By Adi Sankaracharya,
Translated by Swami Madhavananda
Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta
501. It is the Upadhi (superimposed attribute) that comes, and it is that alone which goes; that, again, performs actions and experiences (their fruits), that alone decays and dies, whereas I ever remain firm like the Kula mountain.
501. For me who am always the same and devoid of parts, there is neither engaging in work nor cessation from it. How can that which is One, concentrated, without break and infinite like the sky, ever strive ?
502. How can there be merits and demerits for me, who am without organs, without mind, changeless, and formless – who am the realisation of Bliss Absolute ? The Shruti also mentions this in the passage "Not touched", etc.
503. If heat or cold, or good or evil, happens to touch the shadow of a man’s body, it affects not in the least the man himself, who is distinct from the shadow.
504. The properties of things observed do not affect the Witness, which is distinct from the, changeless and indifferent – as the properties of a room (do not affect) the lamp (that illumines it).
505. As the sun is a mere witness of men’s actions, as fire burns everything without distinction, and as the rope is related to a thing superimposed on it, so am I, the unchangeable Self, the Intelligence Absolute.
506. I neither do nor make others do any action; I neither enjoy nor make others enjoy; I neither see nor make others see; I am that Self-effulgent, Transcendent Atman.
507. When the supervening adjunct (Upadhi) is moving, the resulting movement of the reflection is ascribed by fools to the object reflected, such as the sun, which is free from activity – (and they think) "I am the doer", "I am the experiencer", "I am killed, oh, alas!"
508. Let this inert body drop down in water or on land. I am not touched by its properties, like the sky by the properties of the jar.
509. The passing states of the Buddhi, such as agency, experience, cunning, drunkenness, dullness, bondage and freedom, are never in reality in the Self, the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute, the one without a second.
510. Let there be changes in the Prakriti in ten, a hundred, or a thousand ways, what have I, the unattached Knowledge Absolute, got to do with them ? Never do the clouds touch the sky !
511. I am verily that Brahman, the One without a second, which is like the sky, subtle, without beginning or end, in which the whole universe from the Undifferentiated down to the gross body, appears merely as a shadow.
512. I am verily that Brahman, the One without a second, which is the support of all, which illumines all things, which has infinite forms, is omnipresent, devoid of multiplicity, eternal, pure, unmoved and absolute.
513. I am verily that Brahman, the One without a second, which transcends the endless differentiations of Maya, which is the inmost essence of all, is beyond the range of consciousness, and which is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity and Bliss Absolute.
514. I am without activity, changeless, without parts, formless, absolute, eternal, without any other support, the One without a second.
515. I am the Universal, I am the All, I am transcendent, the One without a second. I am Absolute and Infinite Knowledge, I am Bliss and indivisible.
516. This splendour of the sovereignty of Self-effulgence I have received by virtue of the supreme majesty of thy grace. Salutations to thee, O glorious, noble-minded Teacher, salutations again and again !
517. O Master, thou hast out of sheer grace awakened me from sleep and completely saved me, who was wandering, in an interminable dream, in a forest of birth, decay and death created by illusion, being tormented day after day by countless afflictions, and sorely troubled by the tiger of egoism.
518. Salutations to thee, O Prince of Teachers, thou unnamable Greatness, that art ever the same and dost manifest thyself as this universe – thee I salute.
519. Seeing the worthy disciple, who had attained the Bliss of the self, realised the Truth and was glad at heart, thus prostrating himself, that noble, ideal Teacher again addressed the following excellent words:
520. The universe is an unbroken series of perceptions of Brahman; hence it is in all respects nothing but Brahman. See this with the eye of illumination and a serene mind, under all circumstances. Is one who has eyes ever found to see all around anything else but forms? Similarly, what is there except Brahman to engage the intellect of a man of realisation ?
521. What wise man would discard that enjoyment of Supreme Bliss and revel in things unsubstantial ? When the exceedingly charming moon is shining, who would wish to look at a painted moon ?
522. From the perception of unreal things there is neither satisfaction nor a cessation of misery. Therefore, being satisfied with the realisation of the Bliss Absolute, the One without a second, live happily in a state of identity with that Reality.
523. Beholding the Self alone in all circumstances, thinking of the Self, the One without a second, and enjoying the Bliss of the Self, pass thy time, O noble soul !
524. Dualistic conceptions in the Atman, the Infinite Knowledge, the Absolute, are like imagining castles in the air. Therefore, always identifying thyself with the Bliss Absolute, the One without a second, and thereby attaining Supreme Peace, remain quiet.
525. To the sage who has realised Brahman, the mind, which is the cause of unreal fancies, becomes perfectly tranquil. This verily is his state of quietude, in which, identified with Brahman, he has constant enjoyment of the Bliss Absolute, the One without a second.
526. To the man who has realised his own nature, and drinks the undiluted Bliss of the Self, there is nothing more exhilarating than the quietude that comes of a state of desirelessness.
527. The illumined sage, whose only pleasure is in the Self, ever lives at ease, whether going or staying, sitting or lying, or in any other condition.
528. The noble soul who has perfectly realised the Truth, and whose mind-functions meet with no obstruction, no more depends upon conditions of place, time, posture, direction, moral disciplines, objects of meditation and so forth. What regulative conditions can there be in knowing one’s own Self ?
529. To know that this is a jar, what condition, forsooth, is necessary except that the means of knowledge be free from defect, which alone ensures a cognition of the object ?
530. So this Atman, which is an eternal verity, manifests Itself as soon as the right means of knowledge is present, and does not depend upon either place or time or (internal) purity.
531. The consciousness, "I am Devadatta", is independent of circumstances; similar is the case with the realisation of the knower of Brahman that he is Brahman.
532. What indeed can manifest That whose lustre, like the sun, causes the whole universe – unsubstantial, unreal, insignificant – to appear at all ?
533. What, indeed, can illumine that Eternal Subject by which the Vedas and Puranas and other Scriptures, as well as all beings are endowed with a meaning ?
534. Here is the Self-effulgent Atman, of infinite power, beyond the range of conditioned knowledge, yet the common experience of all - realising which alone this incomparable knower of Brahman lives his glorious life, freed from bondage.
535. Satisfied with undiluted, constant Bliss, he is neither grieved nor elated by sense-objects, is neither attached nor averse to them, but always disports with the Self and takes pleasure therein.
536. A child plays with its toys forgetting hunger and bodily pains; exactly so does the man of realisation take pleasure in the Reality, without ideas of "I" or "mine", and is happy.
537. Men of realisation have their food without anxiety or humiliation by begging, and their drink from the water of rivers; they live freely and independently, and sleep without fear in cremation grounds or forests; their clothing may be the quarters themselves, which need no washing and drying, or any bark etc., the earth is their bed; they roam in the avenue of the Vedanta; while their pastime is in the Supreme Brahman.
538. The knower of the Atman, who wears no outward mark and is unattached to external things, rests on this body without identification, and experiences all sorts of sense-objects as they come, through others’ wish, like a child.
539. Established in the ethereal plane of Absolute Knowledge, he wanders in the world, sometimes like a madman, sometimes like a child and at other times like a ghoul, having no other clothes on his person except the quarters, or sometimes wearing clothes, or perhaps skins at other times.
540. The sage, living alone, enjoys the sense-objects, being the very embodiment of desirelessness – always satisfied with his own Self, and himself present at the All.
541. Sometimes a fool, sometimes a sage, sometimes possessed of regal splendour; sometimes wandering, sometimes behaving like a motionless python, sometimes wearing a benignant expression; sometimes honoured, sometimes insulted, sometimes unknown – thus lives the man of realisation, ever happy with Supreme Bliss.
542. Though without riches, yet ever content; though helpless, yet very powerful, though not enjoying the sense-objects, yet eternally satisfied; though without an exemplar, yet looking upon all with an eye of equality.
543. Though doing, yet inactive; though experiencing fruits of past actions, yet untouched by them; though possessed of a body, yet without identification with it; though limited, yet omnipresent is he.
544. Neither pleasure nor pain, nor good nor evil, ever touches this knower of Brahman, who always lives without the body-idea.
545. Pleasure or pain, or good or evil, affects only him who has connections with the gross body etc., and identifies himself with these. How can good or evil, or their effects, touch the sage who has identified himself with the Reality and thereby shattered his bondage ?
546. The sun which appears to be, but is not actually, swallowed by Rahu, is said to be swallowed, on account of delusion, by people, not knowing the real nature of the sun.
547. Similarly, ignorant people look upon the perfect knower of Brahman, who is wholly rid of bondages of the body etc., as possessed of the body, seeing but an appearance of it.
548. In reality, however, he rests discarding the body, like the snake its slough; and the body is moved hither and thither by the force of the Prana, just as it listeth.
549. As a piece of wood is borne by the current to a high or low ground, so is his body carried on by the momentum of past actions to the varied experience of their fruits, as these present themselves in due course.
550. The man of realisation, bereft of the body-idea, moves amid sense-enjoyments like a man subject to transmigration, through desires engendered by the Prarabdha work. He himself, however, lives unmoved in the body, like a witness, free from mental oscillations, like the pivot of the potter’s wheel.
551. He neither directs the sense-organs to their objects nor detaches them from these, but stays like an unconcerned spectator. And he has not the least regard for the fruits of actions, his mind being thoroughly inebriated with drinking the undiluted elixir of the Bliss of the Atman.
552. He who, giving up all considerations of the fitness or otherwise of objects of meditation, lives as the Absolute Atman, is verily Shiva Himself, and he is the best among the knowers of Brahman.
553. Through the destruction of limitations, the perfect knower of Brahman is merged in the One Brahman without a second – which he had been all along – becomes very free even while living, and attains the goal of his life.
554. As an actor, when he puts on the dress of his role, or when he does not, is always a man, so the perfect knower of Brahman is always Brahman and nothing else.
556. Let the body of the Sannyasin who has realised his identity with Brahman, wither and fall anywhere like the leaf of a tree, (it is of little consequence to him, for) it has already been burnt by the fire of knowledge.
557. The sage who always lives in the Reality – Brahman – as Infinite Bliss, the One without a second, does not depend upon the customary considerations of place, time, etc., for giving up this mass of skin, flesh and filth.
558. For the giving up of the body is not Liberation, nor that of the staff and the water-bowl; but Liberation consists in the destruction of the heart’s knot which is Nescience.
559. If a leaf falls in a small stream, or a river, or a place consecrated by Shiva, or in a crossing of roads, of what good or evil effect is that to the tree ?
560. The destruction of the body, organs, Pranas and Buddhi is like that of a leaf or flower or fruit (to a tree). It does not affect the Atman, the Reality, the Embodiment of Bliss – which is one’s true nature. That survives, like the tree.
561. The Shrutis, by setting forth the real nature of the Atman in the words, "The Embodiment of Knowledge" etc., which indicate Its Reality, speak of the destruction of the apparent limitations merely.
562. The Shruti passage, "Verily is this Atman immortal, my dear", mentions the immortality of the Atman in the midst of things perishable and subject to modification.
563. Just as a stone, a tree, grass, paddy, husk, etc., when burnt, are reduced to earth (ashes) only, even so the whole objective universe comprising the body, organs, Pranas, Manas and so forth, are, when burnt by the fire of realisation, reduced to the Supreme Self.
564. As darkness, which is distinct (from sunshine), vanishes in the sun’s radiance, so the whole objective universe dissolves in Brahman.
565. As, when a jar is broken, the space enclosed by it becomes palpably the limitless space, so when the apparent limitations are destroyed, the knower of Brahman verily becomes Brahman Itself.
566. As milk poured into milk, oil into oil, and water into water, becomes united and one with it, so the sage who has realised the Atman becomes one in the Atman.
567. Realising thus the extreme isolation that comes of disembodiedness, and becoming eternally identified with the Absolute Reality, Brahman, the sage no longer suffers transmigration.
568. For his bodies, consisting of Nescience etc., having been burnt by the realisation of the identity of the Jiva and Brahman, he becomes Brahman Itself; and how can Brahman ever have rebirth ?
569. Bondage and Liberation, which are conjured up by Maya, do not really exist in the Atman, one’s Reality, as the appearance and exit of the snake do not abide in the rope, which suffers no change.
570. Bondage and Liberation may be talked of when there is the presence or absence of a covering veil. But there can be no covering veil for Brahman, which is always uncovered for want of a second thing besides Itself. If there be, the non-duality of Brahman will be contradicted, and the Shrutis can never brook duality.
571. Bondage and Liberation are attributes of the Buddhi which ignorant people falsely superimpose on the Reality, as the covering of the eyes by a cloud is transferred to the sun. For this Immutable Brahman is Knowledge Absolute, the One without a second and unattached.
572. The idea that bondage exists, and the idea that it does not, are, with reference to the Reality, both attributes of the Buddhi merely, and never belong to the Eternal Reality, Brahman.
573. Hence this bondage and Liberation are created by Maya, and are not in the Atman. How can there be any idea of limitation with regard to the Supreme Truth, which is without parts, without activity, calm, unimpeachable, taintless, and One without a second, as there can be none with regard to the infinite sky ?
574. There is neither death nor birth, neither a bound nor a struggling soul, neither a seeker after Liberation nor a liberated one – this is the ultimate truth.
575. I have today repeatedly revealed to thee, as to one’s own son, this excellent and profound secret, which is the inmost purport of all Vedanta, the crest of the Vedas – considering thee an aspirant after Liberation, purged of the taints of this Dark Age, and of a mind free from desires.
576. Hearing these words of the Guru, the disciple out of reverence prostrated himself before him, and with his permission went his way, freed from bondage.
577. And the Guru, with his mind steeped in the ocean of Existence and Bliss Absolute, roamed, verily purifying the whole world – all differentiating ideas banished from his mind.
578. Thus by way of a dialogue between the Teacher and the disciple, has the nature of the Atman been ascertained for the easy comprehension of seekers after Liberation.
579. May those Sannyasins who are seekers after Liberation, who have purged themselves of all taints of the mind by the observance of the prescribed methods, who are averse to worldly pleasures, and who are of serene minds, and take a delight in the Shruti – appreciate this salutary teaching !
580. For those who are afflicted, in the way of the world, by the burning pain due to the (scorching) sunshine of threefold misery, and who through delusion wander about in a desert in search of water – for them here is the triumphant message of Shankara pointing out, within easy reach, the soothing ocean of nectar, Brahman, the One without a second – to lead them on to Liberation.