Siddhantabindu of Madhusudana Sarasvati
[Commentary on Dasasloki of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada]
English Translation by S. N. Sastri
Siddhantabindu is a commentary on the Dasasloki of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada. It is said that the Dasasloki was composed by Sri Sankara spontaneously when Sri Govindapada, whom he approached with a request to be accepted as a disciple, asked him who he was. The ten slokas which have become famous as 'Dasasloki' were Sri Sankara's answer to this question. Madhusudana Sarasvati has, in his commentary on these ten slokas, refuted the views of other schools and established Advaita.
In the present translation the Sanskrit text has been demarcated into paragraphs for easier understanding (there is no such demarcation in the original text). Each paragraph is followed by its translation and explanatory notes. In addition to the translation of the Sanskrit text, elaborate explanatory notes have been added under each paragraph so as to make the translation easily understandable by even those who have not yet acquired sufficient knowledge of the abstruse aspects of Vedanta.
The commentary on the first three verses deals with the import of the term 'thou' in the Mahavakya, 'That thou art'. The views of various schools starting from Charvaka on the nature of the self are examined and found to be untenable. The view of Advaita Vedanta is established after refuting all possible objections. It is pointed out that the universe is a mere superimposition on Brahman or pure consciousness by nescience. Nescience is not mere absence of knowledge. It is positive in nature, though it cannot be categorized as either real or unreal. Nescience is first superimposed on pure consciousness. On that the ego is superimposed. On that again are superimposed the qualities of the ego such as desire, resolve, etc., and the qualities of the sense organs such as blindness, deafness, etc. On that the qualities of the gross body, such as stoutness, are superimposed. Similarly, there is also superimposition of the consciousness on the ego and up to the gross body. This mutual superimposition is the cause of the notions of 'I' and 'mine'.
The various views on the method of interpretation of the Mahavakya are then expounded, such as jahallakshana, ajahal - lakshana, etc. The commentary goes on to discuss the various theories regarding the nature of the jiva, namely, the reflection theory, the semblance theory and the limitation theory.
Distinctions such as caste, stage of life, etc., do not apply to the pure self, nor do relationships such as father, son etc. All these relate only to the body-mind complex. The self is beyond hunger and thirst, grief and delusion, and old age and death.
From sloka 4 onwards the import of the term 'that' is expounded. The theories of various schools regarding the cause of the universe are examined and refuted. The upanishadic view that Brahman associated with Maya is the efficient as well as the material cause of the world is established.
The upanishads are not subservient to the karma kanda of the Vedas. The difference between the Arthavadas in the karma kanda and the statements in the upanishads has been brought out clearly. The upanishadic statements are the means to the ultimate goal of liberation which is supreme bliss and total cessation of sorrow. They do not depend on anything else, unlike the Arthavadas in the karma kanda which have to be connected with an injunction for becoming purposeful.
The contention that since Brahman is the material cause of the universe which is full of misery, Brahman also must have misery is rejected by pointing out that the substratum is not affected in the least by the qualities of what is superimposed by delusion.
Brahman is devoid of all qualities such as colour, size, etc. It is never an object of knowledge.
The Vedas as well relationships such as teacher and disciple are valid only in the empirical state and not after the dawn of knowledge of the self.
There are no distinctions such as waking, dream and deep sleep for the self.
In Advaita there are only two categories, the seer and the seen. The seer is threefold, as Isvara, jiva and witness, but these are only due to the limiting adjuncts. The three states of waking, dream and deep sleep of the jiva are described in detail.
The order of creation is then described. The theory of quintuplication of the subtle elements is explained. The theory of triplication upheld by certain Advaitic teachers is referred to and it is concluded that the theory of quintuplication is preferable. The different kinds of pralaya are explained.
Thus almost all the important aspects of Advaita Vedanta are dealt with in this work.
Madhusudana Sarasvati was one of the most brilliant luminaries in the firmament of Advaita Vedanta. His devotion to Sri Sankara was exemplary. While being a staunch Advaitin, he was also an ardent devotee of Sri Krishna. He wrote a number of books on the path of devotion, the most notable among them being Bhaktirasayana. His most famous work is Advaitasiddhi, in which he refutes all the objections raised against Advaita by Vyasatirtha. In his commentary on the Sivamahimnastotra of Pushpadanta he has displayed great skill by interpreting each sloka in two different ways, as praising Lord Siva and also as praising Lord Krishna.
There are different views about the date of Madhusudana Sarasvati. After considering the different views some scholars have come to the conclusion that he lived at the beginning of the 16th century. His ancestor, Rama Misra Agnihotri, is believed to have migrated from Kannauj (in the present Uttar Pradesh) and settled down in Bengal where Kamalanayana, who was to become Madhusudana Sarasvati, was born. He was initiated into sannyasa by a revered sannyasi by name Visvesvarananda Sarasvati, to whom he pays obeisance at the beginning of Siddhantabindu.
This translation is based on the scintillating discourses of Dr. R. Krishnamurthi Sastrigal, former Principal of Madras Sanskrit College, on the Siddhantabindu to a small group of students. It is his erudite and lucid exposition that has enabled me to translate this text into English. I am deeply indebted to him for this. I am extremely grateful to Smt. Aruna Sankaran for very kindly providing me with the CD recordings of these discourses.
The commentary in Sanskrit of Mahamahopadhyaya Vasudev Shastri Abhyankar has been of great help to me for preparing the explanatory notes.
With prostrations to Sri Visvesvara who is a re-incarnation of Sri Sankaracharya, and who is the preceptor for the whole world, I am composing some kind of a treatise for the instruction of those who do not have the inclination to undertake a detailed study of the scriptures that expound Vedanta.
1. The revered Acharya Bhagavan Sri Sankara, being desirous of lifting all living beings (out of this transmigratory existence) either immediately or mediately, composed the 'Dasasloki' for the purpose of expounding briefly the means of discriminating the not-self from the self which is eternal (nitya), free from the stain of ignorance (shuddha), self-luminous (buddha) and free from the bondage of agency, etc., (mukta).
Note: Liberation will result immediately from hearing the Dasasloki for those who have attained complete purity of mind and thereby become most competent spiritual aspirants (Uttama-adhikaari). For others, hearing should be followed by reflection and meditation.
2. Objection: Every one discriminates the not-self which is referred to as 'this' from the self which is denoted by the word 'I' when he says 'I am', but, in spite of that, he experiences sorrow; therefore since only what is already known is being taught, and since it does not produce any benefit, the exposition of the nature of the self is futile.
3. Answer: It is not so. Even the body and the senses which should in fact be referred to as 'this' because they are all illumined by the pure Consciousness (and are therefore insentient), are denoted by the word 'I' due to non-discrimination caused by illusion (resulting from ignorance). Because of this (non-discrimination), suffering, etc., are attributed (wrongly) to the pure self. This is removed along with its cause (ignorance) by the knowledge of the identity of the individual self and Brahman declared in the scriptures. Therefore, since what is taught is something that is not known previously and since it does produce a benefit (removal of sorrow, etc.,) the exposition of the nature of the self is not futile.
Note: When a person says 'I am so and so', 'I live in such and such a place', etc., he is referring to the aggregate of the body, mind and senses as 'I'. Actually, the body, senses and mind are insentient and, like any object outside the body, they deserve to be referred to only as 'this'. The self, which is pure consciousness, can alone be rightly denoted by the word 'I'. This failure to discriminate between the self on the one hand, and the body, mind and senses on the other, is the reason for every one attributing to himself the sorrows, etc., which pertain only to the body, mind and sense organs. The scriptures point out that the individual self is different from the aggregate of body, mind and senses and is identical with the supreme Self or Brahman, which is the indwelling self of all beings. A person who, as a result of this knowledge, dissociates himself from the body, etc., is free from all sorrow.
4. The knowledge of the self can be acquired only from the Mahavakyas in Vedanta (the Upanishads) such as 'That thou art' (Ch.Up. 6.8.7), 'I am Brahman' (Br. Up. 1.4.10). A sentence conveys its meaning only through the meanings of the words in it. The meanings of the words in the above sentences which would be in consonance with the sense of the sentence as a whole can be known only from the scriptures and not from any other source. This is like the meanings of the words 'yupa' and 'ahavaniya' which can be known only from the Vedas.
Note: The words 'that', 'thou', 'I', have certain meanings in ordinary parlance, but that is not the sense in which they are used in the above sentences. The senses in which they are used here can be known only from the Upanishads. This is also the case with other words used in the Vedas, such as 'yupa' and ahavaniya'. 'Yupa' is the name of the pole to which the sacrificial animal is tied in a sacrifice. This is known from the statements in the Vedas - "He fashions the yupa", "He makes the yupa octagonal". Ahavaniya is one of the three fires in which the sacrifice is offered. This is known from the Vedic statement "One pours the oblation in the ahavaniya".
5. Thus, the sentences such as the one starting with "That from which all these beings are born", (Tai.Up. 3.1.1) which deal with creation, etc., give the primary meaning of the word 'That'. Sentences such as "Brahman is Reality, Consciousness and Infinite" (Tai.Up.2.1.1) give the implied meaning of the same word.
6. Similarly, sentences such as, "Just as a big fish swims to both the banks, eastern and western, even so does this infinite entity move between the two states of dream and waking" (Br. Up. 4.3.18), which deal with the states of waking, dream and deep sleep, give the primary meaning of the word 'thou'. Sentences such as "This entity which is identified with the intellect, which is amid the organs, and which is the effulgence within the heart" (Br. Up. 4.3.7), and "You cannot see the seer of sight" (Br. Up. 3.4.2), present the implied meaning of 'thou'.
7. Since it is found that sentences such as 'That thou art' (which declare the identity of 'that' and 'thou') cannot logically apply to the entities denoted by the primary meanings of these terms, we naturally think of applying this identity to the pure, unconditioned jiva and Brahman, by having recourse to the implied (or secondary) meanings of these terms which are known from the subordinate sentences. This is also because it is accepted that it is the pure unconditioned witness consciousness that is experienced in deep sleep. Moreover, though the terms 'reality'. 'consciousness', etc., which are intended to denote the non-dual Brahman can, by their primary meaning, denote the consciousness conditioned by the limiting adjuncts, they have their purport in the pure consciousness alone and so a mental impression arises only about that part (of the primary meaning, namely, pure conscious-ness).
Note-1: The omnipotent, omniscient, Creator (God) who is denoted by the primary meaning of the term 'that' as is known from the subordinate sentence "That from which all these beings are born", (Tai.Up. 3.1.1) cannot obviously be identified with the jiva with limited power and limited knowledge who is denoted by the primary meaning of the term 'thou' as known from the subordinate sentence "Just as a big fish swims to both the banks, eastern and western, even so does this infinite entity move between the two states of dream and waking" (Br. Up. 4.3.18). We have therefore to take recourse to the implied meanings of these terms as known from the other two subordinate sentences reproduced earlier, namely. "Brahman is Reality, Consciousness and Infinite" (Tai.Up.2.1.1) and "This entity which is identified with the intellect, which is amid the organs, and which is the effulgence within the heart" (Br.Up. 4.3.7). The implied meaning of the term 'that' is unconditioned Brahman and the implied meaning of the term 'thou' is the individual self without the limiting adjuncts in the form of the body, mind and senses. These are identical, both being pure consciousness.
Note-2: In deep sleep the body, mind and senses are not experienced, but pure unconditioned consciousness exists as seen from the fact that when a person wakes up he says, "I slept happily, I did not know anything". This recollection of happiness and total ignorance shows that pure consciousness without attributes existed during deep sleep and it alone was experienced.
8. Some (like the author of Nyayachintamani) hold the view that words like 'akasa' (ether) denote an attributeless entity, because the sense of a word depends on the intention (of the speaker).
Note: The idea is that, when even the word 'akasa' can give rise to the recollection of an entity without attributes, the word 'Brahman' which denotes a much subtler entity can certainly give rise to such a recollection. The recollection depends on the intention of the speaker, which is inferred from the context. For example, the word 'saindhava' means 'salt' as well as 'horse'. When a person who is taking his meal asks for 'saindhava', the hearer understands from the context that he wants salt and not a horse.
9. By this (by accepting that it is the unconditioned Brahman that is the subject matter of the Mahavakya 'That thou art'), it follows that the distinction of knower and known has no place in the understanding of the Mahavakya. This is supported by the fact that Asamprajnatasamadhi (in which the distinction of knower, knowing and known does not exist) is accepted by Sruti and Smrti.
Note: Asamprajnatasamadhi is described in Katha Upanishad, 2.3.10:-"When the five senses come to rest along with the mind, and the intellect too ceases to function, that is known as the supreme state". In the Bhagavadgita this samadhi is described in 6.20: "When the mind, restrained through the practice of Yoga remains free from modifications, and when, seeing the Self with the mind one remains contented in the Self alone".
10. The goal of life is not attained by the mere knowledge of the (primary) meanings of the terms 'that' and 'thou', because of imperceptibility (of the Creator) and multiplicity (of the jivas).
Note: There can be no identity between God who is the primary sense of 'that' and the individual jiva who is the primary sense of 'thou', because God is only one and cannot be known by the senses, and jivas are many and are actually perceived.
11. There is no tautology (in the sentence 'That thou art') because there is an apparent difference between the primary senses of the two terms. Since the implied meanings are identical, a non-relational sense is conveyed.
Note: It cannot be said that in the Mahavakya there is tautology-- saying the same thing over again in different words - on the ground that two words with the same meaning, namely 'that' and 'thou' are used. There is no such defect because the primary meanings of the two words are different. At the same time, this difference is only apparent and not substantial, because the implied senses are identical, namely, pure consciousness. A sentence such as 'The cloth is blue" is said to be relational, because it brings out the relationship of substance and quality between the cloth and blueness. But in the sentence 'That thou art' there is no such relationship because both the terms refer to the same partless entity, pure consciousness. So this sentence is described as non-relational.
12. When a sentence is non-relational, denoting an unconditioned entity, the mental impression created by the words in that sentence is also that of an unconditioned entity, if the words are understood in a manner that is in consonance with the sense of the sentence as a whole. This is in conformity with our experience. The recollection brought about by a sentence is that of a conditioned entity only when the entity denoted by the words in it is conditioned. In the present instance the sense of the sentence (the Mahavakya) is unconditioned (and therefore non-relational), because that alone, being right knowledge, has the capacity to destroy nescience.
Note: This paragraph is intended to refute the view held by the adherents of some other schools. According to them a sentence, whether scriptural or otherwise, can convey only a relational sense and can therefore refer only to a conditioned entity. This view is rejected and it is pointed out that the sense of the sentence depends on the nature of the entity it denotes. Two examples of non-relational sentences are generally given in Vedantic works. One is the sentence, "This is that Devadatta". By this sentence the identity of the person now in front and a person named Devadatta who was seen at another time and place, is conveyed. Another sentence is, "The most resplendent is the moon", said in reply to the question, "Which is the moon?". This sentence does not intend to convey any relational content, but merely identifies the moon.
13. It cannot be said that a word can be given an implied meaning only if the entity intended to be denoted by the implied meaning has a special characteristic. The primary or implied meanings of the words in a sentence are those which are in consonance with the sense of the sentence as a whole.
Note: In the sentence "There are huts on the Ganga", the implied meaning (lakshya-artha) of the term 'Ganga' is the bank of the river, since there cannot be huts on the river itself. The special characteristic feature of the bank is 'tiratva' or bankness. An objection may be raised that resort to the implied meaning of a word is possible only when the particular implied meaning intended to be given to the word has some characteristic (known as 'lakshyata - avacchedaka), just as the 'bank' has the characteristic feature 'bankness'. Therefore, it may be contended, the unconditioned jiva and Brahman, which have no characteristics at all, cannot be the implied meaning of the terms 'thou' and 'that'. This objection is rejected by pointing out that the existence of any characteristic feature for the sense implied by a word is not an essential condition for the word to have that implied sense. What is necessary is only that the implied sense should be in consonance with the idea intended to be conveyed by the sentence, just as the meaning 'bank' for the word 'Ganga' is in consonance with the idea intended to be conveyed by the sentence "There are huts on the Ganga".
14. Objection: Since the import of the Mahavakya becomes known through the understanding of the meaning of the words in it from the subsidiary Vedantic sentences themselves, and since the Mahavakya is itself self-valid (a valid means of knowledge by itself), it is reasonable to conclude that the Mahavakya itself can cause the cessation of nescience and its effects. So what is the need for an enquiry?
15. Ans: It is true that Vedantic statements, being by themselves authoritative, can give rise to the direct realization of the unconditioned Self. But because of the obstruction caused by the doubts arising from the contradictory views of various schools, the Vedantic statements are not able to destroy the ignorance of those whose minds have not attained the necessary maturity. By enquiry the doubts are removed and then cessation of ignorance invariably results. Therefore enquiry is undertaken for the refutation of the contradictory views which are the cause of the doubts.
16. Now, the contradictory views about the meaning of the word 'thou' are first taken up. Though the entity denoted by the word 'that' deserves great respect since it is the ultimate import of the scriptures, the entity denoted by the word 'thou' deserves to be given more importance because it is that entity that attains liberation, which is the fruit of the scriptures.
Note: Strictly speaking, since 'thou' and 'that' are identical, there can be no question of the one being the attainer and the other the attained. So the language used here is only a concession to the popular notion that liberation is 'attained' on the removal of nescience.
17. The Charvakas say that the meaning of the word 'thou' (i.e. the individual self) is only the four elements (air, fire, water and earth) modified in the form of the body. Some other Charvakas hold that the eye, etc., individually is the self..Others hold that it is all these organs together. Some say that it is the mind and some that it is the vital air. The Saugatas (Buddhist idealists) say that it is momentary consciousness. The Madhyamika Buddhists hold that it is the void. The Jains say that it is something different from the body and of the size of the body. The Vaiseshikas, Naiyayikas and Mimamsakas of the Prabhakara school hold that it is the agent and enjoyer and is insentient and all-pervading. The Mimamsakas of the Bhatta school say that it is both sentient and insentient. (According to this school the self is both the subject and the object of every cognition. Being the subject it is consciousness itself, and being the object it is inert. They hold that the self has an element of consciousness which is the subject of cognition, and a substance element which is the object of cognition and therefore insentient). According to the Sankhyas and the followers of Patanjali's Yoga the self is pure consciousness and only an enjoyer (not agent). The followers of the Upanishads hold that the self is looked upon as an agent, etc., only because of nescience and that it is in reality free from attributes, and is supreme bliss and consciousness.
18. Thus, because of the different views held by the various schools, doubt arises about the nature of the self that is consciousness and is known in a general way as 'I'. Therefore, in order to determine specifically what is the basis of the notion 'I', the revered Acharya says: "I am not the element earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air, nor ether, nor any of the organs individually, nor all the elements and organs together as a whole. Because of variability (of the limiting adjuncts in the states of waking and dream), the self exists by itself only in deep sleep (without the limiting adjuncts in the form of the senses, mind, etc.). I am that most auspicious, attributeless, non-dual entity who alone remains (when all duality is negated). -- Sloka 1
19. This is the meaning: Aham-the basis of the cognition 'I'. Ekah - without a second. Avasishtah - what is not negated even when all duality is negated. Sivah-of the nature of supreme bliss and consciousness, that alone being most auspicious. Kevalah-devoid of attributes.
20. Therefore the meaning is that the view of the followers of the Upanishads, that the basis of the cognition 'I' is the non-dual supreme bliss-consciousness which is beyond the scope of all means of knowledge, is superior. To establish this, the view that the body itself is the self is first taken up with the intention of refuting the views of all other schools. So it has been said: "Not the element earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air, nor ether". The word 'I' is to be connected with each negation. I am not what is called the earth; the earth is not what is known as 'I'. Thus absence of mutual identity is to be understood.
21. Though this school (Charvaka) does not claim that each of the elements such as earth separately is the self, but it only says that their combination is the self, still, for refuting their view that the body is the self, the rejection of each of the elements separately is resorted to, because the concept of a combination has no place in the Charvaka school for the following reasons: (1) they do not accept the idea of a combination as distinguished from its constituents, (2) they do not accept such relations as 'conjunction', because that is possible only if they admit a fifth element (namely, ether) and (3) in their school there is no entity that can bring about a combination.
22. Though, according to those who hold the view that there are only four elements, ether cannot be the cause of the body since it is merely absence of covering, is eternal and non-existent, it is rejected here because according to Advaita Vedanta ether is accepted as existent and a cause of the body, etc., and could therefore be claimed to be the self (by the Charvakas).
23. Or, it may be said that the rejection of the view that the body is the self ends with the statement 'not air'. The statement 'not ether' is for rejecting the Buddhist doctrine that the void is the self, since the word 'kham' has the same import as the word 'void'.
24. By the words 'not an organ' the view that any one of the organs is the self is rejected. By the statement 'not their aggregate', the view that the self is the aggregate of the elements and of the organs which have collectively become the body is rejected. The difference is that previously the possibility of a combination was not admitted and the view that each of the elements individually was the self was rejected, but now, even admitting a combination, the view that the self could be such a combination of the elements has been rejected.
25. By the rejection of the elements, the vital air and mind, which are products of the elements are also rejected. By the rejection of the mind, the Buddhist view that momentary consciousness is the self is also rejected, since it is only a modification of the mind. Consequently, the Vaiseshika theory in which the self which is different from the body (and the mind) is accepted to be the agent and enjoyer also stands rejected, because agency and enjoyership pertain to the mind. This is because according to Advaita Vedanta knowledge, desire, happiness, etc. are in the mind. The Sruti says, "Desire, resolve, etc., are all nothing but the mind' (B. Up. 1.5.3). Therefore it is established that all the views starting from the view that the self is the body, up to those which consider the self to be merely an enjoyer, are untenable.
26. The reason for this is given:- Because they (body, mind, senses) are variable; i.e. they are always changing and so perishable. The self cannot have either antecedent non-existence (non-existence before origination), or annihilative non-existence (non-existence after destruction), because the self is not limited by space and time (and has therefore neither origination nor destruction, being eternal). Things which are so limited, such as a pot, cannot be the self, and cannot know their antecedent non-existence or annihilative non-existence. Things which are different from the self (such as the body, etc.,) are insentient; they cannot have the characteristics of the self. Even though the self (in all bodies) is only one, it is quite logical that there is no mixing up of the joys, sorrows, etc., of different jivas, because the mind which is the locus of joy and sorrow is accepted to be different for each individual (jiva). It is not possible for an entity to know its own non-existence, since the knower and his non-existence cannot be there at the same time. Moreover, if the self has origination and destruction, there will be loss of the fruits of actions performed and the experiencing of results without corresponding actions. Therefore there can be no antecedent or annihilative non-existence for the self. Since the self which is existence itself is present everywhere, there can never be absolute non-existence for it.
27. Since duality is not real (mithya), it has existence only because of its having attained identification with the reality of the substratum. As in the case of nacre-silver, etc., it is illogical to say that there is absence of identification of the superimposed with the substratum.
Note: A piece of nacre is mistaken for silver only because the superimposed silver is identified with the substratum, nacre. The silver is not real, only the nacre exists. Without the substratum, nacre, silver would not appear at all. Similarly, the world of duality, which is not real from the absolute standpoint, appears to be real only because it is identified with the substratum, Brahman, which alone is real.
28. Therefore the self is not the counter-correlative of non-existence. The body, senses, etc., are counter-correlatives of non-existence. Therefore these (body, senses, etc.,) are not the self. The essence of the conclusion is that these (body, etc.,) are indescribable (as real or unreal) and are merely superimposed by beginningless, indescribable nescience on the self which is self-luminous pure consciousness, even though it is without a second.
Note-1: Pratiyogi means 'counter-correlative'. When it is said that there is no pot at a particular place or time, the pot is said to be the counter-correlative of its non-existence at that place or time. A thing can be the counter-correlative of its non-existence only if it can be non-existent at some time or place. Everything in this world, including our own bodies, occupies only a limited space and is non-existent elsewhere. All things are non-existent before they come into existence and after their destruction. So all things are non-existent at some time and in some place. They can therefore be counter-correlatives of their non-existence. But the self is eternal and all-pervading. It can never be non-existent in space or time. It is therefore said here that the self is not the counter-correlative of non-existence.
Note-2: Even when the world is experienced, the self is the only reality. The world has no reality, but appears to be real only because of the substratum, self or pure consciousness, just as the unreal silver appears to exist only because of the substratum, nacre. Even when the silver appears to exist, there is really nothing but nacre. This is what is stressed here.
29. A doubt may arise here. Since it is admitted that the self is of the nature of consciousness, and since there is no consciousness during deep sleep as seen from the fact that a person who wakes up from deep sleep recollects that he was totally ignorant and knew nothing during sleep, how can the self be said to be a constant factor (in all the three states)? In reply to this it is said "Its existence can be clearly established only in the state of deep sleep".
Note: Though the self exists in all the three states, it cannot be known by itself in the waking and dream states because of the presence of the limiting adjuncts in the form of the mind and senses. In deep sleep these adjuncts are not there and only the self exists.
30. This is the meaning: Since the self is the witness in deep sleep, it is not non-existent then. If it were, the recollection, "I was ignorant" would not be possible. Even though the knower, means of knowledge, knowledge and the object known vary, the witness of their existence and non-existence remains unchanged in all the three periods of time.
Note: When a person says, "I know this", the self is the witness of his knowledge. When he says, "I do not know this", the self is again the witness of his absence of knowledge.
31. Objection (by the Tarkikas): The knower is the substratum of knowledge (i.e. the place where the knowledge rests). He is himself the agent and the enjoyer and, like a lamp, he illumines himself and everything else. So he does not need another witness as a pot does.
Note: According to the Tarkikas, the self is not itself sentient, but becomes a knower when the self comes into contact with an object through the mind and the senses. Therefore. they say, there is no need for another entity to be the witness; that is to say, to know the existence of the knower himself.
32. Ans: It is not so. Since the knower of a particular knowledge (who, according to Advaita, is the mind itself assuming the shape of the object known, with the reflection of consciousness in it) undergoes changes, he cannot be the witness of his own changes. What is an object of knowledge cannot be the knower. The knower of a particular knowledge is a changing entity (because he is different after the origin of that knowledge from what he was before) and is therefore himself an object of knowledge. Only a single changeless entity can be a witness of everything (of all changes). Note. According to Advaita, the self is pure consciousness. There are two kinds of knowledge. One is the eternal knowledge of the self or pure consciousness. This is always existent, even when there is no object to be known. The other is a particular knowledge which arises when the mind stretches out through the appropriate sense organ and takes the shape of a particular object. This knowledge has a beginning and an end. The question raised by the Tarkikas arises only because they do not accept the existence of an eternal pure consciousness. According to Advaita, the self (Atma or Brahman) is the witness of even the absence of knowledge in deep sleep. In deep sleep there is no knowledge of any particular object. That is to say, there is no knower of any particular knowledge. But the eternal pure consciousness, the self, is there in deep sleep also, and it is the witness of the absence of a knower of a particular knowledge.
33. Objection: We do not accept a single, immutable, attributeless witness because there is no authority for that.
34. Ans: Not so (there is authority). "Everything shines because of his shining ; because of his effulgence all these shine variously" (Katha Up. 2.2.15), "You cannot see the seer of sight' (Br. Up. 3.4.2), "He is never seen, but is the seer" (3.7.23), "There is no seer other than him" (3.7.23) - by such lofty authoritative state-ments in Vedanta it (the self) is itself anointed as the witness of everything.
35. Obj: It is indeed incomprehensible (like a magical trick) that, leaving aside the substrata of knowledge, which are free from deceit (or which are capable of undergoing changes), the lofty authority makes something that is fraudulent (or incapable of change) , and which is not the substratum of knowledge, the witness of everything.
36. Ans: True. This is indeed incomprehensible, like dream, because it is the play of nescience.
37. Obj: Even then, since a knowable object like pot is insentient, how can the mind be the substratum of knowledge?
38. Ans: The objection is not tenable. Since the mind is pure like a mirror, it can receive the reflection of pure consciousness (Brahman-Atman). Or, identity with pure consciousness is attributed to the mind because of superimposition on pure consciousness.
Note: The mind is the product of the sattva portion of all the five elements. It is therefore pure like a mirror and can take the reflection of consciousness just as a mirror takes the reflection of light. Or, it becomes identified withconsciousness on which it is superimposed. In either case, it appears to have consciousness, and can therefore be the substratum of knowledge.
39. Obj: How can an object without form and without parts have a reflection?
40. Ans: What is the incongruity in that? The causes of illusion are strange. The red colour of the Japa flower (China rose) is seen to be reflected in crystal, etc., even though the colour has no form. Sound is seen to have a reflection in the form of the echo. By common consent their reflections are not considered as different from the originals.
41. Obj: Even then, there can be a reflection only for an object that can be known by any of the sense-organs.
42. Ans: It is not so, because there is no such invariable rule. Even space which cannot be grasped by the senses and which is revealed only by the witness-consciousness is seen to be reflected in water, etc. But for such a reflection there would not be the appearance of great depth in mere knee-deep water. Even though the reflection of space is revealed by the witness-consciousness itself, the eye is needed for seeing the light and the clouds which are also reflected along with the space and also for seeing the medium of reflection.
43. By this is explained both the functioning and the non-functioning of the eye in an erroneous perception of the form 'The sky is blue'. Here the substratum (of the blueness) is the sky accompanied by light. Therefore it is to be understood that a form is needed only when a thing or its reflection is to be seen by the eye, and not otherwise.
Note. The erroneous perception of blueness in the sky occurs only when there is light and not when there is total darkness. The substratum of this blueness is therefore not the sky alone, but the sky accompanied by light. Similarly, the substratum of the illusory snake is the rope along with dim light, since the illusion of a snake does not appear when there is bright light or total darkness. For the illusion to appear, the rope must be seen in a general way as something lying in front. So also, the erroneous perception of blueness appears only when both the sky and the light are perceived. For the perception of the sky the eye is not needed, as it is a direct perception by the witness-consciousness. For the perception of the light the eye is needed. This is what is brought out above.
44. Question: All the same, what is the authority for saying that the self has a reflection?
45. Ans: 'He (Brahman) assumed the likeness of each form. That form of his was for revealing himself' (Br.Up2.5.19), 'The one and only Supreme Being dwells in each being; he appears as one and also as many, like the reflection of the moon in (various vessels of) water' (Brahmabindu Up. 12), Maya creates jiva and Isvara by reflection (of Brahman in itself' (Nrsimhottaratapini Up. 9), are the Sruti statements which support this conclusion. The statements such as 'He has entered here' (Br.Up.1.4.7), 'Having split this very end, he entered through this opening' (Ait. Up. 1.3.12), 'Having created it, he entered that itself' (Taitt.Up. 2.6.1) which speak of entering are not explainable otherwise (if reflection of the self is not accepted). The aphorisms of the great sage (Vyasa) such as 'And the (individual soul) is certainly a reflection (of the supreme Self)' (Br.Su. 2.3.50), 'Therefore the comparison with the sun's reflection, etc.,' (Br.Su. 3.2.18) are also authority for this.
46. The adherents of the reflection theory (the authors of Vivarana and Samkshepasarirakam and their followers) hold that the reflection is real. The adherents of the semblance theory (Sureshvaracharya and his followers) hold that it is 'mithya', that is, it cannot be described either as real or as unreal, like the rope-snake). There is however no dispute about the existence of the reflection itself. It is established by Sruti and by direct perception that the reflection is different from insentient things. Therefore it is established that the mind becomes a knower because of the reflection of the self in it and because of identification with the self.
Note: The Sruti statement 'This infinite entity that is identified with the intellect and is in the midst of the organs' (Br.Up.4.3.7) establishes that the jiva is sentient. Moreover direct perception also shows that every creature is sentient.
47. Obj: Besides, superimposition is not possible here. To explain: Is the not-self superimposed on the self, or is the self superimposed on the not-self? The first is not possible. Since the self does not have any general or special characteristics, is always self-effulgent, and has no similarity with the not-self, it cannot be the substratum of any superimposition.
Note: In the case of superimposition of snake on rope, the rope is known only in a general way as 'this object in front'. Its special characteristic, ropeness, is not known. It is not clearly seen because of the dim light. There is similarity in appearance between a snake and a rope which makes it possible for the rope to be mistaken for a snake. None of these conditions exist in the case of the self. It is devoid of all attributes (nirguna) and so there is no question of any general or special characteristics. It is always effulgent. The rope was mistaken for a snake because its real nature was obscured by the dimness of the light. But nothing can obscure the self. There can be no similarity whatsoever between the self and the not-self and so there is no possibility of their being mistaken for each other.
48. Objection contd: The second alternative - the self superimposed on the not-self, is also not tenable, since the not-self is admitted to be 'mithya' (not real). If an object that is not real is claimed to be the substratum of superimposition, then it results in the theory of the void. If (to avoid this difficulty), the not-self is claimed to be real, then it can never be sublated and so there is no possibility of liberation. A real object can never be negated, nor can it be destroyed by knowledge. The Srutis themselves say that the not-self is not real, as seen from the following quotations: "When the Supreme Nirguna Brahman, which appears also as the universe, is realized as identical with one's own self, then the knot of the heart is cut asunder, all doubts are resolved, and all results of actions (karma) are destroyed" (Mund. Up. 2.2.8). "By knowing that alone, one goes beyond death; there is no other way to liberation" (Sve. Up. 3.8), "The knower of the self crosses over sorrow" (Cha. Up. 7.1.3) - statements such as these indicate the unreality of the not-self by declaring that transmigratory existence is put an end to completely by knowledge.
49. "One only, without a second" (Cha. Up. 6.2.1), "Everything other than this is perishable" (Br. Up. 3.4.2), "There is no diversity whatsoever in it" (Br. Up. 4.4.19), "Now therefore the description, not this, not this" (Br. Up. 2.3.6) - such statements expressly declare the unreality of the not-self. The unreality is also inferred from the fact that the not-self is knowable, like the nacre-silver, etc.
50. Obj. contd: Only when the not-self is established to be superimposed on the self, can there be superimposition of the self on the not-self. The self can be said to have some defect or similarity, etc., only when it is established that the not-self is superimposed on it. Only thereafter (that is to say, only after it is established that the self has some defect or similarity with the not-self) can it be established that the not-self is superimposed on the self. Thus defects such as self-dependence, etc., arise.
Note: The objector proceeds on the assumption that there can be superimposition only if the substratum has some defect and some similarity with the object superimposed. This assumption is based on the fact that in the rope-snake example the rope which is the substratum has the defect of being in dim light and has similarity with a snake in appearance. In the nacre-silver example, the nacre has the defect of being at a distance and has similarity to silver in brightness. These two facts, defect and similarity, become known only after the illusory snake or silver is seen. So the objector says, firstly, that there can be superimposition on the self only if the self has a defect and a similarity with the superimposed object. Then he says that the existence of the defect and the similarity can be known only after the fact of superimposition is established. So the establishment of superimposition depends on the existence of defect and similarity and the establishment of the existence of defect and similarity depends on the establishment of superimposition. Thus the defects of self-dependence and mutual dependence arise.
51. Obj. contd: By this, the contention that the mutual superimposition of the self and the not-self cannot be debated because it is due to nescience, is refuted, since nescience is not logically possible in the self which is self-effulgent (pure consciousness). Moreover, is the nescience illusory or real? In the first alternative, how can defects such as self -dependence be avoided? (Nescience can be illusory only if it is superimposed on the self by nescience, which means there is the defect of self-dependence. If the superimposition is caused by another nescience, then there is the defect of infinite regress). In the second alternative, since nescience is real there can be no liberation. If everything is due to superimposition, there can be no distinction between illusion and right knowledge. To say that the same self is the means of knowledge, the object of knowledge, the knowledge itself and the knower is contradictory. If it is claimed that there is no contradiction, then it will become the same as vijnanavada (according to which everything is nothing but internal cognition).
52. Answer: Now we say: It is well known that every one has the knowledge in the form, "I am a man, I am an agent and experiencer, etc.". That is not a mere remembrance because it is directly experienced and is devoid of the cognition of difference (between himself and his body). Nor is it right knowledge, because it is contradicted by Sruti and reasoning.
Note: Knowledge is of two kinds, namely, remembrance and experience. The knowledge mentioned above is directly experienced and so it cannot be mere remembrance which relates only to something experienced previously. Experience is again of two kinds, illusory like that of nacre being taken for silver, and real like actual silver being recognized as silver. In the illusory knowledge there is non-cognition of difference between nacre and silver and this is due to some defect in the sense-organ, etc. In the right knowledge of silver as silver also there is non-cognition of difference, and this is because there is actually no difference between what is in front and what it is recognized to be. So non-cognition of difference is common to illusory as well as right knowledge. Therefore the opponent can contend that the knowledge "I am a man, etc." could be real, like the knowledge of real silver as silver, since no difference is cognized between the self and the body. This contention is refuted by pointing out that it is contradicted by Sruti and reasoning, as will be seen from the following paragraphs.
53. "The infinite entity that is identified with the intellect and is amid the organs" (Br. Up. 4.3.7), "This self is Brahman" (Br. Up. 2.5.19), "Brahman is Reality, Consciousness and Infinitude" (Tai. 2.1.1), "Brahman is Consciousness and Bliss" (Br. Up. (3.9.28), "The self that is free from sin" (Cha. 8.7.1), "The Brahman that is immediate and direct; the self that is within all" (Br. Up. 3.4.1), "That which transcends hunger and thirst, grief, delusion, decay and death" (Br. Up. 3.5.1), "He is untouched by whatever he sees in that state (of dream), for this infinite being is free from all attachment" (Br. Up. 4.3.15) - Sruti statements such as these declare that the self is not an agent nor an experiencer, and is itself Brahman which is of the nature of supreme bliss.
54. The knowledge common to every one in the form "I am a man, etc.", cannot be right knowledge (prama) because of the following reasons. Things which undergo change (such as the body) have necessarily to be limited in time, space and with respect to other objects and so they cannot be the self. (A thing which changes must perish some day and so it is limited in time. Change implies increase or decrease in size. This is not possible for an entity that is all-pervading and so it must be limited in space. it is also limited by other objects). The body cannot know itself, because the same entity cannot be both subject and object at the same time and so the relationship of seer and seen is not possible. The relationship of quality and its possessor is not possible between knowledge and the body, whether they are considered as different from each other or as non-different. In the view that knowledge is not eternal the difference between various knowledges, their non-existence after destruction and prior to origination, the relationship of inherence, and a genus 'knowledgeness' which is the common quality of all different knowledges (just as cowness is the common quality of all cows) will have to admitted, and that is cumbersome. If knowledge is accepted as only one (though the objects of knowledge are many) there will be simplicity. Differences in knowledge, such as 'knowledge of pot', 'knowledge of cloth' are only due to the different limiting adjuncts (pot and cloth). By itself knowledge is only one. The notion of origination and destruction of knowledge is only due to the necessity of relating the knowledge to the object of knowledge (since we have to say what a particular knowledge is about, such as knowledge of pot, etc.). The difference between one pot and another is known by itself without the need of referring to any adjunct, and there can be no difference of opinion on this matter (unlike knowledge where the adjunct, namely, object of knowledge has also to be specified). If knowledge which is only one (whatever may be the object of knowledge) is split up and considered as 'many knowledges', then space, time and the directions will also have to be considered as many (which is not accepted even by Tarkikas). Moreover, if agency, etc., are real, then there can be no liberation at all, because that which is the real nature of a thing can never be removed from it. If the self is not self-luminous, the universe will be blind (insentient). Being the object of supreme love of all, the self is of the nature of bliss (since what every living being wants is happiness). Therefore the self is devoid of qualities, eternal, self-luminous and of the nature of bliss.
55. Thus, since the only course left is to conclude that this (the cognition 'I am a man, etc.,') is only a delusion, it is necessary to postulate a proper cause for this delusion. That cause is found to be something whose existence is established as superimposed on the non-dual self, from the fact of the appearance of the dharmi (the entity who describes himself as 'I am a man, etc.). That cause is the indescribable ignorance which is experienced by the witness-consciousness in the form 'I do not know'. This is not of the nature of non-existence (in the form of mere absence of knowledge). Since it has been said that knowledge is eternal, there can never be absence of knowledge.
Note: Since it has been concluded that the cognition 'I am a man' is neither remembrance nor right knowledge, it follows that it is only a delusion (like the cognition of nacre as silver). Now we have to state the cause of this delusion. The cause has to be something that has the capacity not only to conceal the self, but also to make the self identify itself with the body and attribute to itself the qualities of being a man, an agent, experiencer, etc. This cause is nescience which cannot be described either as existent or as non-existent. This is the ignorance that is actually experienced when a person says 'I do not know'.
56. (If nescience is claimed to be only absence of knowledge of atman), then there will be self-contradiction if it is said that the dharmi, 'I' and the pratiyogi, absence of knowledge of the atman, are both known. Equally, there will be self-contradiction if it is said that neither of them is known, because the presence of a thing cannot be negated without knowing both the place where the thing is negated and the object that is negated; for example it cannot be said that there is no pot in a particular place unless that place and the pot are both known.
Note: This is another argument to show that nescience is not mere 'abhava' or absence of knowledge of atman, but is of the nature of a positive entity. At the same time, nescience cannot be categorized either as existent or as non-existent, and is indescribable (anirvachaniya).
57. This nescience cannot be of the nature of delusion, doubt or a succession of mental impressions caused by delusion or doubt, because it is directly experienced. Delusions, doubts and their impressions which relate to the past or to the future cannot be experienced directly at the present time. This nescience cannot be mere negation because it is something which covers or hides (the atman) and is the material cause of the delusion in the form 'I am a man, etc'. The self cannot be the cause of this delusion because it is immutable. Nor can the mind, etc., be the cause of the delusion, because they are themselves products of nescience.
58. Sruti statements such as--"(They realized) the power of the supreme Being which is concealed by its own gunas (or effects)" (Sve. 1.3), which speaks of the power as constituted of the gunas; "Know maya to be prakriti and the wielder of maya to be the supreme Lord" (Sve.4.10); "The supreme Being is perceived as having manifold forms because of maya" (Br. Up. 2.5.19); "They are covered by ignorance" (Ch. 8.3.2); "Covered by mist" (Tai. Sam. 220.127.116.11); "Then finally cessation of all maya": (Sve.1.10);-show that maya which is nescience, is indescribable, unreal, removable by the knowledge of the Reality, is the cause of the superimposition of itself and others (such as ego, mind, senses, body). Defects such as self-dependence do not arise here because nescience has no beginning and the self -luminous self is itself pure consciousness.
Note: The Sruti statements quoted above establish that nescience is not mere negation of knowledge and that at the same time it cannot be categorized either as real or as unreal. Since it is destroyed by knowledge it cannot be real. Since its effect, the world, is actually experienced, it is not unreal. It is therefore indescribable. It cannot be said that there is the defect of self-dependence on the ground that nescience is the cause of its own superimposition, because nescience has no beginning at all. Since the self is eternal, no such defect can arise with regard to it either.
59. Thus, the ego is superimposed on pure consciousness on which nescience has already been superimposed. On that are superimposed the qualities of the ego such as desire, resolve, etc., and the qualities of the sense organs such as one-eyedness, deafness, etc. Since the senses are not directly perceivable, they are themselves not superimposed. (No one says, "I am the eye or ear", but one may say, "I am one-eyed", or "I am deaf". Thus only the quality of the sense organs is superimposed and not the organ itself). On that the gross body is superimposed, but only with reference to its qualities, in the form, "I am a man". (The body is itself not superimposed, but only its qualities).
60. There is no superimposition of the body itself, because nobody has a perception in the form "I am this body". Only the qualities of the body such as stoutness, etc are superimposed.(One says "I am stout, I am lean, I am tall, etc. These are all qualities of the physical body and not of the self, but they are attributed to oneself by superimposition). On that there is the superimposition of the well-being or otherwise of son, wife, etc. (A man feels happy when his son, wife, etc, are happy and the opposite when they are unhappy. Thus there is the superimposition of the happiness, unhappiness, success, failure, etc of persons near and dear to him).
61. Similarly, there is also the superimposition of consciousness on the ego and upto the gross body. This superimposition is only by association and it is known as samsarga adhyaasa. (Even this association is only by way of reflection of consciousness in the mind, because there cannot be any actual association between consciousness which is absolutely real and the mind which has only empirical reality. Because of this reflection, the mind appears to have sentiency of its own, just as the moon appears to have brightness because of the reflection of the sun's light on it).
Note: Superimposition is of two kinds. When a rope is mistaken for a snake, the snake alone is seen. The existence of the rope is not known at all. Here the snake is said to be superimposed on the rope. This is known as svaroopa-adhyaasa. The second kind of superimposition is when a crystal appears to be red in the proximity of a red flower. Here both the crystal and the flower are seen as existing, and the redness of the flower is attributed to the crystal also. This is known as samsarga-adhyaasa. Both these kinds of superimposition are present in the mutual superimposition of the self and the non-self. Because of the superimposition of the not-self on the self, the existence of the self is not recognized at all, and the not-self, (that is, the body, mind and organs), is alone recognized as existing. This is svaroopa-adhyaasa. In the superimposition of the self on the not-self, only the consciousness of the self is attributed to the body, mind and organs. This is samsarga-adhyaasa.
62. There is gradation in attachment depending on the gradation in proximity between the substratum and what is superimposed. It is said by the Vartikakara (Suresvaracharya): "The son is dearer than wealth, one's own body is dearer than the son, the senses are dearer than the body, the mind is dearer than the senses, the self is dearer than the mind and is the most loved". (Brihadaranyakopanishad bhashya vartikam, 1.4.1031) Pinda - the physical body; prana- the inner organ (mind); That the senses are dearer than the physical body is patent from the common experience of a person instinctively closing his eyes at the fall of a weapon or when there is a sudden downpour. Because of the mutual superimposition, the consciousness and the inert (self and not-self) become bound together (and appear as one inseparable whole). If it is said that there is superimposition of only one entity on another, (and not mutual superimposition of two entities), then the other (the entity on which there is superimposition) will not be perceived (just as the rope is not perceived when there is superimposition of snake on it). In a delusion, only that which is superimposed is perceived. There has therefore necessarily to be mutual super-imposition as in the case of the erroneous group cognition in the form 'These are tin and silver'.
63. Since the consciousness remains as the ultimate entity when all else is negated, there is no possibility of this view being equated with the theory of the void. This is because superimposition is the appearance of the association of the real and the unreal. Therefore, every subsequent superimposition of the ego has as its cause an earlier superimposition. This is beginningless like the seed and the sprout. The superimposition of nescience is, however, only one, and it has no beginning.
Note: Consciousness (or Brahman) is alone real. The ego, etc., are superimposed as such on consciousness. Like the snake superimposed on a rope, they are not real and are therefore negated when the self is realized. But consciousness is not superimposed as such on the ego, etc. Only its quality, sentience, is superimposed. So, even when the ego, etc., are negated, consciousness remains as such. Only the false notion that the ego, body, etc., themselves have sentience is removed and it is realized that the sentience is due only to consciousness. In superimposition the consciousness, which is real, appears to be associated with the ego, etc., which are not absolutely real, but have only empirical reality. A rope can be mistaken for a snake only when the person has previously seen a snake somewhere else, and not otherwise. The mental impression of the snake seen elsewhere previously is the cause of his mistaking the rope for a snake. So the question arises, how can the ego be superimposed unless the person has experienced the ego before? The answer to this is that he had experienced the ego in a previous birth. That again is due to his experience in an earlier birth. This chain is beginningless, like the seed and the sprout. The fact that the ego was not real in past births cannot affect this theory, because there is no rule that only a real thing can create a mental impression. Even a person who has seen a snake only in a picture can have a mental impression of it, which may make him mistake a rope for a snake. As far as avidya is concerned, it is only one and no beginning can be postulated for it. Nobody says, "Ignorance has now arisen in me", though one does say, "This knowledge has now come to me". Its superimposition is also therefore beginningless.
64. Obj: If superimposition of nescience has no beginning, then the definition given by the author of the Bhashya that superimposition is the appearance elsewhere, similar in nature to recollection, of a thing seen previously, will be contradicted, because that definition speaks of the origin of a mental impression of the nature of recollection.
Note: When superimposition is defined as being of the nature of recollection, it means that it cannot be beginningless, because a recollection must have a beginning. This is the objection.
65. Ans: No, because that definition is (only) in respect of the superimposition of an effect. The definition which applies to both (super-imposition of cause as well as effect) is merely, "The appearance of one thing in (or as) another thing". Or, in view of the words 'combining the real and the unreal' in the Bhashya, the definition of superimposition according to this system is 'the appearance of the real and the unreal in combination''. This definition does not fail to cover the superimposition of the cause also. Since the superimposition of the effect is beginningless in a continuous succession like the seed and the sprout, there is no defect.
Note: The cause is nescience. It is always one and the same and is beginningless. The ego, etc. are the effects. This is also beginningless, but the continuity is from one ego to another and then to yet another and so on, like the sprout from the seed and the seed from the sprout.
66. Superimposition having been thus established, distinctions such as jiva and Isvara, even though there is nothing but one self (as the only reality), become logically tenable. So also, distinctions such as means of knowledge and object of knowledge, become logically tenable.
Note: According to Advaita, there is only one reality, Brahman-Atman, which is pure consciousness. Therefore the question arises, how can there be a multiplicity of jivas and an Isvara different from them? The answer is that these are not real entities like Brahman - Atman, but only superimpositions and therefore mithya like the rope-snake.
67. The self, with nescience as limiting adjunct, is not discriminated from its own reflection in nescience (chidabhasa) which has become identified with nescience. It is therefore described as inner controller, witness, the cause of the universe, and Isvara. Because of non-discrimination from its own reflection in the intellect, which has become identified with the intellect, the same self is known as jiva, agent, enjoyer, and knower. This is the view of the revered Vartikakara (Sureshvaracharya).
Note: "According to Sureshvara Isvara and jiva are the reflections of pure consciousness, i.e. Brahman, in avidya and intellect respectively. He further holds that the reflection in entirety is false or indeterminable either as sentient or as insentient. Isvara, although indeterminable, is falsely identified with the consciousness that serves as the original and is viewed as the creator of the universe. Jiva too, although indeterminable, is falsely identified with the pure consciousness that serves as the original and is viewed as the agent, enjoyer, etc. This theory is known as aabhaasa-vaada. The primary meanings of both the terms are indeterminable and hence they must be discarded. The terms totally abandon their primary senses and secondarily signify the pure consciousness with which their primary senses are falsely identified. Sureshvara thus adopts the secondary signification known as jahallakshana". (From Preceptors of Advaita, Samata edition, p.72).
68. Since the intellect in each body is different, the reflection of consciousness is also different. Therefore the consciousness identified with it also appears to be different. Nescience is however the same everywhere and so there is no difference in the consciousness reflected in it. So the witness-consciousness which is not discriminated from it does not ever appear different; i.e. it is only one.
Note: There are innumerable jivas because there are innumerable intellects. But there is only one nescience and so Isvara is only one.
69. According to this view (aabhaasa-vaada) the identity of 'That' and 'Thou' is only through exclusive secondary signification (jahal-lakshana), because the primary meaning of the limiting adjunct with the reflection of consciousness in it is totally abandoned and the reflection, being different from both sentient and insentient, is indeterminable. It has been said in Samkshepasariraka: If the words 'Brahman' and 'aham' primarily signify respectively avidya with the reflection of consciousness in it and the ego (intellect with the reflection of consciousness in it), then jahallakshana (exclusive secondary signifi-cation) has to be resorted to (for getting the import of the statement 'aham Brahma asmi'). (I.169).
Note: Jahallakshana is applied when the primary meaning of a word has to be abandoned totally, as in the sentence "There is a hamlet on the Ganga". Here the literal meaning of the word 'Ganga' cannot apply because there can be no hamlet on the river itself. So the word is interpreted as 'the bank of Ganga'. In the present case, the primary meanings of the words 'Brahman' and 'aham' do not include pure consciousness which is the original (bimba). The primary meanings are, respectively, avidya with the reflection of consciousness in it and the intellect with the reflection of consciousness. Both these are indeterminable as either real or unreal. The reflection is indeterminable as either sentient or insentient. Therefore the primary meanings have to be abandoned and pure consciousness which is the basis for both has to be accepted as the meaning. The same is the case with the sentence "That thou art'.
70. It cannot be said that, since bondage is only for the reflection and liberation is only for the pure consciousness, the locations of bondage and liberation are different; and that no one would make an effort for his own destruction. This is because bondage has been attributed to the pure consciousness itself, through the reflection. It has been said by the revered Vartikakara: "This alone is our bondage that we look upon ourselves as a transmigrating entity".
Therefore, the reflection of pure consciousness is itself the bondage and its cessation is liberation. There is nothing inconsistent in this.
Note: Identification of the jiva with the reflection of consciousness in the intellect, which is due to nescience, is bondage. The cessation of this identification is liberation.
71. Or, pure consciousness not discriminated from the reflection is also (to be included in) the primary sense of the terms 'That' and 'Thou'. In that case, since a part of the sense is not abandoned, there is no inconsistency in holding that exclusive-cum-inclusive secondary implication is to be adopted. It is this view that is spoken of as aabhaasa-vaada.
Note: The alternative view stated here is that the primary senses of the terms 'That' and 'Thou' include pure consciousness in addition to the reflecting media (avidya and intellect) and the reflections in them. To arrive at the identity of these two, one part, namely, pure consciousness, is to be retained and the other part, namely, the reflecting media and the reflections, is to be abandoned.
72. The view of the author of Vivarana is that pure consciousness limited by nescience is Isvara and is the original which is reflected. Pure consciousness reflected in nescience limited by the internal organ and its samskaras is the jiva.
73. The view of the author of Samkshepasariraka is that pure consciousness reflected in nescience is Isvara. Pure consciousness reflected in the intellect is the jiva. Pure consciousness not limited by nescience, which is the original is pure (Brahman).
74. According to both these views (Vivarana and Samkshepasariraka), jivas are different from one another because their intellects (minds) are different. Since the reflection is considered to be real, exclusive-cum-inclusive implication is to be resorted to for determining the sense of the terms 'That' and 'Thou', etc. This is known as the reflection theory.
75. According to Vachaspatimisra, pure consciousness which is the content (object) of nescience is Isvara. The locus of nescience is the jiva. In this view multiplicity of jivas is due to multiplicity of nescience. Thus the universe is different for each jiva, because the jiva is the material cause of the universe since it has nescience as limiting adjunct. The recognition of the universe as the same by all is due to extreme similarity. Isvara is metaphorically described as the cause of the universe because of being the substratum of the jivas, nescience and the universe. This is the limitation theory.
76. Pure consciousness which is the original (which is what is reflected), with nescience as its limiting adjunct is Isvara. The reflection of consciousness in nescience is the jiva. Or, pure consciousness not limited by nescience is Isvara. Consciousness limited by nescience is the jiva. This is the main Vedanta theory, known as the theory of a single jiva. This itself is called 'drishtisrishtivaada'.In this view the jiva himself is the material and efficient cause of the universe through his own nescience. All the objects perceived are illusory (like things seen in dream). The delusion that there are many jivas is only due to there being many bodies. Liberation is attained by the single jiva on realization of the self as a result of the perfection of hearing, reflection,etc, with the help of the Guru and the scriptures which are all conjured up by him. The statements about Suka and others having attained liberation are only by way of eulogy. In the Mahavakya the term 'That' signifies by implication consciousness not limited by nescience, like the terms 'infinite', 'reality', etc. Such differences in views within the main framework should be known by inference.
77. Obj: Since there cannot be different opinions about a real thing, how can such mutually contradictory views be valid? So, what view is to be accepted and what is to be rejected?
78. Who says that different opinions are not possible about a real thing? It is seen that the same object is seen as a pillar or a man or a demon, etc. If it is said that the views there are not correct, because they arise only in a person's mind, but this distinction as jiva, Isvara, etc, is based on the scriptures, then (the answer is):
79. You are indeed very clever. The scriptures have as their main purport the nature of the non-dual self, because that is what is fruitful and not known. The concepts of distinctions such as jiva, Isvara, etc., which are only creations of the human mind, are merely repeated by the scriptures, because they are useful for knowing the Reality. The maxim is that in the presence of what is fruitful, its auxiliary is not fruitful. Even the scriptures may state something that is merely the outcome of delusion (if that serves the main purpose). There is no possibilty of the knowledge of the non-dual reality being affected by this knowledge of duality (since non-duality alone is real).
Note: The knowledge of the non-dual Brahman alone is fruitful. The world of duality is mentioned only to help us to realize Brahman . Knowledge of duality does not therefore have any fruit by itself, and is only auxiliary to the knowledge of non-duality.
80. Even when the knowledge of duality such as the knowledge of a pot has arisen, only the knowledge of the 'non-dual existence' part which was previously not known can be considered to be valid. (The knowledge of the pot in the form 'The pot is' consists of the knowledge of its form together with its existence,. Of these two, only the existence part is real and the form is merely superimposed). Knowledge and ignorance must necessarily have the same locus and the same content. Ignorance cannot be considered to exist with regard to an inert object since no purpose is served by the application of a valid means of knowledge to it. Every means of knowledge becomes a valid means of knowledge only if it makes known a thing which was not known previously (i.e. which was covered by ignorance). An inert object is described as not known only because the consciousness limited by that object is not known. A valid means of knowledge is one that makes known what was not known. Otherwise even recollection would become valid knowledge.
Note: A valid means of knowledge is one which makes known what was previously not known, or, in other words, which removes the ignorance covering an object. Ignorance is what covers an object. A covering is necessary only when the object in question would be perceptible but for such covering. An inert object cannot shine by itself. It shines only because of the pure consciousness on which it is superimposed. So what ignorance has to cover is the underlying consciousness and not the superimposed object. Any object is in reality pure consciousness limited by that object. Knowledge of an object is really knowledge of the consciousness underlying the object. Thus both ignorance and knowledge have the pure consciousness as their locus as well as content. Recollection is of something already known previously and so it is not valid knowledge.
81. Thus, everywhere in Vedanta, when there are such contradictions, this is the answer. The Vartikakara says: "All the different means by which people can attain knowledge of the self should be understood to be valid. These means are unlimited in number".
Note: Different Acharyas have expressed different views about how the mahavakaya is to be understood. The followers of Sureshvara say that jahallakshana is to be adopted. The followers of Sarvajnatmamuni and Vachaspatimisra adopt ajahallakshana. Dharmaraja Adhvarindra, the author of Vedantaparibhasha interprets the vakya without resort to lakshana. But there is no difference as far as the ultimate import of the vakya is concerned. All agree that the vakya declares the identity of the jiva and Brahman. So all these methods of interpretation are acceptable.
82. We have declared hundreds of times that what is opposed to the import of the sruti (which is Brahman) should be rejected. Therefore such differences in views are of little consequence. The jiva undergoes transmigration because he is under the control of his limiting adjunct. Since the supreme Isvara controls his limiting adjunct, he has qualities such as omniscience. Thus the distinction between them is logically explained.
83. Obj: Let it be that the distinction between jiva and Isvara is due to the effect of nescience. But how do you explain the distinctions such as means of valid knowledge, object of knowledge, etc, with regard to different persons and different objects?
Note: It is our experience that every one does not know everything all the time. What one person knows, another person does not. The question is, how can there be such differences if everything is only one Brahman? That is to say, if the consciousness is the same in all persons, all should see all things at the same time. But this is not the case. 'Karma' in the above sentence means 'object' (as in grammar). Pratikarma means 'each object'.
84. Answer: Avidya, though limited, cannot stand scrutiny because it is indescribable, being an object of knowledge, inert, and perishable. Possessing the twin powers of concealment and projection, it covers the all-pervading self which is pure consciousness. It is like the finger placed in front of the eye concealing the orbit of the sun. If the eye itself were covered (by the finger), then the finger itself would not be seen. (So the finger does not cover the eye, but it covers only the sun which is much bigger). Projection (of an unreal object) cannot occur unless the substratum itself is covered. This avidya becomes modified as the entire universe as a result of the actions of the jivas prompted by the impressions of past actions. This avidya becomes identified with pure consciousness because of the reflection of the consciousness in itself. As a result, all the effects of avidya (the entire universe) become permeated by consciousness through its reflection.
85. Since consciousness is like a lamp which illumines everything within its range, the pure consciousness that is the cause of the universe illumines everything always without depending on any means of knowledge and it is therefore omniscient. Therefore there is no need of any distinction such as means of knowledge, object of knowledge, etc., with regard to it. But it is necessary in the case of the jiva, because he is limited by the intellect which is his limiting adjunct. Because of this, the jiva experiences only that object with which his mind, which has the capacity to take the reflection of consciousness, is associated (through the senses), and only at the particular time when it is so associated. Therefore there is no possibility of any mix-up.
Note: Isvara who is omniscient knows everything all the time. But a particular jiva experiences only that particular object with which his mind is in contact through the sense organs at a particular time. Therefore the objection that if there is only one consciousness then everybody must be able to see everything at the same time is refuted. The mind of each jiva is different and so the experience of each jiva is different from that of others.
86. Thus this is the method here. (This is how cognition of an object takes place). The internal organ (mind) which is inside the body, which pervades the whole body, which is created out of the subtle elements with a preponderance of sattvaguna, which is a modification of nescience, and which is extremely clear like a mirror, stretches out through the eyes and other sense organs, pervades objects such as a pot which are capable of being known, and takes the form of that object, just like molten copper (poured into a mould). Like the light of the sun, it (the mind) can suddenly contract or expand. (The light covers small as well as big objects). The mind, being a substance with parts, is capable of undergoing changes. It is inside the body, pervading it, and extends, without any break, up to the object such as pot, which it covers (by taking the form of the object), like the eye (just as the vision of the eye extends from the eye to the object without a break). The part of the mind which is within the body, which is called the ego, is known as the agent. The part that extends like a stick from the body to the object, which is called the cognition resulting from a mental modification (vritti-jnaana), is known as the action. The part of the mind that pervades the object is what makes the pot, etc., the object of knowledge. It is called the capacity to manifest.
87. Because of the capacity of the mind with these three parts to receive a reflection (like a mirror), consciousness becomes manifested (reflected) in it. Though the consciousness so manifested is only one, it is given three different names, based on the three-fold division of the mind in which it is reflected. The part that is limited by the portion called the agent is known as the knower. The part limited by the portion referred to above as the action is called the means of knowledge. The part covering the object, described above as the capacity to manifest, is called knowledge. The object to be known is the Brahman-consciousness which is the substratum of the object and which is unknown. The same, when known, is the phala or result.
88. In the school that holds the view that the jiva has the internal organ as limiting adjunct, as well as in the school in which the jiva is omnipresent, devoid of the relationship of identity-cum-difference with objects, and is a reflection in avidya, the mental modification serves to connect the knower-consciousness with the object and also to remove the veil of avidya covering the consciousness which is the substratum of the object. In the third school according to which the jiva is limited by avidya, is all-pervading, and covered (by avidya), since the jiva itself is the material cause of the universe and is therefore connected with all objects, the mental modification serves only to remove the covering of avidya (on the object-consciousness). This is the difference.
Note: Three different views on the nature of the jiva are considered here. The first is where the jiva is considered to be limited by the internal organ (mind). In this view the jiva is limited to the particular mind. The second view is that in which the jiva is a reflection of Brahman in avidya. In this view the jiva is all-pervading, because the reflection is considered to be identical with the original which is all-pervading. But the jiva is not the cause of the universe in this view because it is not the locus of the avidya that is the cause of the universe. Since it is not the cause of the universe, it cannot have the relationship of taadaatmya, identity-cum-difference with objects, which exists between the cause and its effect. So in both these views a connection between the mind and the object has to be brought about and for this a vritti is necessary. In addition this vritti removes the covering of avidya which veils the pure consciousness limited by the particular object. Thus the vritti serves two purposes.
The third view is that of Vachaspatimisra in Bhamati, according to which the jiva is considered to be limited by avidya (the limitation theory) and the jiva is the locus of avidya. Since avidya is all-pervading, the jiva is also all-pervading in this view and the jiva is the creator of the universe, with the avidya located in it as the material cause. Being the material cause of the universe, (through avidya), the jiva is always connected with all objects in the universe which are its effects, by the relationship of taadaatmya. So a vritti is not necessary for connecting it with objects. A vritti is necessary only for removing the avidya which covers the object-consciousness.
89. Obj: If the purpose of the vritti is to connect the knower-consciousness with the object, then a vritti is not necessary for knowing merit and demerit (punya and paapa), etc., and also Brahman, because they are by their very nature connected with the mind, and so would be always perceptible without any vritti.
Note: Merit and demerit are in the mind itself and so they are always connected with the mind. The mind is always connected with Brahman because Brahman is all-pervading. Thus these are always connected with the mind. So what is the need for a vritti to connect them? This is the question.
90. Answer: That is not so because consciousness (limited by the mind) has not taken the forms of these. Not taking these forms is due to the fact that there is a covering (of avidya) even on Brahman-consciousness inspite of its being pure. In the case of nacre-silver, etc., which are not covered by avidya, it is because they do not have purity (or the capacity to reflect). In the case of merit and demerit it is because they are not capable of reflecting and also because they are covered. Therefore, even in respect of a thing which is pure (or is capable of reflecting), but is covered by avidya, the mind can take its form only through the operation of a means of knowledge. In respect of nacre-silver, etc., which are not capable of reflecting even though not covered by avidya, the mind can take its shape only through an avidya-vritti. As regards happiness, sorrow, etc., which are not covered and are capable of reflecting, they are by their very nature cognizable by the witness-consciousness. Therefore the mere connection of the mind with the object is not always sufficient for a thing to be perceived.
Note: For an object to be cognized, three things are necessary. The knower-consciousness should be connected with the object, the avidya that acts as a veil should be removed, and the object should be made capable of reflecting consciousness. Actually all objects are superimposed on pure consciousness and avidya covers pure consciousness. It is because of this covering of the substratum by avidya that an object remains unknown. A vritti of the mind not only brings about a connection between the knower-consciousness and the object, but in addition it removes the veil of avidya which covers the object-consciousness and makes the object capable of reflecting. Only then the object can be perceived. In the case of Brahman, a vritti is necessary for removing the veil of avidya. Illusory things like nacre-silver have no existence except when they are perceived. It is because of this that it has been said above that they are not covered by avidya. The function of a vritti in such cases is therefore not to remove a covering, but only to make the illusory thing capable of reflecting consciousness. The mind becomes modified into the form of an object only when the modification is brought about by a pramana.Illusory objects like nacre-silver are cgnized directly by the witness-consciousness (sakshi-pratyaksha). The modification of the mind in the form of illusory nacre-silver is not caused by a pramana since there is no contact of the eye with the illusory silver, but it is brought about by avidya. So it is an avidya-vritti that reveals the illusory silver. Merit, demerit, etc., are, by their very nature, incapable of being known.
91. Obj: Since Brahman is unfailingly self-luminous, it is omniscient. So how can there be a veil of ignorance covering it?
92. Answer: It is true that Brahman is omniscient because it illumines everything that is connected with it. But it is described as covered because it is the content (object) of the ignorance of the jiva who is limited by the mind. Therefore, in the view that Brahman is the cause of the universe the purpose of the vritti is to connect the knower-consciousness and for removing the covering. In the view that the jiva is the cause of the universe, the vritti is only for removing the veil of ignorance.
93. Obj: By a single knowledge such as that of a pot the covering of ignorance is removed and so there should be immediate liberation because there is only one ignorance. Even in the view that ignorances are manifold, each jiva has only one ignorance as limiting adjunct and so the same should apply.
94. Answer: No, because the veil of ignorance is said to be only suppressed (rendered powerless) by the vritti (and not destroyed), just as a gem which obstructs the heat of fire is counteracted by a mantra and made incapable of obstructing the heat. The ignorance which operates before the rise of a mental modification (vritti) generated by a pramana and which (ignorance) has the capacity to create the notion that a particular object does not exist and is not perceptible even when that object actually exists and is perceptible, is what is called a veil (or covering). When the vritti arises, the capacity of the ignorance to create such a wrong notion is stultified and so it is as good as the ignorance not existing even though it does exist, because it is rendered incapable of achieving its purpose of veiling the object..Therefore it is said to be suppressed.
Note: The idea is that when an object becomes known the ignorance that covered it previously is not destroyed but is only rendered powerless to conceal that particular object. Since the ignorance is not destroyed it continues to conceal Brahman. So the contention that when a pot is known the ignorance covering Brahman should also be destroyed is not tenable.
95. Obj: If that is so, then since avidya will not be destroyed even by the knowledge of Brahman (as one's real nature), there can be no liberation at all.
Note: Since it was stated that the knowledge of an object such as pot does not destroy the ignorance covering the pot but only makes it powerless temporarily, even knowledge of Brahman cannot destroy nescience permanently and so permanent liberation is not possible. This is the objection.
96. Answer: It is not so, because it is accepted that avidya is destroyed by the knowledge of the meaning of the mahavakyas such as 'Thou art that'. It destroys avidya because it is valid knowledge of Brahman which is the content of avidya. The knowledge of the import of the mahavakyas alone is valid knowledge because its content is never contradicted. The knowledge acquired through means of knowledge such as perception relates to things which are liable to be negated and it is therefore an illusion, but from the empirical standpoint it is considered to be valid knowledge. The fact that the destruction of ignorance by knowledge (as opposed to mere suppressing) is not seen anywhere else (except in the case of Brahman-knowledge) is of no consequence, because the destruction of nescience by Brahman-knowledge is a matter of actual experience (by the enlightened). Since this (experience) is not otherwise accountable, the conclusion that avidya is destroyed by Brahman-knowledge is most valid. It has been said: "If it (the actual state of affairs) cannot be accounted for otherwise, the proposition that accounts for the actual state of affairs crushes the objection to accepting what is not seen elsewhere; that alone is most powerful".
Note: The content of nescience or the primary ignorance (moola-ajnaana) is Brahman itself. The mahavakyas impart the knowledge of Brahman. So this knowledge destroys nescience. Since Brahman alone is real, Brahman-knowledge alone is valid knowledge from the absolute (paaramaarthika) standpoint. All things in the world are found to be unreal when enlightenement is attained and so the knowledge of such things is only illusory, though it is considered to be valid from the empirical standpoint.
97. Or, (taking the view held by some previous teachers that knowledge of an object destroys the ignorance covering the object and does not merely suppress it), the ignorances that cover objects such as pot are only modes of the primal ignorance. Since ignorance is in the position of an antecedent non-existence of knowledge, it has to be accepted that there are as many ignorances as there are knowledges. Since only one ignorance is destroyed by one knowledge, though the veil of ignorance covering an object such as pot is destroyed by the knowledge of the particular object, there is no illogicality (in the view that ignorance of Brahman cannot be destroyed by the destruction of the ignorance covering an object).
Note: It is to be noted that 'ignorance covering an object' means 'ignorance covering the consciousness limited by the object'. See para 80 above.
98. Obj: Is the covering removed by any of the means of knowledge (other than perception) such as inference, etc, or is it not? In the first alternative (if it is removed), even the erroneous perception such as the yellowness of a conch should be removed by the inferential knowledge that a conch is white. Confusion about the directions should also cease by inference, etc. Since the cause of the illusion is the ignorance of the substratum, the illusion should cease when the ignorance of the substratum ceases. By the same reasoning the ignorance of Brahman should cease by the mere inferential knowledge of Brahman based on reasoning and there will be no need for hearing, reflection, etc., for attaining realization. In the second alternative, knowledge of fire (from the sight of smoke) will not arise, because the obstruction in the form of the covering continues.
Note: When smoke is seen on a distant hill the presence of fire is inferred. The question asked here is, "Does this inference result in the removal of the covering of avidya on the fire or does it not"? If it does, then the fire itself should be perceptible, but it is not. Here the Siddhanti may get out of the problem by pointing out that the non-perceptibility of the fire is because of the absence of contact of the eye with the fire. But take the case of a conch which appears yellow to a person because he is suffering from jaundice. He knows that the conch is white by inference in the form 'This is a conch, and so it must be white". But because of this inferential knowledge the conch does not appear white to him, but continues to appear yellow. Here there is contact between the eye and the conch and so the reason given for non-perceptibility in the case of fire cannot apply here. So it means that the cover of avidya on the conch has not been removed. The same applies in the case of confusion of direction. The confusion does not cease merely because some respected person tells him what the direction is (the statement of such a person is sabda pramana, but it does not help). In both these cases, the cover of avidya is not removed by inferential knowledge. Moreover, if inferential knowledge can remove the covering of avidya, the mere inferential knowledge about Brahman obtained by reasoning should be sufficient for attaining realization and there would be no need for hearing, reflection etc. So the first alternative, that inferential knowledge removes the covering of avidya, does not stand. Taking the second alternative. if it is said that inferential knowledge does not remove the covering, it would mean that the existence of fire cannot be known even where smoke is seen. Thus both the alternatives are untenable. This is the contention of the opponent. This is answered in the next paragraph.
99. Answer: The covering is of two kinds. One is that which gives rise to the notion that a thing does not exist; this is located in, and covers, the witness-consciousness limited by the internal organ (mind). The other is that which generates the notion that a thing is not manifest; it is located in, and covers, the Brahman-consciousness limited by the object. In the cognition 'I do not know the pot' it is seen that both these coverings, (namely, that on the knower-consciousness and that on the object-consciousness) are there.
Note: In direct perception (pratyaksha) as well as in indirect cognition (paroksha) there has to be a modification of the mind (vritti) of the form of the object. However, in direct perception the vritti is of the mind which has gone to the object through the appropriate sense organ. In indirect cognition, since there is no means by which the mind can go to the place where the object is (since the sense organs are not in contact with the object), the vritti is of the mind which remains in its own place inside the body. In direct perception, since the consciousness limited by the knower becomes identified with the consciousness limited by the object, the covering on the knower-consciousness which is the cause of the idea of non-existence of the object, as well as the covering on the object-consciousness which is the cause of the idea that the object is not manifest, both are removed. Then both the cognitions, 'the pot exists' and 'the pot is manifest' arise. In indirect cognition through inference and all the means of knowledge other than pratyaksha, only the covering on the knower-consciousness is removed and not the covering on the object-consciousness. So only the cognition 'the object exists' arises and not the cognition 'the object is manifest'. Thus when a conch appears to be yellow to a person suffering from jaundice, though the whiteness of the conch is known by inference, the covering on the conch is not removed, since there is only an indirect perception of the conch as white by inference. So the conch continues to be seen as yellow until the jaundice is cured.
100. There the first notion (that the object does not exist) is removed by direct as well as indirect cognition. It is seen that even in inference (from smoke) a cognition that there is no fire, etc., does not arise.
101. The second (that the object is not manifest) is removed only by direct perception. The rule is that the knowledge which has a particular locus and a particular content destroys only the ignorance which is in the same locus and has the same content. Since in indirect cognition there is no contact between the sense organ and the object, it is located only in the mind. There arises contact between the sense organ and the object only in direct perception, and so the knowledge is located in both the object and the mind in this case. It has been said: "The cause of the notion that the object does not exist is removed by indirect cognition. The cause of the notion that the object is not manifest is removed by direct perception". Therefore, since the covering which creates the notion of non-existence of the object is destroyed by inference, etc., the cognition that the object exists arises. Since the covering which causes non-manifestation of the object is not destroyed (by inference, etc.), the erroneous perception, which is due to a cause (namely, the jaundice in the case of the conch appearing as yellow) does not cease. Therefore, the attribution of agency and enjoyership, which are the qualities of the mind, to the Self which is devoid of all qualities, because of identification of the Self with the mind due to nescience, is understandable.
102. Obj: Since you (Advaitin) adopt the theory of anirvachaniyakhyati, according to which the superimposed thing is neither real nor unreal but is indescribable, it follows that the qualities of agency, etc., superimposed on the Self are indescribable and arise in the Self. Consequently, agency, enjoyership, etc., should be of two kinds, namely, empirical and illusory.
Note: The silver that is superimposed on a shell is anirvachaniya, indescribable as real or unreal. It has only illusory reality (praatibhaasika satta). The actual silver elsewhere has empirical reality (vyaavahaarika satta). Thus silver is of two kinds. The contention of the opponent is that, similarly, the qualities of agency, etc., which exist in the mind should have empirical reality and the same qualities superimposed on the Self should have only illusory reality
103. Answer: No, because the two are not discriminated because of the superimposition of the qualities on the Self (This answer is on the basis that the qualities are superimposed on the Self separately from the mind). The alternative explanation is that the mind with all the qualities is itself superimposed on the Self. In both cases there cannot be two kinds of agency, etc as contended by the opponent.
104. Thus it has been logically explained how the one Self can be the means of knowledge, the object of knowledge, the knowledge itself and the knower because of different limiting adjuncts. Therefore this is not the same as Vijnanavada (as contended by the opponent - see para 51 above); nor is there any self-contradiction. Other such divisions will also be explained clearly in the sequel. Therefore, since the Self which is of the nature of pure consciousness remains constant in the state of deep sleep and since the body, senses, etc., are inconstant as well as objects of perception, the theories of various schools according to which various other entities are the Self are erroneous. Thus it is established that the Upanishadic view alone is valid.
End of commentary on Sloka-1.
Commentary on Sloka-2:
105. The opponent may now say: "Let it be as you (Advaitin) say. But if the self is devoid of all qualities and the activities such as being a knower, etc., are based on superimposition, the statements in the Vedas such as 'a Brahmana may perform a sacrifice' will lose their validity. There is no possibility of action by the self which is neither a doer nor an enjoyer. If the Vedas lose their validity, how can the nature of Brahman be known, since Brahman can be known only through the Vedas, as is evident from Brahmasutra, 1.1.3, which says that the scriptures are the means for knowing Brahman. Therefore, in order that the Vedas may retain their validity, the activities such as knowership must be accepted as real". Anticipating such an objection the Advaitin asks whether the Vedas are claimed to become invalid before the attainment of self-knowledge or after?
106. In the first alternative, since all means of knowledge are meant for those who are still under the control of nescience, and since identification with the body, etc., is not negated at that stage, there is no obstacle to their validity. In the second alternative, that is, after the attainment of self-knowledge, the invalidity of the Vedas is acceptable to us, as seen from the following verse: "Neither the division into castes and stages of life, nor the rules of conduct and duties of the various castes and stages of life apply to me. I have no need for dharana, dhyana or yoga, etc. Since the notions of 'I' and 'mine' which are due to identification with the not-self have gone, I remain as the one auspicious self free from all attributes". Caste means Brahmana, etc. The stages of life are Brahmacharya, etc. The rules of conduct relate to bathing, purity, etc. The duties are celibacy, service to the Guru, etc. Dharana means steadiness of the mind after withdrawal from external objects. Dhyana means contemplation of the supreme Self. Yoga means restraint of the modifications of the mind. By 'etc.' hearing, reflection, etc., are meant. The reason for the absence of all these after the dawn of knowledge is the removal of the notions of 'I' and 'mine' which are based on the not-self. The not-self is nescience which is opposed to the realization of the self. Since nescience which is the basis and the cause of the identifications in the form of 'I' and 'mine' is totally uprooted by the knowledge of the reality, the ideas of caste, stage of life, etc., which are born of nescience do not exist any longer.
End of commentary on Sloka-2.
Commentary on Sloka-3:
107. Since the notions of caste, stage of life, etc., are based only on false knowledge (which results in identification with the body, etc.,), it is pointed out that when that (false knowledge) is not there, such notions also do not exist, as in the state of deep sleep. In order to establish the falsity of the knowledge it is said: The srutis say that in deep sleep there is no mother, nor father, nor gods, nor the worlds, nor the Vedas, nor sacrifices, nor holy places. Nor is there total void, since I exist then as the one auspicious self free from all attributes".
108. 'Mother' means the female progenitor. 'Father' means the male progenitor. 'Gods' means those who are to be worshipped, such as Indra. 'Worlds' means the results of the worship of the gods, such as the attainment of heaven. 'Vedas' means the authoritative statements which describe the means of attaining what is good and avoiding what is evil, which cannot be known through the worldly means of knowledge and those statements which instruct about Brahman. 'Sacrifices' are the means of attaining heaven, etc., such as jyotishtoma. 'Holy places' are the places fit for sacrifices, such as Kurukshetra. Similarly, the absence (in deep sleep) of every thing that is the cause of sin should also be considered as implied here. The idea is that, since all these are the result of identification with the body, in the absence of such identification these do not exist, since the self by itself has no association with these.
109. Thus the sruti says with regard to the state of deep sleep - "In this state the father is no father, the mother is no mother, the worlds are no worlds, the gods are no gods, the Vedas are not Vedas, a thief is no thief, the killer of a Brahmana is no more such a killer, a chandala (one who is born to a Sudra father and Brahmana mother) is no chandala, a paulkasa (one born to a Sudra father and a kshatriya mother) is no paulkasa, an ascetic is no ascetic, a hermit is no hermit; in this state one is not touched by virtue or vice, for he is then beyond all the sorrows of the heart" (Br. up. 4.3.22). Such statements stress the cessation of all evils when there is no identification with the body.
110. Obj: If there is absence of all such relationships then it would be only a void.
111. The answer is - No, because total non-existence of the self in deep sleep has been denied. The idea is that the denial refers emphatically to the condition of being non-existent. If there is only void in the state of deep sleep then waking up again would not be possible. All that happens is that the self is not associated with the sense organs in deep sleep. From the sruti statements such as "This self is indeed imperishable and indestructible" (Br. up. 4.5.14), "He does not see then, because though seeing he does not see; the sight of the seer can never be lost, because it is imperishable. But then there is no second entity separated from it which he can see" (Br.up. 4.3.23), it follows that the self that is consciousness is not non-existent (or mere void) in deep sleep. Though this has already been denied earlier while rejecting the Buddhist doctrine of the void (see para 23 above), it is denied again, following the principle of "shaking the pole".
Note: When a pole is to be fixed on the ground, the person fixing it tries to shake it to see if it has been firmly fixed.
112. Or, (since the Buddhist doctrine of the void has already been rejected in para 23 and so it is not necessary to refute it again), another meaning can be given. The meaning is that Brahman is beyond hunger, etc., (hunger and thirst, grief and delusion, old age and death), is without a second, and is beyond the void. Thus in deep sleep the jivatma is of the nature of Brahman. The sruti says: "When a person sleeps he becomes united with Existence" (Ch. up. 6.8.1), "Just as a man, tightly embraced by his dear wife, does not know anything at all, either outside or inside, similarly this infinite entity (the self) closely embraced by the supreme Self, does not know anything at all, either outside or inside" (Br. up. 4.3.21). Therefore, since the jiva is united with Brahman which is the cause of the universe, omniscient, omnipotent, infinite bliss and consciousness, it follows that the jiva is not a transmigrating entity.
End of commentary on Sloka-3.
Commentary on Sloka-4:
113. Thus. in three verses the import of the term 'thou' has been determined after refuting other contradictory views. Now the meaning of the term 'that' is to be similarly determined. The contradictory views that have to be refuted for this purpose are being indicated below.
114. Obj: The jiva cannot be identified with Brahman. This is explained. Brahman which is the cause of the universe and is denoted by the term 'sat' is described by statements such as "O dear one, in the beginning (before creation) this (universe) was 'sat' (existence) alone" (Ch.up. 6.2.1). The Sankhyas hold that the cause of the universe is 'Pradhana' which is insentient. The Pasupatas say that that Pasupati alone is the cause of the universe and that, though he is sentient, he is different from the jiva and is to be worshipped by the jiva (Thus there is the difference in the form of worshipper and worshipped between the two). The followers of Pancharatra say that Lord Vasudeva is the cause of the universe; from him is born the jiva, Sankarshana; from him Pradyumna, the mind is born; from him Aniruddha, the ego. Therefore, jiva, being an effect, cannot be absolutely non-different from its cause, Vasudeva (or Brahman). (The relationship between cause and effect is difference-cum-non-difference. A pot is different from clay as a pot, but non-different as clay). The Jainas and the Tridandins are of the view that Brahman is subject to change, is eternal, omniscient, both different and non-different from the jiva. The Mimamsakas say that there is no such thing as Brahman endowed with omniscience, etc. Since the Vedas have action (in the form of rituals) as their purport, they do not have such a Brahman as their purport, but, like the statement, "Meditate on speech as a cow", the cause of the universe, which is the atoms, etc., or the jiva is to be worshipped. The Tarkikas hold that there is an Isvara who has eternal knowledge, etc., who is omniscient, and who is to be inferred from the effects such as the earth; he is certainly different from the jiva. The Saugatas (Buddhists) say that the cause is momentary and omniscient. The followers of Patanjali say that Isvara is untouched by sources of sorrow, action, fruition, and mental impressions, is of the nature of eternal knowledge, is omniscient because of being reflected in the sattvaguna aspect of Pradhana, and is different from the transmigrating individual. The followers of the upanishads hold that Brahman is non-dual supreme bliss and that is the real nature of the jiva also. The efficient as well as material cause of the universe is Brahman qualified by omniscience, etc., because of Maya.
115. Thus there being so many conflicting views, there arises doubt about the meaning of the term 'that'. In order to determine the correct meaning according the upanishads, which are the only basis left after rejecting the other views, the revered Acharya says: "Neither the Sankhya view, nor the Saiva, nor the Pancharatra, nor the Jaina nor the Mimamsaka view, etc., is tenable. Because of the realization of the partless Brahman generated by the Mahavakya, Brahman is absolutely pure (untainted). I remain as the one auspicious self free from all attributes".
116. The views of schools not specifically mentioned in the above verse should also be considered as rejected. The insentient Pradhana cannot certainly be the cause of the universe. The statement--It willed, "May I become many, may I procreate" (Ch. 6.2.3) says that creation was preceded by the will (to create). By the statement, "Let me create names and forms by entering as this jivatma" (Ch. 6.3.2), the assumption of the form of the jivatma by Brahman is mentioned. Statements such as, "That by which what has not been heard about becomes heard, what has not been thought about becomes thought of, what was not known becomes known" (Ch. 6.1.3), "That, knowing which everything becomes known" (Mund. 1.1.3) proclaim that by knowing one thing everything becomes known. By knowing Pradhana, those things of which it is not the cause, such as the Purusha, cannot be known (since by knowing a cause such as clay, only its effects such as pot can be known, but not other things). The identity of the jiva and Brahman has been declared nine times by the statement,"All this has that (Brahman) as its self, that is the Reality, that is the self, that thou art" (Ch. 6.8.7). Another sruti says, "From that which is this self, space was born" (Taitt. 2.1.1). The insentient Pradhana cannot be the cause of the universe because it cannot produce such a variegated creation. Moreover there is no authority in the scriptures for the view that Pradhana or Mahat, etc., is the cause. So the Sankhya view is not tenable.
117. Thus the Paasupata, Paancharaatrika, and Jaina views are not valid because they are contradicted by sruti and reasoning. The Mimamsaka view that the sruti does not propound Brahman (as its main purport) because it is subservient to injunctions is also not tenable. (The Mimamsakas hold that Brahman is spoken of in the upanishads only for the purpose of upasana or worship because the object of the sruti is the performance of ritualistic actions and meditations for the purpose of the fulfillment of various desires). The subservience (of the upanishads) to the injunctions (in the karma kanda) is not established. The section (in Purvamimamsa) relating to 'Arthavada' does not support the claim of the Mimamsakas that the upanishads are subservient to the injunctions of the karma kanda, because there is no similarity (between the Arthavadas in the karma kanda and the statements about Brahman in the upanishads). An Arthavada which by itself is not productive of any result has to be attributed a meaning which will make it purposeful. For example, an Arthavada such as, "Vayu is indeed the fastest deity" (Tai.Samhita. 2.1.1) which is otherwise not explainable as forming part of the injunction to study one's own branch of the Veda, has to be attributed some meaning by which it will become endowed with a purpose. An injunction requires for its fulfillment words prompting the performance of a sacrifice, and the specification of the instrument with the help of which the rite is to be performed, as well as of the manner of its performance. In such a situation an Arthavada (such as the one mentioned above) is interpreted as praise of the deity to whom the oblations are made. Thus the Arthavada and the injunction for the performance of a sacrifice are considered as having the same objective and, taken together, they fulfill the requirements of the injunction. The situation is similar to that in which one charioteer has lost the horses yoked to his chariot, while another charioteer's chariot has been destroyed by fire. The two can continue to fight by yoking the horses of the second charioteer to the chariot of the first. This has been determined in the section relating to Arthavada as the method of interpretation to be adopted. Since the knowledge arising from the statements of Vedanta (the upanishads) directly give rise to the human goal of supreme bliss and total cessation of all sorrow, it does not depend on anything else and so it cannot be made subservient to anything else. On the contrary, the injunctions themselves become subservient to it by giving rise to purity of the mind (which is a necessary prelude to the dawn of knowledge). Therefore, since the knowledge arising from Vedanta is fruitful, is uncontradicted, and reveals what was not known previously, Vedanta is authoritative by itself. So since the existence of Brahman is thus definitely established, the Mimamsaka view is not tenable.
Note: 'Arthavada' has been defined in section 72 of the Arthasangraha of Laugakshi Bhaskara as "a sentence which aims at either the praise or the censure of something". One example is the sentence "Vayu is indeed the fastest deity". Since it forms part of the Veda it must have a purpose. The injunction to study the Veda implies that every sentence in it must have a purpose. Statements like the one above appear to be without any purpose and so they have to be interpreted in such a way as to make them purposeful. This is done by associating an Arthavada with an injunction. There is an injunction, "One desirous of prosperity should sacrifice a white animal in honour of Vayu". When associated with this injunction the statement "Vayu is indeed the fastest deity" becomes a praise of Vayu and implies that sacrifice to Vayu will produce quick results. This method of interpretation has to be applied to Arthavadas in the karma kanda of the Vedas to make them purposeful. But this is not necessary in the case of statements in the upanishads which speak about Brahman, because these statements themselves lead to the realization of Brahman, which is the highest Purushartha. They do not need any injunction to become fruitful.
118. The view of the Tarkikas (Vaiseshikas), etc., is also contradicted by the sruti statements such as, "That thou art" (Cha. 6.8.7), "I am Brahman" (Br. Up.1.4.10), "This self is Brahman" (Br.Up. 2.5.19), "Brahman is Reality, Consciousness and Infinite" (Tai. Up. 2.1.1).
119. The theory of difference-cum-non-difference (of the Tridandis) is also contradicted by the sruti statements such as, "Brahman is one only, without a second" (Cha. 6.2.1), "There is no diversity whatsoever here" (Katha. Up. 2.1.1).
120. The theory of momentariness (of the Buddhists) is contradicted by the sruti statements such as "It is all-pervading and eternal like space".
121. The reason why the views of all these schools have been declared as untenable is 'the absolutely pure nature of Brahman'. That is to say, Brahman is attributeless, non-dual, pure consciousness. The reason for this is the distinctive direct experience. This experience is different from conditioned experiences and is the realization of the infinite (partless) Brahman which arises from the statements such as "That thou art". Thus it is established that Brahman is all - pervading, non-dual, supreme bliss and consciousness.
End of commentary on Sloka-4 .
Commentary on Sloka-5:
122. A doubt may rise that Brahman cannot be all-pervading because of the sruti texts such as "That which is atomic" (Cha. 6.8.7), "tinier than the tiny" (Katha. 1.2.20 and Sve. 3.20), which speak of Brahman as atomic, and also since Brahman is non-different from the jiva which has been declared to be tiny in such texts as, "The Purusha who is of the size of a thumb" (Katha, 2.1.12), "The jiva is seen to be of the size of the point of a spear" (Sve. 5.8). This doubt is answered on the basis of statements which speak of the attributeless Brahman such as, "All this is only Brahman, the immortal. Brahman is in front, Brahman is behind, it is spread to the right and to the left; it is below and above. This universe is nothing but this supreme Brahman" (Mund. 2.2.11). "This Brahman is without anything preceding it or anything subsequent to it; it is without anything interior and anything exterior to it" (Br. Up. 2.5.19). Therefore, in order to confirm what was already said earlier the Acharya says: "Brahman has no such thing as upper or lower (part), it has no inside or outside, it has no middle or any 'across', and it has no eastern or western direction, because it is all-pervading like space (or pervades space also). It is one and without parts. I remain as the one auspicious self free from all attributes".
123. Brahman has no upper (part), etc., because it is all-pervading like space. The sruti says, "It is all-pervading like space and eternal". Or, it pervades space also (so it is more pervasive than even space), as said in the sruti. "Greater than space" (Cha. 3.14.3), and "Greater than the great" (Katha. 1.2.20).
124. Though the jiva, too, is big because consciousness is seen to pervade the entire body, it is said to be only of the size of the point of a spear because of identification with the qualities of its limiting adjuncts. The sruti says, "The jiva is seen to be of the size of the point of a spear" (Sve. 5.8) only because of the qualities of the intellect though it is in itself unlimited. Brahman too is described as 'atomic' only in the sense of 'subtle'. The meaning of the rest of the sloka is clear.
End of commentary on Sloka-5.
Commentary on Sloka-6:
125. A doubt may arise that since Brahman is the material cause of the universe, and there is non-difference between the material cause and its effect, Brahman is non-different from the variegated universe and is therefore miserable by nature (since the universe is full of misery). Since the jiva is non-different from Brahman, it cannot attain the supreme Purushartha, liberation. This doubt is answered thus: Brahman is self-effulgent and is of the nature of supreme bliss. It is spoken of as the cause of the universe only because it is the substratum of the delusive superimposition in the form of the entire universe. It, as the substratum, can have no relationship with what is superimposed. Therefore there is not the slightest trace of any evil in it (Brahman). So it is said: "Brahman is not white, nor black, nor red, nor yellow; it is not tiny, nor big. It is neither short nor long. It is not knowable since it is of the nature of effulgence. I remain as the one auspicious self free from all attributes".
126. Not white, etc. 'Kubjam' means tiny. 'Pinam' means big. By denying all these four magnitudes, namely, tiny, big, short, and long, it is denied that Brahman is a substance. 'Arupam' here means 'what cannot be known by the senses or the mind'. By this the views held by various schools with regard to categories such as substance, quality, action are denied (in Brahman). (Brahman is not a substance, it has no quality and it has no activity). Thus the srutis such as, "It is neither big nor small, not short nor long, nor red" (Br. Up. 3.8.8), "That which is without sound, without touch, without colour, never diminishing, tasteless, eternal and odourless" (Katha. 1.3.15), describe the nature of the supreme Self as free from all evil. In order to confirm the meaning of the sruti through reasoning also, the reason is given, "because it is of the nature of effulgence". It means, "It is unknowable because it is self-effulgent and pure consciousness". If it were knowable it would be an insentient object like a pot, etc. The sruti also says, "It is unknowable, unchanging" (Br. Up. 4.4.20).
End of commentary on Sloka-6.
Commentary on Sloka-7:
127. Obj: Who, according to you attains the nature of Brahman? Is it Brahman or non-Brahman? It cannot be the second, since it (non-Brahman) is insentient and unreal. It cannot be the first (Brahman) either, because in that case the instruction (about the means to attain the nature of Brahman) would be futile, because it has itself the nature of Brahman. If you say that though the jiva is itself of the nature of Brahman, but the obstruction (to its realization of its nature) in the form of nescience is removed by knowledge, it is not so. If the cessation of nescience is different from the atma (Brahman), duality will result, and in that case there can be no Brahman (who, according to you is without a second). Thus it has been said in Brihadaranyakopanishad Bhashyavartika (of Sureshvaracharya): "The entity that is not different from anything else, and that cannot be found in anything else is called Brahman. If there were a second thing, then the word Brahman would not have any meaning. (Br. Va. 2.4.14). (The meaning is that Brahman is not different from anything else because there is nothing other than Brahman. So also, Brahman cannot be found in (or in association with) any other thing in the manner in which 'ghatatva', or the quality of being a pot, is found in all pots). It has already been said that if cessation of nescience is not different from Brahman, all the instruction about the realization of Brahman will not serve any purpose.
128. Reply: Are you saying that the instruction does not serve any purpose from the standpoint of absolute reality or even from the empirical standpoint? If it is the former, it is replied that it is acceptable to us (since from the absolute standpoint the position is as below).
"There is neither teacher nor scriptures, neither student nor instruction, neither you nor I, nor this world. The knowledge of one's real nature does not admit of different perceptions. I remain as the one auspicious self free from all attributes".
129. 'Sasta' means the Guru who instructs. 'Sastram' is the means of instruction. 'Sishya' is the object of instruction 'Siksha' is the act of instruction. 'Tvam' means the listener. 'Aham' means the speaker. The purport is that this world revealed by all the means of knowledge, the body, senses, etc, (which are the cause of ) all adversities, do not have a real existence.
130. The second alternative is now refuted. Even though no purpose is served by debating whether the cessation of nescience is identical with the self or the not-self, the realization of one's real nature, which is the result of knowledge, is actually experienced. There is no need to debate how this happens, because debate becomes impossible when all duality has been destroyed. There can indeed be no illogicality in a matter of actual experience. Thus the sruti statements such as, "There is no dissolution, nor origination, no enlightened nor aspirant; there is no seeker after liberation, nor liberated. This is the reality" (Mandukya karika, 2.32), "Brahman alone was there in the beginning; it knew itself as 'I am Brahman'. Therefore it became everything" (Br. Up. 1.4.10), show that the jiva which was even earlier of the nature of Brahman attained the nature of Brahman through knowledge. They also deny all duality.
Note. A shell, which appeared as silver, can be said to have 'become' a shell when the delusion is removed, though it was always a shell. Similarly, the jiva who was always Brahman is said to have 'become' Brahman when nescience is removed by knowledge.
End of commentary on Sloka-7
Commentary on Sloka-8:
131. Obj: Since the Self should always remain the same because it is self-luminous pure consciousness, how can there be such distinctions as waking, dream and deep sleep? It cannot be said that these distinctions are due only to delusion, because in that case everything would become dream.
132. Answer: It is not so. Though all the three states have the character of dream, from the empirical point of view there is difference caused by nescience. These distinctions are quite appropriate because these states are not totally non-existent and have specific characteristics. ('Dream' here means what is due to ignorance. This characteristic applies to all the three states. The distinction among them is because of the difference in the functioning of the powers of concealment and projection of nescience. Aitareyopanishad 1.3.12 says: For Him there are three abodes - three dreams". These three states are not non-existent because they are actually experienced in the empirical state). From the standpoint of reality, however, there are no such differences at all. So it is said:--"I do not have the state of waking, nor of dream, nor of deep sleep. I am not Visva, or Taijasa, or Praajna. Because all these three states are only the products of ignorance, I am the fourth (beyond these three states). I remain as the one auspicious self free from all attributes".
Note: Visva is the name given to the jiva in the waking state, Taijasa in the dream state, and Praajna in the deep sleep state.
133. The items in the above verse are stated in the order of dissolution. (The waking state dissolves into the dream state, the latter into deep sleep. Deep sleep is the state in which the causal body or nescience is predominant. It is the cause of the other two states. The effect has to be dissolved in the cause). In our view (Advaita) there are only two categories, namely, the seer and the seen. All the categories propounded by other schools are included in these.
134. Of these two, the seer is the Self, the reality, one only, and though always the same, it is threefold because of difference caused by limiting adjuncts. These are Isvara, jiva and the witness. Isvara has nescience which is the cause (of the universe) as limiting adjunct. The jiva has as limiting adjunct nescience limited by the inner organ (mind) and the samskaras (impressions) in it. This has already been described earlier (See para 72). In the view in which Isvara is the reflection in nescience, the original (i.e. the consciousness which is reflected) is known as the witness.
Note: The consciousness which merely witnesses the various states is known as the witness. Isvara and jiva are qualified by their respective limiting adjuncts.
135. In the view in which Isvara is the reflection (of consciousness), the consciousness which permeates the jiva as well as Isvara in the same manner as the form of the face permeates the original face and its reflection (in a mirror), and which is aware of everything is called the witness. In the view of the Vartikakara Isvara himself is the witness and so the seer is only twofold, as Isvara and jiva.
136. Isvara is threefold, as Vishnu, Brahma and Rudra in accordance with the three gunas of avidya which is the limiting adjunct of Brahman. Brahman with sattvaguna in the causal state as limiting adjunct is Vishnu, the protector. Brahman with rajoguna in the causal state as limiting adjunct is Brahma, the creator. Hiranyagarbha is not Brahma because he is not the creator of the primary elements. All the same, he is metaphorically referred to as Brahma because he is the creator of all gross bodies. Brahman with tamoguna in the causal state as limiting adjunct is Rudra, the destroyer. Thus one and the same entity takes male forms with four arms, four faces and five faces, etc., (as Vishnu, Brahma and Rudra respectively) and female forms as Sri (Lakshmi), Bharati, Bhavani, etc. It is to be noted that there are also other innumerable sportive incarnations such as Matsya, Kurma, etc., which appear for blessing devotees.
137. To Brahman who is pure consciousness, without a second, without parts, without a body, forms are attributed to enable worship by devotees. The jiva is also threefold, as Visva, Taijasa and Praajna, differentiated by the secondary difference caused by their different limiting adjuncts. (The significance of the expression 'secondary difference' is explained in the note below). The jiva limited by avidya, the inner organ (subtle body) and the gross body, who identifies himself with the waking state, is known as Visva. The same jiva, devoid of identification with the gross body, and limited by the two adjuncts (avidya and subtle body), who identifies himself with the dream state is known as Taijasa. When the jiva is devoid of the two limitations of the gross body and the subtle body, is limited only by avidya which is limited by the samskaras in the mind, and is identified with the state of deep sleep, he is called Praajna. The jiva (in all the three states) is only one, and there is no difference in the jiva himself because there are no independent limiting adjuncts for each of these states. (The meaning is that the adjuncts in the waking state are three and out of the same three adjuncts, two are present in the dream state and one in the deep sleep state. So the adjuncts are not independent or mutually exclusive). Still, because there are these secondary differences due to different limiting adjuncts, the same jiva is referred to by different names in the different states. The witnessing consciousness, however, is only of one nature, who is aware of everything, permeates everything, and is called the 'fourth' (because he is beyond the three states). There is no difference in him even with different limiting adjuncts (for the jiva in the three states), because his limiting adjunct is of the same nature. (The limiting adjunct of the witnessing consciousness is sattvaguna which is always the same). Note. It has been said above, in para 134 that the jiva has as limiting adjunct nescience limited by the inner organ (mind) and the samskaras (impressions) in it. This can be called the 'independent' limiting adjunct which distinguishes one jiva from another jiva. Each individual jiva has a separate limiting adjunct in the form of his mind. Therefore one person cannot know another person's mind. But a particular individual knows what he himself saw in dream and what he experienced in sleep, even though the limiting adjuncts in the three states are not identical. So the difference due to the different limiting adjuncts of the same individual in his three states is called secondary difference here.
138. Nescience, all that is dependent on it, and all its effects, constitute the universe, which is connoted by the word 'seen'. Though it is not real from the absolute standpoint, it is accepted to have empirical reality. So examination of the universe is not futile like the examination of dream objects (which serves no purpose). It is useful for the purpose of worship, etc. The universe is also threefold, as (1) the unmanifest, (2) the gross, and (3) the subtle. Of these three, what is denoted by the term 'unmanifest' is nescience with the reflection of consciousness in it, which is the power that is the seed of the universe of gross and subtle objects. It is called unmanifest because it, along with the connection between consciousness and nescience, the distinction as Isvara and jivas, and the reflection of consciousness in nescience, which are all dependent on nescience, is beginningless. Even though these three are not the effects of nescience, they cease to exist the moment nescience ceases, and so it has been said that they are dependent on nescience. That (nescience), though itself insentient, is illumined by the reflection of consciousness which is not insentient and generates, being impelled by the impressions of the acts of jivas in past births (samskaras), the five subtle elements, space, air, fire, water, and earth, which are of the nature of sound, touch, form, taste, and smell, respectively. Nescience which has taken the form of the previous element is the cause of the next element and so the qualities of each previous element enter into the next element.
Note: The unmanifest has four constituents - nescience, its connection with pure consciousness, the distinction as Isvara and jivas, and the reflection of consciousness in nescience (known as chidaabhaasa). The chidaabhaasa is not the same as consciousness, nor is it insentient. It is different from the sentient as well as the non-sentient. Nescience with the reflection of consciousness in it is the power of Isvara to create all the objects with and without form in the universe. The other three constituents of the unmanifest mentioned above are dependent on nescience, that is to say, they exist only when nescience exists and not otherwise. When nescience ceases all these three cease. According to Advaita, there is identity consistent with difference (taadaatmyam) between a substance and its quality and so the qualities such as sound, touch etc., are the subtle forms of space, air, etc. Nescience first takes the form of space which has sound as its quality. Nescience in the form of space then creates air with the specific quality of touch and also the quality of its predecessor, namely, sound. Similarly, fire has form, touch and sound. Water has taste, form, touch and sound. Earth has smell, taste, form, touch and sound. Avidya does not get transformed into space in its entirety, but only a portion of it gets so transformed. Similarly, only a portion of space gets transformed as air, and so on. Thus each predecessor element is more pervasive than the next.
139. Similarly, from nescience arises darkness which is positive, is of the nature of a covering, is opposed to visual knowledge, and is destroyed by light. It appears and disappears like lightning, etc. This is the Advaitic view. There is no contradiction in the origin of darkness not being mentioned in the sruti while describing creation. This has not been mentioned because it is not one of the causes of the body which is the cause of transmigratory existence. The quarters and time are not mentioned here because there is no authority for holding them to be independent entities. What are referred to as quarters are nothing but space. The sruti says, "The quarters became the sense of hearing and entered the ears" (Ait. Up. 1.2.4). Time is only nescience, because it is the basis of everything. This unmanifest is the limiting adjunct of Isvara.
Note: The Vaiseshikas consider darkness to be only absence of light and so a negative entity. That view is not tenable. From the perception that darkness is black and it moves it follows that darkness is a positive entity. It is not the main purpose of the sruti to describe the origin of all entities. Identification with the body is natural to all living beings. Liberation can be attained only if this identification is given up. In order to enable this, the sruti points out the real nature of the body. It is for this purpose that the sruti describes the origin of the elements such as space which are the cause of the body. Since darkness is not one of the causes of the body it has not been mentioned while describing creation.
140. The five elements before the process of quintuplication which are called subtle are constituted of the three gunas, sattva, rajas, and tamas, since they are identical with their cause (maya or avidya). When sattva aspect is predominant in them these five elements together generate a pure substance which has the powers of knowledge and action and is multifaceted, as it were. The aspect of that substance where the power of knowledge is predominant is the inner organ (mind). It is twofold, as intellect and mind. The aspect in which the power of action is predominant is praana. It is fivefold, as praana, apaana, vyaana, udaana, and samaana.
141. Thus, from each element arise two different organs, one with the power of knowledge and the other with the power of action. From space arise the sense of hearing and speech, from air the sense of touch and the hands, from fire the sense of sight and feet, from water the sense of taste and the organ of excretion, from earth the sense of smell and the organ of procreation. Here some hold that speech arises from fire because of the sruti statement " Speech is made up of fire" (Ch. 6.5.4) and that the feet are from space. We however consider that, since both speech and the ear manifest sound, they should both arise from space. Since any ailment in the eye gets cured when the soles of the feet are treated, it is appropriate that the feet also arise from fire like the eye. The sruti statement that speech is made up of fire should be interpreted as meaning that fire (oil consumed) helps speech, just as the mind, which arises from a combination of all the five elements, is said to be made up of food because food helps to nourish the mind. It is another matter that the mind is said to be born of all the five elements together because it grasps the qualities of all the five elements and so it must be constituted of all of them.
142. The presiding deities of all the organs of perception have predominantly the power of knowledge and presiding deities of all the organs of action have predominantly the power of action. The quarters and fire, Wind and Indra, the Sun and Vishnu, Varuna and Mitra, the Asvini devas and Prajapati, are these deities. The mind is the totality of the power of knowledge. Praana is the totality of the power of action.
143. The five organs of perception, namely, ear, skin, eye, tongue, and nose perceive respectively sound, touch, form, taste, and smell. The skin and eyes perceive also the substance which is the locus of the qualities they grasp. (For example the eye sees not only the colour of an object, but also the object itself). The ear, like the eye, grasps sound by going to the place of location of the sound. This is clear from the fact that one knows that a particular sound arises in a faraway place. The organs of action, namely, organ of speech, hands, feet, organ of excretion and organ of procreation, perform the acts of speaking, grasping, moving, excretion, and producing pleasure respectively. All these, i.e. the five organs of perception, the five organs of action, the five vital airs (praana, apaana, etc.,), and the two divisions of the inner organ (mind and intellect), making a total of seventeen, form the subtle body. This is known as Hiranyagarbha when prominence is given to the power of knowledge and Sutra when prominence is given to the power of action. This subtle entity, being an effect, is the limiting adjunct of the jiva in the microcosm as well as the macrocosm. (Hiranyagarbha and Sutra are the macrocosm and the jiva is the microcosm).
144. Such subtle elements are incapable of producing a body which is the seat of all experiences and the sense-objects without which experiences are not possible. So in order to become gross the subtle elements undergo the process of quintuplication (pancheekaranam), being impelled by the karma of the jivas. Each of the five subtle elements is divided into two equal parts. One half of each such element is divided into four equal parts (i.e. to get one-eighth of each element). Then one half of each element is combined with one-eighth of each of the other four elements to make a gross element. Each such gross element is named space, etc., according to the element that is predominant in it. (The result is that in a gross element of earth one half is earth itself and the other half is made up of the elements of water, fire, air and space in equal shares. Similarly with the other four gross elements).
145. Here some (such as Vachaspatimisra, author of Bhamati) accept only triplication because of the sruti statement, "Let me make each one threefold" (Ch. 6.3.3), and Brahma-sutra, 2.4.20, "The creation of names and forms is by Him who does the triplication", and also because only the combination of three elements is actually perceived. (Fire, water, and earth, which have form are perceived in any combination, but space and air which have no form are not perceived). This view has been refuted by the reasoning given in the Brahma-sutras under the topic relating to space (Br. Su. 2.3.1 to 7). Moreover, since Taittiriya Upanishad, 2.1.1, says, "From that Brahman, which is the Self, space was produced", while in the Chandogya Upanishad only the creation of the three elements, fire, water, and earth is mentioned, the statements in the two Upanishads have to be reconciled. In this respect the rule is that the inclusion of the categories, space and air, is more important than giving the first place in creation to fire. (There is an apparent contradiction between the statements in these two Upanishads. If the statement in the Taitt. Up. about the creation of space and air is rejected in order to give fire the first place in the order of creation, it will amount to space and air being completely left out, which is against actual experience. On the other hand, if the statement in the Taitt. Up. is accepted, the creation of fire is not affected because it is mentioned in the Taitt. Up. also. What would be lost is only the attribution of the first place in creation to fire. The possessor of a quality is more important than the quality. On this reasoning the proper course would be to accept the Taitt. Up. statement that space and air are also created). Besides, since the proposition that by knowing one, everything becomes known has been laid down in Chandogya, space and air which are insentient have to be accepted as effects of Brahman. (The Upanishad says that by knowing Brahman everything becomes known. This is possible only if space and air are effects of Brahman, since when a cause is known only its own effects become known and not things which are not the effects of that cause). Thus the statement about triplication can be justified only as a statement referring to a part of the process, since actually all the five elements created have been combined. If triplication alone is accepted it will lead to the defect of being a divergent statement. (The fact that triplication is declared in one sruti cannot be interpreted to mean that quintuplication declared in another sruti is to be rejected. Such an interpretation would amount to giving two meanings to one sentence, which is not permissible).
146. Brahma-sutra, 2.4.20, "The creation of names and forms is by Him who does the triplication", is only an explanatory statement and so it cannot nullify quintuplication which is established by reasoning. Sri Sankara has said (in the work named Pancheekaranam) that the combination of all the five elements is experienced in the body, etc., without any difference. Therefore the discussion about the not-self need not be continued further.
Note: The purpose of Br. Su. 2.4.20 is to say that the creation of names and forms is by Isvara and not by the jiva. It cannot be taken as asserting triplication and rejecting quintuplication.
147. These quintuplicated elements, which are called 'gross', combine and produce as their effect that which is the locus of the sense organs and the seat of experiences (of the jiva). This is what is called the body. Sattva guna is predominant in the body of gods. Rajoguna is predominant in the human body. Tamoguna is predominant in the bodies of animals and other creatures upto those of stationary creatures such as trees and plants. Even though all bodies are made up of the same five elements, there is no contradiction in the proportion of the elements being more or less in different bodies, as in a multicoloured object. Similarly, objects of sense are also the products of the various quintuplicated elements. So also are the fourteen worlds which are above, in the middle and below, and vary according to the predominance of sattva, rajas and tamas, and objects such as pots, etc. All these together are known as Brahmanda, which is also called Virat, and gross. This is the order of creation according to the Upanishads.
Note: The world in the middle is the earth (Bhuh), which is predominantly made up of rajas. The nether regions are the seven worlds below, namely. Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Rasaatala, Talaatala, Mahaatala, and Paataala, in which tamas predominates. The six worlds above the earth, namely, Bhuvah, Suvah, Mahah, Janah, Tapah, and Satyam, have predominance of sattva.
148. The order of dissolution (merging) is the opposite. The gross, which is made up of the five quintuplicated elements and their effects, and which is known as Virat, merges in its cause, the subtle, known as Hiranyagarbha, which is constituted of the five subtle elements before quintuplication, by the merger of each element, starting from the earth, in its cause, the preceding element. This is the daily pralaya. (Daily here means every day of Brahma which consists of 1000 chaturyugas. Each day of Brahma is followed by his night which is also of the duration of 1000 chaturyugas. This night of Brahma is the pralaya. This is also known as the Naimittika pralaya). The subtle also merges in the unmanifest, which is the limiting adjunct of Isvara. The unmanifest, being beginningless, has no cause and so it has no merging, since merging means remaining in its own cause in a subtle form. The merging of the subtle in the unmanifest is Praakrita pralaya. The dissolution resulting from the realization of Brahman is the absolute pralaya (liberation) by the destruction of the cause (nescience) itself. When the cause itself is destroyed its effects are also totally destroyed. Though all creation, dissolution, etc., is unreal like the creation and dissolution in dream, they are fit for empirical dealings because of the firmness of the impressions from past lives (vasanas) that generate a conviction of the reality of the universe. Though they are due to maya, they are not absolutely non-existent (like the horns of a rabbit). How this is so is made clear in the Bhashya.
149. This being so, the basis of the distinctions such as the waking state, etc., is now described. The waking state is that in which the sense organs function and objects are experienced. Then the empirical objects are experienced by the jiva who is known as Visva, because the objects of experience which are gross and are called Virat, are known through the six means of knowledge starting with direct perception. (The six means of knowledge are perception, inference, verbal testimony, comparison, presumption and non-apprehension (Pratyaksha, Anumana, Sabda, Upamana, Arthapatti and Anupalabdhi). The jiva is called Visva because of having entered or pervaded the body and sense organs. This word is derived from the root visha meaning 'entering' or the root vishlru meaning 'pervading' according to Panini's Dhatupatha. Though in this state of waking the subtle and the unmanifest are also experienced through inference, etc., still, since all empirical objects are invariably known by the Visva alone, and since the Visva identifies himself with the limiting adjunct in the form of the gross body, he does not pervade the other states (of dream and deep sleep). Since the knowledge of illusory objects such as nacre-silver, etc., does not arise through any of the sense organs, the objects of that knowledge cannot be described as empirical; still it is quite correct to describe the state in which this knowledge arises as the waking state because the sense organs are functioning at that time (The waking state has been defined above as that in which the sense organs function. It may be thought that, since the knowledge of nacre-silver is not produced by any of the sense organs, the state in which the knowledge of the illusive silver arises cannot be called the waking state. This doubt is answered by pointing out that though the silver is not seen by the eyes, the nacre is seen only because the eyes are functioning, and the illusion of silver can arise only when the nacre is seen, though not recognized as such. Therefore the sense organ functions here also and so it can be called the waking state). The process of cognition has already been described earlier (see para 86 above).
Note: When a piece of nacre appears as silver the modification (vritti) in the form of silver is not a modification of the empirical mind, but that vritti is brought about by avidya and so the illusory silver is directly revealed by the witness-consciousness. Similarly, since space has no form, etc., it is not perceived by any of the sense organs such as the eye; nor is it known by inference. So the knowledge of space is not due to a mental modification, because a mental modification arises only when a sense organ functions. So space is also directly perceived by the witness-consciousness.
150. Thus, when the karma (i.e. that portion of the unseen effects of the actions of past lives) which has to produce the experiences of the waking state (each day) is exhausted and the karma that has to produce the experiences of the dream state begins to operate, the identification with the gross body is set aside by the Tamasic mode of mind known as sleep, and the sense organs are deprived of the blessing of their respective presiding deities. Then the sense organs become absorbed and do not function, and the Visva also is said to have become absorbed (ceases to be known as Visva); that is the dream state. The dream state is that in which the sense organs do not function and (dream) objects are experienced due to the vasanas in the mind.
151. In this context some hold the view that the mind itself appears in the form of elephants, horses, etc., (seen in dream) and that these are known by a modification (vritti) of avidya. Others hold that it is avidya itself that becomes transformed in the form of the objects seen in dream, as in the case of the appearance of nacre-silver, etc., and that they are also known by a modification of avidya. Which view is better? It is the second, because everywhere it is avidya that is considered as the material cause of the superimposition of illusory objects (such as silver) as well as the superimposition of illusory cognition (of silver). In some texts the mind is said to be transformed as the objects, but that is only because the transformation is due to the vasanas in the mind, which are considered to be the efficient cause. Note. In the case of nacre appearing as silver, it is avidya that takes the form of silver and not the mind. Similarly, it is undisputed that it is avidya that takes the form of the dream objects and not the mind. But there are two views on the question as to how the dream objects arise. One view is that the dream objects are merely imagined by the mind with the help of avidya and that they are not transformations of anything else. The other view is that, just as in the waking state avidya takes the form of illusory silver with nacre as the substratum, similarly in dream avidya takes the form of dream objects with consciousness as the substratum. In the first view the dream objects are merely imagined, like a rabbit's horn which is totally non-existent. In the second view the dream objects are illusory (praatibhaasika) and so they have the same status as nacre-silver or rope-snake. Advaita recognizes four categories: the absolutely real (paaramaarthika), the empirical (vyaavahaarika), the illusory (praatibhaasika) and the totally non-existent (tuccha). Brahman alone is in the first category. All the objects with which we can transact in the waking state are in the second category; they are real until the dawn of Self-knowledge. Things like rope-snake, nacre-silver, etc are in the third category, because they appear to be real until the substratum is known. Rabbit's horn has no existence at all apart from the imagination and it is totally non-existent; it falls in the fourth category. Of the two views about the nature of dream objects referred to above, the second view, which gives the status of illusory (praatibhaasika) objects to dream objects is accepted here, because, just as the illusory snake produces the same reactions such as fear, etc., as a real snake, all the experiences in dream appear real as long as the dream lasts.
152. Obj: Suppose we say that, if the mind is not accepted as taking the form of objects during dream, it could then become the knower, and then the Self cannot be said to be itself the light (in the dream state). Note. By this objection the opponent says that the second view mentioned in the preceding paragraph, which is the Advaitin's view, will contradict the statement in Br. Up. 4.3.9 that in dream the Atma is by itself the illuminator without the help of the mind. According to the second view above, the mind does not take the form of the dream objects, but it is avidya that takes the form of the dream objects. Thus avidya is the material cause of the dream objects. The vasanas in the mind are the efficient cause (nimitta karanam). Thus if the Advaitin's theory is accepted it would follow that even in the dream state the Atma illumines objects only with the help of the mind (through the vasanas), as in the waking state. The object of the statement in Br. Up. 4.3.9 referred to above is to say that in dream the Atma alone illumines the objects without the help of the mind. This will be contradicted if the Advaitin's theory is accepted. This is the objection raised here. The answer is given in the next para.
153. Answer: It is not so. In the dream state the mind cannot know anything because the external sense organs do not function then. It is an invariable rule that the mind can know external objects only with the help of the external sense organs. Only when pure consciousness has as its limiting adjunct the mind with modifications (vritti) can it be a knower. So, even though the mind is present in the dream state, the jiva (who is pure consciousness limited by the mind) is not a knower then.
Note: Though the mind is present in the dream state, it cannot have any vrittis because the external organs do not function then, and the mind cannot function even as an efficient cause without the help of the external organs. So the Atma alone illumines the objects in dream even according to the Advaitin's theory and the statement in the Br. Up. is not contradicted. The jiva can become a knower (pramata) only when there are vrittis in the mind. Therefore in dream the jiva is not a knower. The dream objects are illumined only by the witness. The witness is consciousness limited by avidya, while the jiva is consciousness limited by the mind.
154. What is the substratum on which the dream objects are superimposed? Some say that it is the jiva, who is consciousness limited by the mind. Others hold that it is Brahman limited by primal ignorance. Which view is correct? Both, depending on different points of view. (The arguments against the second view and in support of the first view are now being stated) - If Brahman is the substratum, then the dream objects will not disappear on waking up, because any delusion will cease only when the substratum of the delusion is known. Brahman cannot be known on waking up every day. If Brahman is known, then the entire duality will disappear, and not only the dream objects. Moreover, the sruti says, "He (the jiva) is the creator (of the dream objects)" (Br.Up.4.3.10). Brahman limited by primal ignorance i.e. Isvara is the creator of the entire universe starting with space. So Brahman limited by primal ignorance cannot be the substratum of the dream objects. Note. A shell appears as silver only when it is known only in a general way as 'this' without its specific character of shellness. This illusion will disappear only when the special character of the substratum, namely, shellness, is known. Similarly, if Brahman limited by primal ignorance is held to be the substratum for the appearance of objects in dream, then the dream objects will continue to be seen even after the person wakes up, because Brahman is not known merely on waking up from sleep. If Brahman is known, then the entire world of duality will itself be found to be unreal. Moreover, Brahman limited by primal nescience is the creator of the entire universe, but the sruti quoted above speaks only about the creation of dream objects, and so the reference cannot be to Brahman.
155. Obj: Since the jiva is not covered, and is always fully manifest, how can it be the substratum of an illusion?
Note. Brahman is covered by nescience and so is not known till the nescience is removed by knowledge. But this is not the case with the jiva. Each jiva knows his own general as well as special characteristics (in the vyaavahaarika sense). A thing can become the substratum of an illusion only when it is known only in a general way without its special characteristics. This cannot happen to the jiva. So how can the jiva be the substratum of an illusion?
156. What you say is true (that the jiva is manifest). But we postulate a modal ignorance which is favourable to the appearance of illusion in the dream state, but prevents the knowledge of the dealings in the empirical state. (Because of this, the nature of the jiva as he is in the waking state is not fully known during dream. So some characteristics of the jiva are not known in the dream state and this makes the superimposition of an illusion possible). In the dream state the knowledge in the form 'I am a man', etc., is with regard to a body different from that in the waking state; so also the knowledge 'I am lying on a bed' is also with reference to a different bed from that in the waking state. The means of knowledge (the external senses) are absent in respect both kinds of knowledge.
Note: In dream there is a particular modal ignorance which is conducive to the projection of dream objects. At the same time this ignorance prevents the rise of the knowledge which arises in the empirical state such as 'I am so-and-so', 'this is my house', 'these are my children', etc., which is caused only by the primal ignorance (mula-ajnaana). This modal ignorance in the dream state has to be accepted as different from the ignorance which operates in the waking state, as otherwise the difference between waking and dream states cannot be explained. The difference between the two is clear. The experiences of the waking state are not negated in any other state. They are not felt to be illusory during dream. On the other hand, as soon as a person wakes up from sleep he realizes that everything experienced in dream was unreal. In the waking state the upadhi (limiting adjunct) of the jiva is the mind with vasanas and vrittis. In dream the upadhi is mind with vasanas, but without vrittis. In deep sleep the mind remaining merely in the form of vasanas is the upadhi. In the waking state the jiva has the knowledge that he is awake. Then he remembers what he experienced in the dream and deep sleep states. But in the dream state he does not have the knowledge that he is dreaming, nor does he then have any recollection of what happened in the other two states. Because of these differences between the waking and dream states it follows that the ignorance in the dream state is different from that in the waking state. By this particular type of ignorance in the dream state the nature of the jiva which is recognized in the waking state in the form 'I am a man', etc., is partly covered. This non-manifestation of a part of the nature of the jiva in the dream state makes it fit to be the substratum of the dream projections. The body of the dreamer as well as all objects experienced in dream are merely conjured up by the particular modal ignorance relating to the dream state.
157. Obj: Since the knowledge of empirical matters such as 'I am a man' is not the product of any valid means of knowledge, how can it cause the cessation of the modal ignorance (pertaining to the dream state)? If you say that the cessation of this ignorance is due to the waking state being a different state, then knowledge which negates the dream experiences should arise in deep sleep also, since that is also a different state from dreaming (i.e. even when one goes into dreamless sleep the knowledge that the dream experiences are false should arise). That is not acceptable, because in that case the deep sleep state would be equated with the waking state.
Note: The knowledge 'I am a man' is not produced by a vritti of the mind, but it is revealed by the witness-consciousness (saakshi-bhaasyam). That is why the opponent says that it is not produced by a pramaana (valid means of knowledge). An illusion such as that of silver on a shell is destroyed only by the knowledge of the shell produced by a valid means of knowledge, namely the eye here. So the opponent asks how the knowledge 'I am a man' which is not produced by a means of knowledge can destroy the illusion of the dream objects.
158. That is very cleverly said! (But I am not putting forward any such theory; my explanation is quite different). The deep sleep state is nothing but the modal ignorance pertaining to the dream state accompanied by the dormancy of the mind and so there is no destruction of the modal ignorance of the dream state then. (What happens in the deep sleep state is not the destruction of the modal ignorance as in the case of the waking state. As stated in the Note under para 152 above, the vasanas in the mind are the efficient cause for projecting the dream objects. In deep sleep the mind is dormant and so the vasanas in the mind cannot function as the efficient cause for projecting the dream objects. It is because of this that the dream objects are not projected in deep sleep). In the waking state, however, there is the experience that the appearances in dream were illusory, and so even though the knowledge 'I am a man' is not caused by any valid means of knowledge, it is correct knowledge. Since the cognition of the body, etc., is caused by valid means of knowledge (by the eye and other sense organs) its capacity to destroy the modal ignorance relating to the dream state is established by experience. Any specific ignorance does not however cease without the mental modification (vritti) produced by a valid means of knowledge (such as the eye). The inability of the witness-consciousness to destroy ignorance is testified by its revealing the ignorance as well as the person who possesses it. (The witness-consciousness, that is, consciousness with ignorance as its limiting adjunct, cannot destroy ignorance. On the contrary, it is what enables a person to know that he has ignorance. The ignorance can be destroyed only by an appropriate vritti of the mind). Thus there is no inconsistency.
Note: Ignorance is revealed by the witness-consciousness itself, unlike objects such as pot which are reveled only by a vritti of the mind.
159. It is accepted that there are as many modal ignorances as there are knowledges. By the empirical knowledge in the form 'I am a man' the modal ignorance of the dream state is destroyed. But just as even after the knowledge of illusory silver is once negated when the shell is known, the illusion of silver may arise again with another shell, similarly even after the general modal ignorance of the dream state is destroyed once by empirical knowledge there is no inconsistency in a dream illusion appearing again. So there is no defect in the view that the jiva-consciousness is the substratum of the dream.
160. (After establishing the view the jiva-consciousness limited by the mind is the substratum of dream, the author now proceeds to establish the second alternative theory that Brahman-consciousness limited by primal ignorance is the substratum of dream). In the view that Brahman-consciousness limited by primal ignorance is the substratum of dream, though ignorance can be destroyed completely only by the knowledge of Brahman, the illusion of the dream state can be hidden by the illusion of the waking state even without the knowledge of the substratum (Brahman) arising, just as the illusion of a snake on a rope is hidden by the illusion of a stick arising on the same rope subsequently. In view of this, there is no defect in the theory that Brahman-consciousness is the substratum of the superimposition of the dream. The fact that the dream of each jiva is unique and different from the dreams of others is attributable to the uniqueness of the vasanas in the mind of each person.
Note: Brahman cannot be known even in the waking state. If it is known the empirical state (vyaavahaarika state) itself will come to an end. It can therefore be contended against this view that the modal ignorance of the dream state will not be destroyed on waking up and so the dream will continue, which is absurd. The answer to this is that though the ignorance is not destroyed, the delusion of the dream state will be hidden by the delusion of the waking state in the form 'I am a man'. This is similar to the delusion of a snake on a rope being hidden (disappearing) by the delusion of a stick arising on the same rope subsequently. The delusion of a snake will be destroyed only when the rope is known, but this illusion disappears when a delusion of a stick arises on the same rope. Here a distinction is made between the destruction of an illusion and the mere non-appearance of it because of another delusion arising. By this argument it is pointed out that the second view that Brahman is the substratum of the dream can also be justified.
161. (Now a third view is stated). The substratum of the dream is Brahman-consciousness limited by the mind. In this view also since the modal ignorance is accepted to be covering it, there is no inconsistency. That is why it is stated so in some places in the scriptures.
162. Obj: If consciousness limited by the mind is the substratum, then the cognition should be only in the form 'I am an elephant', since the superimposed object, elephant, should be in the same grammatical case as ego-sense which is the substratum, just as in the cognition 'this is silver' the superimposed object 'silver' is in the same grammatical case as the substratum 'this' which refers to the shell. The cognition cannot be 'this is an elephant'. In the view in which the substratum is Brahman-consciousness, the cognition should be only 'elephant' and not 'this is an elephant', since there too there is no external object which could be referred to as 'this'.
Note: In the first theory mentioned in para 154 above and in the third theory stated in para 161 the substratum of the dream is consciousness limited by the mind. That is the jiva who refers to himself as 'I'. So, just as when a shell appears as silver the cognition is 'this (the substratum) is silver', so also the elephant in the dream should be cognized as 'I am an elephant', since the substratum is 'I' and not as 'this is an elephant'. In the second theory mentioned in para 154 the substratum of the dream is Brahman limited by primal ignorance which cannot be cognized as 'this' like an object in front such as a shell. So in this view also a cognition in the form 'this is an elephant' cannot arise. The cognition under this theory can be only 'elephant'. This is the objection.
163. Answer: No. In the first theory the ego-sense is the limitor (or determinant) of the substratum in dream perception, just as shell-ness is the determinant of the substratum, shell, in the shell-silver illusion. The cognition in the shell-silver illusion is not in the form 'the shell is silver' (because if the shell is known as such there can be no illusory cognition of silver. The cognition is 'this -the object in front- is silver'). Similarly in the case of dream the cognition cannot be 'I am an elephant' (because the 'I' or ego-sense is in the same position as shell-ness in the shell-silver example. What is covered is the ego-sense in the case of dream and shell-ness in the case of shell-silver illusion). The knowledge 'I am' is, like the knowledge 'this is a shell', opposed to the appearance of illusion. In the shell-silver illusion, the 'this' aspect is not opposed to the appearance of illusion (as is seen from the fact that the illusion is in the form 'this is silver'). In dream, the 'this' aspect is also merely conjured up like the appearance of the elephant (because there is no object in front which can be referred to as 'this' as in the waking state). Though both ('this' and 'elephant') are negated as illusory, this does not result in a void because the underlying consciousness which is the substratum cannot be negated. In the waking state also, it is seen that there is an illusory appearance in the form 'this is silver' which is different from the cognition in the form 'this is a shell'. (In the cognition 'this is a shell' both 'this' and 'shell' have empirical reality; but in the cognition 'this is silver', the 'this' has only illusory status as it is associated with the illusory silver). As stated in Samkshepasariraka, I.36, in an illusion only the superimposed object appears. Even if the 'this' aspect associated with the shell is considered to shine (as an empirical realty), the reality of the 'this' aspect is not a necessary condition for the production of an illusion; what is necessary is only that the substratum should be real. The substratum here (in dream) is the witness-consciousness, just as it is the unknown pure consciousness limited by the shell in the case of the illusory shell-silver. (Any empirical object is in reality pure consciousness limited by that object, because empirical objects are all only superimpositions on Brahman, or pure consciousness). Therefore there is no defect in either of the two views.
164. The enjoyer of the dream objects is known as 'Taijasa' because of the prominence of the brilliance called bile, or because it shines even without the help of lights such as the sun.
165. When the jiva is tired after experiencing objects in the two states of waking and dream, and when the karma (fruits of past actions) which is the cause of these two states is exhausted, the inner organ which is characterized by the power to know and has vasanas in it goes into its causal state (i.e. it takes the form of nescience which is the causal body). This is the state of deep sleep which is the place of rest. Deep sleep is the state in which there is awareness of the cause (ignorance) alone, as indicated by the recollection (on waking up) in the form 'I knew nothing at all'. In that state, even though there is no knowledge of the objects of experience of the waking and dream states, three modifications of nescience, namely, the witness, happiness, and modal ignorance pertaining to that state are accepted as present.
Note: In the deep sleep state the mind is dormant. On waking up one has the recollection that he knew nothing. Recollection is possible only of what has been previously experienced. It follows therefore that ignorance was experienced during sleep. In the waking state any experience or knowledge is possible only through a vritti or modification of the mind. In deep sleep no vritti of the mind is possible because the mind is dormant. So it is concluded that there is a vritti of avidya which is the causal state of the mind, through which the ignorance was known during deep sleep.
166. In deep sleep there is no single particularized vritti (like the vritti 'I know the pot' which arises in the waking state) because there is no ego-sense then. (The witness who is the locus of the happiness and ignorance does not have the sense of ego then). If there were such an ego-sense then it would not be deep sleep. Since there is no ground for the assumption that an awareness in the form of an avidyavritti exists during pralaya, what has been said in respect of deep sleep does not apply to pralaya and so the defect of over-applicability does not arise. The person waking up from sleep recollects that he slept happily and did not know anything. Recollection is not possible of a thing not previously experienced. Even though the recollection is not accompanied by the 'that-ness' (the details of the experience such as the time, place, nature, etc.,) it cannot be said that it is not a recollection, since the absence of such details is attributable to the fact that the experience (of happiness and ignorance in deep sleep) was not caused by a vritti of the mind (but by a vritti of avidya). Moreover, there is no invariable rule that in every recollection such details must be present. Besides, in the waking state, experience in the form 'I slept' is not possible (as a perception). Inference is also not possible because both the reason (middle term) and the locus (minor term) are absent. The ego-sense is experienced only at the time of waking up. Since the mind is dormant in deep sleep the ego-sense (which is a vritti of the mind) is not experienced then and so there can be no recollection of any such ego-sense (after waking up).
Note. The possible objection that the knowledge in the form 'I slept happily, etc.', that arises on waking up is not a recollection, but an experience, is answered above. It is pointed out that direct perception can relate only to an event in the present and so what happened in the past deep sleep state cannot be an object of experience in the subsequent waking state. An inference of the form 'The hill has fire, because there is smoke' requires a reason (smoke in this case) and a locus (hill). Both reason and locus are absent here. Any reason relating to deep sleep which was in the past cannot exist after waking up. The ego-sense (which alone could be the locus) is absent in deep sleep and manifests only after waking up. So there was no locus in deep sleep for the inference. In a case in which a person sees smoke on a hill and then goes home, he can even then infer that there was fire on that hill. Here an inference is possible because the hill was there in the past and also in the present and so recollection of the hill seen earlier is possible. But in deep sleep there was no 'I' sense and so there can be no recollection of any such 'I-sense'. So an inference of this type is not possible. Therefore the knowledge 'I slept happily' cannot be a knowledge gained through inference. The other means of knowledge such as comparison, etc., are clearly not applicable.
167. When a face is reflected in a mirror on which the redness of a hibiscus flower has been superimposed, a cognition in the form 'the face is red' arises (even though the reflection of the face is not the substratum of the redness). Similarly, since the witness-consciousness is the substratum of the recollection by virtue of its being the substratum of ego-sense, the cognition 'I slept happily' arises, in which 'I' and 'slept happily' are in grammatical coordination. The witness-consciousness in this case is, however, not the substratum in the same manner as in the experience 'I am happy' (in the waking state). As a rule, the witness-consciousness is the substratum of recollection, doubt, and wrong knowledge. The ego-sense is invariably the substratum of knowledge arising through a valid means of knowledge (such as the eye, etc.). The distinguishing characteristic of a knowledge arising from the ego-sense (i.e. by a modification of the mind) is that it is correct knowledge. When avidya is the cause of a knowledge, it has the characteristic of being wrong knowledge. Because of this it has been held by masters of Vedanta that the indirect illusion which results from the words of an unreliable person is also due to avidyavritti. (An indirect illusion is what arises when one acts on the basis of wrong information given by an unreliable person; a direct illusion is that of shell-silver, etc.). In the case of an indirect illusion, even though the requisites for producing a vritti of the mind are present, the mind is not capable of producing a vritti because of the defect of the knowledge lacking correctness.
Note: Knowledge is always produced by a vritti. It is correct knowledge when it is of the form of a vritti of the mind; it is wrong knowledge when it is of the form of a vritti of avidya. Illusory knowledge is never a vritti of the mind, but it is a vritti of avidya. Similarly, doubt and recollection are also in the form of avidyavritti only.
168. The superimposition of the idea of Brahman on name, etc., (for meditation as laid down in Ch. Up. 7.1.5), is dependent on one's will and so it is a vritti of the mind different from both illusion and correct knowledge, and is like desire, etc. It has been said (in the Bhashya on Brahmasutra 1.1.4) that it is an activity of the mind since it arises from an injunction, and not knowledge. By this, it has been explained that reasoning is also a vritti of the mind because, reasoning, which brings about the connection between the pervaded and the pervader, is also dependent on one's will and is therefore different from both illusion and correct knowledge. For this reason the injunction in the form 'it should be heard, reflected on and meditated on' in respect of the enquiry into the statements in Vedanta which consists of hearing accompanied by reflection and meditation is justified.
Note-1: Brahmasutra, 1.1.4. Bhashya - nanu jnaanam naama maanasii kriyaa. na, vailakshaNyaat - veditavyam jnaanam (knowledge) is not a mental act, because there is a difference (between knowledge and meditation). A mental act is seen to exist where there is an injunction about it, which is independent of the nature of the thing concerned. dhyaanam (meditation), is a mental act, because it depends on the will of the person performing it. For example, to think of a man or woman as fire, as enjoined in "O Gautama, man is surely fire" (Ch.up.5.7.1) , or in "O Gautama, woman is surely fire" (Ch.up.5.8.1) is certainly a mental act, since it arises from an injunction alone. But the idea of fire with regard to the well-known fire is not dependent on any injunction or on the will of any man. (In other words, thinking of one thing as another, like a linga as Lord Siva and worshipping it as such, is meditation and it is a mental act, because it depends on the will of the worshipper. But looking at an ordinary stone and seeing it as a stone is knowledge and is not a mental act, because it does not depend on the will of the person). While meditation depends on the will of a person, knowledge depends only on the object concerned and on valid means of knowledge, such as perception. Meditation is therefore described as purusha-tantra (dependent on the person), while knowledge is called vastu-tantra (dependent on the object to be known).
Note-2: The meaning of the terms 'hearing', 'reflection' and 'meditation' - sravaNam, mananam and nididhyaasanam. Vedantasaara of Sadananda, ch.5, Para-182 - Hearing is the determination, by the application of the six characteristic signs, that the purport of the entire Vedanta is the non-dual Brahman. The six signs are - (1) the beginning and the conclusion, (2) repetition, (3) originality, (4) result, (5) eulogy and (6) demonstration. The Sanskrit terms for these are, respectively, upakramopasamhaara, abhyaasa, apuurvataa, phala, arthavaada, upapatti. Each of these terms is explained below. Vedantasaara, ch.5. Para-185 - The term ' the beginning and the conclusion' means the presentation of the subject matter of a section at the beginning and at the end of the section. For example, in the sixth chapter of the Chhandogya Upanishad, Brahman, which is the subject-matter of the chapter, is introduced at the beginning with the words, "One only without a second", etc. (6.2.1). At the end of the chapter Brahman is again spoken of in the words, "In It all that exists has its Self",etc. (6.8.7).
Para-186 - Repetition is the repeated presentation of the subject-matter in the section. In the same chapter, Brahman, the One without a second, is mentioned nine times by the sentence "Thou art that".
Para-187 - 'Originality' means that the subject-matter of the section is not known through any other source of knowledge. For instance, the subject matter of the above section, namely, Brahman, cannot be known through any source of knowledge other than the s'ruti.
Para-188 - The 'result' is the utility of the subject-matter. For example, in the same section, we find the sentences" One who has a teacher realizes Brahman. He has to wait only as long as he is not freed from the body; then he is united with Brahman". (6.14.2). Here the utility of the knowledge is attainment of Brahman.
Para-189 - Eulogy is the praise of the subject-matter. The words in this section, "Did you ask for that instruction by which one knows what has not been known, etc" (6.1.3) are spoken in praise of Brahman.
Para-190 - Demonstration is the reasoning in support of the subject-matter, adduced at different places in the same section. An example is - "My dear, as by one lump of clay all that is made of clay is known, every modification being only a name, and being real only as clay" - (6.4.1). This shows that the universe has no reality except as an apparent modification of Brahman, the only Reality.
Para-191 - Reflection is the constant thinking of Brahman, the One without a second, already heard about from the teacher, by making use of arguments in a constructive manner.
Para-192 - Meditation is keeping the mind fixed on the thought of Brahman, uninterrupted by any other thought.
The result achieved by 'hearing' etc.
'Hearing' removes the doubt whether the upanishadic text which is the pramaaNa purports to teach about Brahman or about some other entity. This doubt is known as pramaaNa-asambhaavanaa, or the doubt about the pramaaNa itself.
'Reflection' removes the doubt whether Brahman and the jiva are identical or not. This doubt is called prameya-asambhaavanaa.
'Meditation' is intended to keep off wrong notions such as "The universe is real; the difference between Brahman and jiva is real", which are contrary to the teachings of the upanishads, by developing concentration of the mind. Such wrong notions are known as vipariita-bhaavanaa.
Thus the purpose of hearing, reflection and meditation is the removal of obstacles in the form of doubts and wrong notions that stand in the way of the origination of Self-knowledge.
169. The 'hearing' consists of four types of reasoning in the form of anvaya and vyatireka. (What is invariably present in all our experience and is not subject to change is anvaya; and what is sometimes present and sometimes absent, and is therefore subject to change is vyatireka. For example, gold has anvaya with reference to a gold ring; the ring has vyatireka with reference to gold). The four kinds of anvaya and vyatireka are: (1) the seer (Brahman) and the seen (the universe); Brahman always exists and so it has anvaya, while the universe is always changing and has vyatireka; (2) the witness (Brahman or pure consciousness) and what is witnessed (the universe); the witness exists always and so it has anvaya; the witnessed has vyatireka with reference to the witness; (3) what has beginning and end and what limits it, i.e. the effect and the cause; the cause has anvaya with reference to the effect, but the effect has vyatireka with reference to the cause; (4) what is miserable (the world) and what is the object of supreme love (Brahman). The world has vyatireka with reference to Brahman, and Brahman has anvaya. There is a fifth type which is 'what persists in all changing things and what is changing and so does not persist'. Brahman persists in everything, but the things are always changing. These are some instances of reasoning conducive to Vedanta explained in the Vedantamimamsa (Brahmasutras) consisting of four chapters, according to the learned teachers. For a detailed exposition the Vedantakalpalatika (of Madhusudana Sarasvati) may be seen.
170. Thus in the state of deep sleep there is experience of happiness. The experiencer, who identifies himself with the deep sleep state, is known as 'praajna', because he is totally ignorant. Or, he can be said to be possessed of full knowledge because the knowledge is not limited to any particular object (as in the waking state). In that state, even though the mind is dormant, he does not cease to be a jiva because he has the samskaras (impressions) as his limiting adjunct. Nor is he omniscient then.
Note: The jiva has been said to be totally ignorant in deep sleep because the general understanding in the world is that the ignorance then is greater than in the waking and dream states. An alternative meaning has also been given that the jiva possesses full knowledge then because in that state he is nearer to the knowledge of Brahman than in the other two states. In the other two states, apart from the fact that Brahman is veiled by primal ignorance, there is also the projection of unreal objects. The Mandukya upanishad describes this state as a mass of consciousness characterized by the absence of particular cognitions. In deep sleep the limiting adjunct of the jiva is nescience limited by the impressions of the mind. Isvara who is omniscient has nescience as limiting adjunct. Because of this difference the jiva cannot be omniscient in deep sleep.
171. The identity of the jiva with Isvara in deep sleep, declared in the upanishads (Ch. Up. 6.8.1 - 'he becomes united with Existence'), is based only on the absence of identification with the body and senses in that state. It is therefore to be understood only in a secondary sense. (It is like the statement 'this student is a lion' which is based only on the similarity of some qualities such as courage, etc. Here the similarity between Isvara and the jiva in the state of deep sleep is that both are devoid of identification with the body and senses). The impressions (samskaras) do not fall in the category of the material cause of the effects which have the witness-consciousness as their substratum (namely, recollection, doubt, etc.). The impressions are the efficient cause of these effects. Therefore there is no difference (or multiplicity) in the witness-consciousness even though the impressions are different in the inner organ of each jiva. (The limiting adjunct of the witness is nescience which is only one).
Note: The impressions in the mind (samskaras) are the efficient cause for recollection, doubt, etc. The question arises how the recollection on waking up, which is the effect, can be of the same nature as the samskaras, because the effect is always of the nature of the material cause and not of the efficient cause. For example, a pot is of the same nature as its material cause, clay, and not of the nature of its efficient cause, namely, the potter. The answer to this question is that during deep sleep the samskaras become merged in avidya which is the material cause of the recollection, etc., and it is because of this that the recollection is of the same nature as the samskaras. The material cause is of two kinds; the cause that gets transformed as the effect, as milk gets transformed as curd, known as transformative cause, and the cause that does not get transformed but only appears as the effect, like a shell appearing as silver, which is known as transfigurative cause. Here the witness-consciousness is the transfigurative cause and avidya is the transformative cause.
172. In the waking state, however, since the inner organ falls in the category of the material cause of the effect which has the knower as its substratum, there are different knowers (because the inner organ is different for each). Since the knower is none other than the witness himself with an additional limiting adjunct (namely, the mind with vrittis), there is no inconsistency in the knower remembering (what the witness experienced). The Vartikakara (Sri Suresvaracharya) says in Brihadaranyaka vartika, 3.4. 54-55: "The witness does not differ from one body to another even though the knower and the means of knowledge are different, just as an external object is not cognized differently by different persons. Therefore he (witness) is known as the 'atma'. The knower, etc., who are witnessed by the witnessing consciousness may change, but the atma does not undergo any change because it is also the witness of the absence of the knower, means of knowledge, etc.". Since the revered Vartikakara denies difference in the witness even in the empirical state, it has to be concluded that difference in the witness in the deep sleep state postulated by some is only due to sheer delusion.
Note. The cognition of external objects in the waking state is what is referred to as 'effect' above. It has the knower as its substratum. The cause of the cognition is a vritti of the mind. The witness knows the cognition of objects (in the form-I know the pot), as well as their non-cognition (in the form- I do not know the pot).
173. Obj: Sometimes some one may get a recollection (on waking up) in the form 'I slept unhappily' and so there could be experience of unhappiness also in deep sleep.
Answer: That is not possible because during deep sleep the factors that cause sorrow do not exist. But happiness, being the very nature of the self, is ever existent. There may be unhappiness in a secondary sense because of the unsatisfactory nature of the bed, etc., and because of that there may arise a notion in the form 'I slept unhappily'.
174. Or, there can be sorrow even in sleep if it is accepted that each of the three states is itself threefold. Thus, when there is knowledge through a valid means, it is waking in the waking state. When there is delusion like that of shell-silver, it is dream in the waking state. When because of fatigue there is torpor, it is sleep in the waking state. Similarly when in dream one receives a mantra, etc., it is waking in the dream state. When during a dream a person feels that he is seeing a dream, it is dream in the dream state. When something that cannot be described in the waking state is vaguely experienced in dream, then it is sleep in the dream state. Similarly in the state of deep sleep when there is a sattvic vritti of the nature of happiness, it is waking in sleep. Then there is the recollection 'I slept happily'. At that time when there is a rajasic vritti, it is dream in sleep. Only thereafter there may arise a recollection in the form 'I slept unhappily'. In that when there is a tamasic vritti, it is sleep in the deep sleep state. Thereafter there is the recollection 'I was totally ignorant'. This is how it has been clearly described in works such as Vasishthavartika.
175. Thus the microcosm (related to the body) is Visva, the corresponding macrocosm is Virat, and the corresponding deity is Vishnu. The microcosm is the waking state, the function of the corresponding deity is sustenance, and the macrocosm is sattvaguna. The microcosm is Taijasa, the macrocosm is Hiranyagarbha, and the deity is Brahma. The microcosm is dream, the function of the deity is creation and the macrocosm is rajoguna. The microcosm is Praajna, the macrocosm is the unmanifested, and the deity is Rudra. The microcosm is deep sleep, the function of the deity is dissolution, and the macrocosm is tamoguna. Since the microcosm, macrocosm and the deity are all one and the same, by meditation on these along with the three limbs of pranava (a,u,m) as identical even when limited by the corresponding adjuncts, the world of Hiranyagarbha is attained. Then, by the acquisition of purity of mind gradual liberation (kramamukti) is attained. By negating all these limiting adjuncts and by the knowledge of the pure witness-consciousness direct liberation is attained.
Note: The correspondences are based on Mandukya upanishad.
176. Thus all the three, Visva, Taijasa, and Praajna, along with the three states are all due to nescience, and so, being objects of knowledge they are unreal. So the conclusion is that 'I am the unconditioned pure witness, known as the fourth'. Thus, even though empirically all the distinctions are accountable, in reality there are no such distinctions at all and so there is no inconsistency. This has been dealt with elaborately by us in Vedantakalpalatika and so the matter is concluded here.
End of commentary on sloka 8.
Commentary on Sloka-9:
177. Obj: Anticipating the doubt that since the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep and the entities identified with them (Visva, Taijasa and Praajna) are unreal, their witness would also be unreal because there is no distinction, the reality of the witness is declared by bringing out the distinction: "The witness is all-pervading, is the desired goal, is self-existent, and is not dependent on any thing else, while the entire universe which is different from it is unreal. I remain as the one auspicious self free from all attributes". (Sloka 9).
178. About the witness it is said, "You cannot see the seer of sight" (Br.Up.3.4.2). The sruti says, "Everything else is perishable" (Br.Up.3.4.2). So the entire universe, which is different from the witness and is the witnessed, is unreal, but not the witness, because it is beyond any possibility of sublation, is known (in a general way) as the substratum of the illusion, and there is no one who can testify to its sublation. The word 'api' should be taken to denote all the other characteristics of the witness which are not mentioned here.
Note: For there to be superimposition of silver on shell the shell should be seen in a general way as some object in front, but its specific characteristic of shell-ness should not be known. If it is not seen at all, as on a dark night, the illusion of silver cannot arise at all. Here the witness is the substratum and it is known in a general way. The witness itself can never be negated because that will need another witness, and there is none to witness its negation.
179. In view of the sruti statement "What is limited is mortal" Cha.Up. 7.24.1), limitedness and unreality are co-extensive, and so when limitedness is denied unreality is also denied. So it has been said: 'since it (Atma) is all-pervading'. By the statement 'All this is indeed Brahman' which says that it is everything, unlimitedness in space and time is brought out. Space (and air), though limited in space and time are said to be pervasive in a secondary sense because of their comparative bigness.
180. Obj: Since Atma is all-pervading and therefore eternal, and is positive in nature, it cannot be of the nature of removal of sorrow (because removal of sorrow has a beginning and an end, and is of the nature of negation). Nor can it be of the nature of happiness (which also has a beginning and an end).
181. No, because it is referred to as supremely beneficial, which is sought after by human beings. The sruti statements such as, "This self is dearer than a son, dearer than wealth, dearer than everything else, innermost" (Br. Up. 1.4.8), "That which is infinite is alone happiness" (Cha. Up. 7.23.1), "This itself is supreme bliss" (Br. Up. 4.3.33), "Brahman is consciousness and bliss" (Br. Up. 3.9.28), declare that the self is of the nature of supreme bliss.
Note: The objection raised is that the joys and sorrows experienced through the senses and the mind have a beginning and an end. So they cannot be the same as the self which is eternal. The answer is that bliss is the very nature of the self. The joys experienced through the senses and mind are only a reflection of this bliss in vrittis of the mind.
182. Though it is eternal, it is spoken of in the world in a secondary sense as arising and ending when it is manifested by an appropriate vritti of the mind brought about by one's religious merit. (The enjoyment of happiness is the result of accumulated punya. This happiness is nothing but a reflection of the bliss of the self in the mind). The self is concealed by nescience and so it appears as if it has not been attained. When the nescience is removed by the mere knowledge of the self, it appears as if it has been attained. The effort of the seeker to attain it is thus understandable. Since the self is the substratum of the superimposed world which is of the nature of misery, the self itself is the negation of the world and so it is of the nature of negation of misery. In this way also it is a human goal.
Note-1: When a person intensely desires something his mind is agitated. When the object desired is attained, his mind becomes calm and remains so until another desire arises to disturb it. When the mind is calm, the bliss which is the real nature of every human being, becomes clearly reflected in it, just as the moon is clearly reflected in a pond in which the water is clear and not disturbed by wind. When the mind is agitated by anxieties, fears and other such emotions, the reflection of bliss is indistinct like the reflection of the moon in a pond in which the water is muddy or disturbed by wind. Thus happiness is the result of the calming of the mind for the time being, but it is wrongly attributed to the attainment of the desired object. It is this temporary happiness which has a beginning and an end that is normally understood by the word 'happiness' in the world. But the bliss which is the very nature of the self is eternal, since the self or Brahman, is eternal.
Note-2: The illusory snake is negated when the rope is known. So it is said that the rope is the negation of the snake. The substratum is the negation of the superimposed object. Similarly the self is the negation of the world superimposed on it by nescience.
183. Obj: Is happiness experienced in liberation, or is it not? It cannot be the first alternative, because there being no body and senses then, there is no means of manifesting the happiness. If it is said that even without the means of manifestation happiness can be experienced, then it would follow that even in the transmigratory state it could be experienced. The second alternative is also not tenable, because that means there is nothing to be sought after. What is capable of being known (experienced) can alone be a thing sought after. That is why the followers of Vishnu (dualists) say that only by eating sugar one can enjoy its sweetness. (The dualists say that the bliss of Brahman can be enjoyed only if one remains different from Brahman. If one becomes Brahman itself, as Advaita says, one cannot enjoy the bliss of Brahman, just as one cannot enjoy the sweetness of sugar if one becomes sugar itself).
184. Answer: No, since the Atma is self-existent. It is of the nature of self-effulgent consciousness. Even though in the transmigratory state the Atma does not appear to be of the nature of supreme bliss because of being obscured by avidya, when avidya is removed by knowledge it shines by itself as self-effulgent and as supreme bliss. Therefore it does not need any means of manifestation (like the senses).
185. Obj: Even in the view that happiness is of the nature of self-effulgent knowledge it cannot be the Atma. Knowledge is the meaning of the verbal root (jnaa) and so it is an action, and as such it must have a locus. (An action is performed by a sentient being who is the locus of the action. So there are two, the actor and the action). The cognition (of the knower) is in the form 'I know' and not 'I am knowledge'. (If knowledge is the Atma then the cognition should be 'I am knowledge'). Then how can there be the theory of non-duality?
186. No, because it (the knowledge spoken of here) has no dependence on any locus. In accordance with the sruti statements, "Brahman that is direct and immediate, the Atma that is within all" (Br. Up. 3.4.1), "Brahman is Reality, Consciousness, Infinite" (Tai. Up. 2.1.1), "Brahman is Consciousness, Bliss" (Br.Up.3.9.28), the Atma is self-effulgent consciousness-bliss. Because of identification of the consciousness with the mind, consciousness is attributed to the vritti of the mind (which takes the form of the object cognized). As a result the cognition takes the form 'I know' and seems to be dependent on the mind. The meaning of the root (jnaa) and the origin and destruction (of knowledge) pertain only to the vritti of the mind. The pure consciousness which is the substratum of everything is not dependent on any thing else and so there is no duality. Therefore it is established that the Atma which is consciousness-bliss is real and the entire universe which is different from it is unreal.
End of commentary on Sloka-9.
Commentary on Sloka-10:
187. If the entire universe is non-existent, then by denying it the truth of the Atma cannot be known. There is no need to deny the existence of the horn of a rabbit (because it has never existed). As a rule it is only a thing that is known by some valid means of knowledge to exist somewhere that may be denied somewhere else. Thus, since its denial is illogical, the universe is not non-existent.
188. Answer: No. It is said: "It is not one; how can there be a second different from it? It has neither absoluteness nor non-absoluteness. It is neither void nor non-void since it is devoid of duality. How can I describe that which is established by the entire Vedanta!"
189. One is what is capable of being counted as one. A second is what is capable of giving rise to the cognition of a second relative to it. When there is no one, how can there be a second? A second is what implies a third, etc.
190. Obj: But by the sruti "One only, without a second" (Cha.Up. 6.2.1), oneness is postulated.
191. No. It is said (in the above sloka) - nor even absoluteness. Absoluteness is oneness. That statement in the sruti - one only, without a second - is also due to avidya. (When the sruti says "One only, without a second", it is only repeating the general notion in the world which is due to avidya. Even absoluteness cannot be postulated in respect of the Atma because that is also a relative term). Then can it be said that if the sruti does not really declare the oneness of the Atma, it follows, on the basis of the means of knowledge such as perception, that there is definitely multiplicity?
192. The answer is - No. Not even non-absoluteness. Non-absoluteness is 'being many'. This follows from the sruti statements such as, "There is no diversity whatsoever here" (Br. Up. 4.4.19), "One only, without a second" (Cha. 6.2.1), "Now therefore the instruction, not this, not this" (Br. Up. 2.3.6).
193. Obj: In that case, since everything is denied, there is only void.
194. The answer is, no. It is not a void. "If any one considers Brahman as non-existent, then he himself becomes non-existent. (Because Brahman is none other than his own real nature). If any one knows Brahman as existing, then they (the knowers of Brahman) consider him as existing" (Tai. Up. 2.6.1), Brahman is Reality, consciousness and infinite" (Tai. Up. 2.1.1), and the srutis starting from "O dear boy, this was only existence in the beginning" (Cha. 6.2.1), and up to "All this world has this as the self, it is the realty, it is the Atma, that thou art" (Cha. Up. 6.8.7). By these srutis the reality of the Atma is declared; it is the substratum of all illusions, and it is where all negation culminates (it cannot be negated at all).
195. Obj: Then it would mean that the Atma has the qualities of reality, knowledge, etc.
196. The answer is, no, because it has been said that it is not non-void. (Non-void means 'not empty' i.e. there is some thing on it such as a quality. Or in other words, it has some quality. So by the double negative 'not non-void' it is meant that it does not have any quality). While by the two terms 'one' and 'without a second' the existence of any thing else of the same species or a different species is denied, by the term 'only' (eva) all differences such as the difference between a quality and the possessor of a quality are denied. The reason for all these is given as - 'because of being devoid of duality'. What is divided into two is 'dual'. The state of being dual is duality. It has been said in the Vartika: "What is divided into two is said to be 'dual' and such a state is called 'duality' (Br. Vartika. 4.3.186) . Where there is no duality or the state of being divided into two, that is non-duality. This is the literal meaning. As the sruti says, "Like water, one, the seer and free from duality" (Br. Up. 4.3.32). Since it is only the knowledge of the counter-correlative that is the cause of easily becoming aware of the absence of some thing, and since duality has been accepted as indeterminable, denial is quite logical because the objects are knowable through the means of knowledge such as perception. (This sentence is explained in the note below).
Note: The last sentence is in refutation of the statement in para 187 that, as a rule it is only a thing that is known by some valid means of knowledge to exist somewhere that may be denied somewhere else. In order to deny the existence of a snake in a particular place the person denying must know what a snake is. But it is not necessary that he should have seen a real snake. It is enough if he has seen the picture of a snake somewhere. The objection raised in para 187 is that the world is non-existent according to Advaita and there is no point in denying the presence of a non-existent thing like the horn of a hare. The answer is that the world is not totally non-existent. The Advaita view is that the world is neither real nor unreal. Moreover, it has been accepted as having empirical reality. The objects in the world can be known through the means of knowledge such as perception, inference, etc. Only their absolute reality is denied. So the denial is quite justified.
197. In that case please indicate such an Atma by pointing it out with the finger.
198. It is not possible; it has been said, "How can I describe". 'How' indicates impossibility. Being non-dual it cannot become an object of speech. The srutis, "He explained without words" (Nr.Uttara Tapani Up. 7), "That from which words return without attaining it, along with the mind" (Tai. Up. 2.4.1), "You cannot know the knower of knowledge" (Br. Up. 3.4.2), indicate this. If it is asked, how can Vedanta be the valid means of knowledge if the Atma cannot become the object of speech, the answer is: Even though the Atma is not an object, ignorance about it is destroyed by a mere vritti of the mind of the form of the Atma. This is expressed by the term 'That which is established by the entire Vedanta'. The srutis such as, "It is known to him to whom it is not an object of knowledge; he who thinks he knows it does not know. It is unknown to those who think they know it well, and known to those who know that they do not know it (as an object)" (Kena. 2.3), "That which is not comprehended by the mind, but that by which the mind is said to comprehend, know that alone to be Brahman and not that which is worshipped" (Kena. 1.6), show that the Atma is not an object. Thus it is established that when avidya is destroyed by the vritti in the form of the indivisible Atman generated by the statements of Vedanta, all the sufferings that are imagined because of avidya come to an end, and one remains as supreme bliss, having attained the ultimate aim.
End of commentary on Sloka-10.
1. I do not praise vyasa who did not bind together the entire content (of Vedanta) well even with threads (aphorisms). I bow down to Sankara and Suresvara who strung together the entire meaning even without them. (Or, I not only praise Vyasa but also bow down to Sankara and Suresvara who brought out the meaning of the aphorisms).
2. This treatise by Madhusudana Sarasvati meant for the delight of the good, though small in size, is abundant in content, like the wish-yielding gem Chintamani.
3. Whatever is there of excellence in this is the guru's and not mine. Whatever is not felicitous is mine and not the guru's.
4. This short treatise has been composed by me for Balabhadra (my disciple) after repeated requests by him.Let the generous and discerning people examine and decide what is correct and what is not in this.
Here ends the Siddhantabindu composed by Madhusudana Sarasvati, disciple of the most revered Paramahamsa Parivrajaka Sri Visvesvara Acharya.