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Panchadasi ( by Sri Vidyaranya Swami ) - Part 5
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VIII. THE LAMP OF KUTASTHA
1. Just as a wall illumined by the rays of the sun is more illumined when the light of the sun reflected in a mirror falls on it, so the body illumined by Kutastha is more illumined by the light of Kutastha reflected in the intellect (Chidabhasa).
2. When many mirrors reflect the light of the sun on to a wall which is already illumined by the sun, spaces between the various reflections are illumined by the light of the sun alone; and even if the reflections are not there, the wall still remains illumined.
3. Similarly, both in the intervals between the modifications of the intellect (Vrittis), in which Chidabhasa is reflected and during their absence (in deep sleep) Kutastha abides self-illumined; and Kutastha is therefore to be known as different from Chidabhasa.
4. An external object, such as a pot, is cognised through the Vrittis (modifications of the intellect) assuming its form, but the knowledge 'I know the pot’ comes (directly) through pure consciousness, Brahman.
5. Before the rise of the Vritti (i.e., before the intellectual operation) my experience was ‘I do not know that there is a pot over there’; after the rise, the experience is ‘I know that there is a pot over there’. This is the difference the intellectual operation or Vritti brings about. But both the above experiences of knowledge or non-knowledge of the pot are due to Brahman.
6. Cognition or knowledge (of external thing) is the action (thereon) of the intellectual modification tipped with Chidabhasa like the steel-head of a spear. And non-cognition is the (beginningless but not endless) dullness (of an external thing) covering its revelation. Thus an external thing is spoken of in two ways, as a thing (pot) known or unknown as the intellectual modification spear-headed by Chidabhasa pierces its cover of dullness or not.
7. If the cognition of an unknown pot can be had through Brahman why not that of a known pot ? It does produce the cognition, for the Chidabhasa ceases functioning, as soon as the pot is made known.
8. If the intellect is without Chidabhasa, the cognition of an object cannot take place. For how does intellect in such a case differ from a lump of clay which is unconscious and insentient ?
9. Nowhere is a pot said to be known when it is besmeared with clay. Similarly when a pot is besmeared or covered by a Vritti only (not along with Chidabhasa) it cannot be said to be known (for both the clay and the Vritti are themselves unconscious and insentient).
10. Hence cognition (of a pot) is that reflection of consciousness (on the pot) which is produced as a result of the enveloping operation of the Vritti-cum-Chidabhasa. Brahman or pure consciousness cannot be this resultant reflection of consciousness inasmuch as it (being the eternal and immutable existence) exists prior to cognition.
11. (But will it not go against Sureshvaracharya’s opinion expressed in the following Vartika ?) ‘According to the authoritative books on Vedanta an object of cognition, in matters of external objects, is that Samvit or consciousness which is the result of the act of cognition.’
12. Here by ‘Samvit’ or consciousness what Sureshvaracharya means is the resultant reflected consciousness, for the great Sankaracharya himself (Sureshvara’s guru) in his Upadeshasahasri has made the distinction between Brahman-Chaitanya and the ‘resultant’-Chaitanya amply clear.
13. Therefore the reflection of consciousness produced on the pot is the cause of its cognition; and the knownness or knowledge of this cognition, exactly as its ignorance, is the work of the Brahman-Chaitanya.
14. The Vritti of intellect, the reflection of Chit on the pot and the (object) pot – all three are made known by Brahman-Chaitanya; whereas the (object) pot’s existence (at a particular place) is known by the reflection of Chit on the pot, inasmuch as it is the ‘resultant’ consciousness.
15. So the knowledge of a pot involves a double consciousness, viz., Brahman-consciousness and Vritti-cum-Chidabhasa-consciousness (covering the pot). Brahman-consciousness corresponds to the consciousness which accompanies what the Naiyayikas call ‘knowledge of knowledge’ (Anuvyavasaya), the knowledge which follows the cognition of objects (that I know my knowledge or existence of objects).
16. The cognition ‘This is a pot’ is due to Chidabhasa, but the knowledge ‘I know the pot’ is derived from Brahman-consciousness.
17. Just as in objects outside the body, Chidabhasa has thus been differentiated from Brahman, so within the body too Chidabhasa is to be differentiated from the immutable Kutastha.
18. As fire pervades a red-hot piece of iron, so Chidabhasa pervades I-consciousness as well as lust, anger and other emotions.
19. Even as a red-hot piece of iron manifests itself only and not other objects, similarly the modifications of the intellect (Vrittis), aided by Chidabhasa, manifest themselves only, i.e., the things which they cover and not others.
20. All modifications are produced one after another (i.e., with gaps in between); and they all become latent during deep sleep and in the states of swoon and Samadhi.
21. That consciousness which witnesses the interval between the disappearance and the rise of successive Vrittis and the period when they do not exist and which is itself unmodifiable and immutable, is called Kutastha.
22. As in the (cognition of an) external pot, there is the play of double consciousness, so also in that of all internal Vrittis. This is evident from the fact that there is more consciousness in the Vrittis than in their intervals.
23. Unlike a pot, the intellect is neither an object of cognition nor of non-cognition. For it cannot grasp itself – no object can do so – so it cannot be cognised; since, again, it removes ignorance settled on objects it cannot be said to be non-cognised (for if you know what is produced you know what produced it as well).
24. Since Chidabhasa is a double consciousness we see it manifested and unmanifested, therefore, it cannot be called immutable, Kutastha; whereas the other is Kutastha, for it undergoes no such change.
25. The earlier teachers have made it clear that Kutastha is the witness in passages like ‘(It is) the witness of the intellect (Antahkarana) and its operations (Vrittis)’.
26. They have also declared that Kutastha, Chidabhasa and the mind are related in the same way as the face, its reflection and the mirror. This relationship is proved through scriptures and reasoning. Thus Chidabhasa also has been described.
27. (Objection): Kutastha conditioned by the intellect can pass to and return from the other worlds, like the Akasa enclosed in a pot. Then what is the necessity of postulating Chidabhasa ?
28. (Reply): Being merely conditioned by an object (such as the intellect), Kutastha does not become a Jiva. Otherwise, even a wall or a pot which is also pervaded by Kutastha would become a Jiva.
29. (Objection): The intellect is different from the wall, for it is transparent. (Reply): It may be so, but why do you bother about the opaqueness or transparency of the conditioner ? (For your concern is with the condition, not with the conditioner).
30. In measuring out rice and other grains, it makes no difference to their quantity whether the measure be made of wood or metal.
31. If you say, though it makes no difference in measuring, the metallic measure does give reflection, we reply that such is the property of the inner organ (Antahkarana), in that it can reflect consciousness as Chidabhasa.
32. ‘Abhasa’ means slight or partial manifestation, ‘Pratibimba’ is also like that i.e., partial manifestation. It does not have the properties of the real entity but resembles it in having some of them.
33. As the Chidabhasa is associated and variable, it is devoid of the characteristics of Kutastha. But as it renders objects capable of being cognised, it resembles Kutastha. Such is the opinion of the wise.
34. (Objection): Chidabhasa is not different from the intellect because its existence depends on the existence of the intellect. (Reply): You say little, for the intellect itself might also be similarly regarded as not different from the body.
35. (Objection): The scriptures declare the survival of the intellect after the body falls (and therefore the intellect is the same as Chidabhasa). (Reply): According to the Shruti passages which declare the entry of the Atman or the Self into the body, Chidabhasa is distinct from the intellect.
36. (Objection): Chidabhasa and the intellect enter the body together. (Reply): This is not so, for in the Aitareya Upanishad it is said that the Self enters the body by its own will apart from the intellect.
37. The Upanishad says that the Self (Atman) thought: ‘This body with the organs cannot live without me’, and so cleaving the centre of the skull it entered into the body and started experiencing the changeable states (e.g., wakeful, dreaming etc.,).
38. (Objection): How can the associationless Kutastha be said to animate the body by entering it ? (Reply): Then how did It create the universe ? (Objection): Both the acts of creation and entering the body are caused by Maya. (Reply): Then they vanish too when Maya is destroyed.
39. The Self becomes the ego identifying itself with the body composed of the five elements and when the body perishes (once for all) the ego too perishes with it. Thus said Yajnavalkya to Maitreyi.
40. ‘This Self is not perishable’ – thus the Shruti differentiates the Kutastha from everything else. ‘The Self is associationless’ – such statements sing the ever-detached state of Kutastha.
41. The passage which says that the body only dies and not the Jiva does not mean that he is released but only that he transmigrates.
42. (Objection): How can the changeable Jiva say ‘I am Brahman’ since Brahman is immutable ? (Reply): He can, because, in spite of apparent discrepancy between Jiva and Brahman, the identity is established by giving up the false notion about the Jiva. (What appeared, under the influence of Maya, as Jiva is really none other than Brahman).
43. A man may be mistaken for the stump of a tree; but the notion of the stump is destroyed when the man is known to be a man. Similarly, when the Jiva knows ‘I am Brahman’, his notion ‘I am Buddhi (the ego-consciousness in the mind)’ is destroyed.
44. Acharya Sureshvara in his Naishkarmya Siddhi describes clearly how Jiva and Brahman are found to be identical when the false notion about the Jiva (viz., its identity with the Buddhi) is destroyed. Therefore, the text ‘I am Brahman’ is to be understood in this sense.
45. In another Shruti text: ‘Everything is Brahman’, Brahman and the universe are shown to be identical; it also is to be interpreted in the above sense, viz., what appears to be ‘all this’, i.e., the universe, is really Brahman. Similarly, in the text ‘I am Brahman’ the same identity of Jiva and Brahman is indicated.
46. It is true that the author of the Vivarana gloss has denied the Badha-Samanadhikaranya interpretation (and has accepted the Mukhya-Samanadhikaranya interpretation) of ‘I am Brahman’. It is because he has taken the ‘I’ in the sense of Kutastha-Chaitanya and not in the sense of Chidabhasa.
47. In the text ‘That thou art’ the word ‘thou’, freed from all adjuncts, is Kutastha; and in Vivarana and other (advanced) works attempts are made to establish its identity with Brahman.
48. The consciousness, the substratum on which the illusion of Chidabhasa together with the body and the sense organs is superimposed, is known as Kutastha in Vedanta.
49. The substratum, on which stands the illusion of the whole world, is described in the Vedanta by the word Brahman.
50. When the whole world of Maya is recognised as a superimposition on this one consciousness, Brahman, what to speak of Jiva who is only a part of this world.
51. The difference between the entities indicated by ‘that’ and ‘thou’ is due to that of the superposed world and Jiva, which is only a part of it; in reality they are one consciousness.
52. (That it is a genuine case of superposition is proved by the fact that) Chidabhasa, the reflected consciousness, partakes of the characteristics of both, the superposing intellect, such as agentship, enjoyership, etc., and the superposed Atman, which is consciousness. So the whole Chidabhasa is a creation of illusion.
53. ‘What is the intellect ?’ ‘What is the reflected consciousness ?’ ‘And what is the Self ?’ ‘How is the world here ?’ – Because of indecision about these questions ignorance has arisen. This illusion is also called Samsara.
54. He is the knower of truth, the liberated, who knows the true nature of the intellect, etc., mentioned above. Thus the Vedanta has decided.
55. The piece of sophistry advanced by the logicians and others, viz., ‘Whose is the bondage ?’ must be met by adopting the method of Khandana-Khanda-Khadya by Sri Harsa Mishra.
56. It is said in the Shiva Purana that pure consciousness (Kutastha) exists as a witness to (the rise and fall of) the mental modifications (Vrittis), their prior (and posterior) non-existence and the state of ignorance prior to inquiry about truth.
57-58. As the support of the unreal world, its nature is existence; as it cognises all insentient objects, its nature is consciousness; and as it is always the object of love, its nature is bliss. It is called Shiva, the infinite, being the means of revelation of all objects and being related to them as their substratum.
59. Thus in the Saiva-Puranas Kutastha has been described as having no particular characteristics of Jiva and Ishvara and as being non-dual, self-luminous and the highest good.
60. The Shruti declares that Jiva and Ishvara are both reflections of Brahman in Maya. They are, however, different from material things in that they are transparent (i.e., revealing) just as a glass jar is different from earthen ones.
61. Though both are products of food, the mind is subtler and purer than the body. Similarly, Jiva and Ishvara are more transparent than the grosser products of Maya.
62. Jiva and Ishvara, because they manifest the power of revealing, must be considered to be endowed with consciousness. For, nothing is difficult for Maya, that is endowed with the power to create all things.
63. When we sleep, our dreams create even Jiva and Ishvara. What wonder is there then that the Great Maya creates them in the waking state ?
64. The Maya creates omniscience and other qualities too in Ishvara. When it can create Ishvara, the receptacle of these qualities, is it difficult to conceive that it can also create these qualities in Him ?
65. If you raise the improper doubt about Kutastha, we say: do not imagine that Kutastha is also a creation of Maya. There is no evidence for that assumption.
66. All the classics of Vedanta proclaim the reality of Kutastha and they do not admit the existence of any entity other than It.
67. These verses show the real meaning of the Shruti and do not consider the matter from a logical point of view. The doubts of the logicians are not considered here.
68. The aspirant for release should give up sophistry and should base his conviction on the Shruti, which says that Jiva and Ishvara are creations of Maya.
69. Ishvara’s creation extends from His willing to create the world to His entrance into His creation; Jiva’s creation includes everything from the world of the waking state to his release from ignorance.
70. Kutastha is ever associationless, it does not change. Thus one should always meditate and reflect.
71. ‘(For Kutastha) there is no death and no birth, none in bondage and none engaged in working out release (Sadhaka), no aspirant for release (Mumukshu) and none liberated (Mukta). That is the supreme truth’.
72. The Shruti tries to indicate the reality which is beyond the body and the mind by using the conceptions of Jiva, Ishvara and Jagat.
73. Acharya Sureshvara has said that whatever method helps one to understand clearly the indwelling Atman is approved by the Vedantic classics.
74. The dull-witted, ignorant of the real meaning of the Shruti, wanders here and there, whereas the wise, understanding its purport, ever abides in the ocean of bliss.
75. Like a cloud which pours out streams of rain, Maya creates the world (Jagat). As the ether is not affected by the rain, so pure consciousness (that I am) suffers neither gain nor loss from anything in the phenomenal world. That is the conviction of the wise.
76. He who always reflects on this ‘Lamp of Kutastha’ ever abides as the self-revealing Kutastha.
IX. THE LAMP OF MEDITATION
1. One may perchance obtain a thing by following a wrong line by mistake; so also even by worshipping Brahman one may get release, the desired goal. So various ways of worship are described in the Nrisimha-Uttara-Tapaniya Upanishad.
2. A man sees a gleam of light emitted by a gem and another sees a gleam of light coming from a lamp; and both imagining that they are gems run to get them. Though (in both the cases) the notions are wrong, the results are different.
3. There is a lamp inside the house, its light is visible from outside. Similarly elsewhere the light of a gem is seen (from outside).
4. On seeing the two gleams at a distance, both (the men) took them for gems and ran after them. Their notions are equally wrong, in that they took the gleams for gems.
5. The man who ran for the gleam of the lamp did not find the gem, but the man who ran for the gleam of the gem got it.
6. Mistaking the gleam of a lamp for a gem is called a Visamvadi Bhrama, ‘misleading error’ (or an error that does not lead to the goal). Mistaking the gleam of a gem for a gem is called a 'leading’ or ‘informative’ error, though both are errors (or wrong observations).
7. On seeing a mist and mistaking it for smoke, if a man argues the existence of fire there and goes for getting charcoal and accidentally finds it, his mistake is called a ‘leading’ error, a chance coincidence.
8. Sprinkling on himself the water of the River Godavari thinking it to be that of the River Ganges, if a man is actually purified this is ‘leading’ error (Samvadi Bhrama).
9. A man suffering from a high fever repeats ‘Narayana’ in delirium and dies. He goes to heaven. This is again a ‘leading’ error.
10. In direct perception, in inference and in the application of scriptural authority, there are innumerable instances of such leading errors or chance coincidences.
11. Otherwise, how could images of clay, wood and stone be worshipped as deities or how could a woman be worshipped as fire ?
12. From the knowledge and (or) adoption of a wrong means, sometimes, by accident, as in the sitting of a crow on the branch of a palm tree and in the instantaneous fall of a fruit thereof, a desired result is obtained. This knowledge and (or) adoption of a wrong means is called a Samvadi Bhrama or a ‘leading’ error, or error leading to a right knowledge.
13. The ‘leading’ error though a wrong notion is potent enough to give the correct result. So also the meditation or worship of Brahman leads to liberation.
14. After indirectly knowing the one indivisible homogeneous Brahman from the books on Vedanta, one should meditate on or think repeatedly ‘I am Brahman’.
15. Without realising Brahman to be one’s own Self, the general knowledge of Him derived through the study of the scriptures, viz., ‘Brahman is’, is here called indirect knowledge, just as our knowledge of the forms of Vishnu etc., is called.
16. One may have knowledge of Vishnu from scriptures as having four arms etc., but if one does not have a vision of Him, he is said to have only indirect knowledge, inasmuch as he has not seen Him with his eyes.
17. This knowledge because of its defect of indirectness is not false, for the true form of Vishnu has been revealed by the scriptures which are authoritative.
18. From the scripture a man may have a conception of Brahman as existence, consciousness and bliss but he cannot have a direct knowledge of Brahman unless Brahman is cognised as the inner witness in his own personality.
19. As the knowledge of Sat-Chit-Ananda has been acquired in the scriptural method, it, though an indirect knowledge, is not an illusory one.
20. Though Brahman has been described as being one’s own Self in the scriptures and the great Saying, still, one cannot understand It without the practice of enquiry.
21. As long as the delusion that the body is the Self, is strong in a man of dull intellect, he is not able at once to know Brahman as the Self.
22. As the perception of duality is not opposed to an indirect knowledge of non-duality, a man of faith, expert in the scriptures, can easily have the indirect knowledge of Brahman.
23. The perception of a stone image is not opposed to an indirect knowledge of the deity whom the image represents. Which devotee contradicts the idea of Vishnu in the image ?
24. The disbelief of those who have no faith need not be considered, for the believing alone are authorised to perform the Vedic actions.
25. An indirect knowledge of Brahman can arise even through a single instruction by a competent teacher. It is like the knowledge of the form of Vishnu which does not depend on intellectual enquiry.
26. As there may be doubts about them, ritualistic works and methods of worship have been discussed (in the scriptures). Who otherwise could have synthesised the directions about them, scattered as they are over many branches of the Vedas ?
27. Such rituals and methods of worship have been collected and co-ordinated in the Kalpa-Sutras. With their help man, who has faith, may practise them without further enquiry.
28. The methods of worship are described in other works by the seers. Those who are dull of ratiocination go to a teacher and learn the methods from him.
29. To determine the correct meaning of the Vedic texts let the learned resort to enquiry, but practical worship can be performed (with benefit) according to the teachings of a competent teacher.
30. The direct realisation of Brahman, however, is never possible only from the instructions of a competent teacher without the practice of inquiry.
31. Want of faith alone obstructs the indirect knowledge; want of enquiry is however the obstacle to the direct knowledge.
32. If even by enquiry one does not get the direct knowledge of Brahman as the Self, one should repeatedly practise enquiry, for enquiry, it is prescribed, should continue until direct knowledge dawns.
33. If a person does not realise the Self even after practising till death, he will surely realise it in a future life when all the obstacles will have been eliminated.
34. Knowledge will arise either in this birth or the next, says the author of the Brahma Sutras. The Shruti also says that there are many who listen to the teachings on non-duality and yet do not realise in this life.
35. By virtue of the practice of spiritual enquiry in a previous birth, Vamadeva had realisation even while in his mother’s womb. Such results are also seen in the case of studies.
36. In spite of reading many times a boy may not be able to memorise something, but sometimes, next morning, without any further study, he remembers all that he has read.
37. As the seed in the field or in the womb matures in time, so in the course of time the practice of self-enquiry gradually ripens and bears fruit.
38. In spite of repeated enquiry a man does not realise the truth because of three kinds of impediments. This has been clearly pointed out in his Vartika by Acharya Sureshvara.
39. If you ask why the realisation (which did not arise before) comes now, we shall reply that knowledge comes only with the total removal of impediments which may be past, present or future.
40. Therefore only by studying the Veda and its meaning a man is not released. This has been shown in the example of hidden gold.
41. There is the popular song saying that a monk could not realise the truth, the impediment being his past attachment to his queen (or a she-buffalo).
42. His teacher instructed him of Brahman knowing his attachment to her (by telling him that Brahman was her substratum). When the impediment was removed, the monk realised the truth properly.
43. The impediments of the present are (i) binding attachment to the objects of the senses, (ii) dullness of the intellect, (iii) indulgence in improper and illogical arguments and (iv) the deep conviction that the Self is an agent and an enjoyer.
44. Through the practice of inner control and other qualifications and through hearing the truth and so forth, suitable for counteracting the impediments, the latter slowly perish and one realises his Self as Brahman.
45. The future impediment has been well illustrated in the case of Vamadeva. He overcame it in one birth and Bharata in three births.
46. In the Gita, it has been told that a Yogi who has not attained illumination in this life may be freed from the impediment after many births. Yet his practice of enquiry is never fruitless.
47. Because of his practice of enquiry such a Yogi enters into the heaven of the meritorious and then if he is not freed from desires, he is born again in a pious and prosperous family.
48. Or, if he has no worldly desires, he is born in a family of Yogis who have pure intellect due to their practice of enquiry into the nature of Brahman, for such a birth is hard to obtain.
49. He regains the Yogic intellect acquired in his previous birth and so strives more vigorously; this birth is indeed hard to achieve.
50. He is borne on by the momentum of his Yogic practices in the previous birth even against his inclination. Thus after many births he achieves perfection and as a result is liberated.
51. A man who has a strong desire for Brahmaloka, but suppresses it and practises enquiry about the Self, will not have realisation.
52. As the scriptures say, the monk, who has well ascertained the meaning of Vedanta, goes to the realm of Brahma and is released at the end of the four Yugas along with Brahma.
53. In some cases the enquiry itself is impeded because of the result of their evil deeds as the Shruti says: ‘Even to hear about Him it is not available to many’.
54. If a man cannot practise enquiry, either due to extreme dullness of intellect or for want of other favourable circumstances, let him always keep the mind on Brahman.
55. As it is possible to continue the thought-current regarding Brahman with attributes, meditation on the attributeless Brahman also is not impossible.
56. (Doubt): Brahman is beyond speech and mind and so cannot be meditated upon. (Reply): Then there can be no knowledge of Brahman too.
57. (Doubt): Brahman is known as beyond speech and mind. (Reply): Then why cannot Brahman be meditated upon as beyond speech and mind ?
58. (Doubt): If Brahman can be meditated upon He becomes invested with attributes. (Reply): That happens if He is taken as knowable. (Doubt): Brahman is knowable by Lakshana, indirect indication. (Reply): Then meditate upon Brahman that way, i.e., by Lakshana.
59. (Doubt): The Shruti saying, ‘Know that alone to be Brahman which is beyond the range of speech and mind and not that which the people worship’, prohibits meditation on Brahman.
60. (Reply): Equally Brahman cannot be an object of knowledge, for the Shruti says: ‘Brahman is other than that which can be known’. (Doubt): The Shruti also says that Brahman can be known. (Reply): So also it says that He can be meditated upon. So meditate on Him basing upon those Vedic texts.
61. (Doubt): But Brahman as an object of knowledge is unreal. (Reply): Why not as an object of meditation too ? (Doubt): Covering and apprehending by Vrittis is knowledge. (Reply): Similarly, doing that is meditation.
62. (Doubt): Why are you so devoted to meditation on the attributeless Brahman ? (Reply): Why are you so opposed to it ? Say that. As there are many Shruti texts prescribing meditation on the attributeless Brahman, it is not proper to say that there is no authority for it.
63. Meditation on the attributeless Brahman has been prescribed in the Nrisimha-Uttara-Tapaniya, Prasna (Saibya’s fifth question), Katha, Mandukya and other Upanishads.
64. This method of meditation of the attributeless Brahman has been in the Panchikarana Vartika by Sureshvara. (Doubt): This meditation is the means of indirect knowledge of Brahman (but not of liberation). (Reply): We don’t say that it is not so.
65. (Doubt): But most of the people do not practise this type of meditation. (Reply): Let them not do. How can the meditation be blamed for the short-comings of the meditator ?
66. People of spiritually dull intellect repeat sacred formulas to acquire power over others, finding it more immediately fruitful than meditation on Brahman with attributes. There are people still more dull-witted who concentrate only on agriculture.
67. Let the dull-witted do what they like ! Here we speak of meditation on the Absolute. Since it is of one Vidya or Upasana, all the qualifications of Brahman described in the various branches of the Veda must be gathered for meditation.
68. The positive qualities of bliss etc., are all to be co-ordinated into meditation on Brahman. This has been told by Vyasa in the ‘Anandadaya..’ Sutra.
69. Similarly Vyasa speaks of all the negative indications of Brahman such as ‘not gross’ in the ‘Aksharadhiyam’ Sutra.
70. (Doubt): Combining and thinking of these indications do not fit in with meditation on the attributeless Brahman. (Reply): Then your doubt is directed against Vyasa himself and not against me alone.
71. (Doubt): As (Vyasa) has not asked for the inclusion of the forms such as of the sun with golden beard etc., meditation on the attributeless is not contradicted. (Reply): Be satisfied with that; we also do not ask for that.
72. (Doubt): Qualities are only indirect indications; they cannot enter into the true nature of Brahman. (Reply): Let them be so. Meditate on Brahman thus indicated.
73. The Self is here indirectly indicated by positive qualities like ‘bliss’ etc., and by negative qualities like ‘not gross’ etc. One should meditate on the indivisible, homogeneous Self as ‘That I am’.
74. (Doubt): What is the difference between knowledge and meditation ? (Reply): Listen; knowledge depends on the object, whereas meditation depends on the will of the person meditating.
75. By the practice of enquiry, the knowledge of Brahman arises; then it cannot be prevented whether one likes it or not. Such knowledge, by the mere fact of its arising, destroys all ideas of the reality of the world.
76. On acquiring knowledge the aspirant experiences unbroken satisfaction and a feeling of having accomplished all that was to be accomplished. He becomes liberated in life and awaits the wearing-out of his fructifying Karma.
77. On the other hand, a believing man, putting his faith in the teachings of his teacher and without practising enquiry, should meditate on the object prescribed without being distracted by other thoughts.
78. He should continue the practice of meditation until he realises himself to be identical with his object of meditation and then continue this thought till death.
79. A certain Brahmachari used to go for alms keeping in his mind his identity with the vital air within him.
80. Meditation depends on the will of a man whether he is to do or not to do or to do it in a different way. One should therefore always continue the thought current.
81. A student, diligent in reciting the Vedas, reads or recites them even in his dreams through the force of habit. Similarly, one who practises meditation, continues it even in his dreams.
82. Giving up contrary thoughts, if a man ceaselessly meditates, he meditates even in his dreams because of the deep impression.
83. There is no doubt that while experiencing the results of his fructifying Karma a man, because of his strong impression, is able to meditate without intermission, just as a man attached to worldly objects always thinks of them.
84. A woman devoted to a paramour, though engaged in household duties, will all the time be dwelling in mind on the pleasures with him.
85. While enjoying in mind the pleasure of the company of her lover, her household duties though not much disturbed, are managed indifferently.
86. The woman with attachment to a paramour cannot fully do the work as a woman attached to her domestic duties does, with enthusiasm.
87. Similarly, a man who practises meditation one-pointedly, indifferently performs his worldly affairs; but a man who has realised the truth fulfils his worldly duties well, as they do not come in conflict with his knowledge.
88. This world is illusory, Maya and the Self is by nature pure consciousness. How can such knowledge be opposed to his worldly activities ?
89. To perform activities, the world need not be thought real nor Self as insentient matter. To do so the right means only are necessary.
90. These means are the mind, the speech, body and external objects. They do not disappear on enlightenment. So why can’t he engage himself in worldly affairs ?
91. If he controls and concentrates his mind, he is a meditator and not a knower of truth. To know a pot the mind need not be controlled.
92. (Doubt): A pot once known by a modification of intellect, Vritti, remains so always. (Reply): Is not the self-illumined Self also ever manifest ?
93. (Doubt): Does the self-luminous property of the Self give you the knowledge of Brahman ? The Vritti with Brahman as the object is the cognition of truth, but the Vritti perishes in a moment. (Reply): This objection also applies to the cognition of a pot.
94. (Doubt): Once an intellectual conviction of the pot’s existence is established, the cognition (Vritti) of the pot perishes. Afterwards it can be recognised at the will of the cogniser. (Reply): The same applies to the cognition of the Self.
95. Once the nature of the Self has been conclusively determined, the knower can speak of it, think of it or meditate on it at will.
96. (Doubt): The knower too, like a meditator, forgets worldly affairs in his contemplation. (Reply): Let him forget. This forgetfulness is due to his meditation and not because of his knowledge of the Self.
97. Meditation is left to his will, for his release has been achieved through knowledge. From knowledge alone comes release. This the scriptures announce with drum-beats.
98. (Doubt): If a knower does not meditate, he would be drawn to external affairs. (Reply): Let him happily engage himself in them. What is the objection for a knower to be so engaged ?
99. (Doubt): This sort of reasoning is wrong, for there the scriptures will be violated. (Reply): If so, what is right reasoning please ? (Doubt): Right reasoning is to follow the injunctions and prohibitions of the scriptures. (Reply): But they do not apply to the enlightened.
100. All these injunctions and prohibitions are meant for those who believe themselves to belong to a certain caste or station and stage of life.
101. The knower is convinced that caste, station etc., are creations of Maya and that they refer to the body and not to the Self whose nature is pure consciousness.
102. The clear-sighted knower from whose heart all attachment has vanished is a liberated soul whether he performs or not concentration or action.
103. He whose mind is free from all desires or former impressions has nothing to gain from either action or inaction, meditation (Samadhi) or repetitions of holy formulas.
104. The Self is associationless and everything other than the Self is a display of the magic of Maya. When a mind has such a firm conviction, wherefrom will any desire or impression come in it ?
105. Thus when for an illumined sage there is no injunction on prohibition, where is his violating them ? Only for him can violation be possible who is bound by them.
106. As a child is not subject to any injunctions and prohibitions, he cannot be charged with their violation. In their absence, in the case of a man of realisation too, how can there be any violation ?
107. (Doubt): But a boy does not know anything. (Reply): A knower of truth knows everything. The law applies to one who knows a little, not to the other two.
108. (Doubt): He is a knower of truth who can bless or curse with effect. (Reply): Not that, for these powers result from the practice of austerities.
109. (Doubt): Vyasa and others had these powers. (Reply): But these were produced by some austerities. Austerities meant for knowledge are different from them.
110. Those who practise both the types of austerities possess both powers and knowledge. So each type of practice will produce the result appropriate to it.
111. (Doubt): Ascetics and ritualists, despise the saintly monk who has neither such powers nor follow the injunctions. (Reply): Their austerities and rituals are also despised by the votaries of worldly pleasures.
112. (Doubt): Monks too find a pleasure in the acquisition of alms, clothes and shelter. (Reply): Then what wonderful renunciation they must have being unable to move as it were with their dispassion !
113. (Doubt): It does not matter if the ritualists observing the scriptural rules are abused by the ignorant. (Reply): It also does not matter if a man of realisation is abused by the ritualists who identify themselves with the body and so observe the rules.
114. Therefore as knowledge of truth does not affect the means, such as the mind and so forth, a man of realisation is able to do worldly activities such as ruling a country.
115. (Doubt): He may not have any desire for worldly affairs since he is convinced of the unreality of the empirical world. (Reply): Let it be; let him be engaged in meditation or work according to his fructifying Karma.
116. On the other hand, a meditator should always engage himself in meditation, for through meditation his feeling of identity with Brahman arises, as a devotee has it by meditating on Vishnu.
117. The feeling of identity, which is the effect of meditation, ceases when the practice is given up; but the true Brahmanhood does not vanish even in the absence of knowledge.
118. The eternal Brahmanhood is revealed by knowledge and not created by it, for even in the absence of the revealer the real entity does not cease to exist.
119. (Doubt): But the Brahmanhood of a meditator also is real. (Reply): True, is not the Brahmanhood of the ignorant and the lower creatures also real ?
120. Since nescience is common, they do not realise the purpose of their life. But just as begging is better than starving, so also it is better to practise devotion and meditation than to engage in other pursuits.
121. It is better to perform the works ordained in the scriptures than be engrossed in worldly affairs. Better than this is to worship a personal deity and meditation on the attributeless Brahman is still better.
122. That which is nearer to the realisation of Brahman is superior; and meditation on the Absolute gradually becomes like direct realisation of Brahman.
123. A ‘leading’ error leads to the desired goal, when it becomes knowledge. Similarly meditation on Brahman when ripened, leads to release and becomes real knowledge.
124. (Doubt): A man working prompted by a ‘leading’ error gets correct knowledge not by the leading error but by another evidence. (Reply): The meditation on the Absolute may also be taken as the cause of other evidence (Nididhyasana leading to direct realisation).
125. (Doubt): Meditation on the form of a deity and repetition of a sacred formula also lead to the goal. (Reply): Let it be so; but the speciality of meditation on the Absolute is that it is nearest to the goal of Self-realisation.
126. When meditation on the attributeless Brahman is mature it leads to Samadhi. This state of intense concentration at case leads on to the Nirodha state in which the distinction between subject and object is eliminated.
127. When such complete cessation of mental activity is achieved, only the associationless entity (Atman) remains in his heart. By ceaseless meditation on It based on the great Sayings, arises the knowledge ‘I am Brahman’.
128. There is then a perfect realisation of Brahman as the immutable, associationless, eternal, self-revealed, secondless whole, as indicated in the scriptures.
129. The Amritabindu and other Upanishads recommend Yoga for the same object. It is clear therefore that meditation on the attributeless Brahman is superior to other types of worship.
130. Those who give up meditation on the attributeless Brahman and undertake pilgrimages, recitations of the holy formulas and other methods, may be compared to ‘those who drop the sweets and lick the hand’.
131. (Doubt): This applies also to those who meditate on the attributeless Brahman giving up enquiry into Its nature. (Reply): True, therefore only those who are not able to practise enquiry have been asked to meditate on the attributeless Brahman.
132. Those who are very fickle-minded and agitated do not have the knowledge of Brahman by the practice of enquiry. Therefore control of the mind is the chief means for them. By it their mind becomes free from distractions.
133. For those whose intellects are no longer distracted nor restless but are merely covered by a veil of ignorance, the analytical system called Sankhya (intellectual enquiry) is prescribed. It will quickly lead them to spiritual illumination.
134. ‘The state of spiritual balance is obtainable by both the Sankhyas (those who follow the path of enquiry) and the Yogis (those who practise meditation). He really knows the meaning of the scriptures who knows that the paths of enquiry and meditation are the same’.
135. The Shruti too declares that with both enquiry and meditation people know the Highest; but whatever in the books of Sankhya and Yoga are against the Shruti are to be rejected.
136. If one fails to perfect the practice of meditation in this life, one does so either at the time of death or in the region of Brahma. Then, obtaining direct knowledge of the reality, one is liberated.
137. The Gita says that a man attains that which he thinks of at the time of death. Wherever his mind is fixed, there he goes, says the Shruti too.
138. So the future life of a man is determined by the nature of his thoughts at the time of death. Then as a devotee of the Personal God is absorbed in Him, so a meditator on the attributeless Brahman is absorbed in It and obtains Liberation.
139. Brahman is called ‘eternal’ and ‘attributeless’ but in fact It is of the nature of liberation itself, just as ‘leading’ error is an error in name only, for it leads to the desired object.
140. As by meditation on the Personal God knowledge of the nature of Ishvara arises, so by meditation on the attributeless Brahman, knowledge of Its nature arises and destroys the ignorance which is the root of rebirth.
141. A meditator becomes Brahman who is ‘unattached, desireless, free from body and organs and fearless’. Thus the Tapaniya Upanishad speaks of liberation as the result of meditation on the attributeless Brahman.
142. By the strength of meditation on the attributeless Brahman knowledge arises. So the scriptural verse, ‘Verily there is no other path to liberation (except knowledge)’ does not conflict with this.
143. So the Tapaniya Upanishad points out that liberation comes from desireless meditation. The Prasna Upanishad also says that by meditation with desire one enters into the region of Brahma.
144. The Prasna Upanishad says that he who meditates with desires on the three-lettered Aum, is taken to the region of Brahma. There he comes to know the attributeless Brahman who is beyond Hiranyagarbha, the sum total of souls and becomes free.
145. The Brahma Sutras in the Apratikadhikarana say that he who desires the region of Brahma and meditates with desires on the attributeless Brahman attains that region.
146. Such a worshipper, by virtue of his meditation on the attributeless Brahman, enters the world of Brahma and there obtains direct knowledge of Brahman. He is not born again, he gets ultimate release at the end of the four Yugas.
147. In the Vedas meditation on the holy syllable Aum in most places means meditation on the attributeless Brahman, though in some places it means meditation on Brahman with attributes.
148. Pippalada being asked by his pupil Satyakama says that Aum means Brahman both with and without attributes.
149. Yama too, questioned by his pupil Nachiketas, replied that he who meditates on Aum knowing it as the attributeless Brahman obtains the fulfilment of his desires.
150. He who meditates properly on the attributeless Brahman gets direct knowledge of Brahman either in this life or at the time of death or in the world of Brahma.
151. The Atma Gita also clearly says that those who cannot practise discrimination should always meditate on the Self.
152. (The Self as if says): ‘Even if direct knowledge of Me does not seem to be possible, a man should still meditate on the Self. In the course of time, he doubtlessly realises the Self and is freed’.
153. ‘To reach treasures deeply hidden in the earth, there is nothing for it but to dig. So to have direct knowledge of Me, the Self, there is no other means than meditation on one’s Self’.
154. ‘A man should remove the stones of body consciousness from the field of the mind and then by repeatedly digging with the pick-axe, the intellect, he can get the hidden treasure of the Self.’
155. Even if there is no realisation, think ‘I am Brahman’. Through meditation a man achieves even other things (like the Deities), why not Brahman who is ever-achieved ?
156. If a man, who is convinced by his experience that meditation, practised day by day, destroys the idea that the not-Self is the Self, nevertheless becomes idle and neglects meditation, what difference, tell us, is there between him and a brute ?
157. Destroying his idea that the body is the Self, through meditation a man sees the secondless Self, becomes immortal and realises Brahman in this body itself.
158. The meditator who studies this Chapter called the ‘Lamp of Meditation’, is freed from all his doubts and meditates constantly on Brahman.
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