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Untitled Document

Panchadasi (aka Vedanta Panchadasi)

By Sri Vidyaranya Swami
Translated by Swami Swahananda
Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai



1. Now is being described the bliss of knowledge experienced by him who has realised the bliss of Brahman through Yoga, discrimination of the Self and thinking of the unreality of duality.

2. Like the bliss arising from the contact of the mind with external objects, the bliss arising from the knowledge of Brahman is a modification of the intellect. It is said to have four aspects, in the forms of absence of sorrow etc.

3. The four aspects of the bliss of knowledge are: absence of sorrow, the fulfilment of all desires, the feeling 'I have done all that was to be done', and also the feeling 'I have achieved all that was to be achieved'.

4. Sorrow is twofold, that of this world and that of the next. The cessation of the sorrow of this world has been described in the words of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

5. 'When a man (Purusha) has realised the identity of his own Self with That (Paramatman), desiring what and to please whom should he allow his body and mind to be afflicted ?'

6. The Self is spoken of as of two types: the individual Self and the supreme Self. The consciousness, through identification with the three bodies, thinks itself as the Jiva and becomes an enjoyer.

7. The supreme Self, who is by nature existence, consciousness and bliss, identifying itself with names and forms becomes the objects of enjoyment. When by discrimination it is disidentified from the three bodies and names and forms, there is neither the enjoyer nor anything to be enjoyed.

8. Desiring the objects of enjoyment for the sake of the enjoyer, the Jiva suffers, being identified with the body. The sufferings are in the three bodies, but there are no sufferings for the Self.

9. The diseases due to the disequilibrium of the bodily humours are the suffering of the gross body; desire, anger etc., are the suffering of the subtle body; and the source of the sufferings of both the gross and subtle bodies is the suffering of the causal body.

10. The knower of the supreme Self, while discriminating about it as mentioned in the Chapter on the 'Bliss of Non-duality', sees no reality in any object of enjoyment. What then should he desire ?

11. When the individual Self is determined (to be identical with the immutable) through the methods mentioned in Chapter 12 on the 'Bliss of the Self', there remains no enjoyer in this body. So how can there be sufferings which are the result of identification with the body ?

12. Anxiety regarding virtue and vice are the sufferings of the future life. It has already been told in Chapter 11 that such anxiety cannot affect the illumined man.

13. As water does not stick to the leaves of a lotus so after realisation future actions cannot stick to the knower.

14. Just as the cotton-like flowers of the Ishika reed are burnt by fire in a moment, so the accumulated past actions of the knower are burnt up because of realisation.

15. Sri Krishna says: 'Just as a blazing fire reduces the fuel to ashes, so, O Arjuna, the fire of knowledge burns up all actions'.

16. 'He who has no notion of I-ness and whose mind is not tainted by desire for results of action is not really a killer even if he kills people; he is not bound by his actions'.

17. In the Kausitaki Upanishad it is said that killing of parents, stealing, causing abortion and such other sins do not affect his illumination, nor is the colour (serenity) of his countenance marred.

18. It has been said in the Aitareya Upanishad that like the cessation of all sorrows, the knower achieves all the desired objects also: 'He becomes immortal, achieving all the desired objects'.

19. In the Chandogya Upanishad it is said that the knower of Truth may be seen laughing, playing, rejoicing with women, vehicles and other things but he does not remember the body. The vital breath, impelled by his fructifying actions keeps him alive.

20. 'The knower of Brahman attains fulfilment of all his desires'. For him unlike others, there are no enjoyments through rebirths and actions. His bliss is unqualified and immediate and devoid of sequence or degree.

21-22. Whatever bliss is attained by a satisfied king who is young, handsome, learned, healthy, strong of mind, who has suitable army and rules over the whole world full of wealth and as such is endowed with the totality of all human enjoyments, even that bliss the knower of Brahman achieves.

23. For both the king and the knower there is no attraction for worldly enjoyment and so their happiness and contentment are comparable. One has desirelessness because of enjoyment, the other because of discrimination.

24. The knower of Brahman knows through his knowledge of the Vedic scriptures the defects of the objects of enjoyment. King Brihadratha gave examples of those defects in some songs.

25. Thus Brihadratha described the defects pertaining to the body, the mind and the objects of enjoyment. As no one has liking for porridge vomited by a dog, likewise the man of discrimination also has no liking for the body etc.

26. Though there is similarity between the king and the knower of Truth in desirelessness, there was misery for the king in accumulating the objects of enjoyment and the fear of losing them in future follows him.

27. Both these miseries are absent for the knower; so his bliss is more than that of the king. Besides, the king may have desire for the bliss of the Gandharvas, but the knower has none.

28. One who has become a Gandharva, because of the particular result of his meritorious actions as a man in the present cycle, is called a 'human Gandharva'.

29. If one becomes a Gandharva in the very beginning of the cycle, because of his meritorious actions in the earlier cycle, he is called a 'celestial Gandharva'.

30. The Agnisvattas and others who dwell for a long time in their region are called the Pitris. Those who have achieved the state of deities in the beginning of their cycle are called Ajana-devatas.

31. Those who obtain the glorious position and are fit for worship by the Ajana-devatas by performing the Asvamedha sacrifice and other good actions, are the Karma-devatas.

32. Yama and Agni are foremost among the gods. Indra and Brihaspati are well known (and superior to them). Prajapati is mentioned as Virat and Brahma is called the Sutratman or Hiranyagarbha.

33. From the king to Brahma each desires the joy of the one higher than himself; but the bliss of the Self which is beyond the grasp of the mind and the senses, is superior to that of all others.

34. As the knower of the Vedas has no desire for all those coveted pleasures, the bliss of all creatures are his.

35. This is described as 'achieving all the desired objects'. Or it may be explained as the witness-consciousness of the knower experiencing the enjoyments of all the bodies, like those through his own body.

36. (Doubt): Being the witness-consciousness, even the ignorant man has this (universal enjoyment). (Reply): No, being devoid of the knowledge of himself as the witness he does not experience satisfaction. The Shruti says that he who knows the truth achieves all the desired objects.

37. Or he enjoys everything because he becomes all, as that famous passage which expresses his all-pervading selfhood sings: 'I am the food as well as the eater of the food'.

38. Thus are established the nature of both the absence of misery and the fulfilment of desires (experienced by the knower of the Self). His other experiences, viz., the satisfaction of having done all that was to be done and of having achieved all that was to be achieved may be seen elsewhere.

39. Both the topics have properly been dealt with in Chapter 7 on the 'Lamp of Perfect Satisfaction'. These verses quoted below should be meditated upon for the purification of the mind.

40. Before realisation one has many duties to perform in order to acquire worldly and celestial advantages and also as an aid to ultimate release; but with the rise of knowledge of Brahman, they are as good as already done, for nothing further remains to be done.

41. The Jivanmukta always feels supreme self-satisfaction by constantly keeping in view his former state and present state of freedom from wants and duties.

42. Let the ignorant people of the world perform worldly actions and desire to possess wives, children and wealth. I am full of supreme bliss. For what purpose should I engage myself in worldly concerns ?

43. Let those desirous of joy in heaven perform the ordained rituals. I pervade all the worlds. How and wherefore should I undertake such actions ?

44. Let those who are entitled to it, explain the scriptures or teach the Vedas. I am not so entitled because all my actions have ceased.

45. I have no desire to sleep or beg for alms, nor do I do so; nor do I perform the acts of bathing or ablution. The onlookers imagine these things in me. What have I to do with their imaginations ?

46. Seeing a bush of red gunja berries from a distance one may suppose that there is a fire, but such as imaginary fire does not affect the bush. So the worldly duties and qualities attributed to me by others do not affect me.

47. Let those ignorant of the nature of Brahman listen to the teachings of the Vedanta philosophy. I have Self-knowledge. Why again should I listen to them ? Those who are in doubt reflect on the nature of Brahman. I have no doubts, so I do not do so.

48. He who is subject to erroneous conviction may practise meditation. I do not confuse the Self for the body. So in the absence of such a delusion why should I meditate ?

49. Even without being subject to this delusion, I behave like a human being through the impressions and habits gathered over a long period.

50. All worldly dealings will come to an end when the fructifying Karma wears out. If it does not wear out, thousands of meditational bouts will not stop the dealings.

51. To bring to an end your worldly dealings, you may practise contemplation as much as you like, but I know the worldly dealings to be perfectly harmless. Why should I then meditate ?

52. There is no distraction for me, so for me there is no need of Samadhi too. Both distraction and absorption are states of the changeable mind.

53. I am the sum of all the experiences in the universe; where is the separate experience for me ? I have obtained all that was to be obtained and have done all that was to be done. This is my unshakeable conviction.

54. I am associationless, neither the doer nor the enjoyer. I am not concerned with what the past actions make me do, whether in accordance with or against the social or scriptural codes.

55. Or, there is no harm if I engage myself in doing good to the world following the scriptural injunctions even though I have obtained all that was to be obtained.

56. Let my body worship God, take bath, preserve cleanliness or beg for alms. Let my mind recite 'Aum' or study the Upanishads.

57. Let my intellect meditate on Vishnu or be merged in the bliss of Brahman, I am the witness of all. I do nothing nor cause anything to be done.

58. As he has achieved all that was to be achieved and nothing else remains for him to do, he feels satisfied and always things thus:

59. Blessed am I, blessed, for I have the constant vision of my Self ! Blessed am I, blessed, for the bliss of Brahman shines clearly to me !

60. Blessed am I, blessed, for I am free from the sufferings of the world. Blessed am I, blessed, for my ignorance has fled away, I know not where.

61. Blessed am I, blessed, for I have no further duty to perform. Blessed am I, blessed, for I have now achieved the highest that one can aspire to.

62. Blessed am I, blessed, for there is nothing to compare with my great bliss ! Blessed am I, blessed, blessed, blessed, again and again blessed !

63. O my merits, my merits, how enduringly they have borne fruit ! Wonderful are we, the possessors of this great merit, wonderful !

64. O how grand and true are the scriptures, the scriptures, O how grand and great is my teacher, my teacher ! O how grand is this illumination, this illumination, O how grand is this bliss, this bliss !

65. This fourth chapter of the section called the 'Bliss of Brahman' describes the 'Bliss of Knowledge'. Until that bliss is attained a man should engage himself in the practice of the contemplation of Brahman.