To Him I make obeisance, who is the end of all wisdom, the goal of all attainment, the unseen Lord of the flock, the supreme bliss, the good Master.
For living beings, human birth is hard to gain, then manhood, then holiness; harder is perfection in the path of the law of wisdom; hardest to gain is illumination. Discernment between the Divine Self and that which is not the Self, fully realized union with the Eternal Self, liberation—this is not to be attained without holiness perfected through a hundred myriad lives.
These three things, hard to gain, come only through divine grace: manhood, desire for liberation, access to Masters.
Gaining at length human life, hard to win, and manhood, and an understanding of the revealed teachings, he who strives not for liberation in the Divine Self, deluded in heart, self-destroying, slays himself through grasping at the unreal.
Who, then, is the very self of folly but he who, deluded, follows selfish purposes, after he has gained a human body and manhood hard to win? (5)
Even though they recite the scriptures, and sacrifice to the gods, and fulfill all works, and worship the divinities—without awakening to the unity of the Divine Self, liberation is not attained even in a hundred æons.
For the scripture says that there is no hope of immortality through riches, therefore it is clear that ritual works are not the cause of liberation.
Therefore let the wise man strive hard for liberation, renouncing the lure of happiness in external things. Let him draw near to a Master, good and great, fixing his whole soul on the purpose of the Master’s teaching.
Let him through the Divine Self raise up that self of his which is sunk in the ocean of recurring life and death, firmly practising uplifting through union, with steadfast vision of the One.
Seeking freedom from bondage to the world through renunciation in all works, let the wise strive who have learned the teaching, pressing toward the Divine Self. (10)
Works make for the cleansing of the heart, but not for the attaining of the Real; the gaining of the Real comes through discernment—not even by myriads of works is it gained.
Through discernment of the Real it is perceived that the imagined serpent is only a rope; and thus the painful fear of the great serpent, conjured up by illusion, is finally destroyed.
The certain knowledge of the goal comes only through discernment awakened by right teaching, not through ablutions or gifts or a myriad retentions of the breath.
The gaining of the fruit is the reward only of him who possesses the qualifications; circumstances, such as place and time, merely co-operate in the result.
Therefore, let him who would know the Real practise discernment, finding a Master who is a river of compassion, an excellent knower of the Eternal. (15)
He who is full of intelligence, illuminated, skilled in knowledge and wisdom, is fitted to teach the wisdom of the Divine Self; he wears the immemorial hall-mark.
And he is fitted to seek the Eternal, who has discernment, freedom from self-indulgence, quietude and the other virtues, and who ardently desires liberation.
Here four qualifications are enumerated by those possessing wisdom. Where they are present, there is a firm foothold in the Real: where they are absent, there is failure.
The Four Qualifications for Chelaship
First is counted Discernment (viveka) between the Eternal and the non-eternal. This is followed by freedom from self-indulgence in the fruits of works. Then come the six virtues beginning with quietude. Then the ardent desire for liberation.
The Divine Eternal is real, the world is illusion: a complete certainty of this is declared to be Discernment between the Eternal and the non-eternal. (20)
Freedom from self-indulgence (virâga) is a surrender of the allurement of the eyes, the ears, and all the senses; a surrender of the allurement of all non-eternal things from the body up to the Formative Power, continually made through a realization of the faultiness of all objective things.
Quietude (shama) is the holding of mind and heart steadily on the goal. Control (dama) is the mastering of the powers of perception and action, stopping each in its runaway course.
The excellent Cessation (uparati) is the condition of refusing to lean on external things. Endurance (titikshâ) is the bearing of all pains without rebelling against them, unconcerned and unlamenting.
Faith (shraddhâ) is the firm conviction of the truth of the teaching and the word of the Master. Through this faith, the righteous say that the Real is won.
Concentration (samâdhâna) is the continual staying of the soul in the pure Eternal at all times, and not the caressing of imaginations.
The ardent Desire for Liberation (mumukshutva) is the will to be rid of all the fetters forged by unwisdom, beginning with self-reference and ending with the body, through discernment of the real nature of the Divine Self.
Where this is present even in a weak or moderate degree, increasing through ceasing from self-indulgence, through quietude and the other virtues, and through the grace of the Master, it will bear fruit.
In him who has conquered self-indulgence, in whom the desire for liberation is full of fire, quietude and the other virtues are fruitful and attain the goal. (30)
Where self-indulgence is unconquered, and the desire for liberation is weak, quietude and the other virtues are an illusion, like the mirage in the desert.
The title of honour, Acharya, added to the name of Shankara, means “He who causes others to go forward.” To Shankara Acharya are attributed Commentaries on the Great Upanishads: Isha, Kena, Katha, and the rest, which are being translated in these pages, on the Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sutras, and also a series of shorter treatises in verse or prose, of which The Crest Jewel of Wisdom is one. In nearly all of these shorter treatises, the Four Qualifications for Chelaship are enumerated and defined, with only very slight differences of definition. The present commentator is inclined to believe that all these works attributed to Shankara embody his teaching, but were put into writing by his immediate disciples, each of whom followed and expressed his own individual character, while handing on the doctrine of his Master. Since all the treatises set forth or imply the Four Qualifications for Chelaship, it seems certain that these Qualifications are an essential part of the method of that great Master; perhaps the most personal and characteristic part. We may think of them as Shankara’s Rule.
The Four Qualifications are expounded, in the form of question and answer, in the treatise called Tattva Bodha, attributed to Shankara, much of which was translated and discussed in these pages nine years ago, under the title: Shankaracharya’s Catechism. The Four Qualifications are there compared with parallel passages from Western mystics, including the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis and the Spiritual Guide by Miguel de Molinos. For the purposes of the present translation it would seem to be sufficient to quote again some of these parallel passages, adding a few others, particularly from A Short Rule by the Abbot Ludovicus Blosius, of the Order of Saint Benedict, and A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law, the Anglican mystic. We shall thus have a sufficiently representative view of the Western teachings which cover the same ground as Shankara’s Rule; by thoughtful comparison, readers will be able to extract the essence of the teaching in order to apply it in practice.
First Qualification: Discernment between the Eternal and the non-eternal.
“A religious or a monk who does not strive perfectly to die to the world, and to follow after God by true and sincere love, does not live up to his profession. Alas! how many, both men and women, now-a-days miserably deceive themselves, for they clothe themselves in the monastic habit, take the vows of religion, and yet think little or nothing of the perfect life! On the contrary they cleave tenaciously to created things, and seek them for their own pleasure instead of for God; they most earnestly desire outward comforts, and without fear pour out their souls on external things.” (Blosius, A Short Rule, vii-viii).
“The spiritual beginner should diligently recall his mind to God and should reverently attend to His Presence in every place, remembering that God is everywhere whole and undivided. He should also converse with God inwardly, sending forth to Him loving desires and burning aspirations. Putting aside all distracting multiplicity of created things, he should learn to fix his thoughts on One and cleave fast to One. This ‘introversion,’ or dwelling within his own soul, is of the very highest importance for him.” (Short Rule, p. 26).
“When shall I die to myself and to all created things? When shall nothing live within me but only Thou?” (ibid., p. 28).
“For Thy sake I renounce all perishable things. I cast aside with contempt everything that is not Thee.” (ibid., p. 48).
“Whatever is not God care little for, and think it of not much importance to thee. This will help thee to attend to God and to live with Him in thine own soul with a freedom of mind unattached to anything.” (ibid., p. 63).
“You will find that all the world preaches to an attentive mind; and that if you have but ears to hear, almost everything you meet teaches you some lesson of wisdom.
“But now, if to these admonitions and instructions, which we receive from our senses, from an experience of the state of human life; if to these we add the lights of religion, those great truths which the Son of God has taught us; it will be then as much past all doubt, that there is but one happiness for man, as that there is but one God.
“For since religion teaches us that our souls are immortal, that piety and devotion will carry them to an eternal enjoyment of God, and that carnal, worldly tempers will sink them into an everlasting misery with damned spirits, what gross nonsense and stupidity is it, to give the name of joy or happiness to anything but that which carries us to this joy and happiness in God!” (Law, Serious Call, pp. 150-1).
Second Qualification: Freedom from self-indulgence in the fruits of works.
“It is a freedom from any wish for the feasts of this world or of paradise.” (Tattva Bodha).
“Cut up by the roots all that is of self within my soul.” (Short Rule, p. 49).
“For the love of Jesus Christ, who for thee has suffered the hardest things, renounce the pleasure of the senses. . . . Be ready to do without even the delights of the spirit, according to the good pleasure and providence of God.” (ibid., p. 57).
“Know that he who would attain to the mystical science, must abandon and be detached from five things: 1, from creatures; 2, from temporal things; 3, from the very gifts of the Holy Spirit; 4, from himself; 5. he must be lost in God. This last is the completest of all, because that soul only that knows how to be so detached, is that which attains to being lost in God, and thus alone knows how safely to find himself.” (Molinos, Spiritual Guide, iii, 18).
“It is no hard matter to despise human comfort, when we have that which is divine. It is much and very much, to be able to lack both human and divine comfort; and, for God’s honour, to be willing cheerfully to endure desolation of heart; and to seek oneself in nothing, nor to regard one’s own merit.” (Imitation, II, ix).
“Learn now that there is no cure for desire, no cure for the love of reward, no cure for the misery of longing, save in the fixing of the sight and hearing upon that which is invisible and soundless. Begin even new to practise it, and so a thousand serpents will be kept from your path. Live in the eternal.” (Light on the Path; Karma).
Third Qualification: Quietude, Control, Cessation, Endurance, Faith, Concentration.
This group of Six Virtues, which make up the third qualification, is developed from a sentence in the Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad (4,4,23): “Therefore he who knows thus, possesses quietude, control, cessation, endurance, concentration.”
“It is mastery over the mental-emotional nature.” (Tattva Bodha).
“In fact, if only with earnest self-denial, this exercise of introversion and internal prayer be diligently persevered in, a man will at last become in mind pure, simple, unattached, free, raised above all passing things, and, cleaving constantly to God, will attain to the highest point of perfection” (Short Rule, p. 29).
“Know that although exterior solitude doth much assist for the obtaining of inner Peace, yet the Lord did not mean this, when He spake by His prophet, I will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. But He meant the inner solitude, which together with the other conduces to the obtaining of the precious jewel of the inner Peace. Inner solitude consists in the forgetting of all creatures, in detachment, in a perfect abnegation of all purpose, desire, thought and will. This is the true solitude, wherein the soul reposes with a sweet and inward serenity, in the arms of the Highest Good.” (Spiritual Guide).
“It is the mastery over the eyes and the other outward powers.” (Tattva Bodha).
“The soul must take care to be attached to no created thing, to nothing perishable, with any kind of badly ordered affection and love. Farewell must be said to all that delights the senses; the pleasures of the flesh must be utterly renounced. Be therefore dead to the world, and as he that is dead is blind and deaf, do not desire or will to see or hear anything except in as far as it is necessary, or at least useful, to see or hear it.” (Short Rule, p. 3).
“Most diligently keep guard over the eyes, the ears and the tongue in order to shun things unlawful, vain and useless. Great watchfulness and caution are needful in speaking, that too many words may be avoided and no unfitting ones used. Let thy speech be short, simple and calm. All the bodily members should be carefully kept under restraint.” (Short Rule, p. 58).
“True quietness of heart therefore is gotten by resisting our passions, not by obeying them. There is then no peace in the heart of a carnal man, nor in him that is given to outward things, but in the spiritual and devout man.” (Imitation, I , vi).
“If religion requires us sometimes to fast, and deny our natural appetites, it is to lessen that struggle and war that is in our nature, it is to render our bodies fitter instruments of purity, and more obedient to the good motions of Divine grace; it is to dry up the springs of our passions that war against the soul, to cool the flame of our blood, and render the mind more capable of Divine meditations. So that although these abstinences give some pain to the body, yet they so lessen the power of bodily appetites and passions, and so increase our taste of spiritual joys, that even these severities of religion, when practised with discretion, add much to the comfortable enjoyment of our lives.” (Serious Call, p. 127).
“The excellent Cessation is the condition of refusing to lean on external things.” (Crest Jewel).
Mohinee M. Chatterjee, translating the Atmanatma Viveka, says:
“Uparati (Cessation) is the abstaining on principle from engaging in any of the acts and ceremonies enjoined by the Shastras.”
Elaborating this in an article entitled “Qualifications for Chelaship”, published in The Theosophist many years ago, and reprinted in A Guide to Theosophy (1887), Mohinee said:
“The third qualification, known by the Brahmins as ‘Uparati,’ is the renunciation of all formal religion and the power of contemplating objects without being in the least disturbed in the performance of the great task one has set before oneself. What is here expected of the aspirant for spiritual knowledge is that he should not allow his sympathies and usefulness to be narrowed by the domination of any particular ecclesiastical system, and that his renunciation of worldly objects should not proceed merely from an incapacity to appreciate their value.”
In A Memoir of Father Dignam, a Jesuit, a letter is given in which he says:
“I am so anxious that you should never lose sight of first principles, that your devotion should be to God’s will pure and simple; that prayers, and Communions and church-goings, are but creatures, are but means to an end, just as much as wine or money, and that some people are more in danger of inordinate affections to the former than the latter.”
“The condition of refusing to lean on external things” of the Crest Jewel, naturally includes the condition of non-dependence upon rites and ceremonies and ritual, “Communions and church-goings.” It is evident, however, that in some cases, as Mohinee indicates, complete abstinence is necessary, just as a man who has been a glutton, or who has persuaded himself that he cannot sleep without a light burning in his room, can liberate himself only by means of enforced and total abstinence. The spiritual life of the disciple, and his relation with his Master, is in no way dependent upon his church, or upon Brahmanical or other ceremonies. The outer observances of a disciple are an expression of his obedience to his Master, for his Master’s purposes and not for his own. He remains completely detached, while he labours with zeal and enthusiasm.
Other meanings of Cessation are suggested in the following extracts:
“It is bringing each power back into its own proper sphere.” (Tattva Bodha).
“Learn to despise outward things, and to give thyself to things inward, and thou shalt perceive the kingdom of God to be come in thee.
“The inward man he often visiteth; and hath with him sweet discourses, pleasant solace, much peace, familiarity exceeding wonderful.” (Imitation, II, i).
“To be truly solitary, the soul ought to forget all the creatures, and even herself; otherwise she will never be able to make any near approach to God. Many leave and forsake all things, but they do not leave their own liking, their own will, and themselves; and hence the truly solitary ones are few. For if the soul does not detach herself from her own appetite and desire, from her own will, from spiritual gifts, and from repose even in spiritual things, she never can attain to this high felicity of inner solitude.” (Spiritual Guide).
“You can make no stand against the assaults of pride, the meek affections of humility can have no place in your soul, till you stop the power of the world over you, and resolve against a blind obedience to its laws.
“And when you are once advanced thus far, as to be able to stand still in the torrent of worldly fashions and opinions, and examine the worth and value of things which are most admired and valued in the world, you have gone a great way in the gaining of your freedom, and have laid a good foundation for the amendment of your heart.
“For as great as the power of the world is, it is all built upon a blind obedience; and we need only open our eyes to get quit of its power.” (Serious Call, p. 220).
“It is the bearing of all pains without rebelling against them, unconcerned and unlamenting.” (Crest Jewel).
“It is the power to endure heat and cold, pleasure and pain, and all that comes from without.” (Tattva Bodha).
“Injuries, ridicule, calumnies, sorrows and losses, that come upon him by the permission of God, he must learn to bear humbly, without complaint or murmuring, believing with a full conviction of mind that they are sent by God. He should acknowledge in his heart that however much he may have to bear, and however deeply he may be humbled, he still deserves a greater humiliation on account of his iniquity and ingratitude to God.” (Short Rule, p. 10).
“In like manner resignation is more perfect in these souls because it springs from the internal and infused fortitude, which grows as the internal exercise of pure faith, with silence and resignation, is continued.” (Spiritual Guide, i, 16).
“My son, be not dismayed by the painful labours which thou hast undertaken for me, neither be thou utterly cast down because of any tribulations which befall thee; but let my promise strengthen and comfort thee in all events. . . . Wait a little while, and thou shalt see a speedy end of thine evils.” (Imitation, III, 47).
“Thus was the Cross of Christ, in St. Paul’s days, the glory of Christians; not as it signified their not being ashamed to own a Master that was crucified, but as it signified their glorying in a religion which was nothing else but a doctrine of the Cross, that called them to the same suffering spirit, the same sacrifice of themselves, the same renunciation of the world, the same humility and meekness, the same patient bearing of injuries, reproaches, and contempts, and the same dying to all the greatness, honours, and happiness of this world, which Christ showed upon the Cross.” (Serious Call, p. 224).
“Faith is the firm conviction of the truth of the teaching and the word of the Master.” (Crest Jewel).
“It is a firm confidence in the word of the teaching and the Teacher.” (Tattva Bodha).
“Consult with him that is wise and of sound judgment, and seek to be instructed by one better than thy self, rather than to follow thine own inventions.” (Imitation, I, iv).
“It is a great matter to live in obedience, to be under a superior, and not to be at our own disposing. Go whither thou wilt, thou shalt find no rest, but in humble subjection under the government of a superior.” (ibid, I, ix).
“My son, he that endeavoureth to withdraw himself from obedience, withdraweth himself from grace: and he who seeketh for himself private benefits, loseth those which are common.
“He that doth not cheerfully submit himself to his superior, showeth that his flesh is not as yet perfectly brought into subjection, but oftentimes struggleth and murmureth against him. . . . Because thou still lovest thyself inordinately, thou art afraid to resign thyself wholly to the will of others. . . . I became of all men the most humble and the most abject, that thou mightest overcome thy pride with my humility.” (ibid., III, 13).
“I would it were so with thee, that thou wert arrived at this, to be no longer a lover of thyself, but to stand merely at my beck, and at his whom I have appointed a father over thee; then thou shouldst exceedingly please me, and all thy life should pass away in joy and peace.” (ibid., III, xxxii).
“Nothing whatever should he prefer to obedience, remembering that perfect mortification of our own will is the most pleasing sacrifice we can offer to God.” (Short Rule, p. 7).
“But, my child, you belong to a greater family than mine; you are a young member of the family of this Almighty Father of all nations, who has created infinite orders of Angels, and numberless generations of men, to be fellow-members of one and the same society in Heaven.
“You do well to reverence and obey my authority because God has given me power over you, to bring you up in His fear, and to do for you as the holy fathers recorded in Scripture did for their children, who are now in rest and peace with God.” (Serious Call, p. 240).
“Concentration is the continual staying of the soul in the pure Eternal at all times, and not the caressing of imaginations.” (Crest Jewel).
“It is one-pointedness of thought and imagination.” (Tattva Bodha).
“I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark.” (Philippians, iii, 13-14).
“My son, I ought to be thy supreme and ultimate end, if thou desire to be truly blessed. I would therefore thou shouldst refer all things principally unto me, for I am He who have given all.” (Imitation, III, ix).
“O Lord, if only my will may remain right and firm towards thee, do with me whatsoever it shall please thee.” (ibid., III, xvii).
“Direct thy whole attention unto this, to please me alone, and neither to desire nor to seek any thing besides me.
“In giving thyself up with all thy heart to the divine will, not seeking thine own interest either in great matters or in small, either in time or in eternity.” (ibid., III , xxv).
“He that is wise and well instructed in the Spirit standeth fast upon these changing things; not heeding what he feeleth in himself, or which way the wind of instability bloweth; but that the whole intent of his mind may be to the right and the best end.
“For thus he will be able to continue one and the same and unshaken, in the midst of so many various events directing continually the single eye of his intent unto me.” (ibid., Ill, xxxiii).
Fourth Qualification: Desire for Liberation.
“The ardent Desire for Liberation is the will to be rid of all the fetters forged by unwisdom, beginning with self-reference and ending with the body, through discernment of the real nature of the Divine Self.” (Crest Jewel).
“Others there are who, being illuminated in their understandings, and purged in their affection, do always pant after things eternal, are unwilling to hear of the things of this world, and serve the necessities of nature with grief; and these perceive what the Spirit of truth speaketh in them.
“For He teacheth them to despise earthly, and to love heavenly things; to neglect the world, and to desire heaven all the day and night.
“Love desires to be free, and estranged from all worldly affections, that so its inward sight may not be hindered; that it may not be entangled by any temporal prosperity, or subdued by any adversity.
“Love watcheth, and, sleeping, slumbereth not. Though weary, love is not tired; though pressed, it is not straitened; though alarmed, it is not confounded: but as a lively flame and burning torch, it forces its way upwards, and securely passes through all.” (Imitation, III , iv, v.).
Among all means of liberation, devotion, verily, is the most potent. The fixing of the heart on the true being of the Divine Self is declared to be devotion.
Others say that devotion is the fixing of the heart on one’s own real Self. He who has attained to the qualifications already described is fitted to discern the real being of the Self.
Let him draw near to a Teacher who has attained to wisdom, from whom liberation from bondage may be learned, one who knows the holy teaching, who is perfect in purity, who is not moved by desire, who is wise in the wisdom of the Eternal;
Who has entered into rest in the Eternal, who has won the great peace, like the flame when the fuel is consumed, who is an ocean of compassion that seeks no return, the friend of all who appeal for help. (35)
Drawing near to the Teacher in reverent devotion, with the loving service of one who seeks the Eternal, and thus winning his good will, let him ask what he seeks to know concerning the true Self:
“Master, obeisance to thee, friend of the world bowed down, ocean of compassion, save me, sunk in the sea of life, bending on me thy steadfast glance, which rains down righteousness and compassion;
“For I am burned by the flaming fire of passional life, hard to quench, I am driven to and fro by the storms of contrary fate, I am full of fear. I come to thee for refuge; save me from death, for I know no other safety!
“The mighty ones who have attained to peace dwell in righteousness, bringing life to the world like the coming of spring; they, who have themselves crossed the dread sea of passional life, aid others to cross it through compassion that seeks no return.
“It is the essence of the very being of those of mighty soul to seek to heal the sorrows of others, as the nectar-rayed moon of itself cools the earth, scorched by the fierce fire of the sun. (40)
“Pour out upon me thy words of immortal life, which bring the happiness of the sacred teaching, as they issue from the vessel of thy voice, clear, restoring, purifying, inspired by thine own experience of the essence of the joy of the Eternal; Master, I am consumed by the fiery flames, the scorching heat of this passional life! Happy are they on whom thine eyes rest even for a moment; they are thereby made acceptable and become thine own.
“How may I cross this ocean of passional life? What pathway is there for me, what way of safety? I know none. In thy compassion guard me, Master! Save me from the pain and destruction of this life set about with death!”
The mighty soul, his eyes wet with tears of compassion, looking on the disciple speaking thus, who has appealed to him for help, who is burned by the flaming heat of the fires of this life beset by death, straightway sets him free from fear;
Full of wisdom, in his compassion he begins to instruct in the truth the disciple who has come to him in reverent service, seeking liberation, who has rightly mastered the qualifications, whose heart has gained stillness, who has attained to quietude:
“Fear not, wise one! Thou art not in danger; there is a way to cross the ocean of this life beset by death, whereby the saints have gained the other shore. That way I shall reveal to thee. (45)
“There is a way of power, which destroys the terror of this life beset by death; by it crossing the wide sea of this world, thou shalt attain to the supreme joy;
“Through right understanding of the essence of the teaching of wisdom, the most excellent illumination is brought to birth, through which comes the destruction of the illimitable pain of life set about with death.
“The voice of the sacred teaching clearly declares that the means of liberation for him who seeks liberation are faith, devoted love, meditation, union. He who stands firm in these, to him comes liberation from the bondage to the body which is forged by unwisdom.
“This life beset by death comes from bondage to that which is not thy true Self, because thou knowest not thy oneness with the Supreme Self. The flame of illumination kindled by right discernment between the false and the true Self will burn up the works of unwisdom root and branch.”
“Master, hear in thy compassion! This question I ask; hearing the answer from my Master’s lips, I shall gain my end: (50)
“What indeed is bondage? How does it come about? What is its support? How is one set free? What is that which is not the true Self? What is discernment between the false and the true? Let this be declared.”
“Happy art thou who hast attained thy goal; through thee thy family is blessed, because through liberation from unwisdom thou seekest to become one with the Eternal.
“Sons and kindred may free a father from his debts; but other than a man’s self, none can free him from bondage.
“The pain caused by a burden weighing on the head may be relieved by others; but suffering from hunger and thirst can be removed by none, unless the man himself eat and drink.
“When the sick man rightly uses medicine, he is restored to health, but not through the right actions of another. (55)
“The true being of the real must be seen by one’s own eyes illumined by clear wisdom; it is not enough that thy Teacher should see. The true form of the moon must be known through one’s own eyes; how can it be understood through the eyes of others?
“How could another than oneself untie the cords that bind through unwisdom, through desire and the fruit of works, even in a thousand million ages?
“Not by Yoga nor by Sankhya, not by works nor by knowledge, but only through awaking to the oneness of one’s true Self with the Eternal, does liberation come, and in no other way.
“The form and beauty of the lute and skill in making its strings to sound may bring delight to the multitude; they cannot establish the power of a monarch.
“Well uttered speech, a waterfall of words and skill in setting forth the sacred texts and learning are for the delectation of the learned, but do not bring liberation. (60)
“When the supreme reality is not known, the reading of the scriptures is fruitless. Even when the supreme reality is known by the mind only, the reading of the scriptures is fruitless.
“A network of words is like a mighty forest, causing the mind to go astray; therefore the reality of the divine Self should be sought earnestly from one who knows the real.
“Unless he be healed by knowledge of the Eternal, what profit is there for him who has been bitten by the snake of unwisdom, whether through the Vedas and the scriptures, or through charms and herbs?
“Sickness does not depart by speaking of medicine unless the medicine be drunk; liberation comes not through speaking of the Eternal without immediate experience of the Eternal.
“Without dissolving in thought the visible world, without knowing the reality of the divine Self, what liberation can men gain from outward words, whose fruit is mere sound? (65)
“Merely by declaring, ‘I am king,’ without destroying the enemy, and without gaining the wealth of the kingdom, none can become king.
“Through right directions, through digging and removing the stones and earth above it, the buried treasure is brought forth, not by uttering the word, ‘Forth!’ So through the teaching of one who knows the Eternal, through careful thought and meditation is to be gained the pure truth of the divine Self, concealed by the working of glamour, and not by subtle reasoning.
“Therefore wise men must earnestly strive themselves to win liberation from the bondage of the world beset by death, as they would themselves use remedies for sickness.
“The excellent question which thou hast asked today, in accord with the sacred teachings, of deep import like a Sutra, should be asked by those who seek liberation.
“Give good heed, wise one, to what is declared by me; through hearing it, thou shalt in truth be freed from the bondage of the world of death. (70)
“The first cause of liberation is declared to be complete detachment from all things that are out of the Eternal; then quietude, control, endurance; then the renouncing altogether of all works done through personal desire.
“Then study of the scriptures, thinking out their meaning, with prolonged, continuous meditation on the real by the disciple; then gaining liberation from the bondage of wrong thinking, the wise man even here attains to the happiness of Nirvana.
“The discerning between the real Self and that which is not Self, which is now to be understood by thee, I shall straightway declare; hearing, understand it within thyself.
“By the wise, that is called the gross body, which is made up of these substances called marrow, bone, fat, flesh, blood, skin, epidermis; consisting of trunk, chest, arms, feet, back, head, limbs and the divisions of limbs;
“It is known as the seat of the delusion of ‘I’ and ‘my.’ Ether, air, fire, water and earth are the subtle elements. (75)
“When compounded with each other, they form the gross elements, which build up the gross body; they are the materials of objects perceived by the five senses, as sound and the rest; their purpose is, to teach the soul through experience.
“They who, fascinated by these things of sense, are bound by the strong bonds of desire, hard to break, ascend and descend, carried downward, upward, forward by their own Karma as a headlong messenger.
“Each one fascinated through one of the five senses, by sound and the other powers, these five, deer, elephants, moths, fish, bees, go to their death and are dissolved in the five elements; how can man escape, who is fascinated by all five senses?
“Things of sense are more penetrating in the hurt they cause than the venom of the black serpent. The poison slays only him into whom it enters, but things of sense destroy through mere beholding.
“He only who is free from the great snare of sensuous desire, hard to escape from, builds for liberation, and not another, even though he know the six scriptures. (80)
“Those who falsely fancy themselves detached and seeking liberation, striving to reach the further shore of the ocean of passional life, seized by the shark of their desire, sink in the midst of their journey, caught by the throat and swiftly carried downward.
“He who slays the shark called sensuous desire with the sharp sword of true detachment, gains the further shore of the ocean of passional life, carried forward without hindrance.
“Death is the end of him who sets forth untimely on the rough way of sensuous life, with intelligence obscured; but he who goes forward guided by a loving, righteous Teacher, through union with his true Self gains his end and his reward. Know this to be the truth.
“If thou hast the ardent desire for liberation, put sensuous desires away from thee like poison; ceaselessly, reverently love acceptance, compassion, endurance, rectitude, quietude, control, as the essence of immortality.
“He who, neglecting the duty of each moment, the freeing of himself from the bondage caused by beginningless unwisdom, forgetting that the body exists for the soul, is wholly absorbed in feeding it, thereby slays his own soul. (85)
“He who wishes to find his true Self, yet is engrossed with the feeding of his body, seeks to cross the river grasping a crocodile with the thought that it is a log.
“Fascination by the body and its powers is the great death for him who is seeking liberation. He alone is worthy to seek the path of liberation, who is free from fascination.
“Slay fascination by the body, wife and children, that great death; conquering it, the saints go to that supreme home of the all-pervading deity.
“Formed of skin, flesh, blood, sinew, fat, marrow, bone, full of waste and decay is this gross body, deserving condemnation.
“Built up of the elements mingled fivefold, through the Karma of previous lives, is this gross body, a house for the experience of the soul; its state is waking consciousness, perceiving gross objects of sense.” (90)
The personal life, finding delight in outward objects through the external senses, rejoicing in garlands, sandalwood and women, through the perceptive power of the Self, finds its activity in waking consciousness in the body.
This gross body, through which the spirit of man engages in all outward life, know that it is but the house of the householder.
The inherent tendencies of the gross body are birth, decay and death; its periods are the six ages beginning with childhood; its rules are differences of race and order of life, with their afflictions; it receives worship, dishonour and honour in all their forms.
Its powers of perception are hearing, touch, sight, smell, taste, which make sensuous objects perceptible; voice, hands, feet, the powers that put forth and reproduce, are its powers of action, through which it engages in works.
Its interior powers are called mind (Manas), intelligence (Buddhi), the personal sense (Ahankara) and imagination (Chitta), with their activities. The function of mind is the gathering together and separating of impulses; the function of intelligence is to reach a judgment regarding what is perceived; (95)
The function of the personal sense is the thought of “I” through the attribution of self-hood; the function of imagination is to hold the consciousness steady on its object.
The vital breath consists of the forward breath, the downward breath, the distributive breath, the upward breath, the uniting breath; they are modified by function and form, as gold and water are modified.
The subtle body is said to be made up of these eight groups: voice and the other powers of action; hearing and the other powers of perception; the forward breath and the other vital breaths; ether and the other subtle elements; intelligence and the other interior powers; together with unwisdom, desire and Karma.
Hear concerning this body, which is called the subtle, and also the form body, and which is composed of the five elements not commingled fivefold; it is the field of the experience of the fruit of Karma, through the imprints of tendencies; it rests on the inherent sense of separateness; it is the vehicle of the real Self.
Dream is its distinctive state, in which it grows through substance of its own building; when in this dream-consciousness it attains to the power to act, the intelligence, based on the manifold impressions made during the time of waking, shines forth; for in this state a higher Self becomes luminous, having a vesture of the substance of meditation; it is an independent witness, nor is it stained by the separate acts of the physical body. (101)
Because the subtle body possesses detachment, it is not stained by the acts of its vesture. This form body carries out all activities as the instrument of the higher Self, the spiritual man; it is as the sharp tools in the hand of the carpenter. Therefore the Self is free from attachment.
The characters of blindness, slowness or keen vision have their cause in the qualities or defects of the eye; so deafness and dumbness are characters of the ear or tongue, not of the Seer, the Self.
Outbreathing, inbreathing, yawning, sneezing, the flow of saliva, circulation, are said by those who know, to be caused by the vital airs; hunger and thirst are caused by the life principle.
The internal organ acts through the organs of sight and the other sense powers. Through the attribution of selfhood, the personal “I” is established and manifested. (105)
The personal “I” is to be known as the actor and as receiving experience; it is based on the attribution of selfhood; through union with the three potencies, goodness, passion, darkness, it experiences the three states of consciousness.
When the objects of its experience flow with the current, the personality enjoys pleasure; when they go contrary to its wishes, it suffers pain. Pleasure and pain are characters of the personality, not of the true Self, which is being and bliss.
For the object of experience is dearer because it serves the Self; it is not dear in itself. And the Self is of itself the dearest of all.
Therefore the Self is being and bliss, nor has it any pain. That bliss of the Self which is experienced in dreamlessness, above objective life, is known in waking consciousness through revelation, through direct experience, through the experience of others, through logical reasoning.
World Glamour, Maya, through which this whole world comes into being, is named the Unmanifest, the Power of the supreme Lord, beginningless Unwisdom, formed of the three potencies. The awakened understanding should grasp it by a study of its effects. (110)
Maya is neither being nor non-being, nor in essence both; it is neither divided nor undivided, nor in essence both; it is neither with members nor without members, nor in essence both; it is most marvellous in its nature, and indefinable.
The power of Maya is to be destroyed by awakening to the pure, undivided Eternal, as the illusion of the serpent by discerning the rope. Passion, darkness, goodness are known as its potencies; through their effects they are to be understood.
Dispersion, which is the essence of action, is the power of Passion; from this power springs the age-old tendency to forward action; desire and hate come forth from it perpetually, which cause the moods of pain and sorrow in the mind.
Lust, wrath, greed, fraud, cavilling, selfishness, envy, the lust of possession, are the terrible characters of Passion, from which this human activity springs; therefore Passion is the cause of bondage.
Envelopment is the name of the power of Darkness, whereby a thing appears other than it is. This is the underlying cause of man’s cycle of birth and rebirth; it is the motive force of the activity of the power of Dispersion. (115)
Though he be intelligent, learned, clever, keen in self-study, thoroughly well informed, a man cannot be wise if wrapped in this power of Darkness; what is raised up by illusion, he sees as real, he leans on qualities created by illusion. Alas for him; very overmastering is this power of Darkness, this mighty Envelopment.
Failure to perceive real things, seeing things as the opposite of what they are, building up fancies, taking realities for fancies, these are modes of Dispersion; the power of Dispersion releases not him who is under the yoke of attachment; it sweeps him away continually.
The qualities of Darkness are unwisdom, laziness, inertness, lethargy, folly, bondage to delusion; he who is under their yoke is wise in nothing; he is like a man asleep, like a log.
Goodness, because of its purity, though mingled with these as water with water, yet builds for salvation; the ray of the true Self reflected in Goodness illumines the whole material world, like the sun.
Where Goodness is mingled with the other potencies, these characters arise: self-respect, obedience to the commandments and the rules, faith, devotion, desire for liberation, godlike virtues, a complete turning from evil. (120)
Of pure Goodness, the qualities are grace, experience of the true Self, supreme quietude of heart, acceptance, joy, a resting in the supreme Self, whereby is attained the essence of being and bliss.
Of the Unmanifest, which is defined by the three potencies, is formed the Causal Body of the Self; its free field of consciousness is dreamlessness, in which the activity of the powers and the understanding are merged in one.
Dreamlessness is a form of consciousness in which every kind of mental perception is stilled, when the intelligence is withdrawn into the Self which is its source; where the Seer says: “I know nothing of the rumour of the world.”
The body, powers, vital airs, mind, personality, all forms, all objects, pleasure and pain, ether and the elements, the whole world up to and including the Unmanifest, all this is other than the Self.
Maya and all the works of Maya, beginning with the Great One, Mahat, and ending with the body; know that all this is other than the Eternal, other than the Self, like the mirage in the desert. (125)
I shall now declare to thee the true nature of the Supreme Self, knowing which, freed from bondage, a man gains final liberation.
There is a certain eternal Self, on which the consciousness of selfhood rests; this is the witness of the three fields of consciousness; this is other than the five vestures.
This is he who perceives all things in waking, dreaming, dreamlessness; this is the true “I” which perceives the intelligence and its activities, whether they be good or evil.
This is he who himself perceives all, whom none perceives; who illumines the intelligence and the other powers, whom none illumines.
Who penetrates and upholds this universe, whom none penetrates nor upholds; from him this universe derives the light with which it is illumined. (130)
Through whose mere presence the body, powers, mind and intelligence turn each to their proper objects as though obeying its command.
By whom, having as his essence eternal wisdom, all the powers from the personality to the body, all objects, all pleasures and pains are seen as a jar is seen.
This inner Self, the Spirit, the ancient, is the presence of primal, undivided joy; ever unchanging, consisting of pure wisdom, by whose command voice and the life-breaths fulfill their parts.
Here, verily, in the Self of Goodness, in the secret place of the soul, in the undivided firmament; rising like the dawn, this shines like the risen sun in the sky, by its radiance making this whole world shine.
Beholding all activities of the mind and personal self, all motions of the body, the powers, the life-breaths, this neither strives nor changes, pervading them like the fire in the heated iron. (135)
This enters not into birth, or death, or growth, nor does he wane or change for ever; even when this frame falls into dissolution, the Self is not dissolved, like the ether in the broken jar.
Standing apart from the vicissitudes of the manifest world, in his own essence pure consciousness, illumining this infinite universe of things enduring and unenduring, himself unchanging, the supreme Self, in the fields of waking, dream and dreamlessness, shines as the true “I,” the immediate witness of the intelligence.
Do thou, with disciplined mind, recognize this Self within thyself, saying, “This is I,” through the grace of understanding; cross the shoreless ocean of manifested life whose waves are birth and death, reaching thy goal, coming home to the being of the Eternal.
The thought of “I” in what is not the Self brings the Spirit into bondage; this bondage, springing from unwisdom, brings on us birth and death and weariness. He who identifies himself with his body, thinking the unenduring to be the real, and therefore feeds it, anoints it, guards it, is enmeshed in things of sense as the silkworm in the threads it spins.
He who is deluded by Darkness sees reality in what is unreal; from lack of discernment arises the illusion of the serpent in the rope. He who is subject to this illusion suffers a multitude of sorrows; to take the unreal for the real is bondage. Friend, heed this. (140)
The enveloping power of Darkness completely hides the Self with his infinite powers, which shine forth through the power of partless, eternal, undivided illumination, as the demon of eclipse conceals the sun’s rays.
When the true Self of stainless radiance is concealed, the man, deluded, thinks of the body, which is not the Self, as “I.” Then the far-reaching power of Passion, which is called Dispersion, painfully binds him with the cords of lust and wrath.
His perception of the true Self swallowed up by the voracious shark of great Delusion, he entangles himself in manifold errors of understanding through the cords of this power; in the shoreless ocean of birth and death, full of the poison of sensuous things, sinking or rising, he is carried about, confused, contemptible.
As a cloud wreath, brought into being by the sun’s shining, spreads and conceals the sun, so the personal self, which comes into being through the Self, spreads and conceals the true Self.
As on a foul day, when the lord of day is swallowed up by heavy clouds, fierce, chill blasts of wind afflict the clouds, so, when the true Self is enveloped in unbroken darkness, this keen power of Dispersion visits the deluded man with many sorrows. (145)
By these two powers, man’s bondage is brought about; deluded by them he goes astray, thinking the body is the Self.
Of the tree of birth and death, Darkness is the root, the thought of the body as Self is the shoot, desire is the leaf, works are the sap, the life-breaths are the branches, the powers are the ends of the branches, sensuous things are the flowers, pain is the fruit, springing from manifold works; the separate self is the bird who eats the fruit.
This bondage to that which is not Self, which has its root in unwisdom, arising without a cause, beginningless, endless, brings upon the separate self a flood of sorrows, like birth and death, sickness and decay.
Not by weapons, nor scriptures, not by wind nor fire, can this bondage be loosed, nor by myriads of ritual acts, without the great sword of discerning knowledge, sharp and keen, through divine grace.
He who is convinced of the truth of the sacred teaching faithfully performs all duties; by this comes self-purification; when his intelligence is purified, the vision of the supreme Self comes; thereby he destroys birth and death, root and all. (150)
The Self, wrapped up in the five vestures, beginning with the vesture formed of food, which are brought into being by its own power, does not shine forth, as the water in the pond, covered by a veil of green scum.
When the green scum is taken away, immediately the water shines forth pure, taking away thirst and heat, straightway becoming a source of great joy to man.
When the five vestures have been stripped off, the Self shines forth pure, the one essence of eternal bliss, beheld within, supreme, self-luminous.
Discernment is to be made between the Self and what is not Self by the wise man seeking freedom from bondage; through this he enters into joy, knowing the Self which is being, consciousness, bliss.
As the reed from the tiger grass, so separating from the congeries of things visible the hidden Self within, which is detached, not involved in actions, and dissolving all in the Self, he who stands thus, has attained liberation. (155)
The food-formed vesture is this body, which comes into being through food, which lives by food, which perishes without food.
It is formed of cuticle, skin, flesh, blood, bone, water; this is not worthy to be the Self, eternally pure.
The Self was before birth or death, and now is; how can it be born for the moment, fleeting, unstable of nature, not unified, inert, beheld like a jar? For the Self is the witness of all changes of form.
The body has hands and feet, not the Self; though bodiless, yet because it is the Life, because its power is indestructible, it is controller, not controlled.
Since the Self is witness of the body, its character, its acts, its states, therefore the Self must be of other nature than the body. (160)
A mass of wretchedness, clad in flesh, full of impurity and evil, how can this body be the knower? The Self is of other nature.
Of this compound of skin, flesh, fat, bone and water, the man of deluded mind thinks, “This is I”; but he who is possessed of judgment knows that his true Self is of other character, in nature transcendental.
The mind of the dullard thinks of the body; “This is I”; he who is more learned thinks, “This is I,” of the body and the separate self; but he who has attained discernment and is wise knows the true Self, saying, “I am the Eternal.”
Therefore, O thou of mind deluded, put away the thought that this body is the Self, this compound of skin, flesh, fat, bone and water; discern the universal Self, the Eternal, changeless, and enjoy supreme peace.
So long as the man of learning abandons not the thought, founded on delusion, that “This is I,” regarding the unenduring body and its powers, so long there is no hope for his liberation, though he possess the knowledge of the Vedanta and its science. (165)
As thou hast no thought that “This is the Self,” regarding the body’s shadow, or the reflected form, or the body seen in dream, or the shape imagined in the mind, so let not this thought exist regarding the living body.
The thought that the body is the Self, in the minds of men who discern not the real, is the seed from which spring birth and death and sorrow; therefore slay thou this thought with strong effort, for when thou hast abandoned this thought the longing for rebirth will cease.
The breath-formed vesture is formed by the life-breath determined by the five powers of action; through its power the food-formed vesture, guided by the Self and sustained by food, moves in all bodily acts.
Nor is this breath-formed vesture the Self, since it is formed of the vital airs, coming and going like the wind, moving within and without; since it can in no wise discern between right and wrong, between oneself and another, but is ever dependent.
The mind-formed vesture is formed of the powers of perception and the mind; it is the cause of the distinction between the notions of “mine” and “I”; it is active in making a distinction of names and numbers; as more potent, it pervades and dominates the former vesture. (170)
The fire of the mind-formed vesture, fed by the five powers of perception, as though by five sacrificial priests, with objects of sense like streams of melted butter, blazing with the fuel of manifold sense-impressions, sets the personality aflame.
For there is no unwisdom except in the mind, for the mind is unwisdom, the cause of the bondage to life; when this is destroyed, all is destroyed; when this dominates, the world dominates.
In dream, devoid of substance, it emanates a world of experiencer and things experienced, which is all mind; so in waking consciousness, there is no difference, it is all the domination of mind.
During the time of dreamlessness, when mind has become latent, nothing at all of manifestation remains; therefore man’s circle of birth and death is built by mind, and has no permanent reality.
By the wind a cloud is collected, by the wind it is driven away again; by mind bondage is built up, by mind is built also liberation. (175)
Building up desire for the body and all objects, it binds the man thereby as an ox by a cord; afterwards leading him to turn from them like poison, that same mind, verily, sets him free from bondage.
Therefore mind is the cause of man’s bondage, and in turn of his liberation; when darkened by the powers of passion it is the cause of bondage, and the cause of liberation when pure of passion and darkness.
Where discernment and dispassion are dominant, gaining purity, the mind makes for liberation; therefore let the wise man who seeks liberation strengthen these two in himself as the first step.
Mind is the name of the mighty tiger that hunts in the forest glades of sensuous things; let not the wise go thither, who seek liberation.
Mind moulds all sensuous things through the earthly body and the subtle body of him who experiences; mind ceaselessly shapes the differences of body, of colour, of condition, of race, as fruits caused by the acts of the potencies.
Mind, beclouding the detached, pure consciousness, binding it with the cords of the body, the powers, the life-breaths, as “I” and “my,” ceaselessly strays among the fruits of experience caused by its own activities. (181)
Man’s circle of birth and death comes through the fault of attributing reality to the unreal, but this false attribution is built up by mind; this is the effective cause of birth and death and sorrow for him who has the faults of passion and darkness and is without discernment.
Therefore the wise who know the truth have declared that mind is unwisdom, through which the whole world, verily, is swept about, as cloud belts by the wind.
Therefore purification of the mind should be undertaken with strong effort by him who seeks liberation; when the mind has been purified, liberation comes like fruit into his hand.
Through the sole power of liberation uprooting desire for sensuous things, and ridding himself of all bondage to works, he who through faith in the real stands firm in the teaching, shakes off the very essence of passion from the understanding. (185)
The mind-formed vesture cannot be the higher Self, since it has beginning and end, waxing and waning; by causing sensuous things, it is the very essence of pain; that which is itself seen cannot be the Seer.
The intelligence together with the powers of intelligence makes the understanding-formed vesture, whose distinguishing character is actorship; it is the cause of man’s circle of birth and death.
The power which is a reflected beam of pure Consciousness, called the understanding, is a mode of abstract Nature; it possesses wisdom and creative power; it thereby focuses the idea of “I” in the body and its powers.
This “I,” beginningless in time, is the separate self, it is the initiator of all undertakings; this, impelled by previous imprints, works all works both holy and unholy, and forms their fruits.
Passing through varying births it gains experience, now descending, now ascending; of this understanding-formed vesture, waking, dream and dreamlessness are the fields where it experiences pleasure and pain. (190)
By constantly attributing to itself the body, state, condition, duties and works, thinking, “These are mine,” this understanding-formed vesture, brightly shining because it stands closest to the higher Self, becomes the vesture of the Self, and, thinking itself to be the Self, wanders in the circle of birth and death.
This, formed of understanding, is the light that shines in the vital breaths, in the heart; the Self who stands for ever wears this vesture as actor and experiencer.
The Self, assuming the limitation of the understanding, self-deluded by the error of the understanding, though it is the universal Self, yet views itself as separate from the Self; as the potter views the jars as separate from the clay.
Through the force of its union with the vesture, the higher Self takes on the character of the vesture and assumes its nature, as fire, which is without form, takes on the varying forms of the iron, even though the Self is for ever by nature uniform and supreme.
The Disciple said: Whether by delusion or otherwise, the higher Self appears as the separate self; but, since the vesture is beginningless, there is no conceivable end of the beginningless. (195)
Therefore existence as the separate self must be eternal, nor can the circle of birth and death have an end; how then can there be liberation? Master, tell me this.
The Master said: Well hast thou asked, O wise one! Therefore rightly hear! A false imagination created by error is not conclusive proof.
Only through delusion can there be an association with objects, of that which is without attachment, without action, without form; it is like the association of blueness with the sky.
The appearance as the separate self, of the Self, the Seer, who is without qualities, without form, essential wisdom and bliss, arises through the delusion of the understanding; it is not real; when the delusion passes, it exists no longer, having no substantial reality.
Its existence, which is brought into being through false perception, because of delusion, lasts only so long as the error lasts; as the serpent in the rope endures only as long as the delusion; when the delusion ceases. there is no serpent. (200)
It is true that unwisdom and also its effects are beginningless; but, when wisdom arises, unwisdom, even though beginningless, comes to an end like a dream on waking, utterly vanishing, root and all; even though beginningless, it is not everlasting, just as the previous non-existence of what comes into being, though beginningless, yet comes to an end.
So that we see that previous non-existence, though without a beginning, yet has an end. It is the same with the appearance of the separate self, built up in the universal Self through the association of the understanding, and in nature contrary to it; this association is a false perception, caused by the understanding.
It can only be ended through true wisdom, not by other means; and the Scriptures declare that true wisdom is to know the oneness of the Eternal and the Self. (205)
This is gained by true discernment between Self and what is not Self; therefore let there be discernment between the true hidden Self and the manifested self.
Just as even very muddy water shines as pure water when the mud clears away, so the Self shines forth bright, when darkness passes away.
When the darkness of unreality ceases, the separate self clearly perceives the hidden Self; therefore the separate self must cast out utterly all egotism and delusion.
Therefore this vesture formed of understanding, since it is subject to change, and material, and circumscribed, is not the higher Self; since it is visible and transitory, this non-eternal cannot be the Eternal.
The vesture formed of bliss is a form lit up by a reflection of the eternal bliss, but not yet completely free from darkness; its nature is happiness and joy; in it, worthy desires receive their fruition. This vesture formed of bliss shines forth in the holy man reaping the reward of his good deeds, coming into being of itself, without effort, when he rejoices, wearing the garment of righteousness. (210)
This vesture formed of bliss is fully revealed in dreamlessness; it is partially revealed in dreaming and waking, when the object of true desire is seen.
Yet even this vesture formed of bliss is not the higher Self, because it is subject to limitation, a manifestation of objective Nature, an effect of righteous deeds, built up of the sum of good actions.
When these five vestures are put aside, according to the Scriptures, the Witness, formed of illumination, remains after they are set aside; this is the Self, self-luminous, other than the five vestures; Witness in the three fields of consciousness, unchanging, unstained, to be known by the wise, through right self-identification, as eternal Being, eternal bliss,
The Disciple said: When these five vestures are set aside because they are non-eternal, I cannot see, O Master, that aught remains save universal non-Being, or that anything remains to be known by him who would know the Self through right self-identification. (215)
The Master said: O wise one, thou speakest sooth! Thou art skilled in judgment! Egotism and the rest are mere changing forms; when they pass, this Self is left.
He through whom all these are perceived, who himself is not perceived, him know as the Self, the Knower, through most subtle understanding.
Whatsoever is perceived by anyone, is perceived by virtue of this Self as Witness; that which is unknown of any can not be called the Witness.
This Being is his own Witness, since through himself he is perceived; therefore, he who is manifest through himself is the hidden Self, and no other.
This is he who is clearly manifest in waking, dreaming and dreamlessness, through his hidden nature ever shining as the real “I,” unchanging; it is he who beholds the personal self, the understanding and all the powers with their manifold forms and changes; he shines, the Self, eternal bliss and consciousness; him know as Self, here in thy heart. (220)
He who is deluded thinks that the sun’s image reflected in the water in a jar is the real sun; through a like delusion, the dullard believes that the reflection of consciousness contained in the vesture is “I.”
When the jar and the water and the sun mirrored there are all put away, the true sun is perceived; in like manner the wise perceive the eternal Self reflected in the three fields of consciousness, the self-luminous.
Thus setting aside the body, the understanding, the reflected personal consciousness, and recognizing as his true Self the Seer hidden within the understanding, the partless Light which reveals all things, which is different from the existent and the non-existent;
The eternal, the Lord, all-pervading, very subtle, which has neither within nor without, which stands alone; truly knowing that Self in his own being, a man is sinless, stainless, deathless.
Sorrowless, become altogether bliss, the sage fears nought from any source. There is no path other than the knowledge of the true being of the Self, for him who seeks liberation, freedom from the bondage of manifested life. (225)
The knowledge that he is not separated from the Eternal is the cause of liberation, whereby the secondless bliss, the Eternal, is gained by those who are illumined.
The wise man who is one with the Eternal returns not again to the circle of birth and death; therefore, let it be truly understood that the Self is not separate from the Eternal.
He wins the Real, the endless Wisdom, the pure Eternal, supreme, self-sustained, the one essence of everlasting bliss, at one with the hidden Eternal, undivided.
This is Being, the supreme, the secondless, since there is no reality apart from this; nor does aught else remain, when consciousness of the transcendental reality is gained.
For when all delusions of the understanding are cast away without remainder, then this whole universe, perceived as innumerable forms through unwisdom, becomes the Eternal only. (230)
The earthen jar, though it be moulded from earth, is not separate from the earth, since it is essentially earth. The form of the jar has no independent existence. What then is the jar? A name only, built up as an appearance.
The independent existence of the earthen jar cannot be perceived by anyone apart from the earth it is made of; therefore, the jar is built up as an appearance; the earth, of which it essentially consists, is the reality.
The manifested universe exists through the Real, the Eternal, and is ever That alone, nor is there aught beside That; he who says that there is, is not free from delusion, he is like one talking in his sleep.
“The Eternal is this universe”: thus declares the word of the Scripture, the excellent Atharva Veda. Therefore, this universe is the Eternal only; nor has what is perceived any separate existence, apart from its source.
If this transitory world be the Real, then there is no liberation through the Self, the holy Scriptures are without authority and the Lord speaks untruth; but those of great soul cannot admit these three things. (235)
The Lord, who knows the reality of things, has declared: “I am not contained in these things, nor do beings dwell in Me.”
If this manifest universe were reality, it would be perceived in dreamlessness; but since nothing is then outwardly perceived, it is unreal, like the appearance of a dream.
Hence this world has no real existence apart from the higher Self; its separate existence is perceived through illusion, like the serpent and the rope. What reality is there in that which is conjured up? Only through error does the underlying Real thus appear.
Whatever the deluded perceives in his delusion, is the Eternal only; the imagined silver is the pearl shell; in the same way forms are given to the Eternal, but whatever is imagined in the Eternal, is nothing but a name.
Therefore, the Eternal is secondless Being, consisting of pure illumination, stainless, full of peace, beginningless, endless, changeless, formed of everlasting bliss. (240)
When all the divisions caused by Glamour are cast aside, there shines forth somewhat eternal, steadfast, partless, immeasurable, unformed, unmanifest, unnamed, everlasting, self-illumined.
Those who are illumined know this as that in which knower, knowing and known are one, which is endless, above differentiation, absolute, partless, pure consciousness, the highest Being.
This supreme Self, the perfect Eternal, cannot be left nor taken; neither by mind nor speech can it be apprehended; it is immeasurable, beginningless, endless.
In the text of Scripture, “That thou art,” the Eternal and the Self are indicated by the words, “That” and “Thou”; when they are thus understood, the oneness of the Self and the Eternal is clearly seen. (244)
The oneness of these two, thus defined and declared, is concealed by attributing to them contrary attributes, as in the case of the firefly and the sun, the King and the slave, the well and the ocean, the atom and Mount Meru.
The seeming difference between the two is caused by the vestures which contain them, but these vestures are themselves unreal. Hear the truth: cosmic differences, beginning with the world of abstract forms, come into being through the Lord’s power of Glamour, Maya; the five vestures come into being through the separate self;
When these vestures, which enwrap the Lord and the separate self are cast aside, there remains neither Lord nor separate self. The king has his kingdom, the vassal his village; when these are taken away, there is neither vassal nor king.
The Scripture: “There is the teaching, ‘Not thus! not thus!’” of itself contradicts the duality imagined in the Eternal; through illumination in accordance with the teaching of Scripture, the distinction between the two is to be rejected.
“It is not this, not this; since it is built up by imagination, it is unreal, like the rope seen as a serpent, like a dream”; thus repeatedly rejecting completely this visible world, the oneness of the Self and the Eternal will be realized.
The two are to be defined according to their essential nature, in order that their undivided oneness of essence may be shown. Not by the derived meaning alone, nor by the literal meaning alone, but through the essence common to both, understanding will be gained. (250)
By saying, “This man is Devadatta,” the identity is established by rejecting contrary attributes; in just the same way, in the Scriptural teaching, “That thou art,” contrary attributes are to be set aside.
By recognizing that pure consciousness is the essential character both of the Eternal and of the Self, their unity of being is perceived by those who are illumined. Thus in a hundred holy texts is set forth the oneness of the Eternal and the Self, their undivided being.
According to the Scripture, “This Imperishable is neither gross nor fine, neither short nor long,” in itself indefinable as the ether, set aside false conclusions, and abandon thy preconceptions, since all that is outwardly perceived is mirage only; affirming “the Eternal am I,” with purified intelligence, know thine own Self as partless Light.
Just as every jar and vessel made of earth is held to be earth only, so all this, born of Being, having Being as its essence, is Being only, since there is nothing beyond Being; of a truth, “This is the Real, this the Self,” therefore, “That thou art,” the Eternal, full of peace, pure, undivided, supreme.
As in dream, the imagined space and time and objects and perceiver are all unreal, so also here in waking, the world is conjured up by our unwisdom; since this body, its powers and life-breath, and the thought of it as “I” are all unreal, therefore, “That thou art,” the Eternal, full of peace, pure, undivided, supreme. (255)
That Eternal, which transcends birth and rule and race and clan, having nor name nor form nor quality nor fault, dwelling beyond space and time and all things objective, ‘”That thou art”; bring it to consciousness in thy Self.
That Eternal, which cannot be attained by any speech, yet is attained by the pure vision of illumination, a realm of pure consciousness, beginningless substance, “That thou art”; bring it to consciousness in thy Self.
That Eternal, which rises above the six waves of human weakness (pain, delusion, age, death, hunger, thirst), which dwells in the heart of him who has attained to union, which cannot be discerned by thy powers or known by thy understanding, flawless, “That thou art”; bring it to consciousness in thy Self.
That Eternal, which, self-supported, is the support of the world built up through illusion, which is other than the existent or the non-existent, partless, which can be reached by no similitude, “That thou art”; bring it to consciousness in thy Self.
That Eternal, which is free from birth and growth and change, waning and sickness and death, everlasting, the cause that puts forth, upholds, destroys the world, “That thou art”; bring it to consciousness in thy Self. (260)
That Eternal, wherein all difference ceases, whose character never changes, still as a waveless ocean, for ever free, in nature impartite, “That thou art”; bring it to consciousness in thy Self.
That Eternal, which, being One, is the cause of many, the Cause that sets aside all other causes, itself apart from cause and what is caused, “That thou art”; bring it to consciousness in thy Self.
That Eternal, which is unchanging, mighty, imperishable, other than that which perishes and that which perishes not, supreme, everlasting, eternal joy, stainless, “That thou art”; bring it to consciousness in thy Self.
That Eternal, the one which appears manifold, through illusion, through change of name and form and character, itself changeless like the gold in many ornaments, “That thou art”; bring it to consciousness in thy Self.
That Eternal, which shines alone, beyond the highest, hidden, of single essence, of the character of the supreme Self, eternal substance, wisdom, joy, endless, everlasting, “That thou art”; bring it to consciousness in thy Self. (265)
Let the disciple bring this meaning, thus declared, to consciousness in his Self, through the recognized forms of reasoning, through intuition, putting doubt and confusion away; the meaning of this text will become as evident as water held in the hand.
Knowing this pure Being, which is perfect Light, dwelling in the Self, relying on the Self as a king on his army in battle, cause this manifest world to melt away in the Eternal.
In the intelligence, in the heart, other than the existent or the non-existent, is the Eternal, the Real, supreme, secondless; he who, through the power of the Self, dwells in this heart, for him there is no more subjection to bodily life.
Even though the truth be known, nevertheless this impress: “I am the actor, the experiencer,” is deep-seated and powerful, as it is beginningless, the cause of circling birth and death. This impress is to be conquered by strong effort, through the vision of the Light in the Self. The sages have said that the attenuation of this impress is liberation.
This false attribution of “I” and “my” to the body and its powers, which are not Self, must be conquered by the wise man through devotion to the true Self. (270)
Recognizing the hidden Self as the true Self, Witness of the understanding and its activities, making real the thought, “That am I” by right conduct, slay the thought of self in that which is other than the Self.
Ceasing to follow the way of the world, ceasing to follow the way of the body, ceasing to follow the way of tradition, set thyself assiduously to follow the Self.
When a man follows the way of the world, the way of tradition, the way of the body, true wisdom is not born within him.
Those who know declare that the harsh domination of these three ways is the iron chain fettering the feet of him who seeks to escape from the prison house of recurring birth and death; he who frees himself from this, attains liberation.
Just as sandalwood, mingled with water and rubbed, drives all ill odours away, so the divine impress of the Master shines forth through strong effort, completely expelling the savour of outer things. (275)
The impress of the higher Self is hidden under the dust of countless evil desires that lurk within; cleared by the strong effort toward wisdom, it becomes manifest like the scent of sandalwood.
The impress of the Self is entangled in the meshes of desire for what is not Self; through devotion to the eternal Self these meshes are completely destroyed.
In measure as the mind obeys the hidden Self, it frees itself from the impress of outer things; when it has rid itself completely of outer desires, the realization of the Self arises, free from all impediments.
By constant obedience to the Self, the mind of him who seeks union is conquered and the impress of outer desires fades away; therefore, make an end of resting in the false self.
Darkness is overcome by Passion and Goodness; Passion is overcome by Goodness; imperfect Goodness is overcome by perfect Goodness; therefore, make an end of resting in the false self. (280)
Perceiving that the impulses of past acts flourish the personality, be steadfast, rely on valour, and with strong effort make an end of resting in the false self.
Thinking, “I am not the separate self but the Eternal,” rejecting everything that is not the Eternal, make an end of resting in the false self, which is built up by the impetus of the impressions of desires.
Knowing through the Scriptures, through right reasoning, through meditative experience, that thy true Self is the Self of all, make an end of resting in the false self, which is built up by the play of deceptive appearances.
The saint is not at all concerned with getting and spending; therefore, ever grounded in the One, make an end of resting in the false self.
To confirm the realization that thy Self is one with the Eternal, according to the knowledge of the oneness of the Eternal and the Self instilled by the Scripture, “That thou art,” make an end of resting in the false self. (285)
Intent on dissolving completely the thought of “I” in this body, intending thyself steadily on this task, make an end of resting in the false self.
So long as the persuasion that the separate self and its world are real continues, like a dream, so long, O wise one, continue to make an end of resting in the false self.
Without a moment’s loss through dreams, or the sound of worldly opinions, or forgetfulness, seek the real Self within thyself.
Casting away bondage to this corruptible body of flesh, formed from the bodies of father and mother, as though it were outcast, accomplish thy end, uniting thyself with the Eternal.
Merging thyself in the higher Self, as the ether in the jar is one with the universal ether, losing the sense of separation, enter ever into silence, O seeker after wisdom! (290)
Becoming one with the self-luminous foundation of all, through the aspiration of the manifested Self, the great manifested world and the handful of clay alike are to be abandoned like a pot of dirt.
Causing the thought of “I” built up in the body to merge in the Self, which is pure consciousness, being and bliss, putting off the limitation of form, become ever one with the absolute Eternal.
Knowing that “I am the Eternal,” in which the mirage of the world is seen like a city in a mirror, thou shalt be one who has attained his goal.
Going to that which is the Real, essential Being, primal, secondless consciousness, bliss, without form or act, let this body of delusion be rejected, which the Self has assumed as an actor assumes a costume.
By the universal Self the visible world is seen to be a mirage, nor is the separate self real, since it is seen to be transitory; how can the thought that “I know all” stand with regard to this transitory self and its powers? (295)
The fundamental Self is the Witness of the separate self and its powers, since its presence is always recognized, even in dreamless sleep. The Scripture declares that this hidden Self, which is other than the existent or the non-existent, is “unborn, everlasting.”
The Self who is unchanging is alone worthy to be the knower of all changes of things that change. The unreality of things that change, and of their changes, is clearly seen again and again, in thoughts and dreams and in deep sleep.
Abandon, therefore, self-attribution to this form of flesh, since the false self thus attributing itself is built up by thought only; recognizing as thine own Self that partless Wisdom which is unaltered by past, present or future, enter into peace.
Cast away self-identification with race, clan, name, form, and stage of life, which rest on this vesture of decay; abandoning also the character of actor and experiencer associated with the personality, and become that whose own being is partless bliss.
There are other bonds of man, seen as causes of recurring birth and death, but the root of them all is the personal self, which first arises in consciousness. (300)
So long as the true Self is held in bondage by the evil spirit of the lower self, there can be no vestige of liberation, which is the very opposite of the lower self.
Freed from the eclipsing demon of the lower self, he attains the true Self, which is being and bliss, self-luminous, as the full moon comes forth from the darkness of eclipse.
But he who identifies himself with the body, thinking, “This am I,” is enchained by the darkness and delusion of the mind; but when this is destroyed without a remnant, the true Self is realized as the Eternal, free from all bondage.
The treasure of the bliss of the Eternal is guarded by the very powerful and terrible serpent, the lower self, whose three heads are the formidable potencies of substance, passion and darkness, who lies coiled over the true Self; but when the three heads are cut off with the mighty sword called understanding, inspired by the holy Scriptures, uprooting the great serpent utterly, the wise man may enter into the fruition of the treasure which brings true happiness.
So long as there remains even a vestige of virulent poison in the body, how can there be perfect health? So the lower self holds the seeker of union back from liberation. (305)
By destroying the lower self completely, by putting an end to the many delusive forms it creates, and by discerning the true hidden Self, realizing, “That am I,” the seeker finds the Real.
Utterly reject the thought that “This am I,” regarding the active lower self, unstable in essence, the cause of the love of reward, which robs thee of rest in thy true Self; through the lower self set up by delusion comes the recurring cycle of birth and death, endlessly inflicting birth, death, decay and sorrow on thee, who art in reality the true hidden Self, whose form is joy.
Thou art the true Self, ever one, pure consciousness, all-pervading, formed of bliss, of irreproachable glory, unchanging; there is no cause of thy bondage to birth and death except the domination of the “I.”
The lower self is the enemy of the true Self, like a sharp thorn in the throat of him who eats; therefore, slaying it with the mighty sword of understanding, enter into the sovereignty of the true Self, the joy of thy heart’s desire.
Therefore, ending the acts of the “I” and the other evil powers, casting away desire, gaining the transcendent good, dwell in silence, seeking to enter into the bliss of the true Self, putting away all sense of separateness in the universal Self, the Eternal. (310)
Even when the potent “I” has been uprooted, if it be evoked again by dwelling on it even for a moment in the imagination, it will come to life and cause a hundred distractions, like a storm-driven cloud in the season of the rains.
Holding down the enemy, the “I,” let no opportunity at all be given to the imagination to dwell on sensuous things; for this gives new life to the “I” as water to a parched lemon tree.
The personality who is subject to desire is formed by identifying the self with the body; that which causes desire is distinct from this. Going beyond oneself to seek union with sensuous things, through attachment to something apart from the Self, is the cause of bondage to the world.
From the maturing of the act comes the maturing of the seed of future bondage; from the destruction of the act comes the destruction of the seed; therefore, let the act be stopped.
From the maturing of the dynamic mind-image comes the act, and from the maturing of the act comes the dynamic mind-image; thus man’s cycle of birth and death continues and ceases not. (315)
In order to cut the bonds of recurring birth and death, let him who seeks for control burn up these two; the maturing of the dynamic mind-image comes from these two, imagination and outer act.
Waxing great through these two, it brings to birth the cycle of birth and death for the Self; and there is a way to destroy these three in all conditions, always.
In all places, in all ways, in all things fixing the vision only on the Eternal, through the strengthening of the dynamic impress of true Being, these three melt into nothingness.
Through the destruction of the act comes the destruction of the imagining, and from this the withering of the dynamic mind-image. When the dynamic mind-image has withered away, this is liberation, this is called deliverance even in life.
When the dynamic impress of the Real breaks through and reveals itself, the mind-image of the “I” and the other powers melts away, as before the brightness of the radiant sun the darkness melts away utterly. (320)
Darkness and the works of darkness which ensnare unto evil disappear when the lord of day ascends; therefore when the essence of that partless bliss is known, there is no longer any bondage, no longer the savour of pain.
Rejecting all allurements of things seen, entering into the One, the Real, the sphere of blessedness, intent and alert without and within, let him endure until the bonds of former works pass away.
Standing firm in the Eternal, let no negligent loss of recollection be permitted at any time, for negligence is death: thus spoke the Master Sanat Kumara.
For him who seeks to know the true Self, there is no evil like negligence; from it comes delusion, from this comes the false “I,” from this comes bondage, from this destruction.
Loss of recollection overthrows even him who has attained to knowledge, if he turn toward sensuous allurements, even as an evil woman brings her paramour to destruction. (325)
As the green scum on a pond, when pushed aside, does not so remain even for a moment, so Glamour wraps itself about even the wise man who looks back.
If the imagination, falling back from its goal, be enmeshed even a little in external things, it continues to descend through negligent loss of recollection, like a play-ball fallen on a flight of stairs.
When the imagination enters into sensuous things, it builds up images of their qualities; from this building up comes desire; because of desire the man moves toward them.
He thus loses hold of his true nature; and he who loses hold, falls downward. For him who has fallen, there is no rising again without great loss. Let him, therefore, put an end to this building up of images, which is a cause of every evil.
Therefore, for him who has discerned, who knows the Eternal in soul vision, there is no death other than negligent loss of recollection. But he who is intently concentrated attains complete success; therefore, be thou intently centred in the true Self, with heedfulness. (330)
He who has reached liberation in life is liberated when he puts off the body; but he who makes a division between himself and the true Self, falls under fear: thus saith the Scripture of the Yajur Veda.
Whenever the seeker after wisdom makes a division, even no greater than an atom, in the infinite Eternal, what he beholds through negligent loss of recollection as separate from the Eternal, becomes for him a source of danger.
He who identifies himself with sensuous things, forbidden by a hundred texts of Scripture and sacred tradition and by reason, falls into a host of sorrows upon sorrows; he who thus does what is forbidden, is a robber.
He who sets his heart on the search for the Real, liberated, enters into the mighty power of the true Self, everlasting; but he who sets his heart on the unreal, falls; this is seen even in the honest man and the thief.
The saint, rejecting pursuit of the unreal, the cause of bondage, should stand firm in the vision of the true Self, saying: “That Self am I”; this steadfast resting in the Eternal brings joy through realization of the true Self, and drives away the great pain caused by unwisdom. (335)
The fixing of the heart on sensuous things causes the increase of evil mind-images progressively as its fruit; knowing this through discernment, and rejecting sensuous things, let him ever fix the heart on the true Self.
From putting an end to sensuous allurements comes quietude of heart; in quietude of heart there is the vision of the Supreme Self; when the Supreme Self is seen clearly, there follows destruction of bondage to the world; therefore the ending of sensuous allurements is the path of deliverance.
Who, being learned, able to discern between the Real and the unreal, holding the proofs of Scripture, seeing the supreme goal, possessing knowledge, would, like a child, set up his rest on the unreal, the cause of his falling from the true Self?
For him who is attached to the body and its pleasures there is no liberation; he who is liberated has put away the service of the body and its allurements. He who is asleep is not awake, and he who is awake is not asleep, since these two are of opposite natures.
He who, through the Self discerning the Self within and without, in things moving and unmoving, firmly resting in the vision of the true Self, putting aside vesture after vesture, stands in undivided Being through the universal Self, he indeed has reached deliverance. (340)
Through the universal Self comes the cause of deliverance from bondage; nothing is greater than oneness with the universal Self. When grasping after sensuous things ceases, this oneness with the universal Self is attained by standing ever in the true Self.
But how can grasping after sensuous things cease in him who identifies himself with the body, whose heart is set on the enjoyment of sensuous things, who is working the works of the body? It is to be accomplished by those who renounce the rewards that are sought through worldly duties and religious rites, who have taken their stand in the everlasting Self, who know the Real, who see the bliss of Being in the Self, toiling with strong effort.
The Scripture: “He who is full of peace, lord of himself,” enjoins concentration in soul vision on the disciple who, fulfilling the teaching and all works, seeks union with the universal Self.
The destruction of the “I” established in its strength cannot be accomplished immediately even by the wise; except for those who stand unmoved in the soul vision which is beyond separateness, the dynamic mind-images reproduce themselves endlessly.
The power of distraction, made operative through the power which wraps in glamour, and working through the delusive thought of “I,” draws the man into distraction through the potencies of these. (345)
The victory over the power of distraction is difficult to gain until the power which wraps in glamour has been completely overcome. Let him destroy the power which wraps in glamour by discerning between the Seer and things seen, as clearly as water is distinguished from milk, and by the realization of the true Self.
He is without doubt free from bondage when there is no distraction by the mirage of sensuous things; perfect discernment, born of clear vision, truly discriminating between the Seer and things seen, cuts the bonds of delusion forged by Glamour, and thereafter the recurring cycle of birth and death ceases for him who has gained deliverance.
The fire of discernment of the oneness of that which is above and that which is below burns up the thicket of unwisdom completely. For him who has attained to the realization of Unity, how can there be a seed of recurring birth and death?
Through the vision of the one Real comes the end of the power which wraps in glamour; there follow the destruction of false perception and the end of sorrows caused by the distractions which spring from it.
These three perceptions arise together, as when the true character of the rope is seen; therefore, let the wise man know the reality of Being, for deliverance from his bonds. (350)
The understanding enkindled by consciousness, as iron is enkindled by fire, takes the forms of the powers of perception and action; the result is the manifestation of the three, the power that enwraps, the power that distracts, the sorrow that ensues: a mirage like what is seen in delusion, in dream, in phantasy.
Thence come all the modes of manifested Nature, beginning with the “I” and ending with the body, and all objects of desire; all are unenduring, since they change from moment to moment, but the true Self never changes.
The higher Self is eternal, undivided, partless consciousness, one, witness of the understanding and all the powers, other than the manifest and the unmanifest, whose being is the ideal “I,” the realm of hidden being and bliss.
Thus the wise man, discerning between the Real and the unreal, perceiving the truth through his own awakened vision, knowing himself as the true Self, partless illumination, set free from these things, enters into peace in the Self.
Then are the heart’s knots of unwisdom for ever loosed, when the vision of the one true Self is gained through soul vision free from separateness. (355)
The building up of “thou” and “I” and “this” in the higher Self, one and undivided, comes through the fault of the understanding; but when soul vision becomes radiant, this sense of separateness melts away through the firm grasp of real substance.
The saint, who has entered into peace, controlled, ceasing from evil, all-enduring, gains for himself the eternal being of the universal Self; thereby burning up all sense of separateness born of the darkness of unwisdom, through likeness to the Eternal he dwells in joy, free from bondage to works and from the sense of separateness.
They indeed possess soul vision who have dissolved outer things, the allurements of sense, imagination and the “I,” in pure consciousness; they, verily, are free from the bonds and snares of the world, not they who merely repeat tales about the mystery.
Through the difference of vestures, the one Self appears to be divided; when the vestures are stripped off, the Self is one; therefore, let the wise man dwell in soul vision free from separateness, that the vestures may pass away.
Attached to the Real, the man goes to the being of the Real, through steadfastness in the one; so the larva, meditating on the bee, is transformed into the nature of the bee. (360)
For the larva, putting away all other activity, meditating on the bee, enters into the being of the bee; so the seeker for union, meditating on the reality of the supreme Self, enters therein through steadfastness in the one.
Exceeding subtle is the reality of the supreme Self, nor can it be perceived by gross vision; it is to be known through soul vision, exceeding subtle in its power, by those of noble heart and purified understanding.
As gold refined in the furnace, putting away dross, comes to its own nature, so the heart, ridding itself through meditation of the dross of substance, passion and darkness, reaches the Real.
When the heart, thus purified by diligent, unbroken meditation, is dissolved in the Eternal, then comes soul vision without separateness, experience of the essence of the undivided bliss of the Self. (364)
From this soul vision comes the destruction of all the knots of dynamic mind-images, the destruction of all bondage through works; within and without, in all ways, for ever, the true Self is fully revealed even without striving.
Let him know that thinking is a hundred times better than hearing, that meditation is a hundred thousand times better than thinking, that soul vision without separateness is infinitely better than meditation.
For it is certain that through soul vision without separateness the true being of the Eternal is attained, and not otherwise; through the unstable emotional nature, it is blurred and commingled with thoughts of other things.
Therefore, enter in soul vision into the hidden Self, with powers controlled, with heart in unbroken peace; dispel the darkness born of beginningless unwisdom through clear vision of the oneness of the Real.
The first door of union is restraint of voice, freedom from covetousness, expectation and desire, continuous devotion to the one goal.
Steadfast devotion to the goal ends the allurement of the senses; control stills the imagination; through peace, the impress of the “I” is dissolved. Through this, the seeker for union gains unbroken realization of the bliss of the Eternal; therefore, let the saint through strong effort gain mastery over the imagination. (370)
Restrain voice in thyself, restrain thyself in the understanding, restrain the understanding in the witness of the understanding, restrain that in the universal Self, going beyond separateness, and thus enter into perfect peace.
Absorbed in the activity of one or another vesture, be it body, life-breath, emotion or understanding, the seeker for union takes on the nature of that power.
When these are mastered, the saint finds the joy which comes with right cessation, perfect realization of the essence of being and bliss.
Inward renunciation, outward renunciation belong to him who has ceased from self indulgence; he who has ceased from self indulgence renounces inwardly and outwardly through desire for liberation.
He who has ceased from self indulgence is able to renounce outer attachment to the things of sense and inner attachment to the “I” and the imagination, steadfast in the Eternal. (375)
Know thou, O wise one, that ceasing from self indulgence and illumination are for a man as the two wings of a bird. Without them he cannot ascend the climbing vine at whose summit is the nectar, nor by any other means can he gain it.
To him who is utterly free from self indulgence, soul vision comes; to him who has gained soul vision, illumination is confirmed; to him who has gained illumination of the Real, comes liberation from bondage; for him whose soul is freed, there is experience of eternal joy.
For him who holds himself in sway, I see no engenderer of joy more potent than ceasing from self indulgence; if this be accompanied by the purified awakening to the divine Self, it will bestow on him kingly dominion over self. This is the door of the ever-young spirit of lasting liberation; therefore do thou, seeking what is beyond this world, ever follow after wisdom, in all things unallured, ever in the true Self, seeking the better way.
Cut off hope from sensuous things which are as poison, for this is the cause of death; giving up concern for birth, family and stage of life, free thyself utterly from ritual, seeking after reward. Cast away the delusion of selfhood in the things of the body; seek thou after wisdom in the true Self; for thou art the Seer, thou art other than the emotional mind, thou art in truth the partless Eternal.
Bending heart and mind steadily toward the Eternal as the goal, keeping the outer powers in their true place, steadfastly disregarding the concerns of the body, realizing the oneness of thy true Self with the Eternal, through likeness to the Eternal, through unified consciousness, drink the essence of the joy of the Eternal, for which there is no night, in thy true Self, for what profit is there in all else that is devoid of that nectar? (380)
Casting aside all imaginings of that which is not the true Self, foul and causing sorrow, set thy imagination on that Self whose essence is bliss, the cause of liberation.
This self-shining, witness of all, is ever revealed in the vesture of wisdom; make this thy goal, which stands apart from the unreal, entering into it through realization of thy true Self, free from all separateness.
Invoking the true Self through unbroken effort, pure of all other purposes, let the disciple discern that Self clearly through its essential being.
Firmly holding to the true Self, casting away the “I” and its concerns, let him stand indifferent above them, as though they were broken jars of clay.
Lodging the purified inner powers in the being of the Self, the witness, who is pure illumination, gaining steadfastness step by step, let him fix his vision on the fulness of the Eternal. (385)
Let him fix his vision on the true Self, the undivided Real, in fulness like the ether, free from all vestures of body and powers, emotional mind and the thought of “I,” built up through ignorance of the real Self.
The space which is filled with a hundred vessels, such as jars and pots of grain and rice, yet remains free and one, undivided by them; so the pure Supreme remains free from the “I” and its concerns, and is ever one.
From the Creator to the log, all vestures are mirage only; therefore, let him behold his true Self in its fulness, standing in the one Self.
Whatever is built up through illusion, is seen as the Real, no different from That, when discernment is gained; when the delusion is dissipated, it is seen, that the imagined serpent was no other than the rope; so the whole world is seen to be no other than the true Self.
Brahma is Self, Vishnu is Self, Indra is Self, Shiva is Self, all this world is Self; nothing is but Self. (390)
Self is within, Self without, Self before, and Self behind, Self on the right hand, Self on the left, Self above, Self below.
As wave, foam, eddy, bubble are all in reality water, so from the body to the “I,” all is consciousness, consciousness is the one pure essence.
This whole world of which we speak and think is Being only, for naught is but Being, resting beyond nature’s confines. What are all jars and pots and earthen vessels but clay? So he, drunk with the wine of Glamour, speaks of “thou” and “I.”
“When all acts of desire cease, naught remains but That,” says the Scripture, declaring that the Eternal is undivided, in order to destroy all false attribution.
Like the ether, stainless, undivided, unbounded, unperturbed, unchanging, free within and without, alone, one, is the Self, the supreme Eternal; what else is there to know? (395)
What more, then, remains to be said? The individual soul is the Eternal; from the world to the atom, all is the Eternal, the Eternal alone and secondless, according to the Scripture. “I am the Eternal,” thus illumined in thought, casting away outer desires, they dwell in oneness with the Eternal, through the true Self which is ever consciousness and bliss. This, indeed, is certain.
Slay in this vesture of decay the hopes aroused by the thought of “I,” then slay them in the form-body shaped of air. That form of joy eternal, glorified in the Vedic hymns, that Self apprehending, stand in oneness with the Eternal.
So long as he loves this body of death, the man remains impure; from his enemies come all the pains bound up with birth and death and sickness. But when he discerns the pure Self, of form benign, unwavering, then he is delivered from his enemies, according to the Scripture.
When all that is falsely attributed to the Self is cast aside, there remains the Self, the supreme Eternal, perfect, secondless, at rest.
When all thought and imagination are centred in Being, in the higher Self, in the Eternal without separateness, then there remains of separateness no more than an empty word. (400)
Built up of unreality is the false conception that this is the real world. What division can there be in the one Substance, without mutation, shape or difference?
What division can there be in the one Substance, in which there is no distinction of seer, seeing, seen, without mutation, shape or difference?
What division can there be in the one Substance, like the world-ocean infinitely full, without mutation, shape or difference?
What division can there be in the secondless, supreme Real, free from difference, wherein the cause of delusion melts away, as darkness melts away in light?
What trace can there be of division in the supreme Real, the very Self of unity? Even in dreamlessness, which is joy only, who has ever found division? (405)
After the awakening to the supreme Real, in the Self which is Being, the Eternal, undivided, this world no longer is, whether past, present or to come; as there is no serpent in the rope, nor a drop of water in the river, when the mirage has been recognized.
This duality is Glamour only; transcendentally it is non-dual: thus says the Scripture, and this is immediately experienced in dreamlessness.
That the attribute has no being apart from the substance, has been perceived by the wise. The distinction is born of illusion, as in the serpent imagined in the rope.
This distinction has its root in the imagination; when the imagination ceases, it has no longer being. Therefore, concentrate the imagination in the higher Self, whose form is hidden.
In soul-vision he who has gained wisdom recognizes within his heart that mysterious being which is perpetual illumination, formed of perfect joy, incomparable, immeasurable, ever free, in which is no desire, boundless as the ether, without parts, without sense of separateness, as the perfect, the Eternal. (410)
In soul-vision he who has gained wisdom recognizes within his heart that reality, void of the changes of the manifested world, of unimaginable being, in essence equal, peerless, eternal mind, far above bondage, revealed by the sacred teachings, everlasting, revealed by us, as the perfect, the Eternal.
In soul-vision he who has gained wisdom recognizes within his heart that being, unfading, undying, which by its very nature can know no setting, still as the ocean depths, beyond name, wherein potencies and changes have come to rest, immemorial, full of peace, the one, as the perfect, the Eternal.
Intending the inner mind upon it, behold the Self in its own being, its partless sovereignty. Cut thy bonds stained with the stains of the world, by strong effort make thy manhood fruitful.
Come to consciousness of the Self dwelling within thyself, free from all disguises, which is being, consciousness, bliss, undivided; so thou buildest no more for going out.
Freed from the burden of the body, cast aside as a corpse, seen as but the shadow of the man, a mere reflection, a fruit of works, he of mighty soul puts it on no more. (415)
Drawing near to that being whose form is ever stainless illumination, joy, put far from thee this disguise, inert, impure; let it not even be remembered again, for to remember as an object of desire, that thing that has been vomited, brings contempt.
Burning this up root and all, in the fire, the Self of being, the Eternal beyond separateness, thereafter he, excellent in wisdom, stands as the Self, through the Self, which is pure illumination, bliss.
The body is knotted of the threads of former works, unclean as the blood of kine; whether it depart or remain, the knower of the Real regards it not, as his life dissolves in the Self of bliss, the Eternal.
Knowing the Self, the partless bliss, in its true being, desiring what, or with what motive will the knower of the Real pamper the body?
But of him who has attained, free even in life, who has gained union, this is the fruit: to taste without and within the essence of being and bliss in the Self. (420)
Of ceasing from self-indulgence, illumination is the fruit; of illumination, the silencing of desire is the fruit; from realizing the bliss of the Self, peace is the fruit; this, verily, is the fruit of silencing desire.
So long as the latter of these is unattained, the former has not borne its fruit. Supreme content, the peerless joy of the Self, is liberation.
Not to be perturbed by the griefs of the manifested world is the renowned fruit of wisdom. Nor, after he has gained discernment, will a man work again the many blameworthy works done in the time of his delusion.
To be freed from the unreal is the fruit of wisdom; to be entangled in it is seen to be the fruit of unwisdom. If there be not this distinction between wise and unwise, as in the recognition of the mirage, what then is the reward of the wise?
When the heart’s knot of unwisdom is destroyed without remainder, how can the presence of objects be a cause of entanglement for him who is without desire? (425)
Where no dynamic mind-image arises in the presence of objects of desire, this is the perfection of freedom from self-indulgence; when the feeling of “I” no longer arises, this is the perfection of illumination; when the being dissolved in the Eternal returns no more, this is the perfection of silence.
Rich is he, to be honoured among beings, who, because he stands ever in the nature of the Eternal, is free in soul from the tyranny of outer objects, regarding as little as does a sleeping child the enjoyments deemed alluring by others, who views this world as a world of dream, who dwells in a certain realm possessing his soul, reaping the fruit of infinite holiness.
That saint stands firm in wisdom who enjoys the bliss of being, for his Self is dissolved in the Eternal, he is changeless, risen above action.
That condition is said to be spiritual wisdom, which is all consciousness without sense of separateness, plunged deep in the unity of the Eternal and the Self stripped of every veil.
In whom this wisdom is well established, he is said to stand firm in wisdom. He whose wisdom thus stands firm, whose bliss is unbroken, by whom this world is well nigh forgotten, he is said to be free even in life. (430)
He who, with soul dissolved, is yet awake, free from the bondage of waking life, whose illumination is without dynamic mind-images, he is said to be free even in life.
In whom the circle of birth and death has come to rest, who is individual though without separateness, whose imagination is free from imaginings, he is said to be free even in life.
Even though the body remains, he regards it as a shadow; he is without the thought of “I” and “my”: this is the hall mark of him who is free even in life.
He seeks not to delve into the past or to unveil the future; he is the disinterested spectator: this is the hall mark of him who is free even in life.
He regards as equal all things in this world full of contrasts, with quality set against fault: this is the hall mark of him who is free even in life. (435)
Whether good or evil fortune come, he regards it as equal in the Self, remaining unchanged by either: this is the hall mark of him who is free even in life.
Because the saint’s heart abides savouring the bliss of the Eternal, he distinguishes not between what is within and what is without: this is the hall mark of him who is free even in life.
Without the thought of “my” and “I” in what is to be done by the body and the powers, he stands as the disinterested spectator: he bears the hall mark of him who is free even in life.
Who knows the Self is one with the Eternal, according to the power of the Scriptures, who is free from the bondage of the world: he bears the hall mark of him who is free even in life.
In whom no thought of “I” arises regarding the body and its powers, nor does he separate himself in thought from what is other than these: he is said to be free even in life. (440)
Who through wisdom discerns that there is no division between the hidden Self and the Eternal, nor between the Eternal and the manifested world: he bears the hall mark of him who is free even in life.
Who bears it with equal mind, whether he be honoured by the holy or afflicted by evil men: he bears the hall mark of him who is free even in life.
Into whom flow all manifested things sent forth by the Supreme, as rivers of water enter the ocean’s treasure house, causing no change, because he and they are one Being, that saint has attained liberation.
For him who has discerned the true being of the Eternal, the ancient circle of birth and death has ceased. If it remain, he has not discerned the being of the Eternal; it still lies beyond him.
But if they say that birth and death still beset him because of the impetus of dynamic mind-images, this is not so; the dynamic mind-image loses its power through discernment of oneness with Being. (445)
As the most lustful man’s desire ceases before his mother, so is it for the wise when the Eternal is known in fulness of bliss.
The Scripture says that even in him who has attained to meditation the conviction of the reality of outer things remains, because his former works are working themselves out.
As long as pleasure and pain are felt, so long are former works working themselves out. The arising of the fruit is because of former works; where there are no longer works, there is no fruit.
From the discernment that “I am the Eternal”, works heaped up through hundreds of millions of ages are dissolved, as dream-works on waking.
Whatever be done in time of dream, whether good or manifest evil, after he is awake how can it visit him with heaven or hell? (450)
When he has come to know the true Self, which rises detached like the sky, he is no more entangled in future works for ever.
As the ether enclosed in the jar is not tainted by the smell of the wine, so the true Self within the vesture is not tainted by the properties of the vesture.
The momentum of works begun before the sunrise of wisdom does not cease without bearing fruit after wisdom is gained; it is like an arrow aimed and shot at a mark.
The arrow shot with the thought that there is a tiger does not halt when it is seen to be a cow, but quickly pierces the mark because of its impetus.
Works already entered on retain their energy even in the case of those who have attained wisdom; only through being experienced are they consumed. Former works, works accumulated, and future works melt away in the fire of perfect wisdom. They who perceive the oneness of the Eternal and the Self, and stand ever in the realization of that oneness, for them the three kinds of works exist no longer; they become the Eternal, free from limitations.
For the saint who stands in the Self, through the oneness of the Self with the perfect Eternal which is free from the qualities of the vestures, the myth of the reality of former works exists no longer, as for him who is awake the myth of bondage to things seen in dream no longer exists.
For he who has awaked no longer keeps the thought of “I and my and that” with regard to the dream body and the world belonging to it; he comes to himself simply by waking.
He no longer wishes to gain the things of his dream, nor does he seek to grasp the dream world. But if he still pursues the things of the mirage, it is certain he has not yet awaked from sleep.
He who dwells in the supreme Eternal stands ever in the Self, beholding nothing else; as is the memory of something seen in dream, so for the wise man are eating and other bodily acts.
Though the body which is built up by former works continues to work out the works that are entered on, these works are not bound up with the beginningless Self, for the Self is not built up by works. (460)
“Unborn, eternal, everlasting,” says the Scripture, which cannot speak in vain; therefore, what building of works can there be for him who stands in the Self?
Works entered on retain their force so long as the body is held to be the Self; but to think of the body as the Self is false; therefore, let works entered on be renounced.
Even the building of the body by former works is also an illusion; whence can come the reality of what is only imagined? How can there be the birth of what is unreal?
How can there be the destruction of what has not been born? How can there be former works of what does not exist, if through wisdom the effects of unwisdom are dissolved, root and all?
How does this body subsist? The Scripture declares the development of works exists, to bring growth to those who are full of doubt and inert in mind, through the perception of external things, but not to establish in the wise the belief in the reality of the body and outer things. (465)
The Eternal is complete, beginningless, endless, changeless, one, secondless; in the Eternal there is no diversity.
The Eternal is the sum of being, the sum of consciousness, everlasting, the sum of bliss, without action, one, verily, and secondless; in the Eternal there is no diversity.
The Eternal is the one hidden essence, full, unending, in all directions conscious, one, verily, and secondless; in the Eternal there is no diversity.
The Eternal cannot be diminished or excelled, the Eternal cannot be apprehended, nor does it need any support; it is one, verily, and secondless; in the Eternal there is no diversity.
The Eternal is without qualities, without parts, subtle, without separateness, without stain, one, verily, and secondless; in the Eternal there is no diversity. (470)
The Eternal is in its nature indefinable, not to be reached by word or thought, one, verily, and secondless; in the Eternal there is no diversity.
The Eternal is the riches of being, in itself perfect, pure, awakened, unlike aught else, one, verily, and secondless; in the Eternal there is no diversity.
The mighty sages who have cast away passion, who have cast away sensual feasts, who have gained quietude and control, knowing the Real in the supreme consummation, have reached the highest joy through union with the Self.
Therefore, discerning this supreme reality of the Self, in its own nature the sum of bliss, shake off the delusion built up by thine own thought, free thyself, attain, awake!
Through soul-vision which rests unwavering in the Self, behold the reality of the Self with the eye of clear illumination; when the truth revealed by the Scripture has been perfectly discerned beyond all question, doubt will not return again. (475)
In gaining the Self, which is truth, wisdom and the essence of joy, by freeing thyself from the bondage of the fetters of unwisdom, the Scripture, right reasoning and the word of the teacher are means of enlightenment, and the realization of the Self, inwardly attained, is a means of enlightenment.
Freedom from bondage, joy, wholeness of thought and happiness must be known by oneself; the knowledge of others is only inference.
As the Masters who stand on the further shore and the Scriptures reveal, let the wise man cross over through that wisdom which comes through the divine grace of the Lord, the Logos.
Through his own experience knowing his Self undivided, reaching the supreme attainment, let him stand in the Self, through the Self which is without separateness.
This is the meaning, this is the final word of the teaching of wisdom: the individual life is the Eternal, the whole world is the Eternal; to be established without sense of separateness in the secondless Eternal is liberation; this too the Scriptures declare. (480)
Attaining the supreme reality through the Master’s words and the evidence of the Scriptures, and gaining union with the Self, with heart at rest, concentrated in the Self, his whole being unwavering, the disciple rested in the Self; then, intending his mind for a certain time on the supreme Eternal, rising, in perfect joy, he spoke these words:
Thought has ceased, activity of desire has fallen away, through the oneness of the Eternal and the Self, through illumination; I know not this; I know naught other than this; what is it? how great? It is shoreless joy!
Not by word can it be spoken, nor by mind can it be thought; the vast expanse of the ocean of the supreme Eternal is filled full with the nectar of the bliss of the Self. Rejoicing like the rocky bed of a torrent suddenly flooded by the rains, drinking in each least drop, my heart rejoices now in the joy of the Self.
Whither has the world gone? By whom taken away? Into what has it dissolved? No longer do I behold it: a mighty marvel! (485)
What is to be put away? What is to be taken? What other is there, what distinction, in the mighty ocean of the Eternal, filled with the nectar of partless bliss?
Of the world, I no longer see or hear or know anything; I have become the Self, whose nature is being and bliss.
Honour, honour to thee, Master, mighty-souled, liberated from bondage, most excellent being, in thy nature the essence of eternal, secondless joy, mighty, a shoreless ocean of compassion.
As he who, wearied by the heat of day, is refreshed by the abundant beams of the rising moon, so in an instant have I gained the dwelling of the Self, the partless majesty and joy, the imperishable.
Rich am I, I have attained my end, I have gained liberation from the dragon of the world. (490)
I am without attachment, without members, without distinguishing mark, without partition; I have attained to peace, I am infinite, I am stainless, immemorial.
I am neither he who acts, nor he who experiences, I am beyond change, beyond ceremonial rites; I am in essence purified intelligence, I am unconditioned, ever blest.
I am other than he who sees, hears, speaks, acts, experiences; I am eternal, the innermost, beyond ritual acts, boundless, detached, the plenary awakened Self.
I am not this, I am not that, but the radiance in both, supreme, made pure; empty within and without, yet filled, the secondless Eternal, in truth am I.
The beginningless reality, like which there is naught else, far from the fictions of “thou” and “I” and “this” and “that,” the fine essence of eternal bliss, the truth, the secondless Eternal, verily, am I. (495)
I am the divine Logos, who makes an end of hell, I am the Spirit, who takes the fortress, I am the Lord; I am partless intelligence, the supreme witness, for me there is no distinction of “Lord” and “I” and “mine.”
I am established within all beings through the Self of wisdom, secure within and without; I am both he who experiences and what is experienced, whatever was seen as separate before, with the thought of “that.”
Within me, partless ocean of joy, manifold world-waves arise and sink again, driven to and fro by the winds of Glamour.
As a mirage this bodily form and the finer vestures are built up, and the worlds are brought into momentary being, just as in Time, which is partless, continuous, the ages, the years and seasons are imagined.
The superstructure injures not the firm foundation, whatever deluded, sinful men may build; nor does the mighty river of water in the mirage moisten even a span of the dry desert. (500)
Like the shining ether, I endure through ages, like the sun I am marked by radiance, like the mountain I stand ever firm, I am shoreless like the ocean.
As the clear sky is not bound by clouds, I am not bound by the body; how then can I be limited by its modes of waking, dreaming, dreamlessness?
The vesture comes, the vesture goes, it works works and meets experience; the vesture withers and dies, but I remain, set firm like a mighty mountain.
Not mine are manifesting and withdrawal, since I am ever of one form undivided; how could he, who is of the essence of the one Self, without crevice or division, full like the ether, be subject to pain?
How can I be involved in righteous or unrighteous deeds, I, who am other than the powers that act, other than thought, without change, without form, partless, conscious of bliss? Thus the Scripture says: the Spirit is followed neither by good nor evil. (505)
Whatever thing, hot or cold, fair or foul, may touch his shadow, does not in the least affect the man himself, who is other than it.
The properties of what he witnesses do not affect the witness, who is apart from them, disinterested; just as the properties of the house do not affect the lamp.
As the sun which witnesses the act, as the fire which leads the conflagration, as the rope which holds what is raised, so is this Self of mine, dwelling on the summit.
I am not he who acts nor he who causes acts, I am not he who experiences or causes experience, I am not he who sees nor he who causes seeing, the Self am I, self-shining, secondless.
The Self stands steadfast like the sun; seeing its reflection perturbed when the vesture is perturbed, men of deluded mind attribute the perturbation to the Self, saying: I act, I experience, I am slain. (510)
Whether this inert body traverse the water or the land, I am not touched by the properties of these, as the ether is not touched by the properties of the jar. All conditions, of actor or enjoyer, of evil or deluded, of inert or bond or free, are built up through the mind, and are not lasting realities in the Self, the supreme Eternal, alone, without a second.
Let there be ten, a hundred, a thousand transformations of nature; what are these changes to me? The sky is not stained by the lowering cloud.
All that is perceived, from the unmanifest to the material world, is reflection only; like space, beginningless, endless, subtle is the secondless Eternal; that, verily, am I.
Upholding all, illumining all things, cause of every form, penetrating all, yet untouched by all, eternal, pure, steadfast, without separateness is the secondless Eternal; that, verily, am I. (515)
Wherein all differing appearances are merged without remainder, of concealed nature, not to be approached by thought, in essence truth, wisdom, bliss, formed of bliss is the secondless Eternal; that, verily, am I.
Without act am I, without change, without division, without form , without separateness, eternal, underived, secondless.
I am in essence the All, I am the All, I have transcended the All, I am secondless, perfect, partless illumination, I am bliss, I am the inmost.
This self-conquest, sovereignty, dominion, through my Master’s compassion, grace, might and favour, has been gained by me; obeisance to my gracious Master of mighty soul, obeisance to thee, and again obeisance.
I was wandering in the great dream forest of birth, decay and death created by delusion, day by day afflicted by many pains, stalked by the tiger, egotism; through infinite compassion awakening me from my dream, thou, Master, hast become my saviour. (520)
Reverence to the One, whatever it be! Reverence to that Light which shines universal, and to thee, king of teachers!
Beholding that excellent disciple bowed in obeisance, who had attained to the joy of the vision of the Soul, who bad gained illumination, the lord of instructors, mighty-souled, heartily rejoicing, again addressed to him this final word:
The world is the expression of the thought of the Eternal, therefore all Being, everywhere, is the Eternal; thus behold it in all modes of being with serene understanding, illumined by the Higher Self. That Being which is everywhere beheld apart from form by those possessing vision, what else can be the Soul’s garden of delight for the righteous knower of the Eternal?
What wise man would rejoice in empty things, rejecting the experience of that essence of supreme bliss? When the great, joy-bringing moon is shining, who wishes to behold a pictured moon?
For there is no satisfaction in experiencing an unreal object, nor any escape from pain; do thou stand satisfied, rejoicing, resting ever in the supreme Self, through the experience of that essence of secondless delight. (525)
Ever beholding that supreme Self everywhere, resting thy thought in the secondless Self, let the time pass for thee, mighty-minded, in the experience of the bliss of the Self.
Conceiving separateness in that partless Self of illumination, which is without separateness, is like building dwellings in the air; therefore, gaining supreme serenity through the Self which is ever secondless joy, rejoice in silence.
The Soul’s supreme tranquility, brooding in silence, dissolves the insubstantial buildings of the mind; from this, through the supreme Self, which is the Eternal, straightway comes joy in undivided bliss.
There is no more excellent source of joy than silence free from all mind-images, for him who has discerned the true being of the Self, drinking in the essence of the joy of the Self.
Whether walking, standing, sitting, lying down, or in whatever state, let the saint, possessing wisdom, freely dwell, rejoicing in the supreme Self. (530)
Neither place nor time nor posture nor position, or any other rule, is the cause of release from bondage; for the sage of mighty soul, who has attained to the Real, the illumination of the supreme Self is the rule of life.
What rule will avail, to know even an earthen pot, unless it be perceived? When it is perceived, there is clear understanding.
The supreme Self shines forth ever perfect, when it is perceived; neither place nor time nor ritual purification is needed further.
The realization that I am Devadatta needs no certifying; so is it with the knowledge that I am the Eternal, for him who knows the Eternal.
What illumination does he need, for whom the world other than the Self, light as chaff, is revealed by the radiance of the Eternal, as the whole world is revealed by the sun? (535)
What can illumine that Light whence Vedas, scriptures, ancient histories, and even all beings derive their value?
This supreme Self, immeasurable, is self-luminous, of infinite power, the source of all experience. Knowing that supreme Self, and freed from bondage, the most excellent knower of the Eternal gains the victory.
Things of sense neither wound him nor delight him, he is no longer either allured or revolted by them; in the supreme Self he joys and rejoices ever, delighting in the essence of that unrivalled bliss.
As a child, free from hunger and bodily pain, rejoices in his play, so the sage delights, happy, free from “my” and “I.”
His food comes to him freely, without anxiety or sorrow, he drinks from the clear stream, he moves unfettered everywhere, he rests light-hearted in the forest or the burying ground, his vesture needs neither washing nor drying, wide space is his dwelling, the earth is his couch, all roads and pathways are open for his feet, so the sage rejoices in the supreme Eternal. (540)
Dwelling in a body like the air-ships of the gods, he tastes boundless joys freely presented to him, the knower of the supreme Self is as a child obedient to a higher will; he is of form unmanifest, untouched by allurement.
Clothed in space, or wearing a vesture, clothed in skin or in pure thought, as a madman or a child or a ghost, he walks the earth.
Withdrawing desire from things of desire, the silent sage walks in solitude, ever contented in the supreme Self, through the supreme Self he stands firm.
Now as a madman, now a sage, now a glorious, great king, now a humble wanderer, now solitary as a serpent, now honoured, now lightly esteemed, now unknown, thus goes the sage, ever rejoicing in the highest bliss.
Though without riches, yet ever content; though without a helper, yet of mighty power; though bereft, yet ever rejoicing; though afflicted, full of joy. Acting, though not himself the actor; reaping the reward, though not seeking enjoyment; possessing a body, though beyond the body; though hemmed in, yet going everywhere. (545)
Neither good nor evil, neither fair nor foul touch him, dwelling ever beyond the body, full of the vision of the Eternal.
Pleasure and pain, things fair and foul are for him who is in bondage to the natural or psychic body, falsely attributing selfhood to these; but for the silent seer, one with the supreme Self, whose bonds have fallen away, what fruit is any longer fair or foul?
Because the sun appears to be swallowed by the darkness of eclipse, folk say it is swallowed, misled, not knowing the truth.
So, though the knower of the Eternal be freed from the body and all bonds, those who are deluded see him as possessing a body, because they see the semblance of a body. (550)
As a snake puts off its slough, he stands freed from the body, moving hither and thither before the breath of life.
As the tree is borne by the river to low land or high, the body is borne by destiny to those whose time for bodily experience has come.
Because of the impulses engendered by former works which are being exhausted, he who has gained freedom from the body dwells as though possessing a body, among those who are reaping experience; having attained, he dwells as a witness, silent, like the centre of a wheel moving neither up nor down.
Neither does he engage his powers in objects of perception, nor does he turn away from them, but stands as an onlooker; nor does he desire at all the reward of any act, since his heart is filled with the nectar of the essence of pure bliss.
He who stands firm in the supreme Self, seeking neither the seen nor the unseen, like Divinity, self-revealed, he is the most excellent knower of the Eternal. (555)
Though living, yet ever free, his goal attained, that most excellent knower of the Eternal, when the vesture falls away, being the Eternal, enters the secondless Eternal.
Like a man wearing an actor’s costumes of honour or dishonour, so, verily, that excellent knower of the Eternal is ever the Eternal and no other.
Even before the coming of death, the body of the sage who has become one with the Eternal is consumed by the fire of the knowledge of the Eternal, as a withered leaf is consumed.
For the silent sage who stands in the real Self which is the Eternal, through the Self which is formed of perfect, undivided bliss, there is no consideration of fit place or time or circumstance for sloughing off this vesture of skin and flesh and corruption.
To be rid of the body and the ascetic’s water pot and staff is not the true deliverance; to be rid of the heart’s knot of unwisdom, that is deliverance.
What joy or sorrow is it to the tree, whether its leaf fall in a rivulet or a river, in a favoured field or a sacrificial enclosure?
The destruction of the body, the sense-powers, the life-breath, the mind, is as the destruction of a leaf, a flower, a fruit; but the Self stands firm like the tree, the Self of true Being, formed of bliss.
The sages say that the destruction of the vesture of unwisdom is the revelation of the Real, the true Self, according to the Scripture, “the Self is a realm of pure illumination.”
“Imperishable, verily, is the Self,” the Scripture declares, concerning the Self, revealing the Self as indestructible among things that perish.
As stone and wood and grass and grain and straw are all burned and reduced to dust, so, verily, the body, the sense-powers, the life-breath, the mind, all that is manifest, burned up by the fire of wisdom, return to the nature of the higher Self. (565)
As darkness, being of opposite nature, is dissolved in the radiance of the sun, so, verily, all that is manifest melts away in the Eternal.
As the space of ether remains clear space when the earthen jar is destroyed, so, verily, when the vesture is dissolved, the Eternal is the Eternal.
As milk poured into milk, oil into oil, water into water, blends in complete oneness, so, verily, the silent sage who knows the Self becomes one with the Self.
Thus gaining bodiless liberation, pure Being, undivided, the Being of the Eternal, the liberated sage returns no more.
Since the body of unwisdom is burned up by the illumination of oneness with the real Self, and he has become one with the Eternal, how should he again come forth from the Eternal? (570)
Both bondage and liberation from bondage are built up by Glamour, and have no true being in the Self; just as the appearance and disappearance of the fancied serpent have no real existence in the rope, which has remained unchanged.
There is no veiling or enwrapping of the Eternal; since there is naught other than the Eternal, it cannot be veiled. If there were aught else, the single being of the Eternal would be forfeited, but the Scripture admits no duality.
Vainly do the deluded attribute to the Real the bondage and liberation which belong only to the mind; just as the sun is hidden, when the observer is wrapped in cloud. But the Eternal remains secondless, detached Consciousness, one, everlasting.
The belief that the Real comes into being, or ceases to be, belong to the mind, not to the eternal Reality. (574)
Therefore, these two, bondage and liberation, are built up by Glamour, they are not in the real Self, which is partless, actless, serene, faultless, stainless; what division can there be in the secondless, supreme Being, one like space?
There is neither surcease nor origin, neither bondage nor perfecting, neither seeker for liberation nor liberated; this is the transcendental truth.
Among the crest jewels of all the Scriptures, this is the ultimate mystery. This supreme mystery has been revealed to thee by me to-day; the sin of the Age of Darkness washed away, thy mind set free from desire, I have led thee, seeking liberation, as my own child, to thy goal.
Hearing thus the word of the Master, humbly, and with obedient heart, he went forth, with the Master’s blessing, set free from bondage.
The Master also went forth straightway, his mind immersed in the ocean of being and bliss, bringing purity to the whole world.
Thus, through this dialogue of Master and disciple, the revelation of the supreme Self has been made, to awake to joy the souls of those who seek liberation. (580)
From those who reverently accept this benignant teaching, all the sins of the heart are cast out, one by one; they have discarded worldly pleasure, their hearts have entered peace, self-ruled and seeking liberation, they rejoice in the nectar of the Scripture.
To those who are wandering in the desert of the world, athirst, on the path of circling birth and death, weary, oppressed and worn by sorrow as by the sun’s fierce rays, may this teaching reveal the secondless Eternal, bringing joy, like an ocean of nectar near at hand; for this teaching of Shankara brings victory and leads to Nirvana.