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. 188.8.131.52); "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.