(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 THE SELF
A Yogi can enjoy the natural bliss of the Self which is different from the bliss
of mental quiescence and the bliss of deep sleep; but what will happen to the
ignorant man ?
2. (Reply): The ignorant are born in innumerable bodies and they die again and
again - all owing to their righteous or unrighteous deeds. What is the use of
our sympathy for them ?
3. (Doubt): Because of the desire of the teacher to help his ignorant pupils
he can do something for them. (Reply): Then you must tell whether they are willing
to learn the spiritual truth or are averse to it.
4. If they are still devoted to external objects, some suitable kind of worship
or ritual can be prescribed for them. If, on the other hand, they, though spiritually
dull, desire to learn the truth, they can be instructed in the knowledge of
the bliss of the Self.
5. Yajnavalkya instructed this by pointing out to his beloved wife, Maitreyi,
that 'a wife does not love her husband for his sake'.
6. The husband, wife or son, riches or animals, Brahmanahood or Kshatriyahood,
the different worlds, the gods, the Vedas, the elements and all other objects
are dear to one for the sake of one's own Self.
7. A wife shows affection to her husband when she desires his company; the husband
too reciprocates but not when he is engaged in worship or afflicted with illness,
hunger and so forth.
8. Her love is not for her husband's sake but for her own. Similarly the husband's
love also is for his own satisfaction and not for hers.
9. Thus even in the mutual love between husband and wife the incentive is one's
own desire for happiness.
10. A child, when kissed by its father, may cry, being pricked by the latter's
bristly beard, still its father goes on kissing the child - it is not for its
sake but for his own.
11. Wealth and gems have no likes or dislikes of their own, but their owner
looks after them with love and care. It is for his own sake, none doubts it
to be for theirs.
12. A merchant forces his bullock, though unwilling, to carry a load. He loves
the bullock for his own sake, how can it be for the bullock's ?
13. A Brahmana knowing that he deserves respect, is satisfied when he receives
it. This satisfaction is not felt for his caste, an insentient abstraction,
but for the man himself.
14. A king feels exalted that he is a Kshatriya and hence is a ruler, but the
feeling is not for the caste. The same applies to men of Vaishya and other castes
15. The desire, 'May I attain the region of heaven or of Brahma', is not for
the well-being of those regions but only for one's own enjoyment.
16. People worship Shiva, Vishnu and other deities to destroy sins. It is not
for the sake of the deities who are already free from sins, but for their own
17. The Brahmanas study the Rig and other Vedas to avoid falling from their
(respectable) Brahminhood; this applies to men only and not to the Vedas.
18. People want the five elements, viz., earth, water, fire, air and Akasa,
because of their usefulness to them in giving shelter, quenching their thirst,
cooking, drying and space for movement and not for the sake of the elements
19. People desire to have servants or masters for their own benefit and not
for the benefit of (servants or masters) themselves.
20. There are plenty of such examples to enable one to study and come to the
same conclusion on all occasions. By these one should convince one's mind that
for every man the Self is the only real object of love.
21-22. (Doubt): What type of love is it that the scriptures say is felt towards
the Self ? Is it the passionate attachment which is felt towards wife and other
objects, the faith which is experienced in sacrifices and other rituals, the
devotion which a man cherishes towards God and his teacher or is it the desire
one feels for something one does not possess ? (Reply): The real love of the
Self is that which, in the absence of these emotions, manifests itself owing
to the preponderance of Sattvika quality in the intellect. This love of the
Self is different from desire, for it exists even when desire is present or
23. (Doubt): Be it so, but food, drink etc., are liked because of their quality
of giving happiness (and not for their own sake).
24. If you say that the Self is also a means to happiness like food and drink,
then we ask: who is it that enjoys happiness ? One and the same thing cannot
be both the subject and the object of enjoyment.
25. Love for the means to happiness is partial love, but the love for the Self
is infinite. The love for the means passes from one object to another, but the
love for the Self is steadfast.
26. Love for an object of happiness always passes from one to another; (they
are objects that can be accepted or rejected); but the Self cannot be treated
like that; so how can love of Self change ?
27. (Doubt): Even though it cannot be accepted or rejected the Self may be regarded
as an object of indifference, like a piece of straw. (Reply): No, because it
is the very Self of the person who is to regard it with indifference.
28. (Doubt): People begin to hate the Self when they are overpowered by disease
or anger and wish to die. (Reply): This is not so.
29. When they desire to do away with the body it is an object for rejection,
not their Self. The Self is the subject that desires the end of the body and
it feels no hatred for itself. What harm is there if they hate the body, an
30. All objects are desired for the sake of the Self and hence of all the objects
that are loved the Self is dearest. A man's son is dearer to him than his son's
31. 'May I never perish, may I ever exist' is the desire seen in all. So love
for the Self is quite evident.
32. Though the Self as the object of the highest love is taught by the scriptures
and proved both by reasoning and experience, there are some who hold that the
Self is merely secondary to son, wife etc., as an object of love.
33. To support this they quote the Shruti: 'The son indeed is the Self', which
shows the superiority of the son. This has been clearly spoken of in the Upanishad.
34. 'The (father's) Self, born in the form of the son, becomes his substitute
for the performance of meritorious deeds. The Self of the father, having fulfilled
its purpose (by begetting a son) and having reached old age, departs'.
35. A verse in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says that in spite of the existence
of the Self a man who has no son does not go to heaven. So the thinkers said
that a son who is well trained in the Vedas helps his father to attain heaven.
36. The joys of this world can be attained through the son and not by other
things. The dying father therefore should instruct his son the Vedic truth,
"You are Brahman".
37. These Vedic verses are quoted to prove the importance of son, wife and so
forth (and one's own Self as secondary). Ordinary people too admit the greater
importance of a son.
38. A father labours hard to acquire wealth for the maintenance of his sons
and others after his death. Hence the son is superior to the Self.
39. All right, but these texts do not prove the Self to be less important. It
is to be remembered that the word 'Self' is used in three senses, figurative,
illusory and fundamental.
40. In the expression 'Devadatta is a lion', the identification is figurative,
for the difference between the two is evident. Similar is the case of the son
and others as the Self.
41. Difference exists between the five sheaths and the Witness, though it is
not evident and so the sheaths are illusory, like the thief seen in the stump
of a tree.
42. The witness-consciousness is without a second and therefore in it there
neither appears nor is any difference. As it is the innermost essence it is
accepted that the word 'Self' in its fundamental sense refers to the Witness
43. As the word 'Self' has these three meanings in daily use the suitable one
becomes primary, the other two becoming merely secondary.
44. In the case of a dying man, giving charge of the family property and tradition
to his son, the figurative meaning of 'Self' fits in, not the primary or the
45. In the sentence 'the reciter is the fire' the term 'reciter' cannot actually
refer to fire, for the latter is incapable of reciting, but must mean a Brahmachari
who is able to do so.
46. In such expressions as 'I am thin and I must get fatter', the body should
be taken as the Self. For the sake of one's own growing fat nobody engages his
son in eating.
47. In such expressions as 'I shall attain heaven by austerities' the doer (the
intellect-sheath) should be regarded as the Self. So ignoring the physical enjoyment
people practise severe austerities.
48. When a man says, 'I shall be free', he then acquires knowledge (of the Self)
from the teacher and the scripture and desires nothing else. Here the word 'I'
should be regarded as the witness Self.
49. Just as Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas are entitled to perform the sacrifices
called Brihaspati-sava, Rajasuya and Vaishyastoma according to their fitness,
so the figurative, illusory and fundamental selves are meant in different contexts.
50. Infinite love is always left for the Self which is primary in any particular
context; and for whatever is related to it there is just moderate love and for
all other things there is no love whatsoever.
51. Other things are of two kinds, to be ignored or hated. Straws lying on the
road are disregarded, whereas tigers and snakes are hated. So things are of
four kinds, loved, dearly loved, disregarded or hated.
52. The primary Self, things related to the Self and objects to be disregarded
or hated - of these four categories of things there is no sacro-sanctity attached
to any one of them that it would always be primary or secondary etc. But it
(their being primary or secondary etc.,) depends on the effect they produce
under particular circumstances.
53. When a tiger confronts man, it is hated; when it is away, it is disregarded;
and when it has been tamed and made friendly, it causes joy; thus it is related
to him and is loved.
54. Even though no thing is primary or secondary by itself, there are some characteristics
to distinguish them under certain circumstances. These characteristics are:
their being favourable, unfavourable, or neither of these.
55. The popular conclusion is that the Self is the dearest, the objects related
to it are dear and the rest are either disregarded or hated. This is also the
verdict of Yajnavalkya.
56. Elsewhere too the Shruti declares: 'Know this Self as the dearest which
is more intrinsic than son, wealth and so forth'.
57. Through the eye of discrimination following the Shruti it becomes clear
that the witness-consciousness is the real Self. Discrimination means separating
the five sheaths and seeing the inner substance.
58. That is the self-luminous consciousness, the Self, which is the witness
of the presence and absence of the states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep.
59. The various objects of enjoyment, from life down to wealth, are objects
of varying degrees of love according to their proximity to the Self.
60. A son is dearer than wealth, the body dearer than the son, the sense-organs
dearer than the body, life and mind dearer than the sense organs and the Self
is supremely dearer than life and mind.
61. In the Shruti there is a dialogue between a wise and a dull-witted man which
illustrates the point that the Self is the dearest of all objects.
62. The wise man holds that the witness-consciousness, is dearer than all objects.
The dull-witted man maintains that son and other objects are dearer and that
the witness-consciousness enjoys the happiness caused by these objects.
63. The ignorant disciple and the confirmed opponent both assert that something
other than the Self (Atman) is the object of greatest love. The reply given
will prove to be an instruction to the disciple and a curse to the confirmed
64. The wise man quotes the scripture in his reply: 'Your dearest thing will
make you weep'. The pupil analyses this reply and finds out his error in considering
something other than the Self as the dearest.
65. When a married couple desire to have a son and do not have one, they are
disappointed and miserable. After conception, a miscarriage or the pain of labour
66. When a son is born he may suffer from diseases or from the position of the
planets at his birth, or he may be stupid or obstinate, or after the investiture
of sacred thread, he may study nothing or if he is learned, he may remain unmarried.
67. Again he may start pursuing the wives of others, or he may have an unwieldy
family and remain in poverty, or he may grow wealthy and yet die in his youth.
Infinite are the sorrows of parents.
68. Having considered all this, the disciple must abstain from forming an attachment
to other things. He should focus his love on the Self and contemplate It day
69. The confirmed opponent, who does not give up his contention due to obstinacy
and hostility to the knower of truth, sinks into the depths of darkness and
suffers the pains of innumerable births.
70. The knower of Brahman is of the nature of Brahman and is described as Ishvara,
the all-powerful. Whatever he says will come to pass for the pupil and the opponent.
71. He who contemplates the witness Self as the dearest of all objects will
find that this dearest Self never suffers destruction.
72. The Supreme Self, being the object of dearest love, is the source of infinite
joy. The Shruti has it that from the sovereignty of this world to position of
Hiranyagarbha, everywhere, wherever there is greater love there is greater bliss.
73. (Doubt): If the nature of the Self is bliss as well as consciousness, bliss
should be found in all the modifications of the mind, as is consciousness.
74. (Reply): Not so. A lamp burning in a room emits both light and heat, but
it is only the light that fills the room and not heat; similarly, it is only
consciousness which accomplishes the Vrittis (and not bliss).
75. An object may be characterised by odour, colour, taste and touch, yet each
of these properties is cognised by one particular sense-organ and not the others.
It is the same with the bliss of the Self.
76. (Doubt): Odours, taste and so forth differ from one another, but in the
Self consciousness and bliss are identical. (Reply): Tell whether this identity
is in the witness Self or elsewhere ?
77. The odour, colour and other properties of a flower are not separate from
one another in the flower. If it be said that the separation of these properties
is brought about by the sense-organs, we rejoin that the seeming difference
between consciousness and bliss is produced by (the predominance of Rajas or
Sattva in) the Vrittis.
78. When there is a predominance of Sattva in the Vrittis, we realise, because
of their purity, that bliss and consciousness are one and the same, but when
Rajas predominates, because of its impurity, the bliss is obscured.
79. As the intensely sour taste of tamarind when mixed with salt is lessened
and taste less sour, so with bliss (when it is obscured by Rajas).
80. (Doubt): By discrimination one can feel that the Self is the dearest, but
without the practice of Yoga what good is it (for liberation) ?
81. (Reply): The goal which is reached by Yoga can also be reached by discrimination.
Yoga is a means to knowledge; doesn't knowledge arise from discrimination ?
82. 'The state achieved by the Sankhyas is also achieved by the Yogis'. Thus
it has been said in the Gita about the identity of the fruit of both Yoga and
83. Knowing that for some Yoga is difficult and for some others knowledge, the
great Lord Sri Krishna speaks of these two paths.
84. What speciality is there in Yoga when knowledge has been declared as common
to both ? Both the Yogi and the Viveki (he who practises discrimination) are
alike freed from attachment and aversion.
85. One who knows the Self as the dearest has no love for any object of enjoyment.
So how can he have attachment ? And how can he who sees no object inimical to
himself have any aversion ?
86. Both the Yogi and the Viveki dislike objects unfavourable to the body, mind
etc. If it be said that he who has aversion for such objects is not a Yogi,
then we rejoin that equally so is he not a Viveki.
87. It may be said that though in the world of relative experience both accept
the conception of duality, the Yogi has the advantage that there is no duality
for him while in the state of Samadhi. Our reply is that he who practises discrimination
about the non-duality does not experience duality at that time.
88. In the next chapter, called the 'Bliss of Non-duality' we will enlarge on
the theme of the absence of duality. Therefore things told till now are free
89. (Doubt): He is a true Yogi who in his contemplation is ever-conscious of
the bliss of the Self and is unconscious of the external world. (Reply): May
the blessings of contentment ever abide with you. (For the point is gained,
this is the position of the Vivekin also).
90. In this second chapter of the section in which the bliss of Brahman is discussed
we have dealt with the bliss of the Self (Atmananda) for the good of persons
of spiritually dull intellect.