Vivekachudamani (part 4)

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By Adi Sankaracharya,  Translated by Swami Madhavananda
Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta 

301. That which has been created by the Buddhi extremely deluded by Nescience, and which is perceived in this body as "I am such and such" - when that egoism is totally destroyed, one attains an unobstructed identity with Brahman.

302. The treasure of the Bliss of Brahman is coiled round by the mighty and dreadful serpent of egoism, and guarded for its own use by means of its three fierce hoods consisting of the three Gunas. Only the wise man, destroying it by severing its three hoods with the great sword of realisation in accordance with the teachings of the Shrutis, can enjoy this treasure which confers bliss.

303. As long as there is a trace of poisoning left in the body, how can one hope for recovery ? Similar is the effect of egoism on the Yogi's Liberation.

304. Through the complete cessation of egoism, through the stoppage of the diverse mental waves due to it, and through the discrimination of the inner Reality, one realises that Reality as "I am This".

305. Give up immediately thy identification with egoism, the agent, which is by its nature a modification, is endued with a reflection of the Self, and diverts one from being established in the Self - identifying thyself with which thou hast come by this relative existence, full of the miseries of birth, decay and death, though thou art the Witness, the Essence of Knowledge and Bliss Absolute.

306. But for thy identification with that egoism there can never be any transmigration for thee who art immutable and eternally the same, the Knowledge Absolute, omnipresent, the Bliss Absolute, and of untarnished glory.

307. Therefore destroying this egoism, thy enemy - which appears like a thorn sticking in the throat of a man taking meal - with the great sword of realisation, enjoy directly and freely the bliss of thy own empire, the majesty of the Atman.

308. Checking the activities of egoism etc., and giving up all attachment through the realisation of the Supreme Reality, be free from all duality through the enjoyment of the Bliss of Self, and remain quiet in Brahman, for thou hast attained thy infinite nature.

309. Even though completely rooted out, this terrible egoism, if revolved in the mind even for a moment, returns to life and creates hundreds of mischiefs, like a cloud ushered in by the wind during the rainy season.

310. Overpowering this enemy, egoism, not a moment's respite should be given to it by thinking on the sense-objects. That is verily the cause of its coming back to life, like water to a citron tree that has almost dried up.

311. He alone who has identified himself with the body is greedy after sense-pleasures. How can one, devoid of the body-idea, be greedy (like him) ? Hence the tendency to think on the sense-objects is verily the cause of the bondage of transmigration, giving rise to an idea of distinction or duality.

312. When the effects are developed, the seed also is observed to be such, and when the effects are destroyed, the seed also is seen to be destroyed. Therefore one must subdue the effects.

313. Through the increase of desires selfish work increases, and when there is an increase of selfish work, there is an increase of desire also. And man's transmigration is never at an end.

314. For the sake of breaking the chain of transmigration, the Sannyasin should burn to ashes those two; for thinking of the sense-objects and doing selfish acts lead to an increase of desires.

315-316. Augmented by these two, desires produce one's transmigration. The way to destroy these three, however, lies in looking upon everything, under all circumstances, always, everywhere and in all respects, as Brahman and Brahman alone. Through the strengthening of the longing to be one with Brahman, those three are annihilated.

317. With the cessation of selfish action the brooding on the sense-objects is stopped, which is followed by the destruction of desires. The destruction of desires is Liberation, and this is considered as Liberation-in-life

318. When the desire for realising Brahman has a marked manifestation, the egoistic desires readily vanish, as the most intense darkness effectively vanishes before the glow of the rising sun.

319. Darkness and the numerous evils that attend on it are not noticed when the sun rises. Similarly, on the realisation of the Bliss Absolute, there is neither bondage nor the least trace of misery.

320. Causing the external and internal universe, which are now perceived, to vanish, and meditating on the Reality, the Bliss Embodied, one should pass one's time watchfully, if there be any residue of Prarabdha work left.

321. One should never be careless in one's steadfastness to Brahman. Bhagavan Sanatkumara, who is Brahma's son, has called inadvertence to be death itself.

322. There is no greater danger for the Jnanin than carelessness about his own real nature. From this comes delusion, thence egoism, this is followed by bondage, and then comes misery.

323. Finding even a wise man hankering after the sense-objects, oblivion torments him through the evil propensities of the Buddhi, as a woman does her doting paramour.

324. As sedge, even if removed, does not stay away for a moment, but covers the water again, so Maya or Nescience also covers even a wise man, if he is averse to meditation on the Self.

325. If the mind ever so slightly strays from the Ideal and becomes outgoing, then it goes down and down, just as a play-ball inadvertently dropped on the staircase bounds down from one step to another.

326. The mind that is attached to the sense-objects reflects on their qualities; from mature reflection arises desire, and after desiring a man sets about having that thing.

327. Hence to the discriminating knower of Brahman there is no worse death than inadvertence with regard to concentration. But the man who is concentrated attains complete success. (Therefore) carefully concentrate thy mind (on Brahman).

328. Through inadvertence a man deviates from his real nature, and the man who has thus deviated falls. The fallen man comes to ruin, and is scarcely seen to rise again.

329. Therefore one should give up reflecting on the sense-objects, which is the root of all mischief. He who is completely aloof even while living, is alone aloof after the dissolution of the body. The Yajur-Veda declares that there is fear for one who sees the least bit of distinction.

330. Whenever the wise man sees the least difference in the infinite Brahman, at once that which he sees as different through mistake, becomes a source of terror to him.

331. He who identifies himself with the objective universe which has been denied by hundreds of Shrutis, Smritis and reasonings, experiences misery after misery, like a thief, for he does something forbidden.

332. He who has devoted himself to meditation on the Reality (Brahman) and is free from Nescience, attains to the eternal glory of the Atman. But he who dwells on the unreal (the universe) is destroyed. That this is so is evidenced in the case of one who is not a thief and one who is a thief.

333. The Sannyasin should give up dwelling on the unreal, which causes bondage, and should always fix his thoughts on the Atman as "I myself am This". For the steadfastness in Brahman through the realisation of one's identity with It gives rise to bliss and thoroughly removes the misery born of nescience, which one experiences (in the ignorant state).

334. The dwelling on external objects will only intensify its fruits, viz. furthering evil propensities, which grow worse and worse. Knowing this through discrimination, one should avoid external objects and constantly apply oneself to meditation on the Atman.

335. When the external world is shut out, the mind is cheerful, and cheerfulness of the mind brings on the vision of the Paramatman. When It is perfectly realised, the chain of birth and death is broken. Hence the shutting out of the external world is the stepping-stone to Liberation.

336. Where is the man who being learned, able to discriminate the real from the unreal, believing the Vedas as authority, fixing his gaze on the Atman, the Supreme Reality, and being a seeker after Liberation, will, like a child, consciously have recourse to the unreal (the universe) which will cause his fall ?

337. There is no Liberation for one who has attachment to the body etc., and the liberated man has no identification with the body etc. The sleeping man is not awake, nor is the waking man asleep, for these two states are contradictory in nature.

338. He is free who, knowing through his mind the Self in moving and unmoving objects and observing It as their substratum, gives up all superimpositions and remains as the Absolute and the infinite Self.

339. To realise the whole universe as the Self is the means of getting rid of bondage. There is nothing higher than identifying the universe with the Self. One realises this state by excluding the objective world through steadfastness in the eternal Atman.

340. How is the exclusion of the objective world possible for one who lives identified with the body, whose mind is attached to the perception of external objects, and who performs various acts for that end ? This exclusion should be carefully practised by sages who have renounced all kinds of duties and actions and objects, who are passionately devoted to the eternal Atman, and who wish to possess an undying bliss.

341. To the Sannyasin who has gone through the act of hearing, the Shruti passage, "Calm, self-controlled." Etc., prescribes Samadhi for realising the identity of the universe with the Self.

342. Even wise men cannot suddenly destroy egoism after it has once become strong, barring those who are perfectly calm through the Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Desires are verily the effect of innumerable births.

343. The projecting power, through the aid of the veiling power, connects a man with the siren of an egoistic idea, and distracts him through the attributes of that.

344. It is extremely difficult to conquer the projecting power unless the veiling power is perfectly rooted out. And that covering over the Atman naturally vanishes when the subject is perfectly distinguished from the objects, like milk from water. But the victory is undoubtedly (complete and) free from obstacles when there is no oscillation of the mind due to the unreal sense-objects.

345. Perfect discrimination brought on by direct realisation distinguishes the true nature of the subject from that of the object, and breaks the bond of delusion created by Maya; and there is no more transmigration for one who has been freed from this.

346. The knowledge of the identity of the Jiva and Brahman entirely consumes the impenetrable forest of Avidya or Nescience. For one who has realised the state of Oneness, is there any seed left for future transmigration ?

347. The veil that hides Truth vanishes only when the Reality is fully realised. (Thence follow) the destruction of false knowledge and the cessation of misery brought about by its distracting influence.

348. These three are observed in the case of a rope when its real nature is fully known. Therefore the wise man should know the real nature of things for the breaking of his bonds.

349-350. Like iron manifesting as sparks through contact with fire, the Buddhi manifests itself as knower and known through the inherence of Brahman. As these two (knower and known), the effects of the Buddhi, are observed to be unreal in the case of delusion, dream and fancy, similarly, the modifications of the Prakriti, from egoism down to the body and all sense-objects are also unreal. Their unreality is verily due to their being subject to change every moment. But the Atman never changes.

351. The Supreme Self is ever of the nature of eternal, indivisible knowledge, one without a second, the Witness of the Buddhi and the rest, distinct from the gross and subtle, the implied meaning of the term and idea "I", the embodiment of inward, eternal bliss.

352. The wise man, discriminating thus the real and the unreal, ascertaining the Truth through his illuminative insight, and realising his own Self which is Knowledge Absolute, gets rid of the obstructions and directly attains Peace.

353. When the Atman, the One without a second, is realised by means of the Nirvikalpa Samadhi, then the heart's knot of ignorance is totally destroyed.

354. Such imaginations as "thou", "I" or "this" take place through the defects of the Buddhi. But when the Paramatman, the Absolute, the One without a second, manifests Itself in Samadhi, all such imaginations are dissolved for the aspirant, through the realisation of the truth of Brahman.

355. The Sannyasin, calm, self-controlled, perfectly retiring from the sense-world, forbearing, and devoting himself to the practice of Samadhi, always reflects on his own self being the Self of the whole universe. Destroying completely by this means the imaginations which are due to the gloom of ignorance, he lives blissfully as Brahman, free from action and the oscillations of the mind.

356. Those alone are free from the bondage of transmigration who, attaining Samadhi, have merged the objective world, the sense-organs, the mind, nay, the very ego, in the Atman, the Knowledge Absolute - and none else, who but dabble in second-hand talks.

357. Through the diversity of the supervening conditions (Upadhis), a man is apt to think of himself as also full of diversity; but with the removal of these he is again his own Self, the immutable. Therefore the wise man should ever devote himself to the practice of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, for the dissolution of the Upadhis.

358. The man who is attached to the Real becomes Real, through his one-pointed devotion. Just as the cockroach thinking intently on the Bhramara is transformed into a Bhramara.

359. Just as the cockroach, giving up the attachment to all other actions, thinks intently on the Bhramara and becomes transformed into that worm, exactly in the same manner the Yogi, meditating on the truth of the Paramatman, attains to It through his one-pointed devotion to that.

360. The truth of the Paramatman is extremely subtle, and cannot be reached by the gross outgoing tendency of the mind. It is only accessible to noble souls with perfectly pure minds, by means of Samadhi brought on by an extraordinary fineness of the mental state.

361. As gold purified by thorough heating on the fire gives up its impurities and attains to its own lustre, so the mind, through meditation, gives up its impurities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, and attains to the reality of Brahman.

362. When the mind, thus purified by constant practice, is merged in Brahman, then Samadhi passes on from the Savikalpa to the Nirvikalpa stage, and leads directly to the realisation of the Bliss of Brahman, the One without a second.

363. By this Samadhi are destroyed all desires which are like knots, all work is at an end, and inside and out there takes place everywhere and always the spontaneous manifestation of one's real nature.

364. Reflection should be considered a hundred times superior to hearing, and meditation a hundred thousand times superior even to reflection, but the Nirvikalpa Samadhi is infinite in its results.

365. By the Nirvikalpa Samadhi the truth of Brahman is clearly and definitely realised, but not otherwise, for then the mind, being unstable by nature, is apt to be mixed up with other perceptions.

366. Hence with the mind calm and the senses controlled always drown the mind in the Supreme Self that is within, and through the realisation of thy identity with that Reality destroy the darkness created by Nescience, which is without beginning.

367. The first steps to Yoga are control of speech, non-receiving of gifts, entertaining of no expectations, freedom from activity, and always living in a retired place.

368. Living in a retired place serves to control the sense-organs, control of the senses helps to control the mind, through control of the mind egoism is destroyed; and this again gives the Yogi an unbroken realisation of the Bliss of Brahman. Therefore the man of reflection should always strive only to control the mind.

369. Restrain speech in the Manas, and restrain Manas in the Buddhi; this again restrain in the witness of Buddhi, and merging that also in the Infinite Absolute Self, attain to supreme Peace.

370. The body, Pranas, organs, manas, Buddhi and the rest - with whichsoever of these supervening adjuncts the mind is associated, the Yogi is transformed, as it were, into that.

371. When this is stopped, the man of reflection is found to be easily detached from everything, and to get the experience of an abundance of everlasting Bliss.

372. It is the man of dispassion (Vairagya) who is fit for this internal as well as external renunciation; for the dispassionate man, out of the desire to be free, relinquishes both internal and external attachment.

373. It is only the dispassionate man who, being thoroughly grounded in Brahman, can give up the external attachment to the sense-objects and the internal attachment for egoism etc.

374. Know, O wise man, dispassion and discrimination to be like the two wings of a bird in the case of an aspirant. Unless both are there, none can, with the help of either one, reach the creeper of Liberation that grows, as it were, on the top of an edifice.

375. The extremely dispassionate man alone has Samadhi, and the man of Samadhi alone gets steady realisation; the man who has realised the Truth is alone free from bondage, and the free soul only experiences eternal Bliss.

376. For the man of self-control I do not find any better instrument of happiness than dispassion, and if that is coupled with a highly pure realisation of the Self, it conduces to the suzerainty of absolute Independence; and since this is the gateway to the damsel of everlasting liberation, therefore for thy welfare, be dispassionate both internally and externally, and always fix thy mind on the eternal Self.

377. Sever thy craving for the sense-objects, which are like poison, for it is the very image of death, and giving up thy pride of caste, family and order of life, fling actions to a distance. Give up thy identification with such unreal things as the body, and fix thy mind on the Atman. For thou art really the Witness, Brahman, unshackled by the mind, the One without a second, and Supreme.

378. Fixing the mind firmly on the Ideal, Brahman, and restraining the external organs in their respective centres; with the body held steady and taking no thought for its maintenance; attaining identity with Brahman and being one with It - always drink joyfully of the Bliss of Brahman in thy own Self, without a break. What is the use of other things which are entirely hollow ?

379. Giving up the thought of the non-Self which is evil and productive of misery, think of the Self, the Bliss Absolute, which conduces to Liberation.

380. Here shines eternally the Atman, the Self-effulgent Witness of everything, which has the Buddhi for Its seat. Making this Atman which is distinct from the unreal, the goal, meditate on It as thy own Self, excluding all other thought.

381. Reflecting on this Atman continuously and without any foreign thought intervening, one must distinctly realise It to be one's real Self.

382. Strengthening one's identification with This, and giving up that with egoism and the rest, one must live without any concern for them, as if they were trifling things, like a cracked jar or the like.

383. Fixing the purified mind in the Self, the Witness, the Knowledge Absolute, and slowly making it still, one must then realise one's own infinite Self.

384. One should behold the Atman, the Indivisible and Infinite, free from all limiting adjuncts such as the body, organs, Pranas, Manas and egoism, which are creations of one's own ignorance - like the infinite sky.

385. The sky, divested of the hundreds of limiting adjuncts such as a jar, a pitcher, a receptacle for grains or a needle, is one, and not diverse; exactly in a similar way the pure Brahman, when divested of egoism etc., is verily One.

386. The limiting adjuncts from Brahma down to a clump of grass are all wholly unreal. Therefore one should realise one's own Infinite Self as the only Principle.

387. That in which something is imagined to exist through error, is, when rightly discriminated, that thing itself, and not distinct from it. When the error is gone, the reality about the snake falsely perceived becomes the rope. Similarly the universe is in reality the Atman.

388. The Self is Brahma, the Self is Vishnu, the Self is Indra, the Self is Shiva; the Self is all this universe. Nothing exists except the Self.

389. The Self is within, and the Self is without; the Self is before and the Self is behind; the Self is in the south, and the Self is in the north; the Self likewise is above as also below.

390. As the wave, the foam, the whirlpool, the bubble, etc., are all in essence but water, similarly the Chit (Knowledge Absolute) is all this, from the body up to egoism. Everything is verily the Chit, homogeneous and pure.

391. All this universe known through speech and mind is nothing but Brahman; there is nothing besides Brahman, which exists beyond the utmost range of the Prakriti. Are the pitcher, jug, jar, etc., known to be distinct from the clay of which they are composed ? It is the deluded man who talks of "thou" and "I", as an effect of the wine of Maya.

392. The Shruti, in the passage, "Where one sees nothing else", etc., declares by an accumulation of verbs the absence of duality, in order to remove the false superimpositions.

393. The Supreme Brahman is, like the sky, pure, absolute, infinite, motionless and changeless, devoid of interior or exterior, the One Existence, without a second, and is one's own Self. Is there any other object of knowledge ?

394. What is the use of dilating on this subject ? The Jiva is no other than Brahman; this whole extended universe is Brahman Itself; the Shruti inculcates the Brahman without a second; and it is an indubitable fact that people of enlightened minds who know their identity with Brahman and have given up their connection with the objective world, live palpably unifold with Brahman as Eternal Knowledge and Bliss.

395. (First) destroy the hopes raised by egoism in this filthy gross body, then do the same forcibly with the air-like subtle body; and realising Brahman, the embodiment of eternal Bliss - whose glories the Scriptures proclaim - as thy own Self, live as Brahman.

396. So long as man has any regard for this corpse-like body, he is impure, and suffers from his enemies as also from birth, death and disease; but when he thinks of himself as pure, as the essence of good and immovable, he assuredly becomes free from them; the Shrutis also say this.

397. By the elimination of all apparent existences superimposed on the soul, the supreme Brahman, Infinite, the One without a second and beyond action, remains as Itself.

398. When the mind-functions are merged in the Paramatman, the Brahman, the Absolute, none of this phenomenal world is seen, whence it is reduced to mere talk.

399. In the One Entity (Brahman) the conception of the universe is a mere phantom. Whence can there be any diversity in That which is changeless, formless and Absolute ?

400. In the One Entity devoid of the concepts of seer, seeing and seen - which is changeless, formless and Absolute - whence can there be any diversity ?