Vivekachudamani (part 3)
Sankaracharya, Translated by Swami Madhavananda
Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta
202. The cessation of that superimposition takes place through perfect knowledge, and by no other means. Perfect knowledge, according to the Shrutis, consists in the realisation of the identity of the individual soul and Brahman.
203. This realisation is attained by a perfect discrimination between the Self and the non-Self. Therefore one must strive for the discrimination between the individual soul and the eternal Self.
204. Just as the water which is very muddy again appears as transparent water when the mud is removed, so the Atman also manifests Its undimmed lustre when the taint has been removed.
205. When the unreal ceases to exist, this very individual soul is definitely realised as the eternal Self. Therefore one must make it a point completely to remove things like egoism from the eternal Self.
206. This knowledge sheath (Vijnanamaya Kosha) that we have been speaking of, cannot be the Supreme Self for the following reasons - because it is subject to change, is insentient, is a limited thing, an object of the senses, and is not constantly present: An unreal thing cannot indeed be taken for the real Atman.
207. The blissful sheath (Anandamaya Kosha) is that modification of Nescience which manifests itself catching a reflection of the Atman which is Bliss Absolute; whose attributes are pleasure and the rest; and which appears in view when some object agreeable to oneself presents itself. It makes itself spontaneously felt by the fortunate during the fruition of their virtuous deeds; from which every corporeal being derives great joy without the least effort.
208. The blissful sheath has its fullest play during profound sleep, while in the dreaming and wakeful states it has only a partial manifestation, occasioned by the sight of agreeable objects and so forth.
209. Nor is the blissful sheath the Supreme Self, because it is endowed with the changeful attributes, is a modification of the Prakriti, is the effect of past good deeds, and imbedded in the other sheaths which are modifications.
210. When all the five sheaths have been eliminated by the reasoning on Shruti passages, what remains as the culminating point of the process, is the Witness, the Knowledge Absolute - the Atman.
211. This self-effulgent Atman which is distinct from the five sheaths, the Witness of the three states, the Real, the Changeless, the Untainted, the everlasting Bliss - is to be realised by the wise man as his own Self.
212. The disciple questioned: After these five sheaths have been eliminated as unreal, I find nothing, O Master, in this universe but a Void, the absence of everything. What entity is there left forsooth with which the wise knower of the Self should realise his identity.
213-214. The Guru answered: Thou has rightly said, O learned man ! Thou art clever indeed in discrimination. That by which all those modifications such as egoism as well as their subsequent absence (during deep sleep) are perceived, but which Itself is not perceived, know thou that Atman - the Knower - through the sharpest intellect.
215. That which is perceived by something else has for its witness the latter. When there is no agent to perceive a thing, we cannot speak of it as having been perceived at all.
216. This Atman is a self-cognised entity because It is cognised by Itself. Hence the individual soul is itself and directly the Supreme Brahman, and nothing else.
217. That which clearly manifests Itself in the states of wakefulness, dream and profound sleep; which is inwardly perceived in the mind in various forms as an unbroken series of egoistic impressions; which witnesses the egoism, the Buddhi, etc., which are of diverse forms and modifications; and which makes Itself felt as the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute; know thou this Atman, thy own Self, within thy heart.
218. Seeing the reflection of the sun mirrored in the water of a jar, the fool thinks it is the sun itself. Similarly the stupid man, through delusion, identifies himself with the reflection of the Chit caught in the Buddhi, which is Its superimposition.
219. Just as the wise man leaves aside the jar, the water and the reflection of the sun in it, and sees the self-luminous sun which illumines these three and is independent of them;
220-222. Similarly, discarding the body, the Buddhi and the reflection of the Chit in it, and realising the Witness, the Self, the Knowledge Absolute, the cause of the manifestation of everything, which is hidden in the recesses of the Buddhi, is distinct from the gross and subtle, eternal, omnipresent, all-pervading and extremely subtle, and which has neither interior nor exterior and is identical with one self - fully realising this true nature of oneself, one becomes free from sin, taint, death and grief, and becomes the embodiment of Bliss. Illumined himself, he is afraid of none. For a seeker after Liberation there is no other way to the breaking of the bonds of transmigration than the realisation of the truth of one's own Self.
223. The realisation of one's identity with Brahman is the cause of Liberation from the bonds of Samsara, by means of which the wise man attains Brahman, the One without a second, the Bliss Absolute.
224. Once having realised Brahman, one no longer returns to the realm of transmigration. Therefore one must fully realise one's identity with Brahman.
225. Brahman is Existence, Knowledge, Infinity, pure, supreme, self-existent, eternal and indivisible Bliss, not different (in reality) from the individual soul, and devoid of interior or exterior. It is (ever) triumphant.
226. It is this Supreme Oneness which alone is real, since there is nothing else but the Self. Verily, there remains no other independent entity in the state of realisation of the highest Truth.
227. All this universe which through ignorance appears as of diverse forms, is nothing else but Brahman which is absolutely free from all the limitations of human thought.
228. A jar, though a modification of clay, is not different from it; everywhere the jar is essentially the same as the clay. Why then call it a jar ? It is fictitious, a fancied name merely.
229. None can demonstrate that the essence of a jar is something other than the clay (of which it is made). Hence the jar is merely imagined (as separate) through delusion, and the component clay alone is the abiding reality in respect of it.
230. Similarly, the whole universe, being the effect of the real Brahman, is in reality nothing but Brahman. Its essence is That, and it does not exist apart from It. He who says it does is still under delusion - he babbles like one asleep.
231. This universe is verily Brahman - such is the august pronouncement of the Atharva Veda. Therefore this universe is nothing but Brahman, for that which is superimposed (on something) has no separate existence from its substratum.
232. If the universe, as it is, be real, there would be no cessation of the dualistic element, the scriptures would be falsified, and the Lord Himself would be guilty of an untruth. None of these three is considered either desirable or wholesome by the noble-minded.
233. The Lord, who knows the secret of all things has supported this view in the words: "But I am not in them" … "nor are the beings in Me".
234. If the universe be true, let it then be perceived in the state of deep sleep also. As it is not at all perceived, it must be unreal and false, like dreams.
235. Therefore the universe does not exist apart from the Supreme Self; and the perception of its separateness is false like the qualities (of blueness etc., in the sky). Has a superimposed attribute any meaning apart from its substratum ? It is the substratum which appears like that through delusion.
236. Whatever a deluded man perceives through mistake, is Brahman and Brahman alone: The silver is nothing but the mother-of-pearl. It is Brahman which is always considered as this universe, whereas that which is superimposed on the Brahman, viz. the universe, is merely a name.
237-238. Hence whatever is manifested, viz. this universe, is the Supreme Brahman Itself, the Real, the One without a second, pure, the Essence of Knowledge, taintless, serene, devoid of beginning and end, beyond activity, the Essence of Bliss Absolute - transcending all the diversities created by Maya or Nescience, eternal, ever beyond the reach of pain, indivisible, immeasurable, formless, undifferentiated, nameless, immutable, self-luminous.
239. Sages realise the Supreme Truth, Brahman, in which there is no differentiation of knower, knowledge and known, which is infinite, transcendent, and the Essence of Knowledge Absolute.
240. Which can be neither thrown away nor taken up, which is beyond the reach of mind and speech, immeasurable, without beginning and end, the Whole, one's very Self, and of surpassing glory.
241-242. If thus the Shruti, in the dictum "Thou art That" (Tat-Tvam-Asi), repeatedly establishes the absolute identity of Brahman (or Ishwara) and Jiva, denoted by the terms That (Tat) and thou (Tvam) respectively, divesting these terms of their relative associations, then it is the identity of their implied, not literal, meanings which is sought to be inculcated; for they are of contradictory attributes to each other - like the sun and a glow-worm, the king and a servant, the ocean and a well, or Mount Meru and an atom.
243. This contradiction between them is created by superimposition, and is not something real. This superimposition, in the case of Ishwara (the Lord), is Maya or Nescience, which is the cause of Mahat and the rest, and in the case of the Jiva (the individual soul), listen - the five sheaths, which are the effects of Maya, stand for it.
244. These two are the superimpositions of Ishwara and the Jiva respectively, and when these are perfectly eliminated, there is neither Ishwara nor Jiva. A kingdom is the symbol of a king, and a shield of the soldier, and when these are taken away, there is neither king nor soldier.
245. The Vedas themselves in the words "now then is the injunction" etc., repudiate the duality imagined in Brahman. One must needs eliminate those two superimpositions by means of realisation supported by the authority of the Vedas.
246. Neither this gross nor this subtle universe (is the Atman). Being imagined, they are not real - like the snake seen in the rope, and like dreams. Perfectly eliminating the objective world in this way by means of reasoning, one should next realise the oneness that underlies Ishwara and the Jiva.
247. Hence those two terms (Ishwara and Jiva) must be carefully considered through their implied meanings, so that their absolute identity may be established. Neither the method of total rejection nor that of complete retention will do. One must reason out through the process which combines the two.
248-249. Just as in the sentence, "This is that Devadatta", the identity is spoken of, eliminating the contradictory portions, so in the sentence "Thou art That", the wise man must give up the contradictory elements on both sides and recognise the identity of Ishwara and Jiva, noticing carefully the essence of both, which is Chit, Knowledge Absolute. Thus hundreds of scriptural texts inculcate the oneness and identity of Brahman and Jiva.
250. Eliminating the not-Self, in the light of such passages as "It is not gross" etc., (one realises the Atman), which is self-established, unattached like the sky, and beyond the range of thought. Therefore dismiss this mere phantom of a body which thou perceivest and hast accepted as thy own self. By means of the purified understanding that thou art Brahman, realise thy own self, the Knowledge Absolute.
251. All modifications of clay, such as the jar, which are always accepted by the mind as real, are (in reality) nothing but clay. Similarly, this entire universe which is produced from the real Brahman, is Brahman Itself and nothing but That. Because there is nothing else whatever but Brahman, and That is the only self-existent Reality, our very Self, therefore art thou that serene, pure, Supreme Brahman, the One without a second.
252. As the place, time, objects, knower, etc., called up in dream are all unreal, so is also the world experienced here in the waking state, for it is all an effect of one's own ignorance. Because this body, the organs, the Pranas, egoism, etc., are also thus unreal, therefore art thou that serene, pure, supreme Brahman, the One without a second.
253. (What is) erroneously supposed to exist in something, is, when the truth about it has been known, nothing but that substratum, and not at all different from it: The diversified dream universe (appears and) passes away in the dream itself. Does it appear on waking as something distinct from one's own Self ?
254. That which is beyond caste and creed, family and lineage; devoid of name and form, merit and demerit; transcending space, time and sense-object - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
255. That Supreme Brahman which is beyond the range of all speech, but accessible to the eye of pure illumination; which is pure, the Embodiment of Knowledge, the beginningless entity - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
256. That which is untouched by the sixfold wave; meditated upon by the Yogi's heart, but not grasped by the sense-organs; which the Buddhi cannot know; and which is unimpeachable - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
257. That which is the substratum of the universe with its various subdivisions, which are all creations of delusion; which Itself has no other support; which is distinct from the gross and subtle; which has no parts, and has verily no exemplar - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
258. That which is free from birth, growth, development, waste, disease and death; which is indestructible; which is the cause of the projection, maintenance and dissolution of the universe - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
259. That which is free from differentiation; whose essence is never non-existent; which is unmoved like the ocean without waves; the ever-free; of indivisible Form - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
260. That which, though One only, is the cause of the many; which refutes all other causes, but is Itself without cause; distinct from Maya and its effect, the universe; and independent - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
261. That which is free from duality; which is infinite and indestructible; distinct from the universe and Maya, supreme, eternal; which is undying Bliss; taintless - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
262. That Reality which (though One) appears variously owing to delusion, taking on names and forms, attributes and changes, Itself always unchanged, like gold in its modifications - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
263. That beyond which there is nothing; which shines even above Maya, which again is superior to its effect, the universe; the inmost Self of all, free from differentiation; the Real Self, the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute; infinite and immutable - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
264. On the Truth, inculcated above, one must oneself meditate in one's mind, through the intellect, by means of the recognised arguments. By that means one will realise the truth free from doubt etc., like water in the palm of one's hand.
265. Realising in this body the Knowledge Absolute free from Nescience and its effects - like the king in an army - and being ever established in thy own Self by resting on that Knowledge, merge the universe in Brahman.
266. In the cave of the Buddhi there is the Brahman, distinct from the gross and subtle, the Existence Absolute, Supreme, the One without a second. For one who lives in this cave as Brahman, O beloved, there is no more entrance into the mother's womb.
267. Even after the Truth has been realised, there remains that strong, beginningless, obstinate impression that one is the agent and experiencer, which is the cause of one's transmigration. It has to be carefully removed by living in a state of constant identification with the Supreme Self. Sages call that Liberation which is the attenuation of Vasanas (impressions) here and now.
268. The idea of "me and mine" in the body, organs, etc., which are the non-Self - this superimposition the wise man must put a stop to, by identifying himself with the Atman.
269. Realising thy own Inmost Self, the Witness of the Buddhi and its modifications, and constantly revolving the positive thought, "I am That", conquer this identification with the non-Self.
270. Relinquishing the observance of social formalities, giving up all ideas of trimming up the body, and avoiding too mush engrossment with the Scriptures, do away with the superimposition that has come upon thyself.
271. Owing to the desire to run after society, the passion for too much study of the Scriptures and the desire to keep the body in good trim, people cannot attain to proper Realisation.
272. For one who seeks deliverance from the prison of this world (Samsara), those three desires have been designated by the wise as strong iron fetters to shackle one's feet. He who is free from them truly attains to Liberation.
273. The lovely odour of the Agaru (agalochum) which is hidden by a powerful stench due to its contact with water etc., manifests itself as soon as the foreign smell has been fully removed by rubbing.
274. Like the fragrance of the sandal-wood, the perfume of the Supreme Self, which is covered with the dust of endless, violent impressions imbedded in the mind, when purified by the constant friction of Knowledge, is (again) clearly perceived.
275. The desire for Self-realisation is obscured by innumerable desires for things other than the Self. When they have been destroyed by the constant attachment to the Self, the Atman clearly manifests Itself of Its own accord.
276. As the mind becomes gradually established in the Inmost Self, it proportionately gives up the desires for external objects. And when all such desires have been eliminated, there takes place the unobstructed realisation of the Atman.
277. The Yogi's mind dies, being constantly fixed on his own Self. Thence follows the cessation of desires. Therefore do away with thy superimposition.
278. Tamas is destroyed by both Sattva and Rajas, Rajas by Sattva, and Sattva dies when purified. Therefore do way with thy superimposition through the help of Sattva.
279. Knowing for certain that the Prarabdha work will maintain this body, remain quiet and do away with thy superimposition carefully and with patience.
280. "I am not the individual soul, but the Supreme Brahman" - eliminating thus all that is not-Self, do away with thy superimposition, which has come through the momentum of (past) impressions.
281. Realising thyself as the Self of all by means of Scripture, reasoning and by thy own realisation, do away thy superimposition, even when a trace of it seems to appear.
282. The sage has no connection with action, since he has no idea of accepting or giving up. Therefore, through constant engrossment on the Brahman, do away with thy superimposition.
283. Through the realisation of the identity of Brahman and the soul, resulting from such great dicta as "Thou art That", do away with thy superimposition, with a view to strengthening thy identification with Brahman.
284. Until the identification with this body is completely rooted out, do away with thy superimposition with watchfulness and a concentrated mind.
285. So long as even a dream-like perception of the universe and souls persists, do away with thy superimposition, O learned man, without the least break.
286. Without giving the slightest chance to oblivion on account of sleep, concern in secular matters or the sense-objects, reflect on the Self in thy mind.
287. Shunning from a safe distance the body which has come from impurities of the parents and itself consists of flesh and impurities - as one does an outcast - be thou Brahman and realise the consummation of thy life.
288. Merging the finite soul in the Supreme Self, like the space enclosed by a jar in the infinite space, by means of meditation on their identity, always keep quiet, O sage.
289. Becoming thyself the self-effulgent Brahman, the substratum of all phenomena - as that Reality give up both the macrocosm and the microcosm, like two filthy receptacles.
290. Transferring the identification now rooted in the body to the Atman, the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, and discarding the subtle body, be thou ever alone, independent.
291. That in which there is this reflection of the universe, as of a city in a mirror - that Brahman art thou; knowing this thou wilt attain the consummation of thy life.
292. That which is real and one's own primeval Essence, that Knowledge and Bliss Absolute, the One without a second, which is beyond form and activity - attaining That one should cease to identify oneself with one's false bodies, like an actor giving up his assumed mask.
293. This objective universe is absolutely unreal; neither is egoism a reality, for it is observed to be momentary. How can the perception, "I know all", be true of egoism etc., which are momentary ?
294. But the real'I" is that which witnesses the ego and the rest. It exists always, even in the state of profound sleep. The Shruti itself says, "It is birthless, eternal", etc. Therefore the Paramatman is different from the gross and subtle bodies.
295. The knower of all changes in things subject to change should necessarily be eternal and changeless. The unreality of the gross and subtle bodies is again and again clearly observed in imagination, dream and profound sleep.
296. Therefore give up the identification with this lump of flesh, the gross body, as well as with the ego or the subtle body, which are both imagined by the Buddhi. Realising thy own Self, which is Knowledge Absolute and not to be denied in the past, present or future, attain to Peace.
297. Cease to identify thyself with the family, lineage, name, form and the order of life, which pertain to the body that is like a rotten corpse (to a man of realisation). Similarly, giving up ideas of agency and so forth, which are attributes of the subtle body, be the Essence of Bliss Absolute.
298. Other obstacles are also observed to exist for men, which lead to transmigration. The root of them, for the above reasons, is the first modification of Nescience called egoism.
299. So long as one has any relation to this wicked ego, there should not be the least talk about Liberation, which is unique.
300. Freed from the clutches of egoism, as the moon from those of Rahu, man attains to his real nature, and becomes pure, infinite, ever blissful and self-luminous.