Self-enquiry and Buddhism/ the Jhanas and Ramana Maharshi

Buddha Ramana Krishna.png

In this article we will look at a Buddhist text that deals with the last step of the Noble Eightfold Path, Samma Samadhi (Right concentration). When we look at the method the Buddha actually prescribed, as written in the Pali texts, we cannot help but notice the similarity to the Yogic and Vedic teachings on meditation and to Ramana Maharshi’s Self-Enquiry. As always, if one wants to know the truth of the traditions, it pays to read the original texts for oneself, as often what is taught as being in the scriptures is not always the same as what actually is in the scriptures.

If one wants to know the truth of the traditions, it pays to read the original texts for oneself, as often what is taught as being in the scriptures is not always the same as what actually is in the scriptures.

The earliest written Buddhist teachings come to us in the form of the Pali Suttas, or the Buddhist texts written in the Pali language, and when we read them, one of the most important and most often repeated teachings we come across is the teaching on Samma Samadhi or Right concentration, the final step of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. Again and again we find the Buddha exhorting his followers to practice Samma Samadhi.

In the Magga-Vibhanga Sutta (SN 45.8), the Buddha gives an overview of the Noble Eightfold Path and defines in brief what each of the eight steps entails. Here is how he defines Samma Samadhi, or Right Concentration:

And what, monks, is Samma Samadhi?

There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.

With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance.

With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.’

With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This, monks, is called right concentration.

Here the Buddha has introduced us to the Pali word Jhana, which is the Pali equivalent of the Sanskrit word Dhyana. Interestingly (for me, at least), it is from the word Dhyana that the Chinese word Ch’an comes, which in Japan became known as Zen, and as Son in Korea. All these words mean essentially mean meditation.

In Yoga and Vedanta traditions, the word Dhyana refers usually to concentrative meditation in which one’s attention is made to focus on some kind of object, gross (eg. a physical object) or subtle (eg. the breath or a sound/mantra), in order to eventually turn the attention away from body mind and world. This in turn allows a different aspect of one’s consciousness to come naturally into focus, namely pure consciousness which is devoid of objects/phenomena. This is called Samadhi in yoga and vedanta. This Samadhi ‘experience’ is not a usual experience, as it is devoid of objects that can be experienced, and cannot be understood without entering into it and ‘experiencing’ it first hand. This process of turning away from body/mind/world and experiencing pure consciousness is the hallmark of the Vedic method of meditation, as described in the Vedas (Gayatri mantra), the Upanishads, the Yoga sutras, The Bhagavad Gita (See chapter 6 for the main exposition), the agamas and various subsequent Advaita Vedanta texts (ie. the Prakarana Granthas – see Panchadasi or Vivekachudamani). Here is a brief quotation from the authoritative Katha Upanishad, verse 2.3.10:

When the five organs of perception become still, together with the mind, and the intellect ceases to be active: that is called the Supreme State [Brahman].

Similarly we see the same teachings from Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi, see here for an example.

Now the Buddha uses the same equivalent word as Dhyana, but in Pali: Jhana. The Jhanas are often taught as being states of concentration and absorption, and as I stated above, the Buddha repeatedly encouraged his followers to take up this practice. There are typically said to be 8 or 9 Jnanas, depending on how you want to divide them up, and when combined with the teachings on wisdom (Panna in Pali, Prajna in Sanskrit), they are said to lead to nirvana, or total and complete liberation from suffering.

Now let us look at one of the main Buddhist texts that deals with the Jhanas and how to access them, the Jhana Sutta. The Buddha states that the ending of the mental defilements (Pali: Asava) depends on the Jhanas. It should be noted that the ending of the Asava, or mental defilements, is tantamount to total liberation (nirvana), the ending of suffering (Dukkha) or what in early Buddhism is known as becoming an Arahant.

My comments are interspersed in italicised red:

The Jhāna Sutta  (AN 9:36)

First the Buddha makes it clear that liberation, or ending of the Asava, depends on attaining the Jhanas, or absorptive meditative states:

“I tell you, the ending of the mental defilements depends on the first jhana… the second jhana… the third… the fourth… the dimension of the infinitude of space… the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness… the dimension of nothingness. I tell you, the ending of the mental defilements depends on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.

The Buddha then tells us how to enter the first Jhana. We should turn away from sense pleasures, from negative qualities, our thought should be one-pointed and we should remain mindful:

“‘I tell you, the ending of the mental defilements depends on the first jhana.’ Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said? There is the case where a monk, secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.

The Buddha proceeds, in what could be thought to be a very Vedic way of phrasing things. Of course, it is actually also a very Buddhist way of phrasing things too, the two paths being so similar in many ways: first he identifies all phenomena that appear in our experience/awareness – these are the five Buddhist skandas (ie. form, sensation, perceptions, mental activity and consciousness), which are loosely similar to the five koshas of vedanta.

Secondly he applies the Buddhist teaching of the 3 marks of existence to them (ie. (1) they are temporary, (2) attachment to them causes suffering, and (3) they are not-self).

And thirdly, lastly, and most crucially, he advises one turns the mind away from these phenomena and ‘incline his mind to the property of deathlessness’, what in Vedic teachings would likely be termed the Self (Atman) or the Absolute (Brahman).

“He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, sensations, perception, mental activity, and consciousness [ie. the five skandas], as temporary, causing suffering, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self [i.e the three marks of existence]. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: ‘This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all mental activity; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'”

In the last sentence of the above paragraph, the Buddha uncharacteristically uses some positive terminology, ie. describing the absolute/ultimate in positive terms of what it is: he uses the words ‘This is peace, this is exquisite’, expressing the wonder and positivity of this state. Then he, more characteristically, adopts the usual negative terminology which describes the absolute in terms of what it is not: the lack of mental activity, the lack of acquisitiveness, the end of craving, lack of passion, lack of bondage or suffering. It is clear he is referring to nothing else but total and complete liberation, or nirvana.

The buddha continues, this time stating the same teaching again, but preceding it with the metaphor of an archery student. The idea is that through practice, one gets better at entering the Jhanas, just as the achery student improves through practice. The implication is that what at first seems difficult, perhaps impossible at first, such as highly developed archery skills, becomes possible and second-nature with repeated practice. Everyone can do this.

We also have to think why the Buddha chose an archer specifically to demonstrate this idea of the importance of practice. The other aspect of the archery metaphor is that the archer is one-pointed in intent, having picked a single target and focussing in on that, and over time and after correctly applying themselves, eventually is able to hit the bulls eye – they reach the goal of nirvana through having a clear aim, focus, practice and concentration:

“Suppose that an archer or archer’s apprentice were to practice on a straw man or mound of clay, so that after a while he would become able to shoot long distances, to fire accurate shots in rapid succession, and to pierce great masses. In the same way, there is the case where a monk… enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, sensations, perception, mental activity, and consciousness, as temporary, causing suffering, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: ‘This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all mental activity; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.’

Now we see another important phrase: ‘Staying right here’. The Buddha points out, just as in the vedic scriptures, that this state is to be abided in. Abiding in this state leads to the end of the mental defilements. In Vedic or Vedanta terms we could say that Abiding as the Self leads to the destruction of the vasanas (habitual mental tendencies):

Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental defilements [and attains nirvana] . Or, if not, then — through this very dhamma-passion, this very dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the first five of the fetters — he is due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world. I tell you, the ending of the mental defilements depends on the first jhana.’ Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.”

(Similarly with the second, third, and fourth jhana.)

So basically the Buddha is saying that either all of the mental defilements will be destroyed through this practice of the first four Jhanas, and thus lead directly to liberation, or some of the mental defilements will be destroyed, leading to becoming a one-returner, ie. someone who is to born once more in a heavenly realm where they will then attain nirvana without being reborn a second time.

The teaching then repeats for the the remainder of the Jhanas. The next three Jhanas (Jhanas 2-4) are covered using the same wording as above. The last five Jhanas, also called the formless Jhanas, have a subtly different wording, as follows:

“‘I tell you, the ending of the mental defilements depends on the dimension of the infinitude of space.’ Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said? There is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] ‘Infinite space,’ enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with sensations, perception, mental activity, and consciousness, as temporary, causing suffering, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: ‘This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all mental activity; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.’

We can see that the basic teaching is the same. The emphasis now is not on form (which is not mentioned – only the latter four of the five skandhas are now mentioned), but on ‘complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form’ and disappearance of resistance, and ignoring any thoughts or notions of multiplicity. This about a deep letting go in which effort and duality are both let go of.

The teachings continues is the same way as with the first four Jhanas above:

“Suppose that an archer or archer’s apprentice were to practice on a straw man or mound of clay, so that after a while he would become able to shoot long distances, to fire accurate shots in rapid succession, and to pierce great masses. In the same way, there is the case where a monk… enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space [the fifth Jhana]. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with sensations, perception, mental activity, and consciousness, as temporary, causing suffering, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: ‘This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all mental activity; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.’

Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental defilements [and attains nirvana]. Or, if not, then — through this very dhamma-passion, this very dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the first five of the fetters — he is due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world. I tell you, the ending of the mental defilements depends on the dimension of the infinitude of space.’ Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

(Similarly with the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness [the sixth Jhana] and the dimension of nothingness [the seventh Jhana].)

For the last two of the nine Jhanas, the Buddha recommends you receive direct teachings yourself from someone who has mastered these already:

“Thus, as far as the perception-attainments go, that is as far as gnosis-penetration goes. As for these two dimensions — the attainment of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception [the eighth Jhana] & the attainment of the cessation of feeling & perception [the ninth Jhana, sometimes said to be Nirvana itself] — I tell you that they are to be rightly explained by those monks who are meditators, skilled in attaining, skilled in attaining & emerging, who have attained & emerged in dependence on them.”

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Shankara on the Mind, Samadhi (stillness of mind), Manonasa (destruction of mind), and Liberation

Shankara shankaracharya

The following are quotes from Shankara’s Vivekachudamani on the Mind, samadhi (stillness of mind), manonasa (destruction of mind) and it’s relationship to moksha (liberation). I hope you find these teachings to be helpful and instructive.

Vivekachudamani is one of the most important in the Advaita Vedanta tradition. Attributed to Shankara, for centuries it has traditionally been used as a practice manual for seekers of spiritual liberation. Many mahatmas (great souls) have considered this text to contain all that is required to know in order to attain liberation.

Swami Chinmayananda, that great Sanskrit scholar and teacher of Advaita Vedanta, said Vivekachudamani contained the distilled wisdom from the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita and presents it in a systematic readable form for a seeker of liberation, in which both ‘the goal and path are exhaustively dealt with’. He wrote of Vivekachudamani that ‘no other help is needed’ other than this text on the quest to liberation.

A very young (and already enlightened) Sri Ramana Maharshi also translated the entire text into Tamil for the benefit of his companions and devotees who were unable to read Sanskrit, in what was perhaps Ramana’s first spiritual work. The fact that Ramana wrote very little yet bothered to translate this in its entirely, that this was the first scripture he chose to translate, and that this is the longest of the scriptures he ever translated (to my knowledge) perhaps gives you an indication of the significance of this text. Ramana himself wrote an introduction to his own translation and in it he said that Vivekachudamani explained ‘in detail the points that have to be grasped by those who seek liberation, and thereby directing them to the true and direct path’.

So here is some of what Shankara says about Mind and Liberation, my comments are in italicised red:


 

First Shankara equates mind with ignorance, saying they are one and the same, hinting the mind must be destroyed (manonasa), a theme that is taken up again later on:

169. There is no Ignorance (Avidya) outside the mind. The mind alone is Avidya, the cause of the bondage of transmigration. When that is destroyed, all else is destroyed, and when it is manifested, everything else is manifested.

Then he states the world is but an illusion projected by the mind, like a dream:

170. In dreams, when there is no actual contact with the external world, the mind alone creates the whole universe consisting of the experiencer etc. Similarly in the waking state also; there is no difference. Therefore all this (phenomenal universe) is the projection of the mind.

171. In dreamless sleep, when the mind is reduced to its causal state, there exists nothing (for the person asleep), as is evident from universal experience. Hence man’s relative existence is simply the creation of his mind, and has no objective reality.

172. Clouds are brought in by the wind and again driven away by the same agency. Similarly, man’s bondage is caused by the mind, and Liberation too is caused by that alone.

Shankara warns the seeker to stay away from the mind:

176. In the forest-tract of sense-pleasures there prowls a huge tiger called the mind. Let good people who have a longing for Liberation never go there.

177. The mind continually produces for the experiencer all sense-objects without exception, whether perceived as gross or fine, the differences of body, caste, order of life, and tribe, as well as the varieties of qualification, action, means and results.

Shankara in the next two verses repeats that mind is synonymous with ignorance and the cause of bondage or suffering.

179. Man’s transmigration is due to the evil of superimposition, and the bondage of superimposition is created by the mind alone.

180. Hence sages who have fathomed its secret have designated the mind as Avidya or ignorance, by which alone the universe is moved to and fro, like masses of clouds by the wind.

Shankara teaches us that the mind eventually must die, and the method of how to do this:

277. The Yogi’s mind dies, being constantly fixed on his own Self.

What happens when we do not follow this teaching?

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.

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.

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.

The mind must be stilled:

344. …But the victory is undoubtedly (complete and) free from obstacles when there is no oscillation of the mind due to the unreal sense-objects.

The term Samadhi refers to a state of mind that is stilled but also aware and not asleep:

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.

Nirvikalpa Samadhi refers to the complete absence of ‘mind waves’ or modifications of consciousness, in which there is only pure awareness or consciousness present devoid of thoughts and perceptions:

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.

Shankara continues to stress the importance of the thoughtless aware state of samadhi, or, to put it more simply, being still of mind:

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.

Drowning the mind implies its death, meaning the death of ignorance:

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.

398. When the mind-functions are merged in the Paramatman, the Brahman, the Absolute, none of this phenomenal world is seen

Again, Shankara says we must end the mind:

407. This apparent universe has its root in the mind, and never persists after the mind is annihilated. Therefore dissolve the mind by concentrating it on the Supreme Self, which is thy inmost Essence.

408. The wise man realises in his heart, through Samadhi, the Infinite Brahman, which is something of the nature of eternal Knowledge and absolute Bliss, which has no exemplar, which transcends all limitations, is ever free and without activity, and which is like the limitless sky, indivisible and absolute.

409. The wise man realises in his heart, through Samadhi, the Infinite Brahman, which is devoid of the ideas of cause and effect, which is the Reality beyond all imaginations, homogeneous, matchless, beyond the range of proofs, established by the pronouncements of the Vedas, and ever familiar to us as the sense of the ego.

410. The wise man realises in his heart, through Samadhi, the Infinite Brahman, which is undecaying and immortal, the positive Entity which precludes all negations, which resembles the placid ocean and is without a name, in which there are neither merits nor demerits, and which is eternal, pacified and One.

411. With the mind restrained in Samadhi, behold in thy self the Atman, of infinite glory, cut off thy bondage strengthened by the impressions of previous births, and carefully attain the consummation of thy birth as a human being.

480. Concentrating the mind for some time on the Supreme Brahman, he rose, and out of supreme bliss spoke as follows.

Manonasa, a synonym for moksha, is declared by this scripture:

481. My mind has vanished, and all its activities have melted, by realising the identity of the Self and Brahman; I do not know either this or not-this; nor what or how much the boundless Bliss (of Samadhi) is

502. How can there be merits and demerits for me, who am without organs, without mind, changeless, and formless – who am the realisation of Bliss Absolute? The Shruti also mentions this in the passage “Not touched”, etc.!

Here Shankara repeats the line found in Guadapada’s Karika, which itself is a repetition of the Upanishadic verse:

574. There is neither death nor birth, neither a bound nor a struggling soul, neither a seeker after Liberation nor a liberated one – this is the ultimate truth.

This is the true vedanta:

575. I have today repeatedly revealed to thee, as to one’s own son, this excellent and profound secret, which is the inmost purport of all Vedanta, the crest of the Vedas

 

Shankara: characteristics of a perfected sage or Jnani

Shankara shankaracharya

Om!

Praise to Sri Shankara!

Praise to those custodians of this wonderful knowledge and teaching!

Praise to the Self,

One and supreme in all its effulgent glory!

May we all be happy and free!

May we all realise the Self!

Om!

In his text Vivekachudamani Shankara writes 18 verses describing the Jnani (literally ‘knower’ or ‘one who knows’) or perfected sage, starting at verse 535. My comments are in blue throughout.

Unattached and self-satisfied:

In these first few of these verses, the theme is a lack of attachment to the phenomenal world. Shankara uses phrases such as ‘he is neither grieved nor elated by sense objects’…’neither attached nor adverse to them [sense objects]… ‘without anxiety or humiliation’…’without fear’…’unattached to external things’…’experiences all sorts of sense objects as they come’. We can see that while the sage is (naturally) unattached, there is also no attempt to be detached either (which would actually be a form of attachment or striving).

Often detachment from sense-objects is emphasised at the level of a seeker engaging in sadhana (spiritual practice), but now there is no ignorance, there is no need to emphasise either detachment or attachment. A natural state of balance has been naturally achieved now the distorting/unbalancing effect of ignorance is no longer at play:

535. Satisfied with undiluted, constant Bliss, he is neither grieved nor elated by sense-objects, is neither attached nor averse to them, but always disports with the Self and takes pleasure therein.

536. A child plays with its toys forgetting hunger and bodily pains; exactly so does the man of realisation take pleasure in the Reality, without ideas of “I” or “mine”, and is happy.

In these above 2 verses, it is interesting to note that the flip-side of natural detachment is a natural resting in the ‘undiluted, constant Bliss’ of the Self. The Sage, completely satisfied by the self, does not notice or mind the suffering of the body. The resultant natural side effect of this is lack of both attachment and aversion to sense objects. Note that this means there is no need for supression of emotions or feelings or fear of any other phenomena.

The next 2 verses comment on the free-living aspect of the Jnani. The jnani is without self-image and finds the earth to be their home. Being without self-image, they do not necessarily dress or look a certain way (‘wears no outward mark’), and they allow what comes to come, and what goes to go. This last point is the same as stating there is no attachment or aversion to sense objects, and in verse 538 it is compared to the innocence of a child:

537. Men of realisation have their food without anxiety or humiliation by begging, and their drink from the water of rivers; they live freely and independently, and sleep without fear in cremation grounds or forests; their clothing may be the quarters themselves, which need no washing and drying, or any bark etc., the earth is their bed; they roam in the avenue of the Vedanta; while their pastime is in the Supreme Brahman.

538. The knower of the Atman, who wears no outward mark and is unattached to external things, rests on this body without identification, and experiences all sorts of sense-objects as they come, through others’ wish, like a child.

You can’t tell a jnani by clothes, behaviour, sex or age:

539. Established in the ethereal plane of Absolute Knowledge, he wanders in the world, sometimes like a madman, sometimes like a child and at other times like a ghoul, having no other clothes on his person except the quarters, or sometimes wearing clothes, or perhaps skins at other times.

The sage can enjoy sense objects, but fundamentally cares not for them:

540. The sage, living alone, enjoys the sense-objects, being the very embodiment of desirelessness – always satisfied with his own Self, and himself present at the All.

The many appearances of a Jnani:

Not caring one iota for self-image, the Jnani may appear in multiple forms, but cares not about whether they are a king or a pauper, well revered or despised:

541. Sometimes a fool, sometimes a sage, sometimes possessed of regal splendour; sometimes wandering, sometimes behaving like a motionless python, sometimes wearing a benignant expression; sometimes honoured, sometimes insulted, sometimes unknown – thus lives the man of realisation, ever happy with Supreme Bliss.

542. Though without riches, yet ever content; though helpless, yet very powerful, though not enjoying the sense-objects, yet eternally satisfied; though without an exemplar, yet looking upon all with an eye of equality.

The ‘eye of equality’ naturally arises when one does not prefer one set of sense-objects (ie. experiences) over another set. This lack of preference naturally occurs when one realises the Self and is satisfied as the Self.

The next verse juxtaposes the relative (doing, experiencing, possessing a body, limited)  with the absolute (inactive, untouched, unidentified, omnipresent), indicating that we can speak of reality using either set of langauge:

543. Though doing, yet inactive; though experiencing fruits of past actions, yet untouched by them; though possessed of a body, yet without identification with it; though limited, yet omnipresent is he.

The next verse goes one step further, showing that in truth the Jnani is nothing but the absolute in which there is not even the idea of a body, despite the appearance of one appearing:

544. Neither pleasure nor pain, nor good nor evil, ever touches this knower of Brahman, who always lives without the body-idea.

545. Pleasure or pain, or good or evil, affects only him who has connections with the gross body etc., and identifies himself with these. How can good or evil, or their effects, touch the sage who has identified himself with the Reality and thereby shattered his bondage ?

Just as the sun appears to be ‘swallowed’ and destroyed when it sets, a jnani appears to have a body and act. In reality, just as the sun is not ‘swallowed’ or destroyed at sunset, the jnani is ever-bodiless, as are all of us. It is only ignorance that makes us believe otherwise:

546. The sun which appears to be, but is not actually, swallowed by Rahu, is said to be swallowed, on account of delusion, by people, not knowing the real nature of the sun.

547. Similarly, ignorant people look upon the perfect knower of Brahman, who is wholly rid of bondages of the body etc., as possessed of the body, seeing but an appearance of it.

549. As a piece of wood is borne by the current to a high or low ground, so is his body carried on by the momentum of past actions to the varied experience of their fruits, as these present themselves in due course.

This next verse employs the beautiful imagery of comparing the Self to a pivot on a potter’s wheel. Whilst the pedal on moved, the pivot remains stationary, just as the two ends of a sea-saw move, but the pivot remains still amidst the movement. Similarly, whilst this world-appearance seems to be full of motion, the Self/Jnani is eternally still, at peace and free:

550. The man of realisation, bereft of the body-idea, moves amid sense-enjoyments like a man subject to transmigration, through desires engendered by the Prarabdha work. He himself, however, lives unmoved in the body, like a witness, free from mental oscillations, like the pivot of the potter’s wheel.

Next the imagery of a passive witness or ‘unconcerned spectator’ is utilised.  This is to convey the point that the jnani is without egoic or volitional desire (‘unconcerned’, without ‘the least regard’) but is aware (‘spectator’):

551. He neither directs the sense-organs to their objects nor detaches them from these, but stays like an unconcerned spectator. And he has not the least regard for the fruits of actions, his mind being thoroughly inebriated with drinking the undiluted elixir of the Bliss of the Atman.

The Jnani cares not about meditation or any other sadhana. The Jnani has transcended ignorance, meditation and sadhana only being required as a remedy for ignorance. When ignorance is no longer present (ie. seen to never have been real), and when the egoic tendencies (vasanas) to identify as a ‘me’ or body-mind have gone, then what need is there for meditation? Just as what need is there to prepare and implement a cure when the disease has now gone?

552. He who, giving up all considerations of the fitness or otherwise of objects of meditation, lives as the Absolute Atman, is verily Shiva Himself, and he is the best among the knowers of Brahman.

The Jnani is only ever Brahman (there is only Brahman), regardless of appearances that may suggest otherwise:

553. As an actor, when he puts on the dress of his role, or when he does not, is always a man, so the perfect knower of Brahman is always Brahman and nothing else.

For the entire text of Vivekachudamani click here.

Om!

Praise to Sri Shankara!

Praise to those custodians of this wonderful knowledge and teaching!

Praise to the Self,

One and supreme in all its effulgent glory!

May we all be happy and free!

May we all realise the Self!

Om!

Mandukya Upanishad with Gaudapada’s Karika

Translation by Swami Nikhilananda

The Mandukya Upanishad is 12 verses on AUM Mantra. It is often cited as the most important of the upanishads. Gaudapada’s Karika is commentary relating to those 12 verses and is one of the most important  and authoritative texts in the Advaita Vedanta tradition.

Chapter I [of Gaudapada’s Karika] – Agama Prakarana (The Chapter based on Vedic Testimony)

Mandukya Upanishad – Verses I-VI:

I: Harih Aum! AUM, the word, is all this, the whole universe. A clear explanation of it is as follows: All that is past, present and future is, indeed, AUM. And whatever else there is, beyond the threefold division of time—that also is truly AUM.

II: All this is, indeed, Brahman. This Atman is Brahman. This same Atman has four quarters.

III: The first quarter is called Vaisvanara, whose sphere of activity is the waking state, who is conscious of external objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who is the experiencer of gross objects.

IV: The second quarter is Taijasa, whose sphere of activity is the dream state, who is conscious of internal objects, who is endowed with seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who is the experiencer of subtle objects.

V: That is the state of deep sleep wherein one asleep neither desires any object nor sees any dream. The third quarter is Prajna, whose sphere is deep sleep, in whom all experiences become unified, who is, verily, a mass of consciousness, who is full of bliss and experiences bliss and who is the door leading to the knowledge of dreaming and waking.

VI: He is the Lord of all. He is the knower of all. He is the inner controller. He is the source of all; for from him all beings originate and in him they finally disappear.

Gaudapada’s Karika

1 Visva is all—pervading, the experiencer of external objects. Taijasa is the cognizer of internal objects. Prajna is a mass of consciousness. It is one alone that is thus known in the three states.

2 Visva is the cognizer through the right eye; Taijasa is the cognizer through the mind within; Prajna is the akasa in the heart. Therefore the one Atman is perceived threefold in the same body.

3—4 Visva experiences the gross; Taijasa, the subtle; and Prajna, the blissful. Know these to be the threefold experience. The gross object satisfies Visva; the subtle, Taijasa; and the blissful, Prajna. Know these to be the threefold satisfaction.

5 The experiencer and the objects of experience associated with the three states have been described. He who knows these both does not become attached to objects though enjoying them.

6 Surely a coming into existence must be predicated of all positive entities that exist. Prana manifests all inanimate objects. The Purusha manifests the conscious beings in their manifold forms.

7 Some of those who contemplate the process of creation regard it as the manifestation of God’s powers; others imagine creation to be like dreams and illusions.

8 Those who are convinced about the reality of manifested objects ascribe the manifestation solely to God’s will, while those who speculate about time regard time as the creator of things.

9 Some say that the manifestation is or the purpose of God’s enjoyment, while others attribute it to His division. But it is the very nature of the effulgent Being. What desire is possible for Him who is the fulfillment of all desires?

Mandukya Upanishad Verse VII:

VII: Turiya is not that which is conscious of the inner (subjective) world, nor that which is conscious of the outer (objective) world, nor that which is conscious of both, nor that which is a mass of consciousness. It is not simple consciousness nor is It unconsciousness. It is unperceived, unrelated, incomprehensible, uninferable, unthinkable and indescribable. The essence of the Consciousness manifesting as the self in the three states, It is the cessation of all phenomena; It is all peace, all bliss and non—dual. This is what is known as the Fourth (Turiya). This is Atman and this has to be realized.

 Gaudapada’s Karika continued

10 Turiya, the changeless Ruler, is capable of destroying all miseries. All other entities being unreal, the non—dual Turiya alone is known as effulgent and all—pervading.

11 Visva and Taijasa are conditioned by cause and effect. Prajna is conditioned by cause alone. Neither cause nor effect exists in Turiya.

12 Prajna does not know anything of self or non—self, of truth or untruth. But Turiya is ever existent and all—seeing.

13 Non—cognition of duality is common to both Prajna and Turiya. But Prajna is associated with sleep in the form of cause and this sleep does not exist in Turiya.

14 The first two, Visva and Taijasa, are associated with dreaming and sleep respectively; Prajna, with Sleep bereft of dreams. Knowers of Brahman see neither sleep nor dreams in Turiya.

15 Dreaming is the wrong cognition and sleep the non—cognition, of Reality. When the erroneous knowledge in these two is destroyed, Turiya is realized.

16 When the jiva, asleep under the influence of beginningless maya, is awakened, it then realizes birthless, sleepless and dreamless Non—duality.

17 If the phenomenal universe were real, then certainly it would disappear. The universe of duality which is cognized is mere illusion (maya); Non—duality alone is the Supreme Reality.

18 If anyone imagines illusory ideas such as the teacher, the taught and the scriptures, then they will disappear. These ideas are for the purpose of instruction. Duality ceases to exist when Reality is known.

Mandukya Upanishad – Verses VIII-XI:

VIII: The same Atman explained before as being endowed with four quarters is now described from the standpoint of the syllable AUM. AUM, too, divided into parts, is viewed from the standpoint of letters. The quarters of Atman are the same as the letters of AUM and the letters are the same as the quarters. The letters are A, U and M.

IX: Vaisvanara Atman, whose sphere of activity is the waking state, is A, the first letter of AUM, on account of his all— pervasiveness or on account of his being the first. He who knows this obtains all desires and becomes first among the great.

X: Taijasa Atman, whose sphere of activity is the dream state, is U, the second letter of AUM, on account of his superiority or intermediateness. He who knows this attains a superior knowledge, receives equal treatment from all and finds in his family no one ignorant of Brahman.

XI: Prajna Atman, whose sphere is deep sleep, is M, the third letter of AUM, because both are the measure and also because in them all become one. He who knows this is able to measure all and also comprehends all within himself.

Gaudapada’s Karika continued

19 When it is desired to describe the identity of Visva and the letter A, the chief ground given is the fact that each is the first in its respective sphere. Another reason for this identity is the all—pervasiveness of each.

20 The clear ground for realizing Taijasa as of the same nature as the letter U is the common feature of superiority. Another plain reason for such identity is their being in the middle.

21 The indisputable reason given for the identity of Prajna and M is the common feature that both are the measure. The other reason for such identity is another common feature, namely, that both represent the state of mergence.

22 He who knows for certain the similarity of the three states and the three letters of AUM, based upon their common features, is worshipped and adored by all beings and also is a great sage.

23 Through meditation on A the seeker attains Visva; through meditation on U, Taijasa; and through meditation on M, Prajna. Meditation on the “soundless” brings no attainment.

Mandukya Upanishad – Verse XII:

XII: The Fourth (Turiya) is without parts and without relationship; It is the cessation of phenomena; It is all good and non—dual. This AUM is verily Atman. He who knows this merges his self in Atman—yea, he who knows this.

End of Mandukya Upanishad

Gaudapada’s Karika continued

24 AUM should be known quarter by quarter. There is no doubt that the quarters are the same as the letters. Having understood AUM quarter by quarter, one should not think of anything else.

25 The mind should be concentrated on AUM. AUM is the fearless Brahman. He who is always absorbed in AUM knows no fear whatever.

26 AUM is verily the Lower Brahman. It is also stated to be the Higher Brahman. AUM is beginningless and unique. There is nothing outside it. It is unrelated to any effect and is immutable.

27 AUM is, indeed, the beginning, middle and end of all things. He who has realized AUM as immutable immediately attains the Supreme Reality.

28 Know AUM to be Isvara, ever present in the hearts of all. The calm soul, contemplating AUM as all—pervading, does not grieve.

29 One who knows AUM, which is soundless and also endowed with infinite sounds, which is all good and the negation of duality, is a real sage and none other.

Chapter II [of Gaudapada’s Karika] — Vaitathya Prakarana (The Chapter on Illusion)

1 Harih Aum. The wise declare the unreality of all entities seen in dreams, because they are located within the body and the space therein is confined.

2 The dreamer, on account of the shortness of the time involved, cannot go out of the body and see the dream objects. Nor does he, when awakened, find himself in the places seen in the dream.

3 Scripture, on rational grounds, declares the non—existence of the chariots etc. perceived in dreams. Therefore the wise say that the unreality established by reason is proclaimed by scripture.

4 The different objects seen in the confined space of dreams are unreal on account of their being perceived. For the same reason i.e. on account of their being perceived, the objects seen in the waking state are also unreal. The same condition i.e. the state of being perceived exists in both waking and dreaming. The only difference is the limitation of space associated with dream objects.

5 Thoughtful persons speak of the sameness of the waking and dream states on account of the similarity of the objects perceived in both states on the grounds already mentioned.

6 If a thing is non—existent both in the beginning and in the end, it is necessarily non—existent in the present. The objects that we see are really like illusions; still they are regarded as real.

7 The utility of the objects of waking experience is contradicted in dreams; therefore they are certainly unreal. Thus both experiences, having a beginning and an end, are unreal.

8 The objects perceived by the dreamer, not usually seen in the waking state, owe their existence to the peculiar conditions under which the cognizer i.e. the mind functions for the time being, as with those residing in heaven. The dreamer, associating himself with the dream conditions, perceives those objects, even as a man, well instructed here, goes from one place to another and sees the peculiar objects belonging to those places.

9—10 In dreams, what is imagined within the mind is illusory and what is cognized outside by the mind, real; but truly, both are known to be unreal. Similarly, in the waking state, what is imagined within by the mind is illusory and what is cognized outside by the mind, real; but both should be held, on rational grounds, to be unreal.

11 If the objects perceived in both waking and dreaming are illusory, who perceives all these objects and who, again, imagines them?

12 It is the self—luminous Atman who, through the power of Its own maya, imagines in Itself by Itself all the objects that the subject experiences within and without. It alone is the cognizer of objects. This is the decision of Vedanta.

13 The Lord (Atman), with His mind turned outward, imagines in diverse forms various objects either permanent, such as the earth, or impermanent, such as lightning, which are already in His mind in the form of vasanas, or desires. Again, He turns His mind within and imagines various ideas.

14 Those that are cognized internally only as long as the thought of them lasts and those that are perceived outside and relate to two points in time, are all mere objects of the imagination. There is no ground for differentiating the one from the other.

15 Those that exist within the mind as subjective ideas and are known as unmanifested and those that are perceived to exist outside in a manifested form, both are mere objects of the imagination. Their difference lies only in the difference of the organs by means of which they are perceived.

16 First of all is imagined the jiva, the embodied individual and then are imagined the various entities, both external such as sounds, forms, etc. and internal such as the pranas, sense— organs, etc., that are perceived to exist. As is one’s knowledge so is one’s memory.

17 As a rope lying in darkness, about whose nature one remains uncertain, is imagined to be a snake or a line of water, so Atman is imagined in various ways.

18 When the real nature of the rope is ascertained, all misconceptions about it disappear and there arises the conviction that it is nothing but a rope. Even so is the true nature of Atman determined.

19 Atman is imagined as prana and other numberless ideas. All this is due to maya, belonging to the effulgent Atman, by which It appears, Itself, to be deluded.

20 Those conversant with prana describe Atman as prana; those conversant with the elements, as the elements; those conversant with the gunas, as the gunas; and those conversant with the tattvas, as the tattvas.

21 Those acquainted with the padas call It the padas; those acquainted with objects, the objects; those acquainted with the lokas, the lokas; those acquainted with the gods, the gods.

22 Those conversant with the Vedas describe Atman as the Vedas; those conversant with the sacrifices, as the sacrifices; those conversant with the enjoyer, as the enjoyer; and those conversant with the objects of enjoyment call It the objects of enjoyment.

23 The knowers of the subtle call It the subtle and the knowers of the gross, the gross. Those that are familiar with the Personal Deity call It the Personal Deity and those that are familiar with the void, the void.

24 Those that know time call Atman time and those that know space call It space. Those versed in the art of disputation call It the object of dispute; and those knowing the worlds call It the worlds.

25 The knowers of the mind call Atman the mind; the knowers of the buddhi, the buddhi. The knowers of the chitta call It the chitta; and the knowers of righteousness and unrighteousness call It righteousness and unrighteousness.

26 Some say that Atman consists of twenty—five cosmic principles; some, of twenty—six principles; some, again, of thirty—one principles; while there are yet others who describe It as consisting of an infinite number of principles.

27 Those who know how to gratify others call Atman gratification; those who are conversant with the asramas call It the asramas. The grammarians call It the masculine, feminine and neuter genders; and still others, the Higher Brahman and the Lower Brahman.

28 The knowers of creation call It creation; the knowers of dissolution, dissolution; and the knowers of preservation, preservation. In truth, all such ideas are always imagined in Atman.

29 The disciple grasps only that idea which is presented to him by his teacher. Atman assumes the form of what is taught and thus protects the disciple. Absorbed in that idea, he realizes it as Atman.

30 Atman, though non—separate from all these ideas, appears to be separate. He who truly knows this interprets, without any fear, the meaning of the Vedas.

31 As dreams, illusions and castles in the air are viewed, so is the tangible universe viewed by the wise, well versed in Vedanta.

32 There is neither dissolution nor creation, none in bondage and none practicing disciplines. There is none seeking Liberation and none liberated. This is the absolute truth.

33 Atman is imagined as the unreal objects that are perceived to exist and as Non—duality as well. The objects, too, are imagined in the non—dual Atman. Therefore Non—duality is Bliss.

34 The diversity in the universe does not exist as an entity identical With Atman, nor does it exist by itself. Neither is it separate from Brahman nor is it non—separate. This is the statement of the wise.

35 The wise, who are free from attachment, fear and anger and are well versed in the Vedas, have realized Atman as devoid of all phantasms and free from the illusion of the manifold and as non—dual.

36 Therefore, knowing Atman as such, fix your attention on Non—duality. Having realized Non—duality, behave in the world like an inert object.

37 The illumined sannyasin does not praise any deity, does not salute any superior and does not perform rites to propitiate departed ancestors. Regarding both body and Atman as his abode, he remains satisfied with what comes by chance.

38 Having known the truth regarding what exists internally as also the truth regarding what exists externally, he becomes one with Reality, he exults in Reality and never deviates from Reality.

Chapter III [of Gaudapada’s Karika] – Advaita Prakarana – (The Chapter on Non—duality)

1 The jiva, betaking himself to devotional worship, abides in the manifest Brahman. He thinks that before the creation all was of the same nature as the birthless Reality. Therefore he is said to possess a narrow intellect.

2 Therefore I shall now describe Brahman, which is unborn, the same throughout and free from narrowness. From this one can understand that Brahman does not in reality pass into birth even in the slightest degree, though It appears to be manifest everywhere.

3 Atman, which is like akasa (infinite space), is said to be manifested in the form of jivas, which may be likened to the akasas enclosed in pots. The bodies, also, are said to be manifested from Atman, just as a pot and the like are created out of akasa. As regards the manifestation of Atman this is the illustration.

4 As, on the destruction of the pot etc., the akasa enclosed in them merge in the great akasa, so the jivas merge in Atman.

5 As the dust, smoke, etc. soiling the akasa enclosed in a particular pot do not soil the other akasas enclosed in other pots, so also the happiness, miseries, etc. of one jiva do not affect other jivas.

6 Though the diversity of forms, functions and names of the akasas associated with different receptacles is admitted, yet this does not imply any real differentiation in akasa itself. The same is the conclusion regarding the jivas.

7 As the akasa enclosed in a pot is neither an effect nor a part of the real akasa, so the jiva is neither an effect nor a part of atman.

8 Children regard akasa as being soiled by dirt; likewise the ignorant regard Atman as being similarly soiled.

9 Atman, in regard to Its birth and death, Its going and coming i.e. rebirth and Its dwelling in different bodies, is not unlike akasa.

10 All aggregates are produced by Atman’s maya, as in a dream. No rational argument can be given to establish their reality, whether they are of equal status or whether some are superior to others.

11 The Supreme Self is the self of the five sheaths, such as the physical and the vital, which have been described in the Taittiriya Upanishad. That the Supreme Self is like akasa has already been stated.

12 The same akasa dwells within both the earth and the stomach; likewise, the same Brahman dwells within the pairs described in the Madhu—Brahmana.

13 The identity of the jiva and Atman is praised by pointing out their non—duality; multiplicity is condemned. Therefore non— dualism alone is free from error.

14 The separateness of the jiva and Atman, which has been declared in the earlier section of the Upanishads, dealing with the creation, is figurative, because this section states only what will happen in the future. This separateness cannot be the real meaning of those passages.

15 The scriptural statements regarding the creation, using the examples of earth, iron and sparks, are for the purpose of clarifying the mind. Multiplicity does not really exist in any manner.

16 There are three stages of life, corresponding to the threefold understanding of men: inferior, mediocre and superior. Scripture, out of compassion, has taught this discipline for the benefit of the unenlightened.

17 The dualists, firmly clinging to their conclusions, contradict one another. The non—dualists find no conflict with them.

18 Since Non—duality is Ultimate Reality, duality is said to be Its effect. The dualist sees duality in both the Absolute and the relative. Therefore the non—dualist position does not conflict with the dualist position.

19 The unborn Atman becomes manifold through maya and not otherwise. For if the manifold were real, then the immortal would become mortal.

20 The disputants assert that the unborn entity (Atman) becomes born. Now can one expect that an entity that is birthless and immortal should become mortal?

21 The immortal cannot become mortal, nor can the mortal become immortal. For it is never possible for a thing to change its nature.

22 How can one who believes that an entity by nature immortal becomes mortal, maintain that the immortal, after passing through change, retains its changeless nature?

23 Corning into birth may be real or illusory; both views are equally supported by the scriptures. But that view which is supported by the scriptures and corroborated by reason is alone to be accepted and not the other.

24 From such scriptural passages as, “One does not see any multiplicity in Atman” and “Indra (the Supreme Lord), through maya, assumes diverse forms”, one knows that Atman, though ever unborn, appears to have become many only through maya.

25 Further, by the negation of the creation, coming into birth is negated. The causality of Brahman is denied by such a statement as “Who can cause It to come into birth?”

26 On account of the incomprehensible nature of Atman, the scriptural passage “Not this, not this” negates all dualistic ideas attributed to Atman. Therefore the birthless Atman alone exists.

27 What is ever existent appears to pass into birth through maya, yet from the standpoint of Reality it does not do so. But he who thinks this passing into birth is real asserts, as a matter of fact, that what is born passes into birth again.

28 The unreal cannot be born either really or through maya. For it is not possible for the son of a barren woman to be born either really or through maya.

29 As in dreams the mind acts through maya, presenting the appearance of duality, so also in the waking state the mind acts through maya, presenting the appearance of duality.

30 There is no doubt that the mind, which is in reality non—dual, appears to be dual in dreams; likewise, there is no doubt that what is non—dual, i.e. Atman, appears to be dual in the waking state.

31 All the multiple objects, comprising the movable and the immovable, are perceived by the mind alone. For duality is never perceived when the mind ceases to act.

32 When the mind, after realizing the knowledge that Atman alone is real, becomes free from imaginations and therefore does not cognize anything, for want of objects to be cognized, it ceases to be the mind.

33 Knowledge (Jnana), which is unborn and free from imagination, is described by the wise as ever inseparable from the knowable. The immutable and birthless Brahman is the goal of knowledge. The birthless is known by the birthless.

34 One should know the behavior of the mind which, being endowed with discrimination and free from illusions is under control. The condition of the mind in deep sleep is not like that but is of a different kind.

35 The mind is withdrawn in deep sleep, but it is not so when the mind is controlled. The controlled mind is verily the fearless Brahman, the light of whose omniscience is all—pervading.

36 Brahman is birthless, sleepless, dreamless, nameless and formless. It is ever effulgent and omniscient. No duty, in any sense, can ever be associated with It.

37 Atman is beyond all expression by words and beyond all acts of the mind. It is great peace, eternal effulgence and samadhi; It is unmoving and fearless.

38 Brahman is free from mental activity and hence from all ideas of acceptance or relinquishment. When knowledge is established in Atman it attains birthlessness and sameness.

39 This yoga, which is not in touch with anything, is hard for yogis in general to attain. They are afraid of it, because they see fear in that which is really fearlessness.

40 Yogis who are ignorant of Non—duality depend on the control of the mind for attaining fearlessness, the destruction of misery, Self—Knowledge and imperishable peace.

41 The mind is to be brought under Control by undepressed effort; it is like emptying the ocean, drop by drop, with the help of a blade of kusa grass.

42 The mind distracted by desires and enjoyments should be brought under control by proper means; so also the mind enjoying pleasure in inactivity (laya). For the state of inactivity is as harmful as the state of desires.

43 Turn back the mind from the enjoyment of desires, remembering that they beget only misery. Do not see the created objects, remembering that all this is the unborn Atman.

44 If the mind becomes inactive, arouse it from laya; if distracted, make it tranquil. Understand the nature of the mind when it contains the seed of attachment. When the mind has attained sameness, do not disturb it again.

45 The yogi must not taste the happiness arising from samadhi; he should detach himself from it by the exercise of discrimination. If his mind, after attaining steadiness, again seeks external objects, he should make it one with Atman through great effort.

46 When the mind does not lapse into inactivity and is not distracted by desires, that is to say, when it remains unshakable and does not give rise to appearances, it verily becomes Brahman.

47 This Supreme Bliss abides in the Self. It is peace; it is Liberation; it is birthless and cannot be described in words. It is called the omniscient Brahman, being one with the birthless Self, which is the true object of knowledge.

48 No jiva ever comes into existence. There exists no cause that can produce it. The supreme truth is that nothing ever is born.

Chapter IV [of Gaudapada’s Karika] — Alatasanti Prakarana (The Chapter on the Quenching of the Fire—brand)

1 I bow to the best among men, who, by means of knowledge, which is like akasa and which is non—different from the goal of knowledge, realized the nature of the jivas (dharmas), which, too, are like akasa.

2 I bow to the yoga known as asparsa, taught in the scriptures, which promotes the happiness and well—being of all creatures and is free from strife and contradictions.

3 Some disputants postulate that only an existing entity can again come into existence, while other disputants, proud of their intellect, postulate that only a non—existing entity can come into existence. Thus they quarrel among themselves.

4 An existing entity cannot again come into existence (birth); nor can a non—existing entity come into existence. Thus disputing among themselves, they really establish the non—dualistic view of ajati (non—creation).

5 We approve the ajati (non—creation) thus established by them. We have no quarrel with them. Now hear from us about Ultimate Reality, which is free from all disputations.

6—8 The disputants assert that the unborn entity (Atman) becomes born. How can one expect that an entity that is birthless and immortal should become mortal? The immortal cannot become mortal, nor can the mortal become immortal. For it is never possible for a thing to change its nature. How can one who believes that an entity by nature immortal becomes mortal, maintain that the immortal, after passing through change, retains its changeless nature?

9 By the prakriti, or nature, of a thing is understood that which, when acquired, becomes the essential part of the thing, that which is its characteristic quality, that which is its inalienable nature from its very birth, that which is not extraneous to it and that which never ceases to be itself.

10 All the jivas are, by their very nature, free from senility and death. But they think they are subject to senility and death and by the very power of thought they appear to deviate from their true nature.

11 The disputant according to whom the cause itself is the effect must maintain that the cause is born as the effect. If it is born, how can it be called birthless? If it is subject to modification, how then can it be said to be eternal?

12 If, as you say, the effect is non—different from the cause, then the effect too must be unborn. Further, how can the cause be eternal if it is non—different from the effect, which is born?

13 There is no illustration to support the view that the effect is born from an unborn cause. Again, if it is said that the effect is produced from a cause which itself is born, then this leads to an infinite regress.

14 How can they who assert that the effect is the cause of the cause and the cause is the cause of the effect, maintain the beginninglessness of both cause and effect?

15 Those who say that the effect is the cause of the cause and that the cause is the cause of the effect maintain, actually, that the creation takes place after the manner of the birth of father from son.

16 If causality is asserted, then the order in which cause and effect succeed each other must be stated. If it is said that they appear simultaneously, then, being like the two horns of an animal, they cannot be mutually related as cause and effect.

17 The cause that you affirm, cannot be established as the cause if it is produced from the effect. How can the cause, which itself is not established, give birth to the effect?

18 If the cause is produced from the effect and if the effect is, again, produced from the cause, which of the two is born first upon which depends the birth of the other?

19 The inability to reply to the question raised above, the ignorance about the matter and the impossibility of establishing the order of succession if the causal relation is admitted clearly lead the wise to uphold, under all conditions, the doctrine of ajati, or non—creation.

20 The illustration of the seed and the sprout is something which is yet to be proved. The illustration i.e. the middle term, which itself is not yet proved, cannot be used for establishing a proposition to be proved.

21 The ignorance regarding the antecedence and the subsequence of cause and effect clearly proves the absence of creation (ajati). If the jiva (dharma) has really been horn, then why can you not point out its antecedent cause?

22 Nothing whatsoever is born, either of itself or of another entity. Nothing is ever produced, whether it be being or non—being or both being and non—being.

23 The cause cannot be produced from a beginningless effect; nor can the effect be produced from a beginningless cause. That which is without beginning is necessarily free from birth.

24 Subjective knowledge must have an object for its cause; otherwise variety becomes non—existent. Further, from the experience of pain, the existence of external objects, accepted by the dualistic scriptures, must be admitted.

25 The dualists, by force of reason, assert that there is a cause of subjective knowledge. But from the standpoint of the true nature of things we assert that the so—called cause is, after all, no cause.

26 The mind is not related to external objects or to the ideas that appear as such objects. This is so because objects are non— existent and the ideas that appear as external objects are not distinct from the mind.

27 The mind does not enter into the causal relation in any of the three periods of time. How can it ever be subject to delusion, when there is no cause for such delusion?

28 Therefore neither the mind nor the objects perceived by the mind are ever born. To see their birth is like seeing the footprints of birds in the sky.

29 The cause, Brahman, from which the birthless mind is asserted, by the dualists, to have been born is itself unborn. Because Brahman is ever unborn, therefore it is never possible for It to be other than what It is.

30 If, as the dualists contend, the world is beginningless, then it cannot be non—eternal. Moksha (Liberation) cannot have a beginning and be eternal.

31—32 If a thing is non—existent in the beginning and in the end, it is necessarily non—existent in the present. The objects that we see are really like illusions; still they are regarded as real. The utility of the objects of waking experience is contradicted in dreams; therefore they are certainly unreal. Both experiences have a beginning and an end.

33 All entities seen in dreams are unreal, because they are perceived inside the body. How is it possible for things that are perceived to exist, really to exist in Brahman, which is indivisible and homogeneous?

34 It is not reasonable to think that a dreamer actually goes out in order to experience the objects seen in the dream, because of the discrepancy of the time involved in such a journey. Nor does he, when awakened, find himself in the places seen in the dream.

35 The dreamer, after awaking, realizes the illusoriness of the conversations he had with friends etc. in the dream state. Further, he does not possess in the waking state anything he acquired while dreaming.

36 The dream body is unsubstantial because the other i.e. the physical body, different from it, is perceived. Like the dream body, all things cognized by the mind are unsubstantial.

37 Since the experience of objects in dreams is similar to the experience of objects in the waking state, waking experience is regarded as the cause of dream experience. It is only by him who admits waking experience to be the cause of dream experience that waking experience can be regarded as real.

38 All entities are a\said to be unborn, since birth cannot be established as a fact. It is utterly impossible for the unreal to be born of the real.

39 A man filled with the impressions of the unreal objects seen in the waking state sees those very things in dreams as well. But he does not see in the waking state the unreal objects seen in dreams.

40 The unreal cannot have another unreality for its cause, nor can the real have the unreal for its cause. The real cannot be the cause of the real. And how utterly impossible it is for the real to be the cause of the unreal!

41 As a person in the waking state through false knowledge appears to handle objects, whose nature is inscrutable, as if they were real, so also, in dreams, he perceives, through false knowledge, objects whose existence is possible in the dream state alone.

42 Wise men teach causality only for the sake of those who, afraid of non—creation, assert the reality of external objects because they perceive such objects and also because they cling to various social and religious duties.

43 Those who, because of their fear of the truth of absolute non— creation and also because of their perception of external objects, deny ajati (non—creation) are not affected by the evil consequent on the belief in creation. This evil, if there is any, is insignificant.

44 As an elephant conjured up by a magician is taken to be real because it is perceived to exist and also because it answers to the behavior of a real elephant, so also external objects are taken to be real because they are perceived to exist and because one can deal with them.

45 It is Consciousness, Vijnana, alone that appears to be born or to move or to take the form of matter. But this Consciousness is really ever unborn, immovable and free from the traits of materiality; it is all peace and non—dual.

46 Thus the mind is never subject to birth. All beings, too, are free from birth. Those who know this do not fall into false knowledge.

47 As the line made by a moving fire—brand appears to be straight, crooked, etc., so Consciousness, when set in motion, appears as the perceiver, the perceived and the like.

48 As the fire—brand, when not in motion, is free from all appearances and remains changeless, so Consciousness, when not in motion, is free from all appearances and remains Changeless.

49 When the fire—brand is set in motion, the appearances that are seen in it do not come from elsewhere. When it is still, the appearances do not leave the motionless fire—brand and go elsewhere, nor do they enter into the fire—brand itself.

50 The appearances do not emerge from the fire—brand, because their nature is not that of a substance. This applies likewise to Consciousness, because of the similarity of the appearances.

51—52 When Consciousness is associated with the idea of activity, as in the waking and dream states, the appearances that seem to arise do not come from anywhere else. When Consciousness is non—active, as in deep sleep, the appearances do not leave the non—active Consciousness and go elsewhere, nor do they merge in it. The appearances do not emerge from Consciousness, for their nature is not that of a substance. They are incomprehensible, because they are not subject to the relation of cause and effect.

53 A substance may be the cause of another substance and a non— substance, the cause of another non—substance. But the jivas cannot possibly be anything like a substance or a non— substance.

54 Thus external appearances (objects) are not caused by the mind, nor is the mind caused by them. Hence thoughtful people hold to the principle of absolute non—creation.

55 As long as a person clings to the belief in causality, he will find cause producing effect. But when this attachment to causality wears away, cause and effect become non—existent.

56 As long as a person clings to the belief in causality, samsara will continue to expand for him. But when this attachment to causality wears away, samsara becomes non—existent.

57 The entire universe is created by false knowledge; therefore nothing in it is eternal. Everything, again, as one with Ultimate Reality, is unborn; therefore there is no such thing as destruction.

58 Birth is ascribed to the jivas; but such birth is not possible from the standpoint of Reality. Their birth is like that of an illusory object. That illusion, again, does not exist.

59 The illusory sprout is born of the illusory seed. This illusory sprout is neither permanent nor destructible. The same applies to the jivas.

60 The term permanent or impermanent cannot be applied to the birthless jivas. What is indescribable in words cannot be discriminated about as permanent or impermanent.

61—62 As in dreams the mind acts through maya, presenting the appearance of duality, so also in the waking state the mind acts through maya, presenting the appearance of duality. There is no doubt that the mind, which is in reality non—dual, appears to be dual in dreams; likewise, there is no doubt that what is non—dual i.e. Atman, appears to be dual in the waking state.

63 The dreamer, wandering about in all the ten directions in his dream, sees the whole variety of jivas, born of eggs, moisture, etc.

64 These entities, which are objects of the mind of the dreamer, do not exist apart from his mind. Likewise, the mind of the dreamer is an object of perception of the dreamer alone.

65—66 The waking man, wandering about in all the ten directions in his waking state, sees the whole variety of jivas, born of eggs, moisture, etc. They are the objects of the mind of the waking man and do not exist apart from it. Likewise, the mind of the waking man is an object of his perception alone.

67 Both the mind and the jivas are objects of each other’s perception. Can the one exist independent of the other? The reply of the wise is in the negative. There is no evidence of the existence of the one without the other; they are cognized only through each other.

68—70 As the dream jiva comes into existence and disappears, so also these jivas perceived in the waking state appear and disappear. As the jiva conjured up by the magician comes into existence and disappears, so also these jivas perceived in the waking state appear and disappear. As an artificial jiva comes into existence and disappears, so also these jivas perceived in the waking state appear and disappear.

71 No jiva ever comes into existence. There exists no cause that can produce it. The supreme truth is that nothing ever is born.

72 The world of duality, which is perceived to exist and is characterized by the subject—object relationship, is verily a movement of the mind. The mind, again, from the standpoint of Reality has no contact with any object. Hence it is declared to be eternal and unattached.

73 That which exists on the strength of false knowledge based upon imagination does not really exist. Again, that which is said to exist on the strength of the views advanced by other schools of thought does not really exist.

74 Atman is called birthless (aja) from the standpoint of false knowledge based upon imagination; in reality It is not even birthless. The unborn Atman is said to be born from the standpoint of the false knowledge cherished by other schools of thought.

75 People persistently hold to the idea of unreality i.e. duality. But such duality does not exist. One who has realized the absence of duality is not born again, since there remains no longer any cause for his birth.

76 When the mind finds no cause—superior, inferior, or middling—it becomes free from birth. How can there be an effect without a cause?

77 The birthlessness of the mind, which is free from manifestation and causal relationship, is absolute and constant. For duality i.e. the perceiving mind and its objects is merely an objectification of the mind.

78 Realizing the absence of causality as ultimate truth and not finding any other reason for birth, one attains that state which is free from grief, desire and fear.

79 On account of attachment to unreal objects the mind pursues such objects. But it comes back to its pure state when it attains non—attachment, realizing their unreality.

80 The mind freed from attachment to all external objects and undistracted by fresh objects attains the state of immutability. The wise realize such a mind to be Brahman; It is undifferentiated, birthless and non—dual.

81 The birthless, dreamless and sleepless Reality reveals Itself by Itself; for this Dharma (Atman) by Its very nature is self— luminous.

82 The Lord (Atman) becomes easily hidden because of attachment to any single object and is revealed with great difficulty.

83 The ignorant, with their childish minds, verily cover Atman by predicating of It such attributes as existence, non—existence, existence and non—existence and total non—existence, deriving these characteristics from the notions of change, immovability, combination of change and immovability and absolute negation which they associate with Atman.

84 These are the four theories regarding Atman, through attachment to which It always remains hidden from one’s view. He who knows the Lord to be ever untouched by them indeed knows all.

85 What else remains to be desired by him who has attained the state of the brahmin—a state of complete omniscience and non—duality, which is without beginning, middle, or end?

86 The humility (vinaya) of the brahmins is natural. Their tranquility (sama) is also natural. Further, the control of the senses (dama) comes natural to them. He who has realized Brahman attains peace.

87 Vedanta recognizes the ordinary state of waking, in which duality, consisting of objects and the idea of coming in contact with them, is admitted. It also recognizes a purer ordinary state i.e. the dream state, in which is experienced duality consisting of objects and the idea of coming in contact with them, though such objects do not exist.

88 The wise recognize another state, in which there exist neither objects nor ideas regarding them. This state is beyond all empirical experiences. They describe the three: knowledge, the objects of knowledge i.e. the three states and the supremely knowable i.e. Ultimate Reality.

89 Having known knowledge and the threefold knowable, one after another, the knower, endowed with supreme intellect, attains in this very life and everywhere, the state of omniscience.

90 One should be conversant, at the very outset, with four things. These are as follows: the things to be avoided, the goal to be realized, the disciplines to be cultivated and the tendencies to be rendered ineffective. Of these four, all except the goal to be realized i.e. the Supreme Reality exist only as products of the imagination.

91 All Atmans (Dharmas) are to be known, by their very nature, to be beginningless and unattached like akasa. There is not the slightest variety in there in any way or at any time.

92 All jivas are, by their very nature, illumined from the very beginning. There can never be any doubt about their nature. He who, having known this, rests without seeking further knowledge is alone capable of attaining Immortality.

93 The jivas, from the very beginning and by their very nature, are all peace, unborn and completely free. They are characterized
by sameness and non—separateness. The unborn Atman is always established in sameness and purity.

94 Those who always wander in the realm of separateness cannot realize the purity of Atman. Their minds are inclined to differentiation and they assert the separateness of the Atmans. Therefore they are called narrow—minded.

95 They alone in this world are endowed with the highest wisdom who are firm in their conviction of the sameness and birthlessness of Atman. The ordinary man does not understand their way.

96 Knowledge, which is the very essence of the unborn jivas, is itself called unborn and unrelated. This Knowledge is proclaimed to be unattached, since it is unrelated to any other object.

97 To those ignorant people who believe that Atman can deviate from Its true nature even in the slightest measure, Its eternally unrelated character is lost. In that case the destruction of the veil is out of the question.

98 All jivas are ever free from bondage and pure by nature. They are illumined and free from the very beginning. Yet the wise speak of the jivas as capable of knowing Ultimate Reality.

99 The Knowledge of the wise man, who is all light, is never related to any object. All the jivas, as well as Knowledge, are ever unrelated to objects. This is not the view of Buddha.

100 Having realized the Knowledge of the Supreme Reality, which is hard to grasp, profound, birthless, the same throughout, all light and free from multiplicity, we salute It as best we can.

Aum. Peace! Peace! Peace!

Final Salutation by Sri Sankaracharya [in the Mandukya Upanishad]

I salute Brahman, the destroyer of the fear of those who take refuge in It—which, though unborn, appears to be associated with birth through Its own majestic powers; which, though motionless, appears to be moving; and which, though non— dual, appears to have assumed many forms to those whose vision is deluded by the perception of diverse objects and their attributes.

I prostrate myself at the feet of the teacher of my teacher, the most adored among the adorable, who—out of sheer compassion for the beings drowned in the deep ocean of the world, infested by the terrible sharks of incessant births and deaths—rescued, for the benefit of all, this nectar, hardly attainable even by the immortals, from the inmost depths of the ocean of the Vedas by churning it with the rod of his illumined wisdom.

I make obeisance with my whole being to those holy feet—the dispellers of the fear of the chain of births and deaths—of my own great teacher, who, through the light of his illumined wisdom, destroyed the darkness of delusion enveloping my mind; who put an end, for ever, to my appearance and disappearance in this terrible ocean of innumerable births and deaths; and who enables all others, too, that take shelter at his feet, to attain unfailing knowledge of the scriptures, peace and the state of perfect non—differentiation.

Aum Tat Sat

The Chandogya Upanishad: Tat Tvam Asi

Upanishad vedanta satsang

Tat Tvam Asi is one of the most famous phrases from the ancient upanishadic texts. But what does it mean?

Tat = that
Tvam = thou or you
Asi = art or are
Tat Tvam Asi = That thou art, or thou art that, or you are that

‘That’ refers to the Absolute. ‘You’ normally refers to the limited separate body-mind identity  known in advaita vedanta as the jiva, but in this aphorism from the Upanishads it is implicitly declared, via the word ‘asi’, that you are not the jiva but the Absolute. Why does this matter? Well, when you know yourself as one with the Absolute, suffering ends.

This phrase, Tat Tvam Asi, is repeatedly uttered by Uddalaka to his son Shvetaketu as recorded in the Chandogya Upanishad, and is considered one of the four Mahavakyas (great utterances) of the Upanishads. Below are just two of the teaching exampes it occurs in, taken from sections twelve and thirteen of the Chandogya Upanishad:

Uddalaka: “Bring me a fruit from the banyan tree.”
Shvetaketu: “Here is one, Father.”
Uddalaka: “Break it open.”
Shvetaketu: “It is broken, Father.”
Uddalaka: “What do you see there?”
Shvetaketu: “These tiny seeds.”
Uddalaka: “Now break one of them open.”
Shvetaketu: “It is broken, Father.”
Uddalaka: “What do you see there?”
Shvetaketu: “Nothing, Father.”
Uddalaka: “My son, you know there is a subtle essence which you do not perceive, but through that essence the truly immense banyan tree exists. Believe it, my son. Everything that exists has its self in that subtle essence. It is Truth. It is the Self, and you, Shvetaketu, are that.”
Shvetaketu: “Please, Father, teach me more.”
Uddalaka: “I will, my son,”

——-

Uddalaka: “Place this salt in water, and come back to me in the morning.”
The son did as he was told.
Uddalaka (in the morning): “Bring me the salt you put in the water last night.”
Shvetaketu (after looking): “Father, I cannot find it.”
Uddalaka: “Of course not; it has dissolved. Now taste the water from the surface. How does it taste?”
Shvetaketu: “It’s salty.”
Uddalaka: “Taste the water from the middle of the bowl. How does it taste?”
Shvetaketu: “It’s salty.”
Uddalaka: “Now taste the water from the bottom. How does it taste?”
Shvetaketu: “It’s salty.”
Uddalaka: “Go, throw it away and come back to me.”
He did so, and returned.
Shvetaketu: “But, father, although I have thrown it away, the salt remains.”
Uddalaka: “Likewise, though you cannot hear or perceive or know the subtle essence, it is here. Everything that exists has its self in that subtle essence. It is Truth. It is the Self, and you, Shvetaketu, are that.”
Shvetaketu: “Please, Father, teach me more.”
Uddalaka: “I will, my son.”

Poetry: Know thyself

swan reflection

Not that which comes and goes,
But that which knows both comings and goings;

Not that which is confused or clear,
But that which sees both confusion and clarity;

Not that which is happy or depressed,
But that which knows both happiness and depression;

Not that which swells with pride, or is deflated by humiliation,
But that which sees both pride and humiliation, and their effects;

Not that which is damaged by disease or benefited by medicine,
But that which knows both disease and health;

Not that which has desires and fears,
But that which sees both attraction and aversion;

Not that which judges or is open-minded,
But that which knows judgement and open-mindedness.

Not that which thinks or acts,
But that to which both thoughts and actions appear;

Not the ear, tongue, skin, eyes or nose,
But that to which smell, taste, sensation, vision and sound appear;

That which, in our experience,
never changes,
is always present,
ever-aware,
and unblemished by experiences;

That which
looks with constancy,
is ever-patient,
unmoving,
always seeing things as they are;

That which
cannot be lost or removed,
is effortlessly present,
totally secure,
and is the innermost essence of your experience;

Know yourself to be that.

The paradox of yoga

The word yoga can be used to describe a series of specific methods which aid and direct the seeker towards the goal of the ending of suffering or of attaining realisation. So let me start by saying something quite obvious: all of the yogas* are practices to be performed or actions to be done. They are therefore meant to be performed by a person who thinks themselves to be a separate doer-entity.

The very existence of the (illusory) separate doer implies a duality – in fact the imagined doer is the essence of duality, the first conceptual step from which all other dualistic notions proceed from. The duality that it sets up is between that of the subject (the doer) and objects (the objects of the world in which actions are done).

The aim of all yogas is, through practice, to facilitate a seeing/realisation that the separate doer-entity is an illusion. And therein lies the apparent paradox. Yoga is action undertaken by the (imaginary) separate doer in order to see through this illusion of doership.

*Traditionally there are several key yogas outlined in the vedic texts, the main ones being Jnana Yoga (yoga of knowledge or understanding), Karma Yoga (yoga of action), Bhakti Yoga (yoga of devotion) and Raja Yoga (the king of yogas).

Also see:
How yoga works
The essence of yoga
Ramana Maharshi: The 4 paths to freedom (the 4 yogas)

Ramana Maharshi: Is the world an illusion?

Ramana smiling

In many spiritual traditions, such as some schools of of Buddhism, vedanta and yoga, seekers are advised to consider the world to be like a dream: ephemeral, transient and illusory. But is the world really an illusion, or is this merely a teaching method?

Many well-versed pandits and scholars have debated this very issue over the centuries, but for those that have glimpsed the reality that lies beyond mere verbal assertions, such debates are missing the essential point.

Here are two powerful quotes from Ramana Maharshi explaining how the teachings work:


Question: “Brahman (the Supreme Spirit) is real. The world is illusion” is the stock phrase of Sri Sankaracharya. Yet others say, “The world is reality.” Which is true?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Both statements are true. They refer to different stages of development and are spoken from different points of view. The (spiritual) aspirant starts with the definition, that which is real exists always. Then he eliminates the world as unreal because it is changing.
The seeker ultimately reaches the Self and there finds unity as the prevailing note. Then, that which was originally rejected as being unreal is found to be a part of the unity. Being absorbed in the reality, the world also is real. There is only being in Self-realisation, and nothing but being.
From Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 33

We can clearly see Ramana says the teaching that the world is an illusion is itself a ‘thorn used to remove a thorn’. The teaching is a concept, and it is used to remove another concept, before they are both thrown away.

Here is another instructive quote:

Sri Ramana Maharshi: At the level of the spiritual seeker you have got to say that the world is an illusion. There is no other way. When a man forgets that he is Brahman, who is real, permanent and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a body in the universe which is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion.
Why? Because his vision which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the external, material universe. It will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external material universe is unreal.
When once he realises his own Self he will know that there is nothing other than his own Self and he will come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman.
There is no universe without the Self. So long as a man does not see the Self which is the origin of all, but looks only at the external world as real and permanent, you have to tell him that all this external universe is an illusion. You cannot help it.
Take a paper. We see only the script, and nobody notices the paper on which the script is written. The paper is there whether the script on it is there or not. To those who look upon the script as real, you have to say that it is unreal, an illusion, since it rests upon the paper. The wise man looks upon both the paper and script as one. So also with Brahman and the universe.
From letters from Sri Ramanasramam

Ribhu Gita – Chapter 18

ribhu

Listen and read the Song of Ribhu. Let the words wash over you. These words are not to be analysed and contemplated; they are to sink into your bones and marrow and stir that Ancient Knowing that is already there within you.

Read, chant, have faith (let go into presence) and be free!

1. Ribhu: Listen again the the supreme knowledge that confers liberation immediately. All is Brahman alone, always. All is tranquility – there is no doubt.

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