The discrimination between the Self and the non-Self. ~ Vicekachudamani
THE PHYSICAL BODY
72. Composed of the seven ingredients, viz. marrow, bones, fat, flesh, blood, skin and cuticle, and consisting of the following limbs and their parts – legs, thighs, the chest, arms, the back and the head:
I AND MINE
73. 74. This body, reputed to be the abode of the delusion of ‘I and mine’, is designated by sages as the gross body. The sky, air, fire, water and earth are subtle elements. They Being united with parts of one another and becoming gross, (they) form the gross body. And their subtle essences form sense-objects – the group of five such as sound, which conduce to the happiness of the experiencer, the Jiva ( individual).
SENSE OBJECTS, ATTACHMENT AND DISPASSION
75. Those fools who are tied to these sense-objects by the stout cord of attachment, so very difficult to snap, come and depart, up and down, carried amain by the powerful emissary of their past action.
76. The deer, the elephant, the moth, the fish and the black-bee – these five have died, being tied to one or other of the five senses, viz. sound etc., through their own attachment. What then is in store for man who is attached to all these five.
77. Sense-objects are even more virulent in their evil effects than the poison of the cobra. Poison kills one who takes it, but those others kill one who even looks at them through the eyes.
78. He who is free from the terrible snare of the hankering after sense-objects, so very difficult to get rid of, is alone fit for Liberation, and none else – even though he be versed in all the six Shastras.
79. The shark of hankering catches by the throat those seekers after Liberation who have got only an apparent dispassion (Vairagya) and are trying to cross the ocean of samsara (relative existence), and violently snatching them away, drowns them half-way.
80. He who has killed the shark known as sense-object with the sword of mature dispassion, crosses the ocean of Samsara, free from all obstacles.
81. Know that death quickly overtakes the stupid man who walks along the dreadful ways of sense-pleasure; whereas one who walks in accordance with the instructions of a well-wishing and worthy Guru, as also with his own reasoning, achieves his end – know this to be true.
82. If indeed thou hast a craving for Liberation, shun sense-objects from a good distance as thou wouldst do poison, and always cultivate carefully the nectar-like virtues of contentment, compassion, forgiveness, straight-forwardness, calmness and self-control.
83. Whoever leaves aside what should always be attempted, viz. emancipation from the bondage of Ignorance without beginning, and passionately seeks to nourish this body, which is an object for others to enjoy, commits suicide thereby.
84. Whoever seeks to realise the Self by devoting himself to the nourishment of the body, proceeds to cross a river by catching hold of a crocodile, mistaking it for a log.
85. So for a seeker after Liberation the infatuation over things like the body is a dire death. He who has thoroughly conquered this deserves the state of Freedom.
86. Conquer the dire death of infatuation over thy body, wife, children etc., — conquering which the sages reach that Supreme State of Vishnu.
87. This gross body is to be deprecated, for it consists of the skin, flesh, blood, arteries and veins, fat, marrow and bones, and is full of other offensive things.
88. The gross body is produced by one’s past actions out of the gross elements formed by the union of the subtle elements with each other, and is the medium of experience for the soul. That is its waking state in which it perceives gross objects.
89. Identifying itself with this form, the Atman though separate, enjoys gross objects, such as garlands and sandal-paste, by means of the external organs. Hence this body has its fullest play in the waking state.
90. Know this gross body to be like a house to the householder, on which rests man’s entire dealing with the external world.
91. Birth, decay and death are the various characteristics of the gross body, as also stoutness etc., childhood etc., are its different conditions; it has got various restrictions regarding castes and orders of life; it is subject to various diseases, and meets with different kinds of treatment, such as worship, insult and high honours.
THE SENSES AND ORGANS OF ACTION
92. The ears, skin, eyes, nose and tongue are organs of knowledge, for they help us to cognise objects; the vocal organs, hands, legs, etc., are organs of action, owing to their tendency to work.
THE INNER INSTRUMENT (Antahkarana)
93-94. The inner organ (Antahkarana) is called Manas, Buddhi, ego (ahamkara) and Chitta, according to their respective functions: Manas, from its considering the pros and cons of a thing; Buddhi, from its property of determining the truth of objects; the ego, from its identification with this body as one’s own self; and Chitta, from its function of remembering things it is interested in.
THE PRANA (VITAL ENERGY)
95. One and the same Prana (vital force) becomes Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana according to their diversity of functions and modifications, like gold, water, etc.
THE SUBTLE BODY
96. The five organs of action such as speech, the five organs of knowledge such as the ear, the group of five Pranas, the five elements ending with the ether, together with Buddhi and the rest (manas, chitta, ahamkara) as also Nescience, desire and action – these eight “cities” make up what is called the subtle body.
97. Listen – this subtle body, called also the Linga body, is produced out of the elements before their subdividing and combining with each other, is possessed of latent impressions and causes the soul to experience the fruits of its past actions. It is a beginningless superimposition on the soul brought on by its own ignorance.
98-99. Dream is a state of the Jiva distinct from the waking state, where it shines by itself. In dreams Buddhi, by itself, takes on the role of the agent and the like, owing to various latent impressions of the waking state, while the supreme Atman shines in Its own glory – with Buddhi as Its only superimposition, the witness of everything-, and is not touched by the least work that Buddhi does. As It is wholly unattached, It is not touched by any work that Its superimpositions may perform.
100. This subtle body is the instrument for all activities of the Atman, who is Knowledge Absolute, like the adze and other tools of a carpenter. Therefore this Atman is perfectly unattached.
101. Blindness, weakness and sharpness are conditions of the eye, due merely to its fitness or defectiveness; so are deafness, dumbness, etc., of the ear and so forth – but never of the Atman, the Knower.
102. Inhalation and exhalation, yawning, sneezing, secretion, leaving this body, etc., are called by experts functions of Prana and the rest, while hunger and thirst are characteristics of Prana proper.
103. The inner organ (antahkrana) has its seat in the organs such as the eye, as well as in the body, identifying with them and endued with a reflection of the Atman.
EGO OR EGOISM
104. Know that it is egoism which, identifying itself with the body, becomes the doer and the experiencer, and in conjunction with the Gunas such as the Sattva, assumes the three different states.
105. When sense-objects are favourable it becomes happy, and it becomes miserable when the case is contrary. So happiness and misery are characteristics of egoism, and not of the ever-blissful Atman.
106. Sense-objects are pleasurable only as dependent on the Atman manifesting through them, and not independently, because the Atman is by Its very nature the most beloved of all. Therefore the Atman is ever blissful, and never suffers misery.
THE BLISS OF DEEP SLEEP
107. That in profound sleep we experience the bliss of the Atman independent of sense-objects, is clearly attested by the Shruti, direct perception, tradition and inference.
MAYA & GUNAS (sattva-rajas-tamas)
108. Avidya (Nescience) or Maya, called also the Undifferentiated, is the power of the Lord. She is without beginning, is made up of the three Gunas and is superior to the effects (as their cause). She is to be inferred by one of clear intellect only from the effects She produces. It is She who brings forth this whole universe.
109. She is neither existent nor non-existent nor partaking of both characters; neither same nor different nor both; neither composed of parts nor an indivisible whole nor both. She is most wonderful and cannot be described in words.
110. Maya can be destroyed by the realisation of the pure Brahman, the one without a second, just as the mistaken idea of a snake is removed by the discrimination of the rope. She has her Gunas as Rajas, Tamas and Sattva, named after their respective functions.
111. Rajas has the projecting power (Vikshepa-Shakti), which is of the nature of an activity, and from which this primeval flow of activity has emanated. From this also, mental modifications such as attachment and grief are continually produced.
112. Lust, anger, avarice, arrogance, spite, egoism, envy, jealousy, etc., — these are the dire attributes of Rajas, from which the worldly tendency of man is produced. Therefore Rajas is a cause of bondage.
113. The veiling power ( Avriti) is the power of Tamas, which makes things appear other than what they are. It is this that causes man’s repeated transmigrations, and starts the action of the projecting power (Vikshepa).
114. Even wise and learned men and men who are clever and adept in the vision of the exceedingly subtle Atman, are overpowered by Tamas and do not understand the Atman, even though clearly explained in various ways. What is simply superimposed by delusion, they consider as true, and attach themselves to its effects. Alas ! How powerful is the great veiling power (Avriti Shakti) of dreadful Tamas !
115. Absence of the right judgment, or contrary judgment, want of definite belief and doubt – these certainly never abandon one who has any connection with this veiling power, and then the projecting power gives ceaseless trouble.
116. Ignorance, lassitude, dullness, sleep, inadvertence, stupidity, etc., are attributes of Tamas. One tied to these does not comprehend anything, but remains like one asleep or like a stock or stone.
117. Pure Sattva is (clear) like water, yet in conjunction with Rajas and Tamas it makes for transmigration. The reality of the Atman becomes reflected in Sattva and like the sun reveals the entire world of matter.
118. The traits of mixed Sattva are an utter absence of pride etc., and Niyama, Yama, etc., as well as faith, devotion, yearning for Liberation, the divine tendencies and turning away from the unreal.
119. The traits of pure Sattva are cheerfulness, the realisation of one’s own Self, supreme peace, contentment, bliss, and steady devotion to the Atman, by which the aspirant enjoys bliss everlasting.
THE CAUSAL BODY
120. This Undifferentiated, spoken of as the compound of the three Gunas, is the causal body of the soul. Profound sleep is its special state, in which the functions of the mind and all its organs are suspended.
121. Profound sleep is the cessation of all kinds of perception, in which the mind remains in a subtle seed-like form. The test of this is the universal verdict, “I did not know anything then”.
THE NON SELF OR ANATMAN
122. The body, organs, Pranas, Manas, egoism, etc., all modifications, the sense-objects, pleasure and the rest, the gross elements such as the ether, in fact, the whole universe, up to the Undifferentiated – all this is the non-Self.
123. From Mahat down to the gross body everything is the effect of Maya: These and Maya itself know thou to be the non-Self, and therefore unreal like the mirage in a desert.
THE NATURE OF THE SUPREME SELF (ATMAN)
124. Now I am going to tell thee of the real nature of the supreme Self, realising which man is freed from bondage and attains Liberation.
125. There is some Absolute Entity (the Atman), the eternal substratum of the consciousness of egoism, the witness of the three states, and distinct from the five sheaths or coverings:
126. Which knows everything that happens in the waking state, in dream and in profound sleep; which is aware of the presence or absence of the mind and its functions; and which is the background of the notion of egoism. – This is That.
127. Which Itself sees all, but which no one beholds, which illumines the intellect etc., but which they cannot illumine. – This is That.
128. By which this universe is pervaded, but which nothing pervades, which shining, all this (universe) shines as Its reflection. – This is That.
129. By whose very presence the body, the organs, mind and intellect keep to their respective spheres of action, like servants !
130. By which everything from egoism down to the body, the sense-objects and pleasure etc., is known as palpably as a jar – for It is the essence of Eternal Knowledge !
131. This is the innermost Self, the primeval Purusha (Being), whose essence is the constant realisation of infinite Bliss, which is ever the same, yet reflecting through the different mental modifications, and commanded by which the organs and Pranas perform their functions.
132. In this very body, in the mind full of Sattva, in the secret chamber of the intellect, in the Akasha known as the Unmanifested, the Atman, of charming splendour, shines like the sun aloft, manifesting this universe through Its own effulgence.
APPARENT IDENTIFICATION AND SUPERIMPOSITION
133. The Knower of the modifications of mind and egoism, and of the activities of the body, the organs and Pranas, apparently taking their forms, like the fire in a ball of iron; It neither acts nor is subject to change in the least.
134. It is neither born nor dies, It neither grows nor decays, nor does It undergo any change, being eternal. It does not cease to exist even when this body is destroyed, like the sky in a jar (after it is broken), for It is independent.
135. The Supreme Self, different from the Prakriti and its modifications, of the essence of Pure Knowledge, and Absolute, directly manifests this entire gross and subtle universe, in the waking and other states, as the substratum of the persistent sense of egoism, and manifests Itself as the Witness of the Buddhi, the determinative faculty.
136.By means of a regulated mind and the purified intellect (Buddhi), realise directly thy own Self in the body so as to identify thyself with It, cross the boundless ocean of Samsara whose waves are birth and death, and firmly established in Brahman as thy own essence, be blessed.
137. Identifying the Self with this non-Self – this is the bondage of man, which is due to his ignorance, and brings in its train the miseries of birth and death. It is through this that one considers this evanescent body as real, and identifying oneself with it, nourishes, bathes, and preserves it by means of (agreeable) sense-objects, by which he becomes bound as the caterpillar by the threads of its cocoon.
138. One who is overpowered by ignorance mistakes a thing for what it is not; It is the absence of discrimination that causes one to mistake a snake for a rope, and great dangers overtake him when he seizes it through that wrong notion. Hence, listen, my friend, it is the mistaking of transitory things as real that constitutes bondage.
139. This veiling power (Avriti), which preponderates in ignorance, covers the Self, whose glories are infinite and which manifests Itself through the power of knowledge, indivisible, eternal and one without a second – as Rahu does the orb of the sun.
140. When his own Self, endowed with the purest splendour, is hidden from view, a man through ignorance falsely identifies himself with this body, which is the non-Self. And then the great power of rajas called the projecting power sorely afflicts him through the binding fetters of lust, anger, etc.,
141. The man of perverted intellect, having his Self-knowledge swallowed up by the shark of utter ignorance, himself imitates the various states of the intellect (Buddhi), as that is Its superimposed attribute, and drifts up and down in this boundless ocean of Samsara which is full of the poison of sense-enjoyment, now sinking, now rising – a miserable fate indeed!
142. As layers of clouds generated by the sun’s rays cover the sun and alone appear (in the sky), so egoism generated by the Self, covers the reality of the Self and appears by itself.
143. Just as, on a cloudy day, when the sun is swallowed up by dense clouds, violent cold blasts trouble them, so when the Atman is hidden by intense ignorance (veiling power), the dreadful Vikshepa Shakti (projecting power) afflicts the foolish man with numerous griefs.
144. It is from these two powers that man’s bondage has proceeded – beguiled by which he mistakes the body for the Self and wanders (from body to body).
THE TREE OF SAMSARA
145. Of the tree of Samsara ignorance is the seed, the identification with the body is its sprout, attachment its tender leaves, work its water, the body its trunk, the vital forces its branches, the organs its twigs, the sense-objects its flowers, various miseries due to diverse works are its fruits, and the individual soul is the bird on it.
146. This bondage of the non-Self springs from ignorance, is self-caused, and is described as without beginning and end. It subjects one to the long train of miseries such as birth, death, disease and decrepitude.
SELF-REALIZATION & LIBERATION
147. This bondage can be destroyed neither by weapons nor by wind, nor by fire, nor by millions of acts – by nothing except the wonderful sword of knowledge that comes of discrimination, sharpened by the grace of the Lord.
148. One who is passionately devoted to the authority of the Shrutis acquires steadiness in his Svadharma, which alone conduces to the purity of his mind. The man of pure mind realises the Supreme Self, and by this alone Samsara with its root is destroyed.
149. Covered by the five sheaths – (annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya vijnamamaya,, anandamaya) which are the products of Its own power, the Self ceases to appear, like the water of a tank by its accumulation of sedge.
150. On the removal of that sedge the perfectly pure water that allays the pangs of thirst and gives immediate joy, appears unobstructed before the man.
151. When all the five sheaths have been eliminated, the Self of man appears – pure, of the essence of everlasting and unalloyed bliss, indwelling, supreme and self-effulgent.
152. To remove his bondage the wise man should discriminate between the Self and the non-Self. By that alone he comes to know his own Self as Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute (Sat-chit-ananda) and becomes happy.
LIBERATION IS THE DISSOLUTION OF THE EGO
298. Other obstacles are also observed to exist for men, which lead to transmigration. The root of them, for the above reasons, is the first modification of Nescience called egoism.
299. So long as one has any relation to this wicked ego, there should not be the least talk about Liberation, which is unique.
300. Freed from the clutches of egoism, as the moon from those of Rahu, man attains to his real nature, and becomes pure, infinite, ever blissful and self-luminous.
301. That which has been created by the Buddhi extremely deluded by Nescience, and which is perceived in this body as “I am such and such” – when that egoism is totally destroyed, one attains an unobstructed identity with Brahman.
302. The treasure of the Bliss of Brahman is coiled round by the mighty and dreadful serpent of egoism, and guarded for its own use by means of its three fierce hoods consisting of the three Gunas. Only the wise man, destroying it by severing its three hoods with the great sword of realisation in accordance with the teachings of the Shrutis, can enjoy this treasure which confers bliss.
303. As long as there is a trace of poisoning left in the body, how can one hope for recovery ? Similar is the effect of egoism on the Yogi’s Liberation.
304. Through the complete cessation of egoism, through the stoppage of the diverse mental waves due to it, and through the discrimination of the inner Reality, one realises that Reality as “I am This”.
305. Give up immediately thy identification with egoism, the agent, which is by its nature a modification, is endued with a reflection of the Self, and diverts one from being established in the Self – identifying thyself with which thou hast come by this relative existence, full of the miseries of birth, decay and death, though thou art the Witness, the Essence of Knowledge and Bliss Absolute.
306. But for thy identification with that egoism there can never be any transmigration for thee who art immutable and eternally the same, the Knowledge Absolute, omnipresent, the Bliss Absolute, and of untarnished glory.
307. Therefore destroying this egoism, thy enemy – which appears like a thorn sticking in the throat of a man taking meal – with the great sword of realisation, enjoy directly and freely the bliss of thy own empire, the majesty of the Atman.
308. Checking the activities of egoism etc., and giving up all attachment through the realisation of the Supreme Reality, be free from all duality through the enjoyment of the Bliss of Self, and remain quiet in Brahman, for thou hast attained thy infinite nature.
To remove his bondage the wise man should discriminate between the Self and the non-Self. By that alone he comes to know his own Self as Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute (Sat-chit-ananda) and becomes happy.
🌺 Peace, Love, Harmony, Αγάπη