Chapters I XV



1. When Parasurama had heard the story, he marvelled greatly and requested his Master to continue.

2-5. "Lord, this ancient legend is marvellous. Please tell me what Ashtavakra asked the king next, and the instructions he received. I had not hitherto heard this story full of sublime truths. Please continue the story. Master, I am anxious to hear it in full."

Being so requested, Dattatreya, the great sage and Master, continued the holy narrative. "Listen, O Bhargava, to the discourse with Janaka.

6-7. "On the departure of the holy ascetic from vision, Ashtavakra, the son of a sage, asked Janaka who was surrounded by a whole group of pandits, the full explanation of the ascetic's brief but recondite speech. I shall now tell you Janaka's reply, to which listen attentively.

8-9. "Ashtavakra asked, 'O King of Videha, I have not clearly understood the teaching of the ascetic because of its brevity. Please explain to me then, Lord of mercy, how I shall know the unknowable'.

Being thus asked, Janaka, as if surprised, replied:

10-13. "O thou son of a sage, listen to me! It is neither unknowable nor remains unknown at any moment. Tell me how even the ablest of Masters can guide one to something which always remains unknown. If a Guru can teach, it means that he knows what he says. This transcendental state is quite easy or may be well-nigh impossible according as one's mind is inward bent in peace or out-moving in restlessness. It cannot be taught if it always remains unknown.

14. "The fact that the Vedas point to it only indirectly as 'not this not this' shows that the knowledge can be imparted to others.

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"Whatever you see becomes known by the very abstract intelligence.

15-19. "Now carefully analyse the underlying consciousness which, though abstract and apart from material objects, yet illumines them all the same. Know it to be the truth. O sage! What is not self-luminous can only fall within the orbit of intelligence and cannot be Intelligence itself. Intelligence is that by which objects are known; it cannot be what it is if it becomes the object of knowledge. What is intelligible must always be different from intelligence itself, or else it could not be made known by it. Intelligence in the abstract cannot admit of parts, which is the characteristic of objects. Therefore objects take on shapes. Carefully watch absolute Intelligence after eliminating all else from it.

20. "Just as a mirror takes on the hues of the images, so also the abstract Intelligence assumes the different shapes of objects by virtue of its holding them within itself.

21. "Abstract Intelligence can thus be made manifest by eliminating from it all that can be known. It cannot be known as such and such, for it is the supporter of one and all.

22. "This, being the Self of the seeker, is not cognisable. Investigate your true Self in the aforesaid manner.

Note. There is no other agent to know the Self nor light by which to know it.

23. "You are not the body, nor the senses, nor the mind, because they are all transient. The body is composed of food, so how can you be the body?

24. "For the sense of 'I' (ego) surpasses the body, the senses and the mind, at the time of the cognition of objects.

Commentary. The Self always flashes as 'I' due to its self-luminosity. The body and such things do not. The 'I' surpasses the body, etc., simultaneously with the perception of objects, for the bodily conception does not exist with the perception of objects. Otherwise the two perceptions must be coeval.

"The contention may be set out that the eternal flash of the Self as 'I' is not apparent at the time of the perception of objects. If 'I' did not shine forth at the time, the objects would not be perceived just as they are invisible in the absence of light. Why is not the flash apparent? Perceptibility is always associated with insentient matter. Who else could see the self-luminosity of the Self? It cannot shine in absolute singleness and purity. However it is there as 'I'.

"Moreover everyone feels 'I see the objects'. If it were not for the eternal being of 'I', there would always arise the doubt 'if I am' or 'if I am not' which is absurd.

"Nor should it be supposed that 'I' is of the body, at the time of perception of objects. For, perception implies the assumption of that shape by the intellect, as is evident when identifying the body with the Self?

"Nor again should it be said that at the time of perception 'I am so and so, Chaitra,' the Chaitra sense over-reaches the 'I' sense, but the 'I' sense is never lost by the Chaitra sense.

"There is the continuity of 'I' in deep slumber and in Samadhi. Otherwise after sleep a man would get up as somebody else.

"The concentration is possible that in deep sleep and Samadhi, the Self remains unqualified and therefore is not identical with the limited consciousness of the ego, 'I'. in the wakeful state. The answer is as follows: 'I', is of two kinds qualified and unqualified. Qualification implies limitations whereas its absence implies its unlimited nature.

"'I' is associated with limitations in dream and wakeful states, and it is free from them in deep slumber and Samadhi states.

"In that case is the 'I' in Samadhi or sleep associated with trifold division of subject, object and their relation? No! Being pure and single, it is unblemished and persists as 'I-I', and nothing else. The same is Perfection.

25. "Whereas Her Majesty the Absolute Intelligence is ever resplendent as 'I', therefore She is all and ever-knowing. You are She, in the abstract.

26. "Realise it yourself by turning your sight inward. You are only pure abstract Consciousness. Realise it this instant, for procrastination is not worthy of a good disciple. He should realise the Self at the moment of instruction.

27. "Your eyes are not meant by the aforesaid word sight. The mental eye is meant, for it is the eye of the eye, as is clear in dreams.

28. "To say that the sight is turned inward is appropriate because perception is possible only when the sight is turned towards the object.

29-31. "The sight must be turned away from other objects and fixed on a particular object in order to see it. Otherwise that object will not be perceived in entirety. The fact that the sight is not fixed on it is the same as not seeing it. Similarly is it with hearing, touch, etc.

32. "The same applies to the mind in its sensations of pain and pleasure, which are not felt if the mind is otherwise engaged.

33. "The other perceptions require the two conditions, namely, elimination of others and concentration on the one. But Self-Realisation differs from them in that it requires only one condition: elimination of all perceptions.

34. "I shall tell you the reason for this. Although consciousness is unknowable, it is still realisable by pure mind.

35-45. "Even the learned are perplexed on this point. External perceptions of the mind are dependent on two conditions.

"The first is elimination of other perceptions and the second is fixation on the particular item of perception. If the mind is simply turned away from other perceptions, the mind is in an indifferent state, where there is absence of any kind of perception. Therefore concentration on a particular item is necessary for the perception of external things. But since consciousness is the Self and not apart from the mind, concentration on it is not necessary for its realisation. It is enough that other perceptions (namely, thoughts) should be eliminated from the mind and then the Self will be realised.

"If a man wants to pick out one particular image among a series of images passing in front of him as reflections on a mirror, he must turn his attention away from the rest of the pictures and fix it on that particular one.

"If on the other hand, he wants to see the space reflected it is enough that he turns away his attention from the pictures and the space manifests without any attention on his part, for, space is immanent everywhere and is already reflected there. However it has remained unnoticed because the interspatial images dominated the scene.

"Space being the supporter of all and immanent in all, becomes manifest if only the attention is diverted from the panorama. In the same way, consciousness is the supporter of all and is immanent in all and always remains perfect like space pervading the mind also. Diversion of attention from other items is all that is necessary for Self-Realisation. Or do you say that the Self-illuminant can ever be absent from any nook or corner?

46. "There can indeed be no moment or spot from which consciousness is absent. Its absence means their absence also. Therefore consciousness of the Self becomes manifest by mere diversion of attention from things or thoughts.

47. "Realisation of Self requires absolute purity only and no concentration of mind. For this reason, the Self is said to be unknowable (meaning not objectively knowable).

48. "Therefore it was also said that the sole necessity for Self-Realisation is purity of mind. The only impurity of the mind is thought. To make it thought-free is to keep it pure.

49. "It must now be clear to you why purity of mind is insisted upon for Realisation of Self. How can the Self be realised in its absence?

50-51. "Or, how is it possible for the Self not to be found gleaming in the pure mind? All the injunctions in the scriptures are directed towards this end alone. For instance, unselfish action, devotion, and dispassion have no other purpose in view.

52. "Because, transcendental consciousness, viz., the Self, is manifest only in the stain-free mind."

After Janaka had spoken thus, Ashtavakra continued to ask:

53-54. "O King, if it is as you say that the mind made passive by elimination of thoughts is quite pure and capable of manifesting Supreme Consciousness, then sleep will do it by itself, since it satisfies your condition and there is no need for any kind of effort."

55. Thus questioned by the Brahmin youth, the King replied, "I will satisfy you on this point. Listen carefully.

56-63. "The mind is truly abstracted in sleep. But then its light is screened by darkness, so how can it manifest its true nature? A mirror covered with tar does not reflect images but can it reflect space either? Is it enough, in that case, that images are eliminated in order to reveal the space reflected in the mirror? In the same manner, the mind is veiled by the darkness of sleep and rendered unfit for illumining thoughts. Would such eclipse of the mind reveal the glimmer of consciousness?

"Would a chip of wood held in front of a single object to the exclusion of all others reflect the object simply because all others are excluded? Reflection can only be on a reflecting surface and not on all surfaces. Similarly also, realisation of the Self can only be with an alert mind and not with a stupefied one. New-born babes have no realisation of the Self for want of alertness.

"Moreover pursue the analogy of a tarred mirror. The tar may prevent the images from being seen, but the quality of the mirror is not affected, for the outer coating of tar must be reflected in the interior of the mirror. So also the mind, though diverted from dreams and wakefulness, is still in the grip of dark sleep and not free from qualities. This is evident by the recollection of the dark ignorance of sleep when one wakes.

64. "I will now tell you the distinction between sleep and Samadhi. Listen attentively:

"There are two states of mind:

(1) Illumination and (2) Consideration.

65. "The first of them is association of the mind with external objects and the second is deliberation on the object seen.

66. "Illumination is unqualified by the limitations of objects: deliberation is qualified by the limitations pertaining to the objects seen, and it is the forerunner of their clear definition.

Note. The mind first notes a thing in its extended vision. The impression is received only after noting the thing in its non-extensive nature, and becomes deeper on musing over the first impression.

67. "There is no distinction noted in the preliminary stage of simple illumination. The thing itself is not yet defined, so illumination is said to be unqualified.

68. "The thing becomes defined later on and is said to be such and such, and so and so. That is the perception of the thing after deliberation.

69-70. "Deliberation is again of two kinds: the one is the actual experience and is said to be fresh, whereas the other is cogitation over the former and is called memory. The mind always functions in these two ways."

71-72. "Dreamless slumber is characterised by the illumination of sleep alone, and the experience continues unbroken for a time, whereas the wakeful state is characterised by deliberation repeatedly broken up by thoughts and therefore it is said not to be ignorance.

"Sleep is a state of nescience though it consists of illumination alone yet it is said to be ignorance for the same reason as a light though luminous is said to be insentient.

Commentary. Pure intelligence is made up of luminosity, but is not insentient like a flame. It is gleaming with consciousness, thus differing from the flame. For intellect is evidence as thinking principle. Therefore it is called Absolute Consciousness, active principle, vibratory movement, all-embracing Self, or God. Because of these potentialities it creates the universe.

"Sri Sankara has said in Soundarya Lahari 'Siva owes his prowess to Sakti; He cannot even stir in Her absence.' Siva should not therefore be considered to be mere inexpressible entity depending for His movements upon Maya (like a man on his car). Sri Sankara continues, 'Siva is yoked by Thee, Oh Sakti, to His true being. Therefore a blessed few worship Thee as the endless series of waves of bliss, as the underlying basis of all that is, as the Supreme Force, maintaining the Universe, and as the Consort of Transcendence.' Thus the identity of Siva and Sakti with each other or with Transcendence is evident.

"The argument that the universe is illusory, being a figment of imagination like a hare's born, is extended further by the statement that the creation leading up to it must be equally illusory. Then the co-existence of Siva and Sakti is useless; and Siva being incomprehensible without Sakti, the idea of God-head falls to pieces. But the scriptures point to God as the primal essence from which the world has sprung, in which it exists, and into which it resolves. That statement will then be meaningless. Why should the other scriptural statement 'There is no more than One' alone be true? Is it to lend support to the argument of illusion? The proper course will be to look for harmony in these statements in order to understand them aright.

"Their true significance lies in the fact that the universe exists, but not separately from the primal Reality God. Wisdom lies in realising everything as Siva and not in treating it as void.

"The truth is that there is one Reality which is consciousness in the abstract and also transcendental, irradiating the whole universe in all its diversity from its own being, by virtue of its self-sufficiency, which we call Maya or Sakti or Energy. Ignorance lies in the feeling of differentiation of the creatures from the Creator. The individuals are only details in the same Reality.

"In sleep, the insentient phase of stupor overpowers the sentient phase of deliberation. But the factor of illumination is ever present and that alone cannot become apparent to men, in the absence of deliberation. Therefore, sleep is said to be the state of ignorance, as distinguished from wakefulness which is conceded to be knowledge.

73. "This conclusion is admitted by the wise also. Sleep is the first born from Transcendence (vide Ch. XIV, Sl. 59) also called the unmanifest, the exterior, or the great void.

74-76. "The state prevailing in sleep is the feeling 'There is naught'. This also prevails in wakefulness, although things are visible. But this ignorance is shattered by the repeated upspringing of thoughts. The wise say that the mind is submerged in sleep because it is illumining the unmanifest condition. The submersion of mind is not, however, peculiar to sleep for it happens also at the instant of cognition of things.

77. "I shall now talk to you from my own experience. This subject is perplexing for the most accomplished persons.

78. "All these three states, namely, Samadhi, sleep and the instant of cognition of objects, are characterised by absence of perturbation.

79. "Their difference lies in the later recapitulation of the respective states which illumine different perceptions.

80. "Absolute Reality is manifest in Samadhi; a void or unmanifest condition distinguishes sleep and diversity is the characteristic of cognition in wakefulness.

81. "The illuminant is however the same all through and is always unblemished. Therefore it is said to be abstract intelligence.

82. "Samadhi and sleep are obvious because their experience remains unbroken for some appreciable period and can be recapitulated after waking up.

83. "That of cognition remains unrecognised because of its fleeting nature. But samadhi and sleep cannot be recognised when they are only fleeting.

84. "The wakeful state is iridescent with fleeting Samadhi and sleep. Men when they are awake can detect fleeting sleep because they are already conversant with its nature.

85-86. "But fleeting Samadhi goes undetected because people are not so conversant with it. O Brahmin! fleeting Samadhi is indeed being experienced by all, even in their busy moments; but it passes unnoticed by them, for want of acquaintance with it. Every instant free from thoughts and musings in the wakeful state is the condition of Samadhi.

87. "Samadhi is simply absence of thoughts. Such a state prevails in sleep and at odd moments of wakefulness.

88. "Yet, it is not called Samadhi proper, because all the proclivities of the mind are still there latent, ready to manifest the next instant.

89. "The infinitesimal moment of seeing an object is not tainted by deliberation on its qualities and is exactly like Samadhi. I will tell you further, listen!

90-93. "The unmanifest state, the first-born of abstract Intelligence revealing 'There is not anything' is the state of abstraction full of light; it is, however, called sleep because it is the insentient phase of consciousness. Nothing is revealed because there is nothing to be revealed. Sleep is therefore the manifestation of the insentient state.

"But in Samadhi, Brahman, the Supreme Consciousness, is continuously glowing. She is the engulfer of time and space, the destroyer of void, and the pure being (Jehovah I AM). How can She be the ignorance of sleep?

94. "Therefore sleep is not the end-all and the be-all."

Thus did Janaka teach Ashtavakra.

Thus ends the chapter on the discourse of Janaka to Ashtavakra in Tripura Rahasya.



1. "O Bhargava! I shall now tell you what further conversation took place between Janaka and Ashtavakra.

2-3. Ashtavakra asked, "King! please tell me in greater detail what you call fleeting Samadhi in the wakeful state, so that I may follow it up in order to achieve enduring Samadhi."

Thus requested, Janaka replied:

4-11. "Listen, O Brahmin! the following are instances of that state: when a man remains unaware of 'in and out' for a short interval and is not overpowered by the ignorance of sleep; the infinitesimal time when one is beside one-self with joy; when embraced by one's beloved in all purity; when a thing is gained which was intensely longed for but given up in despair; when a lonely traveller moving with the utmost confidence is suddenly confronted with the utmost danger; when one hears of the sudden death of one's only son, who was in the best of health, in the prime of life, and at the apex of his glory.

Note. They are examples of Samadhi in raptures of happiness or of pleasure and in spasms of fear or of sorrow.

12-14. "There are also intervals of Samadhi, namely the interim period between the waking, dream and sleep states; at the time of sighting a distant object, the mind holding the body at one end projects itself into space until it holds the object at the other end, just as a worm prolongs itself at the time of leaving one hold to catch another hold. Carefully watch the state of mind in the interval.

15-18. "Why dilate on these intervals? All happening will be brought to a standstill if intelligence be homogeneous. They are made possible when a certain harmony reigns in intelligence which ordinarily is repeatedly broken.

"Therefore the great founders of different systems of philosophy have said that the difference between the Self (i.e., abstract intelligence) and intellect (individualistic) lies only in their continuity.

Note. Sugata (i.e., Buddha) considers the Self to be the stream of Intelligence broken up, of course, at short intervals; Kanada says that it is intellect which is characteristic of the Self.

"Anyway when once interruptions in the stream of Intelligence are admitted, it follows that these intervals between the various modifications of the intellect into objects, would represent its unmodified, original state. O son of Kahoela, know that if one can become aware of these broken Samadhis no other Samadhi need attract one.'

19-23. The Brahmin youth asked further, "O King, why are not all liberated if their lives are so iridescent with momentary Samadhi, if it be the enlightener of the unmanifest void in sleep? Liberation is the direct result of unqualified Samadhi. The Self being pure intelligence, why does it not recognise itself and remain always liberated?

"Ignorance is dispelled by pure intelligence, which is Samadhi, and this is the immediate cause of salvation.

"Please tell me, so that all my doubts may be set at rest."

The King replied as follows:

24-26. "I will tell you the secret. The cycle of births and deaths is from time immemorial caused by ignorance which displays itself as pleasure and pain and yet is only a dream and unreal. Being so, the wise say that it can be ended by knowledge. By what kind of knowledge? Wisdom born of realisation: viz., "I am That".

Commentary. An aspirant for wisdom first turns away from the pleasures of life and absorbs himself in the search for knowledge, which he learns from a master. This is hearsay knowledge. In order to experience it, he ponders over it and clears his doubts. Then he applies the knowledge to himself and tries to feel his immortal being transcending the body, mind, etc., he succeeds in feeling his Self within. Later he remembers the Vedic teaching imparted by his Guru that the Self being unqualified, cannot be differentiated from God and experiences his unity with the Universal Self. This is in short the course of wisdom and liberation.

27-29. "Ignorance cannot be expelled by the mere experience of an unqualified expanse of intelligence as in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. For such expanse is in harmony with everything (including ignorance). It is like the canvas used in painting; the canvas remains the same whatever picture may be painted on it. Unqualified knowledge is simple light; the objects are manifest by and in it.

Commentary. The mirror is clear and uniform when there are no objects to reflect; the same appears variegated by images reflected in it. So also the Self is pure intelligence and clear when not contaminated by thoughts; this state is called nirvikalpa. When soiled by thoughts, it is savikalpa.

30. "But ignorance or delusion should not be confounded with the savikalpa state for ignorance is only the original contamination (i.e., cause) continuing as effect.

Commentary. Pure intelligence (God) in His insentient aspect functions as Maya or the self-contained entity projecting ignorance as creation.

31-34. "The original cause lies in the knowledge of perfection in the Self.

Note. One expects the contrary. The apparent contradiction is explained further on.

"The idea of perfection is due to absence of parts. Parts can appear only with time, space and form. However, the sense of completeness appears without these agencies, implying a yearning for them thus giving rise to the sense of want. Then and there limitations come into being, and the fundamental cause of ignorance manifests as 'I am'. That is the embryonic seed from which shoots forth the sprout of the body as the individualised self (growing up to the gigantic tree of the cycle of births and deaths). The cycle of births and deaths does not end unless ignorance is put an end to. This can happen only with a perfect knowledge of the self, not otherwise.

35-38. "Such wisdom as can destroy ignorance is clearly of two sorts: indirect and direct. Knowledge is first acquired from a Master and through him from the scriptures. Such indirect knowledge cannot fulfil the object in view. Because theoretical knowledge alone does not bear fruit; practical knowledge is necessary which comes through Samadhi alone. Knowledge born of Nirvikalpa Samadhi generates wisdom by the eradication of ignorance and objective knowledge.

39-47. "Similarly, experience of casual Samadhi in the absence of theoretical knowledge does not serve the purpose either. Just as a man, ignorant of the qualities of an emerald, cannot recognise it by the mere sight of it in the treasury, nor can another recognise it if he has not seen it before, although he is full of theoretical knowledge on the subject, in the same way must theory be supplemented with practice in order that a man might become an expert. Ignorance cannot be eradicated by mere theory or by the casual Samadhi of an ignorant man.

"Again want of attention is a serious obstacle; for a man looking up to the sky cannot identify the individual constellations. Even a learned scholar is no better than a fool, if he does not pay attention when a thing is explained to him. On the other hand, a man though not a scholar but yet attentive having heard all about the planet Venus, goes out in confidence to look for it, knowing how to identify it, and finally discovers it, and so is able to recognise the same whenever he sees it again. Inattentive people are simply fools who cannot understand the ever-recurring Samadhis in their lives. They are like a man ignorant of the treasure under the floor of his house who begs for his daily food.

48. "So you see that Samadhi is useless to such people. The intellect of babes is always unmodified and yet they do not realise the self.

49. "Nirvikalpa Samadhi clearly will never eradicate ignorance. Therefore in order to destroy it Savikalpa Samadhi must be sought.

50-52. "This alone can do it. God inherent as the self is pleased by meritorious actions which are continued through several births after which the desire for liberation dawns and not otherwise, even though millions of births may be experienced. Of all things in creation, to be born a sentient being requires good luck; even so to acquire a human body requires considerable merit; while it is out of the ordinary for human beings to be endowed with both virtuous tendencies and sharp intellect.

53-60. "Observe, O Brahmin, that the mobile creation is a very small fraction of the immobile and that human beings form but a small fraction of the mobile, while most human beings are little more than animals, being ignorant of good and bad, and of right and wrong. Of sensible people, the best part runs after the pleasures of life seeking to fulfil their desire. A few learned people are stained with the longing for heaven after death. Of the remaining few, most of them have their intellects bedimmed by Maya and cannot comprehend the oneness of all (the Creator and creation). How can these poor folk, held in the grip of Maya, extend their weak sight to the sublime Truth of Oneness? People blinded by Maya cannot see this truth. Even when some people rise so high in the scale as to understand the theory, misfortune prevents their being convinced of it (for their desires sway them to and fro with force greater than the acquired, puny, theoretical knowledge, which if strictly followed should put an end to such desires, which nourish on the denial of oneness.) They try to justify their practical actions by fallacious arguments which are simply a waste of time.

"Inscrutable are the ways of Maya which denies the highest Realisation to them, it is as if they threw away the live gem in their hands thinking it to be a mere pebble.

61. "Only those transcend Maya with whose devotion the Goddess of the Self is pleased; such can discern well and happily.

62. "Being by the grace of God endowed with proper discernment and right-earnestness, they become established in transcendental Oneness and become absorbed.

"I shall now tell you the scheme of liberation.

63. "One learns true devotion to God after a meritorious life continued in several births, and then worships Him for a long time with intense devotion.

64. "Dispassion for the pleasures of life arises in a devotee who gradually begins to long for knowledge of the truth and becomes absorbed in the search for it.

65. "He then finds his gracious Master and learns from him all about the transcendental state. He has now gained theoretical knowledge.

Note. This is Sravana.

66. "After this he is impelled to revolve the whole matter in his mind until he is satisfied from his own practical knowledge with the harmony of the scriptural injunctions and the teachings of his Master. He is able to ascertain the highest truth with clearness and certitude.

Note. This is Manana.

67. "The ascertained knowledge of the Oneness of the Self must afterwards be brought into practice, even forcibly, if necessary, until the experience of the truth occurs to him.

Note. This is Nidhidhyasana.

68. "After experiencing the Inner Self, he will be able to identify the Self with the Supreme and thus destroy the root of ignorance. There is no doubt of it.

69. "The inner Self is realised in advanced contemptation and that state of realisation is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

"Memory of that realisation enables one to identify the Inner Self with the Universal Self (as "I am That").

Note. This is Pratyabhina Jnana.

Commentary. Contemplation is designated in its progressive stages, as Savikalpa Samadhi (qualified Samadhi) and Nirvikalpa Samadhi (unqualified Samadhi). Dhyana (contemplation) leads to the repose consequent on the resolve that the mind in its absolute purity is only the Self. There are interruptions by thought obtruding in the earlier stages. Then the practice goes by the name of Dhyana. When the repose remains smooth and uninterrupted for some appreciable time, it is called Savikalpa Samadhi. If by its constant practice, the repose ensues without any previous resolve (i.e., effortlessly) and continues uninterrupted for some time, it is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi. The Inner Self glows in all its purity, in the last stage.

After rising from it, the memory of the uncommon experience of the Self remains; it enables him to identify the transcendence of the one with that same One which is in all. (This is the Sahaja State, as is often said by Sri Ramana. Tr.)

70. "That is the Oneness of the Self, the same as the identification of the transcendence of the one with that same one in all the diversities of the world apparent to each individual. This destroys the root of ignorance, instantly and completely.

71. "Dhyana has been said to develop into Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Whereas modifications signify the manysidedness of consciousness, Nirvikalpa signifies its unitary nature.

72. "When the mind does not create pictures due to thoughts it is the unmodified state which is its primal and pure condition.

73. "When the pictures on a wall are erased, the original wall remains. No other work is necessary to restore its original condition.

74. "Similarly, the mind remains pure when thoughts are eliminated. Therefore the unqualified state is restored if the present disturbance is ended.

75. "There is indeed nothing more to be done for the most holy condition to be maintained. Nevertheless, even pandits are deluded in this matter, owing to the bane of Maya.

76. "The acutely intelligent can accomplish the purpose in a trice. Aspirants may be divided into three groups: (1) the best, (2) the middle class, and (3) the lowest.

77. "Of these, the best class realise at the very moment of hearing the truth. Their ascertainment of truth and contemplation thereon are simultaneous with their learning.

78-92. "Realisation of truth requires no effort on their part. Take my case for instance. On a moonlit summer night, I was lying drunkenly on a downy bed in my pleasure garden in the loving embrace of my beloved. I suddenly heard the sweet nectar-like songs of invisible aerial beings who taught me the oneness of the Self of which I was unaware till that moment. I instantly thought over it, meditated on it, and realised it in less than an hour. For about an hour and a half I remained in Samadhi - the state of supreme bliss.

"I regained consciousness and began to muse over my experience 'Oh wonderful! How full of bliss I was!' It was extraordinary. Let me return to it. The happiness of the king of the Gods cannot equal even to a fraction of my bliss.

"Not even the Creator, Brahma, could have that bliss; my life had been wasted in other pursuits. Just as a man ignores the fact that he holds Chintamani (the celestial gem capable of fulfilling one's desires) in his hands, and goes begging food, so also people ignorant of the fount of bliss within themselves, waste their lives seeking external pleasures! For me such hankerings are done with! Let me always abide in the eternal, infinite source of bliss within me! Enough of such foolish activities! They are shades of darkness and vain repetitions of useless labour. Be they delicious dishes, perfumed garlands, downy beds, rich ornaments or vivacious damsels - they are mere repetitions, with no novelty or originality in them. Disgust for them had no arisen in me before because I had been foolishly treading the way of the world.

"As soon as I had decided on and attempted to turn my mind inward, another bright idea struck me:

93-95. "What confusion I am in! Although I am always in the perfection of Bliss, what is it I want to do? What more can I acquire? What do I lack? When and whence can I get anything? Even if there were anything new to be gained, would it endure? How can I who am Infinite Consciousness-Bliss know effort?

96-98. "Individual bodies, their senses, minds, etc., are similar to visions in a dream; they are projected from me. Control of one mind leaves all other minds as they are. So what is the use of controlling my mind? Minds, controlled or uncontrolled, appear only to my mental eye.

99. "Again, even if all minds are controlled, mine remains free. For my mind is like infinite space, the receptacle of all things. Who is to control it and how?

100. "How can Samadhi be brought about when I am already in the perfection of bliss, for the Self is Bliss-Consciousness, even more perfect than infinite space?

101. "My own light manifests diverse activities all about the world which is again my own manifestation.

102. "What matters it if one should manifest as action or inaction? Where is the gain or loss in such manifestation?

103. "Similarly what matters it for the perfect blissful Self if it fall into Nirvikalpa Samadhi? Samadhi or no Samadhi, I am the same Perfection and eternal Peace.

104-105. "Let the body do what it likes. Thinking thus I always abide in my own Self as the Perfect fountain-head of Bliss and pure uninterrupted consciousness. I am therefore in the state of perfection and remain unblemished.

"My experience is typical of the best aspirants.

106-107. "Wisdom is achieved in the course of many births by the lowest aspirants. As for the middle class, wisdom is gained in the same birth but slowly and gradually according to the aforesaid scheme of (1) learning the truth, (2) conviction of the same, (3) meditation qualified Samadhi and unqualified Samadhi, and (4) finally Sahaja Samadhi (to be unattached even while engaged in the activities of the world). This last state is very rarely found.

108. "Why fall into Nirvikalpa Samadhi, without gaining the fruit of its wisdom! Even if he should experience it a hundred times it will not liberate the individual. Therefore I tell you that momentary Samadhis in the waking state are fruitless.

109. "Unless a man live the ordinary life and check every incident as the projection of the Self, not swerving from the Self in any circumstances, he cannot be said to be free from the handicap of ignorance.

110. "Nirvikalpa Samadhi is characterised by the experience of the true Self alone, namely, Pure Intelligence. Though eternal and resplendent even ordinarily, this Abstract Intelligence is as if it did not exist.

111-112. "Abstract Intelligence is the background on which the phenomena are displayed, and it must certainly manifest itself in all its purity, in they absence, although its appearance may look new at first. It remains unrecognised because it is not distinguished from the phenomena displayed by it. On their being eliminated it becomes apparent.

"This in short is the method of Self-Realisation.

113. "O Brahmin! Think over what you have now learnt, and you will realise. With the wisdom born of your realisation, you will inhere as the Self and be eternally free."

Dattatreya said:

114-15. "After giving these instructions to Ashtavakra, Janaka sent him away. Ashtavakra reached his own place and put the lessons into practice. Very soon he too became a Jivanmukta (liberated while yet alive)."

Thus ends the seventeenth chapter in Tripura Rahasya.


1. Dattatreya continued: "Thus pure intelligence, free from objective knowledge, has been proved to exist; it can be felt on many occasions in ordinary life.

2. "However, it goes undetected because people are in the meshes of Maya and not conversant with it. Alertness alone will reveal it.

3-5. "Why say so much about it? The long and short of it is this. Objective knowledge is gained by the mind; the mind cannot be objectified. Still it follows that there must be mind even in the absence of objects. Such pure mind entirely divested of all objective knowledge (or thoughts) is pure intelligence. Awareness is its nature. Therefore it is always realised, for no other knower beside itself can ever be admitted.

6-7. "Do you think, O Bhargava, that the Self is not aware when objects are seen? If not aware, the Self cannot be. If the Self is not, how can you raise this question! Can you seek any good for yourself if the Self be a myth like a flower in the sky? How can I establish the Self for you? Consider and tell me.

8-9. "Or do you mean to say that there is ordinarily an awareness of the Self but it cannot be particularised? If so, know it to be the unending awareness which is perpetually existing. That is your Self. The Self is free from particulars. How strange that knowing it, you are still ignorant!

10. "At the time of cognising of an object, the pure intellect assumes its shape and manifests as such. Of itself it is pure and has no form. Objective knowledge is thus a particularised section of pure intelligence. The Self is ever-shining, unparticularised, unblemished, ordinary existence - self-aware and self-sufficient.

11-13. "If you say that the body, etc., usually appear as the Self, I tell you that they are only the play of thoughts and nothing more. For, think well and observe carefully. When you see a pot, are you aware that it is your Self like the body? (No, your body is no less a thought and appearance in consciousness, than the pot.) Then why should the body alone be confused with the Self?

"If you argue that there is no harm or mistake in identifying the body with the Self, because it is no worse than glorifying a part instead of the whole. I tell you: Do not confine such glorification to one part only to the exclusion of all others. Extend it right through and glorify the whole universe as the Self.

14. "In that case, there will be no confusion of the object with the subject, and you will always remain as the subject.

15. "For the Self is always self-resplendent and one without a second, and it displays diversities of phenomena as a mirror its reflections.

16. "Therefore rule out creation as a mere thought or series of thoughts and realise the non-dual, residual, pure intelligence as the Self.

17. "If the body and creation are transcended and the Self realised even once, there ensues that wisdom which will eradicate ignorance and override the cycle of births and deaths.

18. "Moksha (liberation) is not to be sought in heavens or on earth or in the nether regions. It is synonymous with Self-Realisation.

19. "Moksha is not anything to be got afresh for it is already there only to be realised. Such realisation arises with the elimination of ignorance. Absolutely nothing more is required to achieve the aim of life.

20. "Moksha must not be thought to be different from the Self. If it is a thing to be acquired, its absence before attainment is implied. If it can be absent even once why should not its absence recur? The Moksha will be found to be impermanent and so not worth while striving for.

"Again if it can be acquired, acquisition implies non-self. What is non-self is only a myth like a hare growing horns.

Note. Sri Ramana says that Moksha is another name for 'I' or 'Self'.

21. "The Self is on the other hand all-round Perfection. So where else can Moksha be located? If it were so, Moksha would be like a reflection in a mirror.

22-27. "Even the popular idea is that Moksha is release from bondage, meaning destruction of ignorance. Ignorance is itself a form of thought: destruction is its absence; to bring about its absence is only another form of thought. So then on investigation the whole statement gets involved and becomes meaningless. For a thought cannot be destroyed and be a thought still. Dream is said to be real as well as unreal (in experience and in substance, respectively). Really speaking, dream too is not unreal. For, what is unreality? Impermanency. This again is recognised by the thought of the non-continuity of the dream which implies the thought content to be dream. Is it truly non-continuous then? The intellect being always continuous, there cannot be a moment of the non-existence of anything. So then, even at the moment of thinking the absence of a thing, that thing really exists in the mind and so it is real and not unreal. All objects are, however, non-existent when not contemplated by the mind. But reality is determined by the being or non-being which cannot be ascertained by the mind because its denial implies the formation of the mental image of the denied thing and it is absurd to deny its existence. In the absence of denial, the thing must be and so everything is.

"Thus the existence of pure intelligence is proved by its manifestation, as all else, and thus Moksha cannot be exterior to the Self, anything to be gathered, acquired or assimilated.

28. "Moksha is defined as the steady glow of the Self in perfection. (The question arises whether the Self is imperfect at one time, i.e., in ignorance and perfect at another time, i.e., in Moksha). The non-modification of abstract intelligence into the objective phenomena is said to be the state of perfection. (So there is no contradiction.)

29. "Abstract Intelligence contracts at the stimuli to modification and becomes limited. Otherwise, it is infinite and unbroken.

30. "If you mean to suggest that such intelligence is broken up into segments by time, etc. tell me whether the disintegrating influences are within the Self or without.

31-32. "If beyond consciousness, they cannot be proved to exist; if within, consciousness pervades them and is not divided. The breaking up at intervals as seen in the world is perceived by consciousness as events (the broken parts) and time (the disintegrator), both of which are pervaded by consciousness. The consciousness is itself the time and the events.

33-34. "If time be not pervaded by consciousness, how do intervals become evident? In the universal pervasiveness of consciousness, how is it to be considered broken up? Breaking up must be brought about by the agency of something external. But anything beyond the pale of consciousness cannot be even maintained or discussed.

35. "Nor can it be granted the disintegrating factor is made visible by its effects of division, while it still evades intelligence, in its entirety. For that is to say that it exists so far as its effect is concerned and does not exist in other ways which is absurd.

36. "Therefore even the concept of exterior must lie within the bounds of consciousness (cf., Avyakta in sleep or exterior in the scheme of creation). Similarly, all that is known and knowable must also lie within.

37. "In view of this conclusion, how can the container be split up by the contained? Investigate the truth on these lines, Rama!

38-41. "Being within, the universe cannot be different from consciousness. For you know that two things cannot co-exist within the same limits. If they do, intermingling is the result. However, the universe maintains its distinctness because it is like a reflection in the mirror of consciousness.

"As regards the appearance of (Avyakta or) exterior in the scheme of creation which was traced to the root-cause of ignorance, how can manifestation in it be real? Their reality must be associated with the fact of their being of the nature of consciousness, i.e., the Self. It is therefore proper to conclude that the Self is alone and single and there is nothing beyond." When Dattatreya had finished, Parasurama asked further:

42-43. "O Lord, I find it difficult to follow your reasoning when you say that Abstract Intelligence, being only one, yet manifests as the diverse objects of creation. The two entities, the cogniser and the cognised object, are distinct and separate. Of these, the cogniser, namely consciousness, may be self-luminous illumining the objects.

44. "Just as objects stand apart from light so the universe seems apart from the Intelligent Principle.

45. "Experience does not reveal the identity of the two. Furthermore, you are confirming the statement of Janaka as regards Samadhi.

46. "Janaka has said: 'Mind divested of thoughts becomes pure and is identical with the Self and further, that alone destroys ignorance.'

47. "How can that be the Self? Mind is always taken to be a faculty with which the Self functions in the supra-material planes.

48. "The Self would be no better than insentient but for the mind, which characterises it as different from the insentient world.

49. "Further, even the scriptures admit that liberation and bondage are only attitudes of the mind according as it is unmodified or modified, respectively.

50. "How can the mind be the Self as well as its faculty? Again, granting that the world is an image on the mirror of consciousness, the fact of its perfection is there, so the non-duality of consciousness does not follow.

51. "There are hallucinations known, like a rope mistaken for a serpent. Hallucination is not correct knowledge; but it does not end the duality attendant on its perception.

52. "Still again, unreal images cannot serve any useful purpose, whereas the universe is enduring and full of purpose.

53. "Tell me how you assert it to be unreal, thus establishing the non-duality of the Supreme.

"Furthermore, if the world itself is unreal, how does that unreality happen to distinguish between fact and hallucination in the affairs of life.

54. "Still more, how does everybody happen to have the same hallucination of mistaking the unreal phenomena for reality.

All these doubts are troubling me. Please clear them for me."

55. Dattatreya, the omniscient, heard these questions and was pleased with them. Then he proceeded to answer:

56. "You have done well, Parasurama, to ask these questions although not for the first time. They must be examined until one is throughly convinced.

57. "How can the Guru himself anticipate all the doubts of the disciple unless he states them clearly? There are different grades of mind and different temperaments too.

58. "How can clear knowledge be gained if one's doubts are not raised to be met? The student with an analytical turn of mind gains deep-seated knowledge. His questions help towards depth of knowledge.

59-61. "The unquestioning student is of no use. The earnest student is recognised by his questions.

"Consciousness is one and non-dual, but shines as if diversified like the clean surface of a mirror reflecting variegated colours.

"Note how the mind unmodified in sleep, remaining single and blank, is later modified by dream and manifests as the dream world. Similarly, the One Consciousness Sri Tripura flashes forth as the various phenomena of the universe.

62. "The cogniser and the cognised objects are seen in dream also. Even a blind man, without sight, perceives objects.

63. "How does he do so unless by mental perception? Can anything be known at any time or place in the absence of the light of the mind?

64. "There can be no images in the absence of a mirror, for the images are not apart from the mirror.

65. "Similarly, nothing is cognisable if it lies beyond the pale of the cognising principle. For the same reason I say that the mind cannot lie apart from intelligence in the abstract.

66. "Just as the cogniser, cognition and the cognised are identified with the mind in dream, so also the seer, the sight and the phenomena are identical with the mind in the wakeful state.

67-71. "Just as an axe was created in the dream for felling a tree, which is the thing for which it was designed, so is the mind said to be the faculty for giving perception.

"But, Rama, the faculty can be only of the same degree of reality as the action itself. For was anyone injured at any time by a human horn? The action and the instrument must clearly be of the same degree of truth. Since the action itself is unreal, can the mind, the faculty, be real? So, Rama, there is no faculty known as the mind. Mind is only surmised for the location of the dream subject, dream vision and dream objects. Its reality is of the same order as that of a dream.

"Pure intelligence is quite unblemished; mind and other faculties are mere fabrications for enabling transactions to continue, which, however go on because the Absolute is self-sufficient and manifests as subject and objects. The same is often pure and unqualified, as in the aforesaid momentary Samadhi.

"I shall explain to you further:

72-79. "Absolute Consciousness and space resemble each other in being perfect, infinite, subtle, pure, unbounded, formless, immanent in all, yet undefiled within and without but space differs from the other, in being insentient.

"In fact, the conscious Self is space. This being so, they are not different from one other. Space is Self; and Self is space. It is the ignorant who see the Self as space alone owing to their delusion, just as the owls find darkness in dazzling sunlight. The wise however find in space the Self, the Abstract Intelligence.

"Her Transcendental Majesty, stainless and self-contained, irradiates diversity in Her Self like an individual in the state of dream. This diversity in the shape of men, animals and other phenomena, does not delude the Self in its purity, but does delude aberrations of the Self, namely, the individual egos.

80-81. "Her Majesty, the Absolute, remains always aware of Her Perfection and Oneness. Though Herself immutable, She appears mutable to Her own creatures just as a magician beguiles the audience with his tricks but remains himself undeceived.

82. "She is light One without a second; and yet She appears divided to Her Own creatures, because of the veil of illusion.

83. "Just as the magician's tricks delude the audience alone and not himself, so also the veiling of Maya affects the creatures and not the creator; when the individuals held in the meshes of Maya, see diversity and also discuss Maya.

84-85. "This Maya is the dynamic aspect of the latent self-sufficiency of the Supreme and is unfailing. See how yogis, charmers and magicians remain confident and sure, without revealing themselves, and yet play upon the imagination of others seeking to achieve the impossible.

86. "Division in the Absolute amounts to contraction within particular limits under the guise of the ego which is usually termed imperfection, or ignorance.

87. "In this manner, Bhargava, has the Absolute invested its own pure and independent Self with ignorance and seems to be iridescent with its different entities.

88. "Hence the identity of space with the Self is not apparent to the learned, because they are incapable of investigating the Self with a steady mind, for that is diverted by its inherent disposition to go outward.

89-90. "Second-hand knowledge of the Self gathered from books or gurus can never emancipate a man until its truth is rightly investigated and applied to himself; direct Realisation alone will do that. Therefore, follow my advice and realise yourself, turning the mind inward.

91. "She who is the Transcendental Consciousness, creating all and comprising their essence, is Pure Radiance and therefore devoid of anything insentient.

92. "She reposes in Her own Self undefiled by the ego. The insentient cannot exist of themselves but depend on Intelligence for their recognition and definition.

93-94. "They cannot shine by their own merit and reveal their own existence. Their imbecility and their dependence on consciousness betrays their imperfection.

"But pure Intelligence is absolute, shines by itself and feels its own existence, without any extraneous aids. Since it is self-radiant, it is self-contained. Such is the Perfect 'I' the transcendental 'I' - totally absent from and unassociated with insentient creation.

95. "Because the aggregate of all phenomena is of Pure Intelligence - the Supreme and there is nothing beyond Her orbit, there cannot possibly be anything to divide Her into sectors and so She is unbroken and continuous like mirror reflecting images.

96-97. "How are divisor and division possible for the Absolute. Such freedom from disintegration is Perfection; and the Self-radiance of such Perfectness is the unbroken 'I-I' consciousness known as Self-repose; the eternal, immanent, unique and homogeneous essence.

98-99. "Though descriptions of and statements about the Supreme differ according to the aspects emphasised, yet She is simply self-sufficiency, energy, and abstract, unbroken, single essential Being all unified into One, just as light and heat go to make fire, yet the three factors are discussed and described separately in practical life.

100-101. "Such is the Power called Maya, capable of accomplishing the impossible, and remaining undefiled, notwithstanding Her manifested diversity as phenomena resembling a mirror and its images. She is the eternal, single, unbroken 'I'-ness running through all manifestations.

102.-103. "These seeming breaks in the continuum are said to be non-self the same as ignorance, insentience, void, Nature, non-existence of things, space, darkness, or the first step in creation, all of which represent nothing but the first scission in pure intelligence.

104. The passage from the infinite absolute to a limited nature is influenced by Maya and the transition is called space.

105. "But this is as yet undistinguishable from the Self owing to the non-development or absence of the ego, which is the seed of the cycles of births and deaths.

106-113. "Diversity is visible only in space, and this space is in the Self, which in turn projects it at the moment when differentiation starts although it is not then clear. Rama! Look within. What you perceive as space within is the expanse wherein all creatures exist, and it forms their Self or consciousness. What they look upon as space is your Self. Thus, the Self in one is space in another, and vice versa. The same thing cannot differ in its nature. Therefore there is no difference between space and Self which is full and perfect Bliss-Consciousness.

"However space implies sections. Each section of intelligence is called mind. Can it be different from the Self? Pure Intelligence contaminated with inanimate excrescences is called Jiva or the individual, whose faculty for discrimination is consistent with its self-imposed limitations and is called mind.

"Thus in the transition from the Absolute to the individual, space is the first veil cast off. The clear, concentrated Self becomes pure, tenuous, susceptible space in which hard, dense, crowded, or slender things are conceived. They manifest as the five elements of which the body is composed. The individual then encases himself in the body like a silkworm in its cocoon. Thus the Absolute shines as awareness in the body (namely, 'I am the body') just as a candle lights the covering globe. The individual consciousness is thus found to be only the radiance of the Self reflected in the body, which it illumines like an enclosed lamp illumining the interior of its cover.

114. "Just as the light of the lamp spreads out through holes made in the cover, so also the light of Intelligence extends from within through the senses to the external world.

115-116. "Consciousness, being absolute and all-pervading like space, cannot go out through the senses; but still its light extending as space presents certain phenomena; and this cognition amounts to lifting the veil of darkness to that extent. This is said to be the function of mind.

Note. The rays of light are imperceptible in ether but when they impinge on matter the objects become visible by the reflection of the light rays on their surface. Similarly, consciousness appears to disclose the presence of objects in space by unveiling them from the ignorance surrounding them.

117. "Therefore, I tell you that mind is no other than consciousness. The difference lies in the fact that the mind is restless and the Self is always peaceful.

118-120. "Realisation of the Self subdues the restless mind which is the dynamic aspect of consciousness. On this being subdued, there gleams out the peace-filled, perfect, intelligent bliss which is synonymous with emancipation. Be assured of this. Do not think that an interlude of blank or veil of nescience will supervene after the cessation of thoughts. For, there is no such factor as a blank or veil of nescience. It is simply a figment of the imagination.

121-22. "If in a day-dream a man imagines himself taken, harassed and beaten by an enemy he will suffer from the effects until and unless he dismisses the day-dream. Will he continue to be bound by the enemy after the dream is dismissed with the enemy and his body? So it is with the veil of nescience.

123. "O Rama! Even from the very beginning there has really been no bondage or tie to the cycle of births and deaths. Only do not be deluded by identifying yourself with insentient matter but enquire: What is this bondage?

124. "The strongest fetter is the certainty that one is bound. It is as false as the fearful hallucinations of a frightened child.

125. "Even the best of men cannot find release by any amount of efforts unless his sense of bondage is destroyed.

126. "What is this bondage? How can the pure uncontaminated Absolute Self be shackled by what look like images in the mirror of the Self?

127-130. "To imagine that the Self is shackled by mental projections is to imagine that the fire reflected in a mirror can burn it. There is absolutely no bondage beyond the foolish certainty that you are bound and the difference of entity created by mind. Until these two blemishes are washed away by the holy waters of investigation into the Self, neither I, nor Brahma the Creator, nor Vishnu, nor Siva, nor even Sri Tripura the Goddess of Wisdom, can help that person to be emancipated. Therefore, Rama, surmount these two hurdles and remain eternally happy.

131. "The mind will shine as the Self if the mind be denuded of those thoughts now crowding it, and then all sense of duality will cease to exist.

132. "Mind is nothing but sectional knowledge as his and that. Eliminate such, and then pure knowledge will alone remain. This is the Self.

133. "As for the well-known example of the hallucination of a snake in a coil of rope the rope is real and the snake is unreal.

134-135. "Even after the true state of affairs is known and the hallucination of a snake dismissed, there is still the reality of the rope (which contains the potentiality of the recurrence of the same hallucination in the same person or in others). The danger is always there until the rope is recognised to be of and in the Self.

136. "Then objectivity totally ceases, and pure knowledge alone remains. There is thus a complete annihilation of duality.

137. "The sense of duality persists because there is the conviction of the purposefulness of the objective world. But such purposefulness and even durability is experienced even in dreams.

138-144. "The difference between dreams and the wakeful state lies in the fact that in the waking state the dream is determined to be false, whereas in the dream the waking state is not so determined. Therefore the waking state is universally taken to be real. But this is wrong. For do you not experience the same extent of permanency and purposefulness in dreams as in the wakeful state?

"Wakeful consciousness does not intervene in dreams nor does dream-consciousness intervene in the wakeful state, while the two factors enduring nature and purposefulness are common to both.

"Examine your past dreams and past waking experiences in the light of these facts and see for yourself.

"Again, note the appearance of reality in magical phenomena and the seeming purposeful actions of magical creations. Does reality rest on the slender basis of such appearances?

"The confusion is due to want of discrimination between the real and the unreal among ignorant folk. Ignorantly indeed do they say that the wakeful universe is real.

145-148. "Reality must endure for ever and ever. 'Consciousness either is or is not.' In the former case, it is obvious and in the latter it is implied, for the conception of its absence implies consciousness. (Therefore consciousness cannot be established to be transitory. It is permanent and therefore real.)

"Insentient matter is diverse in nature and its impermanency obvious. For, one object excludes all others.

"But can you conceive the absence of consciousness anywhere or at any time? If you say that there is no awareness in your sleep, tell me how you know that period or again how you know that you were not aware. If absolutely unaware, you would not now be able to say 'I was not aware'. How was this unawareness illumined for you? Therefore you cannot escape the conclusion that there must be consciousness even to know its unawareness also. So, there is no moment when consciousness is not.

"I shall now tell you briefly the difference between reality and unreality.

149. "Reality is that whose existence is self-evident and does not require other aids to reveal it. Unreality is the contrary.

"If you say, however, that a thing is real until and unless its existence is contradicted, consider the example of a coil of rope being mistaken for a snake. The fancied snake would according to you be real in the interval antecedent to correct knowledge but that is absurd.

150-151. "Furthermore, if contradiction means non-existence, the mental image of the thing contradicted must be admitted, and that means the thing verbally denied is mentally admitted. Therefore contradiction, leads one nowhere and does not determine the unreality of a thing; nor does the appearance of a thing determine its reality. Appearance and contradiction are both intermediate.

152-154. "(According to me), there is nothing beyond the range of consciousness; also nothing certainly cannot indeed be; therefore he who denies consciousness, must be nothing but a dry logician. He may as well deny himself and say, 'I am not'. Then who speaks and what does he say? If he who denies himself out of incompetence and stupidity, can teach others and remove their ignorance by the force of his logic, then this rock before me could equally do the same.

155. "Therefore the appearance of a thing and its utility do not determine the reality of a thing or otherwise.

"All knowledge is secondary and unreliable. There is no doubt about it.

156-159. "The greatest of all delusions is the conviction that knowledge is not a delusion.

"A hallucination holds the field in the interval antecedent to correct knowledge in the same way as it does where we mistake a shining mother-of-pearl for a piece of silver. So also the mistake of the reality of the universe persists until primary and basic Self-knowledge is realised. This false sense is universal like the blue colour of the sky and it will end simultaneously with the realisation of Pure Intelligence.

160. "I have now answered your questions. Do not waver but make up your mind at once.

161. "I shall enlighten you further on the point you raised with regard to the activities of jnanis (sages).

162-165. "Jnanis may be classified as (1) the best, (2) the middle class and (3) the lowest. Of these, the last know the Self and yet are influenced by the pleasures and pains accruing to them according to their prarabdha (past karma). Jnanis of the higher order even while reaping the fruits of their past karma are however firmer in their internal happiness like men inebriated with drink. Jnanis of the highest order are never detached from the enjoyment of their bliss even if confronted with a million times more prarabdha; they are not surprised at the most unnatural and miraculous happenings; they are not elated by the greatest pleasures, nor depressed by the worst miseries. They are always peaceful and calm within, although they appear to act like common folk.

"These differences are due to the differences in their intellects and to the degrees of development of Jnana (wisdom).

166. "Their activities depend on their predispositions as determined by their past karma. But all their actions are like those of a drunken man.

Thus ends the Eighteenth Chapter in Tripura Rahasya.


1. After having heard Sri Dattatreya say so, Parasurama asked him further regarding the conduct and activities of the jnanis.

2-4. "Lord, please tell me clearly how intellects differ according to the stages of jnana (wisdom). Is not wisdom of one kind alone, being simply the revelation of the Self? Moksha (emancipation) is the simple unfolding of the Self and is alone to be sought. How can it be dependent on stages of development according to mental predispositions? Do the methods also differ in the same way?''

5. Thus asked again, Sri Datta, the Ocean of Mercy, began to answer his questions.

6. "I shall now tell you the secret of it all. There is no difference in the methods, nor does jnana differ in fact.

7. "The fruits differ according to the grades of accomplishment. The same extends through several births and on its completion, jnana easily unfolds itself.

8. "The degree of efforts is according to the stage of incompleteness brought over from past births. However, jnana is eternal and no effort is really needed.

9. "Because it is already there and needs no accomplishment, jnana is pure intelligence, the same as consciousness which is ever self-radiant.

10-13. "What kind of effort can avail to disclose the eternally self-resplendent consciousness? Being coated with a thick crust of infinite vasanas (dispositions), it is not easily perceived. The incrustation must first be soaked in the running steam of mind control and carefully scraped off with the sharp chisel of investigation. Then one must turn the closed urn of crystal quartz namely, the mind cleaned in the aforesaid manner - on the grinding wheel of alertness and finally open the lid with the lever of discrimination.

"Lo! the gem enclosed within is now reached and that is all!

"Thus you see, Rama, that all efforts are directed to cleaning up the Augean stables of predispositions.

14-15. "Intellects are the cumulative effects of the predispositions acquired by karma. Effort is necessary so long as the predispositions continue to sway the intellect.

"The dispositions are countless but I shall enumerate a few of the most important.

16. "They are roughly classified into three groups, namely, (1) Aparaadha (fault), (2) Karma (action) and (3) Kaama (desire).

17-29. "The disposition typical of the first group is diffidence in the teachings of the Guru and the holy books which is the surest way to degeneration. Misunderstanding of the teachings, due to assertiveness or pride is a phase of diffidence and stands in the way of realization for learned pandits and others.

"Association with the wise and the study of holy books cannot remove this misunderstanding. They maintain that there is no reality transcending the world; even if there were, it cannot be known; if one claims to know it, it is an illusion of the mind; for how can knowledge make a person free from misery or help his emancipation? They have many more doubts and wrong notions. So much about the first group.

"There are many more persons who cannot, however well-taught, grasp the teachings; their minds are too much cramped with predispositions to be susceptible to subtle truths. They form the second group the victims of past actions, unable to enter the stage of contemplation necessary for annihilating the vasanas.

"The third group is the most common, consisting of the victims of desire who are always obsessed with the sense of duty (i.e., the desire to work for some ends). Desires are too numerous to count, since they rise up endlessly like waves in the ocean. Even if the stars are numbered, desires are not. The desires of even a single individual are countless and what about the totally of them? Each desire is too vast to be satisfied, because it is insatiable; too strong to be resisted; and too subtle to be eluded. So the world, being in the grip of this demon, behaves madly and groans with pain and misery, consequent on its own misdeeds. That person who is shielded by desirelessness (dispassion) and safe from the wiles of the monster of desire, can alone rise to happiness.

"A person affected by one or more of the abovesaid three dispositions cannot get at the truth although it is self-evident.

30-33. "Therefore I tell you that all efforts are directed towards the eradication of these innate tendencies.

"The first of them (i.e., fault) comes to an end on respectfully placing one's faith in holy books and the master. The second (i.e., action) may be ended only by divine grace, which may descend on the person in this birth or in any later incarnation. There is no other hope for it. The third must be gradually dealt with by dispassion, discrimination, worship of God, study of holy scriptures, learning from the wise, investigation into the Self and so on.

34. "Efforts to overcome these obstacles are more or less according as the obstacles are greater or lesser.

35-37. "The most important of the qualifications is the desire for emancipation. Nothing can be achieved without it. Study of philosophy and discussion on the subject with others are thoroughly useless, being no better than the study of arts. For the matter of that, one might as well hope for salvation by a study of sculpture and the practice of that art. The study of philosophy in the absence of a longing for salvation, is like dressing up a corpse.

38-40. "Again, Rama, a casual desire for emancipation is also vain. Such desire often manifests on learning of the magnificence of the emancipated state. It is common to all but never brings about any abiding results. Therefore a passing desire is worthless.

"The desire must be strong and abiding, in order that it may bear fruit. The effects are in proportion to the intensity and duration of the desire.

41-43. "The desire must be accompanied by efforts for the accomplishment of the purpose. Then only will there be concerted effort. Just as a man scalded by fire runs immediately in search of soothing unguents and does not waste his time in other pursuits, so also must the aspirant run after emancipation to the exclusion of all other pursuits. Such an effort is fruitful and is preceded by indifference to all other attainments.

44-46. "Starting by discarding pleasures as being impediments to progress he develops dispassion and then the desire for emancipation, which grows in strength. This makes a man engage in the right efforts in which he

becomes thoroughly engrossed. After these stages are passed, the most unique consummation takes place."

When Dattatreya finished, Parasurama was completely bewildered and asked him further:

47-49. "Lord, You said earlier that association with the wise, divine grace and dispassion are the prime factors for attaining the highest aim of life. Please tell me which is the most essential and how it can be accomplished. For nothing happens without an antecedent cause. This is certain. What is the root cause of the fundamental requisite? Or is it only accidental?"

50. Thus asked, Dattatreya answered him as follows:

"I shall tell you the root-cause of it all. Listen!

51-61. "Her transcendental Majesty, the absolute-Consciousness, being self-contained, originally pictured the whole universe in Her being, like images in a mirror. She took on the individuality, named Hiranyagarbha (the Creator), and considering the predispositions of the egos enclosed in that egg (Hiranyagarbha), She unfolded the Scriptures the reservoir of sublime truths for the fulfilment of desires. Since the embryonic individuals were full of unfulfilled desires Hiranyagarbha began to think out the means of their fulfilment. He elaborated a scheme of cause and effect, of actions and fruits, and consequently the individuals born later on to revolve in that wheel of cause and effect. They take different shapes and are placed in different environments consistently with their predispositions. After passing through innumerable species, the individual evolves as a human being owing to the merit he has accumulated. At first he will take to selfish pursuits. With growing desire, he will seek the unobstructed fulfilment of mighty ambitions. But in due course the methods advocated in holy books will be adopted. Failures are inevitable everywhere. Disappointments result. Expert advice is sought. Such advice will be forthcoming only from a man living in unbroken beatitude. Such a sage will, in due course, initiate the seeker in divine magnificence. The initiate's accumulated merits, reinforced by association with the wise and by divine grace, make him persist in the course, and gradually take him step by step to the highest pinnacle of happiness.

62-64. "Now you see how association with the wise is said to be the root-cause of all that is good. This happens partly through the accumulated merits of the person and partly through his unselfish devotion to God, but always as if by accident like a fruit which has suddenly fallen from the void. Therefore the goal of life being dependent on so many causes, there is variety in its attainment, either according to the intellect or the predispositions of the person. The state of the jnani also differs, according as his efforts have been great or less.

65-66. "Proportionately slight effort is enough for erasing slight vasanas. He whose mind has been made pure by good deeds in successive past incarnations, gains supreme results quite out of proportion to the little effort he may make (as with Janaka).

67-68. "The glimpse of jnana (realisation) gained by one whose mind is crowded with dense vasanas accumulated in past incarnations, does not suffice to over-ride one's deep-rooted ignorance. Such a one is obliged to practise samadhi (nidhidhyasana or control of mind and contemplation) in successive births for effective and final realisation.

"Thus there are seen to be different classes of sages.

69. "O Scion of Bhrgu's lineage! there are differences in states of jnana characterised by the aspects and attitudes of intellect and the varieties in its activities.

70-77. "Such differences are quite obvious in Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Siva (the Destroyer) who are jnanis by nature. That does not mean that jnana (realisation) admits of variety. These attitudes depend on their vasanas (dispositions) and environments. They are Lords of the universe and all-knowing. Their jnana is pure and uncontaminated by what they do. Whether a jnani is fair or dark in complexion, his jnana neither shares these qualities nor the qualities of the mind. See the difference in the three sons of Atri, namely, Durvasa (said to be of the aspect of Siva and reputed to be exceedingly irritable), Chandra (the moon, of the aspect of Brahma and reputed to be the husband of the twenty-seven constellations who are in their turn daughters of Daksha) and myself (Dattatreya, of the aspect of Sriman Narayana or Visnu, reputed to be the ideal of saints, roaming nude in the forests, etc.). Vasishta (one of the greatest rishis, well-known as the family preceptor of the Solar line of kings) never fails in the strictest adherence to duty as prescribed by the Scriptures; whereas, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatsujata and Sanatkumara (four sons born of Brahma's volition and instructed by Narada) are types of ascetics totally indifferent to any action including religious rites; Narada is the ideal of bhakti (devotion to God); Bhargava (Sukra, the well-known preceptor of Asuras, who incessantly fight against the gods) supports the enemies of the gods whereas the equally great sage Brihaspati (Jupiter, the preceptor of gods) supports the gods against their enemies; Vyasa is ever busy codifying the Vedas, and is propagating their truth in the shape of the Mahabharata, the Puranas and the Upapuranas; Janaka famous as the ascetic-king; Bharaataa looking like an idiot; and many others.

[Note. Bharata was a great king who, according to the custom of the great Kshatriya emperors, abdicated his throne in favour of his son when he attained his majority and retired into the forest to do penance. On one occasion, hearing the roar of a lion, a deer in an advanced state of pregnancy took fright and leapt across the stream. Her womb was disturbed and she landed on the other shore with her young one in placenta and dropped dead. The royal hermit took pity on the little thing, washed it, took it in his hands and returned to the hermitage. The baby-deer was carefully tended and remained always by its master's side. The hermit and the deer grew fond of each other.

After some time, the hermit knew that he was dying and became anxious about the safety of the deer in the forest after his own death. He died with that thought and consequently re-incarnated as a deer. Being a sage with pious disposition, the re-incarnate deer was placed in a holy environment, retaining knowledge of its past. So it did not associate with its species but remained close to a hermitage listening to the chant of the Vedas and discussions on philosophy. When it died it was reborn as a boy in a pious Brahmin family.

The parents died while he was still young. The boy was always helping others but never took to any definite work. He was healthy, strong and free from care. The neighbourhood put him down as an idiot, and so he appeared as he loafed about.

One night, the ruling chief of Savvira, passed in a palanquin; he was in haste to reach a renowned sage who lived in another province. One of his bearers took ill on the way; so his men looked about for a substitute; on finding this Brahmin boy 'idiot', they impressed him for the work; and he took his place as a bearer of the palanquin.

The chief was irritated at the slow pace of the bearers and reprimanded them. Even after repeated warnings, the pace continued to be slow and the chief was wild with rage. He alighted from the palanquin and found the new recruit to be the culprit who was thrashed and ordered to hasten.

Still there was no improvement and the chief chided him again, but could make no impression on the 'idiot'. The chief was exasperated, got down and remonstrated with him. But he received a reply which astonished him and further conversation convinced the chief of the idiot's greatness. So the chief became the disciple of Bharata, the idiot.]

78. There are so many others with individual characteristics such as Chyavana, Yajnavalkya, Visvamitra, etc. The secret is this.

[Note. Chyavana: A king once went with the royal family and retinue for a pleasure trip into a forest which was famous as the habitation of a remarkable sage Chyavana by name. The young princess was playing with her companion. She came across what looked like an ant-hill and put a spike into one of its holes. Blood came out. She took fright, and returned to the elder members of the family, but did not disclose her prank to any of them.

When they had all returned home the king and many others fell ill. They suspected some involuntary evil had been perpetrated on Chyavana. When an envoy arrived in the forest praying for his blessings, the sage was found hurt in the eyes and he sent word to the king as follows:

"Your daughter hurt my eyes by driving a spike into the ant-hill which had grown over me while I was in Samadhi. I am now old and helpless. Send the mischief maker here to make amends for her mischief by becoming my helpmate."

When the envoy communicated the message to the king, he spoke to the princess, who readily acceded to the wishes of the saint. So lived in the forest with her aged consort and carefully attended to his comforts. She used to bring water from a neighbouring spring. One day the twin gods, known as Asvins, came there and admiring her loyalty to her aged husband, revealed themselves to her and offered to rejuvenate her ancient husband. She took her husband to the spring and awaited the miracle. They asked the saint to dive into the water. They too dived simultaneously. All three emerged like one another. The girl was asked to pick out her husband. She prayed to God and was enabled to identify him. The saint promised in return to include the twin benefactors among the gods eligible for sacrificial propitiation. He invited his father-in-law to arrange for a sacrifice and called on the names of the Asvins. Indra the chief of the gods was angry and threatened to spoil the sacrifice if innovations of the kind contemplated by Chyavana were introduced. Chyavana easily incapacitated Indra by virtue of his penance and kept his promise to his benefactors. In the meantime, Indra apologised, and was pardoned and restored to his former state.

Yagnavalkya is the sage of sages mentioned in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Visvamitra is too well known to be described here. He was the grand-uncle of Parasurama.]

79. "Of the three typical vasanas mentioned that one of action is the most potent and is said to be ignorance.

80-83. "Those are the best who are free from all of the vasanas, and particularly from the least trace of that of action. If free from the fault of mistrust of the teachings of the master, the vasana due to desire, which is not a very serious obstruction to realisation, is destroyed by the practice of contemplation. Dispassion need not be very marked in this case. Such people need not repeatedly engage in the study of Scriptures or the receiving of instructions from the Master, but straightaway pass into meditation and fall into samadhi, the consummation of the highest good. They live evermore as Jivanmuktas (emancipated even while alive).

84-86. "Sages with subtle and clear intellect have not considered it worth while to eradicate their desire etc., by forcing other thoughts to take their place because desires do not obstruct realisation. Therefore their desires continue to manifest even after realisation as before it. Neither are they tainted by such vasanas. They are said to be emancipated and diverse-minded. They are also reputed to be the best class of jnanis.

87-90. "Rama, he whose mind clings to the ignorance of the necessity of work cannot hope for realisation even if Siva offers to instruct him. Similarly also the person who has the fault of marked indifference to or misunderstanding of the teachings cannot attain. On the other hand, a man only slightly affected by these two vasanas, and much more so by desires or ambitions, will by repeated hearing of the holy truth, discussion of the same, and contemplation on it, surely reach the goal though only with considerable difficulty and after a long lapse of time. Such a sage's activities will be small because he is entirely engrossed in his efforts for realisation.

Note. His activities will be confined to the indispensable necessities of life.

91. "A sage of this class has by his long practice and rigorous discipline controlled his mind so well that predispositions are totally eradicated and the mind is as if dead. He belongs to the middle class in the scheme of classification of sages and is said to be a sage without mind.

92-94. "The last class and the least among the sages are those whose practice and discipline are not perfect enough to destroy mental predispositions. Their minds are still active and the sages are said to be associated with their minds. They are barely jnanis and not jivanmuktas as are the other two classes. They appear to share the pleasures and pains of life like any other man and will continue to do so till the end of their lives. They will be emancipated after death.

95-96. "Prarabdha (past karma) is totally powerless with the middle class, who have destroyed their minds by continued practice.

"The mind is the soil in which the seed namely prarabdha sprouts (into pleasures and pains of life). If the soil is barren, the seed loses its sprouting power by long storage, and becomes useless.

97-103. "There are men in the world who can carefully attend to different functions at the same time and are famous as extraordinarily skilful; again some people attend to work as they are walking and conversing; while a teacher has an eye upon each student in the class-room and exercises control over them all; or you yourself knew Kartaviryarjuna, who wielded different weapons in his thousand hands and fought with you using all of them skilfully and simultaneously. In all these cases, a single mind assumes different shapes to suit the different functions at the same time. Similarly the mind of the best among jnanis is only the Self and yet manifests as all without suffering any change in its eternal blissful nature as the Self. They are therefore many-minded.

Note. Kartaviryarjuna was the chief of the Haihayas who were the sworn enemies of Parasurama. He was himself a devotee of Sri Dattatreya and had received the most wonderful boon from his Master, namely, that his name should be transmitted to posterity as that of an ideal king unparalleled in legend or history. His reign was indeed remarkable and his prowess was unequalled, much less excelled. Still, as destiny would have it, he was challenged by Parasurama and killed in battle.

104-105. "The prarabdha of jnanis is still active and sprouts in the mind but only to be burnt up by the steady flame of jnana. Pleasure or pain is due to the dwelling of the mind on occurrences. But if these are scorched at their source, how can there be pain or pleasure?

106-108. "Jnanis of the highest order, however, are seen to be active because they voluntarily bring out the vasanas from the depth of the mind and allow them to run out. Their action is similar to that of a father sporting with his child, moving its dolls, laughing at the imagined success of one doll over another, and appearing to grieve over the injury to another, and so on; or like a man showing sympathy for his neighbour on the occasion of a gain or loss.

109-112. "The vasanas not inimical to realisation are not weeded out by the best class of jnanis because they cannot seek new ones to crowd the old out. Therefore the old ones continue until they are exhausted and thus you find among them some highly irritable, some lustful and others pious and dutiful, and so on.

"Now the lowest order of jnanis still under the influence of their minds know that there is no truth in the objective universe. Their samadhi is not different from that of the rest.

113. "What is samadhi? Samadhi is being aware of the Self, and nothing else that is to say it should not be confounded with the Nirvikalpa (undifferentiated) state, for this state is very common and frequent as has been pointed out in the case of momentary samadhis.

114-115. "Every one is experiencing the Nirvikalpa state, though unknowingly. But what is the use of such unrecognised samadhis? A similar state becomes possible to the hatha yogis also. This experience alone does not confer any lasting benefit. But one may apply the experience to the practical affairs of life. Samadhi can only be such and such alone. (Sahaja samadhi is meant here.)

[Commentary. Samadhi: Aspirants may be jnana yogis or hatha yogis. The former learn the truth from the scriptures and a Guru: cogitate and understand it clearly. Later they contemplate the truth and gain samadhi.

The wise say that samadhi is the control resulting from the application of the experienced truth (i.e., the awareness of the Self) to the practical affairs of life. This samadhi is possible only for jnana yogis.

The hatha yogis are of two kinds: the one intent on eliminating all perturbations of the mind, starts with the elimination of the non-self and gradually of all mental vacillations. This requires very long and determined practice which becomes his second nature and the yogi remains perfectly unagitated. The other practises the six preliminary exercises and then controls the breath (Pranayama) until he can make the air enter the Sushumna nadi. Since the earlier effort is considerable owing to control of breath, there is a heavy strain which is suddenly relieved by the entry of air in Sushumna. The resulting happiness is comparable to that of a man suddenly relieved of a pressing load on his back. His mind is similar to that of man in a swoon or a state of intoxication. Both classes of hatha yogis experience a happiness similar to that of deep slumber.

A jnana yogi, on the other hand, has theoretical knowledge of the Self, for he has heard it from the Guru and learnt it from the Sastras, and has further cogitated upon the teachings. Therefore, the veil of ignorance is drawn off from him even before the consummation of samadhi. The substratum of consciousness free from thoughts of external phenomena is distinguished by him like a mirror reflecting images. Furthermore in the earlier stage of samadhi, he is capable of remaining aware as absolute consciousness quite free from all blemishes of thought.]

"Whereas a hatha yogi cannot remain in such a state. In the jnani's samadhi, both the veil of ignorance and perturbation of thoughts are removed. In the hatha yogi's samadhi, though the Self is naturally free from the two obstacles, yet it remains hidden by the veil of ignorance. The same is torn off by the jnani in the process of his contemplation.

"If asked what difference there is between the samadhi of a hatha yogi and sleep, it must be said that the mind overpowered by deep ignorance is covered by dense darkness in sleep whereas the mind being associated with satva (quality of brightness) acts in samadhi as a thin veil for the self-effulgent principle. The Self may be compared to the Sun obstructed by dark and dense clouds in sleep, and by light mist in samadhi. For a jnani, the Self shines in its full effulgence like the Sun unobstructed in the heavens.

"This is how the sages describe samadhi."

116-117. (Having spoken of the jnani's samadhi as approved by the sages, Dattatreya proceeds to prove its unbroken nature). What is samadhi? Samadhi is absolute knowledge uncontaminated by objects. Such is the state of the best jnanis even when they take part in the affairs of the world.

"The blue colour of the sky is known to be an unreal phenomenon and yet it appears the same to both the knowing and the unknowing, but with this difference that the one is misled by the appearance and the other is not.

118. "Just as the false perception does not mislead the man who knows, so also all that is perceived which is known to the wise to be false will never mislead them.

119. "Since the middle class of jnanis have already destroyed their minds, there are no objects for them. Their state is known as the supramental one.

120. "The mind is agitated when it assumes the shape of those objects which it mistakes for real; and unagitated otherwise. Therefore the latter state alone is supramental.

Note. The mind of the highest order of jnanis though associated with objects, knows them to be unreal and therefore is not agitated as is the case with the ignorant.

121. "Since a jnani of the highest order can engage in several actions at the same time and yet remain unaffected, he is always many-minded and yet remains in unbroken samadhi. His is absolute knowledge free from objects.

"I have now told you all that you want to know."

Thus ends the Chapter XIX on the different states of jnanis in Tripura Rahasya.



1-20. "I shall now relate to you an ancient sacred story. On one occasion very long ago there was a very distinguished gathering of holy saints collected in the abode of Brahma, the Creator, when a very subtle and sublime disputation took place. Among those present were Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata, Vasistha, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrigu, Atri, Angiras, Pracheta, Narada, Chyavana, Vamadeva, Visvamitra, Gautama, Suka, Parasara, Vyasa, Kanva, Kasyapa, Daksha, Sumanta, Sanka, Likhita, Devala and other celestial and royal sages. Each one of them spoke of his own system with courage and conviction and maintained that it was better than all the rest. But they could reach no conclusion and so asked Brahma: 'Lord! We are sages who know all about the world and beyond, but each one's way of life differs from that of the others because the dispositions of our minds differ. Some of us are always in Nirvikalpa Samadhi, some engaged in philosophical discussions, some sunk in devotion, some have taken to work, and others seem exactly like men of the world. Which is the best among us? Please tell us. We cannot decide ourselves because each thinks that his way is the best.'

"Thus requested, Brahma seeing their perplexity answered: 'Best of saints! I also would like to know. There is Parameswara who is the All-knower. Let us go and ask him.' Collecting Vishnu on their way, they went to Siva. There the leader of the deputation, Brahma, asked Siva about the matter. Having heard Brahma, Siva divined the mind of Brahma and understood that the rishis were wanting in confidence and so that any words of his would be useless. He then said to them, 'Hear me, Rishis! Neither do I clearly see which is the method. Let us meditate on the Goddess Her Majesty Unconditioned Knowledge we shall then be able to understand even the subtlest of truths by Her Grace.' On hearing these words of Siva, all of them, including Siva, Vishnu and Brahma, meditated on Her Divine Majesty, the Transcendental Consciousness pervading the three states of life (waking, dream and sleep). Thus invoked, She manifested in Her glory as the Transcendental Voice in the expanse of pure consciousness.

"They heard the Voice speak like thunder from the skies, 'Speak out your minds, O Rishis! Be quick, the desires of my devotees will always be fulfilled immediately.'

21-28. "Hearing the Voice, the exalted rishis prostrated and Brahma and the others praised the Goddess namely Absolute Consciousness pervading the three states of life.

"Salutations to Thee! the Greatest! the Best! the Most Auspicious! the Absolute Knowledge! the Consciousness of the three states! the Creatrix! the Protectress! the Dissolver in the Self! the Supreme One transcending all! Salutations again!

"There was no time when Thou wert not, because Thou art unborn! Thou art ever fresh and hence Thou never growest old. Thou art all; the essence of all, the knower of all, the delighter of all. Thou art not all. Thou art nowhere, with no core in Thee, unaware of anything, and delighting no one.

"O Supreme Being! Salutations to Thee, over and over again, before and behind, above and below, on all sides and everywhere.

"Kindly tell us of Thy relative form and Thy transcendental state, Thy prowess, and Thy identity with jnana. What is the proper and perfect means for attaining Thee, the nature and the result of such attainment? What is the utmost finality of accomplishment, beyond which there remains nothing to be accomplished? Who is the best among the accomplished sages? Salutations again to Thee!

29. "Thus besought, the Goddess of ultimate knowledge began with great kindness to explain it clearly to the sages:

30. "Listen, sages! I shall categorically explain to you all that you ask. I shall give you the nectar drawn out as the essence from the unending accumulation of sacred literature.

31-40. "I am the abstract intelligence wherefrom the cosmos originates, whereon it flourishes, and wherein it resolves, like the images in a mirror. The ignorant know me as the gross universe, whereas the wise feel me as their own pure being eternally glowing as 'I-I' within. This realisation is possible only in the deep stillness of thought-free consciousness similar to that of the deep sea free from waves. The most earnest of devotees worship me spontaneously and with the greatest sincerity which is due to their love of me. Although they know that I am their own non-dual Self, yet the habit of loving devotion which is deep-rooted in them makes them conceive their own Self as ME and worship ME as the life-current pervading their bodies, senses and mind without which nothing could exist and which forms the sole purport of the holy scriptures. Such is my Transcendental State.

"My concrete form is the eternal couple the Supreme Lord and Energy always in undivided union and abiding as the eternal consciousness pervading the three phenomenal states of waking, dream and sleep, and reclining on the cot whose four legs are Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Protector), Siva (the Destroyer) and Isvara (Disappearance) and whose surface is Sadasiva (Grace) which is contained in the mansion known as 'fulfilment of purpose' enclosed by the garden of 'Kadamba' trees in the jewel island situated in the wide ocean of nectar surrounding the cosmos and extending beyond.

'Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Isvara, Sadasiva, Ganesa, Skanda, the gods of the eight quarters, their energies of her gods, celestials, serpents and other superhuman beings all manifestations of myself. However, people do not know ME because their intellect is shrouded in ignorance.

41. "I grant boons to those who worship ME. There is no one besides ME worthy of worship or capable of fulfilling all desires.

Commentary. All deities who receive worship and all conceptions of God are My manifestations, because I am pure intelligence which cannot under any circumstances be transcended.

42. "The fruits of worship are put forth by Me according to the mode of worship and the nature of individual desires. I am indivisible and interminable.

43. "Being non-dual and abstract intelligence I spontaneously manifest even as the smallest detail in the universe and as the universe.

44. "Though I manifest in diverse ways, I still remain unblemished because absoluteness is My being. This is My chief power, which is somewhat hard fully to understand.

45. "Therefore, O Rishis! consider this with the keenest of intellect. Though I am the abode of all and immanent in all I remain pure.

46-49. "Although I am not involved in any manner and am always free, I wield My power called Maya; become covered with ignorance, appear full of desires, seek their fulfilment, grow restless, project favourable and unfavourable environments, am born and reborn as individuals, until growing wiser I seek a teacher and sage, learn the truth from him, put it in practice and finally become absolved. All this goes on in My pure, uncontaminated, ever free absolute intelligence. This manifestation of the ignorant and the free, and of others, is called My creation which is however, without any accessories My power is too vast to be described. I shall tell you something of it in brief. It is that the cosmos is only the obverse of the many details in them leading up to different results.

50. "Knowledge relating to me is complex but it can be dealt with under the two categories; dual and non-dual, of which the former relates to worship and the latter to realisation. On account of their intricacies, there are many details in them leading up to different results.

51. "Dual knowledge is manifold because it depends on the concept of duality and manifests as worship, prayer, incantation, meditation, etc., etc.. all of which are due to nothing more than mental imagery.

52-53. "Even so, they are efficacious in contradistinction to day-dreams, for, the law of nature provides for it. There are degrees in the efficacy of the methods, of which the most important concerns the aspect mentioned before (see above the concrete form of Devi). The ultimate goal of all is certainly non-dual realisation.

Commentary. Mental imagery cannot put forth tangible results either directly or in successive stages. But the one relating to God differs from ordinary day-dreams in that it purifies and strengthens the mind in order to make it fit to realise the Self. Again the most efficacious among the concepts of God is the one already mentioned, namely, the eternal couple. Although it will not directly remove ignorance yet it will help its removal for the resurrection of the man as a full blown jnani.

54. "Worship of Abstract Intelligence in a concrete form is not only useful but essential for non-dual realisation. For how can one be made fit for it, without Her benediction.

55. "Non-dual realisation is the same as pure Intelligence absolutely void of objective knowledge. Such realisation nullifies all objective knowledge revealing it in all its nakedness to be as harmless as a picture of a pouncing tiger or of an enraged serpent.

56. "When the mind has completely resolved into the Self, that state is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi (the undifferentiated peaceful state). After waking up from it, the person is overpowered by the memory of his experience as the one, undivided, infinite, pure Self and he knows 'I am That' as opposed to the puerile I-thought of the ignorant. That is Supreme Knowledge (Vijnana or Pratyabhijna jnana).

Note. The advanced state of meditation is Savikalpa Samadhi, where the person is aware that he has turned away from objectivity towards subjectivity and feels his proximity to the state of Self-Realisation. When he actually sinks within the Self, there is no knowledge apart from the simple awareness of blissful existence. This is Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Waking up, he sees the world just as any other man does but his outlook has become different. He is now able to know his pure Self and no longer confounds himself with the ego. That is the acme of Realisation.

57. "Theoretical knowledge consists in differentiating between the Self and the non-Self through a study of the Scriptures, or the teachings of a Master, or by one's own deliberation.

58-62. "Supreme wisdom is that which puts an end to the sense of non-Self once for all. Non-dual realisation admits nothing unknown or unknowable and pervades everything in entirety so that it cannot in any way be transcended, (e.g., a mirror and the images). When that is accomplished, the intellect becomes quite clear because all doubts have been destroyed; (doubts are usually with regard to creation, the identity of the Self and their mutual relationship) and then the predispositions of the mind (e.g., lust, greed, anger, etc.) are destroyed though any remnants of these that may remain are as harmless as a fangless viper.

63. "The fruit of Self-realisation is the end of all misery here and hereafter and absolute fearlessness. That is called Emancipation.

Note. There is an end of misery in sleep; but the potentiality of misery is not ended. Realisation destroys the cause of misery and sets the man free for ever.

64-65. "Fear implies the existence of something apart from oneself. Can the sense of duality persist after non-dual Realisation, or can there be darkness after sun-rise?

"O Rishis! There will be no fear in the absence of duality. On the other hand, fear will not cease so long as there is the sense of duality.

66. "What is perceived in the world as being apart from the Self is also clearly seen to be perishable. What is perishable must certainly involve fear of loss.

67. "Union implies separation; so also acquisition implies loss.

68-70. "If emancipation be external to the Self, it implies fear of loss, and is therefore not worth aspiring to. On the other hand, moksha is fearlessnes and not external to the Self.

"When the knower, knowledge and the known merge into unity that state is totally free from fear and hence moksha results.

"Jnaana (Supreme Wisdom) is the state devoid of thoughts, will and desire, and is unimpeded by ignorance.

71. "It is certainly the primal state of the knower, but remains unrecognised for want of acquaintance with it. The Guru and sastras alone can make the individual acquainted with the Self.

72-77. "The Self is abstract intelligence free from thought. The knower, knowledge and the known are not real as different entities. When differentiation among them is destroyed, their true nature is evident in the resulting non-dual consciousness, which is also the state of emancipation.

"There is in fact no differentiation among the knower, etc. The differences are simply conventions retained for the smooth working of earthly life. Emancipation is eternal and, therefore, here and now, it is nothing to be acquired. The Self manifests as the knower, knowledge and the known; the cycle of births and deaths endures with all the apparent reality of a mountain so long as this manifestation lasts. As soon as the manifestation is realised to consist of the Self alone without any admixture of non-self, the cycle of births and deaths comes to a standstill, and is broken down to fragments like clouds dispersed by strong winds.

78. "Thus you find that earnestness is the only requisite for emancipation. No other requisite is needed if the longing for emancipation is intense and unwavering.

79. "What is the use of hundreds of efforts in the absence of a real and unswerving desire for emancipation? That is the sole requisite and nothing else.

80-81. "Intense devotion signifies mental abstraction as the devotee loses himself in the desired object. In this particular instance, it will mean emancipation itself. For such unwavering devotion must certainly succeed and success is only a question of time which may be days, months, years, or even the next birth, according as the predispositions are light or dense.

82-83. "The intellect is ordinarily befouled by evil propensities and so nothing good flourishes there. Consequently, the people are boiled in the seething cauldron of births and deaths. Of these evil propensities, the first is want of faith in the revelations made by the Guru and in the sastras; the second is addiction to desires; and the third is dullness (i.e., inability to understand the revealed truth). This is a brief statement of them.

84-85. "Of these, want of faith is betrayed by one's doubts regarding the truth of the statements and by failure to understand them. The doubt arises whether there is moksha; and later misunderstanding leads to its denial. These two are sure obstacles to any sincere efforts being made for realisation.

86. "All obstacles are set at nought by a determined belief in the contrary; that is to say determined belief regarding the existence of moksha will destroy both uncertainty and misunderstanding.

"But the question arises how this determined belief will be possible when faith is wanting. Therefore cut at its root. What is its root?

87-88. "Want of faith has its root in unfavourable logic. Give it up and take to approved logic as found in holy books and expounded by a Guru. Then enlightenment becomes possible and faith results. Thus ends the first evil propensity.

89-95. "The second propensity, namely desire, prevents the intellect from following the right pursuit. For, the mind engrossed in desire, cannot engage in a spiritual pursuit. The abstraction of a lover is well known to all; he can hear or see nothing in front of him. Anything said in his hearing is as good as not said. Desire must therefore be first overcome before aspiring for spiritual attainment. That can be done only by dispassion. The propensity is manifold, being the forms of love, anger, greed, pride, jealousy, etc. The worst of them is pursuit of pleasure which, if destroyed destroys all else. Pleasure may be subtle or gross. Neither of these must be indulged in, even in thought. As soon as the thought of pleasure arises, it must be dismissed by the will-power developed by dispassion.

96-99. "In this way, the second evil propensity is overcome. The third, known as dullness resulting from innumerable wicked actions in preceding births, is the worst of the series and hardest to overcome by one's own efforts. Concentration of mind and understanding of truth are not possible when dullness prevails.

"There is no remedy for it other than worship of the Goddess of the Self (adoration, prayer, meditation, etc.). I remove the devotee's dullness according to his worship, quickly, or gradually, or in the succeeding birth.

100-102. "He who unreservedly surrenders himself to Me with devotion, is endowed with all the requisites necessary for Self-Realisation. He who worships Me, easily overcomes all obstacles to Self-Realisation. On the other hand, he, who being stuck up, does not take refuge in Me the pure intelligence manipulating the person is repeatedly upset by difficulties so that his success is very doubtful.

103-104. "Therefore, O Rishis! the chief requisite is one-pointed devotion to God. The devotee is the best of aspirants. The one devoted to abstract consciousness excels every other seeker. Consummation lies in the discernment of the Self as distinguished from the non-Self.

105-112. "The Self is at present confounded with the body, etc., such confusion must cease and awareness of the Self must result as opposed to nescience in sleep.

"The Self is experienced even now; but it is not discerned rightly, for it is identified with the body, etc., there is therefore endless suffering. The Self is not hidden indeed; it is always gleaming out as 'I', but this 'I', is mistaken for the body, owing to ignorance. On this ignorance ceasing, the 'I' is ascertained to be the true consciousness alone; and that sets all doubts at rest. This and nothing else has been ascertained by the sages to be finality. Thaumaturgic powers such as flying in space, etc., are all fragmentary and not worth a particle of Self-Realisation. For this is the unbroken and immortal bliss of the Self in which all else is included.

"Thaumaturgic powers are also hindrance to Self-Realisation. Of what use are they? They are but simple acrobatic tricks. The Creator's status appears to a Self-realised man to be only a trifle. What use are these powers, unless for wasting one's time?

113. "There is no accomplishment equal to Self-Realisation which is alone capable of ending all misery because it is the state of eternal Bliss.

114. "Self-Realisation differs from all accomplishments in that the fear of death is destroyed once for all.

115. Realisation differs according to the antecedent practice and, commensurate with the degree of purity of mind, may be perfect, middling or dull.

Note. Realisation of the Self and eternal inherence as unbroken 'I-I' in all surroundings are the practices and the fruit.

116-119. "You have seen great pandits well versed in the Vedas and capable of chanting them quite correctly amidst any amount of distractions. They are the best. Those who are capable businessmen, repeat the Vedas quite correctly when they engage in chanting them without other distractions. These are the middle class.

"Whereas others are constantly chanting them and do it well. Such are of the lowest order among pandits. Similarly there are distinctions among the sages also.

120-121. "Some sages abide as the Self even while engaged in complex duties, such as ruling a kingdom (e.g., King Janaka); others can do so in intervals of work; still others can do so by constant practice alone. They are respectively of the highest, the middle and the lowest order. Of these, the highest order represents the utmost limit of realisation.

122. "Unbroken supreme awareness even in dream is the mark of the highest order.

123. "The Person who is not involuntarily made the tool of his mental predispositions but who invokes them at his will, is of the highest order.

124. "He who abides in the Self as 'I, I,' as spontaneously and continuously as the ignorant man does in the body, is again of the highest order.

125. "He who, though engaged in work, does not look upon anything as non-self, is a perfect sage.

126. "He who even while doing his work remains as in a sleep is a perfect sage.

127. "Thus the best among the sages are never out of samadhi, be they working or idle.

128-133. "He who is from his own experience capable of appreciating the states of other jnanis including the best among them, is certainly a perfect sage. He who is not influenced by happiness or misery, by pleasure or pain, by desires, doubts or fear, is a perfect sage. He who realises pleasure, pain and every other phenomenon to be in and of the Self, is a perfect sage. He who feels himself pervading all be they ignorant or emancipated is a perfect sage. He who knowing the trammels of bondage, does not seek release from them and remains in peace, is a perfect sage.

"The perfect among the sages is identical with Me. There is absolutely no difference between us.

134. 'I have now told you all these in answer to your questions. You need no longer be perplexed with doubts.

135. "Having said so, Transcendental Intelligence became silent.

"Then all the Rishis saluted Siva and the other Gods and returned to their own abodes.

"I have now told you the sacred Gita of pure knowledge, which destroys all sins and purifies the mind. This Gita is the best among Gitas because it has proceeded from Abstract Intelligence Herself and it leads one to emancipation on being attentively heard and cogitated upon.

"This Gita is the raft to save one from sinking in the ocean of samsara (cycle of births and deaths), and so it must be read or repeated every day with love and care."

Thus ends the chapter of Vidya Gita in Tripura Rahasya.



1. After Parasurama heard this from Sri Dattatreya he felt as if released from the meshes of ignorance.

2-8. He again saluted Sri Datta and asked him with great devotion: "Lord! please tell me exactly how wisdom can be accomplished. I want to hear the essence of it in brief. The method should also be easy and at the same time efficient. Please also tell me the characteristics of the sages, so that I may readily recognise them. What is their state with or without the body? How can they be unattached though active? Kindly tell me all this."

Thus requested, the son of Atri spoke to him with pleasure: "Listen! Rama, I am now telling you the secret of accomplishment. Of all the requisites for wisdom, Divine Grace is the most important. He who has entirely surrendered himself to the Goddess is sure to gain wisdom readily. Rama! this is the best of all the methods.

9-17. "This method does not require other aids to reinforce its efficiency, as other methods do for accomplishing the end. There is a reason for it. Pure Intelligence illumining all has cast a veil of ignorance of Her own over all. Her true nature is evident only after removing this veil by discrimination. This is hard for those whose minds are directed outward; and it is easy, sure and quick for devotees engrossed in the Goddess of the Self to the exclusion of all else.

"An intense devotee, though endowed with only a little discipline of other kinds (e.g., dispassion), can readily understand the truth though only theoretically, and expound it to others. Such exposition helps him to imbue those ideas and so he absorbs the truth. This ultimately leads him to identify all individuals with Siva and he is no longer affected by pleasure or pain. All-round identification with Siva makes him the best of jnanis and a jivanmukta (emancipated here and now). Therefore bhakti yoga (way of devotion) is the best of all and excels all else.

18-24. "The characteristics of a Jnani are hard to understand, because they are inscrutable and inexpressible. For instance, a pandit cannot be adequately described except by his appearance, gait and dress because his feelings, depth of knowledge, etc., are known to himself alone; while the flavour of a particular dish cannot be exactly conveyed by word to one who has not tasted it; but a pandit can be understood only by another pandit by his method of expression. A bird alone can follow the track of another bird.

"There are of course some traits which are obvious, and others which are subtle and inscrutable. Those which are obvious are their speech, language, postures of meditation, signs of worship, dispassion, etc., which can however be imitated by non-sages.

25. "What are accomplishments to others to the accompaniment of dispassion, meditation, prayer, etc. remain natural to the sage whose mind is pure and unsophisticated.

26. "He whom honour and insult, loss or gain, cannot affect, is a sage of the best class.

27. "The best among sages can, without hesitation give complete answers on matters relating to Realisation and the sublimest truths.

28. "He seems to be spontaneously animated when discussing matters pertaining to jnana (realisation) and is never tired of their exposition.

29. "His nature is to remain without efforts. Contentment and purity abide in him. Even the most critical situations do not disturb his peace of mind.

30. "These are qualities which must be tried for oneself and verified; they are of no value as tests applied to others, for they may be genuine or spurious.

31. "An aspirant must first apply the tests to himself and always prove his own worth; he can then judge others.

32-33. "How can the repeated testing of oneself fail to improve one? Let one not spend one's time judging others; but let one judge oneself. Thus one becomes perfect.

34-38. "What have here been called the traits of a Jnani are meant for one's own use and not for testing others, because they admit of many modifications according to circumstances. For instance, a Jnani who has realised the Self with the least effort may continue in his old ways although his mind is unassailable. He looks like a man of the world for all practical purposes. How then can he be judged by others? Nevertheless, one Jnani will know another at sight just as an expert can appraise precious stones at a glance.

"The Jnanis of the lowest order behave like ignorant men in their care for their bodies.

39-54. "They have not attained Sahaja Samadhi (samadhi unbroken even while engaged in work, etc.). They are in the state of Perfection only when they are calm or composed. They have as much of the body-sense and enjoy pleasure and pain with as much zest as any animal when they are not engaged in the investigation of the Self.

"Though they are not always inquiring into the Self, yet there are periods of the perfect state owing to their previous practice and experience. All the same, they are emancipated because the animal-sense is only an aberration during interludes of imperfection and does not always leave any mark of them. Their aberration is similar to the ashy skeleton of a piece of burnt cloth which, though retaining the old shape, is useless. Again, the intervals of Realisation have an abiding effect on their lives, so that the world does not continue to enthral them as heretofore. A dye applied to the border of a cloth 'creeps' and shades the body of the cloth also.

"The middle class of jnanis are never deluded by their bodies. Delusion is the false identification of 'I' with the body; this never arises with the more advanced jnanis, namely the middle class among them. Identification of the Self with the body is attachment to the body. The middle class of jnanis are never attached to the body. Their minds are mostly dead because of their long practice and continued austerities. They are not engaged in work because they are entirely self-possessed. Just as a man moves or speaks in sleep without being aware of his actions, so also this class of yogi does enough work for his minimum requirements without being aware of it. Having transcended the world, he behaves like a drunken man. But he is aware of his actions. His body continues on account of his vasanas (predispositions) and destiny. Jnanis of the highest class do not identify the Self with the body but remain completely detached from their bodies. Their work is like that of a charioteer driving the chariot, who never identifies himself with the chariot. Similarly the jnani is not the body nor the actor; he is pure intelligence. Though entirely detached from action within, to the spectator he seems to be active. Her performs his part like an actor in a drama; and plays with the world as a parent does with a child.

55-56. "Of the two higher orders of jnanis, the one remains steadfast through his sustained practice and control of mind, whereas the other is so on account of the force of his discrimination and investigation. The difference lies in the merits of their intellect, I shall now relate to you a story in this connection.

57-79. "There was formerly a king by name Ratnangada ruling in the City of Amrita on the banks of the Vipasa. He had two sons Rukmangada and Hemangada both wise and good and dearly loved of their father. Of them Rukmangada was well versed in the Sastras and Hemangada was a jnani of the highest order. On one occasion both of them went out on a hunting expedition into a dense forest, followed by their retinue. They accounted for many a deer, tigers, hares, bisons, etc., and being thoroughly exhausted, they rested beside a spring. Rukmangada was informed by some persons that there was a Brahmarakshas (a species of ghoulish spirit of a learned but degenerate Brahmin) close by, who was very learned, accustomed to challenge pandits for discussion, vanquish them and then eat them. Since Rukmangada loved learned disputations, he went with his brother to the ghoul and engaged him in argument. He was however defeated in the debate and so the ghoul caught hold of him to devour him. Seeing it, Hemangada said to the ghoul, 'O Brahmarakshas, do not eat him yet! I am his younger brother. Defeat me also in argument so that you may eat us both together.' The ghoul answered, I have long been without food. Let me first finish this long-wished for prey, and then I shall defeat you in debate and complete my meal with you. I hope to make a hearty meal of you both.

"Once I used to catch any passerby and eat him. A disciple of Vasishta, by name Devarata, once came this way and he cursed me, saying, 'May your mouth be burnt if you indulge in human prey any more.' I prayed to him with great humility and he condescended to modify his curse thus: 'You may eat such as are defeated by you in debate.' Since then I have been adhering to his words. I have now waited so long for prey that this is very dear to me. I shall deal with you after finishing this.'

'Saying so, he was about to eat the brother; but Hemangada again interceded, saying, 'O Brahmarakshas, I pray you kindly accede to my request. Tell me if you would relinquish my brother if other food were found for you. I will redeem my brother in that way if you will allow it.' But the ghoul replied, saying. 'Listen, King! there is no such price for redemption. I will not give him up. Does a man let his long wished for food slip away from his hold? However I shall tell you now a vow which I have taken. There are many questions deeply afflicting my mind. If you can answer them satisfactorily, I shall release your brother.' Then Hemangada asked the ghoul to mention the questions so that he might answer them. The ghoul then put him the following very subtle questions which I shall repeat to you, Parasurama! They are:

80. "What is more extensive than space and more subtle than the subtlest? What is its nature? Where does it abide? Tell me, Prince."

81. "Listen, Spirit! Abstract Intelligence is wider than space and subtler than the subtlest. Its nature is to glow and it abides as the Self."

82. "How can it be wider than space, being single? or how is it subtler than the subtlest? What is that glow? and what is that Self? Tell me, Prince."

83. "Listen, Spirit! Being the material cause of all, intelligence is extensive though single; being impalpable, it is subtle. Glowing obviously implies consciousness and that is the Self."

84. Spirit: "Where and how is Chit (Abstract Intelligence) to be realised and what is the effect?"

85. Prince: "The intellectual sheath must be probed for its realisation. One-pointed search for it reveals its existence. Rebirth is overcome by such realisation."

86. Spirit: "What is that sheath and what is concentration of mind? Again what is birth?"

87. Prince: "The intellectual sheath is the veil drawn over Pure Intelligence; it is inert by itself. One-pointedness is abiding as the Self. Birth is the false identification of the Self with the body."

88. Spirit: "Why is that Abstract Intelligence which is ever shining not realised? What is the means by which it can be realised? Why did birth take place at all?"

89. Prince: "Ignorance is the cause of non-realisation. Self realises the Self; there is no external aid possible. Birth originated through the sense of doership."

90. Spirit: "What is that ignorance of which you speak? What is again the Self? Whose is the sense of doership?"

91. Prince: "Ignorance is the sense of separateness from consciousness and false identification with the nonself. As for the Self, the question must be referred to the Self in you. The ego or the 'I-thought' is the root of action.

92. Spirit: "By what means is ignorance to be destroyed? How is the means acquired? What leads to such means?"

93. Prince: "Investigation cuts at the root of ignorance. Dispassion develops investigation. Disgust of the pleasures of life generates dispassion towards them."

94. Spirit: "What is investigation, dispassion or disgust in pleasures?"

95. Prince: "Investigation is analysis conducted within oneself, discriminating the non-self from the Self, stimulated by a stern, strong and sincere desire to realise the Self. Dispassion is non-attachment to surroundings. This results if the misery consequent on attachment is kept in mind."

96. Spirit: "What is the root cause of the whole series of these requirements?"

97. Prince: "Divine Grace is the root cause of all that is good. Devotion to God alone can bring down His Grace. This devotion is produced and developed by association with the wise. That is the prime cause of all."

98. Spirit: "Who is that God? What is devotion to Him? Who are the wise?"

99. Prince: "God is the master of the Cosmos. Devotion is unwavering love for Him. The wise are those who abide in Supreme Peace and melt with love for all."

100. Spirit: "Who is always in the grip of fear, Who of misery, Who of poverty?"

101. Prince: "Fear holds a man possessed of enormous wealth; misery, of large family; and poverty, of insatiable desires."

102. Spirit: "Who is fearless? Who is free from misery? Who is never needy?"

103. Prince: "The man with no attachments is free from fear; the one with controlled mind is free from misery; the Self-realised man is never needy."

104. Spirit: "Who is he that passes men's understanding and is visible though without a body? What is the action of the inactive?"

105. Prince: "The man emancipated here and now passes men's understanding; he is seen though he does not identify himself with the body; his actions are those of the inactive."

106. Spirit: "What is real? What is unreal? What is inappropriate? Answer these questions and redeem your brother."

107. Prince: "The subject (i.e., the Self) is real; the object (i.e., the non-self) is unreal; worldly transactions are inappropriate.

"I have now answered your questions. Please release my brother at once."

108. "When the Prince had finished, the ghoul released Rukmangada with pleasure and himself appeared metamorphosed as a Brahmin.

109. "Seeing the figure of the Brahmin full of courage and tapas (penance), the two princes asked him who he was.

110-112. "'I was formerly a Brahmin of Magadha. My name is Vasuman. I was famous for my learning and known as an invincible debater. I was proud of myself and sought the assembly of those learned pandits who collected in my country under royal patronage. There was among them a great saint, perfect in wisdom and entirely Self-possessed. He was known as Ashtaka. I went there for love of debate. Though I was a mere logician, I argued against his statement on Self-Realisation, by sheer force of logic. He backed his arguments by profuse quotations from the holy scriptures. Since I was out to win laurels, I continued to refute him. Finding me incorrigible, he kept silent. However, one of his disciples, descendant of Kasyapa lineage, was enraged at my audacity and cursed me before the king, saying: 'You chip of a Brahmin! How dare you refute my Master without first understanding his statements? May you at once become a ghoul and remain so for a long time."

"'I shook with fear at the imprecation and took refuge at the feet of the sage Ashtaka. Being always Self-possessed, he took pity on me though I had figured as his opponent just before; and he modified his disciple's curse by pronouncing an end to it as follows: 'May you resume your old shape as soon as a wise man furnishes appropriate answers to all the questions which were raised here by you, answered by me but refuted by your polemics'.

"O Prince! You have now released me from that curse. I therefore consider you as the best among men, knowing all that pertains to life here and beyond."

"The princes were astonished at that story of his life.

123-124. "The Brahmin asked Hemangada further questions and became further enlightened. Then the princes returned to their city after saluting the Brahmin.

"I have now told you everything, O Bhargava!"

Thus ends the chapter on the Episode of the Ghoul in Tripura Rahasya.



1-4. After Sri Dattatreya had finished, Parasurama asked again respectfully: "Lord, what further did that Brahmin ask Hemangada and how did the latter enlighten him? The account is very interesting and I desire to hear it in full." Then Sri Datta, the Lord of Mercy, continued the story: Vasuman asked Hemangada as follows:

5-8. "Prince! I shall ask you a question. Please answer me. I learnt about the Supreme Truth from Ashtaka and later from you. You are a sage; but still, how is it that you go out hunting? How can a sage be engaged in work? Work implies duality; wisdom is non-duality; the two are thus opposed to each other. Please clear this doubt of mine."

Thus requested, Hemangada told the Brahmin as follows:

9-14. "O Brahmin! Your confusion owing to ignorance has not yet been cleared up. Wisdom is eternal and natural. How can it be contradicted by work? Should work make wisdom ineffective, how can wisdom be useful any more than a dream? No eternal good is possible in that case. All this work is dependent on Self-awareness (i.e., wisdom). Being so, can work destroy wisdom and yet remain in its absence? Wisdom is that consciousness in which this world with all its phenomena and activities is known to be as an image or series of images; duality essential for work is also a phenomenon in that non-dual awareness.

"There is no doubt that a man realises the Self only after purging himself of all thoughts, and that he is then released from bondage, once for all. Your question has thus no basis and cannot be expected of the wise."

Then the Brahmin continued further:

15-16. "True, O Prince! I have also concluded that the Self is pure, unblemished Intelligence. But how can it remain unblemished when will arises in it ? Will is modification of the Self, giving rise to confusion similar to that of a snake in a coil of rope."

17-26. "Listen, O Brahmin! You do not yet clearly distinguish confusion from clarity. The sky appears blue to all alike whether they know that space is colourless or not. Even the one who knows speaks of the 'blue sky' but is not himself confused. The ignorant man is confused whereas the man who knows is not. The latter's seeming confusion is harmless like a snake that is dead. His work is like images in a mirror. There lies the difference between a sage and an ignorant man. The former has accurate knowledge and unerring judgment, whereas the latter has a blurred conception and his judgment is warped. Knowledge of Truth never forsakes a sage although he is immersed in work. All his activities are like reflections in a mirror for, being Self-realised, ignorance can no longer touch him.

"Wrong knowledge due to sheer ignorance can be corrected by true knowledge; but wrong knowledge due to fault cannot be so easily corrected. So long as there is myopia, the eyesight will be blurred and many images of a single object will be seen. Similarly, so long as there is the prarabdha (residual past karma) unaccounted for, the manifestation of the world will continue for the Jnani, though only as a phenomenon. This will also vanish as soon as the prarabdha has played itself out and then pure, unblemished Intelligence alone will remain. Therefore I tell you, there is no blemish attached to a Jnani though he appears active and engaged in worldly duties."

Having heard this, the Brahmin continued to ask:

27. "O Prince! How can there be any residue of past karma in a Jnani? Does not Jnana burn away all karma as fire does a heap of camphor?"

28-29. Then Hemangada replied: "Listen Brahmin! The three kinds of karma (1) mature (prarabdha), (2) pending (agami) and (3) in store (sancita) are common to all not excluding the Jnani. The first of these alone remains for the Jnani and the other two are burnt away.

30. "Karma matures by the agency of time; such is divine law. When mature, it is bound to yield its fruits.

31. "The karma of the one who is active after Self-realisation, is rendered ineffective by his wisdom.

32. "Karma already mature and now yielding results is called prarabdha: it is like an arrow already shot from a bow which must run its course until its momentum is lost."

Note. Prarabdha must bear fruits and cannot be checked by realisation of the Self. But there is no enjoyment of its fruits by the realised sage.

33-35. "Environments are only a result of prarabdha: notwithstanding they seem the same for all, Jnanis react to them differently according to their own stages of realisation.

"Pleasure and pain are apparent to the least among the sages, but do not leave any mark on them as they do on the ignorant; pleasure and pain operate on the middle class of sages in the same way; however, they react only indistinctly to their surroundings, as a man in sleep does to a gentle breeze or to an insect creeping over him; pleasure and pain are again apparent to the highest among the sages, who however look upon them as unreal like a hare growing horns.

36. "The ignorant anticipate pleasure and pain before enjoyment, recapitulate them after enjoyment, and reflect over them, so that they leave a strong impression on their minds.

37. "Jnanis of the lowest order also enjoy pleasure and pain like the ignorant, but their remembrance of such experiences is frequently broken up by intervals of realisation. Thus the worldly enjoyments do not leave an impression on their minds.

38. "Jnanis of the middle class, accustomed to control their minds by long-continued austerities, keep their minds in check even while enjoying pleasure and pain, and thus their response to the world is as indistinct as that of a man in sleep to a gentle breeze playing on him or an ant creeping over his body.

39-41. "Jnanis of the highest order are left untouched for they always remain as the burnt skeleton of a cloth (retaining its old shape but useless) after their realisation. Just as an actor is not really affected by the passions which he displays on the stage, so also this Jnani, always aware of his perfection, is not affected by the seeming pleasures and pains which he regards as a mere illusion like the horns of a hare.

42. "The ignorant are not aware of the pure Self; they see it always blemished and hence they believe in the reality of objective knowledge and are therefore affected by the pleasures and pains of life.

43-49. "As for the lowest order of Jnanis, these realise the Self off and on, and spells of ignorance overtake them whenever overcome by their predispositions, they look upon the body as the SELF and the world as real. They are often able to over-ride the old tendencies, and thus there is a struggle between wisdom and ignorance each of them prevailing alternatively. The Jnani ranges himself on the side of wisdom and fights against ignorance until falsity is thoroughly blown out, and truth prevails. Therefore Jnana is indivisible.

50-57. "Forgetfulness of the Self never overtakes a middle class Jnani and wrong knowledge never possesses him. However he of his own accord brings out some predispositions from his own depths in order to maintain his body according to prarabdha. This is the conduct of an accomplished Jnani.

As for the aspirant, there is no forgetfulness of the Self so long as he is engaged in practising samadhi. But the accomplished Jnani is always unforgetful of the Self and picks out his own predispositions according to his own choice.

"The highest Jnani makes no difference between samadhi and worldly transactions. He never finds anything apart from the Self and so there is no lapse for him.

"The middle order Jnani is fond of samadhi and voluntarily abides in it. There is accordingly a lapse, however slight, when he is engaged in worldly affairs, or even in the maintenance of his body.

"On the other hand, the Jnani of the highest order involuntarily and naturally abides in samadhi and any lapse is impossible for him under any circumstances.

"But the Jnani of the middle order or of the highest order has no tinge of karma left in him because he is in perfection and does not perceive anything apart from the Self.

How can there be anything of karma left when the wild fire of Jnana is raging consuming all in its way?

Commentary. Karma is inferred by the onlooker according to his own ideas of pleasure or pain-giving experiences for the Jnani, hence the previous statement that prarabdha remains over without being destroyed by Jnana. That holds true for the lowest order of Jnanis and not to the rest. The fruit is that which is enjoyed; Jnanis of the highest order do not partake of pleasure or pain. For they are in samadhi and that does not admit of such enjoyments; when arisen from samadhi the objects (i.e., non-self) are known to be like images in a mirror, and the conscious principle of the seer and sight is equally known to be the Self. Just as the images are not apart from the mirror, so there in no non-Self apart from the Self; therefore pleasure and pain are not alien to the Self. That which is not alien need not be traced to another cause namely karma (prarabdha). The ideas of pleasure and pain in others need not be foisted on to Jnanis and explanations sought with the result of positing prarabdha in them. The Jnani never says 'I am happy'; 'I am miserable'; then why should prarabdha be imagined in his case? The least among Jnanis is apt to relax from the realisation of the Self and then he gets mixed up with the world at intervals when he appropriates pleasure or pain. The conjecture of prarabdha is significant in his case but not in the case of other orders of Jnanis.

The lowest state of Jnana is open to the doubt whether such Jnana as is obstructed off and on, betokens emancipation. Some agree that it does not. But realisation of the Self occurs simultaneously with the raising of the veil of ignorance. This veil is destroyed whereas the outgoing tendency viksepa drags on a little longer. Prarabdha runs out after yielding its results. No residue is left for re-incarnation; nor are there the other stocks of karma to draw upon for perpetuating bewilderment. His mind perishes with the body as fire dies out for want of fuel. In the absence of a body the Realisation of the Self must assert itself and emancipate the being.

There is still another class of men whose Jnana is contradicted by worldly pursuits. That is no Jnana in the true sense; it is only a semblance of it.

Difference among the different orders Jnani simple and Jnanis - Jivanmuktas is perceptible to onlookers in this life. The Jnanis do not reincarnate.

Since they are found to be active sometimes or at all times, the onlooker requires an explanation and conjuctures the residue of prarabdha as is the case with ordinary men. Otherwise their apparent pleasures and pains would be as if accidental, which is not acceptable to the philosopher. So, all this discussion about prarabdha to Jnanis.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita no doubt says "One is reborn in environments consistent with the thought uppermost in one's mind while dying." The statement applies to others and not to Jnanis. As for Jnanis, the following are said in other scriptures.

1. Jnani has the root of misery cut off at the instant of realising the Self. It is immaterial for him if he dies in a holy spot, or in foul surroundings, remaining aware, or overtaken by coma, just before death. He is emancipated all the same.

2. Unmistakably realising Siva even once by a Master's advice, by scriptural statements or by inference, there could no longer remain any tinge of obligatory duty on his part because he is emancipated.

58. "Such karma is only a trick believed to be true by the onlooker. I shall explain this point further.

59-62. "The state of the Jnani is said to be identical with that of Siva. There is not the least difference between them. Therefore karma cannot besmear a Jnani."

"Vasuman had all his doubts cleared by this discourse of Hemangada. He had a clear understanding of true realisation. Vasuman and the prince saluted each other and returned to their respective places."

Having heard all this, Parasurama asked Sri Datta still further:

63-65. "Master! I have heard your holy words regarding Realisation and Wisdom. My doubts are now cleared. I now understand the non-dual state of abstract consciousness pervading all and abiding in the Self. Nevertheless, kindly tell me the essence of the whole discourse in a few words so that I may always remember them."

66-68. Thus requested, Sri Datta again resumed:

"That which abides as the Self is Pure Intelligence Transcendental being comprised of the aggregate of all the egos in perfection. She is Self-contained, and fills the role of Maya by virtue of Her own prowess. Being one without a second. She makes even the impossible happen and thus displays the Universe as a series of images in a mirror. I shall now tell you how.

Commentary: Perfect ego: Ego in Perfection: 'I-I' consciousness. Some distinctive characteristics have to be admitted in order to distinguish consciousness from inertia. Consciousness amounts to a flash of pure intelligence. It is of two kinds: (1) The subject and (2) the object. The latter of these is dependent on the former for its very existence; therefore the manifestation as 'I' is alone admissible. 'I' is imperfect when it is limited to the body or other similar entities, because time and space have their being in pure intelligence, or awareness as 'I-I', which is thus perfect. Nothing can possibly surpass and yet it is all these; therefore it is the aggregate of all the egos. Nevertheless, consciousness is distinguished from inertia for the sake of preliminary instruction, so that the disciple may become conversant with the real nature of the Self. She is transcendental and also non-dual.

The self is the subject, and non-self is the object. She is also the individual egos falsely identified with bodies. She is Ego in perfection, while abiding as pure Consciousness. This is the nature of Abstract Intelligence.

This unbroken 'I-I' consciousness remains before creation as will, self-sufficient and independent in nature and is also called Svatantra. She turns into action (kriya) during creation and is called Maya.

Creation is not vibration or metamorphosis; it is a mere projection of images like those in a mirror. Because Sakti cannot be reached by time and much less broken up by it, she is eternal; so it follows that the universe has no origin.

69-71. "She who is transcendence, awareness perfection and total-summation of all egos, of Her own Will divides Herself into two. Imperfection is concomitant with such scission; there is bound to be an insentient phase which represents the aforesaid exterior or unmanifested void. The sentient phase is Sadashiva Tattva."

Note. This is called Ishvara in the Upanishads.

72. "Now Sadashiva, also not being perfect, sees the unmanifest void (i.e., the sentient phase becomes aware of the insentient phase) but yet knows it to be of Himself feeling 'I am this also'."

Note. The sentient phase is called Ishvara; and the insentient phase is called Maya or Avidya, in the Upanisads.

73-90. "Later Sadashiva identifies the insentient phase with His body at the time of starting Creation. Then he goes by the name Ishvara. Now this contaminated Higher Ego, namely Ishvara, divides Himself into the three aspects Rudra, Vishnu and Brahma (representing the modes of Ego associated with the three qualities darkness, brightness and activity) who in their turn manifest the cosmos consisting of many worlds. Brahmas are innumerable, all of whom are engaged in creating worlds; Vishnus are equally taken up in protecting the worlds; and the Rudras in destroying them. This is the way of creation. But all of them are only images in the grand mirror of Abstract Consciousness.

"These are only manifest, but are not concrete, since they have never been created.

"The Supreme Being is always the sum-total of all the egos. Just as you fill the body and identify yourself with different senses and organs without deviating from the Ego, so does the transcendental Pure Intelligence similarly identify itself with all beginning from Sadashiva and ending with the minutest protoplasm, and yet remains single.

Again, just as you cannot taste anything without the aid of the tongue, nor apprehend other things without the aid of other senses or organs, so also the supreme Being (Sadashiva) acts and knows through the agency of Brahma, etc., and even of worms. Just as your conscious Self remains pure and unqualified although it forms the basis of all the activities of limbs, organs and senses, so also the Supreme Intelligence is unaffected though holding all the Egos within Herself. She is not aware of any distinctions in the vastness of the cosmos nor does She make difference among the Egos.

"In this manner, the Cosmos shines in Her like images in a mirror. The shining of the Cosmos is due to Her reflection. In the same way, the individuals in the world, namely you, I, and other seers are all flashes of Her consciousness. Since all are only phases of Supreme Intelligence, that alone will shine in purity bereft of taints or impediments in the shape of objects.

"Just as the shining mirror is clear when images no longer appear in it, and the same mirror remains untainted even when the images are reflected in it, so also Pure Intelligence subsists pure and untainted whether the world is seen or not.

91-92. "This untainted Supreme Intelligence is one without a second and filled with Bliss, because totally free from the least trace of unhappiness. The sum-total of all happiness of all the living beings has taken shape as the Supreme One because She is obviously desired by all; and she is no other than the Self, which consists of pure Bliss, because the Self is the most beloved of every being.

93. "For the sake of the Self people discipline their bodies and subdue their desires; all sensual pleasures are mere sparks of Bliss inherent in the Self.

Note. Spiritual men are known to lead abstemious lives, to deny ordinary comforts to their bodies and even to torture them, in order that they may secure a happy existence after death. Their actions clearly prove their love of the Self surviving the body, this life, etc. Their hope of future bliss further establishes the unique beatific nature of the Self, surpassing sensual pleasures which might be indulged in here and now.

94. "For sensual pleasures are similar to a sense of relief felt on unburdening oneself of a crushing load, or to the peace of sleep. Pure Intelligence is indeed Bliss because it is the only one sought for."

Commentary. Bliss is Self. Objects are thoughts taking concrete forms; thoughts arise from the thinker; the thinker connotes intelligence. If the thinker be purged of even the least trace of thought, individuality is lost and abstract intelligence alone is left. Nothing else is admissible in the circumstances.

Since it is ultimate reality, synonymous with emancipation or immortality, there must be beatitude in it in order that it may be sought. It, in fact, is compact with Bliss, yea, dense Bliss alone.

How? Because, the contrary, (i.e., unhappiness) is associated with the exterior; it appears and disappears. Such cannot be the case if unhappiness formed part of the Self. Pleasure might similarly be said to be associated with the body, the senses, possessions, etc. However a little thought will convince one that these so-called enjoyments are meant for the Self. So the Self is that which matters, and nothing else. But every little being always seeks pleasure. Thus pleasure is the Self.

But sensual pleasure is quite obvious, whereas the Bliss of Self is purely imaginary, because it is not similarly experienced. The scriptures must be cited against this contention. The Scriptures say that all the sensual pleasures do not together amount to a particle of the inherent bliss of Self. Just as unlimited space, or just as consciousness is unknown when pure, but becomes manifest in its associated state as objects around e.g., a pot for fetching water-so also Bliss in purity is not enjoyable, but the same becomes enjoyable when broken up as sensual pleasures. This is the truth of the Scriptural statement.

One may contend that the Self is not Bliss but it seeks Bliss. If it were true, why should there be happiness in relieving oneself of a crushing load? This is perceptible at the instant of relief and similar happiness pervails in dreamless slumber. In these two instances, there are no positive sources of pleasure and yet there it is. This pleasure is however real since it is within one's experience and cannot also be avoided. Therefore it must be of the nature of Self. Still, this pleasure may be said to be relief from pain and not true pleasure. If so, why does a person awakened from sleep say "I slept happily"? The person has felt happiness in sleep. There are no happenings associated with that happiness; it is pure and must be of the nature of Self. Otherwise, even the worst savage of an animalcule would not relish sleep nor indeed long for it.

The question arises! If bliss be of the Self, why is it not always felt? The answer is that the inherent bliss is obstructed by desire, obligations and predispositions of the mind, just as the perennial sound arising from within is not heard owing to the interference of external sounds but is perceived when the ears are plugged. The pain of the load predominates for the time-being over the other natural painful dispositions of the mind and disappears at the instant of unburdening. During the interval before the other dispositions laying latent rise up to the surface, there is peace for an infinitesimal moment and that is the true Self coincide with pleasure. Other sensual pleasures are also to be explained in the same way. There is an infinite variety of predispositions laying dormant in the heart, ready to spring up at the right moment. They are always like thorns in the pillow. When one of them sticks out, it predominates over the others and grips the mind. Its manifestation takes the shape of an intense desire. Its prevalence is painful in proportion to its intensity. When that subsides on fulfilment, the pain disappears, and calm prevails for an infinitesimal period, until the next predisposition appears. This interval represents the pleasure associated with the fulfilment of desire. Thus every one's rush for enjoyment betrays the search for Self of course, unawares and confused. If asked why no one seems to know the real genesis of bliss, the answer is overwhelming ignorance born of associating the pleasure with such incidents. The opinion prevails that pleasure is caused by such and such, and is destroyed on their disappearance. The fact is that pleasure is simply the Self, and eternal.

95. "People do not recognise the Bliss inhering as their Self, because of their ignorance. They always associate pleasure with incidents.

96-98. "Furthermore, just as images in a mirror are associated with objects, ignoring the presence of the reflecting surface, but after consideration are found to be dependent on the mirror and not apart from it, and the mirror is found to be untainted by the reflected images, so also the sages know the Self alone to be unique, real and untainted by its own projections, namely, the world, etc.

99. "The relation of the Cosmos to Pure Intelligence, i.e., abstract Self, is like that of a pot to earth, or of an ornament to gold, or of sculpture to the granite rock.

100. "O Parasurama! Denial of the existence of the world does not amount to perfection. Denial is absurd. For, it implies intelligence, and intelligence displays itself as the universe.

101. "The intelligence denying or admitting the world is there shining over all! Can the world be erased out of existence by mere denial of it?"

Note. Here the point is that the Absolute is alone real and remains ever absolute, notwithstanding the concrete modifications which are no better than images in a mirror, not tainting it, nor existing apart from it. All are real, but real in their abstraction.

102. "Just as the images appear in a mirror and partake of its nature, so also the Cosmos is of and in the Self, and real inasmuch as it is the Self."

Note. The world is not real as an object and apart from the Self.

103-105. "This wisdom in perfection is the realisation of all as the Self. Intelligence appears as objects by its own virtue, as a mirror appears as the images on it. This is the whole essence of the sastras. There is no bondage, no liberation, no aspirant, no process of attainment. The transcendental Conscious Principle alone subsists in the three states of being. She remains as the one uniform, absolute being. She is ignorance; She is wisdom; She is bondage; She is liberation and She is the process therefor.

106. "This is all that need be known, understood and realised. There is nothing more. I have told you all in order."

The Sage Harithayana concluded:

107-111. "The man who knows it rightly will never be overtaken by misery. O Narada! Such is the section on Wisdom, recondite with reason, subtlety, and experience. Should any one not gain wisdom after hearing or reading it but continue to wallow in ignorance, he should be put down as nothing more than a stock or a stone. What hope is there for him?

"Hearing it even once must make a man truly wise; he is sure to become wise. Sin or obstruction to wisdom is destroyed by reading it; wisdom dawns on hearing it. Writing, appreciating and discussing its contents respectively destroys the sense of duality, purifies the mind and reveals the abiding Truth.

112. "She goes by the name of Emancipation when clearly and directly realised by investigation as the one undivided Self of all; otherwise, She goes by the name of Bondage. She is the one Consciousness threading the three states of being, but untainted and unbroken by them. She is the sound, word and the significance of Hrim."

Thus ends the concluding Chapter in the most Sacred Itihasa Tripura Rahasya.


to Chapter V


The Story will be clear if recast as follows according to the commentator's foot-notes:

Before creation, my mother namely, Pure Intelligence gave me (the individual soul) a companion named Intellect (whose origin cannot be investigated but who yet remains as the subtle body enabling the individual to partake of pleasures and pains). Intellect is lost at death but reappears as if from nowhere at the time of rebirth. Intellect is bright and shining by nature and remains untainted. She is later associated with a wicked friend, viz. Ignorance, who made my friend wander away from me and be outward bent. The subtle intruder remained unnoticed by my mother (because intellect becoming outward turned, had forsaken Pure Intelligence). Intellect was enticed by ignorance and got entangled in objective phenomena. Discriminative faculty was at an ebb and the ego identified itself with intellectual activities. (Individuality disappears with the disappearance of Intellect. Hence they cannot remain without each other.) She by virtue of her innate purity held me in her grip. Therefore I could never forsake her. Intellect constantly associating with Ignorance (Avidya) came more and more under her sway until her friend of wonderful powers persuaded her to seek pleasures, celestial or otherwise (although foreign to oneself), so that she (Intellect) came under the influence of her (Ignorance) son Delusion with whom she trysted in secret. She could not however elude my presence at any time (for Intellect shines only by individual consciousness). I too became deluded on account of my friendship with her. My friend had in course of time borne a son who took after his father in every respect. His wicked nature developed in full as he grew up and he was marked by unsteadiness (that was Mind). He had extraordinary ability and was unchecked in his flights of passage. But his activities were only according to the qualities inherited from his father or paternal grandmother (i.e., always ignorant and silly). Intellect was thus dragged by dark forces until she became clouded in darkness. She was gradually losing interest in me (pure Consciousness) who however loved her, altruistically and continued to do so. (That is to say consciousness is necessary for intellectual perceptions be they ignorant or wise). Because of my ceaseless company with Intellect, Delusion tried to overpower me, but I remained pure. Still, the phantasmagoria pertaining to Intellect were attributed to me individual Consciousness. Such is the ignorance of common people. The mind became more and more associated with me as intellect almost totally ignored me and identified herself with delusion. As the mind grew up in company with Consciousness, his powers manifested more and more. He with his grandmother's permission (i.e., guided by ignorance) took Changeful for his wife. Mind enjoyed himself with her because she could satisfy him in every way. The five senses were born of this couple. These Senses too flourished on account of me (individual Consciousness) until they were able to stand on their own legs. The senses functioned in the sensory organ and their father Mind was able to project himself through them and enjoy himself thoroughly.

His enjoyments gave him pleasure just at the moment, and left their impressions on him, which he took with him in order to manifest them in dream and enjoy them secretly with his wife, unknown to the gross senses.

Desire possessed the mind and fed him to his entire satisfaction. His desire grew more and more until neither he nor all his associates could satisfy Desire. Constant association of Mind with Desire gave rise to Passion and Greed (the two sons of the second wife). Desire was exceedingly fond of her two sons. Mind was however tortured by these two sons.

Mind's misery was reflected in the Intellect. I (the individual Consciousness) was completely hidden behind the dark and active forces dragging the intellect along and appeared moribund. Suffering thus for untold ages, the mind lost all initiative and was in the clutches of Desire. Then he gained at the time of creation, a city of ten gates namely the body with ten outlets (two eyes, two ears, two nasal passages, mouth, and urinary and faecal passages and brahmarandhra, an opening in the skull). The same old story of misery was repeated in the new incarnation and was often worse. Intellect having in the meantime lost the satvic quality of brightness, did not shine well, and was torpid.

Mind continued to flourish in the company of Ignorance, Delusion and Desire, etc. Intellect could not eschew Mind on the one hand nor function in my absence. We all lived there together. Had I not been there, no one else could have lived in the city. I was protecting them all. On account of my intimacy with Intellect, I became nescient at times, foolish at others, unsteady, vacillating, angry, contemptible. etc. Therefore ignorant people put me down in the same category as Intellect. But the sages know that I have never been tainted. My genesis proves it. My mother is most virtuous, pure, not the least blemished, more extensive than space and subtler than even the subtlest, because she is immanent in all and sundry. Being omniscient, she is of limited knowledge also; that is to say, she is transcendental and individualised self; being omnipotent, she is fragile too; being the prop of all, she has no prop; being of all shapes, she has no shape (like a mirror reflecting forms); being all inclusive, she owns nothing; being the conscious Principle here and now, she is uncognisable; she has no lineage extending beyond Herself. Her daughters like me are too numerous to reckon.

My sisters are infinite in number, like waves on the sea. All of them are involved like myself in their companion's affairs. Though so enmeshed in Intellect, I am still equal to my mother in every respect because I possess the unique talisman to save me from being tainted.

To return to my life in the city, whenever Mind was fatigued, he used to sleep on his mother Intellect's lap. When he slept, none of his sons or others could be awake. The city was then guarded by his intimate friend, Breath. Then Intellect with all her family used to be clouded by Ignorance - her mother-in-law and then I (individual Consciousness) being free from all trammels used to repair to my mother (i.e., Fulness) and remain in bliss. But I was obliged to come away as soon as the inhabitants of the city awoke.

Mind's friend Breath pervaded the whole city and protected all the citizens in every way. They would be scattered away if he were not there. He was the link between them and me. He derived his strength and powers from me. When that city fell to ruin, he would collect them all and pass with them to another city. Mind thus reigned in several places, with the aid of his friend (this refers to reincarnation).

Though befriended by Breath, though born of virtuous Intellect and though brought up by me, Mind was always wallowing in misery because he was wedded to his two incorrigible and insatiate wives, associated with the two wicked sons Greed and Anger and was swinging to and fro on account of the other five sons the Senses. He could find no rest and was manipulated by them, so that he found himself in forests, in wilderness, in torrid heat or frigid cold, in cess-pools, in dark caverns, etc. in short, in different kinds of hell.

His miseries reflected on Intellect; and I too being associated with her, was involved in their woes. Who can indeed avoid the evils of bad company?

On one occasion, Intellect sought my advice in secret (i.e., when accidently free from thoughts). I advised dispassionate conduct to her, by which she gained a good husband Discrimination. She grew stronger, gathered courage to subdue to the Mind and kill Greed, Lust and Anger. The other five sons of his namely, the Senses were imprisoned. Soon after, she became loyal to me and finally united with me (i.e., gained nirvikalpa samadhi). Thus she reached my mother's place Peace and Bliss.

This story illustrates that bondage and liberation are for Intellect only and not for the individual Consciousness, i.e., the Self.



Humble salutations to the Great Masters of all Ages!

Sri: Salutations to that Reality which inheres as the Self in all, from which all the creations are projected, in which they have their being and into which they are finally dissolved! Salutations to that Intelligence which inheres as the Self in all, from which the knower, knowledge and the known, the seer, sight and the seen, the doer, cause and deed, are manifested! Salutations to that Supreme Bliss which inheres as the Self in all, which constitutes the life of all and from whose unfathomable depths happiness is sprayed as fine particles in Heaven or on Earth (where on the sum-total of happiness is not equal to a particle of that unalloyed, natural Bliss). The Siddhas (invisible and immortal beings of the noblest order) proclaimed.

1. We adore that One which remains unfalteringly fixed, steady and eternal, which will not therefore admit of recurring births and deaths nor undergo modifications as this and that, and which is by unerring contemplation realised as one's own Self, from which certainly proceeds the chain of links of successive particles of happiness, seemingly derived from and wrongly associated with enjoyments, which are in their turn mere phenomena (viz., the ego and the world, or subject and object) reflected as images on the non-dual, unique and abstract consciousness, because they are found on rightly discriminating investigation to merge into the Absolute Self.

Some other Siddhas bring it nearer home as follows:

2. We adore That which is realised as the Self originating, and yet remaining as the untainted witness of the birth of the Ego, its thoughts and the world around by transcending the cogniser, cognition and the cognised objects pertaining to the wakeful and dream states as well as the ignorance pertaining to dreamless slumber and made up of the latent tendencies of the mind.

Some other Siddhas:

3. We adore That which is realised as the Light inhering as the Self and illumining all, abiding always as the Consciousness in the believer and the non-believer alike, before creation and after dissolution of the Cosmos and is between them too and lying hidden even in the successive links ceaselessly formulated as the original sources but rendered abortive by one conscious Self objectifying another in itself.

Note. Sloka 2 says the Reality is realised after eliminating all the triads. Some deny the same. There must be some conscious self to deny it. Again, if the original cause of creation be imagined to be as transient as the present creation, the enduring reality beyond the successive links cannot be denied. Or again, if a material cause be surmised, the efficient cause cannot be overlooked. The latter is imagined by the Self. The Self must be the ultimate reality.

4. We adore the Self as That in which all the worlds are fixed, of which they are, from which they emerge, for which they exist, by which all these are projected and for which they are in their being.

5. We adore the Self which shines formless as unbroken 'I-I' consciousness which transcends the ego, yet comprising all the Egos and entire knowledge. These after all make up the whole Cosmos.

6. Those who, ignoring the Lord of the Heart, go about seeking other gods, are like the fool who throws away from his hand the celestial gem (kaustubha) which fulfils all the desires of the possessor, and who then excavates the Earth in search of jewels.

Some Siddhas counsel Dispassion as follows:

7. The Lord of the Heart, who roots out the vigorously growing creeper bearing poisonous fruits of desires is gained after discarding everything as worthless.

8. That fool who, being aware of the evils of enjoyments, still runs after them, must not be deemed a man but be put down for an ass. (The male ass runs after the female, even though kicked by her.)

9. The serpents under the cover of the senses must forcibly be laid, as often as they raise their hoods and hiss for prey, like mountains mercilessly hit by the thunderbolt of Indra (the God of rain, thunder and lightning).

The other Siddhas hit on the cardinal points as follows:

10. Acquire the bliss of peace by reining in the senses and stilling the mind. The mind does not, in its womb, hold seeds of pain as sensual pleasures do, but purges itself of impurities because it merges in its source as fire does when not fed with fuel. On the mind becoming still and disappearing into the primal source of bliss, there arises the Supreme Peace which holds out till final emancipation.


to Chapter IV

O people, turn away from sensual enjoyments and betake yourselves to contemplating your own selves (rather the Self), because sensual enjoyments end only in misery. What is meant by the Self? By Self is meant Consciousness as shown by the Mahaa Vaakya, 'Prajnaanam Brahma.' The Prajnaanam (Consciousness) must be worshipped. Here worship does not mean external or ritual worship. What is it then? To be unshakingly fixed in the intuition 'I am Brahman' in accordance with the Sutra, 'the state intuited as I'. Objection: It is in other words to annihilate the body and its associates. Answer: Rather it is, 'Contemplate Consciousness to the exclusion of objects illumined by it.' Question: How? Answer: It means all objects being illumined by Consciousness do not exist on their own merit. They are only fancied to be, like the horns of a hare. Question: If non-existent like the hare's horns, how do they appear to view at all? Answer: Only Consciousness shines forth and no other. Question: If there is only Chit and nothing beside, how does it shine forth as body etc.? Answer: It is like images in a mirror. The real significance of the Agamas (the tantric texts) is this:

Consciousness is truly the Self (Subjective Reality) because it cannot be referred to by the word 'this'. The non-self alone can thus be referred to. Only that can be Self (Subjective Reality) which itself being one, runs continuously through the realms of old recollections and ever-new thoughts. Being pure Consciousness by nature it cannot admit of differentiation and is the same whether in gods, asuras or men etc. There cannot be the least doubt that time and space are not different from it since they remain immersed in it (that is, they cannot be conceived in the absence of Consciousness) and out of it they are non-existent like a hare's horn (that is, not existent).

Parama Siva spoken of in the Sastras is just this unbroken, uniform Consciousness, the Self. His own power known as Maya which can make the impossible possible, hiding her real identity and manifesting her impurity as avidyaa (ignorance), produces duality. Of this duality the perceptible (drisyam) has not its origin in Siva, like a sprout in its seed; nor is it a modification (parinaama) because the material forming it is not continuous in its source, like clay in utensils of clay; nor is it a super-imposition (vivarta) like a snake on a place of rope because the duality of the perceiver and the perceived (is not acceptable). What then? Just as a mirror remaining unaffected presents within itself pictures owing to its clarity. so also Chit presents by its own power the objects illumined by itself within itself. Nor should the doubt arise that just as a mirror requires corresponding external objects for reflection in itself, there must be an external world to correspond to the reflection in Chit. For, the external object does not form the material for its reflection but only effects it, like the wheel and the stick being the effective causes for producing a pot. The accessories are variable because the wheel is rotated by hand. Similarly it is not improper to consider Maayaa, Chit's own power, to be the effective cause for producing the perceptible (jagat) in Chit. No other explanation but that of reflection fits in for appearance of the perceptible in Chit. There cannot be an object external to Consciousness for it cannot be illumined (in order to be reflected). Nor does the world appear owing to its relation to Chit because this will lead to regressus ad infinitium. Also even in the absence of Chit the world must always be evident or not evident. All well-known objections have thus been refuted. For details consult Pratyabhijnaa etc. Therefore this doctrine of reflection alone is valid.

to Chapter VII

Illusion can be overcome only by a sincere, earnest and constant devotion to God. But the atheists deny God and His creation of the universe. Atheist: How does it follow that Iswara is the creator of jagat? Answer: Because the jagat is seen to be a kaarya. This is an artifact. Q.: True, a pot etc., are seen to be the products of work but not the mountains, oceans etc. A.: Because they consist of parts they must also have been made (created) by an unseen power. (Yat Saavayavam tat kaaryam iti tarkena). This is according to the axiom: What is with parts must be kaarya. Therefore the world etc., are creations only. Q.: Paramaanu (the fundamental subtle primary particle) and aakaasa (ether) have no parts. So the jagat exclusive of these two must be taken to be kaarya. A.: No to both. They that is, Paramaanu and aakaasa are kaarya because they are perceptible (knowable). Their being kaarya cannot be denied for the simple fact of their being impartible. They are known by inference. Many scriptural texts attest our position. They are (1) One God created the sky and the earth. (2) From the Self aakaasa came forth, etc. Here aakaasa implies other elements also. Owing to its knowability, the jagat must be a kaarya; being a kaarya there must be its kartaa (creator), and he must be now ascertained to be the creator of the universe. Q.: This applies to a pot and the potter because both are seen. Not so in the other case. A.: He is totally different from all other agents. For, the scripture says: "There was then (that is, before creation) neither Sat nor asat (anything nor nothing). There is no material with which to create this jagat; yet He did it; therefore He differs from all others. The Creator has now been established. Q.: Should the reasoning based on the aagamic texts that the jagat is a kaarya be upheld as impregnable, this should hold good for the reasoning based on Baarhaspatya Aagama also which declares that the loka has no creator but appears solely according to nature. A.: It is only a semblance of an aagama. Here are some extracts from it:

Earth, water, fire and air are the four elements perceived (by the senses) and no fifth element is so perceived. The loka is composed of varying combinations of these four elements and is also changing every moment, so that each successive modification of this assemblage is similar to the previous one. The loka is only of the nature of these combinations and it rests in itself. Just as a solution of sugar acquires intoxicating power so also the mixture of ova and semen in the womb acquires intellectual power capable of action and cognition. Just as the intoxicating liquor is called wine, so also the intellect-united body is called a purusha (man). Pleasure is the goal of man and it forms heaven whereas pain is called hell; they are both natural. Mixtures of these two form the routine of life (samsara). Just as the intoxication disappears after a time so also does the intellect; its total extinction is called moksha (liberation) by the wise. There is no heaven or hell to go to after death.

Such is the Chaarvaaka doctrine which has already been refuted by all other schools of thought. It has been said to be a semblance of aagama because it is opposed to all other aagamas. Now it will be shown to be opposed to everyone's experience also. Samsaara being an uninterrupted series of births, deaths, etc., is full of pain. Its root cause must be found and scotched. Samsaara thus ending. Supreme Bliss ensues and this is the supreme goal of man. Such is the belief of the seekers of liberation; this is supported by holy texts and logic. Such being the case, to admit direct perception as the only valid proof and to assert on its basis that death is the only goal, show the sastra to be a so-called sastra only. Therefore that aagama has not been admitted by wise men of discrimination to be helpful for gaining the supreme goal of man.

The Chaarvaaka asserting only svaatmanaasa to the goal of man should be asked, "what is meant by svaatamanaasa which you say is the goal? Is it the momentary loss or the loss of the series or the ordinary loss as understood by all? "It cannot be the first since according to you the intellect that is the Self is momentary; the goal is attained every moment and no effort is needed to attain it. The other two are impossible (consistently with your views). For, at the time of the dissolution of one's own self (svaatmanaasa) there would remain nothing to say one's own (svasya); therefore the loss of one's own self is unattainable and this ends in no purushaartha. If you say this very unattainability is itself the purushaartha, then it may even result in the loss of another self (because there is no syasya)!

Again, about the purushaartha of the loss of one's self (svaatmanaasa) is it established on any pramaana or is it not? If you say "not", it is non-existent like a hare's horn. If you say it is, on what pramaana? You admit only direct perception as proof. For this the object must be present here now. The past or the future cannot be proved according to you. You who admit only direct perception as proof, to say that the intellect is an effect similar to the intoxicating power of a solution of sugar is like saying "I have no tongue''. Your sastra was not given out by any all-knowing saint; it is dry and devoid of any reasoning. Having thus dealt with atheism, the Sankhya school of thought is next examined.

They are parinaama vaadis, i.e., they assert that the jagat was originally contained in its source in a subtle manner; therefore it was before, it is now and it will be hereafter (this is sad vaada). They say that the jagat was not created by an intelligent being; its source is the unintelligent principle, prakrti, in which its three constituent qualities satva, rajas and tamas were in equipoise. It is itself devoid of intelligence, and cannot therefore do anything intelligently; it is inert (jada). However, it does not require an extraneous agent to modify itself into the jagat unlike clay requiring a potter to change it into a pot. By itself it is modified into jagat and thus it forms the source of the jagat. This is in brief the godless Sankhya doctrine.

Further on, in prakrti's satva (bright aspect) it is dear like a mirror; so it can take in reflections of purusha, the intelligent principle and the reflection of the universe, the inert nature of its tamasic aspect. Owing to this union of the reflected seer and the seen, the purusha becomes associated with aviveka (the undiscriminating quality) of prakrti; so he feels 'I know the pot' (i.e., any object); this forms his wrong identity and this is just his samsaara. If however, by vichaara (investigation) he knows himself to be different from prakrti, prakrti abandons him at once like a thief who has been discovered; this is the end of his wrong identification and constitutes mukti. This is their belief.

According to their view the universe gets illumined by its relation to the Chit (purusha) reflected in prakrti. Regarding this reflected Chit, is it void of intelligence like its base prakrti, or is it intelligent by its own nature? In the former case, illumining the universe is impossible. If contended that even though inert it can still illumine, then the satva aspect of prakrti can serve the purpose and the reflected Chit is redundant. In the latter case there is no need for the reflected Chit, since direct relation with Chit itself will do. Nor can it be said that just as a mirror is unable by itself to illumine an object yet when sunlight is reflected on it, it illumines the object, so also the reflected Chit is needed; for, the sunlight does not require any medium as the mirror does for illumining objects. Nor can it be said that the reflected Chit partakes of the qualities of both prakrti and Chit, or is altogether different from either or from both of them. In the former case, it is impossible (like darkness and light being together) and in the latter case it is inconsistent with your doctrine (apasiddhaanta). Furthermore, prakrti naturally active in the presence of purusha cannot cease to be so after the accession of discrimination (viveka jnanottaram) for one's own nature cannot change. Therefore bondage cannot be overcome (by adopting your system).

We see that a pot etc., are formed by a potter etc., endowed with intelligence, for it is done according to a plan 'I will make such a pot in this manner.' Since intelligence is required to make a pot, the jagat cannot be the production of an unintelligent principle prakrti. The word 'unintelligent' is used deliberately to indicate that an image of a potter for instance cannot make a pot. The srutis declare, "He (God) thought: I shall create the world"; "I shall manifest names and forms etc." The Original Being thought and manifested the worlds with no constituent material at all, like a magician conjuring illusory objects. Hence the anumaana (inference) is perfectly valid; jagat buddhimat kartrukam kaaryatvat ghataadivat iti meaning the jagat has an intelligent maker because it is kaarya, as pot etc. This means that only an intelligent being can be the creator of the jagat and not the unintelligent principle prakrti.

Still more, in order to establish the inert prakrti as the creator of the jagat the Sankhya cannot show any illustration as a valid proof.

Well, I admit the jagat has an intelligent being for its creator. Sure, a potter is necessary to make a pot; similarly the jagat must have a creator but he need not be Paramesvara, the Lord of All. A.: He must be Paramesvara because of the surpassing wonder that the earth stands amidst the water and these repose in empty space etc. To accomplish such wonders the creator must have surpassingly wonderful powers. These powers must also be immeasurable and his capacity infinite. Therefore He must be different from any common artisan. We find each special work requires a specialist to do it. For the same reason the infinite universe should have one of infinite powers for its maker. Thus far, the existence of Iswara is established.

That He is the sole Refuge of all, will now be established. Surrender to Him whole-heartedly (without any other object but that of entrusting yourself to his care). If on the other hand there be any other desire, only half of your heart is with God and the other half with your desire. So it will be only half or part surrender which is not effective. Only surrender to Him body, heart and soul will lead to eternal Bliss. Iswara grants everything to His devotee.

Q.: It is alright that persons in position being pleased with others' service, satisfy their wants to a limited extent. But Iswara being self-contained has no wants. And so He cannot be pleased with others' services. How then do you say that He is pleased and fulfils all the wants of devotees? A.: Because of His love of others' devotion, that is to say, others' devotion results in the reaction of God's love for them and the automatic fulfilment of all their desires. Moreover there is no certainty with worldly men in power whereas it is certain with God. Therefore the devotee is sure of his goal. Q.: How is this assumption of certainty warranted? A.: Otherwise God will be open to censure. Uncertainty in God's reaction or response means uncertainty in the results of everyday transactions of ours and untimely end of the samsaara projected by Him. You who desire the Supreme Goal need not engage in it nor seek it. But surrender yourself completely to God and He will establish you in the Supreme State.

Differences of opinion regarding the means of liberation and consequent doubts as to the means are thus resolved. Q.: Which is God? Some say Siva, others Vishnu, or Indra or Ganesa etc. Who is supreme among them? A.: No name and form attach to Him. He is none of them singly or He is all of them. He is not personal. He is pure Chit only.

Q.: But creation, preservation and dissolution are functions requiring the use of limbs and material? A.: It is so with workers of limited powers and objectives. This holds good for gross bodies; but in dreams the gross bodies do not act and there are no means nor objectives, yet worlds are created, transactions go on, battles are fought, and empires won and lost; it is Chit that causes it all. If there had been material before creation with which to create the jagat, such material should be eternal and exempt from being created. Then Iswara must be accepted to be the creator of a part of the jagat; this contradicts His being the all-creator. Also being only the effective cause and not the material cause of the jagat, He can no more be Iswara (than a magnified artisan). Kshemarajacharya says: "Those who admit Iswara to be the effective cause only place Him on a par with a profligate enmeshed in the lures of a wanton woman other than his wife." Those who imagine a starling-point for the creation (the aarambha vaadis) assert that Iswara is only the effective cause and the effect (jagat) cannot come into being afresh. Before creation, paramaanus (fundamental, indivisible, subtle particles) were present. By Iswara's will they united with each other and creation took place.

But this cannot be. It is seen that only a sentient being responds to the wishes of another, but not an inert object. The paramaanus being insentient cannot react to Iswara's will. Objection: Such is the wonderful power of Iswara as to make even the inert paramaanus obedient to His will. A.: True, that Iswara's powers are immeasurable and infinite. It is because of His extraordinary powers that He creates the jagat even in total absence of material for it. If in spite of this, paramaanus be said to be the material cause it is thanks to duality-minded obstinacy! Hereby is refuted the theistic (Saankhya) school i.e., Paatanjala or Yoga School.

There is not the least incongruity in our system based solely on the aagamas declaring the all-powerful Supreme Being fully capable of conducting the totality of actions, transactions etc. Objection: In order to explain the different grades of beings etc., and also obviate the charges of partiality and cruelty to Iswara, every school of thought admits karma to be the cause of differences. This admission by you vitiates your position, for, there is karma needed for creation in addition to Iswara. So He is not all-powerful. A.: True, that this contention remains insuperable to the dualists. As for the non-dualists the jagat is contained in Chit like images in a mirror; so also karma; it is not external to the infinite Supreme Intelligence (Parameswara) and there is not the slightest discrepancy in our contention. Objection: Even then, it is seen that a pot is made by a potter; he is the maker of the pot; and therefore Iswara is not the all-creator. A.: The potter is not external to Iswara. Again just as the king remains the sole administrator, even though his servants act on the spot, so also Iswara acts through His agents. Conclusion: The Supreme Being is only One Solid Intelligence, nameless, formless, bodiless, infinite, non-dual, and Blissful. This being incomprehensible to impure minds is apprehended in various forms according to the capacities of individuals. Nevertheless devotion to any form or name of God purifies the mind so that the individual is ultimately resolved into the Supreme Being.



Even after much effort the Self remains unrealised because the sadhak is not acquainted with it and so does not recognise it even in Its presence. Now listen, the mind when checked remains inert for some time. At the end of it darkness is perceived. Before darkness supervenes there is an interval of pure knowledge which is quite unaware of the body or environment; only this pure Knowledge shines along with objects when the mind is active; when the mind is checked it shines of Itself. This state of pure Knowledge is called the residual state (sesha bhaava). This can by no means be eliminated because being self-resplendent, it shines of Itself, as is experienced by one just risen from sleep who says "For long I remained unaware of anything." This residual state is the one of pure Knowledge void of objects. Always contemplate 'I am.' That is the state of Bliss beyond the ken of great pandits, yogis or even sadhakas of a sort.

Though the jagat is variegated the whole of it can be classified under the two heads. Knowledge and the knowable. Of these the knowable is established by direct perception, inference, etc. and it is always the non-self. Being non-self, it is not worthwhile investigating; therefore knowledge alone will be examined here. Being self-evident, it requires no external evidence. In its absence nothing else can exist. Being the background of all, like a mirror of the images reflected in it, nothing can shine without it; so it cannot in any way be obviated. Objection: Unreasonable to say that nothing else can exist without it, because the proven is proved by proofs. A.: If the proof be valid the proven is established by it. The validity of the proof is known by the proven. To say so is absurd, being interdependent. But without the knower the proof does not gain authority, i.e., the knowable cannot be said to be. A proof only proves a fact but is not the fact. If you object saying that the knower (knower is the same as knowledge) also can be known only by a proof, I reply there must be equally a knower to deny the knower as to know him. Therefore, we say that the knower is self-proven and does not require extraneous proof to establish its Being. Being conscious, being always self-shining it requires no proof like the self-shining sun requiring no candle light to illumine it. Were one to deny pure Knowledge itself the knowable is dependent on knowledge and it cannot be in the absence of knowledge; therefore he cannot raise the question nor expect an answer i.e., to say, he is out of consideration.

Pure knowledge means the state of awareness free from objective knowledge; it is knowledge remaining unmoded. This state forms the interval between deep sleep and waking state; it must be distinguished from the other two. Deep sleep means the dormant state of mind; waking consists of a series of broken knowledge; in it objects are perceived by the senses external to the mind whereas in dream the mind is at one with the senses and its latencies are objectified and perceived within itself like particles of dust in water. In deep sleep supervening after dream the mind together with the senses merges into its source prakriti; then the tamasic or dull aspect of prakri remains predominant on overwhelming the satvic and rajasic aspects. In this state the Self shines only very indistinct like the sun behind very heavy clouds. In the interval between deep sleep and waking the mind continues to be inward turned and cannot reflect objects external to it; at the same time the tamas of prakrti has lost its solidity and does not hide the Self. In this manner the Self that is Chit shines unobjectified i.e., as unbroken knowledge.

In the same manner with the intervals of broken knowledge: the background namely pure knowledge remains unbroken in the interval of Knowledge of a pot, does not itself continue to subsist as that of a piece of cloth; the difference between the two is obvious. In the interval between the two kinds of knowledge, pure Knowledge persists devoid of the two forms : this cannot be denied. This is samvit (Knowledge) shining in its own merit.

Samvit is the seer or the ego. Just as the water in a tank passes through an outlet into a channel to irrigate a field and mixes with the water already in the field, so also at the instant of perception, the samvit of the seer passes through the senses to unite with the samvit of the object. In this case Chit remains as the body, mind etc., of the seer; in the sky it remains as the sun; in the intervening space covered by it samvit is formless and this is its real state. All this indicates these intervals to be the seats of realisation of the Self. The Self is no more than this. Pure Chit devoid of objective knowledge is the true Self. If this is realised as the Self the universe will appear to be just an image reflected in the mirror of Chit and so results the state of fearlessness, for to see a tiger reflected in a mirror does not cause fright.


Some say that the jagat is the product of invisible fundamental particles. Though remaining different from its source, it vanishes altogether in the end. That the unitary, primary particles give rise to the binary particles is inferred from the partibility of the latter. According to them the process of creation is as follows: The mature adrshta (results of previous karma persisting in a subtle form) of the individuals together with the will of Iswara causes the inert primary particles to be active; then binary, tertiary etc. particles are successively formed resulting in the objects of the universe. The products are totally different from the original cause. At the time of dissolution the universe vanishes like the horns of a hare (i.e., ceases to be).

Its refutation: It is not proper to say that a pot is non-existent before creation; it is existent sometime; later it becomes non-existent at dissolution because of the contrary existence and non-existence of the same thing. The Opponent: Not so. Though there is a contradiction in terms of being and non-being of the same thing, there is no contradiction in terms of relationship (samyoga) (e.g., a monkey is on the tree or a monkey is not on the tree). A.: No. "Being" pervades the object in entirety whereas in relationship there is no such pervasiveness. This is certainly opposed to non-being. The same object cannot be yellow and not yellow at the same time. Opponent: the nature of an object must be determined only from experience. Pervasiveness is found applicable to the inseparable union of the material cause of the object in space but it is not applicable to the existence or the non-existence of the object in time; e.g., a pot is or is not. A.: The same object cannot be both shining and non-shining at the same time. On the other hand, (if you are thinking) of the contrary experiences at the same time such as a blue tamas is moving, it is so because the same object by its satvic nature reflects light and by its tamasic nature remains dark, thus making it appear that light and darkness coexist. This is not on all fours with my statement that the same object cannot both be yellow and not yellow at the same time. Therefore it is obvious that being and non-being certainly contradict each other both in time and space. Opponent: How can this rule apply to ascertain darkness to be, by seeing it with the light of the eye? It cannot. A.: You are not right. To explain the facts of experience, different methods are adopted because the same rule may not apply in all cases.

In the doctrine of aggregation of particles before creation, other anomalies are also pointed out besides the above one. They are concerned with the imagined aggregation, e.g., existence and non-existence of the same thing. Again the primary particles cannot be impartite or indivisible; also their separateness from one another cannot be proved because they mix together to form binary etc. particles. Opponent: Defects in our doctrine are shared by us along with all others in their own doctrines. A.: Quite so. It is common to all kinds of dualism but to advaita they become ornaments like the arrows aimed by Bhagadatta at Vasudeva which clung to Him like ornaments.



Creation being an empty fancy and Chit always unchanging, how can creation be said to originate from Chit? A.: The answer to this question is based on srutis. Avidya (i.e., ignorance) being the root-cause of creation, its origin is first elucidated and it will be followed up by the thirty-six fundamentals. Chit is certainly changeless. A mirror is seen to reflect the sky in it; similarly Chit presents within itself something which (to us) signifies 'exterior'. But the external sky being merely an effective cause, its reflection is seen in the mirror, whereas the "exterior" in Chit is solely due to its inherent power. The difference lies in the intelligent nature of Chit and the inert nature of the mirror. Since the whole creation develops from this "exterior" it is said to be the first creation. This phenomenon is called avidya or tamas (ignorance or darkness). Q.: Chit being impartite, how can this phenomenon arise as a part thereof? A.: Quite so. Hence it is called a phenomenon. And it is not a part but it looks like it. When the unbroken WHOLE appears to be divided into parts, it is called a phenomenon (and not a fact). Parameswara is Pure Solid Intelligence altogether free from its counter-part; hence He is "independent." An inert thing is dependent on external aid to make known itself or another object; whereas the Supreme Intelligence is independent of external aid to make ITSELF known or other things. This factor "independence" is also called its sakti, kriya (action), vimarsa (deliberation) etc., which manifesting as jagat at the time of creation and after, yet remains as pure Being only, because awareness of pure Being continues unbroken till the time of dissolution. Therefor such "independence" is the ever-inseparable characteristic of Siva. At the end of dissolution the same uniting with the adrshta now mature, presents the Self (svarupa) as fragmented, i.e., limited; this is otherwise said to be the manifestation of the "exterior." The manifestation of limitation is obviously the manifestation of space (aakaasa) distinct from the Self. When one's arm is broken in two, the broken piece is no longer identified as 'I'; similarly the 'exterior' is no longer identified as 'I'; it is distinct from 'I'; it is no longer meant by 'I'. Such unfolding of the non-self is said to be that of space, of the seed i.e., jagat in dormancy, or jadasakti (inert power). In this manner the perfect Chit by its own power presenting within Itself the phenomenon of avidya as distinct from Itself is called the first 'step' to creation. The Vedantists call this the root avidya mula-avidya. What is here designated as "independence" is nothing but the power of Chit (freewill). This assumes three states. In dissolution, it remains purely as power (that is latent) because it is nirvikalpa (i.e., the state of no modification or manifestation); just before creation i.e., before the objects take shape this power is said to be maayaa; when shapes are manifest the same power is called jadasakti. All these names signify the same sakti. Sri Krishna has said, "Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and ego constitute my lower prakrti; distinct from it is my paraa prakrti which is of the form of jivas and preserves the jagat." The former eight-fold prakrti constitutes the jada aspect as kaarya whereas the latter paraa prakrti is Chit Sakti forming the background for the jagat like a mirror to the images reflected in it. Hence the statement: "By whom the eight-fold prakrti is supported." Nevertheless we have to admit that even before the appearance of the inert power the eight-fold prakrti, the Chit Sakti ("free will") already co-exists with the adrshta of the individuals and the time matures the adrshta. Otherwise the charge of partiality and cruelty and other stigma will attach (to Iswara). But the admission of adrshta lands us in duality and time is yet another (thorn). Is time the nature of Iswara or is it distinct? In any case, since in dissolution there is no upaadhi to distinguish one from another and the same principle remains uniform from the beginning of dissolution to the end of it, the adrshta of the individuals remaining merged in avidya may perhaps mature the very next instant of dissolution and creation start untimely. In answer to this the sadkaarya vadis say: Before creation all kaaryas remain merged in maayaa in a subtle form; now that time and adrshta are together in a subtle form in maayaa, the subtle adrshta matures in subtle time; maayaa being the sakti of the Self i.e., Chit, it is not distinct and therefore the advaita doctrine becomes tenable. Others declare that creation resembles dream or day-dreaming or magic requiring no explanation like the mirage-water unfit for discussion. For the same reason the accounts of creation are bound to differ from one another in different srutis. They are meant to impress on the mind that the Self alone is and creation is not distinct from it. Hence the declaration in the Parameswara Agama: "No creation; no cycle of births; no preservation; or any krama (regulation). Only solid Intelligence-Bliss is. This is the Self."



The Self is luminous owing to its self-shining nature. At the instant of perception of objects, such as a pot, the ego-sense of identity with the body vanishes. There is no experience of the complexion of the body (for instance) simultaneous with perception of objects. Otherwise one would be thinking, "I am fair or brown," even while perceiving a pot. In other words, when an object is perceived it is as non-self, like the body known as 'mine' (my body).

It should not be said that the Self does not shine as 'I' simultaneously with the perception of objects. If so, the objects cannot be perceived. For when there are no lights to illumine objects they are not perceived. It should not also be said yet there is no 'I' sparkling (spurthi). For it implies some distinctive form of shining and not the sheen of pure light; this will also imply inertness. Therefore the Self shines as pure 'I'. On account of this those who hold that knowledge is self-evident, admit the experience "I know the pot" (but not 'I have the knowledge of the pot'). (Ghatam aham jaanaami but not Ghata jnaana-vaan aham).

If the Self be not admitted to shine of itself even during our objective perceptions, it will not be proper to reject the doubt whether 'I am or not.' Nor should it be said that simultaneously with objective perception the ego shines (i.e., manifests) identical with body etc. If in the perception of an object the form of the object does not manifest, the body cannot manifest itself at the time of sensing the body etc. It does not follow that in the knowledge 'He is Chaitra', the intelligence namely the Self of Chaitra is signified by the word 'he' and manifests transcending his body-ego; for, to him Chaitra's ego remains unimpaired (i.e., he feels his ego-sense all the same).

In deep sleep and samadhi the 'I' cannot be denied existence. All admit its continued existence in those states also because of the recollection of the experience (in those two states). True, the Self remains continuous in those states but it cannot be denoted by 'I' for the former is unmodified Consciousness and the latter is a mode of consciousness. The answer to such an objection is according to the sages well-versed in aagamas, as follows: 'I' is of two kinds, moded and unmoded intelligence. Mode means differentiation; therefore moded intelligence is differentiated intelligence. The other one is undifferentiated and is therefore unmoded. When objectified as bodies etc., the ego is moded and differentiated. But in deep sleep and samaadhi, Consciousness remains unobjectified and undifferentiated; therefore it is unmoded. It does not follow from this that the admission of 'I' in samadhi will amount to admission of the triads (e.g., cogniser, cognition and the cognised). Since 'I' remains as the residue devoid of "non-I" there are no triads there. It is said in Pratyabhijna, "Although I shine as Pure Light yet it is word in a subtle form (paraavak)." This ego is not a mode. Such is the doctrine of advaita.

This (unmoded Intelligence) is just the knowledge of "I-I". The aagamas speak of it as Perfect EGO or Perfect Knowledge. Because this state later finds expression to describe it, it is said to be 'word' (vaak); but it does not mean audible word. It is 'word' in a subtle form, remaining unspoken.

Perfect Ego cannot be denied in the unmoded Consciousness for it will amount to inertness, Bhagavan Hariina has said, "Should 'word' mean differentiation in the ever-Present Light, it would amount to saying the Sight does not shine (of itself)". On the other hand, 'word' signifies "profound contemplation." Pratyabhijna says "Deliberation makes clear the Self-shining Light. Were it not so, i.e., if light should shine only in contact with an object, it would be inert like a crystal." Bhagavan Sri Sankara also says that the Self, namely Chit, is always shining as 'I'. In Viveka Chuudaamani it is found, "That which constantly shines forth as 'I' throughout infancy etc., waking state etc., which are super-imposed on it..."


Though the Self that is Chit is Pure Solid Intelligence, it is not like a solid rock for that would amount to inertness. It is pure, scintillating awareness. Its shining nature is distinct from that of bright objects such as a flame. This awareness is also called intelligence, deliberation, light of consciousness, activity, vibration, the supreme Ego etc. Because of this nature the Supreme Being is capable of creation and this also finds mention in Soundarya Lahari Sloka 1.

It is not correct to say that Paramasiva remains united with the power of maayaa which is indescribable (anirvachaneeya) and illusory. Should the jagat be false (non-existent) like a hare's horn, its creation must also be declared to be so. It is not proper to say that the Lord's nature is wasteful because it will end in a blank i.e., sunya. If the jagat is said to be non-existent like a hare's horn, sruti declarations such as "Form whom all these elements, all these creatures have come forth etc." would amount to a mad man's ravings. Nor is it proper to contend that acceptance of Supreme Intelligent Being followed by the denial of the reality of the jagat is sunya vaada, because false jagat inclusive of the Supreme Reality is self-contradictory. (The correct position is: the Supreme Being appears as or seems to be the jagat.) If you argue that this results in duality whereas the srutis declare, "There are not many here but only the Self", I say you do not understand the advaita saastra; nowhere do the saastras declare the jagat to be unreal. But yet they proclaim advaita to be certain. Srutis such as "He became all", "Only the non-dual Supreme Being shines as the universe", declare the jagat to be real and thereby non-duality is not impaired. Though the town reflected in a mirror seems distinct yet it cannot exist without the mirror and so is no other than the mirror; in the same manner the jagat though seeming distinct is no other than the Supreme Self. So non-duality is unimpaired.

As in the sruti cited by you, "there are not many here", the denial relates to duality only and nothing else. Therefore it is a sign of ignorance to declare the jagat to be unreal. The sages know that true knowledge consists in realising that "all is Siva." Suta Samhita says, "to say pot etc., are unreal, is ignorance. Correctly to say pot etc., is real, is true knowledge."

Thus the supreme Intelligent Being by its own supreme power of maayaa manifests Itself as this wonderful universe. In the universe thus manifested to see the jiva distinct from the Supreme is duality and constitutes the bondage of the individual. Knowledge of non-duality constitutes liberation. His "independence" (svatantra, free will), reflection of the universe, reflection of the individual selves, reflection of the bondage, reflection of liberation are all presented within Himself by His own independent power. Like a day-dream, all these depend upon His power of manifestation which however is not distinct from the Supreme Intelligence. So our system is free from any stigma. Power of deliberation always remains constant with the Supreme Being. However in deep sleep the reflection of inertness (jada sakti) veils it and renders it weak; though the Supreme Being or Chit is then shining in full, the sages have proclaimed the state to be one of inertness or dullness.



The knowledge gained by hearing is only indirect. Then reasoning in conformity with the sruti texts, it must be ascertained whether indirect knowledge concerns one's own self or not. By reflection all doubts will vanish. After thus ascertaining by reflection that the Self remains non-dual, contemplate the Self, that .is to say, keep the mind one-pointedly on the Self. If the mind becomes restless, train it even forcibly. Be not effortless in this direction. Yoga Vasishta says: "Even with hands clenched and teeth ground, pressing the limbs and forcibly withdrawing the senses, the mind must first be brought under control." So the utmost effort must be made. Also the breath must forcibly be controlled, if necessary by means of praanaayaamaa (regulation of breath). One-pointedness must be gained at all costs. How long is effort necessary? Until direct experience is gained. Thus by contemplation the inmost Self is realised. Then contemplate 'I am Brahman.' This is known as Recognition of the Self as Brahman (Pratyabhijnaa Jnaana). Although this amounts to unmoded samaadhi (nirvikalpa) because it is unbroken uniform knowledge, yet owing to the difference in the methods and results, it must be recognised that these two states are distinct. Such knowledge of the non-dual Self annihilates ignorance.

The same is further explained. First ascertain the Self to be real by means of sravana and manana (hearing and reflection); then contemplate; realisation results and it is nirvikalpa samaadhi. This is the idea: Dhyaana is only one; it goes by the name of savikalpa samaadhi and of nirvikalpa samaadhi according to its stages of development. On resolving to keep the mind still for a particular duration of time and continuing on the trail of the resolve without forgetting it, the period during which the contemplated object remains uninterrupted, is said to be the duration of dhyana. If by long practice the contemplated object remains steady for the intended period it is savikalpa samadhi (moded samaadhi). If again by repeated practice of the same the mind remains in unbroken contemplation even without the initial resolve and its continued memory, it is said to be nirvikalpa or unmoded samaadhi. The following explanation is found in a book Paramaananda: "Contemplation with series of breaks is dhyana; the same without break is savikalpa samaadhi; stillness of mind without contemplation and break is nirvikalpa samadhi. Dhyana maturing and ending in nirvikalpa samadhi, the inmost Self is realised. On breaking away from it, to remember the experience of the inmost Self, to recall to mind the description of the Supreme Being in the holy texts and to identify the one with the other, forms recognition (Prathyabhijnaa Jnaana)."

Q.: For such recognition, recollection is a necessary ingredient; recollection is of the mental impression already formed; impression can be produced only in moded knowledge and not in the unmoded state of nirvikalpa samaadhi of one uniform unmoded Light of Consciousness. A.: You are right. Unmoded light simply illumines objects like a pot etc.; it cannot produce any impression on the mind to be reproduced later on. Otherwise a way-farer will be able to remember all that he saw on the way; but it is not so. Only the moded knowledge such as "this is a pot, this is a piece of cloth" is later recollected. Hence, whatever subtle modes appeared in the unmoded state (e.g., here is a man; here is Devadatta) are alone later recollected. By way of explanation some say that the end of the nirvikalpa state is followed by a moment of savikalpa and this helps formation of impressions to be recollected later.

Others: Since the pure inmost Self cannot form the object of experience even in savikalpa samaadhi, they say that recollection is of the experience of the samaadhi itself. (Because the savikalpa samaadhi of the nature of a resolve and cannot have the Pure Self for its object) it cannot be maintained that in savikalpa samaadhi the Pure Self forms the object of experience. But how can the recollection arise directly from nirvikalpa samaadhi? There is no rule that savikalpa alone should give rise to later recollection. Vikalpa means appearance of differentiation. A wayfarer takes in very subtle impressions of things seen on the way and recollects some of them. This alone can explain the recollection of deep sleep after waking from it. To the objection that recollection cannot arise from nirvikalpa samadhi, the reply is: In any knowledge whichever factor is clearly seen, the same will later be recollected along with that knowledge. In recollecting a panorama all objects in it are not clearly seen. But as it is said in Pratyabhijnaa Saastra, "According to taste and according to desire" the recollection is limited to them. In this way all differentiation is solely a mental mode. Yet pandits think in different ways. Therefore some say that there cannot be a recollection of nirvikalpa samaadhi. For details refer to Pratyabhijnaa Saastra and its commentaries.



After realising the Self as unmoded Consciousness in nirvikalpa samaadhi, self-realised beings keep on recollecting it deliberately; this results in withdrawal by them in perfect repose; this by the wise is said to be their samaadhi. This is the secret of vijnaana: The hatha yogis who have not realised the Self by sravana etc., fall into two groups; one of them is accomplished in the eight-fold yoga of Patanjali; the other after gradually finishing the stage of pranayama (control of breath), practises it more and more so that the kundalini is aroused to go up and open out the sushumnaa naadi. The former, before entering samadhi, resolves to avoid all thought of the non-self, succeeds gradually in avoiding extraneous thoughts, then contemplates the absence of all thoughts and then, released from contemplation as well, he is left as a residual being. The other, with great effort makes the vital air enter the sushumnaa; owing to the effort there is fatigue; however having entered the sushumnaa the fatigue vanishes; he feels refreshed like a man relieved of a heavy burden. Then his mind remains as if stupefied.

Both these classes of sadhakas experience Bliss like that of deep sleep in their own time.

As for the jnaana yogis who have realised the unmoded knowledge Self by sravana etc., even before attaining samaadhi the veil of ignorance is removed and unmoded Knowledge-Self is found always scintillating as the various objects like reflections in a mirror. Not only this but also before samadhi, the modes of mind vanish leaving the residual mind as the witness of the disappearance of the objects and he remains as unmoded knowledge only. The hatha yogis' experience is not this. Only to the jnaana-yogis does ajnaana (ignorance) vanish altogether in samaadhi along with its veiling and projecting or confusing powers, whereas for the hatha yogi, although the projecting power vanishes, the other power continues to veil the Self. To the jnana yogi the veiling aspect is done away with in the process of contemplation of itself, leaving nothing of it in the culminating state of samaadhi.

Q.: What is then the difference between deep sleep and samadhi of a hatha yogi? A.: In his deep sleep the Self remains hidden by the massive ignorance of darkness like the sun behind very heavy dark clouds; in the samadhi state, the Self, though revealed by the satvic mind, will not yet be dear but be like the sun behind thin white clouds.

In the case of the Jnaani, his mind becomes satvic in toto, and thus dispels the veiling of ignorance, so that the Self shines perfectly clear like the sun in a clear sky. The Self-realised know this to be the right Realisation of the Self. Jnaana Samaadhi is thus the true samadhi (it means that in spite of the satvic mind developed by the hatha yogis, their aavarana i.e., veiling remains without being dispelled).



The pleasures and pains of the individual are inferred to be the results of an invisible cause i.e., the past karma. Since it is noticed that jnaanis also live like others, it is said that the praarabdha is not undone by one's jnaana. This holds good for the lowest order of jnaanis only, for they are seen to react to environment; it does not apply to the higher orders. The feeling of happiness affecting the mind of the individual can be the effect of karma. The middle and the highest classes of jnaanis are not subject to fluctuations of mind. You cannot dispute this point because such fluctuations are completely absent in samadhi. On arising from samadhi all the non-self (i.e., the jagat) shines only as Pure Knowledge (i.e., the Self) just as the images are not distinct from the mirror reflecting them; happiness etc., thus becoming one with the Self cannot then be felt as 'my happiness' etc.; it follows that the Self itself cannot be said to be 'effects' and no corresponding karma can be postulated. Q.: Though his personal pleasures and pains are not there, yet he sees others enjoy pleasures and suffer pains; his reaction must be due to praarabdha. A.: No. Others' pleasures and pains are not identified as 'mine.' But they are perceived as one perceives a pot; they cannot be the effects of praarabdha. Since there is no pleasure or pain to be called 'effects' for him, the jnaani cannot be said to have residual karma.

As for the lowest order of jnaanis, when he engages himself in the daily routine of life, he is likely to forget that all is Self and takes himself to be the enjoyer; since pleasure and pain seem to be 'effects' to him, he is certainly having the fruits of his past karma. Some say that such knowledge as cannot stand the stress of daily life cannot have a lasting value. Others say otherwise. Simultaneously with the rise of Supreme Knowledge, the veiling power of ignorance is at an end. Only the projecting power is operative for some time, owing to praarabdha. It will quickly exhaust itself and no more karma will be left to cling to new bodies (by rebirth); ignorance being at an end there, no fresh karma will accumulate; for the same reason there will not be any mode of mind, for it vanishes like fire which has burnt up its fuel; hence no fresh bodies will attach to him. Therefore the Pure Being is left over and thus liberation is inevitable. It is only too true that lapses from Knowledge do not constitute Knowledge in perfection. Hence the sastras distinguish the jnaani from a jivanmukta i.e., one liberated while alive. Q.: According to the dictum that a man will be reborn according to his last thought, that the jnaani of the lowest order will also be reborn because his praarabdha is not completely ended, recollection of the non-self (by viparita smarana) must lead to rebirth. A.: No. Recollection of the non-self is unavoidable to the higher order of jivanmukta also. The dictum you cited does not apply to jnaani of any sort. Simultaneous with the rise of Knowledge there is complete loss of ignorance; therefore pleasures and pains no longer constitute 'effects' of karma; they are only transitory phenomena; praarabdha is conjectured simply to explain this phenomenon; but praarabdha no longer remains for a jnaani of any order and no recollection of non-self will arise in the last moment of his life.

Therefore the difference between a mere jnaani and a jivanmukta lies in their reaction to the pains and pleasures of life. It is said that since liberation is simultaneous with the rise of Knowledge, it is immaterial when and how the jnaani dies, either near holy places or in strange homes or other places, or taken unaware by death. If he knows perfectly even once the supreme state of Siva by means of reflection or by sastras or by Guru's grace, he is a self-realised man. And nothing more remains for him to do.


Cease thinking of the non-self; then blank prevails; the knower or the witness of this is pure knowledge without any modes; such is the Supreme Knowledge (Paraa Samvit). This is full of Bliss and therefore the highest goal (purushaartha). This state is one of solid Bliss. The reason is: Misery is the result of upaadhi which is totally absent in the Self. This samvit is the condensation of the sum total of bliss, consequent on all the forms of enjoyment by all living beings put together. For samvit is desired by one and all living beings. Q.: Is it not pleasure from objects that is thus desired? How can it take the form of the enjoyer? A.: Since it is desired by all, the Self must be of the nature of Bliss. Otherwise it will not be desired by all equally. Q.: If it be the Self alone that is desired by all, how can the desires be various e.g., for the body, wealth, woman, etc.? A.: The desire is not really for objects since it is for one's own sake. Hence those desirous of heaven etc., undergo fasts etc., and willingly leave their bodies etc. So the Self is never that which is not desired. Therefore it must be Bliss itself. Q.: Pleasure is obvious in the enjoyment of objects, whereas the other bliss cannot be proved to be; therefore the Self cannot be admitted to be Bliss. A.: The aagamas (holy texts) declare that all sensual pleasures are but fractions of the Bliss of the Self. This means: Just as ether though not itself visible is yet known to yield room for a pot etc., and thus seems divisible by other adjuncts such as actions etc., so also Chit though not visible yet appears divided by objects seeming to be the source of sensual pleasure (which in reality are only fractions of the Bliss of the Self). Q.: Your statements prove only the desire for pleasure by the self, and not itself being bliss. A.: Only the natural bliss of the Self prevails at the instant of relief of one's burden and in deep sleep. This means: As soon as one is relieved of one's heavy load, one surely feels refreshed; this cannot be denied: but here are no objects to give pleasure and how could it be felt unless it is from within, i.e., from the Self? Q.: It is due to the strain of load being removed. A.: Removal is negative; how can a negation yield a positive result such as pleasure? It must therefore be admitted to be of the Self. Q.: Relief from strain amounts to relief from pain. And this seems to be pleasure to him. A.: But in deep sleep there is no strain to be removed and yet there is the bliss of sleep. This cannot be denied because there is the recollection of the bliss of sleep after waking from it. This bliss cannot but of the Self. Q.: There is no such bliss of deep sleep. A.: Why then do all beings desire to sleep and also prepare for it? Q.: If the Self be bliss, why is it not always apparent? A.: Although there is noise constantly produced within the body, it is not usually heard; but if you plug your ears to prevent the intrusion of external noises, the noise is distinctly heard from within. Similarly with the bliss of Self. It is at present obstructed by the pains generated by the fire of desires and other latencies. These latencies lie dormant in their sources at the time of deep sleep and then the bliss of the Self becomes apparent like the internal sound on plugging the ears. While bearing the load the pain caused by it over-powers the common misery of current vasanas and thus predominates for the time being. As soon as the load is thrown down, the pain relating to it disappears and in the short interval before the rise of the current vasanas, the bliss of Self is felt. Similarly with the other sensual pleasures. Innumerable vasanas always remain in the heart pricking like thorns all the while. With the rise of a desire for an object the force of it overpowers the other vaasanas which await their turn. When the desired object is attained, the immediate pain of its desire is at an end; in the short interval before the other vasanas manifest, the bliss of Self prevails. Hence it is said what always all desire is only the Bliss of the Self. Q.: How then do all not understand that the sought-for pleasures are really only the Self? A.: Owing to their ignorance of the fact that only the bliss of the Self manifests as the pleasure of sensual enjoyments, their attention being on the objects which are transitory; they believe that as the enjoyments are transitory, their bliss also is co-eval with them.


The followers of this school of thought declare that illusion can and does arise even in the absence of any background (niradhishtaana). In the case of a piece of shell appearing as silver, they say that the knowledge of silver is groundless (i.e., void); similarly with the knowledge of the Self. Their position is briefly put as follows: On the firm conviction that the jagat is non-existent, by a prolonged contemplation on the void, the thought of jagat completely vanishing, void prevails and this is liberation.

Now to refute it denial of the jagat is imperfect knowledge. Just as a pot is not altogether false but is real as clay, so also is jagat not altogether false but is real as intelligence. Therefore to deny the jagat as being nonexistent is only illusory knowledge. Its non-existence cannot be established by any proofs. Because the jagat shines as knowledge from which the individual who proves the jagat to be real or unreal, is not distinct; also the jagat though denied yet persists. Though a pot may be denied, its material clay cannot be so denied. Similarly though the jagat may be denied, its existence as knowledge cannot be denied. The same relationship holds between the jagat and consciousness as between a pot and clay. However the adherents of the school of void stick to void and deny all the perceptible as being void. But he is also contained in the jagat which is denied by him. Then what is left of him beyond denial is knowledge; this cannot be denied. They mean to say that the moded consciousness constitutes samsara whereas unmoded consciousness void of all else including the pramaanas to prove it, constitutes liberation. But our objection is that the one who denies the jagat cannot deny himself and the jagat does not cease to exist simply because one curses it. Our objection is valid because consciousness subsists unimpaired in the unmoded state after denying all else to exist. Q.: (Granting your view point) what is there to be eliminated and how is non-duality established? A.: The Vedantists say that the Supreme Sat-Chit seems to be the asat (false) jagat like the false reflection in a mirror; this is anirvachaniya, i.e., inexpressible; non-duality consists in removing this confusion and so this jagat is eliminated. But we say - the jagat appears like the images in a mirror. Just as these images are no other than the mirror, the jagat is no other than the Sat-Chit. Q.: If so, what remains to be eliminated? A.: The sense of duality. Q.: Is this duality included in jagat? Or is it exclusive of it? If the former, it is real as jagat and cannot be negated; if the latter, it leads to anirvachaniya. A.: It is included in jagat. Q.: How then is it eliminated? A.: Listen! Duality is to believe that the illuminant and the illumined are different from each other. Since duality is nothing but illusion, denial of it puts an end to the illusion and thus to itself. Hence it was said, "As a matter of fact unity is not different from diversity. One reality alone shines forth as both."

Now let me turn round and question the Vedantists Q.: Is negation indescribable or real? If the former, jagat cannot be negated; if the latter, duality results. Nor can you maintain that negation of the phenomenon resolves itself as the substratum so that the negation of Jagat results in its substratum, Brahman. Of course to admit the non-self-looking negation is simply included in the Self and the whole jagat is nothing but the Self, is not opposed to our view. But negation is negative in character and it cannot be said to resolve itself into its substratum the Reality. The jagat can be established to exist according to the dictum the non-self is also the Self. The point is only to gain purushaartha by whatever means negation or any other. It is useless to engage in disputes. 'The mumukshu' and the 'sadhakas' are warned not to enter into controversies with other systems or religions.

The jagat being of consciousness, like the images in a mirror not being different from a mirror, it is real. Simply because jagat is declared to be of the nature of consciousness, it should not be taken that jagat is consciousness itself. Such assumption will be equivalent to saying that avidya is, because it is said to be inexpressible. Just as you cannot raise the question if avidya is in order to be inexpressible, so also the question cannot arise if jagat is in order to be indistinct from Consciousness. In this manner to know that all is sattaamaatra is perfect Vijnaana.

Sri Ramanarpanamastu

The above-stated text is intended only for fact-finding reading.

Statue of Dattatreya Avatar, near Prashanti Nilayam ashram of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, inside palm park on Samadhi Road, Puttaparti, Andhra Pradesh, India

From book "AVADHOOTA GITA" (teachings of Dattatreya),
with English Translation by Shree Purohit Swami
Edited by Shankar Mokashi-Punekar M.A., Ph.D.:

INTRODUCTION, Ch. VI (pp.31-34):

Let us now consider certain special features of Dattatreya as a god and account for his special kind of importance for the modern Hindu. I give below an abridged version of what a competent writer on Datta, Mr. Sadashiv Krishna Phadke, says. He combines learning and a pietistic passion for Datta. (He calls himself a laggard lover of Datta). Our comments are bracketed.

1. Datta's work is primarily to transform and salvage (uddhara) by guiding; he does not kill the impious. [Other gods manifest themselves to save the good by warlike means; Datta is primarily a teacher god. Phadke points out that Krishna came at a time of religious crisis, hence there is a tragic grandeur about him. Datta was born in the satya sphere; there is no room for tragedy there; everything is austere beauty, love and serenity with his devotees.]

2. Datta is Brahhminical. Most other gods are Kshatriyas.

3. Rama, Krishna and Buddha were married. Datta is an Awadhoota. [i.e. a Sannyasin. This description does not accord with certain Puranas we mentioned earlier.]

4. As such, he is unbound by the Vedic Do's and Dont's (Vidhinishedhas). Awadhoota is above these. Rama and Krishna were bound by family affections. Datta is all Bliss.

5. The passing or termination of other Avataras has been motioned by Puranas; not so of Datta. [The stories of Rama and Krishna are some of the greatest tragedies of the world. Datta is beyond tragedy because he is a transforming deity. He is beyond the principles of joy and sorrow.]

6. Several images of Datta are obtained according to the affections of the devotees. Images of Rama and Krishna are fairly fixed.

7. Many Datta worshippers have been deified into Avatars of Datta, and these Avatars continue to be born till almost the present day. To date there are Sakshatkarins of Datta [those who have met Datta face to face and are worshipped as Avatars. Shri Purohit considered his Guru as an Avatar and hoped to obtain through him a vision of Datta himself. Meher Baba, a non-Hindu saint who died only a few years ago and Sai Baba of Shirdi, were considered incarnations and the latter is said to have been reborn as Sri Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparti in Andhra Pradesh. On 10 December, 1970, he revealed at Goa that he is a Dattatreya incarnation. (Reported in "Prashanti", January 1971 issue; p.11]

8. Datta grants a vision of himself to his devotees in such diverse forms as a shepherd, a sannyasin, a yati, a brahmin or a fakir (malang). He comes in dreams to fulfil the desire of his devotees. Whatever the form, it rounds off with a vision of a six-handed figure, and the face is heavenly bright (divya). [Sri Purohit's own account of his experience is a little indirect. In his "An Indian Monk", he states that he was made to sleep on the bed preserved for Datta in the temple at Mahur; he heard foot-steps in the dark, felt the touch; there was odour of incense; and next morning he saw on his white shirt, the marks of sandal pasted A similar account is given by Mr. S. Y. Pandit in regard to himself about Sri Purohit].

9. Datta's wooden sandals are worshipped. He loves the Audumbara tree, has Kamadhenu (the divine cow) with him and dogs. [Based on the last feature, Mr. S. B. Joshi, a brilliant speculator on pre-Vedic culture, surmises that Datta was a Dravidian druidic prophecy-centered deity.] Thursday is a special day for him, being the teacher's day.

10. Datta was himself a worshipper of Shiva and (says this great writer), Shiva gave him knowledge and liberation on the waters of the soul (Atmateertha). [But some Puranas consider him incarnation of Vishnu].

11. He taught Atmavidya (soul-wisdom) and the path of Yoga, [In India, all philosophies take a man to the same soul-wisdom; the difference is in the paths taken.]

12. His behaviour, to quote Parasharamadhava, was "The non-intoxicated behaving like the intoxicated". This is directly relevant to the present work. Datta describes himself so in the Awadhoota Geeta, "dancing in the intoxication of the joy of existence," a feature of Awadhootas.

13. His grace is a little harder to obtain than that of Shiva or Vishnu. This can be known from the lives of his devotees. Sridattachintan, S. K. Phadke, pp. 49-51.

From book "Sai Supreme Personality of Godhead"
by T.G.Krishnamurthy,
State President Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Tamilnadu.


Lord Shirdi Sai Baba is considered to belong to Datta Sampradaya. Our Swami Sathya Sai Baba who is a reincarnation of Shirdi Sai also belongs to this Sampradaya.


Once when Swami was in Horsley Hills, a group photo was taken with some devotees. Smt. Ratanlal went to adjust the robes of Swami, posing for the photo, as there was a strong breeze disturbing the robes of Swami. Instantly Swami ordered her to move away and not to touch His robes. When the photograph was washed, instead of Swami at His place was seated Lord Dattathreya Himself! This happened in the year May 1962.

Again in the 1963 at the same Horsley Hills He had given darshan to Sri Ramanatha Reddiar as Dattathreya (who was his Ishtadeivam). Swami also manifested Dattathreya photo and gave it to Sri Reddiar.

From book "THE SAI TRINITY. Shirdi Sai Sathya Sai Prema Sai Incarnations" by Dr. S. P. Ruhela, 1994, 1997, pp. 18-19:

Baba as Dattatreya

Later, many people began to have doubts about His transcendental powers. One day, the birth anniversary of Dattatreya was to be celebrated (in the month of Margasirsha (November-December) on Panchami (fifth) day). Several devotees had assembled in Shirdi. Among them was a wealthy man, a great scholar called Kaijack. His name was Balwant Kaijack. As he was approaching the masjid, Baba took his stick and waved it at the devotees, asking them to get away. He even beat some of them, shouting, "Saitan!". No one could understand why Baba was behaving like this. "I am suffering labour pains. Get away, all of you!" he shouted. In those days, Baba not only shouted at people, but also wielded the stick on them on occasions. He would even throw the stick at fleeing people. Every one was afraid of him. They all fled from the place.

Some time later, he called all of them. "Balwant Kaijack, come!" he said. When Balwant came, Baba went inside the masjid. Balwant went in and found that Baba was not there. He found a three-headed baby on the floor. Baba had declared that he was suffering from labour pains and there was a baby there. The three-headed child appeared to represent Dattatreya. It was a small baby with a number of hands. Balwant recognised the child as Dattatreya and called other devotees to come inside. They went in and on seeing the child closed their eyes. At that instant Baba reappeared. From that time onwards, people started looking upon Baba as the incarnation of Dattatreya.

Shri Ganapati Satchitananda Swamiji modern Dattatreya avatar.