4:14 PMPosted by gopalakrishna
Sri Tripura Rahasya or Haritayana Samhita
(THE MYSTERY BEYOND THE TRINITY)
SWAMI SRI RAMANANANDA SARASWATHI
(Sri Munagala S. Venkataramaia)
© Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai. South India.
SWAMI SRI RAMANANANDA SARASWATHI
(Sri Munagala S. Venkataramaia)
© Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai. South India.
KEY TO THE PARABLE OF CHAPTER V
1-3. Having learnt from the mouth of his wise wife, the true significance of Tripura, who is Pure Intelligence and God in Truth, and also the technique of Tripura’s worship from competent teachers as prompted by divine grace, Hemachuda gained peace of mind and took to the worship with intense devotion.
A few months passed in this manner.
Note: – God’s grace is the sine qua non of any kind of knowledge of God.
4. “The Supreme Mother’s grace descended on him, and he became totally indifferent to pleasure because his mind was entirely absorbed in the practical investigation of the Truth.
5. “Such a state is impossible for any one without the Grace of God, because the mind engaged in practical search for truth is the surest means of emancipation.
6. “Parasurama! Countless aids will not give emancipation if an earnest search for truth is not made.
7. “Once more Hemachuda sought his wife alone, his mind absorbed in the quest for Truth.
8-9. “She saw her husband coming to her apartment, so she went to meet him, welcomed him and offered him her seat. She washed his feet and prostrated before him, as was due to one of his rank, and spoke melting words of sweet love.
10-14. “Dearest! I see you again after such a long time. Are you in good health? Of course, the body is sometimes liable to illness. Do tell me why you have been neglecting me all these days. Not a day passed before without your seeing me and conversing with me. How have you been passing your time? I could never have dreamt that you would be so indifferent to me! What makes you so? How do you spend your nights? You used to say that a moment without me was like eternity to you, and that you could not bear it.” Saying this, she embraced him fondly and appeared distressed.
15-17. Though embraced lovingly by his dear wife, he was not moved in the least and said to her “Dear, I can no longer be deceived by you. I am convinced of your strength and that nothing can affect your inherent happiness. You are a sage and unperturbed. You know this world and beyond. How could anything affect you like this? I am here to ask your advice. Now please listen. Explain to me that tale you once related to me as the story of your life.
18. “Who is your mother? Who is your friend? Who is her husband? Who are her sons? Tell me, what relationship have all these people to me?
19. “I do not clearly understand it. I no longer think it is a lie. I am sure you told me a parable which is full of significance.
20. “Tell me everything in full so that I may understand it clearly. I bow to you reverently. Kindly clear these doubts.”
21-23. Hemalekha with a smiling and delighted face heard her husband and thought within herself: ‘He is now pure in mind and blessed of God. He is evidently indifferent to the pleasures of life and is also strong in mind. This must be due to God’s Grace alone and his former virtues are now bearing fruit. The time is now ripe for him to be enlightened, so I will enlighten him.’ She said, “Lord, God’s Grace is upon you, and you are blessed!
24-25. “Dispassion cannot arise otherwise. It is the criterion of God’s Grace that the mind should be rapt in the quest for truth, after becoming detached from sensual pleasures. I shall now solve the puzzle of my life-story.
26. “My mother is Transcendence – pure Consciousness; my friend is intellect (discerning faculty); ignorance is Madam Dark, the undesirable friend of intellect.
27. “The caprices of ignorance are too well known to need elucidation, she can delude any one, making a rope seem to be a serpent and striking terror in the looker-on.
28-33. “Her son is the greatest of illusions – the mind; his wife is thought or conception or imagination; her sons are five in number, namely, audition, taste, sight, touch and smell, whose mansions are the respective senses. What the mind was said to steal from them is enjoyment of sensual objects which leaves an impress on the mind to develop later into the proclivities of the mind. Sharing stolen objects with his wife is manifestation of proclivities in dreams. Dream is the daughter-in-law of Delusion (i.e., ignorance). Madam Vorax is desire; her sons are anger and greed; their city is the body. What was said to be my most potent talisman is Realisation of the Self. Mind’s friend guarding the city is the vital principle which keeps moving as the life-breath. The different cities peopled by them are hells passed in the eternal passage of the soul. The consummation of the discerning faculty is Samadhi. My admission into my mother’s chamber is final emancipation.”
34. “Such is in brief the tale of my life. Yours is likewise. Think well and be absolved.”
Thus ends the Chapter on the Course of Life in the Section of Hemachuda in Tripura Rahasya.
HOW THAT HEMACHUDA REALISED THE SELF
AFTER ANALYSING HIS OWN MIND AND PLUNGING WITHIN
1. When Hemachuda understood the significance of his wife’s parable he was agreeably surprised. His voice chocked with pleasure as he said to her:
2. “My dear, you are indeed blessed, and clever too: how shall I describe the profound wisdom of the story of your life, narrated to me in the form of a parable.
3. “Up to now I did not know your progress. It has all been made as clear to me as a gooseberry resting on the palm of my hand.
4-5. “I now understand the end of humanity and realise wonderful nature. Please tell me further now: who is this mother of yours? How is she without beginning? Who are we? What is our real nature?”
Asked thus, Hemalekha told her husband:
6. “Lord, listen carefully to what I am going to say, for it is subtle. Investigate the nature of the Self with intellect made transparently clear.
7. “It is not an object to be perceived, nor described; how shall I then tell you of it? You know the mother only if you know the Self.
8. “The Self does not admit of specification, and therefore no teacher can teach it. However, realise the Self within you, for it abides in unblemished intellect.
9. “It pervades all, beginning from the personal God to the amoeba; but it is not cognisable by the mind or senses; being itself unillumined by external agencies, it illumines all, everywhere and always. It surpasses demonstration or discussion.
10. “How, where, when, or by whom has it been specifically described even incompletely? What you ask me, dear, amounts to asking me to show your eyes to you.
11-12. “Even the best teachers cannot bring your eyes to your sight. Just as a teacher is of no use in this instance, so in the other. He can at best guide you towards it and nothing more. I shall also explain to you the means to realisation. Listen attentively.
13. “As long as you contaminated with notions of me or mine (e.g., my home, my body, my mind, my intellect), the Self will not be found, for it lies beyond cognition and cannot be realised as ‘my Self’.
14. “Retire into solitude, analyse and see what those things are which are cognised as mine; discard them all and transcending them, look for the Real Self.
15. “For instance, you know me as your wife and not as your self. I am only related to you and not part of you much less your very being.
16. “Analyse everything in this way and discard it. What remains over, transcending at all, beyond conception, appropriation, or relinquishment – know That to be the Self. That knowledge is final emancipation.”
17. After receiving these instructions from his wife, Hemachuda rose hurriedly from his seat, mounted on his horse and galloped from the city.
18. He entered a royal pleasure-garden beyond the outskirts of the town and into a well-furnished crystal palace.
19-20. He dismissed his attendants and ordered the keepers: “Let no one enter these rooms while I am in contemplation – be they ministers, elders or even the king himself. They must wait until you obtain my permission.”
21. Then he went up to a fine chamber in the ninth storey which looked out in all directions.
22. The room was well furnished and he sat down on a soft cushion. He collected his mind and began to contemplate thus:
23-30. “Truly all these people are deluded! No one of them knows even the fringe of the Self! But all are active for the sake of their own selves. Some of them recite the scriptures, a few study them and their commentaries; some are busy accumulating wealth; others are ruling the land; some are fighting the enemy; others are seeking the luxuries of life. When engaged in all this selfish activity they never question what exactly the Self may be; now why is there all this confusion? Oh! When the Self is not known, all is in vain and as if done in a dream. So I will now investigate the matter.
“My home, wealth, kingdom, treasure, women, cattle – none of these is me, and they are only mine. I certainly take the body for the Self but it is simply a tool of mine. I am indeed the king’s son, with goodly limbs and a fair complexion. These people, too, are taken up by this same notion that their bodies are their egos.”
31-36. Reflecting thus, he considered the body. He could not identify the body as the Self, and so began to transcend it. This body is mine, not me. It is built up of blood and bones, and is changing each moment. How can this be the changeless, continuous me. It looks like a chattel; it is apart from me as is a waking body from the dream, etc. ‘I’ cannot be the body nor can the vital force be the Self; mind and intellect are clearly my tools so they cannot be ‘I’. ‘I’ am surely something apart from all these, beginning from the body and ending with the intellect. [Note. - The intermediates are (1) the senses, (2) the mind including the thinking, reasoning and coordinating faculties, (3) vital force.] I am always aware, but do not realise that pure state of awareness. The reason of this inability is not clear to me.
37-38. Objects are cognised through the senses, not otherwise; life is recognised by touch, and mind by intellect. By whom is the intellect made evident? I do not know…. I now see I am always aware – realisation of that pure awareness is obstructed by other factors (pertaining to the non-self) butting in – Now I shall not imagine them – They cannot appear without my mental imagery of them and they cannot obstruct the glory of the Self, without appearing.
39. Thinking thus, he forcibly arrested his thoughts.
40-41. Instantaneously blank superseded. He, at the same time, decided that it was the Self, so became very happy and once again he began to meditate. “I will do it again,” he said and plunged within.
42. The restlessness of the mind being thus resolutely checked, he saw in an instant a blazing light with no circumference.
43-45. Regaining human consciousness, he began to wonder how this could happen. ‘There is no constancy in the experience. The Self cannot be more than one. I will repeat and see,’ he said and dived again. This time he fell into a long sleep and dreamt wonderful dreams. On waking up, he fell furiously to think:
46-48. “How is it that I was overpowered by sleep and started to dream? The darkness and light which I saw before must also be in the nature of dreams. Dreams are mental imagery, and how shall I overcome them? “I shall again repress my thoughts and see,” he said, and plunged within.
His mind was placid for a time. He thought himself sunk in bliss.
49-54. Shortly after, he regained his original state, owing to the mind again beginning to function. He reflected: “What is all this? Is it a dream or a hallucination of the mind? My experience is a fact but it surpasses my imagination.
“Why is that bliss quite unique and unlike any that I have experienced before? The highest of my known experiences cannot compare with even an infinitesimal part of the state of bliss I was in just now. It was like sleep in so far as I was not externally aware. But there was a peculiar bliss at the same time. The reason is not clear to me because there was nothing to impart pleasure to me. Although I attempted to realise the Self, I do not do so. I probably realise the Self and also see others like darkness, light, dreams or pleasure, etc. Or is it possible that these are the stages of development for the realisation of the Self? I do not understand it. Let me ask my recondite wife.”
55-61. Having thus resolved, the prince ordered the door-keeper to ask Hemalekha to come to him. Within an hour and a half, she was climbing the steps of the mansion like the Queen of Night moving, across the sky. She discovered the prince, her consort, in perfect peace of mind, calm, collected and of happy countenance. She quickly went to his side and sat by him. As she nestled close to him he opened his eyes and found her sitting close to him. Directly he did so, she quickly and fondly embraced him and gently spoke sweet words of love: “Lord, what can I do for Your Highness? I hope you are well. Please tell me why you called me up to this place?” Thus addressed, he spoke to his wife in his turn:
62-66. “My dear! I have, as advised by you, retired to a solitary place where I am engaged in investigating the Self. Even so, I have diverse visions and experiences. Thinking that the constant Self-awareness is dimmed by the uncalled-for interference of mental activities, I forcibly repressed my thoughts, and remained calm. Darkness superseded, light appeared, sleep supervened and finally a unique bliss overpowered me for a little while. Is this the Self, or something different? Please analyse these experiences of mine and tell me, my dear, so that I may clearly understand them.
67-69. “After listening to him carefully Hemalekha, the knower of this world and beyond, spoke sweetly thus.
‘Listen to me, my dear, closely. What you have now done to repress thoughts with the mind turned inward is good beginning and praised by the worthy as the best way. Without it, no one has ever been successful anywhere. However, it does not produce Self-realisation for the Self remains realised at all times.
70. “If a product, it cannot be the Self. For, how can the Self be got anew? So then, the Self is never gained. Gain is of something which is not already possessed. Is there any moment when the Self is not the Self? Neither is control of mind used to gain it. I shall give you some examples:
72. “Just as things unseen in darkness are found on its removal by means of a lamp, and are therefore said to be recovered from oblivion.
73-74. “Just as a confused man forgets his purse, but remembers and locates it on keeping his mind unruffled and steady, yet still says that he has gained the lost purse, though the steadying of his mind did not produce it.
75. “So also the control of your mind is not the cause of your Self-realisation; though the Self is always there, it is not recognised by you even with a controlled mind because you are not conversant with it.
76. “Just as a yokel unacquainted with the system cannot understand the dazzling lights of the royal audience-chamber at night and so ignores its magnificence at first sight, so it is that you miss the Self.
77. “Attend dear! Blank darkness was visible after you controlled your thoughts. In the short interval before its appearance and after the control of mind there remains a state free from the effort to control and the perception of darkness.
78. “Always remember that state as the one of perfect and transcendental happiness. All are deceived in that state because their minds are accustomed to be turned outward.
79. “Though people may be learned, skilful and keen, still they search and search, only to be thwarted and they do not abide in that holy state.
80. “They grieve day and night, without knowing this state. Mere theoretical knowledge of sculpture can never make a man a sculptor.
81. “Though he be a pandit well grounded in the theory and the discussion of the philosophy of the Self, he cannot realise the Self because it is not realisable but already realised. Realisation is not attained by going far, but only by staying still not by thought (intellection) but by cessation of thought.
83-85. “Effort towards Realisation is like the attempt to stamp with one’s foot on the shadow cast by one’s head. Effort will always make it recede.
“Just as an infant tries to take hold of his own reflection being unaware of the mirror, so also common people are taken in by their mental reflections on the mirror of the pure, luminous Self and are not aware of the mirror, because they have no acquaintance with the Self.
“Although people understand space, they are not aware of it because they are taken up by the objects in space.
86-88. “They understand the universe in space but have no regard for space itself. Similarly, it is with them in regard to the Self.
“My Lord, consider well. The world consists of knowledge and the objects known. Of these the objects are non-self and perceived by senses; knowledge is self-evident; there is no world in the absence of knowledge. Knowledge is the direct proof of the existence of objects which are therefore dependent on knowledge. Knowledge is dependent on the knower for its existence. The knower does not require any tests for knowing his own existence. The knower therefore is the only reality behind knowledge and objects. That which is self-evident without the necessity to be proved, is alone real; not so other things.
89-91. “He who denies knowledge has no ground to stand on and so no discussion is possible.
“The subject of knowledge settled, the question arises regarding the existence of objects in the absence of their knowledge. Objects and their knowledge are only reflections in the eternal, self-luminous, supreme Consciousness which is the same as the knower and which alone is real. The doubt that the reflection should be of all objects simultaneously without reference to time and place (contrary to our experience), need not arise because time and space are themselves knowable concepts and are equally reflections. The specific nature of the reflections is the obverse of the objects found in space.
92. “Therefore, Prince, realise with a still mind your own true nature which is the one pure, undivided Consciousness underlying the restless mind which is composed of the whole universe in all its diversity.
93. “If one is fixed in that fundamental basis of the universe (ie., the Self), one becomes the All-doer. I shall tell you how to inhere thus. I assure you – you will be That.
94. “Realise with a still mind the state between sleep and wakefulness, the interval between the recognition of one object after another or gap between two perceptions.
Note. – The commentator compares the rays of light proceeding from the Sun before they impinge on materials. They are themselves invisible, but capable of illumining objects. This explains the third statement above. He also says that consciousness is like water flowing through a channel and later assuming the shape of the beds watered.
95. “This is the real Self, inhering in which one is no longer deluded. Unaware of this Truth, people have become inheritors of sorrow.
Note. – The commentator adds that a sage realising the world as the reflection of the mind treats it as such and is thus free from misery.
96-97. “Shape, taste, smell, touch, sound, sorrow, pleasure, the act of gaining, or the object gained – none of these finds place in that Transcendence which is the support of all there is, and which is the being in all but not exclusively so. That is the Supreme Lord, the Creator, the Supporter and the Destroyer of the universe and the Eternal Being.
98. “Now let not your mind be outgoing; turn it inward; control it just a little and watch for the Self, always remembering that the investigator is himself the essence of being and the Self of Self.
Note. – The commentary on this sloka says: This sloka contains what is not to be done (namely, the mind should not be permitted to be outgoing), what is to be done (the mind is to be turned inwards) and what is to be engaged in (watchfulness). Just a short control is enough; no long control is necessary for the purpose. The question arises: how to look? The investigator, investigation and the object investigated are all one. The mind should be brought to the condition of a new-born baby. Then he feels as if he were separate from all gross materials and only the feeling ‘I am’ persists.
When the mind is controlled a little, a state will be evident at the end of the effort in which the Self can be realised as pure being, underlying all phenomena but undivided by them, similar to the baby sense.
99. “Be also free from the thought ‘I see’; remain still like a blind man seeing. What transcends sight and no sight that you are. Be quick.”
Note. – Here the commentary says: The Self transcends also the feeling ‘I see’. Adherence to that sensation divorces one from the Self. Therefore, let that feeling also vanish, for that state is absolutely unstained by will, sensation or thought. Otherwise, there will be no perfection in spite of innumerable efforts.
Again the word ‘sight’ includes the awake and dream states and ‘no sight’ signifies deep sleep. That which is threading through these three states and even surpassess the sense ‘I am’ is what you are. This is the fourth state Turiya (which is the string on which all the diverse objects of the universe are strung and the whole is a garland to Sri Ramana! Tr.)
100. Hemachuda did accordingly, and having gained that state referred to by his wife, he remained peaceful a long time, unaware of anything beside the Self.
Note. – The commentator says that he was in Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
ON FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS BY HIS BELOVED,
HE GOT SAMADHI IN SPITE OF HIS EXTERNAL ACTIVITIES
AND REMAINED IN THE STATE OF EMANCIPATION EVEN WHILE ALIVE
1-5. “Hemalekha noticed that her husband had attained supreme Peace and so did not disturb him. He awoke in an hour and a half, opened his eyes and saw his wife nearby. Eager to fall into that state once more, he closed his eyes; and immediately Hemalekha took hold of his hands and asked him sweetly: ‘My Lord, tell me what you have ascertained to be your gain on closing your eyes, or your loss on opening them, my dearest. I love to hear you. Do say what happens on the eyes being closed or left open.’
6. “On being pressed for an answer, he looked as if he were drunk and replied reluctantly and languidly, as follows:
7-14. “‘My dear, I have found pure untainted happiness. I cannot find the least satisfaction in the activities of the world as sorrow increases when they finish. Enough of them! They are tasteless to me like a sucked orange, only indulged in by wasters, or like cattle incessantly chewing the cud. What a pity that such people should be to this day unaware of the bliss of their own Self! Just as a man goes a-begging in ignorance of the treasure hidden under his floor, so did I run after sensual pleasures unaware of the boundless ocean of bliss within me. Worldly pursuits are laden with misery and pleasures are transient. Still I was so infatuated that I mistook them for enduring pleasures, was often grief-stricken, yet did not cease to pursue them over and over again. The pity of it: Men are fools, unable to discriminate pleasure from pain. They seek pleasures but gain sorrow. Enough of these activities which increase the relish for such pleasure.
“My dear, I beg you with hands clasped. Let me fall again into the peace of my blissful self. I pity you that though knowing this state, you are not in it but are ever engaged in vain.”
15-27. “The wise girl gently smiled at all this, and said to him: ‘My lord, you do not yet know the highest state of sanctity (which is not besmirched by duality), reaching which the wise transcend duality and are never perplexed. That state is as far from you as the sky is from the earth. Your small measure of wisdom is as good as no wisdom, because it is not unconditional, but remains conditioned by closing or opening your eyes. Perfection cannot depend on activity or the reverse, on effort or no effort. How can that state be a perfect one if mental or physical activity can influence it or if the displacement of the eyelid by the width of a barley grain makes all the difference to it? Again, how can it be perfect if located only in the interior? What shall I say of your muddled wisdom! How ridiculous to think that your eyelid one inch long, can shut up the expanse in which millions of worlds revolve in one corner alone!’
“Listen Prince! I will tell you further. As long as these knots are not cut asunder so long will bliss not be found (The knowledge acquired is thus not effective). These knots are millions in number and are created by the bond of delusion which is no other than ignorance of Self. These knots give rise to mistaken ideas, the chief of which is the identification of the body with the Self, which in its turn gives rise to the perennial stream of happiness and misery in the shape of the cycle of births and deaths. The second knot is the differentiation of the world from the Self whose being consciousness is the mirror on which the phenomena are simply reflected. Similarly with the other knots including the differentiation of beings among themselves and from the universal Self. They have originated from time immemorial and recur with unbroken ignorance. The man is not finally redeemed until he has extricated himself from these numberless knots of ignorance.
28-38. “The state which is the result of your closing the eyes, cannot be enough, for it is pure intelligence and eternal truth transcending anything else yet serving as the magnificent mirror to reflect the phenomena arising in itself. Prove, if you can, that everything is not contained in it. Whatever you admit as known to you, is in the knowledge conveyed by that consciousness. Even what may be surmised to be in another place and at a different time, is also within your consciousness. Moreover, what is not apparent and unknown to that intelligence is a figment of imagination like the son of a barren woman. There cannot be anything that is not held by consciousness, just as there cannot be reflection without a reflecting surface.
“Therefore I tell you that your conviction: ‘I shall lose it by opening my eyes’ or ‘I know it,’ is the knot awaiting to be cut, and there will be no attainment though, remember, it cannot be the perfect state if it can be attained. What you consider the happy state as accomplished by the movements of your eyelids, cannot indeed be perfect because it is certainly intermittent and not unconditional. Is any place found where the effulgence is not, my lord, of the fire blazing at the dissolution of the universe? All will resolve into that fire and no residue will be left. Similarly also the fire of realisation will burn away all your sense of duty so that there will be nothing left for you to do. Be strong, root out your thoughts and cut off the deep-rooted knots from your heart, namely, ‘I will see’, ‘I am not this’, ‘This is non-Self’, and such like.
“Find wherever you turn the one undivided, eternal blissful Self; also watch the whole universe reflected as it arises and subsides in the Self. See the Self both within and without you; yet do not confound the seeing Self within as the Seer of the universal Self without, for both are the same. Inhere in the peace of your true internal Self, devoid of all phenomena.”
39-42. At the end of her speech, Hemachuda’s confusion was cleared up, so that he gradually became well established in the perfect Self bereft of any distinction of within and without. Being always equable, he led a very happy life with Hemalekha and others, reigned over his kingdom and made it prosperous, engaged his enemies in war and conquered them, studied the scriptures and taught them to others, filled his treasury, performed the sacrifices pertaining to royalty and lived twenty-thousand years, emancipated while yet alive (Jivanmukta).
Note. – Scholars say that “One thousand” is a peculiar expression for ‘four.’ Thus twenty-thousand stands for eighty.
43-61. “The king Muktachuda having heard that his son Hemachuda had become a Jivanmukta, consulted his other son Manichuda. Both agreed that Hemachuda was not as before, but that he had changed so that he was no longer affected by the greatest of pleasures or the worst of sorrows that he treated friend and foe alike; that he was indifferent to loss or gain; that he engaged in royal duties like an actor in a play; that he seemed like a man always intoxicated with wine; and that he did his duty well notwithstanding his absent-minded or other worldly look. They pondered the matter over and wondered. Then sought him in private and asked him the reason of his change. When they had heard him speak of his state, they too desired to be instructed by him, and finally became Jivanmuktas like Hemachuda. The ministers were in their turn desirous of attaining that state, and eventually reached it after receiving proper instructions from the king. So were the citizens, the artisans and all classes of people in that city. All of them gained the summum bonum (highest good) of life and transcended desire, anger, lust, etc. Even the children and the very old people were no longer moved by passions. There were still worldly transactions in this ideal state, because the people consciously acted their parts as the actors in a drama, in accord with the rest of creation. A mother would rock the cradle with lullabies expressive of the highest Truth; a master and his servants dealt with one another in the Light of that Truth; players entertained the audience with plays depicting Truth; singers sang only songs on Truth; the court fools caricatured ignorance as ludicrous; the academy only taught lessons on God-knowledge. The whole State was thus composed only of sages and philosophers, be they men or women; servant-boys or servant-maids; dramatic actors or fashionable folk; artisans or labourers; ministers or harlots. They nevertheless acted in their professions in harmony with creation. They never cared to recapitulate the past or speculate on the future with a view to gain pleasure or avoid pain, but acted for the time being, laughing rejoicing, crying or shouting like drunkards, thus dissipating all their latent tendencies.
62. “The rishis, Sanaka and others called it the City of Wisdom when they visited it.
63-68. “Even parrots and cockatoos in their cages spoke word of wisdom, e.g., ‘Consider the Self as pure intelligence bereft of objective knowledge.’
“What is known is not different from that intelligence, it is like a series of images reflected in a mirror. Absolute consciousness is the universe; it is ‘I’, it is all, sentient and insentient, mobile and immobile. Everything else is illuminated by it whereas it is alone and Self-luminous. Therefore let those sensible people who are desirous of chit (pure intelligence) turn away from illusory knowledge and contemplate their own Self – the absolute consciousness – which illumines all the rest, and which is their being too. The town where even the lower animals convey such supreme wisdom is famous to this day as the City of Wisdom on Earth, which reputation it owes to that one wise princess Hemalekha by whose advice Hemachuda became a Jivanmukta, all the rest following in his wake.”
69. Dattatreya continued: “Thus, you see, Parasurama, the primary cause of emancipation is association with the wise. Therefore, follow that advice first and foremost.”
THAT THE COSMOS IS NOT OTHER THAN INTELLIGENCE
1. After he had listened to this sublime story of Hemachuda, Bhargava was confused and asked:
2-5. “Lord, my Master! What you have related as a wonderful teaching appears to me against the experience of all people in every way. How can the magnificent, objective universe be no other than tenuous consciousness, which is not seen, but only inferred? Pure intelligence devoid of known objects cannot be imagined and therefore cannot be postulated. Thus the whole theme based on it is not at all clear to me. I pray you kindly to elucidate the subject so that I may understand it.” Thus requested, Dattatreya continued:
6-30. “I will now tell you the truth of the objective world, as it is. What is seen is absolutely nothing but sight. I shall now give you the proof of this statement. Listen with attention. All that is seen has an origin and there must therefore be an antecedent cause for it. What is origin except that the thing newly appears? The world is changing every moment and its appearance is new every moment and so it is born every moment. Some say that the birth of the universe is infinite and eternal each moment. Some may contest the point saying that the statement is true of a specific object or objects but not of the world which is the aggregate of all that is seen. The scholiasts of Vijnana answer them thus: The external phenomena are only momentary projections of the anamnesis of the continuous link, namely, the subject and the worldly actions are based on them. But the intellect which collates time, space and phenomena is infinite and eternal at each moment of their appearance and it is called Vijnana by them. Others say that the universe is the aggregate of matter – mobile and immobile. (The atomists maintain that the universe is made up of five elements, earth, air, fire, water and ether which are permanent and of things like a pot, a cloth, etc., which are transient. They are still unable to prove the external existence of the world, because they admit that happenings in life imply their conceptual nature. It follows that the objects not so involved are useless.)
“But all are agreed that the universe has an origin. (What is then the point in saying that the momentary creations are eternal and infinite? The momentary nature cannot be modified by the qualifications mentioned. There is no use in dressing a condemned man before the executioner’s axe is laid on him.) To say however that creation is due to nature (accidental?) is to overstretch the imagination and therefore unwarranted. The Charvakas, nihilists, argue that some effects are not traceable to their efficient causes. There are occurrences without any antecedent causes. Just as a cause need not always foretell an event, so also the event need not always have a cause. The conclusion follows that the world is an accident.
“If a thing can appear without a cause there is no relation between cause and effect, and there can be no harmony in the world. A potter’s work may lead to a weaver’s products, and vice versa, which is absurd. The interdependence of cause and effect is ascertained by their logical sequence and proved by its role in practical life. How then can an universe be accident?
“They infer the cause where it is not obvious, and trace the cause from the effect. This conforms to the universal practice. Each occurrence must have a cause for it; that is the rule. Even if the cause is not obvious, it must be inferred; otherwise the world activities would be in vain – which is absurd. The conclusion is then reached that every event is a product of a certain condition or conditions; and this fact enables people to engage in purposeful work. So it is in the practical world. Therefore the theory of accidental creation is not admissible.
“The atomists premise a material cause for creation and name it imponderable atoms. According to them, the imponderable atoms produce the tangible world, which did not exist before creation and will not remain after dissolution. (The existence of the world before or after is only imaginary and untrue, like a human horn – they say.) How can the same thing be true at one time and untrue at another? Again if the primary atoms are imponderable, without magnitude and yet are permanent, how can they give rise to material and transient products endowed with magnitude?”
“How can the same thing be yellow and not yellow – bright and dark – at the same time? These qualities are not in harmony; the whole theory is confused, it is as if one were trying to mix up the immiscibles. Again, how did the primordial atoms begin to unite to produce diatoms or triatoms? Was it of their own accord? (which is impossible because, they are insentient) or by God’s will? (Then the action is God’s and not of the atoms. Otherwise it would be like a king in his palace who, by merely willing to kill the enemy, sent his weapons flying about in the act of destruction). (It has already been pointed out that God cannot be supposed to operate atoms for the purpose of creation, as a potter does with clay.)
Note. – Thus the idea of the beginning of creation is altogether refuted.
“It is also absurd to say that the insentient atoms of matter began creation when the equilibrium of the three forces Satva, Rajas and Tamas, was disturbed. (One of the systems of philosophy believes that three qualities, brightness, activity and darkness, are always there in equilibrium. When disturbed, creation begins; when they revert to equilibrium, the universe is dissolved.) How are the changes in the state of equilibrium brought about? Change is not possible without an intelligent cause. So none of the systems can satisfactorily account for creation. Scriptures alone are the guide for comprehending the metaphysical and the transcendental. The rest are not authoritative because of the individual’s limitations, the absence of reliable tests for their accuracy, and of the repeated failures of attempts which ignore God. The universe must have a Creator, and He must be an intelligent principle, but He cannot be of any known type because of the vastness of the creation. His power is past understanding and is dealt with in the Scriptures, whose authority is incontrovertible. They speak of the unique Creator, the Lord who was before creation, being self-contained. He created the universe by His own power. It is in its entirety and all its details, a picture on the screen of His Self like the dream world on the individual consciousness. The individual encompasses his own creation with his ego (as ‘I’); so does the Lord play with the universe. Just as the dreamer is not to be confounded with the dream so is the Lord not to be confounded with the creation. Just as a man survives his dream, so does the Lord survive the dissolution of His creation. Just as you remain ever as pure consciousness apart from the body, etc., so is the Lord, unbounded consciousness apart from the universe, etc. Is it not after all only a picture drawn by Him on His Self? How can this unique creation be apart from Him? There can indeed be nothing but consciousness. Tell me of any place where there is no consciousness; there is no place beyond consciousness. Or can any one prove in any manner anything outside consciousness? Consciousness is inescapable.
31-32. “Moreover, this consciousness is the only existence, covering the whole universe, and perfect all through. Just as there cannot be breakers apart from the ocean and light without the Sun, so also the Universe cannot be conceived without consciousness. The Supreme God is thus the embodiment of pure Consciousness.
33-34. “This whole universe consisting of the mobile and the immobile, arises from, abides in, and resolves into Him. This is the final and well-known conclusion of the Scriptures; and the Scriptures never err. The guide by which one can apprehend the metaphysical and transcendental matters is Scripture alone.
35. “Miraculous powers possessed by gems and incantations cannot be denied, nor can they be fathomed by a man of limited knowledge.
36-40. “Because the scriptures proceed from the all-knowing Lord, they partake of His omniscient quality. The Being mentioned in them is eternally existing even before the birth of the universe. His creation has been without any material aids. Therefore God is supreme, perfect, pure and self-contained. The creation is not an object apart; it is a picture drawn on the canvas of supreme consciousness, for there cannot possibly be anything beyond Perfection. Imagination on the contrary, is impractical. The universe has thus originated only as an image on the surface of the mirror of the Absolute. This conclusion is in harmony with all facts.
41-45. “Creation is like a magician’s trick, and is a city born of divine imagination. O Parasurama, you are aware of the mental creations of day-dreamers which are full of people, life and work, similar to this. There are also doubts, tests, discussions and conclusions – all imaginary arising in the mind and subsiding there. Just as castles in the air are mental figments of men so also is this creation a mental figment of Siva. Siva is absolute Awareness, without any form. Sri Tripura is Sakti (energy) and Witness of the whole. That Being is perfect all round and remains undivided.
46-47. “Time and space are the factors of division in the world; of these, space refers to the location of objects and time to the sequence of events. Time and space are themselves projected from consciousness, how then would they divide or destroy their own basis and still continue to be what they are?
48-51. “Can you show the time or place not permeated by consciousness? Is it not within your consciousness when you speak of it? The fact of the existence of things is only illumination of them, and nothing more. Such illumination pertains to consciousness alone. That alone counts which is self-shining. Objects are not so, for their existence depends upon perception of them by conscious beings. But consciousness is self-effulgent – not so the objects, which depend on conscious beings for being known.
52-54. “If on the other hand, you contend that objects exist even if not perceived by us, I tell you – listen! There is no consistency in the world regarding the existence or non-existence of things. Their cognition is the only factor determining it. Just as reflections have no substance in them, outside of the mirror, so also the things of the world have no substance in them outside of the cognising factor, viz., Intelligence.
The detail and tangibility of things are no arguments against their being nothing but images.
55-63. “Those qualities of reflected images depend on the excellence of the reflecting surface, we can see in the case of water and polished surface. Mirrors are insentient and are not self-contained. Whereas, consciousness is always pure and self-contained; it does not require an external object to create the image. Ordinary mirrors are liable to be soiled by extraneous dirt whereas consciousness has nothing foreign to it, being always alone and undivided; and therefore its reflections are unique. Created things are not self-luminous and are illumined by another’s cognitive faculty. Cognition of things implies their images on our intelligence. They are only images. The creation therefore is an image. It is not self-shining; and thus it is not self-aware, but becomes a fact on our perception of it. Therefore I say that the universe is nothing but an image on our consciousness. Consciousness shines notwithstanding the formation of images on it; though impalpable, it is steadily fixed and does not falter. Just as the images in a mirror are not apart from the mirror, so also the creations of consciousness are not apart from it.
64. “Objects are necessary for producing images in a mirror; they are not however necessary for consciousness because it is self-contained.
65-66 …. “O Parasurama! note how day-dreams and hallucinations are clearly pictured in the mind even in the absence of any reality behind them. How does it happen? The place of objects is taken up by the peculiar imaginative quality of the mind. When such imagination is deep, it takes shape as creation; consciousness is pure and unblemished in the absence of imagination.
67. “Thus you see how consciousness was absolute and pure before creation and how its peculiar quality or will brought about this image of the world in it.
68-69. “So the world is nothing but an image drawn on the screen of consciousness; it differs from a mental picture in its long duration; that is again due to the strength of will producing the phenomenon. The universe appears practical, material and perfect because the will determining its creation is perfect and independent; whereas the human conceptions are more or less transitory according to the strength or the weakness of the will behind them.
70. “The hampering of limitations is to some extent overcome by the use of incantations, gems and herbs, and an unbroken current of ‘I’ is established.
71. “With the aid of that pure yoga, O Rama observe the creation manifested by one’s will like the hallucinations brought about by a magician.
Note. – There are said to be some live gems which have extraordinary properties. They are lustrous even in the dark and do not take on different lustres according to the background. They also illumine the objects close to them. One kind is said to be cool to touch and it does not become warm even on contact with the body; another is said to sweat in moonlight; still another makes the owner prosperous; yet another ruins him (e.g., the ‘Hope’ diamond), and so on.
A vivid account is given of a magician’s performance in Ranjit Singh’s court. He threw a rope into the air which stood taut. A man climbed up the rope and disappeared.
72. Objects in the world can be handled and put to use, while mental creations (e.g., dreams) present the same phenomenon.
73. “A magician’s creations are only transitory; a yogi’s creations may be permanent; both are external to the creator, whereas the divine creation cannot be apart from the omnipresent Lord.
Note. – Visvamitra, a great Rishi, is reputed to have created a duplicate Universe, a part of which consists of the constellations composing Scorpio, Sagittarius, and the Southern Cross. Some trees, plants and herbs in imitation of well-known species (e.g., palmyra corresponding to cocoanut, jungle potatoes and onions insipid to taste and useless, etc.) are among his creations.
74. “Because the Lord of consciousness is infinite, the creation can remain only within Him and the contrary is pure fancy.
75. “Since the Universe is only a projection from and in the mirror of consciousness, its unreal nature can become clear only on investigation, and not otherwise.
76. “Truth can never change its nature, whereas untruth is always changing. See how changeful the nature of the world is!
77-78. “Distinguish between the changeless truth and the changeful untruth and scrutinise the world comprised of these two factors, changeful phenomena and changeless subjective consciousness, like the unchanging light of the mirror and the changing images in it.
79. “The world cannot stand investigation because of its changing unreal nature. Just as the owl is dazzled and blinded by bright sunlight, so the world parades in glory before ignorance and disappears before right analysis.
Note. – The man sees by sunlight and is helpless in its absence. The owl sees in darkness and is blinded in sunlight. Whose sight is the better of the two? This cannot be determined satisfactorily so that investigation becomes lame.
80-84. “What is food for one, is poison for another (e.s., decomposed food for worms and men). What is one thing to yogis and celestials, is another to others. A long distance by one vehicle is short by another.
“Long intervals of space reflected in the mirror are themselves in it and yet unreal.
“In this way, investigation becomes indeterminate by itself. Investigation and the object investigated are both indeterminate, and the only constant factor underlying both is consciousness. Nothing else can stand beside it.
85. “That which shines as ‘Is’ is Her Majesty the Absolute Consciousness.
“Thus the universe is only the Self – the One and one only.”
THE APPEARANCE OF THE REALITY OF THE UNIVERSE
DEPENDS ON THE STRENGTH OF WILL OF CREATION
DEPENDS ON THE STRENGTH OF WILL OF CREATION
1. Even after listening to Dattatreya patiently, Parasurama was still perplexed and asked:
2. “O Lord, what you have said so far about the Universe is the truth.
3. “Even so, how is it that it appears to be real to me and to others who are both intelligent and shrewd?
4. “Why does it continue to seem to be real to me even though I have heard you say otherwise? Please prove to me its unreality and remove my present illusion.”
5. Thus requested, Dattatreya, the great sage, began to explain the cause of the illusion which makes one believe the world to be real.
6. “Listen, Rama! This illusion is very old, being no other than the deep-rooted ignorance which mistakes one thing for another.
7. “See how the true Self has been ignored and the body has become identified with the Self. Consider this foul body comprised of blood and bones beside that unblemished, pure intelligence!
8. “Even the gross body becomes mistaken for crystal-clear consciousness by mere force of habit.
9. “So also the universe has repeatedly been taken to be real so that it now looks as if it were actually real. The remedy lies in a change of outlook.
10. “The world becomes for one whatever one is accustomed to think it. This is borne out by the realisation of yogis of the objects of their long contemplation.
11-12. “I shall illustrate this point by an ancient and wonderful incident. There is a very holy town, Sundara, in the country of Vanga. Here once lived a very wise and famous king, Susena by name. His younger brother, Mahasena, was his loyal and dutiful subject.
13. ” The king ruled his kingdom so well that all his subjects loved him. On one occasion he performed the horse-sacrifice.
Note. – This sacrifice can be performed only by the most powerful kings. A horse chosen and dedicated for sacrifice is allowed to roam wherever it pleases. The sacrificer or his lieutenant or group of lieutenants, follows the horse at a distance. The horse is a challenge to the kings in whose country it roams, so that battles are fought until the horse is successfully brought back and the sacrifice performed.
14. “All the most valiant princes followed the horse with a great army.
15. “Their course was victorious until they reached the banks of the Irrawaddy.
16. “They were so elated that they passed by the peacefully sitting royal sage, Gana, without saluting him.
17. “Gana’s son noticed the insult to his father and was exasperated. He caught the sacrificial horse and fought the heroes guarding it.
18-23. “They surrounded him on all sides but he together with the horse entered a hill, Ganda, before their eyes. Noticing his disappearance in the hill, the invaders attacked the hill. The sage’s son re-appeared with a huge army, fought the enemy, defeated them and destroyed Susena’s army. He took many prisoners of war, including all the princes and then re-entered the hill. A few followers who escaped fled to Susena and told him everything. Susena was surprised and said to his brother
24-30. “Brother! go to the place of the sage, Gana. Remember that penance doers are wonderfully powerful and cannot be conquered even by gods. Therefore take care to please him so that you may be allowed to bring back the princes and the horse in time for the sacrifice which is fast approaching. Pride before sages will always be humbled. If enraged, they reduce the world to ashes. Approach him with respect so that our object may be fulfilled.
“Mahasena obeyed and immediately started on his errand. He arrived at Gana’s hermitage and found the sage seated peacefully like a rock, with his senses, mind and intellect under perfect control. The sage, who was immersed in the Self, looked like a calm sea whose waves of thought had quieted down. Mahasena spontaneously fell prostrate before the sage and began to sing his praises, and here he remained for three days in reverential attitude.
31-46. “The sage’s son who had been watching the new visitor was pleased, and coming to him said, – I am pleased with the respect you show for my father, tell me what I can do for you and I will do it at once. I am the son of this great Gana, the unique hermit. Prince, listen to me. This is not the time for my father to speak. He is now in Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi and will come out of it only after twelve years, of which five have already passed and seven yet remain.
“Tell me now what you desire from him and I will do it for you. Do not underestimate me and think that I am only a headstrong youth not worthy of my father. There is nothing impossible for yogis engaged in penance.”
“After hearing him, Mahasena, being wise, saluted him with clasped hands and said: ‘Oh child of the sage! If you mean to fulfil my desire I want to make a short request to your wise father when he has come out of his samadhi. Kindly help me to that end if you please.’ After he had thus requested, the sage’s son replied: ‘King, your request is hard to grant. Having promised fulfilment of your desire, I cannot now go back on my word. I must now ask you to wait an hour and a half and watch my yogic power. This, my father, is now in transcendental peace. Who can wake him up by external efforts? Wait! I shall do it forthwith by means of subtle yoga.’
“Saying so, he sat down, withdrew his senses, united the in-going and out-going breaths, exhaled air and stopped motionless for a short time; in this way he entered the mind of the sage and after agitating it, re-entered his own body. Immediately the sage came to his senses and found Mahasena in front of him, prostrating and praising him. He thought for a moment taking in the whole situation by his extraordinary powers.
47-49. “Perfectly peaceful and cheerful in mind, he beckoned to his son and said to him: ‘Boy, do not repeat this fault. Wrath wrecks penance. Penance is only possible and can progress without obstruction because the king protects yogis. To interfere with a sacrifice is always reprehensible and never to be countenanced by the good. Be a good boy and return the horse and the princes immediately. Do it at once so that the sacrifice may be performed at the appointed hour.’
50. “Directed thus, the sage’s son was immediately appeased. He went into the hill, returned with the horse and the princes and released them with pleasure.
51-53. “Mahasena sent the princes with the horse to the town. He was surprised at what he saw and saluting the sage asked him respectfully: “Lord, please tell me how the horse and the princes were concealed in the hill.” Then the sage replied:
54-66. “Listen, O King, I was formerly an emperor ruling the empire bounded by the seas. After a long while the Grace of God descended on me and I grew disgusted with the world as being but trash in the light of consciousness within. I abdicated the kingdom in favour of my sons and retired into this forest. My wife, being dutiful, accompanied me here. Several years were passed in our penance and austerities. Once my wife embraced me and this son was born to her when I was in samadhi. She brought me to my senses, left the babe with me and died. This boy was brought up by me with love and care. When he grew up, he heard that I had once been a king; he wished to be one also and besought me to grant his prayer. I initiated him in yoga which he practised with such success that he was able by the force of his will to create a world of his own in this hill which he is now ruling. The horse and princes were kept there. I have now told you the secret of that hill.” After hearing it Mahasena asked again:
67. “I have with great interest heard your wonderful account of this hill. I want to see it. Can you grant my prayer?”
68. “Being so requested, the sage commanded his son saying: ‘Boy! show him round the place and satisfy him.’
69. “Having said thus, the sage again lapsed into samadhi; and his son went away with the king.
70. “The sage’s son entered the hill without trouble and disappeared, but Mahasena was not able to enter. So he called out for the sage’s son.
71. “He too called out to the king, from the interior of the hill. Then he came out of it and said to the king:
72-74. “O King, this hill cannot be penetrated with the slender yogic powers that you possess. You will find it too dense. Nevertheless you must be taken into it as my father ordered. Now, leave your gross body in this hole covered with bushes; enter the hill with your mental sheath along with me.’ The king could not do it and asked:
75. “Tell me, saint, how I am to throw off this body. If I do it forcibly, I shall die.
76. “The saint smiled at this and said: ‘You do not seem to know yoga. Well, close your eyes.’
77. “The king closed his eyes; the saint forthwith entered into him, took the other’s subtle body and left the gross body in the hole.
78. “Then by his yogic power the saint entered the hill with this subtle body snatched from the other which was filled with the desire of seeing the empire within the bowels of the hill.
79. “Once inside he roused up the sleeping individual to dream. The latter now found himself held by the saint in the wide expanse of ether.
Note. – The ativahika sarira (astral body), exhaustively treated in Yoga Vasishta.
80-82. “He was alarmed on looking in all directions and requested the saint, ‘Do not forsake me lest I should perish in this illimitable space.’ The saint laughed at his terror and said, ‘I shall never forsake you. Be assured of it. Now look round at everything and have no fear.’
83-95. “The king took courage and looked all round. He saw the sky above, enveloped in the darkness of night and shining with stars. He ascended there and looked down below; he came to the region of the moon and was benumbed with cold. Protected by the saint, he went up to the Sun and was scorched by its rays. Again tended by the saint, he was refreshed and saw the whole region a counterpart of the Heaven. He went up to the summits of the Himalayas with the saint and was shown the whole region and also the earth. Again endowed with powerful eye-sight, he was able to see far-off lands and discovered other worlds besides this one. In the distant worlds there was darkness prevailing in some places; the earth was gold in some; there were oceans and island continents traversed by rivers and mountains; there were the heavens peopled by Indra and the Gods, the asuras, human beings, the rakshasas and other races of celestials. He also found that the saint had divided himself as Brahman in Satyaloka, as Vishnu in Vaikunta, and as Siva in Kailasa while all the time he remained as his original-self the king ruling in the present world. The king was struck with wonder on seeing the yogic power of the saint. The sage’s son said to him: ‘This sightseeing has lasted only a single day according to the standards prevailing here, whereas twelve thousand years have passed by in the world you are used to. So let us return to my father.’
96. “Saying so, he helped the other to come out of the hill to this outer world.”
HOW WAKEFULNESS AND DREAM ARE SIMILAR IN NATURE
AND OBJECTS ARE ONLY MENTAL IMAGES
AND OBJECTS ARE ONLY MENTAL IMAGES
1-2. The sage’s son made the king sleep, united his subtle body with the gross one left in the hole, and then woke him up.
3. On regaining his senses, Mahasena found the whole world changed. The people, the river courses, the trees, the tanks, etc., were all different.
4-30. He was bewildered and asked the saint:
“O great one! How long have we spent seeing your world? This world looks different from the one I was accustomed to! “Thus asked, the sage’s son said to Mahasena: ‘Listen King, this is the world which we were in and left to see that within the hill. The same has undergone enormous changes owing to the long interval of time. We spent only one day looking round the hill region; the same interval counts for twelve thousand years in this land; and it has accordingly changed enormously. Look at the difference in the manners of the people and their languages. Such changes are natural. I have often noticed similar changes before. Look here! This is the Lord, my father in Samadhi. Here you stood before, praising my father and praying to him. There you see the hill in front of you.
“By this time, your brother’s progeny has increased to thousands. What was Vanga, your country, with Sundara, your capital, is now a jungle infested with jackals and wild animals. There is now one Virabahu in your brother’s line who has his capital Visala on the banks of the Kshipra in the country of Malwa; in your line, there is Susarma whose capital is Vardhana in the country of the Dravidas, on the banks of the Tambrabharani. Such is the course of the world which cannot remain the same even for a short time. For in this period, the hills, rivers, lakes, and the contour of the earth have altered. Mountains subside; plains heave high; deserts become fertile; plateaus change to sandy tracts; rocks decompose and become silt; clay hardens sometimes; cultivated farms become barren and barren lands are brought under tillage; precious stones become valueless and trinkets become invaluable; salt water becomes sweet and potable waters become brackish; some lands contain more people than cattle, others are infested with wild beasts; and yet others are invaded by venomous reptiles, insects and vermin. Such are some of the changes that happen on the earth in course of time. But there is no doubt that this is the same earth as we were in before.”
Mahasena heard all that the sage’s son said and fainted from the shock. Then being brought round by his companion, he was overcome by grief and mourned the loss of his royal brother and brother’s son and of his own wife and children. After a short time, the sage’s son assuaged his grief with wise words: “Being a sensible man, why do you mourn and at whose loss? A sensible man never does anything without a purpose, to act without discernment is childish. Think now, and tell me what loss grieves you and what purpose your grief will serve.”
Asked thus, Mahasena, who was still inconsolable retorted: “Great sage that you are, can you not understand the cause of my sorrow? How is it that you seek the reason of my grief when I have lost my all? A man is generally sad when only one of his family dies. I have lost all my friends and relatives and you still ask me why I am sad.”
31-48. The sage’s son continued derisively. “King! tell me now. Is this lapse into sorrow a hereditary virtue? will it result in sin if you do not indulge in it on this occasion? Or do you hope to recover your loss by such grief? King! Think well and tell me what you gain by your sorrow. If you consider it irresistible, listen to what I say.
“Such loss is not fresh. Your forefathers have died before. Have you ever mourned their loss? If you say that it is because of blood relationship that it now causes your grief, were there not worms in the bodies of your parents, living on their nourishment? Why are they not your relatives and why does not their loss cause you sorrow? King, think! Who are you? Whose deaths are the cause of your present grief?
“Are you the body, or other than that? The body is simply a conglomerate of different substances. Harm to any one of the constituents is harm to the whole. There is no moment in which each of the components is not changing. But the excretions do not constitute a loss to the body.
“Those whom you called your brother and so on are mere bodies; the bodies are composed of earth; when lost, they return to earth; and earth resolves ultimately into energy. Where then is the loss?
“In fact you are not the body. You own the body and call it your own, just as you do a garment you happen to possess. Where lies the difference between your body and your garment? Have you any doubt regarding this conclusion? Being other than your own body, what relation is there between you and another body? Did you ever claim similar relationship, say with your brother’s clothes? Why then mourn over the loss of bodies, which are in no way different from garments?
“You speak of ‘my’ body, ‘my’ eyes, ‘my’ life, ‘my’ mind and so on, I ask you now to tell me what precisely you are.”
Being confronted thus, Mahasena began to think over the matter, and unable to solve the problem he asked leave to consider it carefully. Then he returned and said with all humility “Lord, I do not see who I am. I have considered the matter, and still I do not understand. My grief is only natural; I cannot account for it.
“Master, I seek your protection. Kindly tell me what it is. Every one is overpowered by grief when his relative dies. No one seems to know his own self; nor does one mourn all losses.
“I submit to you as your disciple. Please elucidate this matter to me.”
Being thus requested, the sage’s son spoke to Mahasena:
49. “King, listen! People are deluded by the illusion cast by Her Divine Majesty. They partake of misery that is due to the ignorance of their selves. Their misery is meaningless.
50. “As long as the ignorance of the self lasts, so long will there be misery.
51-52. “Just as a dreamer is foolishly alarmed at his own dreams or as a fool is deluded by the serpents created in a magic performance, so also the man ignorant of the Self is terrified.
53-55. “Just as the dreamer awakened from his fearful dream or the man attending the magic performance informed of the unreal nature of the magic creations, no longer fears them but ridicules another who does, so also one aware of the Self not only does not grieve but also laughs at another’s grief. Therefore, O valiant hero, batter down this impregnable fortress of illusion and conquer your misery by realisation of the Self. In the meantime be discriminating and not so foolish.”
56-58. After hearing the sage’s son, Mahasena said, ‘Master, your illustration is not to the point. Dream or magic is later realised to be illusory whereas this hard concrete universe is always real and purposeful. This is unassailed and persistent. How can it be compared to the evanescent dream?’ Then the sage’s son answered:
59. “Listen to what I say. Your opinion that the illustration is not to the point is a double delusion like a dream in a dream.
Note. – The commentary says that the first delusion is the idea of separateness of the universe from oneself and that the second is the idea that dream objects are an illusion in contradistinction to those seen while awake. This is compared to the illusion that a dreamer mistakes the dream-rope for a dream-serpent. (The dream is itself an illusion and the mistake is an illusion in the illusion).
60-70. “Consider the dream as a dreamer would and tell me whether the trees do not afford shade to the pedestrians, and bear fruits for the use of others. Is the dream realised to be untrue and evanescent in the dream itself?
“Do you mean to say that the dream is rendered false after waking from it? Is not the waking world similarly rendered false in your dream or deep sleep?
“Do you contend that the waking state is not so because there is continuity in it after you wake up? Is there no continuity in your dreams from day to day?
“If you say that it is not evident, tell me whether the continuity in the wakeful world is not broken up every moment of your life.
“Do you suggest that the hills, the seas and the earth itself are really permanent phenomena, in spite of the fact that their appearance is constantly changing? Is not the dream-world also similarly continuous with its earth, mountains, rivers, friends and relatives?
“Do you still doubt its abiding nature? Then extend the same reasoning to the nature of the wakeful world and know it to be equally evanescent.
“The ever-changing objects like the body, trees, rivers, and islands are easily found to be transitory. Even mountains are not immutable, for their contours change owing to the erosion of waterfalls and mountain torrents; ravages by men, boars and wild animals, insects; thunder; lightning and storms; and so on. You will observe similar change in the seas and on earth.
“Therefore I tell you that you should investigate the matter closely. (You will probably argue as follows:)
71-76. “Dream and wakefulness resemble each other in their discontinuous harmony (like a chain made up of links). There is no unbroken continuity in any object because every new appearance implies a later disappearance. But continuity cannot be denied in the fundamentals underlying the objects!
“Because a dream creation is obliterated and rendered false by present experience – what distinction will you draw between the fundamentals underlying the dream objects and the present objects?
“If you say that the dream is an illusion and its fundamentals are equally so, whereas the present creation is not so obliterated and its fundamentals must therefore be true, I ask you what illusion is. It is determined by the transitory nature, which is nothing but appearance to, and disappearance from, our senses.
“Is not everything obliterated in deep sleep? If you maintain however, that mutual contradiction is unreliable as evidence and so proves nothing, it amounts to saying that self-evident sight alone furnishes the best proof. Quite so, people like you do not have a true insight into the nature of things.
77-79. “Therefore, take my word for it, the present world is only similar to the dream world. Long periods pass in dreams also. Therefore, purposefulness and enduring nature are in every way similar to both states. Just as you are obviously aware in your waking state, so also you are in your dream state.
80. “These two states being so similar, why do you not mourn the loss of your dream relations?
81. “The wakeful universe appears so real to all only by force of habit. If the same be imagined vacuous it will melt away into the void.
82-83. “One starts imagining something; then contemplates it; and by continuous or repeated association resolves that it is true unless contradicted. In that way, the world appears real in the manner one is used to it. My world that you visited furnishes the proof thereof; come now, let us go round the hill and see.”
85. Saying so, the sage’s son took the king, and went round the hill and returned to the former spot.
86-87. Then he continued: “Look, O King! the circuit of the hill is hardly two miles and a half and yet you have seen a universe within it. Is it real or false? Is it a dream or otherwise? What has passed as a day in that land, has counted for twelve thousand years here, which is correct? Think, and tell me. Obviously you cannot distinguish this from a dream and cannot help concluding that the world is nothing but imagination. My world will disappear instantly if I cease contemplating it.
“Therefore convince yourself of the dream-like nature of the world and do not indulge in grief at your brother’s death.
90. “Just as the dream creations are pictures moving on the mind screens, so also this world including yourself is the obverse of the picture depicted by pure intelligence and it is nothing more than an image in a mirror. See how you will feel after this conviction. Will you be elated by the accession of a dominion or depressed by the death of a relative in your dream?
91. “Realise that the Self is the self-contained mirror projecting and manifesting this world. The Self is pure unblemished consciousness. Be quick! Realise it quickly and gain transcendental happiness!”
HOW THE UNIVERSE IS MERE IMAGINATION;
HOW TO GAIN THAT STRONG WILL WHICH CAN CREATE IT;
AND THE HIGHEST TRUTH
HOW TO GAIN THAT STRONG WILL WHICH CAN CREATE IT;
AND THE HIGHEST TRUTH
1-6. Having heard the sage’s son, Mahasena began to think clearly and seriously; he concluded the world to be dream-like and overcame his grief. Growing strong in mind, he was not perturbed. Then he asked his companion: “Great and wise saint! You know this world and beyond. I do not believe that there is anything that you do not know. Please answer me now: How can you say that the whole is pure imagination? However much I may imagine, my imagination does not materialise. But you have created a universe by the force of your will. And yet, how do time and space differ in these creations? Please tell me.” On being thus asked, the sage’s son replied:
7. “The will conceives either effectively or ineffectively according as it is uniform or broken up by indecision.
8. “Do you not know this world to be the result of Brahma’s desire? This looks real and permanent because the original desire is so powerful.
9. “Whereas the world of your creation no one takes seriously, and your own mistrust makes it useless.
10-15. “Conceptions materialise for various reasons as follows: by virtue of the natural function as with Brahma, the Creator; by the possession of live-gems as with Yakshas and Rakshasas (classes of celestial beings); by the use of herbs as with Gods (nectar is reputed to contain the extracts of superb herbs); by the practice of yoga as with yogis; by the miraculous power of incantations as with a few siddhas; by the force of penance as with some sages; and by virtue of boons as with the Architect of the universe (Viswakarma).
“One should forget the old associations in order to make one’s new conception effective and this endures only so long as it is not obstructed by the old one. A conception is forceful unless obstructed by an antecedent one and thus destroyed. It is effective only when forceful; in that way even great things may be achieved.
16. “Your conceptions do not materialise for the aforesaid reason. Therefore you must practise focussing of thought if you desire your own creations to endure.
17-23. “I shall tell you now about the difference in time and space. You are not proficient in the affairs of the world, and therefore you are mystified. I shall now make it clear how these differences appear. The Sun helps all to see but blinds the owls; water is the abode of fishes but drowns man; fire burns a man but is food to tittiri (a species of bird); fire is ordinarily put out by water but it flourishes in the middle of ocean at the time of dissolution. Similar discrepancies are evident elsewhere. Men and animals engage in activities with their limbs and senses, whereas spirits do so with bodies of others. Instances like these are innumerable. Their explanation is as follows:
24-25. “Sight is of the eye and cannot be without it. A jaundiced eye sees everything yellow and myopia produces the double image of a single object.
26-32. “Abnormal visions are thus the direct result of abnormal eyes. The Karandakas, in an Eastern island, are said to see everything red; so also the inhabitants of Ramanaka isle see everything upside down. One hears many more strange stories of the kind, all of which are based on abnormalities of vision. They can all be remedied by proper treatment. The same applies to other senses including the mind. The relation between space and objects and between time and events is according to your estimate of them; there is no intrinsic relationship between them.
33. “(Having so far proved the objects and events to be only within, he proceeds to establish that there is no ‘exterior’ to the self). ‘What is designated as exterior’ by people, is simply the origin and prop of the universe like the screen with relation to the picture on it.
34-40. “There could be nothing external to that ‘exterior’ except it be one’s own body. How can that be externalised from the ‘exterior’? For example, when you say ‘outside the hill’ the hill is withdrawn from the space beyond; it is not included in it. But the body is seen in space just as a pot is seen.
“The body must therefore be external to the seer. What is visible lies within the range of illumination: if without, it cannot be seen. Therefore the illumined objects must be within the vision of the illuminant. The body, etc., are the illumined, because they are themselves objectified. The illumined and the illuminant cannot be identical.
“Again the illuminant cannot be objectified; for who is the seer apart from it? and how can the illumination by which he sees be apart from him? That the illuminant affords the light and serves as an object standing apart from the seer, is impossible to maintain. Therefore the illuminant cannot admit of any foreign admixture in it, and he is the illumination in perfection – only one, and the being of all.
41. “He extends as time and space; they are infinite and perfect, being involved as the illuminant, illumination and the illumined.
42. “As regards within or without, everything is included in illumination. How can then anything be ‘outer’ unless it is like a peak on a mountain?
43. “The whole universe is thus in the illumination which shines self-sufficient, by itself, everywhere, and at all times.
44-45. “Such illumination is Her Transcendental Majesty Tripura, the Supreme. She is called Brahma in the Vedas, Vishnu by the Vaishnavites, Siva by the Saivites, and Sakti by the Saktas. There is indeed nothing but She.
46. “She holds everything by Her prowess as a mirror does its images. She is the illuminant in relation to the illumined.
47-49. “The object is sunk in illumination like the image of a city in a mirror. Just as the city is not apart from the mirror, so also the universe is not apart from consciousness. Just as the image is part and parcel of the clear, smooth, compact and one mirror, so also the universe as part and parcel of the perfect, solid and unitary consciousness, namely the Self.
50. “The world cannot be demonstrably ascertained. Space is simply void serving for the location of materials.
51. “The universe is, always and all-through, a phenomenon in the Self. The question then arises how consciousness, being void, is dense at the same time.
52. “Just as a mirror, though, dense and impenetrable, contains the image, so also pure consciousness is dense and impenetrable and yet displays the universe by virtue of its self-sufficiency.
53. “Though consciousness is all-pervading, dense and single, it still holds the mobile and immobile creation within it, wonderful in its variety, with no immediate or ultimate cause for it.
54-55. “Just as the mirror remains unaffected by the passage of different images and yet continues to reflect as clearly as before, so also the one consciousness illumines the waking and dream states which can be verified by proper meditation.
56. “O King! Examine again your day-dreams and mental imagery. Though they are perfect in detail, yet they are no less mental.
57. “Consciousness permeating them obviously remains unblemished before creation or after dissolution of the world; even during the existence of the world, it remains unaffected as the mirror by the images.
58. “Though unperturbed, unblemished, thick, dense and single the absolute consciousness being self-sufficient manifests within itself what looks ‘exterior’, just like a mirror reflecting space as external to itself.
59-60. “This is the first step in creation; it is called ignorance or darkness; starting as an infinitesimal fraction of the whole, it manifests as though external to its origin, and is a property of the ego-sense. The alienation is on account of the latent tendencies to be manifested later. Because of its non-identity with the original consciousness, it is now simple, insentient energy.”
Note. – The commentary has it: What is absolute consciousness goes under the name of Maya just before creation, and is later called Avidya (or ignorance) with the manifestation of the ego. The agitation in the quietness is due to subtle time fructifying the latent tendencies of the ego which had not merged in the primordial state at the time of the dissolution of the Universe.
61. “That consciousness which illumines the ‘exterior’ is called Sivatattva, whereas the individual feeling as ‘I’ is Saktitattva.
Note. – Siva is awareness of the ‘exterior’; Sakti is the dynamic force operating the potential tendencies in the individual self.
62. “When the awareness of the ‘exterior’, combined with the ‘I’, encompasses the entire imagined space as ‘I’ it is called Sada-Siva-tattva.
63. “When, later, discarding the abstraction of the Self and the exterior, clear identification with the insentient space takes place, it is called Isvara-tattva. The investigation of the last two steps is pure vidya (knowledge).
64. “All these five tattvas are pure because they relate to an as-yet-undifferentiated condition like potentialities in a seed.
65. “After the differentiation is made manifest by will-force the insentient part predominates over the other, as opposed to the contrary condition before.
66. “That insentient predominance is called Maya Sakti after differentiation is clearly established, like the sprout from a seed.
67-69. “The sentient phase now contacts being relegated to a minor position, and takes on the name of Purusha being covered by five sheaths, namely kala (something of doership), vidya (some knowledge), raga (desire) kala (time – allotted life) and niyati (fixed order of things).
70. “Anamnesis of individuals made up of the proclivities acquired as a result of engaging in diverse actions in previous births, is now supported by intelligence and remains as prakriti (nature).
71. “This prakriti is tripartite because the fruits of actions are of three kinds; She manifests as the three states of life wakefulness, dream and deep sleep, She then assumes the name, chitta (mind).
72. “The anamnesis goes by the name of Prakriti in dreamless slumber, and Chitta in the other states. It is always comprised of the insentient phase of the proclivities of the mind and the sentient phase of intelligence.
73. “When the proclivities still remain in abeyance without being used up, its totality is called avyakta (unmanifested); differences arise only in chitta, there is no difference among individuals in sleep and so it is prakriti, the same assuming the name of chitta when differences manifest.
Note. – Sleep is characterised by undifferentiation and so it is the same for all, irrespective of propensities of the mind. Simultaneous with the awareness of the body the other states manifest. Individual enjoyments – pleasure and pain – lie only in the wakeful and dream states, according as the innate tendencies of the mind mature and yield fruits. When one crop is over sleep supervenes, then there is no enjoyment and no distinction according to crops. As the anamnesis is ready with the next crop, sleep is shaken off and differences arise. So it is clear how the one undifferentiated condition manifests as the universe in all its diversity and resolves into itself periodically.
75. “Therefore the mind (chitta) is purusha (the individual) when the sentient phase is assertive, and the same is ayakta (unmanifest) when prakriti (nature), the insentient phase, is assertive.
76. “That chitta is tripartite according to its functions, namely, ego, intellect and mind.
77. “When influenced by the three qualities, it manifests in greater details as follows: by satva (brightness), it becomes the five senses, hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell; by rajas (activity) speech, hands, feet, organs of excretion and of procreation; by tamas (darkness) earth, air, fire, water and ether.
78. “The supreme intelligence coquets with the universe in this manner, remaining all the time unaffected, a witness of its own creation.
79. “The present creation is the mental product of Brahma or Hiranyagarbha, appointed creator by the will-force of the Primal Being, Sri Tripura.
80. “The cognition ‘you’ and ‘I’ is the essence of any kind of creation; such cognition is the manifestation of transcendental consciousness; there cannot be any difference (just as there is no difference in space, bounded by a pot or not bounded by it).
81. “The diversities in creation are solely due to qualifications limiting the consciousness; these qualifications (i.e., body, limiting of age) are the mental imagery of the creator (consistent with the individual’s past merits); when the creative will-force wears away there is dissolution and complete undifferentiation results.
82. “As for your will-power, it is overpowered by the creator when that impediment is surmounted by the methods already mentioned, your will-power will also become effective.
83. “Time, space, gross creations, etc., appear in it according to the imagery of the agent.
84-86. “A certain period is only one day according to my calculation whereas it is twelve thousand years according to Brahma: the space covered by about two miles and a half of Brahma is infinite according to me and covers a whole universe. In this way, both are true and untrue at the same time.
87-88. “Similarly also, imagine a hill within you, and also time in a subtle sense. Then contemplate a whole creation in them; they will endure as long as your concentration endures – even to eternity for all practical purposes, if your will-power be strong enough.
“Therefore I say that this world is a mere figment of imagination.
89. “O King! it shines in the manifest conscious Self within. Therefore what looks like the external world is really an image on the screen of the mind.
90. “Consciousness is thus the screen and the image, and so yogis are enabled to see long distances of space and realise long intervals of time.
91. “They can traverse all distance in a moment and can perceive everything as readily as a gooseberry in the hollow of one’s palm.
92. “Therefore recognise the fact that the world is simply an image on the mirror of consciousness and cultivate the contemplation of ‘I am’, abide as pure being and thus give up this delusion of the reality of the world.
93-97. “Then you will become like myself one in being self-sufficient.”
“On hearing this discourse of the sage’s son, the king overcame his delusion; his intellect became purified and he understood the ultimate goal. Then he practised samadhi, and became self-contained, without depending on any external agency, and led a long and happy life. He ceased to identify himself with the body, and became absolute as transcendental space until he was finally liberated. So you see, Bhargava, that the universe is only mental image, just as firm as one’s will-power, and no more. It is not independent of the Self. Investigate the matter yourself, and your delusion will gradually lose hold of you and pass off.”
ON WHAT NEED BE KNOWN AND NEED NOT BE KNOWN
AND ON THE NATURE OF THE SELF
AND ON THE NATURE OF THE SELF
1. On hearing Dattatreya relate the wonderful story of the Hill City, Parasurama marvelled more and more.
2. He, with a clear mind, pondered over the teachings of his Master, and then returned to him and asked him again:
3. “Lord, I have considered the purport of your teachings in the shape of the magnificent stories you told me.
4. “I understand that intelligence alone is real and single, and that objects are only unreal images like a city reflected in a mirror.
5. “Her Transcendental Majesty, the Maheswari, is that consciousness manifesting as Intelligence cognisant of the whole range of phenomena beginning from the unmanifest state of sleep and ending with this world passing in quick succession within itself.
6. “All these are apparently due to the self-sufficiency of that consciousness and they come into being without any immediate cause. This much I have understood after deep consideration.
7. “But this intelligence is said to be beyond cognition because it always remains as pure knowledge itself.
8. “I do not see how it can be realised if it surpasses knowledge. The goal is not achieved without realising it.
9. “The goal is liberation. What is its nature? If one can be liberated while alive, still how is the course of his emancipated life regulated, if that is at all possible?
10. “There are sages who are active. What is the relation between the world of action and their pure conscious being?
11. “How can they engage in action while all the time they inhere in absolute consciousness? Such consciousness can be of only one kind, and liberation also can be only one in order to be effective.
12-17. “How then are these differences noticed in the lives of the jnanis? Some of them are active; some teach scriptures; some worship deities; some abstract themselves into samadhi; some lead an austere life and emaciate themselves; some give clear instructions to their disciples; some rule kingdom quite justly; some openly hold disputations with other schools of thought; some write down their teachings and experiences; others simulate ignorance; a few even reprehensible and loathsome actions; but all of them are famous as wise men in the world.
18. “How can there be such differences in their lives when there can be no difference in the state of liberation common to all? Or are there grades in knowledge and liberation?
19. “Kindly enlighten me on these points, because I am eager to learn the truth and submit to you as my sole Teacher.”
20. Thus requested, Dattatreya appeared pleased with the questions and answered the worthy disciple as follows:
21. “Worthy Rama! You are indeed fit to reach that goal because you have now turned towards the right way of investigation.
22. “This is due to the Grace of God which puts you in the right way of investigation. Who can attain anything worthy, without divine Grace?
23. “The beneficent work of the self-inhering divine Grace is finished when the inward turning of one’s mind increases in strength day by day.
24-25. “What you have said so far is quite true; you have rightly understood the nature of consciousness but have not realised it. A knowledge of the property of a thing without actual experience of the thing itself is as useless as no knowledge.
26. “True experience of the Self is the unawareness of even ‘I am’. Can the world persist after such unawareness? Second-hand knowledge is no better than the recollection of a dream.
27. “Just as the accession of treasure in a dream is useless, so also is secondhand knowledge.
28. “I shall illustrate it with a very ancient story. There was formerly a very virtuous king ruling over Videha.
29. “He was Janaka by name, very wise and conversant with both this world and beyond. At one time he worshipped with sacrificial rites the Goddess, inhering as the Self.
30. “There came for the occasion, all the Brahmins, pandits, hermits, critics, those versed in the Vedas, those accustomed to share in sacrificial rites and sacrifices, etc.
31. “At the same time, Varuna, the God of waters, wanted to perform a similar sacrifice, but worthy men did not accept the invitation.
32-37. “For they were pleased with Janaka who respected them duly.
“Then Varuna’s son, who was a great dialectician, came to them. He disguised himself as a Brahmin, in order to decoy the Brahmin guests. On entering the royal chamber he duly blessed the king and addressed him thus before all the assembly. ‘O King, your assembly is not as good as it should be. It looks like a lovely lake of lotuses ravaged by crows, jackdaws and herons; it would be better without this medley of incompetents. I do not find a single individual here who will be an ornament to a great assembly like a swan to a lovely lake of lotuses. May God bless you! I shall have nothing to do with this multitude of fools.’
38-41. “Being thus insulted by Varuna’s son, the whole assembly stood up to a man and said in anger:
“You charlatan of a Brahmin! How dare you insult everybody here? What learning have you which is wanting in us? Wicked man that you are, you are only a bluffer! You shall not leave this place until you have proved your superiority over us. There are great pandits assembled here from all over the world. Do you hope to subdue all of them by your learning? Tell us your special subject in which you imagine yourself more proficient than us!’
Thus challenged, Varuni replied:
42-43. “I will in a minute outdo you all in debate; but that shall be only on the condition that if I am defeated, you will throw me into the sea; and if you are defeated, I will consign you to the sea, one after another. If you agree to this condition, let us have a debate.
44-45. “They consented and the debate began in right earnest. The pandits were shortly defeated by the fallacious logic of the opponent and they were sunk in the sea by hundreds.
46. “Varuna’s followers then took away the sunken pandits to his sacrifice where they were received with respect which much pleased them.
47. “There was one by name Kahoela, among those who were thus sunk. His son Ashtavakra, having heard of his father’s fate, hastened to Janaka’s court and challenged the debater skilled in fallacy. The masquerader was now defeated and straightaway condemned to the sea by the young avenger. Then Varuni threw off his mask in the court and restored back all the men formerly drowned in the sea. Kahoela’s son was now puffed with pride and behaved offensively before the assembled court. The pandits were made to feel mortified before the youth.
51-52. “Just then, a female ascetic appeared in their midst, to whom the offended assembly looked for help. Encouraging them in their hopes, the charming maiden with matted locks and hermit’s clothes was highly honoured by the king and she spoke in sweet and yet firm tones:
53. “‘Oh child! Son of Kahoela! You are indeed very accomplished, for these Brahmins have been rescued by you after you defeated Varuni in debate.
54-56. “‘I want to ask of you a short question, to which please give a straight answer, explicit and unreserved. What is that condition reaching which there will be all-round immortality: knowing which all doubts and uncertainties will disappear; and established in which all desires will vanish? If you have realised that unbounded state, please tell me directly.’
“Being approached by the ascetic, the son of Kahoela replied with confidence:
57-58. “‘I know it. Listen to what I say. There is nothing in the world not known to me. I have studied all the sacred literature with great care. Therefore hear my answer.
59-63. “What you ask is the primal and efficient cause of the universe, being itself without beginning, middle or end, and uneffected by time and space. It is pure, unbroken, single Consciousness. The whole world is manifested in it like a city in a mirror. Such is that transcendental state. On realising it, one becomes immortal; there is no place for doubts and uncertainties, as there is no more reason for ignorance as at the sight of innumerable reflected images; and there will be no more room for desire, because transcendence is then experienced.
“It is also unknowable because there is no one to know it, besides itself.
“Ascetic! I have now told you the truth as contained in the Scriptures.’
64-71. “After Ashtavakra had finished, the hermit spoke again: ‘Young sage! What you say, is rightly said and accepted by all. But I draw your attention to that part of your answer where you admitted its unknowability for want of a knower outside of consciousness; and also that its knowledge confers immortality and perfection. How are these two statements to be reconciled? Either admit that consciousness is unknowable, is not known to you, and thus conclude its non-existence; or say that it is, and that you know it – and therefore it is not unknowable.
“You evidently speak from secondhand knowledge, gathered from the scriptures. Clearly, you have not realised it and so your knowledge is not personal.
“Think now – your words amount to this – you have a personal knowledge of the images but not of the mirror. How can that be?
“Tell me now if you are not ashamed of this prevarication before King Janaka and his assembly.’
“Being thus reprimanded by the ascetic, he could not speak for some time because he felt mortified and ashamed; so he remained with bent head thinking it over.
72-73. “However, the Brahmin youth could not find any satisfactory answer to her question, so he submitted to her in great humility: ‘O ascetic! Truly I cannot find the answer to your question. I submit to you as your disciple. Pray tell me how the two scriptural statements are to be reconciled. But I assure you that I have not told a deliberate lie, for I know that any merits a liar may have are counteracted by his lies so that he is condemned as unworthy.’
74. “Thus requested, the ascetic was pleased with Ashtavakra’s sincerity and said to him in the hearing of the assembly.
75-84. “‘Child, there are many who being ignorant of this sublime truth, live in a state of delusion. Dry polemics will not help one to Reality for it is well guarded on all sides. Of all the people now assembled here, no one has experienced Reality, except the king and myself. It is not a subject for discussion. The most brilliant logic can only approach it but never attain it. Although unaffected by logic coupled with a keen intellect, it can however be realised by service to one’s Guru and the grace of God.
“O thou who art thyself the son of a Sage, listen to me carefully, for this is hard to understand even when hearing it explained. Hearing it a thousand times over will be useless unless one verifies the teachings by means of investigation into the Self with a concentrated mind. Just as a prince labours under a misapprehension that the string of pearls still clinging to his neck has been stolen away by another and is not persuaded to the contrary by mere words but only believes when he finds it around his neck by his own effort so also, O youth, however clever a man may be, he will never know his own self by the mere teaching of others unless he realises it for himself. Otherwise he can never realise the Self if his mind is turned outward.
85. “A lamp illumines all around but does not illumine itself or another light. It shines of itself without other sources of light. Things shine in sunlight without the necessity for any other kind of illumination. Because lights do not require to be illumined, do we say that they are not known or that they do not exist?
“Therefore, as it is thus with lights and things made aware by the conscious self, what doubt can you have regarding abstract consciousness, namely the Self?
“Lights and things being insentient, cannot be self-aware. Still, their existence or manifestation is under no doubt. That means they are self-luminous. Can you not similarly investigate with an inward mind in order to find out if the all-comprehending Self is conscious or not conscious?
“That Consciousness is absolute and transcends the three states (wakefulness, dream and slumber) and comprises all the universe making it manifest. Nothing can be apprehended without its light.
“Will anything be apparent to you, if there be no consciousness? Even to say that nothing is apparent to you (as in sleep) requires the light of consciousness. Is not your awareness of your unawareness (in sleep) due to consciousness?
“If you infer its eternal light, then closely investigate whether the light is of itself or not. Everybody falls in this investigation however learned and proficient he may be, because his mind is not bent inward but restlessly moves outward. As long as thoughts crop up, so long has the turning inward of the mind not been accomplished. As long as the mind is not inward, so long the Self cannot be realised. Turning inward means absence of desire. How can the mind be fixed within if desires are not given up?
“Therefore become dispassionate and inhere as the Self. Such inherence is spontaneous (no effort is needed to inhere as the Self). It is realised after thoughts are eliminated and investigation ceases. Recapitulate your state after you break off from it, and then will know all and the significance of its being knowable and unknowable at the same time. Thus realising the unknowable, one abides in immortality for ever and ever.
“I have now finished. Salutations to you! Farewell!
“But you have not yet understood my words because this is the first time you hear the truth. This king, the wisest among men, can make you understand. So ask him again and he will clear your doubts.”
“When she had finished, she was honoured by the king and the whole assembly, and then she instantly dissolved in air and disappeared from human sight.
“I have now related to you, O Rama, the method of Self-Realisation.”
ON CONSCIOUSNESS; CONTROL OF MIND; AND SLEEP
1. When Parasurama had heard the story, he marvelled greatly and requested his Master to continue.
2-5. “Lord, this ancient legend is marvellous. Please tell me what Ashtavakra asked the king next, and the instructions he received. I had not hitherto heard this story full of sublime truths. Please continue the story. Master, I am anxious to hear it in full.”
Being so requested, Dattatreya, the great sage and Master, continued the holy narrative. “Listen, O Bhargava, to the discourse with Janaka.
6-7. “On the departure of the holy ascetic from vision, Ashtavakra, the son of a sage, asked Janaka who was surrounded by a whole group of pandits, the full explanation of the ascetic’s brief but recondite speech. I shall now tell you Janaka’s reply, to which listen attentively.
8-9. “Ashtavakra asked, ‘O King of Videha, I have not clearly understood the teaching of the ascetic because of its brevity. Please explain to me then, Lord of mercy, how I shall know the unknowable’.
Being thus asked, Janaka, as if surprised, replied:
10-13. “O thou son of a sage, listen to me! It is neither unknowable nor remains unknown at any moment. Tell me how even the ablest of Masters can guide one to something which always remains unknown. If a Guru can teach, it means that he knows what he says. This transcendental state is quite easy or may be well-nigh impossible according as one’s mind is inward bent in peace or out-moving in restlessness. It cannot be taught if it always remains unknown.
14. “The fact that the Vedas point to it only indirectly as ‘not this – not this’ shows that the knowledge can be imparted to others.
“Whatever you see becomes known by the very abstract intelligence.
15-19. “Now carefully analyse the underlying consciousness which, though abstract and apart from material objects, yet illumines them all the same. Know it to be the truth. O sage! What is not self-luminous can only fall within the orbit of intelligence and cannot be Intelligence itself. Intelligence is that by which objects are known; it cannot be what it is if it becomes the object of knowledge. What is intelligible must always be different from intelligence itself, or else it could not be made known by it. Intelligence in the abstract cannot admit of parts, which is the characteristic of objects. Therefore objects take on shapes. Carefully watch absolute Intelligence after eliminating all else from it.
20. “Just as a mirror takes on the hues of the images, so also the abstract Intelligence assumes the different shapes of objects by virtue of its holding them within itself.
21. “Abstract Intelligence can thus be made manifest by eliminating from it all that can be known. It cannot be known as such and such, for it is the supporter of one and all.
22. “This, being the Self of the seeker, is not cognisable. Investigate your true Self in the aforesaid manner.
Note. – There is no other agent to know the Self nor light by which to know it.
23. “You are not the body, nor the senses, nor the mind, because they are all transient. The body is composed of food, so how can you be the body?
24. “For the sense of ‘I’ (ego) surpasses the body, the senses and the mind, at the time of the cognition of objects.
Commentary. – The Self always flashes as ‘I’ due to its self-luminosity. The body and such things do not. The ‘I’ surpasses the body, etc., simultaneously with the perception of objects, for the bodily conception does not exist with the perception of objects. Otherwise the two perceptions must be coeval.
“The contention may be set out that the eternal flash of the Self as ‘I’ is not apparent at the time of the perception of objects. If ‘I’ did not shine forth at the time, the objects would not be perceived just as they are invisible in the absence of light. Why is not the flash apparent? Perceptibility is always associated with insentient matter. Who else could see the self-luminosity of the Self? It cannot shine in absolute singleness and purity. However it is there as ‘I’.
“Moreover everyone feels ‘I see the objects’. If it were not for the eternal being of ‘I’, there would always arise the doubt ‘if I am’ or ‘if I am not’ – which is absurd.
“Nor should it be supposed that ‘I’ is of the body, at the time of perception of objects. For, perception implies the assumption of that shape by the intellect, as is evident when identifying the body with the Self?
“Nor again should it be said that at the time of perception ‘I am so and so, Chaitra,’ – the Chaitra sense over-reaches the ‘I’ sense, but the ‘I’ sense is never lost by the Chaitra sense.
“There is the continuity of ‘I’ in deep slumber and in Samadhi. Otherwise after sleep a man would get up as somebody else.
“The concentration is possible that in deep sleep and Samadhi, the Self remains unqualified and therefore is not identical with the limited consciousness of the ego, ‘I’. in the wakeful state. The answer is as follows: ‘I’, is of two kinds – qualified and unqualified. Qualification implies limitations whereas its absence implies its unlimited nature.
“‘I’ is associated with limitations in dream and wakeful states, and it is free from them in deep slumber and Samadhi states.
“In that case is the ‘I’ in Samadhi or sleep associated with trifold division of subject, object and their relation? No! Being pure and single, it is unblemished and persists as ‘I-I’, and nothing else. The same is Perfection.
25. “Whereas Her Majesty the Absolute Intelligence is ever resplendent as ‘I’, therefore She is all and ever-knowing. You are She, in the abstract.
26. “Realise it yourself by turning your sight inward. You are only pure abstract Consciousness. Realise it this instant, for procrastination is not worthy of a good disciple. He should realise the Self at the moment of instruction.
27. “Your eyes are not meant by the aforesaid word sight. The mental eye is meant, for it is the eye of the eye, as is clear in dreams.
28. “To say that the sight is turned inward is appropriate because perception is possible only when the sight is turned towards the object.
29-31. “The sight must be turned away from other objects and fixed on a particular object in order to see it. Otherwise that object will not be perceived in entirety. The fact that the sight is not fixed on it is the same as not seeing it. Similarly is it with hearing, touch, etc.
32. “The same applies to the mind in its sensations of pain and pleasure, which are not felt if the mind is otherwise engaged.
33. “The other perceptions require the two conditions, namely, elimination of others and concentration on the one. But Self-Realisation differs from them in that it requires only one condition: elimination of all perceptions.
34. “I shall tell you the reason for this. Although consciousness is unknowable, it is still realisable by pure mind.
35-45. “Even the learned are perplexed on this point. External perceptions of the mind are dependent on two conditions.
“The first is elimination of other perceptions and the second is fixation on the particular item of perception. If the mind is simply turned away from other perceptions, the mind is in an indifferent state, where there is absence of any kind of perception. Therefore concentration on a particular item is necessary for the perception of external things. But since consciousness is the Self and not apart from the mind, concentration on it is not necessary for its realisation. It is enough that other perceptions (namely, thoughts) should be eliminated from the mind and then the Self will be realised.
“If a man wants to pick out one particular image among a series of images passing in front of him as reflections on a mirror, he must turn his attention away from the rest of the pictures and fix it on that particular one.
“If on the other hand, he wants to see the space reflected it is enough that he turns away his attention from the pictures and the space manifests without any attention on his part, for, space is immanent everywhere and is already reflected there. However it has remained unnoticed because the interspatial images dominated the scene.
“Space being the supporter of all and immanent in all, becomes manifest if only the attention is diverted from the panorama. In the same way, consciousness is the supporter of all and is immanent in all and always remains perfect like space pervading the mind also. Diversion of attention from other items is all that is necessary for Self-Realisation. Or do you say that the Self-illuminant can ever be absent from any nook or corner?
46. “There can indeed be no moment or spot from which consciousness is absent. Its absence means their absence also. Therefore consciousness of the Self becomes manifest by mere diversion of attention from things or thoughts.
47. “Realisation of Self requires absolute purity only and no concentration of mind. For this reason, the Self is said to be unknowable (meaning not objectively knowable).
48. “Therefore it was also said that the sole necessity for Self-Realisation is purity of mind. The only impurity of the mind is thought. To make it thought-free is to keep it pure.
49. “It must now be clear to you why purity of mind is insisted upon for Realisation of Self. How can the Self be realised in its absence?
50-51. “Or, how is it possible for the Self not to be found gleaming in the pure mind? All the injunctions in the scriptures are directed towards this end alone. For instance, unselfish action, devotion, and dispassion have no other purpose in view.
52. “Because, transcendental consciousness, viz., the Self, is manifest only in the stain-free mind.”
After Janaka had spoken thus, Ashtavakra continued to ask:
53-54. “O King, if it is as you say that the mind made passive by elimination of thoughts is quite pure and capable of manifesting Supreme Consciousness, then sleep will do it by itself, since it satisfies your condition and there is no need for any kind of effort.”
55. Thus questioned by the Brahmin youth, the King replied, “I will satisfy you on this point. Listen carefully.
56-63. “The mind is truly abstracted in sleep. But then its light is screened by darkness, so how can it manifest its true nature? A mirror covered with tar does not reflect images but can it reflect space either? Is it enough, in that case, that images are eliminated in order to reveal the space reflected in the mirror? In the same manner, the mind is veiled by the darkness of sleep and rendered unfit for illumining thoughts. Would such eclipse of the mind reveal the glimmer of consciousness?
“Would a chip of wood held in front of a single object to the exclusion of all others reflect the object simply because all others are excluded? Reflection can only be on a reflecting surface and not on all surfaces. Similarly also, realisation of the Self can only be with an alert mind and not with a stupefied one. New-born babes have no realisation of the Self for want of alertness.
“Moreover pursue the analogy of a tarred mirror. The tar may prevent the images from being seen, but the quality of the mirror is not affected, for the outer coating of tar must be reflected in the interior of the mirror. So also the mind, though diverted from dreams and wakefulness, is still in the grip of dark sleep and not free from qualities. This is evident by the recollection of the dark ignorance of sleep when one wakes.
64. “I will now tell you the distinction between sleep and Samadhi. Listen attentively:
“There are two states of mind:
(1) Illumination and (2) Consideration.
65. “The first of them is association of the mind with external objects and the second is deliberation on the object seen.
66. “Illumination is unqualified by the limitations of objects: deliberation is qualified by the limitations pertaining to the objects seen, and it is the forerunner of their clear definition.
Note. – The mind first notes a thing in its extended vision. The impression is received only after noting the thing in its non-extensive nature, and becomes deeper on musing over the first impression.
67. “There is no distinction noted in the preliminary stage of simple illumination. The thing itself is not yet defined, so illumination is said to be unqualified.
68. “The thing becomes defined later on and is said to be such and such, and so and so. That is the perception of the thing after deliberation.
69-70. “Deliberation is again of two kinds: the one is the actual experience and is said to be fresh, whereas the other is cogitation over the former and is called memory. The mind always functions in these two ways.”
71-72. “Dreamless slumber is characterised by the illumination of sleep alone, and the experience continues unbroken for a time, whereas the wakeful state is characterised by deliberation repeatedly broken up by thoughts and therefore it is said not to be ignorance.
“Sleep is a state of nescience though it consists of illumination alone yet it is said to be ignorance for the same reason as a light though luminous is said to be insentient.
Commentary. – Pure intelligence is made up of luminosity, but is not insentient like a flame. It is gleaming with consciousness, thus differing from the flame. For intellect is evidence as thinking principle. Therefore it is called Absolute Consciousness, active principle, vibratory movement, all-embracing Self, or God. Because of these potentialities it creates the universe.
“Sri Sankara has said in Soundarya Lahari ‘Siva owes his prowess to Sakti; He cannot even stir in Her absence.’ Siva should not therefore be considered to be mere inexpressible entity depending for His movements upon Maya (like a man on his car). Sri Sankara continues, ‘Siva is yoked by Thee, Oh Sakti, to His true being. Therefore a blessed few worship Thee as the endless series of waves of bliss, as the underlying basis of all that is, as the Supreme Force, maintaining the Universe, and as the Consort of Transcendence.’ Thus the identity of Siva and Sakti with each other or with Transcendence is evident.
“The argument that the universe is illusory, being a figment of imagination like a hare’s born, is extended further by the statement that the creation leading up to it must be equally illusory. Then the co-existence of Siva and Sakti is useless; and Siva being incomprehensible without Sakti, the idea of God-head falls to pieces. But the scriptures point to God as the primal essence from which the world has sprung, in which it exists, and into which it resolves. That statement will then be meaningless. Why should the other scriptural statement ‘There is no more than One’ alone be true? Is it to lend support to the argument of illusion? The proper course will be to look for harmony in these statements in order to understand them aright.
“Their true significance lies in the fact that the universe exists, but not separately from the primal Reality – God. Wisdom lies in realising everything as Siva and not in treating it as void.
“The truth is that there is one Reality which is consciousness in the abstract and also transcendental, irradiating the whole universe in all its diversity from its own being, by virtue of its self-sufficiency, which we call Maya or Sakti or Energy. Ignorance lies in the feeling of differentiation of the creatures from the Creator. The individuals are only details in the same Reality.
“In sleep, the insentient phase of stupor overpowers the sentient phase of deliberation. But the factor of illumination is ever present and that alone cannot become apparent to men, in the absence of deliberation. Therefore, sleep is said to be the state of ignorance, as distinguished from wakefulness which is conceded to be knowledge.
73. “This conclusion is admitted by the wise also. Sleep is the first born from Transcendence (vide Ch. XIV, Sl. 59) also called the unmanifest, the exterior, or the great void.
74-76. “The state prevailing in sleep is the feeling ‘There is naught’. This also prevails in wakefulness, although things are visible. But this ignorance is shattered by the repeated upspringing of thoughts. The wise say that the mind is submerged in sleep because it is illumining the unmanifest condition. The submersion of mind is not, however, peculiar to sleep for it happens also at the instant of cognition of things.
77. “I shall now talk to you from my own experience. This subject is perplexing for the most accomplished persons.
78. “All these three states, namely, Samadhi, sleep and the instant of cognition of objects, are characterised by absence of perturbation.
79. “Their difference lies in the later recapitulation of the respective states which illumine different perceptions.
80. “Absolute Reality is manifest in Samadhi; a void or unmanifest condition distinguishes sleep and diversity is the characteristic of cognition in wakefulness.
81. “The illuminant is however the same all through and is always unblemished. Therefore it is said to be abstract intelligence.
82. “Samadhi and sleep are obvious because their experience remains unbroken for some appreciable period and can be recapitulated after waking up.
83. “That of cognition remains unrecognised because of its fleeting nature. But samadhi and sleep cannot be recognised when they are only fleeting.
84. “The wakeful state is iridescent with fleeting Samadhi and sleep. Men when they are awake can detect fleeting sleep because they are already conversant with its nature.
85-86. “But fleeting Samadhi goes undetected because people are not so conversant with it. O Brahmin! fleeting Samadhi is indeed being experienced by all, even in their busy moments; but it passes unnoticed by them, for want of acquaintance with it. Every instant free from thoughts and musings in the wakeful state is the condition of Samadhi.
87. “Samadhi is simply absence of thoughts. Such a state prevails in sleep and at odd moments of wakefulness.
88. “Yet, it is not called Samadhi proper, because all the proclivities of the mind are still there latent, ready to manifest the next instant.
89. “The infinitesimal moment of seeing an object is not tainted by deliberation on its qualities and is exactly like Samadhi. I will tell you further, listen!
90-93. “The unmanifest state, the first-born of abstract Intelligence revealing ‘There is not anything’ – is the state of abstraction full of light; it is, however, called sleep because it is the insentient phase of consciousness. Nothing is revealed because there is nothing to be revealed. Sleep is therefore the manifestation of the insentient state.
“But in Samadhi, Brahman, the Supreme Consciousness, is continuously glowing. She is the engulfer of time and space, the destroyer of void, and the pure being – (Jehovah – I AM). How can She be the ignorance of sleep?
94. “Therefore sleep is not the end-all and the be-all.”
Thus did Janaka teach Ashtavakra.
(My humble salutations to the lotus feet of Swamyjis, Philosophic Scholars, Knowledge seekers for the collection)