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Vedantasara ( by Sadananda ) - Part 2

Vedantasara by Sadananda, Translated by Swami Nikhilananda - Slokas, Meaning, Translation | Siddhanta Panjara, Siddhanta tattva Bindu, Vedanta Panchadasi, Advaita Vedanta of Adi Shankaracharya - Philosophy, Books, Library, Quotes, Techings, Videos, Ashram Hindu Spiritual Articles and Videos
Apavada  (Removing the Superimposition)

   137. As a snake falsely perceived in a rope is ultimately found out to be nothing but the rope; similarly the world of unreal things, beginning with ignorance, superimposed upon the Reality, is realized, at the end, to be nothing but Brahman. This is known as de-superimposition (Apavada).
   138. Thus it has been said: Vikara is the actual modification of a thing altering into another substance; while vivarta is only an apparent modification.
   139. To illustrate: The four kinds of physical bodies which are the seats of enjoyment; the different kinds of food and drink etc., which are the objects of enjoyment; the fourteen planes such as Bhur etc., which contain them and the universe (Brahmanda) which contains these planes -- all these are reduced to their cause, the five gross elements.
   140. These five gross elements, together with the five objects such as sound etc., and the subtle bodies – all these are reduced to their cause – the uncompounded elements.
   141. The five uncompounded elements, together with the tendencies of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, in the reverse order to that of creation, are reduced to their cause, namely Consciousness associated with ignorance.
   142. This ignorance and the Consciousness associated with it, such as Isvara etc., are resolved into the transcendent Brahman unassociated with ignorance, which is the substratum of them all.
   143. By this process of superimposition and de-superimposition the precise significance of “That” and “Thou” is clearly determined.
   144. To explain: Collective ignorance and the rest, Consciousness associated with it and endowed with omniscience etc., as also the Pure Consciousness unassociated with any attribute – these three, when appearing as one and inseparable like a red-hot iron ball, become the primary meaning of the word “That”.
   145. The unassociated Consciousness which is the substratum of the limiting adjuncts and of Isvara which they limit, is the implied meaning of “That”.
   146. Individual ignorance and the rest, Consciousness associated with it and endowed with partial knowledge etc., as also the Pure Consciousness unassociated with any attribute – these three when appearing as one and inseparable like a red-hot iron ball, become the primary meaning of the word “Thou”.
   147. The unassociated transcendent Consciousness – the inward Bliss - which is the substratum of the limiting adjuncts and of the Jiva which they limit, is the implied meaning of the word “Thou”.
   148. Now is being described the meaning of the great Vedic dictum (Mahavakyam): This dictum is a proposition conveying identity, by virtue of the three relations of its terms, viz., “Thou art That”.
   149. The three relations are: Samanadhakaranya or the relation between two words having the same substratum, Visesana-visesyabhava or the relation between the imports of two words qualifying each other (so as to signify a common object); and Laksya-laksana-bhava or the relation between two words and an identical thing implied by them, here, the Inner Self.
   150. Compare – (The relations are:) The relation between two words having the same substratum; that between two words qualifying each other (so as to signify a common object), and the relation between two words and an identical thing implied by them (here the Inner self).
   151. Samanadhikaranya is the relationship between two words having the same locus. For instance, in the sentence, “This is that Devadatta”, the word “That” signifying Devadatta associated with the past, and the word “This” signifying Devadatta associated with the present, both refer to one and the same person called Devadatta. Similarly in the sentence, “Thou art That”, the word “That” signifying Consciousness characterized by remoteness etc., and the word “Thou” signifying Consciousness characterized by immediacy etc., both refer to one and the same Consciousness, viz., Brahman.
   152. The second relation, that of Visesana-visesya-bhava is this: In the same sentence (“This is that Devadatta”), the meaning of the word “That” is Devadatta existing in the past and the meaning of the word “This” is Devadatta existing in the present. They are contrary ideas, but still they qualify each other so as to signify a common object. Similarly in the sentence, “Thou art That”, the meaning of the word “That” is Consciousness characterized by remoteness etc., and the meaning of the word “Thou” is Consciousness characterized by immediacy etc., They are contrary ideas but still they qualify each other so as to signify a common object.
   153. The third relation, that of Laksyalaksanabhava is this: In that very sentence (“This is that Devadatta”), the words “This” and “That” or their meanings, by the elimination of contrary associations of past and present time, stand in the relation of implier and implied with Devadatta who is common to both. Similarly in this sentence (“Thou art That”) also, the words “That” and “Thou”, or their meanings, by the elimination of contrary associations of remoteness and immediacy etc., stand in the relation of implier and implied with Consciousness which is common to both.
   154. This is also called Bhagalaksana.
   155. The literal meaning in the manner of the sentence, “The blue Lotus” does not fit in with the sentence: “Thou art That”.
   156. In the phrase (“The blue lotus”), the meaning of the word “blue” is the blue colour, and the meaning of the word “lotus” is the flower called lotus. They respectively exclude other colours such as white etc., and other objects such as cloth etc., Thus these two words mutually stand in the relation of qualifier and qualified. And this relation means their mutual qualification or their unity. This interpretation of the sentence, since it does not contradict any other means of knowledge, is admissible.
   157. But in this sentence (“Thou art That”), the meaning of the word “That” is Consciousness associated with remoteness etc., and the meaning of the word “Thou” is Consciousness associated with immediacy etc., If it is maintained that these two ideas, since they eliminate their mutual distinction stand to each other in the relation of qualifier and qualified, meaning their mutual qualification or their unity, it involves a contradiction with direct perception and other means of knowledge, and therefore is inconsistent.
   158. Therefore it has been said: “In this sentence (“Thou art That”), the correct meaning is neither the union of the two ideas nor their mutual qualification. The real meaning of the sentence, according to scholars, is an absolute homogeneous principle.” (Panchadasi VII-75).
   159. Again in the sentence (“Thou art That”), Jahallakshana is not also admissible as in the sentence, “The cowherd village is on (literally in) the Ganga.”
   160. In that sentence, as it is altogether absurd to construe the words, “Ganga” and “cowherd-village”, literally, in the sense of container and contained respectively, that meaning of the sentence must be entirely abandoned, and it should refer by implication to the bank of the Ganga. Hence in this case the application of Jahallakshana is admissible.
   161. But this sentence (“Thou art That”) meaning the identity of Consciousness characterized by immediacy or remoteness involves contradiction in one part only. Therefore it is not proper to abandon the other part as well and indicate something else by implication (Lakshana). Hence in this case Jahallakshana is not admissible.
   162. Nor can it be urged: Just as the word “Ganga” (in the sentence in question), gives up its direct meaning and implies the “bank”, so may the words “That” and “Thou” (in the sentence, “Thou art That”) give up their direct meaning and mean by implication the contents of “Thou” and “That” respectively. So why should it not be a case of Jahallakshana ?
   163. In that sentence the word “bank” is not mentioned, and therefore the meaning, which is not explicit, can only be derived through implication (Lakshana). But in the other sentence (“Thou art That”), the words “That” and “Thou” are mentioned and their meanings are explicit; therefore it is not proper to use a Lakshana here in order to indicate through either of them the sense of the other (Thou or That).
   164. Nor is Ajahallakshana applicable in this sentence as in the sentence, “The red colour is running.”
   165. The literal meaning of that sentence, namely, the running of red colour, is absurd. This absurdity can be removed without abandoning the meaning of the word “Red” by interpreting it to imply a horse of that colour. Therefore in this case Ajahallakshana is admissible.
   166. But here (in the sentence, “Thou art That”) the literal meaning, conveying an identical Consciousness associated with remoteness, immediacy, etc., is self-contradictory. If, without abandoning this meaning, any other idea connected with it be implied, still the contradiction will not be reconciled. Therefore, in this case Ajahallakshana is inadmissible.
   167. Nor can it be urged: Either of the words “That” or “Thou” may exclude that portion of its meaning which conflicts with the other word and imply a combination of the other portion with the meaning of the other word (Thou art That). Therefore no necessity arises of admitting Bhagalakshana.
   168. Because it is impossible to conceive the same word as indicating a part of its own meaning as well as the meaning of another word. Moreover, when the meaning is directly expressed by the other word, it does not require the application of Lakshana to the first word to indicate it.
   169. Therefore, as the sentence, “This is that Devadatta”, or its meaning, on account of the contradictions involved in one part of their import, viz., Devadatta as existing in the past and in the present, implies, by abandoning the conflicting portion which has reference to time, only the non-conflicting portion, viz., the man Devadatta – similarly, the sentence, “Thou art That”, or its meaning, on account of the contradictions involved in one part of their import, viz., Consciousness characterized by remoteness and immediacy, implies, by abandoning the conflicting portion which has relation to remoteness, immediacy etc., only Absolute Pure Consciousness which is common to both “Thou” and “That”.
   170. Now is being described the meaning of the sentence, “I am Brahman” (Br. Up. I-4-10), expressive of intuitive experience.
   171. When the teacher in this way clears the meaning of the words “That” and “Thou” by the removal of superimpositions, and makes the qualified student grasp the import of the sentence, “Thou art That”, which is Absolute Unity, there arises in his mind a state of Absolute Oneness in which he feels that he is Brahman, by nature eternal, pure, self-illumined, free, real, supremely blissful, infinite and one without a second.
   172. That mental state, illumined by the reflection of Pure Consciousness, objectifies the Supreme Brahman, unknown but identical with the individual self and destroys the ignorance pertaining to Brahman. Then just as a cloth is burnt when the threads composing it are burnt, so all the effects of ignorance are destroyed when their cause, viz., ignorance, is destroyed. Hence the mental state of Absolute Oneness, which forms part of those effects, is also destroyed.
   173. As the light of a lamp cannot illumine the lustre of the sun but is overpowered by it, so Consciousness reflected in that state of the mind is unable to illumine the Supreme Brahman, self-effulgent and identical with the individual self, and is overpowered by it. And on the destruction of this state of Absolute Oneness with which that Consciousness is associated there remains only the Supreme Brahman, identical with the individual self, just as the image of a face in a looking-glass is resolved into the face itself when the looking-glass is removed.
   174. Such being the case, there is no contradiction between the following Sruti passages: “By the mind alone It is to be perceived” (Br. Up. IV-4-19), and “That which cannot be thought of by the mind” (Kena Up. I-5). We are to suppose that the unknown Brahman is brought into contact with only the mental state, but not with the underlying Consciousness.
   175. Thus it has been said: “The authors of the scriptures have refuted the idea that the individual Consciousness can manifest the Brahman. But they admit that the Brahman associated with ignorance is brought into contact with the mental states only for the purpose of dispelling ignorance regarding It” (Panchadasi VI-90).
   176. And: “Brahman, being self-luminous, does not depend on the individual Consciousness for Its illumination” Panchadasi VI-92).
   177. But there is a difference when the mental state assumes the form of material objects.
   178. Because, in the case of the experience, “This is a jar”, the mental state assumes the form of the jar, makes the unknown jar its object and dispels the ignorance regarding it. Then the Consciousness underlying the mental state manifests the material jar.
   179. Thus it has been said: “Both the intellect and the Consciousness underlying it come into contact with the jar. The intellect destroys the ignorance (regarding the jar) and the underlying Consciousness manifests the jar” (Panchadasi VII-91).
   180. Just as the light of a lamp coming into contact with a jar or cloth existing in darkness, dispels the darkness which envelops them and through its own lustre manifests them as well.

Steps to Self-Realization

   181. Till such realization of the Consciousness which is one’s own Self, it is necessary to practise hearing, reflection, meditation and absorption (Samadhi). Therefore these are also being explained.
   182. Hearing is the ascertainment through the six characteristic signs that the entire Vedanta philosophy establishes the one Brahman without a second.
   183. the characteristic signs are: the beginning and the conclusion, repetition, originality, result, eulogy and demonstration.
   184. Thus it has been said: “In ascertaining the meaning, the characteristic signs are – the beginning and the conclusion, repetition, originality, result, eulogy and demonstration.”
   185. The beginning and the conclusion mean the presentation of the subject-matter of a section at its beginning and end. As, for instance, in the sixth chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad, Brahman, the One without a second, which is the subject-matter of the chapter, is introduced at the beginning in the words, “One only without a second” etc., (VI-2-1), and again at the end in the words, “In It, all that exists has its Self etc., (Vi-8-7).
   186. Repetition is the frequent presentation of the subject-matter in the section. As, for instance, in the same section, Brahman, the One without a second, is repeated nine times in the sentence, “Thou art That”.
   187. Originality means that the subject-matter of a section is not available through any other source of knowledge. As, for instance, in that very section, Brahman, the One without a second, is not knowable through any other means except the Srutis.
   188. The result is the utility of the subject-matter of a section – e.g., Self-knowledge – or its practice as mentioned at different places. As, for instance, in the same section, the words, “The man who has got a teacher knows the Brahman. He has to wait only till he is delivered from the body; then he becomes united with Brahman” (VI-14-2). Here the utility of the knowledge of Brahman, the One without a second, is Its attainment.
   189. Eulogy is the praising of the subject-matter of the section at different places. As, for instance, in the same section the words, "Have you ever asked for that instruction by which one hears what has not been heard, one thinks what has not been thought, one knows what has not been known” (Vi-1-3), have been spoken in praise of Brahman, the One without a second.
   190. Demonstration is the reasoning in support of the subject-matter of a section adduced at different places. As, for instance, in the section in question, the words, “My dear, as by one lump of clay all that is made of clay is known – every modification being but an effort of speech, a name and the clay, the only reality about it” (VI-1-4), furnish the argument that modifications are merely an effort of speech, to establish Brahman, the One without a second.
   191. Reflection is the constant thinking of Brahman, the One without a second, already heard about from the teacher, by arguments agreeable to the purport of the Vedanta.
   192. Meditation is a stream of ideas of the same kind as those of Brahman, the One without a second, to the exclusion of such foreign ideas as those of the body etc.,
   193. Absorption (Samadhi) is of two kinds, viz., that attended with self-consciousness and that without it.
   194. Absorption attended with self-consciousness (Savikalpa Samadhi) is that in which the mental state taking the form of Brahman, the One without a second, rests on It, but without the merging of the distinction of knower, knowledge and the object of knowledge.
   195. In that state the knowledge of the Absolute manifests itself in spite of the consciousness of the relative, as when we know a clay elephant etc., the knowledge of the clay is also present.
   196. Thus it has been said: “I am that Brahman, the Intelligence absolute, formless like ether, Supreme, eternally luminous, birthless, the One without a second, immutable, unattached, all-pervading, ever-free” (Upadesha-sahasri 73-10-1).
   197. Absorption without self-consciousness (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) is the total mergence in Brahman, the One without a second, of the mental state which has assumed Its form, the distinction of knower, knowledge and the object of knowledge being in this case obliterated.
   198. Then just as when salt has been dissolved in water it is no longer perceived separately, and the water alone remains, similarly the mental state that has assumed the form of Brahman, the One without a second, is no longer perceived and only the Self remains.
   199. Therefore there is no apprehension of its being identical with the state of deep sleep. For, though the mental state appears in neither, yet the difference between them lies in this that it exists in the Nirvikalpa Samadhi, but in deep sleep it does not.
   200. The steps to the attainment of this are general discipline, particular discipline, posture, control of the vital force, self-withdrawal, concentration, meditation and absorption (with self-consciousness).
   201. General discipline (Yama) consists of non-injury, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence and non-acceptance of gifts.
   202. Particular discipline (Niyama) consists of cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study of the scriptures and meditation on God.
   203. Posture (Asana) means the placing of the hands, feet, etc., in particular positions, such as Padmasana, Svastikasana etc.,
   204. Control of the vital force (Pranayama) refers to exhalation, inhalation and retention of breath, which are means to the control of the vital force.
   205. Self-withdrawal (Pratyahara) is the withdrawing of the sense-organs from their respective objects.
   206. Concentration (Dharana) means the fixing of the mind on Brahman, the One without a second.
   207. Meditation (Dhyana) is the intermittent resting of the mental state on Brahman, the One without a second.
   208. Absorption (Samadhi) is what has already been described as attended with self-consciousness (Savikalpa).
   209. The Nirvikalpa Samadhi, of which these are the steps, has four obstacles, viz., torpidity, distraction, attachment and enjoyment.
   210. Torpidity (Laya) is the lapse of the mental state into sleep because of the failure to rest on the Absolute.
   211. Distraction (Vikshepa) is the resting of the mental state on things other than the Absolute, because of the failure to rest on It.
   212. Attachment (Kasaya) is the failure of the mental state to rest on the Absolute, owing to the numbness brought on by impressions due to attachment even when there is no torpidity or distraction.
   213. Enjoyment (Rasasvada) is the tasting by the mental state of the bliss of Savikalpa Samadhi owing to the failure to rest on the Absolute. Or it may mean continuing to taste the bliss of Savikalpa Samadhi while taking up the Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
   214. When the mind, free from these four obstacles, rests unmoved, like the flame of a lamp sheltered from the wind, as one with Absolute Consciousness, it is called the Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
   215. Thus it has been said: “When the mind is torpid, rouse it; when it is distracted, bring it back to calmness; when it becomes attached, be aware of it; when it is established in equipoise, do not distract it any more. Do not linger on the bliss that comes from the Savikalpa Samadhi, but be unattached through discrimination” (Gaudapada-karika III, 44-45). “As a lamp sheltered from the wind does not flicker, so is a Yogi’s controlled mind (Gita VI-19).

The Jivanmukta

   216. Now are being described the characteristics of a man who is liberated in this very life.
   217. A man liberated-in-life (Jivanmukta) is one who by the knowledge of the Absolute Brahman, his own Self, has dispelled the ignorance regarding It and has realized It and who owing to the destruction of ignorance and its effects such as accumulated past actions, doubts, errors, etc., is free from all bondage and is established in Brahman.
   218. Witness such Sruti passages as: “The knot of his heart is broken asunder, all his doubts are solved and his past actions are neutralized when He who is high and low (cause and effect) has been realized” (Mund. Up. II-2-8).
   219. Such a liberated man, while he is not in Samadhi, sees actions not opposed to knowledge taking place under the momentum of past impressions – actions that have already begun to bear fruit, which he experiences through the physical body composed of flesh, blood and other things; through the sense-organs affected by blindness, weakness, incapacity etc., and through his mind subject to hunger, thirst, grief, delusion, etc., -- yet he does not consider them as real, for he has already known their nothingness. As a man who is conscious that a magical performance is being given, even though he sees it, does not consider it as real.
   220. Witness such Sruti passages as: “Though he has eyes he is as one without eyes; though possessed of ears, he is as one without ears”, etc.,
   221. It has further been said: “He who does not see anything in the waking state as in sound sleep; who though seeing duality does not really see it as he sees only the Absolute; who though engaged in work is really inactive; he, and none other is the knower of the Self. This is the Truth.” (Upadesha-sahasri 5).
   222. In the case of such a liberated soul, only good desires persist, as do his habits of eating, moving, etc., which existed before the dawn of knowledge. Or he may become indifferent to all good or evil.
   223. Thus it has been said: “If a man who has known the truth of Oneness acts according to his whims, then where is the difference between a knower of Truth and a dog as regards eating impure stuff?” (Naiskarmyasiddhi IV-62). Further, “One who has given up the conceit that he has realized Brahman, is alone the knower of the Self and none else” (Upadesha-sahasri 115).
   224. After realization, humility and other attributes which are steps to the attainment of knowledge, as also such virtues as non-injury etc., persist like so many ornaments.
   225. Thus it has been said: “Such qualities as non-violence etc., come spontaneously to a man who has got Self-knowledge. They have not to be sought after” (Naiskarmya-siddhi IV-69).
   226. In short, such a man’s soul remains as the illuminer of the mental states and the Consciousness reflected in them, experiencing, solely for the maintenance of his body, happiness and misery, the results of past actions that have already begun to bear fruit (Prarabdha) and have been either brought on by his own will or by that of another or against his will. After the exhaustion of the Prarabdha work, his vital force is absorbed in the Supreme Brahman, the Inward Bliss; and ignorance with its effects and their impressions is also destroyed. Then he is identified with the Absolute Brahman, the Supreme Isolation, the embodiment of Bliss, in which there is not even the appearance of duality.
   227. Compare such Sruti passage as: “His sense-organs do not depart elsewhere (for transmigration)” (Br. Up. IV-4-6); “They are absorbed in him” (Br. Up. III-2-11); “Already a liberated soul he is freed (from further rebirths)” (Katha Up. V-1), etc.,

Translator’s Note: The essence of Vedanta is this: The Jiva or embodied soul is none other than Brahman and as such is always free, eternal, immutable, the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. Because the Jiva does not know his own nature, he thinks himself bound. This ignorance vanishes with the dawn of Knowledge. When this happens he re-discovers his own Self. As a matter of fact, such terms as bondage and liberation cannot be used regarding one who is always free. The scripture use the term “liberation” in relation to bondage which exists only in imagination.

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