(aka Vedanta Panchadasi)
By Sri Vidyaranya Swami
Translated by Swami Swahananda
Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai
XI XII XIII
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THE BLISS OF YOGA
1. We now describe
the bliss of Brahman, knowing which one becomes free from present and future
ills and obtains happiness.
2. 'A knower of Brahman achieves the Supreme'; 'A knower of the Self goes beyond
sorrow'; 'Brahman is bliss'; 'One becomes blissful through the attainment of
the blissful Brahman' and in no other way.
3. He who establishes himself in his own Self becomes fearless, but he who perceives
any difference from the Self is subject to fear.
4. Even Wind, Sun, Fire, Indra and Death, having performed the religious practices
in earlier lives, but failing to realise their identity with Him, carry out
their tasks in fear of Him.
5. One who has attained the bliss of Brahman experiences fear from nothing.
Anxiety regarding his good and bad actions which consumes others like fire,
no longer scorches him.
6. Such a knower through his knowledge takes himself beyond good and evil and
is ever engaged in meditation on the Self. He looks upon good and bad actions
done as the manifestations of his Self.
7. 'When a man has seen the Highest the knots of his heart are sundered; all
his doubts are dispelled and all his actions perish'.
8. 'Knowing Him, one crosses death; there is no other path than this'. 'When
a man has known the effulgent Self, all his bonds are cut asunder, his afflictions
cease; there is no further birth for him.'
9. 'The man of steady wisdom, having known the effulgent Self, leaves behind,
even in this life, all joys and sorrows'. 'He is not scorched by thoughts of
the good or bad deeds which he may have done or omitted to do'.
10. Thus many texts in the Shruti, Smritis and Puranas declare that the knowledge
of Brahman destroys all sorrows and leads to bliss.
11. Bliss is of three kinds: The bliss of Brahman, the bliss which is born of
knowledge and the bliss which is produced by contact with outer objects. First
the bliss of Brahman is being described.
12. Bhrigu learnt the definition of Brahman from his father Varuna and negating
the food-sheath, the vital-sheath, the mind-sheath and the intellect-sheath
as not being Brahman, he realised Brahman reflected in the bliss-sheath.
13. All beings are born of bliss and live by It, pass on to It and are finally
reabsorbed in it; there is therefore no doubt that Brahman is bliss.
14. Before the creation of beings there was only the infinite and no triad of
knower, known and knowing; therefore in dissolution the triad again ceases to
15. When created, the intellect-sheath is the knower; the mind-sheath is the
field of knowledge; sound etc., are the objects known. Before creation they
did not exist.
16. In the absence of this triad, the secondless, indivisible Self alone exists.
The Self alone existed before the projection of the world. Similarly It exists
in the states of Samadhi, deep sleep and swoon.
17. The infinite Self alone is bliss; there is no bliss in the finite realm
of the triad. This Sanatkumara told the grieving Narada.
18. Even though Narada was versed in the Vedas, the Puranas and the various
studies, he was full of grief because of not knowing the Self.
19. Before he began the study of the Vedas he was subject to the three usual
kinds of misery, but afterwards he was more grieved because of the added afflictions
of the practices of the study, the fear of forgetting and slips or defeat and
20. 'O Sage', said Narada to Sanatkumara, 'learned as I am in the studies, I
am subject to grief. Please take me beyond this ocean of misery'. The Rishi
told Narada in reply that the farther shore of the ocean of misery is the bliss
21. As the happiness derived from sense-objects is covered by thousands of afflictions,
it is misery only. There is therefore no happiness in the limited.
22. (Objection): Granting there is no happiness in duality, there is no happiness
in non-duality either. If you maintain that there is, then it must be experienced
and then there will be the triad.
23. (Reply): 'Let there be no experience of happiness in the state of non-duality.
But non-duality itself is bliss.' 'What is the proof ?' 'The self-revealing
requires no other proof'.
24. Your objection itself is evidence of the self-revealing nature of the existence
of self-conscious non-duality; for you admit the existence of the secondless
and merely contend that it is not bliss.
25. (Objection): I do not admit non-duality but only accept it as a hypothesis
to be refuted. (Reply): Then tell us what existed before duality emerged.
26. Was it non-duality or duality or something different from both ? It cannot
have been the last because it is impossible to conceive so. It cannot have been
duality because it had not yet emerged. Hence non-duality alone remains.
27. (Objection): The truth of non-duality is established by argument only and
not by experience, it cannot be experienced. (Reply): Then tell whether your
argument can or cannot be supported by illustration; it must be the one or the
28. You deny (the possibility of) the non-dual experience. (At the same time
if you say) there is no illustration (in support of the argument that establishes
non-duality) it would be a wonderful logic ! (You cannot say there is no illustration
in its favour, for an argument must be supported by an illustration). In case
there are examples please give us an acceptable one.
29. (Objection): (Here is the argument with illustration). In dissolution there
is non-duality, since duality is not experienced there, as in deep sleep. (Reply):
Please give an illustration to support your affirmation of the absence of duality
in deep sleep.
30. (Objection): The sleeping state of some other person may be an illustration.
(Reply): You are indeed a clever man; you have no knowledge of your own experience
in deep sleep, which you are going to prove by giving the illustration of another's
deep sleep and yet you profess to know that of another.
31. (Objection): The other person is in deep sleep since he is inactive as in
my case. (Reply): Then from the force of your illustration you admit the self-revealing
nature of the non-dual truth in your own sleep.
32. (How ?) There are no sense-organs (for you say you are inactive); there
is no illustration (for the illustration adduced by you is inadmissible) and
yet there is the non-dual (which you admit); this is what is known as the self-revealing
nature of the non-dual. So you are forced to admit it.
33. (Objection)): Admitted that there is the non-dual in deep sleep and that
it is self-revealing, what about the bliss you spoke of ? (Reply): When all
misery is absent, that which remains is bliss.
34. In deep sleep the blind are not blind, the wounded not wounded and the ill
no longer ill, say the scriptures. All people too know this.
35. (Objection): The absence of misery does not necessarily imply bliss, since
objects like stone or clay are not seen to experience either misery or happiness.
(Reply): This is a false analogy.
36. One infers another's grief or joy from his face, melancholy or smiling,
but in clay this inference of grief etc., from such indications is impossible.
37. Our happiness and misery, however, are not to be known by inference; both
their presence and absence are directly experienced.
38. In the same way the absence of all miseries is directly experienced in deep
sleep and since they are the opposites to bliss their total absence is unhindered
bliss which has to be accepted as our experience.
39. If sleep does not produce an experience of bliss why do people make so much
efforts to procure soft beds etc., ?
40. (Objection): It is only to remove pain. (Reply): That is true for the sick
alone. But since healthy people do so too, it must be to obtain happiness.
41. (Objection): Then the happiness in sleep is born of objects due to the bed
etc. (Reply): It is true that the happiness before going to sleep is due to
42. But the happiness experienced in deep sleep is not obtained from any object.
A man may go to sleep expecting to be happy, but before long he experiences
a happiness of a higher order.
43. A man fatigued in the pursuit of worldly affairs lies down and removes the
obstacles to happiness. His mind being calm, he enjoys the pleasure of resting
44. Directing his thoughts towards the Self, he experiences the bliss of the
Self reflected in the intellect. But experiencing this, even here he becomes
tired of the pleasures derived of the triad (of experiencer, experience and
45. To remove that weariness the Jiva rushes towards his real Self and becoming
united with it experiences the bliss of Brahman in sleep.
46. The scriptures give the following examples to illustrate the bliss enjoyed
in sleep: the falcon, the eagle, the infant, the great king and the knower of
47. Tied to a string, the falcon, flying hither and thither but failing to find
a resting place, returns to rest on the wrist of its master or on the post to
which it is tied.
48. Similarly the mind, which is the instrument of the Jiva, moves on in the
dreaming and waking states in order to obtain the fruits of righteous and unrighteous
deeds. When the experiencing of these fruits ceases, the mind is absorbed in
its cause, undifferentiated ignorance.
49. The eagle rushes only to its nest hoping to find rest there. Similarly the
Jiva eager only to experience the bliss of Brahman rushes to sleep.
50. A tiny tot having fed at the breast of its mother, lies smiling in a soft
bed. Free from desire and aversion it enjoys the bliss of its nature.
51. A mighty king, sovereign of the world, having obtained all the enjoyments
which mark the limits of human happiness to his full contentment, becomes the
very personification of bliss.
52. A great Brahmana, a knower of Brahman, has extended the bliss of knowledge
to its extreme limit; he has achieved all that was to be achieved and sits established
in that state.
53. These examples of the ignorant, infant, the discriminative king and the
wise Brahmana are of people considered to be happy. Others are subject to misery
and are not very happy.
54. Like the infant and the other two, man passes into deep sleep and enjoys
only the bliss of Brahman. In that state he, like a man embraced by his loving
wife, is not conscious of anything either internal or external.
55. Just as what happens outside in the street may be called external and what
is done inside the house internal, so the experiences of the waking state may
be called external and the dreams produced inside the mind and the nervous system
may be called internal.
56. The Shruti says: 'In sleep even a father is no father'. Then in the absence
of all worldly ideas the Jivahood is lost and a state of pure consciousness
57. One having such notions as 'I am a father' experiences joy and grief. When
such attachment perishes, he rises beyond all sorrow.
58. A text of the Atharva Veda says: 'In the state of deep sleep, when all the
objects of experience have been absorbed and only darkness (Tamas) prevails,
the Jiva enjoys bliss'.
59. A man from deep sleep remembers his happiness and ignorance and says: 'I
was sleeping happily; I knew nothing then'.
60. Recollection presupposes experience. So in sleep there was experience. The
bliss experienced in dreamless sleep is revealed by consciousness itself which
also reveals the undifferentiated ignorance (Ajnana) covering bliss in that
61. The Vajasaneyins say: 'Brahman is of the nature of consciousness and bliss'.
Therefore the self-luminous bliss is Brahman itself and nothing else.
62. The mind and the intellect sheaths are latent in the state called ignorance.
Deep sleep is the condition in which these sheaths are latent and it is therefore
a state of ignorance.
63. Just as melted butter again becomes solid, the two sheaths in the states
following deep sleep again become manifest. The state in which the mind and
intellect are latent is called the bliss-sheath.
64. The modifications (Vritti) of the intellect in which, just before sleep,
bliss is reflected becomes latent in the state of deep sleep along with the
reflected bliss and is known as the bliss-sheath.
65. This Vritti thus turned within, which is termed the bliss-sheath, enjoys
the bliss reflected on it in association with the modifications of ignorance,
catching the reflection of consciousness.
66. The adepts in Vedanta say that the modifications of ignorance are subtle,
whereas those of the intellect are gross.
67. This is fully explained in the Mandukya and Tapaniya Upanishads. It is the
sheath of bliss which is the enjoyer and it is the bliss of Brahman which is
68. This profusion of bliss (Anandamayah), having become concentrated into one
mass of consciousness in the deep sleep, enjoys the (reflected) bliss of Brahman
with the help of modifications (Vrittis) reflecting a superabundance of consciousness.
69. The self (Chidabhasa) in the waking and dream states, is connected or associated
with various sheaths such as Vijnanamaya and appears as many (i.e., plays various
roles). In the deep sleep state, however, they get merged and become latent
like a dough of many (powdered) wheat-grains.
70. The modifications of the intellect, which are instruments of cognition,
unite and become one in the state of sleep, just as drops of cold water in the
Himalayan regions solidify into a mass of ice.
71. This witness state of compact consciousness, ordinary people and the logicians
say, is characterised by the absence of suffering, because in that state the
mental modifications of pain and misery subside.
72. In the enjoyment of the bliss of Brahman in deep sleep, the consciousness
reflected in ignorance is the means. Prompted by its Karma, good or bad, the
Jiva gives up the enjoyment of bliss and goes out to the waking state.
73. The Kaivalya Upanishad says that a Jiva passes from the sleeping to the
waking state owing to the effects of the actions of former births. Reawakening
thus is a result of actions.
74. For a short time after the waking up the impression of the bliss of Brahman
enjoyed during sleep continues. For he remains for some time calm and happy,
without taking any interest in the enjoyment of external objects.
75. Then, impelled by his past actions ready to bear fruits, he begins to think
of duties and their implementation entailing sufferings of many kinds and gradually
forgets the bliss of Brahman experienced (a few minutes before).
76. Experiencing the bliss of Brahman before and after sleep day after day man
develops a predilection for it. How can a man, therefore, doubt it (i.e., the
existence of the bliss of Brahman) ?
77. (Objection): Well, if a mere state of quietude were enjoyment of the bliss
of Brahman then the lazy and the worldly would achieve the end of their life.
What then is the use of the teacher and the scriptures ?
78. (Reply): Your contention would be correct, if he realised that the bliss
that he experienced was the bliss of Brahman. But who can know Brahman that
is so immensely profound without the help of the teacher and the scripture ?
79. (Objection): I know what Brahman is from what you yourself have said. Why
then am I without the bliss of realisation ? (Reply): Listen to the story of
a man who like yourself imagined that he was wise.
80. This man, hearing that a large reward was offered to anyone who knew the
four Vedas, said, 'I know from you that there are four Vedas. So give me the
81. (Objection): He knew the number, not the text, of the Vedas fully. (Reply):
You too have not known Brahman fully.
82. (Objection): Brahman is by nature indivisible and is bliss absolute, untouched
by Maya and its effects. How can you speak of the knowledge of Brahman as complete
or incomplete ?
83. (Reply): Do you simply say the word 'Brahman' or do you see its meaning
? If you know only the word, it remains for you to acquire knowledge of its
84. Even if with the help of grammar and so forth you learn its meaning, still
realisation remains. Serve your teacher until you have realised Brahman and
known that there is nothing further to be known.
85. Leave the vain argument alone and know that whenever happiness is felt in
the absence of objects, that happiness is an impression of the bliss of Brahman.
86. Even when on the acquisition of the desired external objects the desire
becomes quiescent and the Vritti is directed inward, it reflects the bliss of
Brahman. (This is what is known as 'reflected' bliss or Vishayananda or bliss
derived from the enjoyment of external things.)
87. There are thus only three kinds of bliss experienced in the world: (1) Brahmananda,
the bliss of Brahman; (2) Vasanananda, the bliss arising in the quiescent mind
out of the impressions of Brahmananda and (3) Vishayananda, the bliss resulting
from the fulfilment of the desire to be in contact with external objects.
88. Of these, the self-revealing bliss of Brahman gives rise to the other two
kinds of bliss, the Vasanananda and the Vishayananda.
89. The fact that the bliss of Brahman is self-revealing in deep sleep is established
by the authority of the scriptures, by reasoning and by one's experience. Now
hear about its experience at other times.
90. The Jiva which is called Anandamaya, enjoying bliss of Brahman during sleep
gets identified with the intellect-sheath during the dreaming and waking states,
as he changes his seat from one state to another.
91. The Shruti says that in the waking state the Jiva abides in the eye i.e.,
the gross body; in the dreaming state in the throat and in deep sleep in the
lotus of the heart. In the waking state the Jiva pervades the whole gross body
from head to foot.
92. In the waking state the Jiva gets identified with the body, as fire with
a red-hot ball of iron. As a result of this he comes to feel with certainty:
'I am a man'.
93. The Jiva experiences the three states of detachment, joy and suffering.
Joy and suffering are the results of actions; detachment comes naturally.
94. Pain and pleasure are of two sorts as the experience is limited within the
mind or is external to it also. The state of detachment appears in the intervals
between pain and pleasure.
95. 'Now I have no worries, I am happy', thus do people describe the natural
bliss of the Self in the state of detachment.
96. But in this state the natural bliss of the Self is not primary for it is
obscured by the idea of egoity and the bliss so experienced is not the bliss
of Brahman but only an impression of it.
97. The outside of a pot full of water feels cold. Actually there is no water
outside but coldness only. It is from this property of water that the presence
of water inside is inferred.
98. Similarly, as one forgets one's egoity by continued practice, one can comprehend
through intuitive perception one's natural state of bliss.
99. By continued practice of all kinds the ego becomes exceedingly refined.
This state is not sleep because the ego is not completely absorbed; moreover
the body does not, as in sleep, fall to the ground.
100. The bliss in which there is no experience of duality and which is not sleep
either, is the bliss of Brahman. So said Lord Krishna to Arjuna.
101. 'By the steady application of reason and discrimination an aspirant should
gradually control his mind. He should keep the mind fixed on the Self and restrain
it from thinking of anything else'.
102. 'Whenever the mind which is restless and fickle, wanders away, the aspirant
should restrain it and concentrate it on the Self'.
103. 'The Yogi whose mind is perfectly tranquil, whose passions are subdued,
who is sinless and has become Brahman, attains the supreme bliss'.
104. 'When by practice of Yoga, his mind is withdrawn and concentrated, the
Yogi sees the Self by the Self and finds supreme satisfaction in the Self'.
105. 'When he obtains that supreme bliss which is beyond the senses, but which
can be grasped by the intellect, he becomes firmly rooted in it and is never
moved from it'.
106. 'Attaining it he considers no other gain as superior. Once established
in it he is not disturbed even by great sorrow'.
107. 'This science of separation from the painful association is called Yoga.
This Yoga must be practised with faith and a steady and undespairing mind'.
108. 'A Yogi who is free from imperfections and is ever united with his Self,
experiences easily the supreme bliss of identity with Brahman'.
109. 'The control of the mind can be achieved by untiring practice over a long
period, even as the ocean can be dried up by baling its waters out drop by drop
with a blade of grass.'
110. In the Maitrayani Upanishad of the Yajur Veda, sage Sakayanya spoke of
the great bliss experienced in Samadhi to the royal sage Brihadratha while discoursing
111. 'As fire without fuel dies down and becomes latent in its cause, so the
mind, when its modifications have been silenced, merges in its cause'.
112. 'To the mind fixed on Reality, merged in its cause and impervious to the
sensations arising from the sense-objects, the joys and sorrows (together with
their occasions and materials) experienced as a result of the fructifying Karma
113. 'The mind is indeed the world. It should be purified with great effort.
It is an ancient truth that the mind assumes the forms of the objects to which
it is applied.'
114. 'Through the purification of his mind a man destroys the impressions of
his good and evil Karma and the purified mind abiding in Atman enjoys undiminishing
115. 'If a man were to focus his mind on Brahman, as he commonly does on the
objects of senses, what bondage would he not be free from ?'
116. 'Mind has been described as of two types, pure and impure. The impure is
that which is tainted by desires, the pure is that which is free from desires'.
117. 'The mind alone is the cause of bondage and release. Attachment to objects
leads to bondage and freedom from attachment to them leads to release'.
118. 'The bliss arising from absorption in the contemplation of the Self, when
all sins and taints are washed off through the practice of Samadhi, cannot be
described in words. One must feel it in one's own heart'.
119. Though it is rare for men to keep their minds long in the state of absorption,
still even a glimpse of it confers conviction about the bliss of Brahman.
120. A man who has full faith in the truth of this bliss and is ceaselessly
industrious about getting it, is sure to have it even for a short while; but
this is enough to convince him of its reality at other times also.
121. Such a man ignores the bliss experienced in the state of mental quiescence
and is ever devoted to the supreme bliss and meditates on it.
122. A woman devoted to a paramour, though engaged in household duties, with
all the time be dwelling in mind on the pleasures with him.
123. Similarly the wise one who has found peace in the supreme Reality will
be ever enjoying within the bliss of Brahman even when engaged in worldly matters.
124. Wisdom consists in subjugating the desires for sense-pleasure, even when
the passions are strong and in engaging the mind in meditation on Brahman with
the desire to enjoy the bliss.
125. A man carrying a burden on his head feels relief when he removes the load;
similarly a man freed from worldly entanglements feels he is in rest.
126. Thus relieved of burden and enjoying rest, he fixes his mind on the contemplation
of the bliss of Brahman, whether in the state of detachment or experiencing
pain or pleasure according to fructifying Karma.
127. As a Sati about to enter the fire considers the delay in putting on clothes
and ornaments to be irritating, so also one devoted to the achievement of the
bliss of Brahman, feels about worldly objects that obstruct the practice of
meditation on bliss.
128. The sage, looking now at the bliss of Brahman and now at such worldly objects
as are not opposed to it, is like a crow that turns its eye from one side to
129. The crow has only a single vision which alternates between the right and
left eye. Similarly the vision of the knower of Truth alternates between the
two types of bliss (of Brahman and the world).
130. Enjoying both the bliss of Brahman taught in the scriptures and the worldly
bliss unopposed to it, the knower of truth knows them both in the same way as
one who knows two languages.
131. When the knower experiences sufferings, he is not disturbed by them as
he would have been before. Just as a man half-immersed in the cool water of
the Ganges feels both the heat of the sun and the coolness of the water, so
he feels the misery of the world and the bliss of Brahman at the same time.
132. The knower of truth, experiencing the bliss of Brahman in the waking state
experiences it also in the dreaming state, because it is the impressions received
in the waking state that give rise to dreams.
133. The impressions of ignorance still continue in the dreaming state. So in
a dream a wise man will experience sometimes joy and sometimes suffering, without
being affected by either.
134. In this Chapter, the first of the five dealing with the bliss of Brahman,
is described direct realisation of the Yogi revealing the bliss of Brahman.