and comments are unique in their novel presentation of the subject in their modern style of exposition as well as the graphic visual manner adopted to bring out the meaning of subtle points through apt illustrations during the course of his lectures. This book has become most valuable by the inclusion of these charts. The artist who collaborated with Swami Tejomayanandaji by doing these nice drawings under his instructions is Sri Swami Rajarajeshwaranandaji, who deserves our congratulations for this valuable contribution to the book.

At the same time, all praise for this publication must certainly go to one of Swami Tejomayanandaji's most diligent and serious students, namely Madame Simonetta of Paris, France, who attended some of these lectures in March 1971. Mme. Simonetta carefully took down notes of his class lectures and as a gesture of her gratitude for the wisdom she had received from the teacher, she prepared the matter in a manuscript form when she went back to France. She enthusiastically took up the idea of bringing this matter into a book form so that numerous seekers and students of Vedanta may be benefited by it. Thus for the publication in book form of this work, Mme. Simonetta is wholly responsible. She enthused the Swamiji to go through her manuscript, correct the entire matter, edit it and to do all that was necessary to make it ready for the Press. Mme. Simonetta is so very much interested in bringing this valuable knowledge of Vedanta into the easy reach of her own French brethren that she has got this matter translated into French and this Manuscript is ready for the Press. She has proved a worthy student of a worthy and excellent teacher. Through her effort, the true teaching of pure Vedanta is made available to seekers in the Western world. Yoga has become the modern fashion and craze in the West nowadays and it is time that some pure Vedanta is propagated there as this will help in bringing about a correct perspective into their lives and imparting to them an adequate measure of the higher spiritual quality to it. This would serve to bring about the desired balance between the outer physical and the inner spiritual aspects of their lives.

I wish this book wide circulation and serious reading by maximum number of seekers and Sadhakas of the East as well as the West. God bless you all. Let the Light of Vedanta shine!


Swami Chidananda















'An Introduction to Advaita Vedanta Philosophy' is the title under which the metaphysics of Vedanta is treated here. This is an easy rendering into English of the Prakarana- Grantha called 'Laghuvasudevamanana', which is a brief exposition of the larger work called 'Vasudevamanana' in Sanskrit. The details of the life of the author of this work are lost in obscurity. The treatise gives an easy introduction and an immense inspiration to the study of Advaita Vedanta. It is considered by scholars as a standard compendium on Advaita Philosophy. An English rendering of such an important treatise was not available to the English-knowing students for quite a long time. The necessity was keenly felt by me when I had the opportunity to take up a regular class on Vedanta for the benefit of beginners with this 'Laghuvasudevamanana' as the Text-Book, which resulted in the present publication.

Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj says:

"Vedanta is a most practical subject. It is not the imagination of a dreamer. Even a little understanding of Vedanta, a little practice regularly and systematically done, and a humble attempt to live in the spirit of Vedanta will obviate great fears and bring in tremendous inner spiritual strength, unalloyed felicity, Self-bliss, infinite, supersensual, intuitional knowledge and immortality... Vedanta is Brahma-Vidya. It is Moksha-Sastra or the Science of Emancipation. Vedanta reveals the majesty of man in his essential nature. The oneness of all existence is the message which Vedanta teaches. Vedanta is the basic culture of India. It is the national philosophy of India. It is the summit or peak or acme of Indian Philosophy. It has kept Hindu Society alive for the past eight thousand years..."

The system of thought characterising the Upanishads or the concluding portion of the Vedas is known as 'Vedanta'. It is a philosophy in the sense that it makes an inquiry into the Truth; but unlike pure speculation, the truth it reveals is not a theory liable to modification with the advancement of scientific knowledge, but is positive and ultimate, verified and verifiable. It avails itself of all the sources of knowledge, viz., Sruti, Yukti and Anubhava, and includes all states and conditions through which life passes or is supposed to pass.

The system adopted in this work is the method of deduction. is the first postulate and all principles are deduced therefrom. All the oriental philosophers are at one in maintaining that the Absolute is the one essence or substratum of things, known and unknown. Therefore, the author, while treating of creation or evolution in the first chapter, begins with Para Brahman as the first postulate, being but the one Principle into which the countless universes of the past had merged before the present cosmos started off its primordial latency in the one Reality. This also explains the simile in the treatise how the eternal Jivas existed in the Absolute during Pralaya, like the particles of gold in a ball of wax. Moreover, the philosophy of creation as given out by the author, besides referring to the evolution of the present universe, may also be taken as an abstract formula referring to all universes, past and future.

The author discusses in detail, in twelve Varnakas or chapters, the nature of the Atman or the Self and tries to remove confusions and mistaken identities. The characteristics of the three bodies, the three states, and the five sheaths are described, and the Atman is shown as being different from them. In the end, it has also been proved that the essential nature of the Atman, viz., Sat-Chit-Ananda, does not constitute three different qualities but one single indivisible homogeneous essence.

To facilitate quick and easy understanding, pictures, diagrams and charts are included wherever necessary and feasible. An English translation of 'Tattva-Bodha' of Bhagavan Sankaracharya is also given at the commencement of the text, which will serve as a mini-encyclopaedia of Vedanta and prepare the student to get himself ready to enter into the text-book proper. At the end of the text, an appendix containing some questions and answers under the title 'Vedanta-bodha' of Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, and a glossary are also added for the benefit of the readers.

It is my firm conviction that this publication will serve as a handbook on Vedanta to sincere seekers of Knowledge and induce them to enter into the subject deeply, and ultimately realise the Great Goal.

I am grateful to the great souls H.H. Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj and H.H. Sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj for their encouragement given to me from time to time. The readers are indebted to Mme. Simonetta d' Cesero of Paris, France, whose magnanimous help made this work find the light of the day. I am also thankful to my Gurubhais Sri Swami Brahmanandaji, Sri Swami Rajarajeswaranandaji and Sri Venugopalji for their valuable help in the form of manuscript-correction, drawing the beautiful diagrams and the cover design, respectively.


The Divine Life Society H.Q.

22nd June, 1972

Swami Tejomayananda













Saluting my Guru Vasudevendra Yogindra, the bestower of knowledge, I expound 'Tattva Bodha' for the benefit of the seekers of liberation.

Now we describe the method of discrimination of the categories, which is a means to the attainment of liberation to those aspirants who possess the fourfold qualifications called Sadhana-Chatushtaya.

1. Q: What is Sadhana-Chatushtaya?

A: Nityanitya Vastu Viveka or discrimination between the eternal and the ephemeral, Vairagya or indifference to the enjoyment of fruits of actions here and hereafter, Samadi Shat-Sampatti or the six fold virtues of Sama etc., and Mumukshutva or keen longing for liberation are called Sadhana-Chatushtaya.

2. Q: What is Nityanitya Vastu Viveka or discrimination between the eternal and the ephemeral?

A: The one non-dual Brahman alone is eternal and everything else is non-eternal. Such discrimination is called Nityanitya Vastu Viveka.

3. Q: What is Vairagya?

A: Absence of longing for the enjoyments of this world and heavenly regions.

4. Q: What are the Samadhi Shat-Sampatti?

A: They are (a) Sama, (b) Dama, (c) Uparati, (d) Titiksha, (e) Sraddha and, (f) Samadhana.

5. Q: What is Sama?

A: Sama is Manonigraha or the control of the mind.

6. Q: What is Dama?

A: Dama is control of the external organs like eye, etc.

7. Q: What is Uparati?

A: It is Svadharma-Anushthana or the performance of duties pertaining to one's caste and stage of life according to the injuctions of the scriptures.

8. Q: What is Titiksha?

A: Patient endurance of the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, pleasure and pain, etc., is Titiksha.

9. Q: What is Sraddha?

A: Sraddha is faith in the sayings of the Guru and Vedantic texts.

10. Q: What is Samadhana?

A: Chitta-Ekagrata or one-pointedness of the mind is called Samadhana.

11. Q: What is Mumukshutva?

A: Keen desire for liberation or Moksha is Mumukshutva.

12. Q: What is Tattva -Viveka?

A: The knowledge that the Atman is real and everything else is unreal is called Tattva-Viveka.

13. Q: What is the Atman?

A: The Atman is that which is different from the gross, subtle and casual bodies, transcends the five sheaths, the witness of the three states and Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute in its essence.

14. Q: What is Sthula Sarira or gross body?

A: The gross body is that which is made up of the five   quintuplicated gross elements. It is born of Karma or past actions. It is an abode for experiencing pleasure, pain, etc. It is subject to Shadvikaras or the six modifiations, viz., (a) Asti or existence, (b) Jayate or birth, (c) Vardhate or growth, (d) Viparinamate or change, (e) Apakshiyate or decay and (f) Vinasyati or death.

15. Q: What is Sukshma Sarira or subtle body?

A: It is made up of the unquintuplicated five great elements. It is born of Satkarma or good deeds of the past. It is a means of experiencing pleasure, pain, etc. It consist of the five Jnana-Indriyas or senses of knowledge, the five Karma- Indriyas or organs of action, and the five Pranas or vital airs together with Manas or Mind and Buddhi or intellect, seventeen Kalas or categories in all.

The five Jnana-Indriyas are: Srotra or sense of sound, Tvak or sense of touch, Chakshus or sense of sight, Jihva or sense of taste and Ghrana or sense of smell. The presiding deity of Srotra is Digdevata or the deity of the quarters, of Tvak is Vayu or wind-god, of Chakshus is Surya or sun-god, of Jihva is Varuna or water-god, and of Ghrana are the two Asvini-Kumaras or the twin physicians of the celestials. The object of Srotra is the reception of Sabda or sound, of Tvak is Sparsa or touch, of Chakshus is Rupa or form, of Jihva is Rasa or taste and of Ghrana is Gandha or smell.

The Jnana-Indriya, the presiding deities and their respective objects are shown below in a tabular form:


Name of the Indriya    Presiding Deity          Object

















The five Karma-Indriyas are: Vak or the organ of speech, Pani or the organ of grasping, Pada or the organ of locomotion, Payu or the organ of excretion, and Upastha or the organ of enjoyment. The presiding deity of Vak is Agni or fire-god, of Pani is Indra or the ruler of heaven, of Pada is Vishnu or the Protector, of Payu is Mrityu or the lord of death, and of Upastha is Prajapati or the progenitor. The object of Vak is speech, of Pani is grasping the objects, of Pada is locomotion, of Payu is excretion and of Upastha is sexual enjoyment.

The Karma-Indriyas, their respective presiding deities and objects are shown below in a tabular form:

Name of the Indriyas

Presiding Deity


















16. Q: What is Karana Sarira or causal body?

A: The Karana-Sarira is the indescribable and beginningless Avidya or nescience of the changeless Self, which is the cause of gross and subtle bodies.

17. Q: What are the three Avasthas or states?

A: They are the Jagrat or waking. Svapna or dreaming and Sushupti or deep sleep states.

18. Q: What is Jagrad-Avastha or waking state?

A: The waking state is that wherein the sense objects viz., sounds etc., are cognised by the sense organs, viz., ear, etc. The Atman who identifies himself with the gross body is called Visva

19. Q: What is Svapna-Avastha or dreaming state?

That state in which the consciousness or the subtle inner subjective world which arises during sleep in the form of the percipient and objects of perception by virtue of the latent impressions of what is seen and heard in the waking state is called Svapna-Avastha. The Atman who identifies himself with the subtle body is called Taijasa.

20. Q: What is Sushupti-Avastha or deep sleep state?

A: The state of experience that 'I did not know anything, I enjoyed a sound sleep' is called Sushupti-Avastha. The Atman who identifies himself with the causal body is called Prajna.

21. Q: What are the Pancha Kosas or five sheaths?

A: They are (a) Annamaya Kosa or the food-sheath, (b) Pranamaya Kosa or the vital sheath, (c) Manomaya Kosa or the mental sheath, (d) Vijnanamaya Kosa or the intellectual sheath and (e) Anandamaya Kosa or the bliss-sheath.

22. Q: What is Annamaya Kosa?

A: Annamaya Kosa is the physical body, which is produced from the essence of food, which grows upon the essence of food and again gets dissolved in the earth which is of the form of food.

23. Q: What is Pranamaya Kosa?

A: The five Pranas or vital airs viz., Prana, etc., and the five organs of action, viz., Vak, etc., constitute the Pranamaya Kosa.

24. Q: What is Manomaya Kosa?

A: The mind and the five senses of knowledge constitute the Manomaya Kosa.

25. Q: What is Vijnanamaya Kosa?

A: The intellect and the five senses of knowledge put together are called Vijnanamaya Kosa.

26. Q: What is Anandamaya Kosa?

A: Avidya or ignorance, which is the causal body, and composed of the Malina Sattva or Sattva mixed with the impurity of Rajas and Tamas, in which exist the Vrittis or mental modifications called Priya or affection, Moda or delight and Pramoda or intense feeling of satisfaction of enjoyment, is called the Anandamaya Kosa.

Just as bracelets, earrings, house, etc., are known by me as mine and distinct from my own Self, so also the five sheaths viz.,.physical, vital, mental, intellectual and blissful sheaths are known by me as mine. Hence the five sheaths, being distinct from my own Self cannot be identified with my own Atman.

27. Q: Then, what is Atman?

A: Atman is Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupa.

28. Q: What is Sat?

A: That which exists in all the three periods of time is called Sat or Existence.

29. Q: What is Chit?

A: The self-luminous principle which illuminates the entire phenomenal universe without requiring any extraneous means is called Chit or Consciousness.

30. Q: What is Ananda?

A: That which is Bliss in its essential nature is called Ananda.

Thus know your essential nature as Sat-Chit-Ananda or Existence-Consciousness-Bliss-Absolute.

Now we shall explain the process of evolution of the twenty-four Tattvas or categories.

Maya whose prop is Brahman, is made up of three Gunas of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas: From her is derived ether, from ether air, from air fire, from fire water and from water earth.

From the Sattvic portion of these five elements are derived in serial order the senses of knowledge, viz., from ether Srotra, from air Tvak, from fire Chakshus, from water Jihva and from earth Ghrana Indriyas. From the collective totality of Sattva of the five elements is derived Manas or mind, Buddhi or intellect, Ahamkara or egoism and Chitta or subconscious mind.

Mind is characterised by Sankalpa-Vikalpa or thought and doubt. The characteristic of the intellect is Nischayatmika or certitude or determinataion. Ahamkara or self-arrogation is the speciality of egoism and Chintana or contemplation over objects is the function of Chitta. The presiding deity of Manas is Chandra or moon, of Buddhi is Brahma or Creator, of Ahamkara is Rudra or Destroyer, and of Chitta is Vasudeva or Preserver.

From the Rajasic portion of each of the elemlents are derived the organs of action or Karma Indriyas, viz., from ether Vak, from air Pani, from fire Pada, from water Upastha and from earth Payu. From the collective totality of the Rajasic portion of the five elements, the five Pranas are produced.

From the Tamasic portion of the five elements is derived the quintuplicated five elemlents.

31. Q: What is Panchikarana or quintuplication?

A: The Tamasic portion of each of the five elements are divided into two halves. One half of each is again subdivided into four parts and each such part is distributed to each of the other four elements. This process of mixing is called Panchikarana or quintuplication.

From this quintuplicated five elements is derived the gross body. Thus the Pindanda or microcosm and Brahmanda or macrocosm are identical.

When the reflection of Brahman identifies itself with the physical body, it is called Jiva. The Jiva conceives that Isvara is distinct from itself. The Atman that is having Avidya as its Upadhi is called Jiva.

The Supreme Intelligence when associated with Maya is designated as Isvara.

In this way as long as the sense of separateness of Jiva and Isvara persists due to the difference of Upadhis or limiting adjuncts, so long the circuit of birth and death does not cease. Therefore the conception that the Jiva and Isvara are distinct from one another is not acceptable.

32. Q: How can the Mahavakya or the great utterance "Tat Tvam Asi" or "That Thou Art' establish the oneness of Jiva who is having limited knowledge and conceit for body, etc., with Isvara who is having omniscience and absence of conceit for body, etc., since they have conflicting attributes?

A: The Vachyartha or the literal meaning of the world 'Tvam' or 'Thou' is Jiva, who is the Abhimani of the and gross subtle bodies, who is associated with Avidya and its effects and conceives himself as a body as well as an agent. The Lakshyartha or the indicative meaning of the word 'Tvam' or 'Thou' is Suddha Chitanya or Pure, Absolute Conciousness, that is unassociated with Avidya and its effects and that is established in Samadhi or superconscious state.

In the same way the Vachyartha of the word "Tat' or 'That' is Isvara who is associated with Maya and its effects and who possesses the attributes of omniscience, etc. The Lakshyartha of 'Tat' is Pure Consciousness unassociated with Maya and its effects. Thus, nothing challenges the non-difference of Jiva and Isvara, since the one impartite Chaitanya is equally present in both.

33. Q: Who are Jivanmuktas?

A: They are the Jivanmuktas or the 'liberated- while-living', who have come to know that 'Brahman alone is real; the world is illusory and Jiva is Brahman Itself' through the teaching of the Vedanta Vakyas or utterances of the Vedanta and the instructions of the Guru, as well as through Self-realisation and who look upon all as Brahman.

Just as one labouring under Avidya has the firm conviction that 'I am body', 'I am male', 'I am a Brahmana', 'I am a Sudra', etc., in the same way one who possesses the direct knowledge characterised by the firm conviction (Dridha-Nischaya-Rupa Aparoksha Jnana) that 'I am not a Brahmana', 'I am not a Sudra', 'I am not a male', but 'the associationless, Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupa, self-effulgent, Inner Ruler of all beings, the all-pervading Intelligence am I', is called a Jivanmukta.

The direct intuitive knowledge. 'I am verily Brahman' or 'Brahmaivahamasmi' annihilates the bondage of all Karmas.

34. Q: How many are the varieties of Karmas?

A: Karmas are of three varieties. They are (i) Agami or current actions, (ii) Sanchita or accumulated actions, and (iii) Prarabdha or fructified actions.

35. Q: What is Agami Karma?

A: The actions that are performed through the body, in the form of merit and demerit, by a Jnani or a realised person subsequent to the rise of knowledge is called Agami Karma.

36. Q: What is Sanchita Karma?

A: Sanchita Karma is the sum total of all actions of the infinite past births, which have not yet begun to fructify and which, being reduced to the condition of subtle impressions, lie latent in a seed state.

37. Q: What is Prarabdha Karma?

A: The action in the form of merit and demerit earned in previous births which is the cause of the present physical body, and which yields the experience of happiness and misery in this body is called Prarabdha Karma. This Prarabdha Karma is exhausted only through experience. It comes to an end only after experience.

The Sanchita Karma is consumed by the fire of knowledge characterised by the strong conviction that 'Brahmai- vahamasmi-I am no other than Brahman Itself".

The Agami Karma also is destroyed through Jnana. Since a Jnani has no contact with the Agami Karmas he is untouched by them like the lotus-leaf by the drops of water on it.

And also those who praise, adore and worship the Jnani, they acquire the merit of his current actions, while those who censure, hate and give him pain get the demerit of his current actions.

Thus the Atmavit or the knower of the Atman crossing the ocean of Samsara or transmigration attains Brahmananda or the Bliss of Brahman here in this birth itself. The Sruti corroborates this view through the statement 'Tarati sokam Atmavit-The knower of Atman crosses over all sorrows'.

The Smritis also declare that it does not at all matter whether the body of a Jnani meets with its end either at Kasi (Benares) or in the house of an outcaste. He is liberated and he attains everlasting bliss at the very moment of attainment of Knowledge.





















Prostrations to the Vedanta Guru, Bhagavan Sri Sankaracharya, the master of all Sciences, the cogniser of non-duality of the Sat (Existence) and the Atman (Self).

I salute Lord Narayana, Who incarnated Himself in the form of Spiritual Guru (Vedavyasa) to gladden the hearts of sages in this world, Who is the storehouse of mercy, and Who removes the sins of His devotees.

I now give out a brief exposition of a work called 'Manana', expounded at great length by the revered sage Vaasudeva, for the edification of the ignorant and for the improvement of my own spiritual knowledge.

May Lord Krishna, the Bala-Gopala, be by me to bless and help me in this work.

Among the four Purusharthas or ideals of life, viz., Dharma or righteous way of living, Artha or wealth, Kama or satisfaction of desires and Moksha or liberation from the cycle of births and deaths, Moksha alone is the supreme Purushartha, since it is eternal. "He returns no more, he returns no more" (Ch. Up: VIII-xv-l),- -so says the Sruti or Scripture. The other three are not so, because they are transient or impermanent. "Just as here on earth the world which is earned by work perishes, even so, there in the other world, the realm which is earned by meritorious deeds perishes" (Ch. Up. VIII-i-6),-so says the Sruti. That liberation is attained only through the knowledge of the Self. "Having realised Him alone, one transcends death; there is no other means for liberation" (Sv. Up. VI-15). "The knower of Brahman attains the Supreme" (Taitt. Up. II-1),—so say the Srutis.

This Brahman or the Absolute should be realised through a process or device called 'Adhyaropa' or superimposition or misconception or illusory attribution and 'Apavada' or de-superimposition or withdrawal of such misconception or illusory attribution. For, verily, the knowledge of the substratum can arise only when the superimposed thing is negated. "The ascertainment of Truth should be made through 'Adhyaropa' and 'Apavada'. "The wise ones have reached the immortal state not through Karmas or acts, progeny or wealth, but through renunciation," so says the Kaivalyopanishad-2. Therefore this process of Adhyaropa and Apavada should necessarily be understood by the seekers of Truth.

DOUBT:-What is meant by 'Adhyaropa'?

CLARIFICATION: Just as silver is perceived in the mother-of-pearl, snake in the rope, man in the post, etc., so is the apparent recognition of the cosmos in the Atman or Brahman. This is called Adhyaropa. This misconception arises due to lack of knowledge of the Reality. This absence of knowledge or Ajnana alone is variously termed as 'Avidya' or Potential Ignorance, 'Tamas' or Ignorance, 'Moha' or Delusion, 'Mulaprakriti' or Potential Matter, 'Pradhana' or Primordial Matter, 'Gunasamya' or Balanced State of the Three Gunas, 'Avyakta' or Seed-Matter and 'Maya' or Illusory Power.

The Mulaprakriti is a combination of the three Gunas called Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, which can be compared to a rope made up of three strands of white, red and black colours. It is also known as 'Pralaya' or Deluge and 'Mahasushupti' or Causal Sleep. Prior to creation, countless individual beings along with the subtle impressions of their past Karmas or actions lie latent in the Mulaprakriti like particles of gold in a ball of wax. This experience is derived by all human beings in deep





Fig.1 The Cosmic Family


"Under Me as supervisor, Prakriti produces the moving and the unmoving; because of this, O Arjuna, the world revolves... Know thou that Prakriti and Purusha are both beginningless, and know also that all modifications and qualities are born of Prakriti"-Gita IX-10, XIII-19.

"My womb is the great Brahma; in that I place the germ; thence, O Arjuna, is the birth of all beings. Whatever forms are produced in any womb, whatsoever, the great Brahma is their womb and I am the seed-giving Father."-Gita XIV-3 & 4.

sleep state. At the time of creation the Mulaprakriti divides itself into three aspects called Maya, Avidya and Tamasi and this movement is favoured by the latent impressions of the past actions of the individual beings, ripe for expression. There the Sattva Guna is predominant over the other two Gunas in Maya.

The Consciousness-Absolute which 'exists' even prior to all creation, getting reflected in Maya, goes by the name 'Isvara' or the Universal Causal Being. He is also called 'Avyakta' or Undifferentiated and 'Antaryamin' or the Indweller. He is the Creator of the universe. He is the All-full Consciousness- Absolute. The very same Consciousness-Absolute becomes the 'Upadana Karana' or the material cause of this universe when delimited by Tamas. Verily, considered both in Itself and in relation to the manifest universe, It becomes the Upadana as well as the Nimitta Karana or instrumental cause, just as a spider, in regard to its web, is the weaver as well as the material for the web, since the thread comes out of its own body.

How Isvara created this universe is explained: The aforesaid Avidya is Rajas-predominant and manifests itself in myriads of forms and it is infinite. Therefore the Jivas or the individual souls, which are the reflections of the 'Consciousness-Absolute' are also infinite in number. The individual ignorance or 'Vyashtirupa Avidya' and the collective Primordial Matter or 'Samashtirupa Mulaprakriti' become the causal bodies or Karana Sarira of the Jivas and Isvara respectively. The abode of the Karana Sariras or the causal bodies of the Jivas and Isvara is the Sushupti Avastha or the deep sleep state. Their own Karana Sarira becomes the Bliss-sheath or the Anandamaya Kosa. Thus the Causal Universe is created.

Now the creation of the Subtle Universe is explained: Due to the Will of Isvara the Tamo-Guna of Mulaprakriti became twofold, viz., 'Avarana Sakti' or the Veiling Power and the 'Vikshepa Sakti' or the Projecting Power. From Vikshepa Sakti alone came the subtle ether or the Sukshma Akasa. From the subtle ether came the subtle air or Sukshma Vayu. From the subtle air came the subtle fire or Sukshma Agni. From the subtle fire came the subtle water or Sukshma Apas. From the subtle water came the subtle earth or Sukshma Prithvi. These five elements are variously termed as subtle elements or 'Sukshma Bhutas', unquintuplicated elements or 'Apanchikrita Bhutas' and rudimentary elements or "Tanmatras'. From Ajnana or the Causal Ignorance or Mulaprakriti have sprung the three Gunas, viz.. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. From the Vyashti or individual aspect of the Sattva portion of each of the five subtle elements have sprung respectively the five Jnana Indriyas or the senses of knowledge; i.e. from the Sabda Tanmatra the sense of hearing, from the Sparsa Tanmatra the sense of touch, from the Rupa Tanmatra the sense of sight, from the Rasa Tanmatra the sense of taste and from the Gandha Tanmatra the sense of smell. From the Samashti or the collective aspect of the Sattva portion of the five subtle elements was born the 'Antahkarana' or the Inner Instrument. That Antahkarana is fourfold, viz., Manas or the mind, Buddhi or the intellect, Ahankara or the ego and Chitta or the mind-stuff. Among them Ahankara is grouped under Buddhi, and Chitta under Manas.

Similarly, from the Vyashti aspect of the Rajo Guna of the subtle ether etc., were born the five Karma Indriyas, viz., the organs of speech, grasping, locomotion, generation and excretion, respectively. From the Samashti aspect of the Rajo-Guna of the subtle ether etc., arose the Prana or the vital force. It is fivefold, viz., Prana or respiratory, Apana or expiratory, Vyana or pervasive, Udana or ascensional and Samana or equalising.

These seventeen categories viz., five senses of knowledge, five organs of action, five vital forces, intellect (in which the ego is included) and mind (in which the mind-stuff is included) comprise the subtle body or astral body or Sukshma Sarira or Linga Deha. That verily is the instrument of enjoyment. In the subtle body the state of the individual soul or Jiva and the cosmic soul or Isvara is called the dream state. Within the subtle body exist the Vijnanamaya Kosa or the Intellectual Sheath, the Manomaya Kosa or the Mental Sheath and the Pranamaya Kosa or the Vital Sheath. Thus was the creation of the subtle universe.

Now the creation of the gross universe is explained: Each of the five unquintuplicated subtle elements viz., sound etc., which are Tamas-predominant, divides itself into two halves. It retains one half for itself and divides the other half into four equal parts and such one eighth part is distributed to each of the other four subtle elements. This process of mixing is called Panchikarana or Quintuplication. Thus all the five Tanmatras are quintuplicated and in that form they are known as Gross Elements or Sthula Maha-Bhutas. From these five gross elements the macrocosm or Brahmanda arose. This macrocosm contains fourteen Lokas or planes of existence, viz., Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah, Mahah, Janah, Tapah, Satya, Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Rasatala, Mahatala and Patala, four types of gross bodies viz., Andaja or egg-born or oviparous, Jarayuja or womb-born or viviparous, Svedaja or sweat-born and Udbhija or seed-born and all objects of enjoyment such as food etc. The abode of the Individual Being and the Universal Being in their respective physical bodies is the waking state. This gross manifestation is the food-sheath or Annamaya Kosa. Thus was the creation of the gross universe.

Each of the three bodies, viz., causal, subtle and physical, is twofold viz., Vyashti or individual and Samashti or collective. A forest or a village is Samashti while a tree or a house is Vyashti. The sum total of all bodies represents Samashti and a single body represents Vyashti. Therein Isvara is the possessor of Samashti Upadhi or collective limiting adjunct and Jiva is the possessor of Vyashti Upadhi or individual limiting adjunct. There is a further classification, viz., the collective aspect in the causal state is called Isvara and the individual aspect in the causal state is called Prajna; the collective subtle aspect is Hiranyagarbha and the individual subtle aspect is Taijasa; the collective physical aspect is Vaisvanara or Virat and. the individual physical aspect is Visva. These are the differences between Jiva and Isvara.

Assuming the three qualities of Rajas, Sattva and Tamas separately Isvara creates, sustains and destroys the universe under the respective names of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. Vishnu is included in and represented by Virat Purusha or the Universal Physical Being, Brahma by Hiranyagarbha or the Universal Astral Being and Rudra by Isvara or the Universal Causal Being. Thus is the creation of the cosmos.

Verily, this is the supreme 'superimposition'. It is a function of the Vikshepa Sakti or the Projecting Power.

Now the function of the Avarana Sakti or the Veiling Power is explained: Leaving Isvaras and the realised saints, Avarana Sakti totally screens, like the pitch darkness, the difference which exists between the Self and the five sheaths in all beings. Veiling is of two kinds, viz., Asattvavarana and Abhanavarana. When we say 'the Reality does not exist', it is called Asattvavarana. Similarly, when we say that the Reality is not visible, it is called Abhanavarana. The root of the tree of Samsara or transmigratory existence is the effect of the Avarana Sakti only and not of the Vikshepa Sakti. The annihilation of Avarana Sakti happens to be the cause of attainment of Moksha or release from bondage. The twofold veiling should be destroyed through the knowledge of the Absolute. This knowledge of the Absolute is of two kinds, viz., Paroksha Jnana or indirect or mediate knowledge and Aparoksha Jnana or direct or immediate knowledge.

Indirect knowledge is the metaphysical knowledge received from a preceptor. This is Sravana or study or hearing.

Through this kind of knowledge the Asattvavarana perishes. Henceforth there abides the inner conviction that Reality exists. After having cleared all doubts through hearing or 'Sravana', the sense of improbability or Asambhavana through cogitation or Manana; and wrong perception or Viparita Bhavana through meditation or Nididhyasana, one realises oneself to be identical with the Absolute. This is called direct knowledge or Aparoksha Jnana. Through this direct knowledge the Abhana Avarana or the screening power, which is responsible for the erroneous conviction that 'Reality is not visible' perishes. Thus, through the help of the indirect and direct knowledge, the twofold Veiling Power, which gives rise to the wrong understanding that 'Reality does not exist', 'It is not visible', is destroyed. Thenceforth there is cessation of all evils, pain and grief, and attainment of bliss supreme. Thus are established seven stages in all, which are: (1) Ignorance, (2) Veiling Power, (3) Projecting Power, (4) Indirect Knowledge, (5) Direct Knowledge, (6) Annihilation of grief and (7) Attainment of supreme bliss. This is superimposition, viz., an unreal universe being imagined to exist in the Consciousness-Absolute, which is, in fact, free from all impurities like the ether.

Now, de-superimposition or Apavada is explained: The negation of the universe, which is made on the understanding that an effect, as studied apart from its cause, has no existence of its own, is called de-superimposition. It is like negating the appearance of silver in the shell or that of a snake in a rope.

One who (Yaa) is not existing (Maa), she (Saa) is called Maya. One who (Saa) is not existing (Na vidyate) she is called Avidya-this etymology of these two words, viz., Maya and Avidya, which are used to denote the 'seed matter', reveals clearly its unreality as an entity separate from the Absolute.

He who ratiocinates and understands that 'There is nothing apart from the Absolute', 'I am verily that Absolute', is verily a liberated sage while yet embodied,-Jivanmukta. This is the conclusion of Vedanta.






















In this second chapter, the four indispensable requisites of a worthy text, called Anubandha Chatushtaya are described. They are (i) Vishaya or subject-matter, (ii) Prayojana or benefit, (iii) Sambandha or relationship between the text and the subject-matter and (iv) Adhikari or the qualified student. In Vedanta literature the subject-matter is Brahman or the Absolute Reality, Moksha or liberation is the benefit. The relationship is the connection between the expounded and the exposition or Brahman and the text, which describes it. One who is endowed with the fourfold means of realisation or Sadhana Chatushtaya is a qualified student.

Just as Brahmanas alone are competent to perform the sacrifice called Brihaspatisavana and Kshatriyas alone are competent to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice, so also he who is endowed with the Sadhana Chatushtaya can alone study Vedanta. The fourfold qualifications are (i) Viveka or discrimination between the eternal and the ephemeral, (ii) Vairagya or dispassion towards the enjoyment of the fruits of actions both here in this world and hereafter in other worlds, (iii) Shad Sampat or the sixfold virtues of Sama or mental restraint, etc., and (iv) Mumukshutva or intense aspiration for liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Viveka or discrimination is the knowledge that Brahman alone is eternal and the universe is ephemeral. This knowledge is derived intuitively through a careful study of Srutis or revealed scriptures, Smritis or codes of conduct, Puranas or mythology, etc. Vairagya or dispassion is distaste for pleasures derived from sense-objects like flowers, sandal-paste, etc., here and pleasures from celestial nymphs and other objects of enjoyment of the other worlds and which should be considered as ephemeral and treated like a dog's vomit, urine, excreta, etc. Shad Sampat or the sixfold virtues beginning with Sama are (i) Sama, (ii) Dama, (iii) Uparati, (iv) Titiksha, (v) Samadhana and (vi) Sraddha.

Sama means the steadying of the mind towards Sravana or hearing or study of spiritual matters, etc., by keeping it away from other worldly things than Sravana. Dama refers to the control of the senses of knowledge and organs of action. Uparati is withdrawal from all worldly concerns. It implies renunciation and selfless service also. Titiksha is calm endurance of dualities like heat and cold etc., brought about by Prarabdha Karma or the result of the past actions now working its effects in this life. Samadhana is ceaseless yoking of the mind to things conducive to Sravana or hearing of spiritual matters, etc. Sraddha is the faith or trust in the words of the preceptor and of Vedanta. Mumukshutva is the overriding desire to escape from the sufferings of the transmigratory existence by realising the identity between oneself and the Absolute, removing Eshanatraya or the threefold desire for sex, wealth and for progeny. It is just like the single thought of a person trapped in a burning house to get out of the threatening danger and death, leaving, if necessary, even his wife, children and others behind.

Since, in this world, dispassion is found to be absent even in some persons endowed with discrimination, it is stressed that one should be dispassionate towards the pleasures derived from the fruits of action in this world and in the next. Likewise, since, anger, affliction, etc., are found in certain saintly personalities also, even though they are well equipped with the first two means of Sadhana viz., Viveka and Vairagya, it is essential that one should also acquire the sixfold virtues of Sama, etc. In some persons even if the aforesaid three requisites, viz., Viveka, Vairagya and Shad Sampat are present, a few of them happen to be unfit for pursuing the path of knowledge proving to be votaries of personal gods. Hence it is insisted that one should be endowed with Mumukshutva also.

A student qualified as stated above should resort to a spiritual preceptor, carrying Samit or sacrificial fuel (which indicates the act of dissolving one's ego in the fire of Knowledge) and gifts for the master and prostrate himself before him. Then the student should address him thus with great faith and reverence, O Lord, O Holy One, O dispeller of ignorance, who is the Jiva? Who is Isvara? What is the nature of the universe? Whence do these three arise? And how can we get rid of this worldly existence?' This is the scriptural injunction too: 'Let a Brahmana (an aspirant) acquire dispassion after having examined the worlds that are acquired through Karma or action, and become disgusted with them, with the understanding that the causeless cause cannot be attained by actions. In order to realise that let him approach with sacrificial fuel in hand a well-versed preceptor, who is established in the Absolute' (Mun. Up. I-ii-12); 'Know That through prostration, service and repeated questioning, the sages or the men of realisation will instruct thee in that Knowledge' (Bhagavadgita IV-34), etc. Being thus appealed by the disciple, the preceptor, with all kindness, after having taught him the differences between Jiva, Isvara and the universe, differentiated through the three Gunas, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, indicates the real nature of the Self, as clearly as an Amalaka fruit held in the palm.

It should be understood that the fourfold Sadhana, as mentioned above, should be acquired through the grace of God and by the fruition of a multitude of merits earned in innumerable births. Let one understand that the spiritual preceptor, who gives the knowledge of the Absolute, is verily the Supreme Lord Himself.

He and he alone, who enquires into and understands the existing non-difference between the individual self and the Supreme Self, with the help of a preceptor, will attain release. This is an established conclusion. 








DOUBT: How many entities comprise this universe?

CLARIFICATION:-Two entities viz., the Atman or Self and Anatman or non-Self comprise this universe.

DOUBT: How the Self, which transcends the universe, is also included in it?

CLARIFICATION:-Since the universe is comprised of both sentient and insentient beings and sentience is the very nature of the Atman, the inclusion of the Atman in the universe is inevitable. Otherwise, the universe will cease to exist. Therefore, the existence of the Atman in the universe must be predicated.

DOUBT:-Which are the sentient beings and which are the insentient?

CLARIFICATION:-All moving objects are sentient and all unmoving things are insentient.

DOUBT:-While these two are several and many, how can the universe be said to be twofold only?

CLARIFICATION:-Anatman is one only. It appears to be many only in its effects. Similarly the Atman is also one only; but it appears to be many in the form of Jivas and Isvaras through the vehicles, which are the effect of the non-Self.

DOUBT: How is it that one Isvara appears as many?

CLARIFICATION:-This conception that Isvara appears as many arises only through the several images like those of Siva, Vishnu, etc., that are worshipped in sacred places, villages, houses, etc.

DOUBT: Can Isvaratva or Godhood be attributed to idols made of earth, stone, etc?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes, if Isvaratva is not inherent in those images, why should people take so much trouble and spend a lot of materials and do Abhisheka or sacred bath, Naivedya or sacred offering, etc? Here, the fact that non-Hindus do not worship such idols has no relevancy to the present question. In matters like this, cases of believers alone should be cited and taken into consideration as example. After all, when persons are prepared to consider the physical body, which is the receptacle of the foulest of filth, urine, etc., to be the Self, what is wrong in looking upon as Isvara the images, which are very pure materially as well as magnetically.

DOUBT:-Is there any example to prove that Anatman appears as many through its effects, as also does Atman through the vehicle of the effects of Anatman?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes, just as earth, through the modification of its effects appears in different forms, such as mountain, tree, tower, wall, granary, house, monastery, pot and other earthenwares etc., similarly, Mulaprakriti or potential matter, which is non-Self, though one, becomes many in its effects. Just as ether, which is indivisible, on entering the vehicles formed by the modifications of the earth, such as pot, house etc., is known as pot-ether, house-ether etc., so also the non-dual Atman, which is apparently limited by various types of bodies, which are the effects of the Mulaprakriti, seems to have entered those bodies and differentiated by the ignorant as celestial beings like Rama, Krishna, etc., and human beings like Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya, Sudra, animal, bird, worm, insect etc., and thus appears to be many. These are all illustrations from the standpoint of Avachhinnapaksha or the doctrine that Consciousness is limited by the limiting adjuncts.

Now, as to the standpoint of Pratibimbapaksha or the doctrine that the Jivatman is a reflection of the Paramatman in the Antahkarana or the inner instrument, the following illustrations may be considered. Just as one water appears manifold as ocean, rivers, ponds, well-water, pot-water, etc., so also the one non-Self manifests itself as many. Just as in the ocean, etc., the one sun is reflected as many, so also the one Atman, having reflected itself in the Antahkaranas of the many bodies, manifests itself as many. Thus the two illustrations have to be understood.

Just as the qualities of water like coolness, mobility etc., are seen only in the various reflections of the sun and they do not affect the sun that is reflected in them, so also the various modifications and qualities of the Antahkarana, viz., doership, enjoyership, etc., are seen only in the Chidabhasa or the reflected consciousness in the Antahkarana of the Jiva and does not affect the original, viz., the Atman. Therefore, Jivatman itself is Paramatman and Paramatman itself is Jivatman.


CLARIFICATTON: It is just as the pot-ether alone is the universal ether and the universal ether alone is the pot-ether.

DOUBT:-The individual soul is an imagined one or illusory like the reflection. Then, how can the real Paramatman and the unreal Jivatman be said to be identical? Is it not like saying that reality and unreality are one and the same?

CLARIFICATION:-There are three aspects of the individual soul, viz., (i) Paramarthika or the noumenal or the absolutely real, (ii) Vyavaharika or the phenomenal or empirical or relative and (iii) Pratibhasika or the illusory. They respectively identify themselves with the three states, viz.,



Fig. 2. Three Aspects of the Jiva


1. Paramarthika (in deep sleep state) just as the calm water.

2. Vyavaharika (in waking state) just as the waves.

3. Pratibhasika (in dream state) just as the foam.

(i) deep sleep, (ii) waking and (iii) dream. Just as there is the ephemeral appearance of waves in water and foam in the waves, so also the Vyavaharika Jiva or the phenomenal soul manifests itself from the Paramarthika Jiva or the noumenal soul and the Pratibhasika Jiva or the illusory soul from the Vyavaharika Jiva or the phenomenal soul. Just as taste, fluidity and coolness, which are the qualities of water, manifest themselves in the waves and through waves in the foam also, so also the characteristics of Sat or Existence Absolute, Chit or Consciousness Absolute and Ananda or Bliss Absolute of the Paramarthika Kutastha or the substratum of the Jivas, manifest themselves in the Vyavaharika Jiva and through this Vyavaharika Jiva in the Pratibhasika Jiva.

Just as foam does not exist in the absence of waves, and waves do not exist in the absence of water and a among them just as water alone is real so also Pratibhasika Jiva does not exist in the absence of Vyavaharika Jiva and Vyavaharika Jiva does not exist in the absence of Paramarthika Jiva which alone is real. Therefore, just as the pot-ether, which is no other than the universal ether, so also the Paramarthika Kutastha in the Jivatman is no other than the Paramatman. This is the final conclusion of the Vedanta.

Thus, one who seperates through the doctrine of 'Neti Neti' or 'Not this-Not this' the Paramarthika Kutastha from the five sheaths beginning with the physical sheath, and identifies that Substratum with 'I' and cognises through direct intuitive realisation the Truth that 'Aham Brahmasmi' or 'I am no other than the undifferentiated Brahman', after a thorough study of the Srutis and through logical conviction, is beyond doubt the Paripurna Brahma Svarupa or the all-full Brahman Itself. All the Upanishads proclaim with one voice that virtuous and sinful actions do not cling to such a person.






The individual soul is bound to a transmigratory existence by a chain, the links of which are (i) pain (ii) embodiment, (iii) action, (iv) love and hatred (v) self- identification, (vi) non-discrimination and (vii) ignorance, which may be called the 'chain of bondage'. In that chain each succeeding link is the cause for the preceding one. The first four of these links will be discussed in Chapters IV and V.

DOUBT: Is pain our essential nature or extraneous?

CLARIFICATION:-It is an extraneous factor only. Otherwise, a contrary admission would result in many absurdities.

DOUBT:-How is it?

CLARIFICATION:-If pain is the essential nature of the Jivatman, then there can be neither the possibility of cessation of pain; nor can there be happiness to any individual. Then it will become unnecessary on the part of men to perform any action for liberation from pain or for the acquisition of happiness. None will take any effort to cultivate virtuous actions and do Yoga, meditation, worship, etc. Besides Vedas, Puranas and other sacred scriptures would become useless.

DOUBT:-Let the miseries of human existence be natural to men, and let them make attempts to free themselves from them.



Fig. 3. Chain of Bondage


1. Ajnana (Ignorance),

2. Aviveka (Non-discrimination),

3. Abhimana (Attachment),

4. Raga-Dvesha (Love and Hatred),

5. Karma (Action),

6. Janma (Embodiment) and 7. Duhkha (Misery).

CLARIFICATION:-No. It can never happen, because it being one's own essential nature according to the above argument. By 'natural' it is meant that 'that which belongs to one's own individuality'. Then who will endeavour to annihilate his own reality? If one's own reality is destroyed, how can he expect to attain his desired end of life?

DOUBT: How one's essential nature is one's own reality?

CLARIFICATION:-This may be made clear by an illustration. The property of sweetness is natural to sugar. If the quality of sweetness is detached, then the sugar itself has to be destroyed. Likewise, if pain is the essential nature of the Jivatman, annihilation of pain will result in annihilation of the essential nature of the Atman itself. But there is no such destruction to the Atman, since It has been declared by the scriptures as indestructible and eternal in passages like 'Atman is indestructible' (Br. Up. IV-v-14); 'It pervades everything like the ether and it is eternal'; 'It is not born nor does it die. It came from nowhere and It does not become anything. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and ancient and It does not perish with the body' (Kathopanishad I-ii-18). Therefore pain is not natural to the Atman but extraneous or accidental only.

DOUBT: Can the 'Svarupa' or essential nature not survive after the annihilation of its 'Svabhava' or natural property?

CLARIFICATION:-No. It can't be.

DOUBT:-Just as heat is annihilated by magical stones, Mantras or incantations, etc., without the fire itself being destroyed and even made cold to the touch, pain, which is taken to be natural to the Jiva, can also be annihilated through a superior type of activity, worship, Yoga, etc., without the Self being destroyed and that the Self can take on to a new attribute, viz., happiness.

CLARIFICATION:-In that case there will be no permanency of the results achieved. The results will be only temporary.


CLARIFICATION:-Everything generated by Karmas or actions will vanish with the cessation of those actions. In the above-mentioned illustration and the illustrated, the fire and the Atman may lose their heat and pains through magical stone, etc.. and virtuous actions, etc., respectively, but with the cessation of those appliances and effort the cold and happiness caused by them will vanish and the inherent heat and pain will manifest once again though they appeared to have been eliminated. Therefore it is evident that if we admit pain to be the essential nature of the Jivas, then they will have to attain only a temporary salvation and not permanent one. This would reduce Moksha to an impermanent state and would contradict the scriptural passages like 'He never returns' and 'The Self is undivided. blissful, formless and wonderful'. Again, if pain were to be the essential nature of the Jiva, then in states like deep sleep quiescence and Samadhi it alone should be experienced. But it is not seen to be so. On return to the waking state from any one of the above-mentioned states, one feels that 'uptil now I was happy'. Hence the inevitable conclusion is that happiness is the essential nature of the Atman and pain is an extraneous accretion. Though happiness is thus the essential nature of the Jiva, it suffers pain on account of its getting embodied; for, such is the ordained law of nature-wherever there is embodiment there is pain'.

DOUBT: Are kings, princes, etc., also subjected to pain due to embodiment?




Fig. 4. Difference between Ajnani and Jnani

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. Pain is experienced by them also in the form of troubles from enemies, the burden of ruling over the kingdom, loss of wealth and possessions, death of near and dear ones, old age and their own death. It is mere delusion to think that some are happy in this world.

DOUBT: How delusion can change pain into pleasure?

CLARIFICATION:-A porter who runs at great speed with his luggage on his head, a farmer and such other labourers are so deluded as to consider their labour, which is painful in its essential nature, to be a pleasure and to such an extent as to carry out their jobs laughing and singing. Therefore, it is unmistakably clear that pain alone is seen as pleasure due to delusion.

DOUBT: Is embodiment necessarily painful in all cases, even in the case of Vivekins or men of discrimination and understanding?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. They too suffer pain on account of hunger, thirst, heat, cold, diseases, scorpion, snake, tiger, etc. DOUBT :-Then, what is the difference between the ignorant people and men of discrimination?

CLARIFICATION:-Though externally there does not seem to be much difference between them, wide is the gulf that separates them, so far as the internal sphere of understanding and experience are concerned. Men of understanding discrimination and enlightenment remain in this world helped by reason and experience confirmed by scriptural exhortations. They reason thus: 'All pain belongs to the Antahkarana and not to the Self. There does not exist even the least connection between the Self, whose essential nature is Sat-Chit-Ananda or Existence-Consciousness-Bliss-Absolute and the Antahkarana, whose essential nature is unreality, inertia, and pain. Through the scripture, we learn that 'Asangohyayam Purushah'- 'this Self is unconnected with anything' (Br. Up. IV-iii-15). Through logic we know Him as limbless, Truth, etc. Through experience of deep sleep, quiescence and Samadhi also we know Him to be such.

But the non-discriminative and foolish individual, without being able to enquire into the real nature of the Self, considers the body, etc., to be the Self. Transferring the attributes of the non-Self to the Self and those of the Self, which is Sat-Chit-Ananda, to the non-Self and causing thereby a mutual transference of attributes he identifies himself with the mere attributes, viz., caste, colour, creed, etc., and mistakes his essential nature as 'I am god', 'I am man'. 'I am Andhra', 'I am Tamilian', 'I am Brahmin', 'I am Kshatriya', 'I am Vaisya', 'I am Sudra', 'I am Brahmacharin', 'I am householder', 'I am Vanaprastha', 'I am Sannyasin', etc., etc. Thus there exists a great deal of difference between a Vivekin and an Avivekin. When we enquire the matter still deeper, we will find that even in the sphere of external actions there is no similarity between them.


CLARIFICATION:-The man of discrimination, convinced of the unreality of the manifest universe, looks upon his 'Prarabdha' enjoyment as unreal, just as the enjoyment in dream; whereas the ignorant considers the universe as well as the pains and pleasures of the Jiva as real. Thus it is proved that certainly there is pain in embodiment, even in the case of discriminative persons.

There are miseries even to the Devas or celestial beings, because of embodiment, which is indicated by scriptural passages like 'Vajrahastah Purandarah'-'the lord of celestials, viz., Indra carries the thunderbolt in his hand'.


CLARIFICATION:-There is quarrel among themselves. They are swayed by anger and curse. They are subject to constant attacks by the Asuras or demons. They are bound by the fear of falling down again to take birth in the lower planes when the results of their virtuous deeds are exhausted. All these indicate their liability to pain.

DOUBT:-Being subject to pain, how they become objects of worship and givers of happiness to the human beings etc?

CLARIFICATION:-Take for instance kings and well-to-do people. Though they themselves are subject to pain of their own, they are able to relieve the pains of their subjects and dependents and bestow happiness upon them. No doubt there are scriptural passages like 'In the heavenly regions, the celestial beings are blissful', which seem to imply the contrary. But the real import of the above passage is: 'Having realised pain to be the attributes of the Antahkarana, they remain in the heavenly regions, enjoying their own blissful nature'. Further, the scriptural passage 'These celestials, being created, fell into the vast ocean of Samsara' (Ait. Up. II-1), implies clearly the concomitance of pain and embodiment in the case of the celestial beings also. Therefore, every effort should be made by every one to attain the stage of Videhamukti or emancipation without the trammels of body.

DOUBT: If liberation were always to imply disembodiment, how is it that certain celestial beings, who are endowed with a body and appear to us as stars in the sky, are said to be liberated beings?

CLARIFICATION:-Liberation is of four kinds. They are (1) Salokya or living in the same plane as of the God worshipped, (ii) Samipya or proximity to the God, (iii) Sarupya or possession of attributes similar to those of the God and (iv) Sayujya or union with the God. These four types of release are secured respectively through (i) Charya or obedience to and dedicated service of the God, (ii) Kriya or performance of worship to personal Gods like Siva, Vishnu, etc., (iii) Yoga or the eight-limbed Yoga practice of Yama, Niyama etc., and (iv) Jnana or the realisation of the identity between the Jivatman and Paramatman. The first three types of liberation are not of much importance, since they are attended by the possibilities of rebirth. The last alone is the desirable kind of liberation, since there is no rebirth in it. The saying of the scripture 'Yogena Sayujyam' Union through Yoga' refers to the practice of meditation on the attributeless Absolute. Release in a disembodied condition should, however, not be taken as merely a dissolution in the void on the ground that, while those that are liberated while in body are visible, and those that are liberated after disembodiment are not seen at any time in any place, by anyone, through any means whatsoever. In the case of those that attain release on disembodiment there is only a loss of body and not their essential being. Like the happiness derived from deep sleep, the bliss derived by one on getting liberated has no form. It can only be experienced by oneself and is not perceptible to others.

DOUBT: If the bliss of emancipation and deep sleep be of the same nature, then why cannot we take the deep sleep state as a state of liberation?

CLARIFICATION:-Surely not. It should not be misunderstood in this way. Though on the point of enjoyment of the non-dual bliss, there is resemblance between the deep sleep state and liberated state, yet there continues or ignorance in the deep sleep state and a subsequent return to the waking state; whereas in salvation these two are not to be found. Therefore, liberation cannot come from deep sleep.

In the same way, the final deluge a state in which all beings lie in a latent condition with their past impressions in the Avyakta or seed-matter-should also not be misunderstood to be a state of release; for, it is more like deep sleep, being characterised by Ajnana and a return to manifestation in the forthcoming Kalpa or cycle. As, however, the bliss of release is actually experienced though by oneself only, like that of the deep sleep, it is a matter of direct realisation and not a mere void.

DOUBT:-Then, what is the difference between the liberated-while-in-body and the liberated-on-disembodiment if both of them become objects of perception (the former by others and the latter by himself alone)?

CLARIFICATION:-The main differences are the cessation of all ignorance with its effects and a non-return to any other lower state in the case of the Videha Mukta, the latter, whereas in the case of Jivanmukta, the former, he is attended with physical pain due to embodied state even though he treats it like a dream experience.

Thus we have proved through Sruti or scripture, and Yukti or logic that Videha Mukti is a state of supreme felicity, while possession of the body entails on all manifold miseries. Now we shall prove both the doctrines mentioned above through Anubhava or experience.

In deep sleep absence of pain is experienced by all on account of the absence of body-consciousness. On the other hand, in the other two states, viz., waking and dreaming, pain is experienced by all on account of body-consciousness. It follows, therefore, that as implied universally in the saying that 'wherever there is body there are pains', even in the case of the Atman, whose essential nature is bliss, pain arises on account of embodiment, though pain is not natural to It.

DOUBT: What is the cause for this embodiment?

CLARIFICATION:-The cause for embodiment is not merely the five quintuplicated elements, as can be seen from the fact that these elements are present throughout the universe, but do not produce a physical body, wherever they are found; but when the five elements become associated with the past Karmas or actions of the Jiva, then results embodiment.

DOUBT: Can it not be said that the cause of the body is the result of the commingling of the Sukla or sperm of the male and Sronita or ovum of the female, which are nothing but the modifications of the elements?

CLARIFICATION:-Definitely not. Because there are cases in which a combination of the sperm and ovum fails to produce a body. Therefore, the elements associated with Karmas alone are the cause for the bodies. Now, as the five elements, space and time are universal, the varieties of bodies that we see everywhere must necessarily be the outcome of the various differences in Karmas. Just as clay though same everywhere, it is only the variety of artistic workmanship through the various efforts of the potter becomes the cause for all the multifarious effects he produces, such as pots and other earthenwares, so also the five elements, though the same everywhere, present the appearance of different types of bodies, only when they are conjoined with the past Karmas of the Jivas. Otherwise, all physical bodies produced should be similar to one another, in sex, complexion, features, height, life span, etc.

Just as in the above illustration the clay forms the material cause and the potter forms the instrumental cause, so also in the point under discussion, the quintuplicated elements form the material cause and the individual past Karmas the instrumental cause. There always being sufficient past Karmas ripe enough to bear fruit, embodiment arises. It is just as in dreaming, and waking states the existence of body becomes an inevitable necessity to enjoy the fruits of Karmas. Absence of Karmas is followed by absence of body, as in deep sleep state. Again, for instance, even though there is the existence of clay, yet no pot is created without the instrumentality of the potter. Likewise, though there may exist the five elements evolved by Isvara, yet with the cessation of karmas through the spiritual realisation, such a sage never obtains a body for the future.



Fig. 5. Fire of Knowledge Burns the Cotton of Ignorance through the Lens of Antahkarana.


Doubt: -There are different statements in different scriptures regarding the effect of past Karmas. Some scriptures dealing with Karmas say: ‘Be it virtuous or sinful, the fruits of actions done should necessarily be enjoyed. Even with DOUBT:-There are different statements in different scriptures regarding the effect of past Karmas. Some scriptures dealing with Karmas say: 'Be it virtuous or sinful, the fruits of actions done should necessarily be enjoyed. Even with the passing away of crores and crores of Kalpas or aeons, unenjoyed results of past deeds are never lost'. In texts dealing with Jnana or Knowledge, on the other hand, we hear: "The fire of Knowledge burns to ashes all past deeds along with their results' (Gita IV-7). Which of the two contradicting texts, has to be followed?

CLARIFICATION:-In scriptures there are two kinds of passages, viz., (i) Prabala Vachana or the stronger passage and (ii) Durbala Vachana or the weaker passage. The former is what is called in logic the 'Siddhanta Vachana' or the demonstrated conclusion, while the latter goes by the name 'Purya Paksha Vachana or the prima facie view, to be sublated at a later stage. The more authoritative or stronger passages nullify, as it were, the less authoritative or weaker ones. For instance, the passage 'Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah'-'Non-injury is a supreme virtue', though more authoritative than many other passages is covered over by a still more authoritative passage Yage Pasuvadhah Kartavyah-In a sacrifice animals ought to be sacrificed'. Similarly the statement 'Karmaphalam Avasyam Anubhoktavyam'-'Fruits of actions should necessarily be enjoyed etc.' loses its emphasis before the more authoritative passage 'Tapasa Kilbisham Hanti'-'By austerities sins are destroved (Manu Smriti XII-104). Therefore, the store of good and bad actions of past births called Sanchita Karmas, however big it may be, is wiped out by Self-knowledge or Atma-Jnana.

To summarise, without Karma there is no rebirth; without rebirth there are no miseries; without miseries there arises unalloyed bliss. This is the established conclusion of Vedanta.




It was stated in the preceding chapter that the miseries of the Jiva are merely the result of its association with body and the body is caused by Karma.

DOUBT: How many kinds of Karmas are there?

CLARIFICATION:-Karmas are of three kinds, viz., (i) Punya or meritorious, (ii) Papa or sinful and (iii) Misra or mixed. The bodies of Devas or celestials, etc., are due to Punya Karmas; those of the animals, etc., are the result of Papa Karmas and those of human beings are due to Misra Karmas. Each of these three types of Karmas is again divided into three groups, viz., (i) Utkrishta or high, (ii) Madhyama or middling and (iii) Samanya or ordinary. Thus through these manifold varieties of Karmas have arisen multifarious modes of embodiment.

The bodies of Hiranyagarbha or the Lord of creation and other gods are the result of Utkrishta Punya Karmas or highly meritorious actions, those of Indra or the king of the celestials, etc., are of Madhyama Punya Karmas or middling type of meritorious actions and those of Yakshas or demi-gods, Rakshasas or demons, Pisachas or evil spirits, etc., are of Samanya Punya Karmas or ordinary type of meritorious actions. All bodies, which cause injury to others such as thorny or poisonous tree. tiger, snake, scorpion, owl, mosquito, leech, etc., are the result of Utkrishta Papa Karmas or highly sinful actions. The trees and plants that are useful to humanity for flowers, leaves and fruits, such as jack tree, mango tree, plantain tree, coconut tree, etc., and also animals like hog, buffalo, ass, camel, etc., are the result of the Madhyama Papa Karmas or middling type of sinful actions. Peepul tree, holy basil plant, bael tree etc., and cow, horse etc., are the result of the Samanya Papa Karmas or ordinary sinful actions. Utkrishta Misra Karmas or high type of mixed actions result in getting the body of a human being, who is established in desireless actions, endowed with the fourfold means of realisation, blessed with a spiritual preceptor and who attains the highest type of liberation, successively passing through the stages of Sravana, Manana, Atma-Jnana and Jivanmukti. Madhyama Misra Karmas or middling type of mixed actions lead one to get a body of a human being, who performs duties pertaining to the different orders of life with expectation to get the desirable fruits of such actions. Samanya Misra Karmas or ordinary type of mixed actions result in births as a most despised sort of human being like Chandala or a man of cruel deed, Pulkasa or an outcaste, hunter, barbarian, etc.

Hence a man of discrimination should first enquire into the nature of the fruit that an action is likely to bear. He should then adopt only such types of activity that would lead to a superior type of human birth. Offering the results of his actions unto the Lord, he should strive for the attainment of release only, by securing Self-knowledge.

DOUBT: By whom are these three types of actions performed?

CLARIFICATION:-These Karmas are performed by the three Karanas or instruments called Manas or mind, Vak or speech and Kaya or body.

DOUBT: We see from the experience of men in the world from such expression as 'I do', 'I do', that the Self which identifies itself with the body is denoted by the term 'I'.

Therefore agency should be attributed only to the Self. But how is it that agency is attributed to the three instruments?

CLARIFICATION:-The Atman or the Self is changeless, actionless, differenceless within itself. Therefore agency cannot be attributed to the Atman.loor

DOUBT:-Then how is it that the Atman appears to be the agent and no agent other than the Atman is found?

CLARIFICATION:-The agency which is found in the Atman arises only due to Adhyasa or erroneous attribution, but is not natural to It. If it is natural to It, all efforts made by men with the idea that 'the false notion of agency in me should be expunged through Vedantic study; otherwise the trammels of cycle of birth and death will never cease' will prove to be a waste.

DOUBT: Suppose agency is natural to the Atman; why can it not be made to perish through one's ardent efforts?

CLARIFICATION:-As that which is natural implies one's own reality, no one will endeavour to annihilate one's own essential nature; and if there is annihilation of the essential nature who will remain to enjoy the result of the self-effort? If we deny Jivanmukti or embodied emancipation devoid of agency, then all the established tradition of Vedanta, such as Guru and disciple, etc., will have to be knocked down. Moreover, there will arise a conflict with the Srutis, which say that 'the Atman is Nishkala or partless, Nishkriya or actionless, Santa or quiescent, Niravadya or faultless, Niranjana or stainless', (Sv. Up. VI-19), 'Sakshi or witness, Cheta or knower, Kevala or absolute and Nirguna or devoid of attributes'-(Sv. Up. VI-11). In deep sleep the Atman exists, but there is no agency found in it. If agency were natural to it like the heat in fire, it should be found in deep sleep state also. But such is not the case. Therefore agency is not natural to Atman.

DOUBT:- Why can we not say that in deep sleep the agency of the Atman is not seen manifest on account of the absence of the instruments, just as the agency in a carpenter, etc., is not seen manifest in him at the time of his bath, lunch etc., since he is not handling the tools on those occasions?

CLARIFICATION: It is not so, because in a quiescent state, even though the Self is wide awake and connected with the various instruments, agency is not manifest. This conclusively proves that there is no agency in the Atman, but it is only Adhyasa or superimposition.

DOUBT What is Adhyasa or superimposition?

CLARIFICATION:-It is the cognition of the attributes of a certain thing in some other thing, just as while moving in a river in a boat the trees on its bank appear to move. Here the motion of the boat is attributed to the trees and the stability of the trees is attributed to the boat. In the same way, all the actions of the three instruments, viz., mind, speech and body, are attributed to the Atman and the inaction of the Atman is superimposed upon the three instruments. This is only due to Ajnana or ignorance. Therefore, it should be understood that the attribution of agency to the Atman is merely the result of superimposition.

DOUBT: How agency is predicated of the instruments, which are insentient and inert? If agency were to really belong to the three inert instruments these should possess some other instruments to act through them. If so, what are those instruments?

CLARIFICATION:-It is possible for inert instruments to become agents and to act without the help of other instruments. For instance, the inert wind and flood uproot trees, etc., and carry them to far off places without the help of any other external instruments. So also, these organs may act as agents without the aid of other organs.

DOUBT: What are the actions performed by these three instruments?

CLARIFICATION:-The various modifications of the intellect, such as good thoughts, thoughts pertaining to abstract ideals, contemplation on the hereafter, etc., form part of the 'meritorious' deeds of the mind. Thoughts of sensual objects, harbouring ill-will to others, doubts regarding the validity of scriptures, disbelief in the existence of any distinctions as virtue and vice, etc., are the sinful variety of Karmas of the mind. Thoughts tending to the good of all, thoughts of virtuous actions practised by a man along with the thoughts of sensual objects, etc., are Karmas of a 'mixed' type of the mind. Study of the Vedas, scriptures, the Bhagavadgita, recitation of the thousand names of the Lord called Sahasranama Parayana, doing Japa of Mantras such as Panchakshari, etc., singing Kirtans of the Names of the Lord, words of advice and assistance to the needy, words of truth, sweet words combined with humility and willingness, to speak first in times of necessity even without any formal introduction, etc., are the 'meritorious' verbal actions. Scoffing at Vedas and Devatas or deities, untrue words, tale-bearing, harsh words, talking about silly matters, etc., are 'sinful' verbal actions. Insulting and scoffing at others, utterance of lies, indulgence in worldly talks, etc., at the time of Vedic study or worship of God, etc., are the 'mixed' type of verbal actions. Taking bath in holy rivers, etc., prostrations to the spiritual preceptor and deities, worship of God and perambulating His temple, meeting saintly people, renunciation, undertaking tours for the benefit of the world, etc., come under 'meritorious' physical actions. Torturing others, adultery, stealing, association with the wicked, etc., represent the 'sinful' type of physical actions. Torturing others for feeding Brahmins, forcible extraction of wealth from others for erecting a temple, maintenance of charitable water sheds accompanied by non-payment of wages to servants employed in it, etc., are termed as 'mixed' type of physical activity. These three types of activities are fit to be enquired into in full detail.

DOUBT:-What is the benefit of such enquiry and how to attain it?

CLARIFICATION:-The result of such enquiry is twofold, viz., Mukhya Phala or primary benefit and Avantara Phala or secondary benefit. As stated above, the three kinds of Karmas are performed by the three instruments alone. The Atman is unassociated with anything and without parts like the ether. It is Consciousness-Absolute. Hence it cannot be an agent for any action whatsoever as evidenced by the statement: 'That which attains Its own Self (in deep sleep), holds impressions (in dream), and enjoys objects (in waking), and which at the same time continues to remain in Its eternal state, undisturbed, is spoken of as the Self". This is the etymology of the word Atman or the Self. Therefore, on the understanding that 'not even a single act touches the Atman, which is of the nature of Chidakasa or Consciousness', one rests contented and peaceful in deep experience, having shaken off all doubts. This is the primary benefit. Even after the attainment of Brahma-Jnana or the knowledge of the Absolute, one should keep his three instruments fixed firmly on virtuous actions; should that not be feasible for him, he should at least be established in mixed actions; but on no account should he concentrate them on the sinful ones. Understanding this and remaining established in this way of life is the secondary benefit.

The above exposition may be illustrated thus: To the rearer of a plantain tree, its fruits are the primary result, while its leaves, flowers, etc., are secondary.

DOUBT: Is it not the case that a realised sage is untouched by Karmas, just as a lotus-leaf by water? Since it has been conclusively established that he is an Akarta or non-doer, but only a Sakshi or witness of actions and that he has nothing more to do, neither injunctions nor prohibitions can apply in his case. Where then is the justification for the rule that, like an ignorant man, he too should practise only virtuous deeds?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. There is no doubt that the realised sage has nothing more to perform, nor is he an agent for any action. Yet there are four types of realised souls, viz., (i) Brahmavit or the knower of Brahman or the Absolute, (ii) Brahmavidvara or a good knower of Brahman, (iii) Brahmavidvariyan or a better knower of Brahman and (iv) Brahmavidvarishtha or the best knower of Brahman. Of these four types Brahmavidvarishtha alone is a Videhamukta. He alone is devoid of mental Vrittis or modifications in toto. Only in his case there are neither injunctions nor prohibitions. In the other three cases, being embodiments of true knowledge even though they are also not bound by injunctions and prohibitions, yet they are expected to abide by codes of right conduct. Since they are not devoid of mental modifications, since they have to move and lead an active life in the world and also since they are engaged in the uplift of the worldly people they should act in a suitable and exemplary manner. Hence a realised sage should live amidst the worldly people like one of them, i.e., interested in performing virtuous deeds, etc., placing his life as an ideal before them. However, among spiritual seekers, he should, renouncing all acts, proclaim the supremacy of knowledge alone thus: 'Brahmaiva Satyam Anyat Sarvam Asatyam'-"The Absolute alone is real and all else is unreal'.

Coming to the point under issue, we find from the foregoing details that agency should be attributed to the three instruments, viz., the mind, speech and body only and not to the Atman.

DOUBT:-Do the three instruments act of their own accord, or are they made to act through some other outside force?

CLARIFICATION:-On enquiry, we find that they are acting only through the influence of love and hatred but not of their own accord. This can be seen to be a matter of experience also by the application of the process called Anvaya or concordance and Vyatireka or discordance. Where there is a play of emotion like love, hate, etc., the three instruments function; if there is no such emotion of love, hate, etc., the latter do not function.

DOUBT :-From the statements of men such as 'I am causing a temple to be built', 'I am causing a tank to be constructed', etc., why can it not be understood that the Atman is the impelling agent though not the direct doer?

CLARIFICATION:-No. The Atman being devoid of modification, can never become the impelling agent of actions.

DOUBT:-Then, how does this agency appear in the Atman?

CLARIFICATION:-It is due to delusion. Just as the red colour of 'Japakusuma' flower is reflected in a crystal, and owing to an error in perception the red colour seems to be located in the crystal, so also the actions caused by love, hatred, etc., are attributed to the Atman due to delusion. Moreover, if the act of causation in action be inherent in the Atman, none will endeavour to annihilate it. As that which is natural implies one's own reality, with the destruction of that which is natural there will ensue the destruction of the reality itself. Also, if the act of causation in action were to be a natural attribute of the Atman, the scriptural passage like 'It is unseen, not related to anything, incomprehensible, uninferable, unimaginable, indescribable, the essence of the one self-cognition common to all states of consciousness, the negation of all phenomena, the Peaceful, all-Bliss and the Non-dual. This is what is known as the fourth. This is the Atman and it has to be realised.'-(Mandukya Up. 7), which demonstrate the nature of associationlessness, actionlessness and absence of causation in action in the Atman, will stand contradicted. Moreover, if it were to be taken that such promptings to action have an origin, then liberation would naturally become a result of such promptings to action and it would also have a beginning and hence an end too. If it is so, causation in action should manifest itself in deep sleep also. But such is not the case. Therefore, the impelling force of the Atman is not natural to it, but extraneous, i.e., not essential but accidental.

DOUBT: It is not safe to predicate the absence of promptings to action of the Self merely on the ground that it is not seen in the deep sleep state. Take for instance, the case of a tutor. Is tutorship not present in him all the time, though not seen when students are absent? Similarly, such prompting nature may exist in deep sleep state, but is not seen only due to its being disconnected from the instruments. Is this conclusion not strengthened by the fact that, both in the dream and wakeful states, it is seen exactly, because of its connection with the instruments? On these grounds we can safely conclude that the impelling force to action is natural to the Self.

CLARIFICATION:-If this argument is taken to be correct, then such impelling force to action should be seen in states like indifference, quiescence, etc., which exist within the wakeful state, because the Self is connected with the instruments in these states. But such is not the case. Therefore, the inevitable conclusion is, that act of causation in action is merely extraneous and accidental to the Self and not its essential nature. To make this point still more clear, take for instance a red-hot iron-rod. The attributes of the iron-rod, such as length, thickness, etc., are perceived in the fire, and the attributes of fire, viz., heat, luminosity, etc., are seen in the iron-rod. This is so, because of mutual transference of attributes. Similar is the case of perception in the Self, of the act of causation in action, which really belongs to the emotion of love, hate, etc., and of promptings to action of the Self in love, hate, etc. This wrong perception or misconception is only due to Avidya or ignorance.

DOUBT:-Then, how can the inert love and hate be the cause for action? Is it not absurd to say that one pot causes another pot to act?

CLARIFICATION:-It is true that love and hate are inert. But we find inert substances display action in combination with others. For instance, take fire. It is inert by itself. But as soon as it comes into contact with the inert gunpowder which is but a compound of powdered charcoal and sulphur, it is able to discharge heavy shots from guns at such a velocity as to destroy the armies stationed at a great distance. To quote another illustration, a corpse, though inert, impels its relatives to perform its funeral rites. Similarly, likes, dislikes, etc., though inert, manifest themselves as the impelling agents.

DOUBT:-Then, what is the meaning of the passages of the scriptures such as, 'the Atman is the Lord of the senses and the inner Ruler in all beings"?

CLARIFICATION:-Just as the sun, by its mere presence, enables the performance of all kinds of actions, virtuous as well as sinful, by every one in this world, and at the same time it is never affected by them, so also is the Atman. The presence of a magnet, though makes the iron move, yet it is not itself affected by the movement of the iron. In the same way, the action of the various beings do not affect the Atman. Therefore, the Atman remains always taintless and modificationless.

In spite of the clear exposition of the preceptor of all the well-established conclusions about the nature of the Self, no firmness of conviction takes place in the disciple. It is on account of three kinds of Pratibandhakas or obstacles. They are (i) Samsayabhavana or doubt, (ii) Asambhavana or improbability and (iii) Viparitabhavana or perverted perception. Just as a single ceremony, viz., wearing of the sacred thread is presented in the Rigveda in different ways, in the same way different types of expositions regarding the non-dual Self are seen in the different sections of the scriptures.

'Whether the Self is one or many?' This sort of doubtful attitude is called Samsayabhavana. This doubt is cleared through repeated Sravana or hearing of the real meaning of the scriptures. But this clearing of doubt through Sravana that the subject of all the scriptures is the same, viz., the one, non-dual-Absolute, succeeds only in annihilating one aspect of doubt, viz., proof of knowledge, called Pramanagata Samsaya. But it may land a person in another kind of uncertainty. Though he is convinced through Sravana that 'All Vedantas point to the one non-dual Brahman', still he entertains another doubt as to the improbability of the non-dual state, inasmuch as, the Jiva, Isvara and Jagat do plainly appear to be separate. This is called Asambhavana. This difficulty is removed through Manana or cogitation upon the phenomena like dreams. Even after an effective Sravana and Manana the world continues to be perceived as an existing reality on account of causal ignorance. This is due to Viparitabhavana. This obstacle is eliminated through Nididhyasana or meditation, i.e., an uninterrupted flow of similar ideas relating to the Absolute.

DOUBT: Why one should take so much trouble to destroy these obstacles, when, through Knowledge, one can directly realise the eternal Truth?

CLARIFICATION:-It is true that Knowledge will help one to realise the Absolute, but Knowledge cannot operate successfully when it is fettered by obstacles. For example, fire has got the ability to consume all things. But when it is bound by Mani-Mantra or spells and incantations, etc., it cannot burn even a bit of straw. Similarly, though Knowledge has got the potency to destroy ignorance and its effects instantaneously, it cannot do so when it is obstructed from functioning by these three obstacles. Once these three obstacles are annihilated, Knowledge will certainly be able to burn ignorance and its effects instantaneously, as fire burns a blade of dry grass.

Another important point to remember, in this connection, is that the true import of a scriptural text worth studying should be determined by the help of Shad Lingas or six means of proof. For, it has been said that 'unity of theme in the opening and concluding passages called Upakrama-Upasamhara, repetition or Abhyasa, speciality or Apurvata, benefit or Phala, eulogy or Arthavada and logical demonstration or Upapatti are the six means of proof in the determination of the true import of a work.' According to this statement, these six means should be strictly adopted in the determination of the real import of the text.

The Shad Lingas are explained as follows:

1. Upakrama-Upasamhara: In the Chhandogya Upanishad the sixth chapter begins with the passage, 'Reality alone existed in the beginning, one only and non-dual' (VI-ii-1), and the exposition of the subject is concluded with a reference to the Akhanda Ekarasa or the one indivisible homogeneous essence by the assertion, "All this is of Its nature; that is the Truth' (VI-viii-7). The unity of purpose; observable here between the opening and the concluding passages help us in determining the main import of the text. Such is the utility of Upakrama-Upasamhara.

2. Abhyasa: In the same text the great utterance "That Thou Art' (VI-viii-7) has been repeated nine times. This repetition is the second means called Abhyasa.

3. Apurvata: The main subject-matter, viz., 'the indi- visible homogeneous essence' is beyond the scope of all ordinary means of proof like perception, etc. In other words, the --subject-matter cannot be known through any other means of knowledge in the usual manner. This speciality or uniqueness of its nature is called Apurvata.

4. Phala: In the same text the passage, 'He will have to live here only till he gets released; then he attains his own Self (VI-xiv-2), clearly states that the benefit derived from a knowledge of the indivisible homogeneous essence is the attainment of unqualified liberation-on-disembodiment called Videhamukti, after the working out of the Prarabdha. This is the Phala or benefit.

5. Arthavada: This is eulogy which is explained in detail below.

6. Upapatti: The Upanishadic passage, 'As all things made of clay are known by knowing a ball of clay' (Ch. Up. VI-i-4), illustrates the main subject matter in a logical way. This logical demonstration is called Upapatti.

Arthavada or eulogy mentioned above is of seven types. They are (i) Srishti or creation, (ii) Sthiti or preservation, destruction, (iv) Pravesa or entry, (iii) Pralaya or (v) Samyamana or control, (vi) Tat Tvam Padartha Parisodhana or determination of the meaning of the great utterance. 'That Thou Art and (vii) Phala or benefit.

The scriptural passages like 'Indeed from that Self ether arose' (Tait. Up. II-1), etc., eulogise the creatorship aspect of the Absolute. They also teach us that just as the effects of clay such as pot, etc., which have their origin, support and dissolution in clay, are non-different from one another when considered as clay, in the same way, ether, etc., which have their origin, stay and dissolution in the Absolute, are verily of the same nature as the Absolute since they have originated from It, stay in It, and get dissolved into It. Passages like these establish the non-dual nature of the Absolute as indicated by the Mahavakya 'That Thou Art'. These are the three Arthavadas, viz., Srishti, Sthiti and Pralaya. Again passages like 'Having pierced the crown of the head, He entered through this hole' (Ait. Up. I-iii-12), 'Having evolved the matter, Atman entered within' (Tait. Up. II-6), 'Entering into these Jivas let me create names and forms' (Chh. Up. VI-iii-2), etc., which proclaim the entry of the Absolute into the body in the form of the individual soul, establish the non-difference between the individual being and the Absolute, which is the real import of the Mahavakya, as in the analogy of Devadatta, an individual, entering his house from outside. (The person, who is inside the house now is the same who stood outside sometime back). Similarly the Self which presently resides within the individual body is the same Absolute, which entered into the body from outside. This is Pravesa.

Samyamana is now explained. The Upanishadic passages like 'He who resides in the earth, and is included in it, whom the earth knows not, but whose body is the earth, who controls the earth from within-He is thy Self, the Inner Ruler, the Immortal' (Br. Up. III-vii-3), etc., which have reference to the controllership aspect of the Absolute, establish the non-difference between the Controller-Self and the controlled non-Self, though the two seem to be totally different.

Tat Tvam Padartha Sodhana: Scriptural passages, which determine the meaning of the Mahavakya 'That Thou Art', establish the oneness between Isvara and Jiva, after negating the apparently contradictory attributes which are found in both of them, such as, 'Verily, this Self is of the nature of the essence of food' (Tait. Up. I-1), 'The redness is the colour of fire' (Chh. Up. VI-iv-1) etc.

Phala: By revealing the wonderful result derivable from a knowledge of such oneness, scriptural passages like 'The knower of the Absolute attains the Supreme' (Tait. Up. II-1), 'He became Immortal' (Ait. Up. III-4), etc., not only remind us of their desire to proclaim the oneness, but also to establish it.

Since the Maha Vakya "That Thou Art', along with its ancillary declarations called Avantara Vakyas, proclaim the Akhandaikarasa or the one homogeneous essence, which is indicated by the seven types of eulogistic passages of the scriptures, its meaning should be taught to the disciple as indicating the nature of the indivisible homogeneous essence. Thus, ascertainment of the purport of scriptures with the help of the Shad Lingas, as detailed above, is called Sravana or hearing of the scriptures.

Let us resume the thread of our main discussion. After making an enquiry into the nature of impellership, as detailed in this chapter one should arrive at this firm conclusion, viz., 'Being impelled by love, hate, etc., the three instruments perform the three types of activities. Just as a king assumes to himself the credit of the victory, when, as a matter of fact, it is the army, directed by the commander-in-chief, that has won the victory, the individual soul imagines in itself the impellership, which really resides in love, hate, etc. But it is beyond doubt that in the Self there is neither agency nor impellership'. A man of such a firm understanding alone is called a Jivanmukta.









Of the seven links in the 'Chain of Bondage', we have expatiated upon the first four, as one being the cause for the other. In this sixth chapter the different functions of Raga-Dvesha or love and hatred, Abhimana or identification with body etc., Aviveka or non-discrimination and Ajnana or ignorance will be described.

Mental modifications are sixteen in number. They are (1) Raga or love, (2) Dvesha or hatred, (3) Kama or desire, (4) Krodha or anger, (5) Lobha or miserliness, (6) Moha or infatuation, (7) Mada or pride, (8) Matsarya or jealousy, (9) Irshya or intolerance, (10) Asuya or envy, (11) Dambha or ostentation, (12) Darpa or arrogance, (13) Ahamkara or egoism, (14) Iccha or action of necessity, (15) Bhakti or devotion and (16) Sraddha or faith.

The mental-modification behind sexual pleasures is called Raga. The inclination of the mind to return evil for evil is Dvesha. The desire for acquisition of lands, house, etc., is Kama. Aversion to those who stand in the way of such acquisition is Krodha. Unwillingness to part with even a particle of one's personal earnings to the deserving people is Lobha. Defiance of injunctions and prohibitions or indifference in knowing what actions are to be done and what not to be done, on account of infatuation due to one's wealth is Moha. The thought of one that 'I have got plenty of wealth and therefore what is there that cannot be accomplished?' is called Mada. Intolerance in seeing the co-existence of another person equal to his status is Matsarya. The feeling that 'how this pain or suffering has come to me, leaving the opponent?' is Irshya. The thought that 'this happiness or pleasure is to be enjoyed by me alone; then how this is being enjoyed by others also?' is Asuya. Doing virtuous actions for the sake of mere name and fame is Dambha. The feeling that one has no equal is Darpa. Asserting one's priority in all circumstances and places is Ahamkara. The feeling of necessity to attend to unavoidable actions like eating, excreting, etc., is Iccha. Supreme regard and affection towards Guru, virtuous people and God is Bhakti. Belief in the efficacy of rituals, in the established conclusions of the Vedanta and in the teachings of the Guru is Sraddha. These are the sixteen modifications of the mind.

DOUBT: What is the use of, or the need for, discussing mental modifications in a work that is concerned with the nature of the Self?

CLARIFICATION:-Bondage and liberation, in the case of individual beings, are solely dependent on the mind and not on anything else.

DOUBT: How is it?

CLARIFICATION:-Purity is the essential nature of the mind. But it got into bondage because of its contact with impure things. The existence of the mind in its own essential pure nature is called liberation. The first fourteen out of the sixteen modifications of the mind stated above are impure. But the last two, viz., Bhakti and Sraddha are pure. The first thirteen beginning with Raga attach themselves to all the inividual souls again and again even without any effort on their part and cause them to lead a life of sin. For people of such tendencies there is only downfall and not uplift. The cessation of transmigratory existence will arise only in those persons who are activated by the two pure modifications of devotion and faith and who succeed in subduing the impure modifications of the mind. Man has therefore to analyse his mind constantly and thoroughly and establish it in the two good modifications, viz., Bhakti and Sraddha, after having abandoned Raga and other impure modifications, which always cause defilement. It is not necessary to point out that it is impossible to avoid acts that arise out of necessity, such as quenching of thirst, appeasing of hunger, answering calls of nature and such other similar acts. Even if you try to abandon these activities of necessity it would result in more pain. These Karmas are not the cause either for heaven or hell. Therefore acts like taking food, etc., are to be necessarily performed.

In the waking and dreaming states, inasmuch as Raga and other modifications exist, Karmas also exist. But in deep sleep, swoon, Samadhi and the state of habitual silence of Yogis, Raga, etc., do not exist and therefore Karmas also do not exist. Hence, it is certain from the processes of Anvaya and Vyatireka-co-existence and disjoined existence that Raga, Dvesha, etc., are the cause of Karmas.

DOUBT: From where these Raga, etc., have come?

CLARIFICATION:-They arise out of Abhimana.

DOUBT: Can this be proved through example?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. For instance, so long as a lady has got the Abhimana that she belongs to the fair sex, she is prompted by motives like love, etc., to do actions such as serving the husband, maintaining the household, preparing food, etc. In the same way, a man also is prompted to do activities like entering into married life, agriculture, trade, etc., so long as he has got the Abhimana of a male. Thus the various activities of all individual beings arise on account of their attachment or Abhimana to, and getting identified with, some  one or the other of the Varna Ashramas or various social and religious divisions of life, to which they belong, prompted thereto by Raga, etc. Therefore, the cause for all these is only Abhimana.

DOUBT: Then what is the benefit of this enquiry?

CLARIFICATION:-The benefit is this. A seeker should abandon all Abhimana of caste, orders of life, stage and different periods of life, such as childhood, youth, etc. He should understand that if one is freed from Abhimana he is freed from bondage also. He should know through Anvaya and Vyatireka that where there is Abhimana, there are Raga, Dvesha, etc., and where there is no Abhimana there are no Raga, Dvesha, etc.

DOUBT: How is it?

CLARIFICATION:-In the waking and dreaming states, as there is the Abhimana of caste and orders of life, etc., persons are prompted to action through Raga, etc. But in deep sleep and sirmilar other states, as there is no such Abhimana, there is no action done through Raga, etc.

DOUBT-If so, from where does this Abhimana arise?

CLARIFICATION:-It arises from Aviveka or non-discrimination of the Atman and Anatman.

DOUBT: How is it?

CLARIFICATION:-Though all individuals invariably have a separate existence apart from their respective physical bodies, there arises in them Abhimana on account of non-discrimination and they think 'I am a Brahmana', 'I am a Kshatriya', 'I am a Vaisya', 'I am a Sudra', 'I am a Brahmacharin', 'I am a householder', 'I am a Vanaprastha', 'I am a Sannyasin', 'I am a man', 'I am a woman', etc. This non-discrimination is the cause for Abhimana and there is no other cause for it.

DOUBT: Why can we not say that the body is the cause for Abhimana and not Aviveka?

CLARIFICATION:-If body is the cause for Abhirnana, it should be possible for a Kshatriya to possess the consciousness that 'I am a Brahmana', for a woman 'I am a man', for a celibate 'I am a householder', etc. But no such experience is seen or known anywhere. So, Abhimana never arises on the basis of the physical body.

DOUBT: Why can we not say that the Abhimana 'I am a Brahmana' arises on account of his tuft of hair and sacred thread which he wears, and in the ascetic the Abhimana 'I am a Sannyasin', by the virtue of his saffron cloth, staff and bowl he carries?

CLARIFICATION:-No; since the tuft of hair and sacred thread are found also in Kshatriyas and even in a potter. Likewise, saffron robes, etc., are seen on non-ascetics as well. But they do not thereby become conscious that 'I am a Brahmana', or 'I am a Sannyasin' respectively. Therefore, it is clear that Abhimana does not arise on account of external marks of distinctions.

DOUBT: Why cannot Abhimana of a Brahmana arise on account of special physiological features as in the case of male and female?

CLARIFICATION:-It cannot be, because there are no such special physiological differences between one person and another.

DOUBT: Why can we not say that Abhimana arises through the special features of the body which one inherits from his father and mother?

CLARIFICATION:-If this contention were to be correct, then their hair, nails, teeth, urine, excreta, etc., should also possess the name 'Brahmana,' etc. But this is not so. Therefore, it is impossible even for the creator Brahma to say that different types of Abhimana can arise through any other means, except Aviveka or non-discrimination.

Let us again sift thoroughly the cause of Abhimana of Brahmana, etc. On a scrutinising enquiry we find that just as in this world words such as 'festival', 'marriage', 'assembly', 'army', etc., have arisen on account of the collective aggregates they denote, so also the collective aggregates of the body, senses, etc., which are the products of the indescribable Maya, have in worldly parlance come to be denoted by such terms as 'Brahmana', 'Kshatriya', 'Vaisya', 'Sudra', 'female', 'male', 'eunuch', 'Gujarathi', 'Maharashtrian', 'Andhra', 'Canarese', 'Tamilian', 'Sastri', 'Dikshita', 'Pauranika', 'Avadhani', 'Gangasnayi', 'Saivite', 'Bhagavata', 'Sevak', 'Pradhanika', 'Raja', 'Mantri', 'Guru', 'Sishya', etc., etc. But the Atman is one, which has no name or form or activity in all the three periods of time. Thus non-discrimination of the reality of the Atman as stated above is Aviveka, through which arises in men the Abhimana of caste, orders of life, etc., in the Atman.

DOUBT: What is the cause for this Aviveka?

CLARIFICATION:-Anadi-Avidya or beginningless ignorance is the cause for Aviveka. It veils from oneself the essential nature of one's being as Consciousness-Absolute, and this veil can be removed only by the spiritual intuitive wisdom of the Self. It is through this ignorance alone that one says 'I do not know myself".

DOUBT-How can it be? Is there any one in this world, who does not know himself, except the deluded persons?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes, in this world all are deluded persons only, except the realised saints.

DOUBT: How can you say so?

CLARIFICATION:-Because, worldly people refer only to the body, which is an unreal object, when they say 'I am a Brahmana', 'I am a Kshatriya', 'I am a Vaisya', 'I am a Sudra', 'I am a Brahmacharin', 'I am a householder', etc., etc. None of them knows the Self which is different from the body. Therefore, everyone is in a deluded condition.

DOUBT-How can it be said that no one knows the Self, when there are many Pundits and theologians, who have the knowledge that the Self is really something other than the body?

CLARIFICATION:-The Pundits and theologians do not know anything about the transcendental Self. Their knowledge extends only up to the individual self, which is but a reflected consciousness, the doer and enjoyer, limited and moves in the different planes of the empirical existence. They think that this limited empirical self is the Real Self. They have no experience or idea of the transcendental Self, which is unlimited, motionless and non-doer.

DOUBT: What is the source or origin of this Ajnana? CLARIFICATION:-All the scriptures declare it to be beginningless. Hence it is impossible to solve this problem.

DOUBT: If Ajnana has no beginning, it must have no end also. In that case, there will be no liberation for the Jivas.

CLARIFICATION:-It is not so. Though Ajnana has no beginning, it has an end. In this world there are certain things which have no beginning but have an end; and conversely also there are things which have a beginning but have no end. For instance, Pragabhava or antecedent non-existence has no beginning but has an end. Pradhvamsabhava or non-existence after destruction has no end but has a beginning"

Also the beginning of diseases caused by wind, bile and phlegm is not known; but their end is seen when they are cured. Similarly, though the beginning of ignorance is not known, it has been established that it is destroyed by the dawn of direct knowledge derived from the Maha-Vakyas or the Great Utterances of the Vedas.

DOUBT:-What is the essential nature of this ignorance?

CLARIFICATION:-There is no better explanation than to say that it is neither real, nor unreal, nor both; neither with limbs, nor without limbs, nor both; neither separate from the Self, nor non-separate, nor both. Therefore it is indescribable or Anirvachaniya.

DOUBT:-How is it?

CLARIFICATION:-Since it is negated by knowledge, it cannot be real. At the same time, it is not totally non-existent like the horns of a hare, or the horns of a man, or like the lotus in the sky, since it is experienced by everyone as 'I am ignorant'. It cannot be unreal, since the two contradictory qualities cannot co-exist, just like light and darkness cannot simultaneously remain in the same place.

Gross ether is a fine substance. But still finer is the unquintuplicated Akasa Tanmatra. Finer still are the three Gunas. Even finer than them is ignorance. Because of its fineness even the gross ether has no parts. Therefore, Ajnana, being the primeval cause of even subtle things, can have no parts. But at the same time it manifests as this gross universe with innumerable parts. Therefore, we cannot say that it is partless. It cannot be both with parts and without parts, since there is mutual contradiction as already stated above.

To say that it is a distinct existent entity, separate from the Self, is not proper, for, it directly contradicts the scriptures, which proclaim the non-dual nature of the Self as Existence-Absolute and thereby imply that there is no existence other than the Self. Nor can it be looked upon as non-different from the Self, because such a stand would negate the existence of Atma-Sakti and hence contradict scriptural passages like 'Its transcendental potentiality is variously described' etc. Also, the presumption that ignorance is non-different from the Self would mean that 'inertness' pertains to the Self and 'consciousness' to Maya, or that Atman is ignorance, or that unreality, pain and inertia are the essential nature of the Self. All these are absurd, as we know the Atman to be Sat-Chit-Ananda. It follows, therefore, that Avidya or ignorance is not non-different from the Self. Then it can only be called Anirvachaniya or inexplicable.

Therefore, it should be clearly known that it is from this beginningless ignorance arise non-discrimination, self- identification, love and hatred, action, embodiment and painful mundane existence successively, each emanating from the preceding one in the order stated. In other words all these follow from the ignorance of the Self.

DOUBT When will this painful mundane existence cease?

CLARIFICATION:-With the annihilation of embodiment, there is annihilation of pains; with the cessation of Karma. there is the cessation of the body; with the annihilation of Raga and Dvesha, there is the annihilation of Karma. Cessation of Abhimana puts an end to Raga-Dvesha. With the destruction of Aviveka, destruction of Abhimana takes place. With the annihilation of Ajnana, there is the annihilation of Aviveka. And then Ajnana also perishes in one who, through the firm conviction in the spiritual wisdom derivable from the Mahavakyas of the Vedas such as 'Brahmaivahamasmi' or 'Brahman alone am I', 'Aham Brahmasmi' or 'I am Brahman', clearly cognises himself as Atman or Brahman. It should be understood that there is no other means to destroy this ignorance.

DOUBT: Why should not this ignorance, which is only trivial and unreal, be annihilated through the force of action, just as, even the most heinous sins like murdering a Brahmana perish in toto through appropriate expiatory rites?

CLARIFICATION:-It should be understood that action is not antagonistic to ignorance; on the contrary it feeds it. A new moon night can only intensify the darkness cast by a veil of clouds. Actions like beating with a stick, or cutting with a sword, or standing on topsy turvy pose, will not remove the darkness, but light alone can remove the darkness. Similarly, actions intensify ignorance and can never remove it. Just as the sun dispels the darkness of night, knowledge alone, and not actions, can dispel ignorance.

DOUBT: Actions are born of the three instruments, viz., mind, speech and body. Knowledge too, which is the result of a modification of the Antahkarana should therefore be an action. How, then, can Knowledge annihilate ignorance?

CLARIFICATION:-It is true that a mental modification is a mental action. But this modification merely serves as an Upadhi for the Knowledge to annihilate ignorance, just as the physical eye serves as an Upadhi in the perception of forms. The mental modification is not the annihilator of ignorance by itself, but it only assists Knowledge. Therefore Knowledge is the annihilator of Ajnana and it is eternal.

Knowledge is of two kinds, viz., Svarupa-Jnana or essential knowledge and Vritti-Jnana or derivative knowledge. It is this Svarupa-Jnana that illumines the ignorance in deep sleep and causes it to be known. The knowledge that illumines the objects in waking and dreaming states is Vritti-Jnana. This can be understood through the following illustration: The sun-rays directly illumine a wall. Over this light several patches of the same sunlight are thrown through several pieces of mirrors. In this condition both the lights are falling on the wall. In the same way there is Vritti-Jnana, comparable to the reflected lights of the mirrors, shining in waking and dreaming states and the Svarupa-Jnana, comparable to the original sunlight directly falling on the wall, shining in the deep sleep state.

DOUBT: If so, are we to infer that there is no Svarupa-Jnana in the waking and dreaming states?

CLARIFICATION:-No. Svarupa-Jnana always exists in all the three states. But Vritti-Jnana is not found in deep sleep state.
















Fig. 6. Svarupa-Jnana and Vritti-Jnana.

The everlasting rays of the Sun of Atman is iluminating everything including the ignorance in deep sleep. These rays are falling on the different mirrors of Antahkarana (A, B, C, D) as well as on the wall of the objective phnomena. This is called Svarupa-Jnana. Over and above the general light called Svarupa-Jnana falls the reflected light of the mirror of Antahkarana (A, B, C, D') and serves as an additional light and thus illumines the objects of perception during waking and dreaming states. This is called Vritti-Jnana.

The everlasting rays of the Sun of Atman is illuminating everything including the ignorance in deep sleep. These rays are falling on the different mirrors of Antahkarana (A, B, C, D) as well as on the wall of the objective phenomena. This is called Svarupa-Jnana. Over and above the general light called Svarupa-Jnana falls the reflected light of the mirror of Antahkarana (A', B', C', D') and serves as an additional light and thus illumines the objects of perception during waking and dreaming states. This is called Vritti-Jnana.

All Vrittis pertain to or proceed from the Antahkarana alone, while Jnana is the very nature of the Self Itself. This Svarupa-Jnana having entered the Vrittis annihilates Ajnana. Mere Vrittis of the mind cannot remove Ajnana, in the absence of essential Knowledge. Therefore, Ajnana pertaining to the Atman perishes only through the Svarupa-Jnana of the Atman into which the Atmakara-Vritti has entered, and not through the Buddhi-Vritti alone or through the performance of myriads of actions. Just as virtuous actions nullify vicious actions, so also, Vritti-Jnana destroys ignorance. Just as a ruby is called a 'luminous stone' by virtue of its luminosity, so also Vritti-Jnana, though belonging to the Antahkarana, is called 'Jnana' in a secondary sense on account of its being associated with the essential knowledge, which permeates it, and therefore, in this sense it is not action.

DOUBT: Since Svarupa-Jnana illumines Ajnana in deep sleep and both co-exist in that state, the two are not evidently contradictory like light and darkness. Then how does this Svarupa-Jnana annihilate Ajnana?

CLARIFICATION:-Though the Svarupa-Jnana and Ajnana are not antagonistic by themselves, there arises opposition between them when the former is coupled with Vritti-Jnana.

DOUBT:-As the Jnana that enters the Vritti-Jnana is Svarupa-Jnana itself, how can there be a conflict between that Jnana and Ajnana?

CLARIFICATION:-Just as the rays of the sun do not directly burn the dry grass, etc., yet when they pass through a lens they do burn them, in the same way, Svarupa-Jnana, though not by itself antagonistic to Ajnana, becomes its enemy when it functions through the Vrittis of the mind.

DOUBT:-If, through Vritti-Jnana, Ajnana and its effects then there remain are destroyed, Vritti-Jnana and Svarupa-Jnana, in which state the latter has entered into the former. Then, how, in the face of those two, can non-duality be predicated?

CLARIFICATION:-Just as the clearing nut, when dissolved in a pot of muddy water, precipitates the sediment at the bottom, makes the water clear and it itself disappears in the mud during the process, so also Vritti-Jnana dissolves itself after annihilating Ajnana and its effects. Vrittis being lost, the reflection of the Svarupa-Jnana merges into its source, viz., the Atman. Then there remains the non-dual Atman alone. Thus Ajnana is destroyed only through Jnana. Such a kind of real Jnana arises only through Atma-Vichara or enquiry of the Self and not through actions, or Yoga or worship. Jnana depends upon the Self. It is called Vastutantra. Therefore, it is impossible to produce it or to remove it or to change it; whereas worship and Yoga are within the reach of human endeavours. It is called Purushatantra. Therefore, they can be produced or prevented or modified. Through these Yoga and worship man can get only one-pointedness of mind and supernatural powers, but not Jnana. Worship and Yoga, being mental functions, are of the nature of actions and therefore are not Vastutantras. Jnana being Vastutantra, is not derivable through Karmas, but it is obtainable only through Vichara or enquiry. To cite an analogy, one can ascertain the quality of gold, precious stones, Saligrama (a kind of stone having spiritual magnetic influence found in the river Gandaki in Nepal), etc., through examination of their characteristics. But such knowledge can never be derived by anybody through holy baths or daily rites, or breath-control, etc. Similarly, knowledge of the Self can arise only from an enquiry into the nature of the Self and the non-Self and not through worship, etc. Therefore, an aspirant should relinquish all other activities and always devote himself to the Atma-Anatma-Vichara through Sravana or hearing of the scriptures, Manana or cogitation, etc.

Whoever pursues this line of enquiry alone, is released even while living, from all bonds of mundane existence and becomes a Jivanmukta and then a Videhamukta. Thus do all the Vedantas proclaim with one unanimous voice.

Having heard and clearly understood all these with faith and willingness, the aspirant shines as pure, unrelated Consciousness. He does not commit the mistake of taking upon himself the attribute of agency, etc., at any time.




















In this chapter discrimination between the Self and the non-Self, Self-knowledge which results from it and the transcendent state of the unqualified Absolute are described. It has just now been stated that Self-knowledge is born of discrimination between the Self and the non-Self. An explanation about the Self is given below.

The Atman or the Self is distinct from the three bodies, the witness of the three states, beyond the five sheaths and of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss-Absoluté. The three bodies are the non-Self. Their characteristics are unreality, inertness and pain. The three bodies have two aspects each, viz., collective and individual. Though these divisions have been expounded in the first chapter itself we again deal with them here for a better understanding.

A forest may be said to be Samashti or collective aspect and a tree Vyashti or individual aspect. Compound is collective and component is individual. On similar lines the three bodies have two aspects each. They are (i) the collective physical body, (ii) the collective subtle body and (iii) the collective causal body, (iv) the individual physical body, (v) the individual subtle body and (vi) the individual causal body. Thus they are six in all.

The Self is simultaneously limited by the Samashti and the Vyashti aspects as Isvara and Jiva respectively. But this is only an appearance and not a reality, because Self is one only. It is only through the vehicle of Maya that the Self manifests Itself as Isvara and through the vehicle of Avidya It appears as Jiva. But



Fig. 7. Vyashti and Samashti




it is not so in reality. As long as one looks upon them as real, there is no cessation of bondage. The scripture, which is verily a mother to all Jivas, teaches that 'Itself (Atman) becoming Maya and Avidya causes the appearances of both Isvara and Jiva'. Isvara has no identification with the collective causal body, because Ahamkara or the notion of 'T', which is the cause for Abhimana, is in a latent condition in the Mahasushupti or great deep sleep or deluge. This Isvara, who presides over the universal causal body, goes also by the name of Avyakrita or the Unmanifest and Antaryamin or the Inner Ruler. It is worshipped by a superior type of devout Jivas. For the benefit of those, who are not able to contemplate upon It, the scripture instructs meditation on It as limited by the Samashti Sukshma Sarira or the collective subtle body. In this aspect It is known as Hiranyagarbha or the one born of the golden embryo, Sutratman or one who synthesises all manifestation from within, like a thread running through a number of beads and holding them from within, and Maha Prana or the cosmic life-force.

DOUBT:-Does this Hiranyagarbha or the Collective Astral Being too develop no identification with the collective subtle body, as in the case of Isvara?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes, He too has no identification with the collective subtle body. Though egoism, which is the cause for Abhimana, is present in this state, yet He does not identify His being with the collective subtle body, since He has not yet entered into the collective physical body, which is the abode for Abhimana. After all, the collective subtle body is but a state of dream. Unless one functions in the waking state one cannot have impressions to carry into the dream state. Hence physical body is essential for developing Abhimana of any kind.

To those who cannot meditate even upon this subtle Upadhi of Isvara, the scriptures prescribe for their worship meditation on the same Isvara as limited by the collective physical body. In this state, Isvara is termed as Virat or Vairaja or one who appears in myriads of forms, or Vaisvanara or the one related to all men.

DOUBT: Is there any Abhimana in this Virat?

CLARIFICATION:-A little thought on the matter will show that in the collective physical body too, It has no Abhimana, because Its physical body is the sum total of all the physical bodies, and there is therefore no room for dwelling on individuality, i.e., to talk in terms of an external duality.

To persons who are not capable of meditating on the Universal Being at all in any of the three aspects mentioned above, contemplation on the Creator or Brahma, the Sustainer or Vishnu and the Destroyer or Rudra is recommended in the scriptures. These deities or personal gods are also aspects of the very same Universal Being, but are known as such when severally qualified by the three Gunas of Rajas, Sattva and Tamas respectively. It is in the second aspect, viz., Vishnu, It incarnates as Fish (Matsya), Tortoise (Kurma), etc., to punish the wicked and protect the virtuous.

DOUBT: Is there any Abhimana or not in these embodied gods?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. There is Abhimana. In a special sense, the Universal Being gets identified with these three aspects mentioned above; otherwise It cannot discharge Its duties as Creator, etc.

DOUBT: Then what is the difference between Isvara and the Jiva if both identify themselves with their respective bodies?

CLARIFICATION:- Certainly there is difference. The has a sense of 'I-ness' (Ahamta) and 'mine-ness' (Mamata) in the physical body at all times. But in the case of the Isvara, He assumes Abhimana only for the time being, and that too, out of His grace to protect all beings. He merely puts it on, just as an actor in a drama assumes for the time being a particular type of Abhimana that is appropriate to the role he plays. Thus, there is a wide gulf of difference between Isvara and Jiva.

In the case of those, who find it hard to contemplate even on these personal aspects of the Universal Being, worship of idols is advocated in the scriptures. Therefore, some people worship the Universal Being in idols. It should not be forgotten that it is the Universal Being as seated within the various idols in Its capacity as the Indweller that gives the devotees the fruits of their worship. It is only dull-witted people, who have not understood the omnipresent nature of the Universal Being, that quarrel among themselves, thinking and contending that within each personal aspect and in every idol a different Universal Being exists. But it should be understood that there is only one Universal Being, the Inner Ruler, within all beings.

DOUBT:-If there is only one Universal Being present alike in all places, why do religious texts approve and prescribe different methods of worship of different aspects of the Reality?

CLARIFICATION: It is to give salvation even to extrovert persons by converting them gradually into introverts and then teaching them that the Transcendent Self or Paramatman Itself is the Individual Self or Jivatman. The scriptures accept the long-existing beginningless difference only as a preliminary step to prescribe meditation to those persons in a way suitable to their level of understanding and not on the ground that they should conform to such a course for ever. Thus have been described the ways by which Paramatman manifests Himself as Isvara through the three vehicles, viz., the three collective bodies.

Now we shall describe how the one Paramatman attains the state of Jivatman through the three microcosmic individual bodies. Paramatman associated with the Vyashti Karana Sarira or individual causal body is known as Prajna or the individual consciousness, Paramarthika or the real-Self, Avidya- Avacchinna or Consciousness limited by ignorance. When the Paramatman is associated with the Vyashti Sukshma Sarira or individual subtle body, he is called Taijasa or luminous being, Svapna-Kalpita or the dream-Self, Pratibhasika or illusory Self. When he is associated with the Vyashti Sthula Sarira or individual physical body, he is known as Visva or manifested individual Self, Vyavaharika or empirical Self and Chidabhasa or reflected consciousness.

DOUBT: What is the necessity for these three bodies of the Jivas?

CLARIFICATION:-The Jiva is but a reflection of the Absolute in the Antahkarana. As the Antahkarana is contained only in the subtle body, the need for assuming a subtle body is clear. Again, without a physical body there is no possibility of manifesting agency or performance of actions and therefore also its need is evident. Further, since these two bodies cannot exist in the absence of their cause, viz., the causal body, the latter too may be seen to be essential. Thus, the need for having the three bodies stands clear.

DOUBT:-Is there Abhimana of the Jiva with the three bodies or not? If so how?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. There is Abhimana. If the Jiva has no Abhimana for the body in the performance of actions, no agency can arise in it. If no actions and agency are generated, then there can be no embodiment; and without a body there is no possibility of existence for the Jiva. Hence Jiva has Abhimana. Thus we find that the one Paramatman manifests itself as Jiva and Isvara through the vehicles of the Vyashti and Samashti Upadhis or limiting adjuncts.

DOUBT: Is there any illustration to explain this?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. An individual, say Devadatta by name, is both a father and a grandfather at the same time, because of his begetting children and grandchildren respectively. Similarly, the Paramatman assumes both universality or Isyaratva and individuality or Jivatva because of the Upadhis of Maya and Avidya respectively.

DOUBT:-The above example illustrates only the possibility of the Paramatman becoming indicatable by the two different names, viz., Isvara and Jiva, but does not seem to bring out the existing difference between the omniscience, etc., of Isvara and the limited knowledge, etc., of the Jiva. Therefore, is there any other illustration to prove that point also?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. Here are some illustrations. (i) The large expanse of water in a lake possesses the power of preserving the inhabitants of a whole village, whereas the same water, less in quantity, in a vessel possesses lesser power of quenching the thirst of a family. (ii) The light of a large torch is able to illumine a vast area, whereas the light from the small wick of a lamp is able to illuminate a house only. In the same way, the universal wisdom of Isvara arose through the vehicle of Maya, the grand cause, and the limited wisdom of the Jiva through the vehicle of Avidya, the little effect.

[N.B:-Inherent knowledge is the same in both the cases, as the inherent luminosity is the same in the analogy of the torch and the lamp. Just as the ability to shed more or less light depends upon the size of the Upadhis, viz., wick, etc., and not on the fire itself, omniscience and limited knowledge, etc., having nothing to do with the Paramatman, are the results of the Upadhis or limiting adjuncts.]

Therefore, the Vedanta Sastras affirm the essential indivisibility or Akhandatva between Isvara and Jiva through the three relations that exist between the two words 'Thou' and "That' contained in the Maha Vakya 'That Thou Art'.

DOUBT: What are the three relations?

CLARIFICATION:-The three relations are as follows:

(1) Samanadhikaranya-Sambandha or relationship of identity or equality of apposition between two words in a sentence, (2) Viseshana-Viseshya-Bhava-Sambandha or the relationship of the qualifier and the qualified between the meanings of the two words and (3) Lakshya-Lakshana- Bhava-Sambandha or the relationship of that which is aimed at and its characteristics, i.e., the connotative relationship between two words or their meanings and an identity implied by them both. These three relations can be illustrated thus:

Take for example the sentence 'Soyam Devadattah'- 'That is this Devadatta', by which we express a fact that a person named Devadatta whom we have seen before in a different place, in a different condition, is now before us. All the three relations are present in this sentence.

Samanadhikaranya-Sambandha is present between the two words 'that' and 'this' because, the same physical form or personality called 'Devadatta' is signified by both the words. Similar is the case with the two words 'That' and 'Thou' in the Mahavakya, since Consciousness is the substratum signified by both the words. Therefore, the two words are said to be in Samanadhikaranya-Sambandha or appositional relation.

Coming to the Viseshana-Viseshya-Bhava-Sambandha, we find from the same sentence, viz., "That is this Devadatta', that the person indicated by the word 'that' and the person indicated by the word 'this' are not absolutely the same as indicated by the words, though it is to the same person, who has reference to different associations with difterent periods of time and with different places. Therefore, the two words viz., 'this' and 'that' are taken to qualify each other in a way. Thus, there is the relationship of the qualifier and the qualified' here.

Likewise, in Thou Art That', though the words "That' and 'Thou are associated with omniscience, remoteness, etc., on the one hand and with limited knowledge, etc., on the other respectively, they have Viseshana-Viseshya-Bhava- Sambandha towards each other, inasmuch as they are equated by the word 'Art'.

The third relation, viz., Lakshya-Lakshana-Bhava- Sambandha also exists between the two words 'that' and 'this'. In this relation, all contradictory associations are abandoned, and the identity is restricted to the common part of the connotation of the two words. In the above instance, reference to the varying features of time and space that separate 'that' and 'this' is omitted, and only the bare physical identity of the person Devadatta is taken into account. Similarly, in the case of the two words 'That' and 'Thou', the contradictory associations are avoided and the non-contradictory, common, essential feature, viz., Consciousness alone is taken into account in arriving at the real significance of the equation, viz., the indivisible Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute. This third relation is what is referred to in Vedantic terminology as Jahadajahatlakshana or partial rejection and partial retention, or Bhagatyaga-Lakshana or abandonment of a part. It is explained thus:

It is commonly accepted that there are three different methods of understanding the meaning of a word, viz., (i) Mukhya-Vritti or direct exposition, (ii) Gauna-Vritti or attributive exposition and (iii) Lakshana-Vritti or indicative exposition. In the sentence "The king goes', the word 'king' gets its direct meaning, as there is nothing to restrict or modify the meaning of the word. But in the expressions 'The blue lotus', or "The bright student', the direct meanings of the words 'lotus' and 'student', by themselves covering a wider range of application, get limited by the words 'blue' and 'bright' respectively. Hence they are attributive or Gauna.



Fig. 8. Position of "That" (Tat).

1. Brahman, 2. Maya, 3. Reflected Consciousness of Brahman, i.e., Isvara, 4. Upadhi or limiting adjunct of Isvara, 5. Unassociated Pure Consciousness of Brahman.

The third method, viz., Lakshana-Vritti is of three kinds. (i) Jahallakshana or total abandonment, They are (ii) Ajahallakshana or not abandoned but amplified, and (ii) Jahadajahallakshana or Bhagatyaga-Lakshana or partly abandoned. The three statements, viz., (i) Gangayam Ghoshah or 'The village of the cowherds is on the Ganges', (ii) Sono Dhavati or 'The red is running' and (iii) Soyam Devadattah or "This is That Devadatta', respectively, illustrate these three kinds of Lakshana-Vrittis.

[N.B.:-There cannot be a village over a river. Redness is a quality which cannot run. Therefore in the first case we have to drop 'on' and substitute 'near' or 'on the banks of'. In the second, we keep the word 'red' as it is, but we have to amplify its meaning by introducing an amplifying word like 'horse'. In the third case we retain only the essential being, implied by the words 'That' and 'This', but drop the extraneous attributes of time, space, etc., that differentiate the two.]

If we consider only the direct meaning of the words contained in the declaration "That Thou Art', we shall never be the word 'Art'. Hence, able to grasp the equation indicated

their implied meaning is sought for and accepted.

DOUBT:-What are the Vachyartha or direct meaning and Lakshyartha or indicative meaning of the words 'That' and 'Thou' of the Mahavakya?

CLARIFICATION:-The direct meaning of the word "That' is Maya, its substratum, viz., the Consciousness Absolute and the reflection of the Consciousness in Maya. The direct meaning of "Thou' is Avidya, its substratum, viz., the Witness-Consciousness and the reflection of the Consciousness in Avidya. Brahma-Chaitanya or the Absolute-Consciousness



Fig. 9. Position of "Thou" (Tvam).

1. Brahman, 2. Avidya, 3. Reflected Consciousness of Brahman, i.e.. Chidabhasa, 4. Upadhi or limiting adjunct of Jiva, 5. Unassociated Pure Consciousness called Kutastha.



Fig. 10. Position of "Art" (Asi) in the Mahavakya 'Tat Tvam Asi' or

"That Thou Art'.

The Unassociated All-pervading Pure Consciousness is the common factor in "That" and "Thou", which is "Art."

alone is the indicative meaning of the word "That' and the Sakshi-Kutastha-Chaitanya or the Witness-Substratum- Consciousness alone is the indicative meaning of "Thou'. Therefore, in arriving at the real meaning of the words 'That' and 'Thou' of the Mahavakya, it has to be remembered that the Mahavakya teaches us the oneness between "That' and 'Thou', avoiding the contradictory portions in the direct meanings of the two words and basing itself on the oneness between Brahma-Chaitanya in Isvara and Kutastha-Chaitanya in Jiva.

Just as the analogies cited above, in the absence of sons and grandsons, Devadatta alone remains, shaking off the attributive epithets of 'father' and 'grandfather', and also just like when the limiting features of a lake and vessel are eliminated, water alone remains, and also just like when the big and small wicks are left out, light alone remains with its natural heat and redness, so also, on the abandonment of the limiting features of Maya and Avidya, the non-dual-Self alone remains. It is the Sat-Chit-Ananda-Atman.

'One should thus enquire into the real meaning of the Mahavakya and understand his real nature and feel 'I am the all-full, innermost Self' or 'Paripurna-Svabhava- Pratyagatman', 'I am the Absolute' or 'Aham Brahmasmi', 'The Absolute am I' or 'Brahmaivahamasmi'. 'That great soul, who experiences his being thus, is verily a liberated soul, a perfected soul, a true Brahmana or knower of the Absolute'-thus trumpet all Vedantas.




In the forthcoming four chapters beginning from this one, the Parmatman or the Supreme Self is explained in four different ways, viz., (1) Sariratraya-Vilakshana or separate from the three bodies, (2) Avasthatraya-Sakshi or witness of the three states, (3) Panchakosa-Vyatirikta or transcending the five sheaths and (4) Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupa or Existence- Consciousness-Bliss-Absolute. Of these four descriptions, Sariratraya-Vilakshanatva or separateness from the three bodies and Panchakosa-Vyatiriktatva or transcendence of the five sheaths are technically called Atadvyavritti-Lakshana or description by negation, i.e., negation of all that is Atat or not-That. Avasthatraya-Sakshitva or witnessing of the three states is called Tatastha-Lakshana or description by extraneous attributes. The Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupatva or the Existence- Consciousness-Bliss aspect is called Svarupa-Lakshana or description by essential nature. The three Lakshanas or characteristics are explained further.

Indirectly indicating the Self to be that, which remains after negating all the things that are seen, beginning from the ether upto the three bodies, through the process of negation called 'Neti-Neti' or 'not this, not this', is called Atadvyavritti- Lakshana or description by negation. The presentation of the Self Absolute as the substratum of the universe is Tatastha-Lakshana or description by extraneous attributes, and presentation of It as eternal, all-full, Existence- Consciousness- Bliss Absolute is Svarupa-Lakshana or description by essential nature.

In this eighth chapter Sariratraya-Vilakshana is described. In the absence of a full knowledge of the three bodies one cannot know That which is to be differentiated from them, and therefore a detailed description of the three bodies becomes essential. The three bodies are (1) Sthula or gross, (2) Sukshma or subtle and (3) Karana or causal.

The Sthula Sarira is the physical body that is seen by all and that is possessed of various limbs like hands, feet, etc., and looks like a stiff post. The Sukshma Sarira or the subtle body is made up of seventeen limbs. The Karana Sarira or the causal body is verily ignorance or Ajnana. These bodies are termed 'the withering one'. The word Sarira is derived from the root 'Sru', i.e., to wither away. For, in the absence of food the physical body withers away; nay, even if food be supplied it may wither on account of disease; and even in the absence of disease it will wither away on account of the sheer process of advancement of age. The subtle body too thrives for some time and perishes like a bud. It thrives on the unfoldment of mental modifications like love, hate, etc., and decays in their absence. The causal body also thrives on with the notion 'I am a Jiva' and withers away with the thought 'Aham Brahmasmi' or 'I am Brahman'.

This kind of thriving of the latter two bodies, viz., subtle and causal bodies, is seen in ignorant persons and their decay in enlightened persons. Thus old age overtakes all the three bodies in one way or the other. Hence too the aptness of the name Sarira or the withering one. The body is also termed Deha or 'that which is burnt'. The etymology is 'Dahyate Iti Dehah' derived from the root 'Dah', i.e., 'to burn'.

DOUBT: The physical body is often seen burnt by fire, but the burning of the subtle and causal bodies is never seen; then how can this term be applied to all the three bodies?

CLARIFICATION:-The applicability can be seen from the fact that they are all being more woefully scorched by the 'Tapatraya' or the three kinds of afflictions, viz., (1) the Adhyatma or subjective, (2) the Adhidaiva or heavenly and (3) the Adhibhuta or objective than the physical body by fire. Hence the term fits in with all the three bodies. The grossness of the gross body, like that of a post, etc., is due to its being the outcome of gross elements. The subtlety of the subtle body is, similarly, on account of its being the effect of subtle elements and the absence of substantiality such as we find in the case of the gross body.

The subtle body is known as Linga or Linga Deha. The etymology of the word is 'Linam Sabdadi Artham Gamayati' or that which remaining itself concealed reveals sense-objects like sound, etc.

The reason for the name 'Causal Body' is because of its being the cause for the other two bodies.

DOUBT: It was previously stated that the first two bodies are the effects of the five elements. Now it is being said in a contradictory way that they have come out of the causal body. How is this?

CLARIFICATION:-In the Adhyaropa Srishti or the superimposed creation the two bodies are said to be born of the five elements. But in the Yugapat Srishti or instantaneous creation the cause for all the universe (which includes the physical and subtle bodies) is stated to be Ajnana or ignorance. That is why it was said that ignorance or the causal body is the cause for the other two bodies.

DOUBT: What is Krama Srishti and what is Yugapat Srishti ?

CLARIFICATION:-In Krama Srishti, Mulaprakriti, Maya, Avidya, Avarana, Vikshepa, ether, air, fire, water and earth are the successive stages of creation in the order mentioned. This process of successive creation is known as Krama Srishti. By Yugapat Srishti is meant the instantaneous appearance of the whole universe as the outcome of the absence of the knowledge of the Self.

DOUBT:-There can be no doubt regarding the existence of the physical body, since it is actually perceived. But how can one understand that the subtle body exists, seeing that it is not so manifest?

CLARIFICATION:-It is true that the subtle body is not visible; but its existence and presence can be discerned by a study of the actions of its seventeen limbs.

DOUBT: Is it impossible for the physical body to do the functions of all those seventeen limbs?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. The physical body, doubtless, exists even in the states like deep sleep, swoon and death, but the functions of those limbs are not seen then. But in the states of wakefulness and dream their functioning is seen. Therefore, it has to be clearly inferred that besides the physical body, a subtle body with seventeen limbs exists.

DOUBT:-The subtle body can never function in the absence of a physical body. Then, why should we not hold that both of them function jointly and do actions like seeing, etc.?

CLARIFICATION:-A discriminative enquiry will make it evident that all actions like seeing, etc., are possible only to the subtle body and not to the physical body. Let us take an analogy. There is no doubt that fire is able to perform the acts of burning, cooking, etc., only when it has the support of the fuel. In the absence of fuel, fire does nothing. But, all the same, the acts of burning, cooking, etc., are attributed only to fire and not to the fuel or wood. In the same way, though it is only on the support of the physical body that the subtle body performs the various acts of seeing, etc., they are verily the functions of the subtle body alone and not of the physical body. It is termed as subtle body as it has to be thus inferred through the functions of seeing etc.

Its seventeen limbs are the five senses of knowledge, the five organs of action, the five Pranas, the mind and the intellect. These seventeen limbs make up the subtle body. The senses of knowledge are (i) Srotra or the sense of hearing, (ii) Tvak or the sense of touch, (iii) Chakshus or the sense of sight, (iv) Jihva or the sense of taste and (v) Ghrana or the sense of smell. Their objects are respectively (i) Sabda or sound, (ii) Sparsa or touch, (iii) Rupa or form, (iv) Rasa or taste and (v) Gandha or smell. Since they are the means of deriving knowledge they are termed Jnana-Indriyas or the senses of knowledge. It is because that they are born of Sattva-Guna, which can illumine and reveal objects clearly, that they have the capacity to be the means of knowledge.

The five organs of action are (i) Vak or the organ of speech, (ii) Pani or the organ of grasping, (iii) Pada or the organ of locomotion, (iv) Payu or the organ of excretion and (v) Upastha or the organ of procreation. They become instruments for performing the acts of speaking, grasping, moving, excreting and procreating respectively. They become the means of action on account of their being born of Rajo-Guna, which is characterised by impurity and motion.

The five vital forces are (i) Prana or respiratory, (ii) Apana or expiratory, (iii) Vyana or pervasive, (iv) Udana or ascensional and (v) Samana or equalising. These will be explained subsequently. In these five aspects the Prana does the functions of breathing etc., supports the body and gives strength to it. It is therefore termed the Prana or the vital force. It is endowed with these capacities, since it too is born of Rajas. The Antahkarana-Vritti or the modification of the inner instrument, when it is in an uncertain state, it is called Manas or mind, and in its aspect as a determining agency it is called Buddhi or intellect. Thus the seventeen limbs of the subtle body have been described.

Now, there are three means of knowing an object viz., (i) Uddesa, (ii) Lakshana and (iii) Pariksha. Uddesa means referring to an object by its name. Lakshana is indicating an object by its qualities. Pariksha means enquiry into the nature of the object. The seventeen limbs have already been 'specified'. This is Uddesa. Now their 'definition' or Lakshana and analysis' or Pariksha will follow.

'Definition' is the faultless description of the specific qualities of the defined. It should be free from the three faults of (i) Avyapti or inadequate pervasion, (ii) Ativyapti or unwarranted extension and (iii) Asambhava or impossibility. Avyapti arises when a definition is found to be inapplicable to some part of the defined; e.g. "That which is brown is a cow'. Brown colour can be attributed to any animal having that colour. Ativyapti is found in cases of the applicability or the definition to things other than the defined; for example 'An animal having four legs is a cow'. Asambhava is the total inapplicability of a definition to the defined; e.g., 'A cow is an animal with uncleft hoofs'. In the examples cited above a specific and faultless definition of a cow would be to indicate its physical shape as having dewlap, back, hump, etc. In the same way, the characteristics of the faculties of knowledge are being explained now in their regular order.

Srotra is defined as the one stationed in the ethereal space, in the cavity of the ear, which being impelled by its presiding deity called Dik or direction, understands different languages, scriptures, etc. The analysis' would run like this: If it is said that it is the ethereal space limited by the cavity of the ear that understands the different languages, etc., the definition is inapplicable to it, since in states like deep sleep, swoon, etc., in which the ethereal space exists, no hearing takes place. Hence, as the result of the 'examination' we conclude that it is something other than the physical ear that hears.

Tvak is present throughout the skin and being impelled by its presiding deity Vayu or wind-god, feels different things to be cold, hot, soft, hard, rough, etc. But it cannot be said that it is the skin alone that feels them thus, since, though present in states like deep sleep, swoon, etc., the skin is not sensitive at all.

Chakshus is stationed in the pupil of the eye and being directed by its presiding deity Surya or sun-god, it knows colours, solidity, subtlety, shortness, longness, etc. It cannot be said that it is only the pupil of the eye that knows the various colours etc., since, though it exists in states like deep sleep, swoon, etc., it is unable to give rise to such knowledge. The pupil of the eye is, therefore, definitely not the ultimate faculty of sight.

Jihva is situated in the tongue. Directed by its presiding deity, Varuna or the water-god, it knows the six states, viz., sweetness, astringency, salinity, acidity, pungency and bitterness. But it is evident that it is not the physical tongue that really knows these tastes, since, in spite of its presence in states like deep sleep, swoon, etc., it is unable to give rise to such knowledge. The physical tongue, therefore, does not constitute the faculty of taste.

Ghrana is located at the nose and directed by its presiding deity, the Asvini-Kumaras or the twins who are the physicians of the celestials, it knows pleasant and foul odour. But, palpably it is not the physical nose that knows the odour, since it is not able to do so in states like deep sleep, swoon, etc., in which also it is present. Therefore, it is not the real agent of smell.

Thus the essential nature of each of the five senses of knowledge has been both 'defined' and 'analysed'. Now the organs of action are explained in the same way.

Vak, directed by its presiding deity Agni or fire-god, functions from the palate, the upper and lower lips, teeth, throat, heart and navel and articulates different types of sounds such as palatals, labials, dentals, gutturals, etc., as stated before. It cannot be said that the various physical centres mentioned above can, by themselves, articulate or produce the different sounds, since they, though present in states like deep sleep, etc., are not seen to do so.

Pani is situated in the palm of the hand. Directed by its presiding deity Indra or the lord of the heavens, it does the work of grasping objects. The palm of the hand, it is clear, cannot be the organ of grasping, since, though it exists in states like deep sleep, etc., it is not seen to grasp any object in those states.

Pada is located in the sole of the feet and directed by its supporting deity Upendra or Lord Mahavishnu as the younger brother of Indra in His fifth incarnation as Vamana, it performs the act of locomotion. It cannot be said that it is really the sole of the feet that does the act of walking, etc., for, though present in states like deep sleep, etc., it is not seen to walk in those states.

Payu is situated in the anus, and directed by its supporting deity, Mrityu or the lord of death it discharges its function of excretion. But it should be understood that it is not actually the anus that performs the excretory act, since, though present in states like deep sleep, etc., it is not seen to function by itself.

Upastha is situated in the reproductive organ. Directed by its supporting deity Prajapati or the lord of creation, it does its work of discharging sperm, ovum and urine. The generative organ itself cannot be said to be the Upastha, because, though present in deep sleep, etc., it is not seen to perform its activities.

Thus a description of the five organs of action has been given. Now follows a description of the five Pranas or the vital forces.

Prana is directed by its supporting deity Visishta, and functions at the heart and does the act of breathing. Apana is directed by Visvasrishta and stationed in the anus and does the expiratory act. Vyana fills the entire body and is directed by its supporting deity Visvayoni. It gives strength to the various organs and limbs of the body. Udana is supported by the deity Aja and is seated in the throat-region. It causes the faculties of knowledge and the organs of action to become latent and active in the states of sleep and wakefulness respectively and at the time of death takes the individual soul along with the senses of knowledge and organs of action to the other planes of existence. Samana is directed by the supporting deity Jaya and functions from the navel. It helps digesting the four types of food, viz., those which are masticated, swallowed, sucked and licked, by the digestive fire and gives nourishment to the body. Such are the five aspects of the Prana.

A different set of five subsidiary vital forces called Upa-Pranas is also mentioned in other texts. They are (i) Naga, (ii) Kurma, (iii) Krikara, (iv) Devadatta and (v) Dhananjaya. They are however included in the five main aspects. Their functions are as follows: Naga helps vomiting; Kurma helps the opening and closing of the eyelids and also the parting and closing up of the lips, Krikara helps sneezing; Devadatta in yawning and Dhananjaya in swelling up of the body.

Now follows an explanation of the Antahkarana or the inner instrument. The fourfold Antahkarana is comprised of the Manas or mind, Buddhi or intellect, Ahamkara or ego and Chitta or subconscious mind. Manas is supported by Chandra or moon and stationed in the throat-region. It does the function of thinking and doubting. Buddhi is supported by Brahma, the




Fig. 11. What is Mind?

"That which separates you from God is mind. The wall that stands between you and God is mind. Mind is nothing but a collection of Samskaras, desires, feelings and ideas. It is nothing but a bundle of habits."

-Swami Sivananda

Creator, and located in the mouth (Mukha). It does the act of determining. Ahamkara is governed by Rudra, the Destroyer. It is seated in the heart and asserts and develops attachment. Chitta is ruled by Vishnu, the Preserver, who is the Kshetrajna or the knower of the field. Its place is in the navel and its duty is the act of memorising. In some texts the astral body is mentioned as comprised of sixteen principles. In that case the Antahkarana is considered as a single principle. Elsewhere seventeen principles are enumerated. In this case, the Antahkarana is taken into account as two principles, viz., Manas and Buddhi. A third view is that there are nineteen principles. In this case the Antahkarana is considered as made up of four different principles, viz., Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara. Thus is the ascertainment of the Linga-Sarira or astral body.

Now the causal body is explained. Ignorance alone is called the causal body, since it is the cause for both the physical and astral bodies. Its causal nature is accounted for by its being the first body of the Jiva and Isvara. Hence it becomes the cause for the two succeeding bodies.

DOUBT: Is there any proof to this effect?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes, the scriptures declare that Ajnana or ignorance is the cause. Reason infers the existence of a cause by its effects, and experience reveals it when one exclaims 'I am an ignorant man'. Thus from all the three approaches, viz., Sruti, Yukti and Anubhava, the causal nature of ignorance stands proved.

DOUBT: To teach us that the Self is distinct from the three bodies, the nature of the three bodies has been explained in the first instance. Can the Self be explained in a similar manner?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes, the Self is now explained. The Absolute is called Brahman or the Great, since It is present everywhere as an Indivisible Whole. According to the various Upanishads the same Absolute is the innermost Self. Therefore, let the Self be understood to be Sat-Chit-Ananda-Svarupa or Existence-Consciousness-Bliss-Absolute.

DOUBT: What is Existence, what is Consciousness and what is Bliss?

CLARIFICATION:-Existence is that which is devoid of negation. Self-luminosity is Consciousness. Self-experience alone is Bliss. Thus the Self is Existence-Consciousness- Bliss-Absolute. It cannot be negated, It is known by Itself and experienced by Itself. The Anatman or the non-Self is of the nature of Anrita or unreality, Jada or inertia and Duhkha or pain.

DOUBT: How to know the difference between the Atman and the Anatman?

CLARIFICATION:-Just as the physiological features of a man are not seen in a woman, and vice versa, in the same way, the characteristics of Sat are not present in Asat and vice versa. Just as the qualities of light are not present in darkness and those of darkness are not seen in light, so also the qualities of Chit are not seen in Jada and those of Jada are not seen in Chit. Just as the cooling nature of the moon-light is not present in the sun-light and the scorching nature of the sun-light is not present in the cool moon-light, in the same way Ananda-Lakshana or blissful nature is not present in Duhkha or pain and Duhkha-Lakshana or painful nature is not present in Ananda or bliss.

Amore detailed description of Sat-Chit-Ananda and Anrita-Jada-Duhkha is given below:

That one entity which persists in all the three periods of time, without getting negated by any means whatsoever, is said to be Sat or Existence-Absolute. An entity, though unreal (or really non-existent) in all the three periods of time, but appears to be real and gets negated, if and when examined properly, is called Asat. An analogy will make the point clear. A rope seen in dim light appears to the beholder as a snake or a garland, a stick, a water-mark, etc. Whether it is during the time of delusion, or before, or after, the rope alone exists. It is not negated in any way by any of the appearances, which the beholder's delusion has superimposed on it. Though these superimpositions have no real existence, they look like existing things as long as the delusion lasts. But the point to be noted carefully is that they all stand negated when examined carefully. In the illustration, the nature of the rope has nothing to do with the snake, etc., nor that of the snake, etc., with the rope. Therefore, it is clear that there is a fivefold difference between the rope and the appearance of snake, etc., viz., (i) Sabda or verbal, (ii) Artha or significative, (iii) Lakshana or definitive, (iv) Pratiti or perceptional and (v) Vyavahara or post-inferential. Likewise, as between Existence and unreality, the qualities of Sat are not seen in Asat which is comprised of the body, senses, etc., nor are those of the Asat seen in the Sat. Therefore, here too exist the above-mentioned five differences. An enquiry on these lines. will bring out clearly the difference between Sat and Asat.

Now, let us see the difference between Chit and Jada. Chit or Consciousness reveals Itself without having to depend upon any other agency like the sun, etc., to illumine It. Further, It serves to reveal the presence of the inert things superimposed upon It. Also, It reveals alike luminous objects like the sun, etc., and inert objects like a clay-doll, etc. An inert thing cannot reveal itself, nor is it capable of revealing other things. The sun reveals itself without the help of any external revealing agencies and at the same time is able to illumine other objects like pot, cloth, etc. Consciousness, like the sun, is self-luminous. But pot, cloth, etc., are inert and reveal neither themselves nor other objects. Therefore, it follows that the same fivefold differences of Sabda, etc., that exist between the sun and the non-luminous objects, exist between Chit and Jada.

DOUBT:-What is the benefit of such enquiry as this?

CLARIFICATION:-Through such enquiry we gain the understanding that the modifications seen in the revealed objects do not touch the revealer, viz., the Atman, in the three periods of time.

DOUBT:-How is it?

CLARIFICATION:-For instance, the sun illumines a pot. The pot may be in any condition. It may be broken, or unbroken, polluted or pure, a work of art or ugly. In other words, it may be a very desirable object or a useless one. But whatever be the condition of the pot, it does not affect the sun in any way. Likewise, the Self, which reveals the modifications of the body, senses, etc., is not affected by them in any way in the three periods of time. The said modifications arise only on account of any one of the following reasons, viz., names, forms, difference in caste, stage of life, activity, renunciation, injunctions, prohibitions, Shad Bhava-Vikaras or the six modifications (viz., existence, birth, growth, change, decay and death), Shad Urmis or the six evils (viz., grief, delusion, hunger, thirst, old age and death), the six sheaths (viz., skin, flesh, blood, fat, marrow and bones), blindness, dull eye-sight, intelligence, etc. It should be known that this spiritual wisdom would be easily acquired if persisted in. Thus, the difference between Chit and Jada is explained.

Now the difference between Bliss and pain is explained. Bliss is that happiness which is not dependent on any limiting adjunct, unsurpassed and eternal. Pain, on the other hand, is that which arouses an unpleasant feeling. It becomes a source of hatred also, if and when it happens to be an object of desire to others too. Pain is of three types. They are (i) Adhyatmika or subjective, (li) Adhibhautika or objective and (iii) Adhidaivika or heavenly. Adhyatmika pain arises in the body itself on account of the malfunctioning of the senses or due to disbalance between the three humours called phlegm, wind and bile.

Adhibhautika pain arises from the elements and created beings like snakes, tigers, etc. Adhidaivika pain is caused by the celestials and takes the shape of excessive rain, drought, lightning, thunder, etc. The nature of Bliss as well as that of pain can be explained as follows: Nectar is of the nature of happiness. It makes them happy, who taste it. Poison is destructive by nature and harms those who come into contact with it. The same fivefold differences, viz., verbal, etc., which exist between nectar and poison subsist between Bliss and pain. Pain is essentially of the nature of the three afflictions mentioned above and there is no Bliss seen in it. The Self is essentially of the nature of Bliss and not even a trace of pain can therefore be seen in It. Thus, it has been well established that the Self, implied by the notion 'I' is an ever-existing entity like the rope, a self-luminous entity like the sun and blissful entity like the nectar. It is also different from the aggregate of the body, senses, etc., which is unreal like the snake, inert like the pot and painful like the poison in the three analogies cited above.

One who learns all about the Self from the preceptor in the manner detailed above, is alone an unattached, perfected, liberated individual. This is the conclusion of all Vedanta.






















Of the four ways of indicating the self, viz., (i) Sariratraya-Vilakshana or separate from the three bodies, (ii) Avasthatraya-Sakshi or witness of the three states, (iii) Panchakosa-Vyatirikta or transcending the five sheaths and (iv) Sat-Chit-Ananda-Svarupa or Existence-Consciousness- Bliss-Absolute, only the first aspect was described in the eighth chapter. Now in this chapter Its witnessing nature of the three states is being explained.

The mind is of the nature of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, but Sattva-Guna is predominant in it. The Self is to be realised through Sattvic mind and not through Rajasic or Tamasic mind. Sattva-Guna is subtle, Rajas is mobile and Tamas gross. Therefore, just as a big beam cannot pass through a small hole, through which smoke alone can enter, and just as subtle shades cannot be distinguished in a flickering candle, in the same way, the Self which is subtler than the subtlest, cannot be reached either by the Tamasic or Rajasic mind. It can be realised only by a Sattvic mind. Therefore it should be understood properly through concentrated attention.

Now the nature of the three states is explained. The three states are (i) Jagrat or wakeful, (ii) Svapna or dream and (iii) Sushupti or deep sleep. Perception of external objects by the senses marks the waking state. The modifications of the mind into the forms of the enjoyer and of the objects enjoyed, with the help of the impressions gained in the wakeful state is known as


Fig. 12. The Universe of Perception.

"The world is like a town that appears in a mirror. Through the power of Maya it appears to be existing outside, just as the appearance of dream, even though its existence is inside the mind of the Jiva."

-Dakshinamurti Stotra of Bhagavan Sankaracharya.


the dreaming state. The state of ignorance which is cognised by the unqualified Witness alone and which follows the dissolution of the two worlds of wakeful and dreaming experiences into causal ignorance, is known as deep sleep state.

DOUBT: How does the Self become the witness of the three states?

CLARIFICATION:-First of all, the witnessing nature is inherent in the Self. This may be explained as follows: A man is said to be a witness of, say, another person, as and when he is able to perceive without recording any sympathetic modification in himself, the condition in which the other is placed and his activities. A renunciate, perceiving a visitor, his condition and actions, without himself being affected, is said to be a witness of the visitor. Similarly, though the Self perceives the various individual souls, their different states of existence and their activities in those states, yet It remains as it is without undergoing any modification.

Now the three states are explained through an illustration. The wakeful state is like a big city. The dream state is like the courtyard of a big palace and the deep sleep state is like the inner apartment. The Jiva who successively attaches himself to the three states may be compared to the king, who is the owner of the palace. He goes out into the city, comes across objects of likes and dislikes and experiences pain and pleasure. On returning to the palace, he again sees, though to a more limited extent, objects of likes and dislikes and experiences pleasure and pain, while seated in the courtyard. But on entering into the inner apartment he abandons all activities and enjoys pleasure silently in the company of his beloved. Similarly, in the wakeful state, the Jivatman as Visva or the empirical self, identified with the physical body, is associated with the activities of the three instruments, viz., body, speech and mind. As Taijasa or the illusory self, identifying itself with the subtle body, the same Jivatman is associated with the three mentally created instruments in the dream state and experiences pleasure and pain. Thereafter the Prajna or the real individual self, identifying itself with the causal body, enjoys bliss after withdrawing into itself the three instruments, viz., body, mind and speech. The Kutastha remains in all the three states as the innermost witnessing consciousness and unassociated like the ethereal space. This Witness-Consciousness-Self should be realised with the help of scriptures, reason and experience.

The scripture says that 'It is Witness, Consciousness, Unqualified and Attributeless'. The illustration of the big city cited above is the Yukti or reason to be applied. The proof for the existence of the three states through experiences is as follows: Daily we remember the three states which we have passed through the previous day. It is a psychical law that there can be no remembrance without a previous experience. Therefore, it is sure that we experience everyday the three states. Since the Jiva experiences alternatively the three states in the past and in the future, and the Atman remains as the unchanging Witness throughout, the eternality of the Atman is established through experience.

DOUBT: It is commonly seen in this world that everyone who is a witness of his states is also an experiencer of them. While it is so, how can the witness of the three states be quite different from the experiencer of them?

CLARIFICATION:-The experiencer of these states, viz.. the Chidabhasa, is only the consciousness that is reflected in the Antahkarana or the inner instrurnent. He is imaginary and unreal. He alone goes by the name Jiva.

In deep sleep the Jiva disappears owing to the absorption of the Antahkarana. Then how can he be a witness to that state? As it is the rule laid down in the scriptures that there is only one witness to all the three states, viz., the Atman, which reflects Itself in the Antahkarana, the Atman should alone be known as witness of the deep sleep state. But it is quite evident that the Atman is the witness of the waking and dreaming states also. As the Jiva is subject to changes, he cannot be termed a witness, whereas the term 'witness' is quite applicable to the Atman alone, which is immutable. That the Jiva is subject to changes is proved by his experience as 'I am happy', 'I am miserable', etc., by assuming himself the functions that are not legitimately his own, but which pertain to the Antahkarana.

DOUBT: As Jiva is subject to changes, who is that 'Witness-Self' as distinct from the Jiva? What are its characteristics? What is the proof of its existence? How can It be realised?

CLARIFICATION:-The Witness is the changeless substratum. It is the Atman, the Existence-Consciousness- Bliss-Absolute, all-pervading like the ether. It alone, having entered the Antahkarana in the form of Jiva becomes subject to mundane existence. To the existence of such a transcendent Self, all the Vedantic scriptures bear testimony. It is indeed the Consciousness which knows the various states of the Chidabhasa or the reflection of the original Consciousness in the Antahkarana, that experiences those states. It is now awake, now dreaming and is now lured by Ajnana into the dreamless sleeping state; now feels happy or miserable and then indifferent. That consciousness, which cognises these differences of the states of the Jiva as a witness, is alone the Atman. He alone should be known as the Witness of the three states.

DOUBT:-Then, how does the Atman know Itself to be changeless?

CLARIFICATION:-While a person cannot know the beauty of his face directly, he can see it with the help of a mirror. Similarly, the Atman knows Its changeless nature with the help of Its image in the Antahkarana. Just as neither the mirror nor the image contained in the mirror can know the real face, the Antahkarana and the reflection of the Atman, viz., Chidabhasa in the Antahkarana cannot know the Self.

DOUBT:-Then, who knows the Self?

CLARIFICATION:-It is not known by anyone; because the Atman Itself is the Seer and all else is the seen. It is not something like an outside object that can be known or seen by any other, except by Itself, being self-effulgent.

DOUBT: Can this be explained more clearly?

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. For example, a pot, which is seen by a person, cannot know the perceiver. But, that person is aware of his own existence in addition to the pot, because he is self-luminous. Just as in the case of the missing tenth person, the tenth person, who was supposed to be dead, knows himself to be the tenth person later on, but is not known by anyone of the remaining nine, even so, the Atman, which is supposed to be 'missing', i.e., 'not known', being of the form of experience itself, cannot be experienced by mind, intellect, etc. This conclusion should be well understood with the help of Pramanas or proofs.

DOUBT: What is Pramana or proof?

CLARIFICATION:-Pramana is the means of valid knowledge. It is of four kinds. They are (i) Pratyaksha or direct perception, (ii) Anumana or inference, (iii) Upamana or comparison and (iv) Sabda or verbal testimony. There are four more proofs. They are (i) Arthapatti or presumption or another kind of inference, (ii) Sambhava or possibility, (iii) Aitihya or tradition and (iv) Anupalabdhi or non-apprehension. But the latter four, on scrutiny, will be found to be really included in the former. Some Vedantins hold that the proofs are six in number, viz., (i) Pratyaksha. (ii) Anumana, (iii) Upamana, (iv) Sabda, (v) Arthapatti and (vi) Anupalabdhi.

[N.B.:-As regards the Pramanas there is great divergence among the different systems of philosophy. For instance, the Charvakas who are out and out materialists, believe only in Pratyaksha Pramana. The Buddhists and the Vaiseshikas, in Pratyaksha and Anumana; the Sankhya and Yoga schools, in Pratyaksha, Anumana and Sabda; the Naiyayikas add to these Upamana as well; the Prabhakara school of Mimamsakas include Arthapatti while the Vedantins along with the Bhatta school of Mimamsakas believe in six means of knowledge stated above. The Pauranikas add two more, viz., Sambhava or possibility and Aitihya or tradition.]

For our present purpose the first four viz., Pratyaksha, Anumana, Upamana and Sabda Pramanas will suffice and they are explained below.

(i) Pratyaksha Pramana or perceptional proof: 'Aksha' means 'sense-organ'. Proof derived through sense-organs is called Pratyaksha Pramana or perceptional proof; e.g., perception of a jar through the eyes.

(ii) Anumana-Pramana or inferential proof: The knowledge obtained indirectly through the existence of certain characteristics; e.g., inferring the existence of fire by seeing smoke.

(iii) Upamana-Pramana or proof through comparison: This is a knowledge of things derived from analogies; e.g., the mule is like a horse.

(iv) Sabda Pramana or proof through verbal testimony: The authoritative affirmation of a reliable person or the scriptures is called Sabda Pramana; e.g., 'Tat Tvam Asi' or 'That Thou Art'.

The Atman is outside the realm of the senses. Therefore, Pratyaksha Pramana cannot naturally be fruitful. Since It is partless, Anumana-Pramana too is not applicable. As It is non-dual Upamana-Pramana is also out of question. Therefore, in the case of the Self, only Sabda Pramana can constitute valid proof. By verbal testimony is meant an authoritative statement made by a responsible person. A responsible person is one who habitually speaks the truth. Therefore, the scriptural statements, being the words of the Supreme Lord, form valid verbal testimony or Sabda Pramana. Hence, the only proof regarding the existence of the Self is the scripture.

Just as in the analogy of a renunciate perceiving a visitor, his conditions and his various activities do not affect the perceiving renunciate, so also the individual ego, its different states and the merits and demerits of its activities in those states do not pollute the Self. Indeed that fortunate one is a Jivanmukta, who, through the help of the scriptures, understands the Self to be the pure, witnessing, unqualified consciousness, which is unaffected by the individual ego, etc., so say the scriptures. Hence, let one place confidence in the Vedantic scriptures as valid proof regarding the Self and on the lines laid by them, realise the Self, the Witness of the three states.










In this chapter the transcendence over the five sheaths of the Self is discussed. The five sheaths are (i) Annamaya Kosa or the physical sheath, (ii) Pranamaya Kosa or the vital sheath, (iii) Manomaya Kosa or the mental sheath, (iv) Vijnanamaya Kosa or the intellectual sheath and (v) Anandamaya Kosa or the bliss-sheath. Annamaya Kosa is the gross body. It is born of sperm and ovum, which are nothing but the modifications of food and it is susceptible to Shad-Bhava-Vikaras or six modificatjons viz., (i) existence, (ii) birth, (iii) growth, (iv) change, (v) decay and (vi) death. It is nourished by food. The Pranamaya Kosa is made up of a combination of the five Pranas and five Karma-Indriyas or organs of action. The Manomaya Kosa is the combination of the Manas or mind and the five Jnana-Indriyas or senses of knowledge. The Vijnanamaya Kosa is formed by the same five senses of knowledge but in conjunction with the Buddhi or intellect. The Anandamaya Kosa is nothing but Ajnana in association with Priya or anticipatory joy Moda or delight after acquisition and Pramoda or bliss during enjoyment. These three modifications are related to the three types of pleasure arising respectively from seeing an object of desire, by possessing it and by enjoying it.

Just as a scabbard, an ornamental box, a fruitskin, a shirt, etc., respectively cover a sword, an idol of Sivalinga, mango fruit, a man, etc., the five sheaths cover the Self. Hence they are termed Kosas or sheaths.

DOUBT:-While in the case of the sword, etc., they and their respective covers are entities existing separately, the same is not the case with the Kosas, since these have no such existence apart from the Self and are hence totally different in their nature from the various kinds of coverings mentioned above. Then how can the five sheaths have the power to screen the Atman?

CLARIFICATION:-The clouds are nothing but an effect of the modifications of the rays of the sun: yet they screen the sun. Smoke depends upon fire for its existence and yet it veils the fire. Similarly, though the five sheaths exist only because of the Self, they have the power to cover the Self, and are therefore appropriately called Kosas or sheaths.

We shall now see how the Self transcends the five sheaths. Though the words sword, etc., are commonly used in such a manner as to include the scabbard, etc., also, yet the sword, etc., are different from the scabbard, etc. Similarly, though the Self and the five sheaths are referred to jointly by the word Self by the worldly people, the Self does transcend the five sheaths.

DOUBT: Since the Self and the five sheaths are, in worldly discussions, dealt with as identical things, they should be spoken of at least as related things. Then how can it be called as non-related?

CLARIFICATION:-Relationship is of several kinds. In the Tarka-Siddhanta or the logic of the Naiyayikas there are two kinds of relationships. They are (i) Samavaya-Sambandha or inseparable inherence and (ii) Samyoga-Sambandha or relation by contact. The first of these two, viz., Samavaya-Sambandha exists between the whole and its parts, the qualified and its essential qualities, the agent and his activity, the genus and the species, a substance and its differentia, etc. This type of relation does not exist between the Self and the five sheaths, since they are not looked upon as a whole and its components. Nor can the other type of relation be asserted between them, like that which exists between the stick and the kettledrum because Atman is not a substance composed of the elements, whereas the sheaths are the modifications of the elements. Therefore their association becomes an impossibility. But it does not follow, because of the above considerations, that there exists no kind of relation between them. There is a different kind of relation called Adhyasa-Sambandha or superimposed relationship, just like that which exists between a rope and a snake, or a nacre and silver, a post and a ghost, or between the sky and the blue colour, existing between the Self and the five sheaths. This superimposed relationship is not one-sided but mutual. This will be clear when we see that the Self and the individual ego jointly become the object of a single consciousness implied in the notion 'T'. The Anyonya-Adhyasa between the Self and the Annamaya Kosa may be illustrated thus:

Expressions like 'I am a man', 'I am a Deva', 'I am a woman', 'I am born', 'I exist', 'I grow', 'I undergo change', 'I decay', 'I will die', 'I am a child', 'I am a boy', 'I am a youth', 'I am an old man', 'I am a Brahmana', 'I am a Kshatriya', 'I am a Vaisya', 'I am a Sudra', 'I am a Brahmachari', 'I am a householder', 'I am a Vanaprastha', 'I am a Sannyasi', 'I am an Andhra', 'I am a Tamilian', 'I am a Karnataka', 'I belong to Srivatsa Gotra', 'I belong to Kausika Gotra'; 'I am Rama', 'I am Krishna', 'I am Sankara', 'I am Mahadeva'; 'I am a Dikshita', 'I am a Sastri'; 'I am a warrior', 'I am an enjoyer', etc., etc., clearly reveal the superimposition of the modifications and attributes of the physical sheath on the Self.

Similarly the characteristics of the Satchidananda of Atman are attributed falsely to the Annamaya Kosa as we see from such expressions as 'My body exists', 'It shines', and 'It is dear to me'. This Asti or existence, Bhati or shining nature or consciousness and Priya or Bliss are the attributes of the Atman. Thus there exists a mutual superimposition between the Atman and the Annamaya Kosa.

Now let us pass on to the Pranamaya Kosa. Expressions such as 'I am hungry', 'I am thirsty', 'I am strong'. 'I am a man of vitality', 'I am a man of action', 'I am a speaker', 'I am a goer', 'I am a giver', 'I am an excretor', 'I am an enjoyer', 'I am dumb', 'I am lame', 'I am handless', 'I am impotent', etc., clearly prove the superimposition of the modifications of the vital sheath upon the Self. Similarly, thoughts like 'My Prana exists', 'It shines', 'It is dear to me' clearly reveal the superimposition of the nature of the Atman on the Pranamaya Kosa.

The mutual superimposition between the Self and the Manomaya Kosa is now explained. Statements such as 'I am a thinker', 'I am a doubter', 'I am a griever', 'I am deluded', 'I am passionate', 'I am a miser', 'I am a hearer', 'I am a feeler', 'I am a seer', 'I am a taster', 'I am a smeller', 'I am deaf', 'I am blind', etc., clearly prove the superimposition of the modifications of the Manomaya Kosa on the Self. Likewise, the nature of the Self is superimposed upon the mind, as is evident from the experiences like 'My mind exists, shines and it is dear to me'.

Coming to the Vijnanamaya Kosa, the various notions such as 'I am the doer', 'I am intelligent', 'I am clever', 'I have quick grasping power', 'I am a transmigrant', 'I am a lover', 'I am a hater', 'I am a learner', 'I am a scholar', 'I am dispassionate', 'I am a devotee', 'I am a worshipper', 'I am a man of wisdom', etc., indicate the superimposition of the modifications of the Vijnanamaya Kosa on the Self. In the same way, the nature of the Self is superimposed upon the intellect when man thinks 'My intellect exists, it shines, and it is dear to me'.

Lastly, in the case of the Anandamaya Kosa the mutual superimposition is explained. Assertions such as 'I am an enjoyer', 'I am happy', 'I am contented', 'I am pure', 'I am active', 'I am dull', 'I am inert', 'I am a fool', 'I am void', 'I am bad', 'I am illusioned', 'I have no discrimination', 'I am deluded', etc., clearly show the superimposition of modifications of the Anandamaya Kosa on the Self. Similarly exclamations like 'My ignorance exists, it is perceived, there is happiness in that state' reveal the transference of the nature of the Self to the Anandamaya Kosa.

Thus the Anyonya-Adhyasa or the mutual transference of the attributes and the modifications of the five sheaths to the Self and those of the Self to the five sheaths is clearly proved.

DOUBT: It has been said that the relation between the Self and the five sheaths is of Anyonya-Adhyasa. Why should it occur?

CLARIFICATION:-It arises on account of the absence of a correct understanding that 'this is the Atman, these are the five sheaths', i.e., a lack of discrimination between the two leads to this mutual superimposition.

DOUBT: How can the Self and the five sheaths be differentiated and known separately?

CLARIFICATION:-Just as in our daily life we develop a notion of mine-ness in objects like cow, children, friends, wife, house, wealth, goods, etc., so also in the case of the five sheaths we say: "This is my body', 'This is my Prana', 'This is my mind', 'This is my intellect', 'This is my ignorance'. Since the ideas 'this' and 'my' are objects for the intellect, the five sheaths in the form of the physical body, etc., cannot be the Atman. Like the cow, etc., these sheaths, etc., are also the 'non-Self' totally separate from the Self. Thus one should reason and conclude. The Sruti also says 'Asariram' or 'the Atman is bodiless', etc. As far as practical experience is concerned the position is clear.

Just as the various modifications of a cow, etc., such as growth and decay, do not belong to or affect their possessor, who is distinct from them, the modifications or the variations of the sheaths do not involve the Self, which simply witnesses them.

DOUBT:-The cow, etc., mentioned in the illustration above are easily cognised as separate, being external to the possessor. But in the other case the sheaths exist internally. Therefore, it is not easy to comprehend their objective and separate nature. Further, the five sheaths are not seen to exist as separate entities like a cow, etc., being as much one with the Self, as heat is one with the red-hot iron-ball. Thus the illustration and the illustrated do not appear to agree with each other. Then how can we convince ourselves that the five sheaths are separate from the self-luminous Atman?

CLARIFICATION:-The eye is but the external faculty of sight. The subtle faculty of sight is the intellect. Even those objects that are unable to be known by the external instruments can be known through internal instrument. To the external organs the note produced by the musical instrument Vina or lute is not discernible as separate from the strings of the instrument, heat is not separately seen from hot water, and the fragrance from flower. But a man of keen intellect will not experience any difficulty in discerning through the internal organ the separate existence of the two, viz., the strings of the Vina and the musical note, the water and its heat, the flower and its fragrance, etc. Again, the mere difficulty which people may have in separating milk from water does not prove that the two are not separate entities. A Hamsa (a mythological swan), for instance, can separate the milk from water. Similarly, it may be impossible for persons of gross intellect to know the five sheaths as separate from the Self, but it does not prove that the two are one. Persons endowed with a sharp and subtle intellect can easily distinguish them. They are, therefore, distinct from cach other.

Now let us turn our attention to the established conclusions of the knowers of Truth in regard to the five sheaths. As a matter of fact, it is only from the relative viewpoint of an ordinary worldly person who is accustomed to spatio-temporal consciousness, matters like the five sheaths, their nature, etc., have been so far discussed. But from the Paramarthika or the transcendental viewpoint there are no sheaths, etc., in the Atman. Just as the snake in the rope, the silver in the nacre, the ghost in the post, the blueness in the sky, etc., are nothing but mere appearances caused by delusion and not real, similarly the five sheaths, being but superimposed appearances upon the Self, are not real. It is a universally accepted fact that all superimposed things are unreal during all the three periods of time, just as the appearance of two moons when there is defect in the eye. Hence, it is concluded that the five sheaths, being superimpositions, are unreal.

DOUBT:-As and when the substratum is known the superimposed snake, etc., cease to appear. But even when the knowledge of the Atman dawns, the five sheaths do not cease to exist, but continue to appear. How, then, can one hold that these are mere superimpositions?

CLARIFICATION:-Reality is of threefold. They are (i) Vyavaharika Satta or empirical reality, (ii) Pratibhasika Satta apparent reality and (iii) Paramarthika Satta or Transcendental Reality. Creation is also twofold, viz., Jiva-Srishti or individual creation and Isvara-Srishti or cosmic creation. All superimpositions like silver in the nacre, etc., are verily Jiva-Srishti or individual creation. These superimposed objects belong to the Pratibhasika Satta or apparent reality. Ether, etc., which form the substratum for the individual creation belong to the Vyavaharika Satta or empirical reality, which comes under Isvara-Srishti or cosmic creation. The 'Absolute', which is the substratum even for all these cosmic creation, is the Transcendent Reality. This 'Absolute' alone is eternal. Empirical reality exists till the end of worldly activities. The apparent reality will survive as long as the appearance persists. Though these two realities, viz., Vyavaharika Satta and Pratibhasika Satta are similar to each other as superimpositions, they are not so in their nature of Sat or existence. If, like the apparent reality, empirical reality also were to cease simultaneously with the dawn of knowledge of the substratum, the existence of the liberated persons in this world would be impossible. This would result in a calamity in the world, since there would be no spiritual preceptors to teach and initiate the disciples into spiritual knowledge. The Guru-Sishya-Parampara or the long lineage of master and disciple would cease to exist due to the Vyavahara-Abhava or absence of practicality in the case of the realised men, who would not be in a position to impart knowledge, and the inability of the ignorant to instruct others.

The final conclusion to be drawn from all these is that just as a pot is verily a superimposition on clay only, but lasts as long as the exertion of the potter continues, in the same way the superimposition of the five sheaths on the Self, even after their having been realised as unreal, continues to exist till the exhaustion of Prarabdha, though appearing only like a burnt cloth. Further discussions would be unprofitable. Therefore, it is better to listen to the Siddhanta or established tenets. As and when the superimposed name and form of a pot are negated, clay alone, being real, exists as unchangeable entity. In the same way, as and when the superimpositions of the five sheaths on the Self are negated the Sat-Chit-Ananda Atman remains non-negated as the only Reality. The individual, who thus realises the Self, is verily a knower of the Self, a knower of the Absolute. He alone will enjoy Videhamukti or disembodied liberation. Thus the Upanishads ceaselessly proclaim.






The fourth characteristic of the Atman, VIZ., sat-Chit-Ananda or Existence-Knowledge-Bliss nature is explained in this chapter.

DOUBT: What is the Existence aspect of the Atman, what is Its Consciousness aspect and what is Its Bliss aspect?

CLARIFICATION:-Sat or existence is that which is of the nature of oneness not negated and unaffected by anything during the three periods of time. This aspect is inherent in the Atman.

DOUBT: What is the proof for this?

CLARIFICATION: Srutis or scriptures are the proof. They declare 'Before the creation of this universe Sat alone existed', 'Out of the Atman, Akasa arose', etc. Also, as a matter of Anubhava or experience, it is seen in the rich and the poor, in the ritualists, devotees and spiritual seekers. The rich man reflects: 'On account of my little charity that I might have done to deserving people in my previous birth, I am rich and prosperous in this birth. In this birth too if I do charity I shall be prosperous in my next birth'. The poor man thinks: 'I have not given anything by way of charity in my last birth and that is why now I am poor. If I give nothing in this birth also, I shall not be better in my next birth.' The ritualist argues: 'Due to the good Samskaras or mental impressions of the meritorious deeds performed by me in the last birth, virtue is being practised by me in this birth: and this will lead me to my being born in my next birth as a divine being in the heavens'. The devotee feels: 'I have probably worshipped the Lord in my previous birth, as a result of which I have devotion to the Lord in this birth; and this in turn, will procure me in my next birth, enjoyment in the heavenly regions like Vaikuntha etc.' An aspirant reasons thus: 'In my innumerable previous births I have practised virtuous deeds by surrendering their fruits to the Lord. Therefore, I have attained many advantages in this birth like Sadhana Chatushtaya, Guru, Sravana, etc., and Self-realisation. After this there is no more birth for me. I have done what I have to do'.

In all the above-mentioned cases there is one common factor, viz., the experience of the continuity of one's existence in all the three periods of time. Then perishability can pertain only to the body and not to the Self-on which it is superimposed. Therefore, the Self exists as one at all times and never gets eliminated, and thus Its nature as Sat or Existence-Absolute is established.

DOUBT: So much has been said for the proof of the existence aspect of the Self on the basis of Sruti or scripture, and Anubhava or experience. But what about Yukti or logical analysis?

CLARIFICATION:-A mere enquiry as to whether we exist or not is enough to bring the emphatic answer that all of us do exist and that there is no exception, since everyone feels that he is. Similarly, not much enquiry is needed to establish the fact that we are embodied, since the physical body is seen by all.

DOUBT: How does the embodiment arise?

CLARIFICATION:-It does not need much enquiry to show that it is on account of actions.

DOUBT Are actions performed by oneself or by somebody else?

CLARIFICATION:-It is evident that the actions must have been performed by oneself. Otherwise some other person will be attaining heaven on account of the meritorious actions of someone else. For example, on the merits of the sacrifice done by a Brahmin a non-sacrificer may reach the heavenly region. Similarly, on account of the Samadhi experience of sage Suka in the remote past, all of us would have become perfectly liberated Souls. All these clearly prove that one can be benefited only by one's own actions.

DOUBT:-Were the Karmas that have caused this present body performed in this birth or in the previous births?

CLARIFICATION:-There can be no doubt that the present body is the result of past Karmas only. Any conclusion to the contrary would indeed be an absurdity, since Karmas which precede the birth alone can produce the body.

DOUBT:-Did we exist in the previous birth in which these actions were performed?

CLARIFICATION:-Certainly we did exist, because a non-existent being could not have performed any Karma.

DOUBT:-Did we possess a body then?

CLARIFICATION: Obviously it must have been so; otherwise how could the Karmas have been performed?

DOUBT: Is the then body the result of actions performed in that birth or in the previous one?

CLARIFICATION:-There need not be any doubt about this matter, since the previous birth must be the cause. Thus pushing our enquiry into the nature of embodiment and its cause, viz., Karmas, we come to the conclusion that it is a never-ending chain without a beginning. The only possible conclusion is that the Self, which is the substratum for our body and action, must be without a beginning like the ether and existing by its own nature. Thus through a series of the reasoning processes, the existence of the Self in the past and in the present becomes established.


Fig. 13. Three varieties of Karma (another View-point).


I. Sanchita Karma (1 & 4): Like the stock of arrows and food-grain. II. Prarabdha Karma (2 & 5): Like the arrow which has already left the bow and a measure of food-grain taken out from the stock for the day.

III. Agami Karma (3 & 6): Like the arrow which is kept ready for shooting and the cultivation of new crops for the future.


Similarly, its existence in the future too can be established by reason. Since without engaging ourselves in Sravana or hearing of the scriptures, Manana or cogitation, etc., we had been actuated by desires to perform various deeds in our previous births, the present birth and body have arisen. Likewise, the actions that are being performed in this birth will doubtless result in a future birth and the acts in that birth will in their turn result in a subsequent birth. On thus pursuing our enquiry into the nature of actions and births, we find that there is a regular succession, without an end, of births and performance of Karmas alternatively; and that unless the acts are destroyed by knowledge the body will never cease to be. The Self to which these two belong exists throughout all the creation and destruction of the body, enjoying as it were, pain and pleasures, while in an embodied condition and transmigratory existence in various forms from a blade of grass to Brahma the creator, till the knowledge of the Absolute dawns. When once knowledge arises, ignorance, desires and actions perish and the Self enjoys Bliss in itself in that state of disembodied liberation. Then there is no possibility of destruction for the Self even in the remote future. It is thus conclusively proved by reasoning that the Self exists for ever.

Thus by Sruti, Yukti and Anubhava it is established that the Self exists without change and destruction in all the three periods of time, though several universes have been created and destroyed time without number. Therefore, creation, preservation and destruction pertain to the universe and not to the Self. To sum up, the Self is Sat or Existence-Absolute, since It remains non-eliminated as one entity at all times.

DOUBT: What is the proof for the nature of the Self as Chit or Consciousness-Absolute?

CLARIFICATION:-That entity which, in addition to revealing various inert objects superimposed on it, also reveals itself like the sun without the help of any outside agency, is said to be of the nature of Chit. This attribute of Chit is found in the Self. Even in pitch darkness the Self reveals itself. Besides this, the Self is able to understand without the help of any extraneous factor, the various modifications affecting the body, like childhood, youth, old age, etc., as well as the various activities pertaining to such modifications superimposed on It. Thus the nature of the Self as Consciousness-Absolute is proved.

DOUBT: We are not possessed of omniscience and we are possessed only of limited knowledge. Then how can all objects be revealed to us?

CLARIFICATION: The universe is of two types, viz., internal and external. Both of them are known by us, while we are never illumined by them. This will be made clear thus: The external universe is the support for the various modifications of form, quality and attributes, viz., the five name, unquintuplicated elements with their respective qualities of sound, touch, form, taste and smell, the five quintuplicated elements, the cosmos with the fourteen planes of existence contained in it and the four types of embodied beings. The whole of this external universe, we know through its different parts, but it is never able to reveal us. From this result of a subjective enquiry we are able to see our essential nature as the revealing agent of the external universe.

DOUBT: How do we become the illuminators of the internal universe?

CLARIFICATION:-The internal universe is comprised of the various organs, faculties, feelings, experiences, etc., from the physical sheath up to the state of liberation, viz., 'this is food sheath', 'this is vital sheath', 'this is mental sheath', 'this is intellectual sheath', 'this is bliss sheath', 'thus these are the five sheaths'; 'this is gross body', 'this is subtle body', 'this is causal body', 'these are the three bodies'; 'these are the 'Shadbhava Vikaras', 'these are the six coverings' 'these are the Shad-Urmis', 'this is deafness', 'this is dullness', 'this is activity', 'this is love', 'this is hatred', 'these are the three instruments', 'this is Antahkarana', 'this is waking', 'this is dream', 'this is deep sleep', 'these are the three states'; 'these are the five senses of knowledge', 'these are the five organs of action', 'these are the five Pranas', 'these are the subsidiary Pranas', 'this is mind', 'this is intellect', 'this is Chitta', 'this is ego', 'this is Sankalpa', 'this is decision', 'this is Avadhana', 'this is Abhimana', 'this is Visva', 'this is Taijasa', 'this is Prajna'; 'this is Pratibhasika', 'this is Vyavaharika', 'this is Paramarthika', 'this is Sattva', 'this is Rajas', 'this is Tamas', 'this is pleasure', 'this is pain', 'this is knowledge', 'this is ignorance', 'this is desirable', 'this is undesirable', 'this is indifference', 'this is Sadhana-Chatushtaya', 'this is Maitri, etc.,' 'this is Ashtanga Yoga', 'this is Sravana', 'this is Manana', 'this is Nididhyasana', 'this is Samadhi', 'this is Pramana', 'this is Prameya', 'this is Pramata', 'this is Tapatraya', 'this is Adhi', 'this is Vyadhi', 'this is health', 'this is Bhakti', 'this is dispassion', 'this is dull', 'this is intense', 'this is more intense', 'this is Saguna worship', 'this is Manonasa', 'this is Vasanakshaya', 'this is Videhamukti', 'this is Jivanmukti', etc. Having differentiated all these in the internal universe, which is the support of the changes in name, form and qualities, we know it, but it never knows us. Thus the foregoing two enquiries are enough to show the existence of Chit aspect in the Self.

DOUBT: It was stated earlier that the consciousness is not known by anyone. But the mind appears to cognise all things. Then why can it not see the Chit or Atman also?

CLARIFICATION:-The mind is subject to birth and death; it is of the form of Sankalpa; it is limited and composed of the five elements, like pot, etc.; it is subject to contamination by desire, etc., and it is of the nature of memory and forgetfulness. Therefore it is inert due to which it can never reveal itself. Besides, it is known by the consciousness. Then how can such a mind know the self-luminous Chidatman or Consciousness-Self? Verily there is no such possibility.

DOUBT:-Then how can the scriptural statement, viz., 'It should be seen only by the mind' be reconciled with the foregoing conclusion?

CLARIFICATION:-This is not to be literally interpreted. The gold when purified in fire becomes lustrous. From where that lustre has come? Is it inherent in the gold itself or has it been produced by the fire? It is clear that it is due to the natural lustre of the gold, the fire being only instrumental in cleaning the gold of its dross. No new lustre is imparted to it but it shines in its real state. If this lustre is produced by fire, then the pots exposed to fire on a hearth would also produce lustre. But such is not the case. Similarly, the mind, assuming the nature of the Atman and commingling itself with the reflection of the Atman, annihilates the false and beginningless nescience which screens It. If nescience is dispelled, then one's Atman shines of itself with its true lustre. This is the meaning of the passage of the scripture quoted above. Therefore, it is the Atman that cognises the mind and not the mind that cognises the Atman.

It can be elucidated further as follows. In a dark room, the various component parts of the lamp like its can or oil or wick darkness of which is dispelled by the light of a lamp, neither the etc., can annihilate the darkness by itself, nor the fire which pervades all space is able to do so by itself unless they all join together. It is only when fire and the three other materials mentioned above join together, there arises what is called 'the light of the lamp', which removes darkness. Similarly, in this body-lamp, the fire called the Self rising to the top of the mind-wick, fed by the oil of actions and going by the name of the Jiva, annihilates the ignorance which is covering the various objects both outside and inside and thereby reveals them just as a lamp reveals a pot, etc.

To sum up our discussion, just as a lamp-light reveals itself as well as other objects, the Self too, having associated with the Antahkarana reveals all objects, both internal and external. That is to say, the nature of the Self is Chit or Consciousness- Absolute.

Now the nature of the Self as Bliss is considered. Eternal, unconditioned, unexcelled happiness is called Ananda. This alone is the essential nature of the Self. But the happiness derived from such objects as flowers, sandal paste, women, etc., which is transitory, conditioned and surpassable at all times, cannot be called the Bliss of the Self. Therefore, the Bliss mentioned above alone is the essential nature of the Atman. This is explained further. In the bliss of the deep sleep state all the three characteristics of happiness mentioned above are present and therefore that bliss can be understood to be one's Self.

DOUBT:-In deep sleep state there is only a cessation of pain and not the experience of bliss as stated above. Then how can it be said that there is a positive feeling of bliss?

CLARIFICATION:-Is it not a fact that a person waking up from deep sleep always experiences a feeling that he had been till then in a state of happiness? Therefore, it is clear that there is bliss in the experience of men in their deep sleep state.

DOUBT But, are these three qualities of Bliss, viz.,

CLARIFICATION:-Yes. Their existence can be proved thus: First of all let us take up its unconditioned nature. Flowers, sandal paste, women, etc., are the Upadhis or limiting adjuncts or media. The happiness enjoyed through them is called Aupadhika or limited or conditioned through a medium. None of these Upadhis of happiness is existing in the deep sleep state and yet bliss is enjoyed by all. Therefore, it should be known that there is Nirupadhika Ananda or unconditioned bliss in deep sleep state. Next let us take up the nature of unsurpassability. According to the Taittiriya Upanishad, there are eleven grades of Ananda from human happiness to the Hiranyagarbha Ananda and the happiness in each case is a hundred times superior to that of the lower grade.4:

All of them are obviously of a surpassable nature. But the Bliss of the Absolute, rather Bliss-Absolute, being above all these and without a limit, does not admit of any bliss of a higher type than Itself. In other words, It is unsurpassable. This being the bliss of deep sleep, the unsurpassable nature of that Bliss becomes established.

Further, all persons evidently feel: 'the happiness of deep sleep is alone happiness and happiness derivable from objects of enjoyments is not happiness'. That is why they go to sleep again and again, leaving aside the happiness derived from wife, children, etc., and taking great effort to procure a soft bed and other conveniences, and enjoy deep sleep. For the same reason only, when they are enjoying a blissful sleep, they do not want to be disturbed even by the most beautiful and alluring damsel. In that state they do not desire anything at all. Even after waking they remember that bliss alone and desire to go to sleep again to obtain the same. All these conclusively prove that the bliss of deep sleep is unsurpassed.

DOUBT: How is it eternal?

CLARIFICATION:-In the waking and dreaming states pleasure is derived from diverse objects and in different forms and is separately experienced in each case. This makes it inevitably and naturally limited and impermanent. But the bliss of deep sleep is full, and beyond all such limitations, and as it is not caused by objects, it is eternal. The bliss of deep sleep is continuous throughout, all-full and never newly created.

DOUBT: If the bliss is eternal, it should also be found in the waking and dreaming states. But why is it not so?

CLARIFICATION:-The Bliss does exist in the states of waking and dreaming also, but it is not experienced on account of the various mental modifications veiling it in those states.

DOUBT:-How can the effect, viz., the mental modifications veil the cause, viz., the Bliss?

CLARIFICATION:-Just as the sun is hidden by the clouds, and fire is screened by the smoke, a rope by a snake, so also the Bliss is covered by the mental modifications. When the sun and fire are obscured by clouds and smoke respectively they appear to be non-existent only to persons of weak intellect and children; but men of discrimination are not deluded. Similarly the bliss of deep sleep, which is verily Bliss-Absolute, appears to be veiled and non-manifest, only to the extrovert persons and not to the men of discrimination. To the latter, Bliss-Absolute is manifest in all the three periods of time on account of Its being the essential nature of one's Self. Thus, the eternal nature of the bliss of deep sleep is established. Since the three characteristics of Bliss-Absolute, viz., eternality, unlimitedness and unsurpassability are experienced by us also, Bliss is our essential nature.

Summing up, we have proved through the help of scriptures, reason and experience that the three characteristics, viz., Sat, Chit and Ananda are present in us. Therefore, the nature of the Self as Sat-Chit-Ananda stands established beyond doubt.

DOUBT: How does the experience that we are Sat-Chit-Ananda-Svarupa arise?

CLARIFICATION:-There are two types of knowledge, viz., Paroksha or indirect and Aparoksha or direct. Indirect knowledge that 'I am Satchidananda Brahman or Existence- Consciousness-Bliss-Absolute' arises from hearing of the true import of the Vedantic scriptures as indicated by the Shad-Lingas or six means of proof, from a preceptor, prolonged cogitation of what has been heard and the practice of meditation on what has been cogitated upon over a long time. When one transcends even the above indirect knowledge, one leaves off all types of lower consciousness pertaining to agency, action, caste, species, social and religious division, which manifest as 'I am the doer', 'this is my action', 'I belong to this caste', 'I belong to this Varna', 'I belong to this Asrama', etc. He should also transcend the experience 'I am Brahman', 'Brahman alone am I', and all efforts towards that experience including the agency towards it. He becomes quiescent as in deep sleep. Just as salt is dissolved in water, his mind gets merged in Brahman. Remaining without change, he gets unmodified knowledge, which rises by itself. This is called Aparoksha Anubhava or Direct Experience. When this Experience arises in a person, he verily becomes the Experience itself and of the nature of Bliss. He alone knows the glory of Bliss and none else. Even the Vedantic scriptures, which expound It know It not, much less are they able to describe It. A person who experiences It can only experience It, but cannot describe It to others, as is the case with the Bliss of deep sleep. It cannot even be conceived by the mind.

Therefore, your Self-experience can be experienced by yourself alone. Even the Supreme Lord, Who out of compassion comes in the form of the Guru to impart Knowledge cannot describe It. Hence, even after Knowing, Self-experience remains as if you have not Known It.







Fig. 14. State of (1) a Sage and (2) a Common Man.



The secret of the nature of the Self as the 'Indivisible Absolute' is explained by the Guru out of compassion to the disciple in this chapter.

Disciple:-O Master! Through the drift of the instructions conveyed by your noble Self in the preceding eleven chapters, the conception of 'I' and 'mine' in the body and the five sheaths, has vanished. I have also attained the knowledge that I am no other than Brahman, which is of the nature of Sat-Chit-Ananda and which illuminates our intelligence. All my doubts have been cleared. But there is still one more doubt lingering in my mind. It has been stated that the Self is of the nature of Sat, Chit and Ananda. These three words which denote three different characteristics seem to convey three different significations. While so, how can these three words be applied to the indivisible Absolute?

Guru:-O son! Know that an entity is said to be indivisible absolute or Akhanda when it is devoid of limitation by space, time and substance. All these three characteristics are necessary to be postulated of that Absolute Brahman.

Disciple:-What is the purpose or need for such a three-point-definition?

Guru:-If the Absolute is said to transcend the limitations of space alone, the definition being equally applicable to etherial space, which is also all-pervading, would clearly be too wide. In order to remove this defect called 'Ativyapti', transcendence in respect of time has also been specified as a necessary item. In that case the definition would not be applicable to ether inasmuch as it is conditioned by time, that is to say, it has an origin and an end. These two factors, again, are obviously not sufficient, since the definition is now applicable to time. For, time is not limited by space, nor by itself, as it is impossible that it can be circumscribed by itself. To cover this shortcoming in the definition, the third factor, viz., limitation by substance is also included. Since there are substances external to, and different from time, it is limited by them. Hence with the addition of the third factor, viz., substance, there arises no defect of Ativyapti whatsoever. Brahman alone is not subject to these three limitations, and therefore all these three characteristics are predicated of Brahman. Through these alone Atman should be known as the indivisible Absolute.

Disciple:-Had these three characteristics of the indivisible Absolute been there in the Self, they would have been experienced by everyone. But it is not so. We find everyone saying 'I am standing here and I am not standing there', which indicates the conditioning of the Self by space. Expressions like 'I was born in that year and I may die after ten years' indicate the conditioning of the Self by time, and expressions such as 'I am not a Brahmana', 'I am not a Kshatriya', etc. indicate that the Self is not free from the limitations by substance also. Therefore, how is it that it is said that the Self is not subject to these three limitations?

Guru:-In the XI chapter when I explained to you the characteristics of the Self and the non-Self, did I not tell you that 'the Self is all-full, non-Self is limited and all 'seen' objects are superimpositions? In spite of this explanation, you now put the same question about the characteristics of the Self. Therefore a doubt has arisen in my mind as to whether you are a 'bona fide' disciple or a mere wrangling disputant. If you are a disciple I will again explain it to you. If you are my opponent, then I have merely to observe silence through patience, or to curse you in anger. Of course, since my blessing in the form of initiation of my disciple has its effect on him, it follows without saying that a curse also will take its effect on my opponent. Know also that there is really no difference between a knower of Brahman and Isvara in their powers to bless or curse another in this world.

Disciple: O most holy Master! Please treat me as a disciple only worthy of your grace. I put the question to you only on account of doubt and not for the sake of Kutarka or malicious argument.

Guru:-Then I will again explain the matter to you. Listen. The three limitations by space, time and substance naturally apply only to the body and not to the Paripurna Pratyagatman or all-full Brahman.

Disciple: How to know that there is no limitation by space in the Self?

Guru: We refer to such statements as 'Pot exists"," , 'Cloth exists', 'Wall exists', 'Granary exists', 'Earth exists', "Water exists', 'Fire exists', 'Air exists', 'Ether exists', etc. In this way both the gross and subtle universes are experienced by us through their existence aspect. Hence, the Self as Existence is all-pervading without being subject to the limitation by space. A similar process of ratiocination will establish the fact that the Self is not limited by time, since it is eternal, without a beginning. As the Self is the same in the past and in the future it is not subject to the limitations of the present too. Proceeding to the nature of the Self as non-limited by substance, we may point out that, since It is the Self that is in all beings, since It itself is everything, It is not limited by substance.

DOUBT:-What is meant by substance?

CLARIFICATION:-Substance is that in which there are three kinds of differences, viz., (i) difference in the same kind called Sajatiya Bheda, (ii) difference in different kinds called Vijatiya Bheda and (iii) difference in the self-same object called Svagata Bheda. For example, the difference between two trees is Sajatiya Bheda; the difference between a tree and a stone is Vijatiya Bheda and the difference among the parts of a tree such as leaves, flowers, fruits, etc., is Svagata Bheda. As the Self has not got these three kinds of differences It is not limited by substance.

DOUBT:-It seems that the above-mentioned three kinds of differences do not appear to be absent in the Self, because the one Consciousness appears as Brahman or the Absolute Self, Isvara or the Universal Self, Kutastha or the Substratum Self, and Jiva or the Individual Self. Therefore, there seems to be Sajatiya Bheda. Owing to the existence of entirely dissimilar things, viz., the Atman or Brahman and the Anatman, i.e., the universe, there seems to be Vijatiya Bheda. Also, owing to the existence of three different attributes, viz., Sat, Chit and Ananda in Brahman there is Svagata Bheda. Therefore, while the differences exist in the Self, how can it be said that It has no such differences?

CLARIFICATION:-That these differences are only apparent will become clear when they are properly understood. For example, though the all-pervading, ether is really one, yet it assumes different names by virtue of its environments or limiting features, such as the universal space, the cloud-space, the pot-space, the water-reflected space, etc. Similarly, the one Consciousness due to the limiting adjuncts of Maya appears itself as Brahman and Isvara, and due to the limiting adjunct of Avidya it appears as Kutastha and Jiva. Therefore, on a close investigation we find that there is no Sajatiya Bheda in the Self.

Let us now explain the absence of Vijatiya Bheda in the Self. Without the existence of rope the superimposition of a snake cannot arise; without the sky there cannot arise the appearance of blueness in it. In the same way, without the existence of Atman there cannot be Anatman also. In short, without the substratum, all superimpositions are verily unreal. Unreality means non-existence of a thing in all the three periods of time, like the son of a barren woman, or the horns of a hare. The Anatman, thus being unreal from the transcendental viewpoint, difference on account of Vijatiya Bheda can never arise in the Self.

Lastly, as to the absence of Svagata Bheda in the Self the following may be noted. Since the Self is devoid of attributes and parts, positive descriptions like 'Atman', 'Sakshi' (witness), 'Kutastha' (substratum), 'Paramarthika' (transcendent Reality), 'Prajna' (Consciousness), 'Brahman' (Absolute), 'Sat' (Existence), 'Chit' (Consciousness), 'Ananda' (Bliss), 'Nitya' (Eternal), 'Ekah' (One), 'Paripurna' (All-full), etc., and negative descriptions like 'Asthula' (Not gross), 'Ananu' (Not subtle), 'Advaita' (Non-dual), 'Achintya' (Unimaginable), 'Avikari' (Changeless), 'Avinasi' (Imperishable), 'Akarta' (Non-doer), 'Akarayita' (Non- impeller), etc., are used only as a way of indicating the Self, which is one and devoid of attributes, and certainly not to denote any difference in the essential nature of the Self, because the Atman is partless and changeless. It may hence be concluded that the Self is devoid of Svagata Bheda also.

DOUBT:-The words 'Hasta', 'Kara' and 'Pani' indicate the same thing, viz., hand, and they are convertible terms. The three words 'Sat', 'Chit' and 'Ananda' are not like that, but distinctly signify three different things like the leaves, fruits, etc., which can be differentiated from the tree in which they have their origin. Therefore, it seems that the Self indicated by these three words, should necessarily be endowed with 'Svagata Bheda'. This may kindly be clarified.

CLARIFICATION:-No. In reality no internal difference is signified by these three words. This expression is similar to the statement 'The light is of red-hot-brilliance', in which the three words refer to the same light and do not indicate any internal difference in the light. Similarly, there is no Svagata Bheda in the Self.

DOUBT:-The absence of internal difference could be similarly asserted of the tree also in the expression 'the tree exists as leaves, flowers, fruits, etc.

CLARIFICATION:-But it will be noticed in this case that the three words are not used to mean the tree as a whole. In a specific part, the tree is of the form of leaves, in another specific region it is of the form of flowers and in yet another specific region it exists as fruits. That is why it is said that the tree has internal differences. But, in the case of the Self, all the three words, viz., Sat, Chit and Ananda, are used to indicate It as a whole, just as the three words, viz., redness, heat and brilliance all refer to one and the same light, without any implication of internal differences.

DOUBT:-Then why should the Srutis teach us again and again that the Atman is of the nature of Sat, Chit and Ananda? Can the Self be not cognised through one characteristic alone?

CLARIFICATION:-Please listen to the Tatparya or rationale of such statements in the Srutis. People in this world due to ignorance commit the blunder through conceiving this gross universe itself to be the 'Sat' or Reality; this inert intellect to be 'Chit' or Consciousness proper and the pleasures of wife, sons, etc., to be 'Ananda' or Bliss itself. Thus they regard the Sat-Chit-Ananda of Atman as no other than the unreal universe, the inert intellect and perishable pleasures of wife, son, etc., which are in reality impermanent, insentient and painful respectively. It is to remove this delusion that the mother-like Sruti imparts to the individual souls the knowledge of their essential nature as Satchidananda. The Sruti says 'O Jivas! In order to impress upon you that you are no other than Satchidananda I say that Atman is Sat and not 'Asat' or unreal, It is Chit and not Jada or insentient, and It is Ananda and not Duhkha or pain'. Thus the Srutis teach people in this manner to dispel the three misconceptions regarding the nature of the Self arising out of delusion and they never mean to imply any Svagata Bheda by such threefold descriptions. Also, the Srutis, through the statement that 'Atman is Satchidananda Rupa' indicate the oneness of the Atman. But, some disputants in this world hold that Existence is the essential nature of the Self, while Consciousness and Bliss are Its attributes and therefore the Atman is not Itself Satchidananda. In order to remove this misconception also the Srutis say that Atman is Satchidananda Rupa.

DOUBT:-O Master! How can we understand that this indivisible nature alone is the real import of the Sruti?

CLARIFICATION:-That the intention of all the Srutis is only in the indivisible nature of the Self can be understood through the Shad Lingas.

DOUBT: O Master! Now that the Akhandartha or indivisibility of Satchidananda has been proved through the authority of the Srutis, how to prove it through Yukti?

CLARIFICATION:-Sat should either be self-luminous or revealed by external agencies. If it is the former, then Sat only is Chit. If on the other hand, the second alternative were to be correct, the second entity must be either totally different from Sat or it must be a second Sat. If it is other than Sat, then it must be Asat or a non-existent entity like the horns of a hare. Therefore, that second entity which is Asat cannot have the power to illuminate the Sat. If the revealer of the Sat is to be taken as a second Sat we are confronted with the same question, whether that second Sat is self-revealed or revealed by external agencies. In the former event, Sat itself is Chit. The latter alternative results in similar doubts as before. Proceeding thus, the enquirer will land himself in such fallacies of logic as Atmasraya-Dosha or defect of self-dependence, Anyonya- Asraya-Dosha or defect of mutual dependence, Chakrapatti- Dosha or defect of circular argument, Anavastha-Dosha or defect of absence of finality, etc. Therefore Sat is self-revealing and hence it is Chit. Both are one only. It is nowhere stated in the scriptures that there is a second Sat. In other words, Sat is Chit and Chit is Sat.

Now, the self-luminous Sat as Bliss is being proved. Since Existence is non-dual and there is nothing other than It, It alone is Bliss. Bliss always exists in the All-full Infinity. In finite objects there is no "All-fullness." The All-full-Infinity is Non-dual-Existence alone and not the dual. Therefore the Infinite-All-full-Existence alone is Bliss.

DOUBT:-How is Sat non-dual?

CLARIFICATION:-If this question is raised, we ask a counter question: 'Can a second entity exist as a second existence within Existence? Can there be a second entity totally apart from Existence? Of these two alternatives, the first is not tenable since the existence of an entity as another existence within Existence has neither been heard from the scriptures nor established by reason, not to speak about experience. The second alternative is definitely an impossibility, since an entity that is totally different from Existence, like the horns of a hare, can have no real existence. Apart from these two alternatives, there is no other way of establishing the existence of second entity. This clinches the point that there can never be a second entity other than the non-dual Existence. It is therefore clear that Existence is non-dual and hence all-full. And because of the all-fullness, the self-luminous Existence is Bliss itself. Thus through reason also it has been established that the words Sat, Chit and Ananda are synonymous and that they conjointly signify the same indivisible entity.

Now this conclusion can be arrived at also through experience. Though this has been already discussed in the previous chapter, it is expounded again here for the sake of clarity and emphasis. All enjoy the same bliss in the deep sleep state. That bliss is not manifold like the one in the waking and dreaming states. It is one only, and non-contradicted. Therefore that Bliss is non-dual only. It is experienced in deep sleep without the aid of external revealing agencies like the sun, etc., and hence it is of the form of Chit. That self-luminosity of the bliss of deep sleep is proved by the remembrance after waking that he had till then slept blissfully and by the reasoning that such a remembrance can be but a consequence of the experience of self-revealed bliss. Further, there being in that state an absence of all means of enjoyment like the senses, etc., it should be understood that what made the experience possible could only have been the self-luminosity of Bliss.

DOUBT: In deep sleep, bliss as well as ignorance are experienced. Which of these two is the self-luminous light? CLARIFICATION:-Definitely bliss alone can be self-luminous, since the other, viz., ignorance, which is nothing but a veil, can never be so. After all in deep sleep state, the self-luminous Bliss of the Self illumines ignorance also, which is nothing but superimposition. Therefore, it is established by experience also that Bliss is Consciousness and that the three words Sat, Chit and Ananda indicate an indivisible Entity called the Self.

To sum up, it has been proved through Sruti, Yukti and Anubhava that the Self is devoid of Svagata Bheda or internal difference; that the Self, being free from the three types of differences, is devoid of limitations arising out of anything outside; and that the Self, which is free from limitations by space, time and substance, is all-full. By all these Its indivisible homogeneous essence stands established.


The Self is all Bliss. Pain is extraneous and caused. It arises on account of embodiment and that is due to Karma. Karma results from Raga and Dvesha, which are, in their turn, born of Abhimana. Abhimana is due to Aviveka, which is the result of Ajnana. That Ajnana or ignorance should be annihilated through Jnana or knowledge. Knowledge arises out of Vichara or enquiry. So, one should enquire into the Truth thus: "The Self is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss-Absolute. The universe is unreal, inert and painful and it is a superimposition." Such an enquiry in conjunction with the knowledge arising out of an analysis of the golden declaration 'That Thou Art' leads to a firm inner conviction, the indirect knowledge that 'I am Brahman'. By realising this through personal experience one derives Aparoksha Jnana or direct experience. One should be convinced of the fact that this personage is no other than a Paramahamsa ascetic, who should be revered far above Bahudaka, Kutichaka and Hamsa order of ascetics. According to Bhagavan Sankaracharya whether he be a Brahmana or an outcaste he is verily the Supreme Preceptor Himself.

So let one take to hearing, cogitation and meditation as already described and be established in the Supreme Non-dual Absolute which is Supreme Bliss, Eternal, Pure and Ever-free. What else is there to teach for the preceptor or to learn for the disciple? There is nothing more to teach or to learn.

Om Tat Sat








(Sri Swami Sivananda)

1. Q. What do you mean by the term Upadhi?

A. Upadhi is limiting adjunct or limiting condition.

2. Q. Illustrate.

A. Pot is an Upadhi that gives rise to the term Ghatakasa or pot-ether. It is this pot that has limited the universal ether. Similarly, the physical body, an effect of Avidya, is an Upadhi that has limited Brahman as Jiva, who is in reality or in essence identical with Brahman. Mind also, an effect of Avidya, is another Upadhi. When the pot is broken, the pot-ether becomes one with the universal ether. Even so, when the physical body is destroyed in a Jivanmukta, he attains the state of Videhamukti.

3. Q. What is Upahita Chaitanya?

A. It is Chaitanya or Intelligence that is associated with an Upadhi. Wherever there is an Upadhi, there is Upahita Chaitanya. Mind is an Upadhi. There is consciousness associated with the mind. That is the Upahita Chaitanya of the mind.

4. Q. What is Jiva's Upadhi?

A. Avidya or ignorance.

5. Q. What is Isvara's Upadhi?

A. Maya.

6. Q. What are the Dharmas of the mind?

A. Raga and Dvesha (attraction and repulsion, like and dislike, love and hatred), Sukha and Duhkha (pleasure and pain) are the Dharmas of the mind.

7. Q. What is the difference between Maya and Avidya?

A. Maya is Suddha Sattva (Pure Sattva). Avidya is Asuddha or Malina Sattva (impure Sattva). It is Sattva mixed with Rajas and Tamas.

8. Q. What is the Svarupa of Moksha?

A. Removal of all kinds of pain and attainment of Supreme Bliss-Sarva-Duhkha-Nivritti and Paramananda- Prapti is the Svarupa of Moksha.

9. Q. What is Sarva-Duhkha-Nivritti?

A. Removal of Avidya and its effects, viz., birth, death, etc.

10. Q. What is Paramananda-Prapti?

A. Attainment of Nitya, Nirupadhika, Niratisaya Ananda (eternal, limitless and infinite bliss).

11. Q. What is the Hetu (cause) for Moksha?

A. Dridha Aparoksha Brahma-Jnana (permanent, direct cognition of the Self)

12. Q. What is Dridha Aparoksha Brahma-Jnana?

A. It is Bhavana-Rahita Brahma-Jnana.

13. Q. What do you mean by Bhavana-Rahita?

A. It is freedom from the three kinds of Bhavanas, viz., Samsaya-Bhavana (doubt), Asambhavana (impossibility) and Viparita Bhavana (false thought).

14. Q. What is Adridha Aparoksha Brahma-Jnana?

A. It is Bhavana-Sahita Jnana (knowledge commingled with the three Bhavanas).

15. Q. How to get Dridha Aparoksha Brahma-Jnana?

A. Through constant Brahma-Vichara (reflection on Brahman).

16. Q. What are the four kinds of Kripa (grace)?

A. Isvara-Kripa, Guru-Kripa, Sastra-Kripa and Atma-Kripa.

17. Q. What is the Svarupa of Jiva?

A. Kutastha plus Avidya plus Abhasa Chaitanya (i.e. Chaitanya reflected in Avidya).

18. Q. What is the Svarupa of Isvara?

A. Brahman plus Maya plus the Chaitanya reflected in Maya.

19. Q. What is the Svarupa of Maya?

A. Maya is Sat-Asat-Vilakshana Anadi Bhavarupa Anirvachaniya. It is neither Sat like Brahman, nor Asat like the horns of a hare or a barren woman's son or lotus in the sky. It is beginningless. It is not negativity. It is thus indescribable. Maya is Anadi Santa, i.e., it is beginningless but terminable on the advent of Brahma-Jnana. Brahman is Anadi Ananta i.e. beginningless and endless.

20. Q. What is Virat?

A. He is the soul of the physical universe. He is the Samashti (collective) Sthula-Sarira-Abhimani. The Chaitanya that is reflected in the sum total of all physical bodies (cosmic) and all physical objects in the macrocosm is Virat. Vaisvanara is another name for Virat 21. Q. What is Hiranyagarbha?

A. He is the soul of the astral world. He is the Samashti (collective) Linga-Sarira-Abhimani. The Chaitanya that is reflected in all Linga-Sariras is Hiranyagarbha. He is the cosmic or universal soul. He is termed as the 'golden-egg'. Sutratman is His another name.

22. Q. What is Isvara?

A. He is the soul of the Karana Jagat. He is the Samashti (collective) Karana Sarira Abhimani. The Chaitanya that is associated with the sum total of all Karana Sariras is Isvara. His another name is Avyakrita.

23. Q. What is Vyashti?

A. It means single or individual (Pinda). A single house is Vyashti. A single tree is Vyashti. A single match stick is Vyashti.

24. Q. What is Samashti?

A. It means 'sum total', 'collective', 'cosmic', Brahmanda. A village is Samashti. A forest is Samashti. A match box is Samashti.

25. Q. Define Virat, Hiranyagarbha and Isvara in another way.

A. Virat includes the sum total of all physical bodies, objects, etc., plus the reflected intelligence or consciousness. Hiranyagarbha is the sum total of all astral bodies plus the reflected intelligence or consciousness. Isvara is the sum total of all Karana Sariras plus the reflected intelligence or consciousness.

26. Q. What is Visva?

A. He is the individual soul in the Jagrat state. He is the Jiva in the waking consciousness. He is Vyashti (individual). He is the Sthula-Sarira-Abhimani. He is the Vyavaharic Jiva (microcosm).

He is the Chaitanya associated with or reflected in the individual physical body in the Jagrat state. Visva is Jiva of waking consciousness.

27. Q. What is Taijasa?

A. He is Pratibhasika Jiva. He is Jiva of dreaming consciousness. He is Vyashti-Sukshma-Sarira-Abhimani. The Chaitanya that is reflected in Linga-Sarira is Taijasa.

28. Q. What is Prajna?

A. Prajna is Jiva in Sushupti state. He is the Karana-Sarira-Abhimani. The Chaitanya that is associated with the Karana-Sarira is Prajna.

29. Q. What is Kutastha?

A. He is the Adhishthana or support of Jiva. He is the silent witness of the modifications that arise in the mind and of the three states, viz., Jagrat, Svapna and Sushupti.

30. Q. What do you mean by the term Kutastha?

A. Kutastha means unchanging or firm as a rock.

31. Q. Why is it called Kutastha?

A. Just as the anvil in a blacksmith's shop remains unchanged but changes the iron-pieces into various shapes, so also Kutastha Brahman remains unchanged while the body and mind undergo considerable changes.

32. Q. Is Kutastha Brahman identical with Brahman?

A. Yes.

33. Q. What are the other names for Kutastha?

A. Pratyagatman, Kshetrajna, Antaryamin, Kutastha Chaitanya, Kutastha Brahman, Sakshi, Drashta, Upadrashta, Turiya, etc.

34. Q. How will you prove the existence of a Sakshi or Kutastha?

A. Just as you see a tree, somebody should witness the activities of the mind or intellect. A tumbler cannot see itself. A Jiva only can see a tumbler with the help of the Darsana Indriya. If you say that the tumbler can see itself, it is an absurdity. It will give room to a logical contradiction. Hence, it is Kutastha that witnesses the modifications that arise in the mind.

35. Q. What is meant by Adhyasa?

A. It means superimposition. The attributes of one thing are falsely attributed or transferred to another thing. One thing is mistaken for another.

36. Q. Illustrate.

A. Mother-of-pearl is mistaken for silver. Silver is superimposed on the mother-of-pearl. Body is Jada (non-intelligent). But it appears to be intelligent or conscious through Adhyasa. The attributes of the Atman are superimposed on Buddhi and body.

37. Q. What is Adhyaropa?

A. It means Adhyasa. Adhyaropa and Adhyasa are synonymous terms. World and body are Adhyaropa on Brahman.

38. Q. What is Apavada?

A. It means negation or elimination or rejection. You negate the whole world as mere Kalpana, being a false superimposition on Brahman, just as a snake is superimposed on the rope in the twilight. It means exception. It means refutation as of a wrong imputation or belief.

Example: Rajju-vivartasya sarpasya rajjumatrat- vat. Vastubhuta-Brahmani vivartasya prapanchadehe Vastu-bhutarupatsupadesha Apavadah'. Just as you take the rope alone as real after rejecting the superimposed snake, so also you will take the original thing itself (Brahman) after rejecting the superimposed world made of five elements and others on Brahman. This is Apavada.

39. Q. What are the five parts of an object?

A. Nama, Rupa, Asti, Bhati and Priya.

40. Q. What is Nama-Rupa?

A. Nama-Rupa means names and forms. They are the cause (Hetu) for Duhkha in Avivekins (persons with indiscrimination).

41. Q. What is Asti, Bhati, Priya?

A. It is Sat-Chit-Ananda. It is the cause (Hetu) for Duhkha-Nivritti and Sukha-Prapti for Vivekins (people of discrimination). Asti is Sat. Bhati is Chit. Priya is Ananda.

42. Q. Compare the sun's reflection in water and Brahman's reflection in Avidya of the Jivas.

A. The reflected image of the sun dilates when the surface of the water expands. It contracts when the water shrinks. It trembles when the water is agitated. It divides itself when the water is divided. It thus participates in all the attributes" and conditions of the water, while the real sun remains all the time the same. Similarly, Brahman, although in reality uniform and never-changing, participates, as it were, in the attributes and states of the body and the other limiting adjuncts within which It abides. It grows with them, as it were, decreases with them as it were, and so on.

43. Q. In what Upanishad you will find 'Tat Tvam Asi' Mahavakva?

A. In the Chhandogya Upanishad of Sama Veda.

44. Q. What is Mahavakya?

A. Mahavakya means a great saying or a great sentence.

45. Q. What kind of Vakya it (Tat Tvam Asi) is?

A. It is Upadesa Vakya uttered by the Guru to the disciple.

46. Q. What is Vachyartha?

A. It is literal meaning.

47. Q. What is Lakshyartha?

A. It is real or indicative meaning.

48. Q. What is the Vachyartha of 'Tat' Pada in "Tat Tvam Asi'?

A. Isvara.

49. Q. What is the Lakshyartha of 'Tat' Pada in 'Tat Tvam Asi'?

A. Brahman.

50. Q. What is the Vachyartha of 'Tvam' Pada?

A. Jiva.

51. Q. What is the Lakshyartha of 'Tvam' Pada?

A. Kutastha.

52. Q. Illustrate the identity of Jiva and Brahman in the 'Tat Tvam Asi' Mahavakya.

A. Take for instance the renowned example 'Soyam Devadattah' which is very often quoted. You saw in January 1928 Devadatta in Vrindavan walking in the bazar in an ordinary dress with a shirt and white dhotie. You see him again in uniform and hat in Varanasi rolling in a car in 1931. You have now recognised him as Devadatta. You have sublated the dress, time, place, etc. You have taken the identity of the person Devadatta alone leaving aside the minor items.

Similarly by eliminating the illusory Upadhi, viz., Avidya and its effects, the Abhasa Chaitanya that is reflected in Avidya and illusory Dharmas of Jiva in the case of the Jiva and the illusory Upadhi, viz., Maya and its effects, the reflection of Chaitanya in Maya and the qualities of Isvara, you can establish the identity by taking into consideration the Kevala Suddha Chaitanya alone which is the Adhishthana or background for both Isvara and Jiva. The Svarupa Lakshanas (Satchidananda Svarupa) of Isvara and Jiva are one. The difference is only in the Tatastha Lakshana which is illusory or superimposed.

53. Q. What is 'Padartha Sodhana'?

A. Just as you see the identity of Ghatakasa and Mahakasa by sublating the Kalpita Upadhi, the identity of Jalakasa and Meghakasa, by looking into the Adhishthana or common background or support only, you will have to see the identity of Kutastha and Brahman (the Adhishthana of Isvara and Jiva) by eliminating the Kalpita Upadhis, viz., Isvara and Jiva of Tat and Tvam Pada Vachyartha. This is Padartha-Sodhana or examination into the real meaning of 'Tat Tvam Asi' Mahavakya.

54. Q. What is the Lakshana by which you have shown the identity of Jiva and Brahman?

A. Bhaga-Tyaga Lakshana or Jahadajahallakshana.

55. Q. What do you mean by Bhaga-Tyaga?

A. You have, given up something as Upadhi etc., and taken up something as the Chaitanya Matra. You have eliminated the illusory Upadhi and accepted the Suddha Chaitanya, or Suddha Brahman alone.

56. Q. What are the two component forces of Maya?

A. Avarana Sakti and Vikshepa Sakti (veiling power and projecting power).

57. Q. What does Avarana Sakti do?

A. It veils the Jiva and prevents him from knowing his real Satchidananda nature and also prevents him from knowing himself as distinct from the three bodies and the five sheaths.

58. Q. What does Vikshepa Sakti do?

A. It makes the Jiva identify himself with the physical body. It projects the universe.

59. Q. What is Sajatiya Bheda?

A. It is that by which one individual of a species (Jati) is distinguished from another; e.g., the difference between one man and another, the difference between an Englishman and an Indian.

60. Q. What is Vijatiya Bheda?

A. It is that by which objects of different kinds are differentiated; e.g., the difference between a man and a cow, a tree and a stone.

61. Q. What is Svagata Bheda?

A. It is intrinsic difference; e.g., the difference between waves, eddies, etc., in a mass of water; the difference between hands, legs, head, feet, etc., in a man; the difference between fruits, flowers, twigs and leaves of a tree. It is that by which one part of a substance is distinguished from another.

62. Q. Is there Sajatiya Bheda in Brahman?

A. No.

63. Q. Why?

A. Brahman is infinity (Aparicchinna, Ananta, Bhuma). Infinity is one. There cannot be two infinities. It is simply absurd. There cannot be another infinite Brahman with which this Brahman (of the Upanishads) can be compared or contrasted. 'Ekameva Advitiyam One without a second' is the authoritative declaration of the Srutis.

64. Q. As this world is different from Brahman, is there Vijatiya Bheda in Brahman?

A. No.

65. Q. Why?

A. Brahman Himself is both the efficient and the material cause; so the world cannot be different from Brahman. World is Abhinna from Brahman. What is manifested as the universe is nothing but Brahman. Srutis say: 'Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma-All indeed is Brahman'. Barren woman's illusory son cannot make her a mother. So also this illusory universe cannot bring Dvaita Paksha to Brahman. Hence there is no Vijatiya Bheda in Brahman.

66. Q. Is there Svagata Bheda in Brahman, then?

A. No.

67. Q. Why?

A. Sat, Chit, Ananda are not three but one; because it is the Svarupa of Brahman. It is only Sabda Bheda like Hasta, Kara and Pani; water, Jala and Apah. They are all synonymous terms. Sat is Chit. Chit is Sat. Chit is Ananda. Sat is Ananda. Heat, light and redness are the very nature of fire. Whiteness, sweetness and chillness are the very nature of water. So also Sat-Chit-Ananda is the very nature of Brahman. So there is no Svagata Bheda in Brahman.

68. Q. How can you know the existence of Mala (impurities like Kama, Krodha. etc.) in the mind (Antahkarana)?

A. Just as you can infer the existence of fire through smoke, you can infer the existence of Mala (Dosha) in the mind when Asubha Vasanas arise in the mind, when desires arise for sensual enjoyment, when tendencies to perform prohibited Karmas manifest.

69. Q. How do you know that there is Vikshepa in the Chitta.

A. When the mind cannot be fixed in Vedantic Sravana or in the Svarupa, and when the mind runs towards objects, it denotes the presence of Vikshepa in the Chitta.

70. Q. What is Avarana?

A. It is the veil of ignorance that screens the self-effulgent Atman, just as clouds enshroud the sun, and the green moss hides the waters of a tank.

71. Q. How can you know the existence of Avarana?

A. When you identify yourself with the body, when you have no direct knowledge of Brahman or the unity of the Self, when you are consciously fixed in the idea 'I am a Brahmana', 'I am rich', 'I am poor', 'I am a householder', 'I am a doctor', etc.. you must know that there is the Avarana Dosha in the Chitta.

72. Q. How Avarana can be removed?

A. Just as darkness clears away by the rise of the morning sun, the Avarana will clear away by direct knowledge of Brahman.

73. Q. What is the Tatastha Lakshana of Brahman?

A. Saguna Brahman is meant by Tatastha Lakshana. The definition that Brahman is the cause for the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe gives an indirect notion of what Brahman is. This is Tatastha Lakshana.

74. Q. What is Svarupa Lakshana of Brahman?

A. Satchidananda. It is the direct or essential definition of Brahman.

75. Q. What is Atadvyavritti Lakshana?

A. It indicates the Atman, the balance left after sublating by Neti-Neti doctrine through Yukti (reasoning), the Dehadi Anatmic products.

76. Q. What is Jahallakshana? Illustrate.

A. 'Gangayam Ghoshah Prativachati'. When you say this, that there is a great deal of sound on the Ganga, you mean that the people of a village on the banks of the Ganga are making noise. Here you leave the Ganga and take another source, viz., banks.

77. Q. Illustrate Ajahallakshana.

A. Take the example 'Sonah Tishthati, Sveto Dhavati'. When you hear 'the red is standing', 'the white is running', you mean that the red horse is standing and the white horse is running. Here you add the word 'horse'

78. Q. Illustrate the Neti-Neti doctrine by a story.

A. A boy of eight was found in a bazar. This boy was crying bitterly, as his father who accompanied him was missing.

A sympathetic man asked the boy, 'Is this tall, fair man with a moustache your father?' The boy said, 'No.' Again the man interrupted, 'Is this man with a basket of flowers your father?' The boy replied, 'No'. The man again asked, 'Is this man with a coat and felt cap your father?' The boy answered, 'No'. This goes to show that there must be some other man with certain definite features, dress, etc., and that man must be his father.

Similarly, when you begin to enquire about Brahman, you will find that the tumbler is not Brahman, stone is not Brahman, tree is not Brahman, body is not Brahman, but that 'Thing in Itself', the substratum, the Adhishthana, the source, the substance, that neutral stuff-the residue left behind after negating all these by Neti-Neti-is Brahman.

79. Q. What takes place in the Buddhi as a result of Sadhana? Illustrate.

A. Reflection of the Self requires a receptacle to be made on it. Where there is no receptacle for receiving the reflection of the Self, the Self is unable to reflect itself. Its reflection is impossible where there is no such receptacle.

Take, for example, a mirror fully capable of receiving the reflection of the sun's rays upon it. When the mirror is broken, or powdered to nothing, the reflection hitherto made upon it will instantly vanish away. So when the Buddhi, the receptacle of the Atmic reflection, is destroyed by the practice of thoughtlessness and power of discrimination, the Atmic reflection will itself vanish away from the Jivic or individualistic sphere on its being withdrawn back to the Self itself, the effulgent and the eternal. This is the liberation of the soul. This is the getting rid of the Jivahood, the individuality, which is the root-cause for misery, the total negation of which is Moksha. Atyantika Duhkha Nivritti or total removal of misery is Moksha or Mukti.

80. Q. What is Avantara Vakya?

A. It is Svarupa Bodha Vakya such as, 'Satchidananda', 'Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahma', etc.

81. Q. What is Mahavakya?

A. It is Abheda Bodha Vakya such as, 'Aham Brahma Asmi', 'Tat Tvam Asi', etc.

82. Q. What is Vritti Vyapti?

A. A ray of the mind actually comes out through the eye, assumes the form of the object it envelopes (Vritti Tadakara) and removes the veil (Tula Avidya) that envelopes the objects. The function of a Vritti that arises in the mind is to remove the veil (Avarana Bhanga) that shrouds the objects. This is Vritti Vyapti. The Vritti removes the veil that covers an object.

83. Q. What is Phala Vyapti?

A. Chaitanya always associates or accompanies the Vritti. The Vritti removes the veil of a pot, for example, and the Chaitanya illuminates the pot. Then only the pot becomes an object of perception. Then you say, 'Ayam Ghatah',-"This is a pot'. This is Phala Vyapti.

84. Q. What is Anvaya-Vyatireka?

A. It is through these two processes that a student of Jnana Yoga lives in the Atman. It is a synthetic and analytical process. They always go together. Anvaya is co-existence. Vyatireka is disjoined existence. 'Atman is in the Panchakosas'. This is Anvaya. But Atman is not in the Panchakosas. This is Vyatireka. It is the positive and negative way of proving the Atman. It is the direct and the indirect way of finding out the Atman. This is an important Vedantic Sadhana.

85 Q. What is the link between the physical and the astral bodies?

A. Prana.

86. Q. How many bodies work in the Jagrat State?

A. Three bodies: physical, astral and causal.

87. Q. How many bodies work in dream?

A. Two bodies: Sukshma and Karana (astral and causal).

88. Q. How many bodies work in deep sleep?

A. Only one, the causal body.

89. Q. What is the other name for the Karana Sarira?

A. Anandamaya Kosa.

90. Q. Of what is it made up?

A. Mula Ajnana.

91. Q. Who does meditation?

A. Jiva.

92. Q. What is the object of meditation?

A. Brahman.

93. Q. Through which instrument does he meditate?

A. Through the mind.

94. Q. What takes place in Samadhi?

A. Meditation drops. Repetition of Om, Soham, Aham Brahma Asmi drops. Jiva and Brahman become one (identical).

95. Q. What is meant by Drashta?

A. Seer, the subject.

96. Q. What is Drisya?

A. Objects seen.

97. Q. Why is Atman not an object of perception?

A. If it becomes an object of perception, it becomes finite. But Brahman is infinite. So Atman is not an object of perception.

98. Q. How can you know the Atman?

A. Through Aparoksha Anubhava.

99. Q. What are the two varieties of Jnana? A. Svarupa Jnana and Vritti Jnana.

100. Q. What is Svarupa Jnana?

A. It is the knowledge of Brahman.

101. Q. What is Vritti Jnana?

A. It is the knowledge of objects (Vishaya Jnana) through the mental Vritti (mind).

102. Q. What are the varieties of Savikalpa Samadhi according to Vedanta?

A. Drisyanuvid, Drisyananuvid, Sabdanuvid and Sabdananuvid.

103. Q. What are the two varieties of Nirvikalpa Samadhi? A. Advaita Bhavanurupa Samadhi (Vritti Sahita) and Advaita Avasthanurupa Samadhi (Vritti Rahita).

104. Q. What is bondage in short?

A. Dehoham.

105. Q. What is liberation in short?

A. Aham Brahma Asmi.

106. Q. What is Atadvayavritti?

A. It is the process of knowing the truth through a thing opposed to it; i.e., Atman is distinct from the three bodies and it is distinct from the five sheaths.

107. Q. Who is the doer and the enjoyer?

A. Antahkarana. Kutastha moves the Antahkarana. He gives a push. Antahkarana is Sattva-Guna-Pradhana. It contains Rajo-Guna also. By the force of this Rajo-Guna it automatically works.

108. Q. Is Antahkarana Jada or Chaitanya?

A. Jada. Though the Antahkarana is Jada, it has the semblance of Chaitanya in the presence of Kutastha Chaitanya, just as the iron-rod also has the semblance of magnet and does draw further iron-pieces in the presence of the magnet.

109. Q. What is Paroksha Jnana?

A. It is indirect knowledge of Brahman obtained by the study of books. It is indirect conception of Brahman. It is dependent conception. Paroksha means depending on or through the medium of others. It is mere intellectual grasp of Brahman. By this conception one can utmost conceive the idea that the Atman or the Self exists everywhere, in all things of the universe, in men, in tigers, in elephants, in ants, in trees, etc.

110. Q. What is Aparoksha Anubhuti?

A. It is direct cognition of Brahman. It is direct knowledge of the Atman attained through constant and intense meditation. Aparoksha means independent of or without the medium of others. It does not require any help from the experiences derived from objects. It finds every help from one's own Self within. A man through his Aparoksha Anubhuti knows directly: 'I am everywhere. I am in all things of the universe. I am the man. I am the tiger. I am the ant. I am the elephant. I am the tree. I am the universe.' He sees all things in the Self and the Self in all beings.

111. Q. Why can you not take the body as the Atman?

A. Body is finite. It is insentient. It is with parts. It is perishable. It is the effect of the five elements. It can be seen by the physical eyes. It is ever-changing. So body is not the Atman. The Atman is entirely distinct from the physical body.

112. Q. Why can you not take Prana as the Atman?

A. Prana is Jada. When you sleep it cannot invite a man. It is Vinasi and is absorbed in Brahman. It is Drisya (you can see it clairvoyantly). It is changing. So Prana is not the Atman.

113. Q. Why can you not take the mind as the Atman?

A. Mind is finite. Mind is Jada. Mind is Vinasi. Mind is the effect of Sattva Guna. It can be seen clairvoyantly. It is ever-changing. So mind cannot be the Atman.

114. Q. What is the nature of the Atman, then?

A. Atman is Existence in the past, present and future (Sat); beginningless and endless (Anadi and Ananta); changeless (Nirvikara, Ekarupa and Ekarasa); self-existence (Svayambhu); without parts (Akhanda); cannot be seen by physical eyes (Adrisya); First Cause (Parama Karana); Causeless Cause (Mahakarana). Atman is Consciousness (Chit); Self-luminous (Svayam-Prakasa); self-contained (Paripurna); Self-knowledge (Jnana-Svarupa); It illuminates everything (Sarva-Prakasaka); It is Embodiment of Wisdom (Chit Svarupa or Bodha Svarupa). The Atman is Bliss (Ananda); mass of Bliss (Ananda Ghana); of the nature of Bliss (Ananda-Svarupa); Eternal, independent, highest Bliss (Nitya, Nirupadhika,. Niratisaya Ananda).








It is fashionable these days in scientific circles to represent everything in mathematical terms. If we can somehow put any law or phenomenon of Nature in the form of a mathematical equation, we think we have brought it within the realm of scientific knowledge and put it on a scientific basis. To some extent it is justified, because the basis of manifestation is mathematical. The relation between mathematics and the phenomena of manifestation has long been known to our ancestors also, and the same has been expressed in various ways. The infinite varieties of patterns are all based on one, single reality. Only the Absolute is absolute and none else. All else in manifestation below that state is strictly relative. In trying to understand the nature of Reality in manifestation through the instrumentality of the intellect, we can derive help from mathematics, because it is the science of pure relationships devoid of any content and can throw some light on the relations of different aspects of manifested reality among one another. If there are gaps or discrepancies, a thorough investigation of these will be of great help in throwing further light on the mysteries of these realities. In the scientific study of any problem, nothing is more useful than the exceptions and discrepancies which sometimes crop up in the working of a natural law. It is through the investigation of these exceptions and discrepancies that new vistas of knowledge and lines of enquiry open up before the investigator.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0 and ∞ (infinity) are the mathematical representatives of the fundamental realities in existence. I is the starting point, because all numbers are made up by the successive addition of 1. We see, thus, that 1 is the fundamental number, the father of all other numbers, all of which can be derived from the proliferation of 1. They repeat themselves in various permutations and combinations. The evolution of all numbers from the number 1 is an interesting mathematical problem. There are only nine fundamental numbers, viz., 1 to 9 and their derivatives, flanked by two intriguing mathematical entities 0 (zero) and ∞ (infinity) which are really no numbers. These eleven mathematical entities which seem to have a specific identity of their own are, therefore, not only the basic realities of mathematics but must also somehow represent the basic realities of existence and their relations to one another.

The scripture says that the Reality is ONE only and NON-DUAL (Chh. Up. VI-ii-1). Therefore, the number 1 can be compared to the Ultimate Reality, called Brahman. That one single Reality alone 'appears' as this Universe of multiple permutations and combinations, like the infinite numbers in mathematics derived from 1. The Sruti confirms this view also in its statement, "All this is, verily, Brahman" (Chh. Up. III-xiv-1). But we see multiplicity due to ignorance.

What is this ignorance? This ignorance is called Avidya, which is the product of Maya or, rather Maya itself. Maya is that which has no existence. (Ya Ma, Sa Maya). It is an indescribable power (Anirvachaniya Sakti) of Brahman. It is neither real like Brahman, as it gets destroyed as soon as knowledge of Reality dawns in a person, nor unreal like the horns of a hare or the son of a barren woman, since it appears as the manifested universe.

Because of this peculiar nature, it becomes adorable (Pujya) by the ignorant.

In mathematics, zero is also called 'Pujya'. What is the position of zero in mathematics? It is something undefinable, unknown potentiality. This zero is not mere void (Sunya). It contains all the laws and relations of mathematics within itself in an exquisitely harmonised, though incomprehensible, condition. Though it may appear to be void or having 'no-value' when it is independent, yet it baffles us when it gets itself attached to 1 in any way. The following illustration will make the point clear.

00000000 ..These zeros have no value.

10000000.. These zeros possess different values according to their respective positions.

00010000… The zeros on the left side of 1 have no value, but on the right side they have different values as stated above.

0.0000001..  The zero on the left side of the decimal point has no value; but on the right side they get very little value.

0.1000000..   Here the zeros on both sides of the decimal point have no value.

In this way the zero does not play the role of a 'no-number' or 'Sunya', or void, but it does something wonderful and indescribable. Hence, zero can be compared to Maya. Now, in the light of these explanations, the number 10 can be compared to the Universe of diverse names and forms. It is an 'appearance' of the Supreme Reality (1) only through the power of Maya (0).

In India, even an elementary school student knows the story of the missing tenth.person, of course, as a mere story without any idea of its esoteric significance. The story is as follows:


Fig. 15. Brahman, Maya and the Universe

Ten persons crossed a river. On reaching the other bank, each one of them verified the total number to confirm their safe arrival. But, unfortunately, they found 'one' missing. In spite of their repeated counting, they arrived at the figure 9 only. At last, they came to the conclusion that the tenth person was drowned in the river. They started weeping and wailing, screaming and shouting and beating their breasts. At that time, a monk appeared on the scene and enquired about the cause for their distressed state. They narrated the story. The monk did not take much time to find out the real position. He immediately told them that the tenth person was not dead but was alive. On hearing this statement, they immediately got a sigh of relief. Still they had their own doubts about the 'missing' person. The monk made them stand in a line and counted them by touching each one of them. When he reached the last person, he told him: "Thou art the tenth person' (Dasamastvamasi). All were pleased and reached their destination. The pitiable part of this comic lies in omitting to include one's own self, the counting person himself, in the act of counting.

This story may appear to be fantastic. But the position of most of the people in the world is in no way better than that of the 'missing' tenth person. In the quest for objects outside, one misses to know one's own Self. This situation is called 'ignorance' or 'Avidya', due to which one is bound to this transmigratory experience. This ignorance can be got rid of through the knowledge of the Self obtained from a Guru.

Fig. 16. Thou art the Tenth Person

1. Guru. 2. The missing tenth person (The Self or 1). 3. Maya (0) 4. The Universe of Perception (the appearance created by Maya).




















              SATTVA                                              RAJAS                                                  TAMAS


SATTVA         RAJAS                         TAMAS                 AVARANA SHAKTI                              VIKSHEPA SHAKTI

                                                                                  (VEILING OR COVERING           PROJECTING POWER    

                                                                                  POWER OF CONSCIOUSNESS  OF CONSCIOUSNESS


                                                                                       ASATTAVARANA             ABHANAVARANA




               PANCHA TANMATRAS                                              OR                              FIVE RUDIMENTARY ELEMENTS 























(Subtle Fire)







(Sbtle Water)







(Subtle Earth)




Samasthti 1









(Mind Stuff)



Vyashti 2


(Sense of Hearing)


(Sense of Touch)


(Sense of Sight)


(Sense of Taste)


(Sense of Smell)




Samasthti 3











Vyashti 4


(organ of Speech


(Organ of Grasping)


(Organ of Locomotion)


(Organ of Generation)


(Organ of Excretion)



































I 6

Gross Ether

(Stula Akasa)


Gross Air

(Stula Vayu)


Gross Fire

(Stula Agni)


Gross Water

(Stula Apas


Gross Earth

(Stula Prithivi)




II 7




(Four Kumaras,

Ten Prajapaties etc.






(Human Beings Etc.)






(Birds etc.)




(Lice etc.)




(Plants etc.)



III The cosmos with its contents of the 14 Lokas (or planes) viz. (1) Bhu, (2) Bhuvah, (3) Suvah, (4) Mahah, (5) Janah, (6) Tapah, (7) Satya, (8) Atala, (9) Vitala, (10) Sutala (11) Talatala. (12) Mahatala (13) Rasatala and (14) Patala. (The former seven are higher regions and the latter seven are nether regions.)       

Food and other objects of enjoyments.

IV 1. Antahkarana. 2. Jnana Indriyas. 3. Pranas. 4. Karma Indriyas. 5. Half of each Tanmatra is mixed with one-eighth of each of the other four. This process of mixing is called Pancheekarana or Quintuplication. 6. Pancha Mahabhutas or five gross elements. 7. Five Kinds of bodies.





Name Of

Body Or


Sheath Or Kosha



Presiding Deity


State Or



Individual Or

Vyashti Abhimani


Collective Or




Causal Or Karana

















Subtle Or Sukshma

























Gross Or Sthula

Bliss Or Anandamaya








Intellectual Or Vijnanamaya







Mental Or Manomaya









Vital Or Pranmaya















Food Or Annamaya



Causal Ignorance & Ajanavrittis









































Head Etc.








Centre Of The Eye Brows

Whole Body






























Whole Body

























2 Aswini Kumaras




























Deep Sleep

Or Sushupti





















Dream Or Svapna



















Waking Or Jagrat











































































































Thank You