View Full Version : Vedanta Sutra - read this translation

Mohini Shakti Devi
05 February 2010, 10:57 PM
This is the opening chapters of a 500 page book:
Vedanta Sutra - Here is a translation to read:

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Vedanta-Sutras with the Commentary by
Ramanuja, by Trans. George Thibaut

This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project
Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do not change or edit the
header without written permission.

**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**

**eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**

*****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****

Title: The Vedanta-Sutras with the Commentary by Ramanuja
Sacred Books of the East, Volume 48

Author: Trans. George Thibaut

Release Date: January, 2005 [EBook #7297]
[Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This file was first posted on April 9, 2003]

Edition: 10

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-Latin-1









Sacred Books of the East, Volume 48


[Scanned in by Srinivasan Sriram (as part of the sripedia.org initiative).
OCRed and proofed at Distributed Proofing by other volunteers; Juliet
Sutherland, project manager. Formatting and additional proofreading at
Sacred-texts.com by J.B. Hare. This text is in the public domain worldwide.
This file may be used for any non-commercial purpose provided this notice
is left intact.]





Pāda I

Pāda II

Pāda III

Pāda IV


Pāda I

Pāda II

Pāda III

Pāda IV


Pāda I

Pāda II

Pāda III

Pāda IV


Pāda I

Pāda II

Pāda III

Pāda IV


Index of Quotations

Index of Sanskrit Words

Index of Names and Subjects


Transliteration of Oriental Alphabets adopted for the Translations of the
Sacred Books of the East


In the Introduction to the first volume of the translation of the
'Vedānta-Sūtras with Sankara's Commentary' (vol. xxxiv of this Series) I
have dwelt at some length on the interest which Rāmānuja's Commentary
may claim--as being, on the one hand, the fullest exposition of what may
be called the Theistic Vedānta, and as supplying us, on the other, with
means of penetrating to the true meaning of Bādarāyana's Aphorisms. I do
not wish to enter here into a fuller discussion of Rāmānuja's work in
either of these aspects; an adequate treatment of them would, moreover,
require considerably more space than is at my disposal. Some very useful
material for the right understanding of Rāmānuju's work is to be found
in the 'Analytical Outline of Contents' which Messrs. M. Rangākārya and
M. B. Varadarāja Aiyangār have prefixed to the first volume of their
scholarly translation of the Srībhāshya (Madras, 1899).

The question as to what the Stūras really teach is a critical, not a
philosophical one. This distinction seems to have been imperfectly
realised by several of those critics, writing in India, who have
examined the views expressed in my Introduction to the translation of
Sankara's Commentary. A writer should not be taxed with 'philosophic
incompetency,' 'hopeless theistic bias due to early training,' and the
like, simply because he, on the basis of a purely critical investigation,
considers himself entitled to maintain that a certain ancient document
sets forth one philosophical view rather than another. I have nowhere
expressed an opinion as to the comparative philosophical value of the
systems of Sankara and Rāmānuja; not because I have no definite opinions
on this point, but because to introduce them into a critical enquiry
would be purposeless if not objectionable.

The question as to the true meaning of the Sūtras is no doubt of some
interest; although the interest of problems of this kind may easily be
over-estimated. Among the remarks of critics on my treatment of this
problem I have found little of solid value. The main arguments which I
have set forth, not so much in favour of the adequacy of Rāmānuja's
interpretation, as against the validity of Sankarākārya's understanding
of the Sūtras, appear to me not to have been touched. I do not by any
means consider the problem a hopeless one; but its solution will not be
advanced, in any direction, but by those who will be at the trouble of
submitting the entire body of the Sūtras to a new and detailed
investigation, availing themselves to the full of the help that is to be
derived from the study of all the existing Commentaries.

The present translation of the Srībhāshya claims to be faithful on the
whole, although I must acknowledge that I have aimed rather at making it
intelligible and, in a certain sense, readable than scrupulously
accurate. If I had to rewrite it, I should feel inclined to go even
further in the same direction. Indian Philosophy would, in my opinion,
be more readily and widely appreciated than it is at present, if the
translators of philosophical works had been somewhat more concerned to
throw their versions into a form less strange and repellent to the
western reader than literal renderings from technical Sanskrit must
needs be in many passages. I am not unaware of the peculiar dangers of
the plan now advocated--among which the most obvious is the temptation
it offers to the translator of deviating from the text more widely than
regard for clearness would absolutely require. And I am conscious of
having failed in this respect in more than one instance. In other cases
I have no doubt gone astray through an imperfect understanding of the
author's meaning. The fact is, that as yet the time has hardly come for
fully adequate translations of comprehensive works of the type of the
Srībhāshya, the authors of which wrote with reference--in many cases
tacit--to an immense and highly technical philosophical literature which
is only just beginning to be studied, and comprehended in part, by
European scholars.

It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge the help which I have received
from various quarters in preparing this translation. Pandit Gangādhara
Sāstrin, C. I. E., of the Benares Sanskrit College, has, with unwearying
kindness and patience, supplied me throughout with comments of his own
on difficult sections of the text. Pandit Svāmin Rāma Misra Sāstrin has
rendered me frequent assistance in the earlier portion of my task. And
to Mr. A. Venis, the learned Principal of the Benares Sanskrit College,
I am indebted for most instructive notes on some passages of a
peculiarly technical and abstruse character. Nor can I conclude without
expressing my sense of obligation to Colonel G. A. Jacob, whose
invaluable 'Concordance to the Principal Upanishads' lightens to an
incalculable degree the task of any scholar who is engaged in work
bearing on the Vedānta.






MAY my mind be filled with devotion towards the highest Brahman, the
abode of Lakshmi who is luminously revealed in the Upanishads; who in
sport produces, sustains, and reabsorbs the entire Universe; whose only
aim is to foster the manifold classes of beings that humbly worship him.

The nectar of the teaching of Parāsara's son (Vyāsa),--which was brought
up from the middle of the milk-ocean of the Upanishads--which restores
to life the souls whose vital strength had departed owing to the heat of
the fire of transmigratory existence--which was well guarded by the
teachers of old--which was obscured by the mutual conflict of manifold
opinions,--may intelligent men daily enjoy that as it is now presented
to them in my words.

The lengthy explanation (vritti) of the Brahma-sūtras which was composed
by the Reverend Bodhāyana has been abridged by former teachers;
according to their views the words of the Sūtras will be explained in
this present work.

1. Then therefore the enquiry into Brahman.

In this Sūtra the word 'then' expresses immediate sequence; the word
'therefore' intimates that what has taken place (viz. the study of the
karmakānda of the Veda) constitutes the reason (of the enquiry into
Brahman). For the fact is that the enquiry into (lit.'the desire to
know') Brahman--the fruit of which enquiry is infinite in nature and
permanent--follows immediately in the case of him who, having read the
Veda together with its auxiliary disciplines, has reached the knowledge
that the fruit of mere works is limited and non-permanent, and hence has
conceived the desire of final release.

The compound 'brahmajijńāsā' is to be explained as 'the enquiry of
Brahman,' the genitive case 'of Brahman' being understood to denote the
object; in agreement with the special rule as to the meaning of the
genitive case, Pānini II, 3, 65. It might be said that even if we
accepted the general meaning of the genitive case--which is that of
connexion in general--Brahman's position (in the above compound) as an
object would be established by the circumstance that the 'enquiry'
demands an object; but in agreement with the principle that the direct
denotation of a word is to be preferred to a meaning inferred we take
the genitive case 'of Brahman' as denoting the object.

The word 'Brahman' denotes the hightest Person (purushottama), who is
essentially free from all imperfections and possesses numberless classes
of auspicious qualities of unsurpassable excellence. The term 'Brahman'
is applied to any things which possess the quality of greatness
(brihattva, from the root 'brih'); but primarily denotes that which
possesses greatness, of essential nature as well as of qualities, in
unlimited fulness; and such is only the Lord of all. Hence the word
'Brahman' primarily denotes him alone, and in a secondary derivative
sense only those things which possess some small part of the Lord's
qualities; for it would be improper to assume several meanings for the
word (so that it would denote primarily or directly more than one thing).
The case is analogous to that of the term 'bhagavat [FOOTNOTE 4:1].' The
Lord only is enquired into, for the sake of immortality, by all those
who are afflicted with the triad of pain. Hence the Lord of all is that
Brahman which, according to the Sūtra, constitutes the object of enquiry.
The word 'jijńāsā' is a desiderative formation meaning 'desire to know.'
And as in the case of any desire the desired object is the chief thing,
the Sūtra means to enjoin knowledge--which is the object of the desire
of knowledge. The purport of the entire Sūtra then is as follows: 'Since
the fruit of works known through the earlier part of the Mīmāmsā is
limited and non-permanent, and since the fruit of the knowledge of
Brahman--which knowledge is to be reached through the latter part of the
Mīmāmsā--is unlimited and permanent; for this reason Brahman is to be
known, after the knowledge of works has previously taken place.'--The
same meaning is expressed by the Vrittikāra when saying 'after the
comprehension of works has taken place there follows the enquiry into
Brahman.' And that the enquiry into works and that into Brahman
constitute one body of doctrine, he (the Vrittikāra) will declare later
on 'this Sārīraka-doctrine is connected with Jaimini's doctrine as
contained in sixteen adhyāyas; this proves the two to constitute one
body of doctrine.' Hence the earlier and the later Mīmāmsā are separate
only in so far as there is a difference of matter to be taught by each;
in the same way as the two halves of the Pūrva Mīmāmsā-sūtras,
consisting of six adhyāyas each, are separate [FOOTNOTE 5:1]; and as each
adhyāya is separate. The entire Mīmāmsā-sātra--which begins with the
Sūtra 'Now therefore the enquiry into religious duty' and concludes with
the Sūtra '(From there is) no return on account of scriptural statement'--
has, owing to the special character of the contents, a definite order of
internal succession. This is as follows. At first the precept 'one is to
learn one's own text (svādhyāya)' enjoins the apprehension of that
aggregate of syllables which is called 'Veda,' and is here referred to
as 'svādhyāya.' Next there arises the desire to know of what nature the
'Learning' enjoined is to be, and how it is to be done. Here there come
in certain injunctions such as 'Let a Brahnmana be initiated in his
eighth year' and 'The teacher is to make him recite the Veda'; and
certain rules about special observances and restrictions--such as
'having performed the upākarman on the full moon of Sravana or
Praushthapada according to prescription, he is to study the sacred
verses for four months and a half--which enjoin all the required details.

From all these it is understood that the study enjoined has for its
result the apprehension of the aggregate of syllables called Veda, on
the part of a pupil who has been initiated by a teacher sprung from a
good family, leading a virtuous life, and possessing purity of soul; who
practises certain special observances and restrictions; and who learns
by repeating what is recited by the teacher.

And this study of the Veda is of the nature of a samskāra of the text,
since the form of the injunction 'the Veda is to be studied' shows that
the Veda is the object (of the action of studying). By a samskāra is
understood an action whereby something is fitted to produce some other
effect; and that the Veda should be the object of such a samskaāra is
quite appropriate, since it gives rise to the knowledge of the four
chief ends of human action--viz. religious duty, wealth, pleasure, and
final release--and of the means to effect them; and since it helps to
effect those ends by itself also, viz. by mere mechanical repetition
(apart from any knowledge to which it may give rise).

The injunction as to the study of the Veda thus aims only at the
apprehension of the aggregate of syllables (constituting the Veda)
according to certain rules; it is in this way analogous to the recital
of mantras.

It is further observed that the Veda thus apprehended through reading
spontaneously gives rise to the ideas of certain things subserving
certain purposes. A person, therefore, who has formed notions of those
things immediately, i.e. on the mere apprehension of the text of the
Veda through reading, thereupon naturally applies himself to the study
of the Mimāmsa, which consists in a methodical discussion of the
sentences constituting the text of the Veda, and has for its result the
accurate determination of the nature of those things and their different
modes. Through this study the student ascertains the character of the
injunctions of work which form part of the Veda, and observes that all
work leads only to non-permanent results; and as, on the other hand, he
immediately becomes aware that the Upanishad sections--which form part
of the Veda which he has apprehended through reading--refer to an
infinite and permanent result, viz. immortality, he applies himself to
the study of the Sārīraka-Mīmāmsā, which consists in a systematic
discussion of the Vedānta-texts, and has for its result the accurate
determination of their sense. That the fruit of mere works is transitory,
while the result of the knowledge of Brahman is something permanent, the
Vedanta-texts declare in many places--'And as here the world acquired by
work perishes, so there the world acquired by merit perishes' (Ch. Up.
VIII, 1,6); 'That work of his has an end' (Bri. Up. III, 8, 10); 'By
non-permanent works the Permanent is not obtained' (Ka. Up. I, 2, 10);
'Frail indeed are those boats, the sacrifices' (Mu. Up. I, 2, 7); 'Let a
Brāhmana, after he has examined all these worlds that are gained by
works, acquire freedom from all desires. What is not made cannot be
gained by what is made. To understand this, let the pupil, with fuel in
his hand, go to a teacher who is learned and dwells entirely in Brahman.
To that pupil who has approached him respectfully, whose mind is
altogether calm, the wise teacher truly told that knowledge of Brahman
through which he knows the imperishable true Person' (Mu. Up. I, 2, 12,
13). 'Told' here means 'he is to tell.'--On the other hand, 'He who
knows Brahman attains the Highest' (Taitt. Up. II, 1, 1); 'He who sees
this does not see death' (Ch. Up. VII, 26, 2); 'He becomes a self-ruler'
(Ch. Up. VII, 25, 2); 'Knowing him he becomes immortal here' (Taitt. Ār.
III, 12, 7); 'Having known him he passes over death; there is no other
path to go' (Svet. Up. VI, 15); 'Having known as separate his Self and
the Mover, pleased thereby he goes to immortality' (Svet. Up. I, 6).

But--an objection here is raised--the mere learning of the Veda with its
auxiliary disciplines gives rise to the knowledge that the heavenly
world and the like are the results of works, and that all such results
are transitory, while immortality is the fruit of meditation on Brahman.
Possessing such knowledge, a person desirous of final release may at
once proceed to the enquiry into Brahman; and what need is there of a
systematic consideration of religious duty (i.e. of the study of the
Purva Mimāmsā)?--If this reasoning were valid, we reply, the person
desirous of release need not even apply himself to the study of the
Sārīraka Mīmāmsā, since Brahman is known from the mere reading of the
Veda with its auxiliary disciplines.--True. Such knowledge arises indeed
immediately (without deeper enquiry). But a matter apprehended in this
immediate way is not raised above doubt and mistake. Hence a systematic
discussion of the Vedānta-texts must he undertaken in order that their
sense may be fully ascertained--We agree. But you will have to admit
that for the very same reason we must undertake a systematic enquiry
into religious duty!

[FOOTNOTE 4:1. 'Bhagavat' denotes primarily the Lord, the divinity;
secondarily any holy person.]

[FOOTNOTE 5:1. The first six books of the Pūrva Mīmāmsā-sūtras give
rules for the fundamental forms of the sacrifice; while the last six
books teach how these rules are to be applied to the so-called modified


But--a further objection is urged--as that which has to precede the
systematic enquiry into Brahman we should assign something which that
enquiry necessarily presupposes. The enquiry into the nature of duty,
however, does not form such a prerequisite, since a consideration of the
Vedanta-texts may be undertaken by any one who has read those texts,
even if he is not acquainted with works.--But in the Vedanta-texts there
are enjoined meditations on the Udgītha and the like which are matters
auxiliary to works; and such meditations are not possible for him who is
not acquainted with those works!--You who raise this objection clearly
are ignorant of what kind of knowledge the Sārīraka Mīmāmsā is concerned
with! What that sāstra aims at is to destroy completely that wrong
knowledge which is the root of all pain, for man, liable to birth, old
age, and death, and all the numberless other evils connected with
transmigratory existence--evils that spring from the view, due to
beginningless Nescience, that there is plurality of existence; and to
that end the sāstra endeavours to establish the knowledge of the unity
of the Self. Now to this knowledge, the knowledge of works--which is
based on the assumption of plurality of existence--is not only useless
but even opposed. The consideration of the Udgītha and the like, which
is supplementary to works only, finds a place in the Vedānta-texts, only
because like them it is of the nature of knowledge; but it has no direct
connexion with the true topic of those texts. Hence some prerequisite
must be indicated which has reference to the principal topic of the
sāstra.--Quite so; and this prerequisite is just the knowledge of works;
for scripture declares that final release results from knowledge with
works added. The Sūtra-writer himself says further on 'And there is need
of all works, on account of the scriptural statement of sacrifices and
the like' (Ve. Sū. III, 4, 26). And if the required works were not known,
one could not determine which works have to be combined with knowledge
and which not. Hence the knowledge of works is just the necessary
prerequisite.--Not so, we reply. That which puts an end to Nescience is
exclusively the knowledge of Brahman, which is pure intelligence and
antagonistic to all plurality. For final release consists just in the
cessation of Nescience; how then can works--to which there attach
endless differences connected with caste, āsrama, object to be
accomplished, means and mode of accomplishment, &c.--ever supply a means
for the cessation of ignorance, which is essentially the cessation of
the view that difference exists? That works, the results of which are
transitory, are contrary to final release, and that such release can be
effected through knowledge only, scripture declares in many places;
compare all the passages quoted above (p. 7).

As to the assertion that knowledge requires sacrifices and other works,
we remark that--as follows from the essential contrariety of knowledge
and works, and as further appears from an accurate consideration of the
words of scripture--pious works can contribute only towards the rise of
the desire of knowledge, in so far namely as they clear the internal
organ (of knowledge), but can have no influence on the production of the
fruit, i.e. knowledge itself. For the scriptural passage concerned runs
as follows Brāhmanas desire to know him by the study of the Veda, by
sacrifice, by gifts,' &c. (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 22).

According to this passage, the desire only of knowledge springs up
through works; while another text teaches that calmness, self-restraint,
and so on, are the direct means for the origination of knowledge itself.
(Having become tranquil, calm, subdued, satisfied, patient, and
collected, he is to see the Self within the Self (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 23).)

The process thus is as follows. After the mind of a man has been cleaned
of all impurities through works performed in many preceding states of
existence, without a view to special forms of reward, there arises in
him the desire of knowledge, and thereupon--through knowledge itself
originated by certain scriptural texts--'Being only, this was in the
beginning, one only without a second' (Ch. Up. VI, I, 2); 'Truth,
Knowledge, the Infinite, is Brahman' (Taitt. Up. II, 1); 'Without parts,
without actions, calm, without fault, without taint' (Svet. Up. VI, 19);
'This Self is Brahman' (Bri. Up. II, 5, 19); 'Thou art that' (Ch. Up. VI,
9, 7), Nescience comes to an end. Now, 'Hearing,' 'reflection,' and
'meditation,' are helpful towards cognising the sense of these Vedic
texts. 'Hearing' (sravana) means the apprehension of the sense of
scripture, together with collateral arguments, from a teacher who
possesses the true insight, viz. that the Vedānta-texts establish the
doctrine of the unity of the Self. 'Reflection' (mananam) means the
confirmation within oneself of the sense taught by the teacher, by means
of arguments showing it alone to be suitable. 'Meditation'
(nididhyāsanam) finally means the constant holding of thai sense before
one's mind, so as to dispel thereby the antagonistic beginningless
imagination of plurality. In the case of him who through 'hearing,'
'reflection,' and meditation,' has dis-dispelled the entire imagination
of plurality, the knowledge of the sense of Vedānta-texts puts an end to
Nescience; and what we therefore require is a statement of the
indispensable prerequisites of such 'hearing,' 'reflection,' and so on.
Now of such prerequisites there are four, viz. discrimination of what is
permanent and what is non-permanent; the full possession of calmness of
mind, self-restraint and similar means; the renunciation of all
enjoyment of fruits here below as well as in the next world; and the
desire of final release.

Without these the desire of knowledge cannot arise; and they are
therefore known, from the very nature of the matter, to be necessary
prerequisites. To sum up: The root of bondage is the unreal view of
plurality which itself has its root in Nescience that conceals the true
being of Brahman. Bondage itself thus is unreal, and is on that account
cut short, together with its root, by mere knowledge. Such knowledge is
originated by texts such as 'That art thou'; and work is of no help
either towards its nature, or its origination, or its fruit (i.e.
release). It is on the other hand helpful towards the desire of
knowledge, which arises owing to an increase of the element of goodness
(sattva) in the soul, due to the destruction of the elements of passion
(rajas) and darkness (tamas) which are the root of all moral evil. This
use is referred to in the text quoted above, 'Brāhmanas wish to know him,'
&c. As, therefore, the knowledge of works is of no use towards the
knowledge of Brahman, we must acknowledge as the prerequisite of the
latter knowledge the four means mentioned above.

Mohini Shakti Devi
05 February 2010, 11:00 PM

To this argumentation we make the following reply. We admit that release
consists only in the cessation of Nescience, and that this cessation
results entirely from the knowledge of Brahman. But a distinction has
here to be made regarding the nature of this knowledge which the
Vedânta-texts aim at enjoining for the purpose of putting an end to
Nescience. Is it merely the knowledge of the sense of sentences which
originates from the sentences? or is it knowledge in the form of
meditation (upâsana) which has the knowledge just referred to as its
antecedent? It cannot be knowledge of the former kind: for such
knowledge springs from the mere apprehension of the sentence, apart from
any special injunction, and moreover we do not observe that the
cessation of Nescience is effected by such knowledge merely. Our
adversary will perhaps attempt to explain things in the following way.
The Vedânta-texts do not, he will say, produce that knowledge which
makes an end of Nescience, so long as the imagination of plurality is
not dispelled. And the fact that such knowledge, even when produced,
does not at once and for every one put a stop to the view of plurality
by no means subverts my opinion; for, to mention an analogous instance,
the double appearance of the moon--presenting itself to a person
affected with a certain weakness of vision--does not come to an end as
soon as the oneness of the moon has been apprehended by reason.
Moreover, even without having come to an end, the view of plurality is
powerless to effect further bondage, as soon as the root, i.e.
Nescience, has once been cut But this defence we are unable to admit. It
is impossible that knowledge should not arise when its means, i.e. the
texts conveying knowledge, are once present. And we observe that even
when there exists an antagonistic imagination (interfering with the rise
of knowledge), information given by competent persons, the presence of
characteristic marks (on which a correct inference may be based), and
the like give rise to knowledge which sublates the erroneous
imagination. Nor can we admit that even after the sense of texts has
been apprehended, the view of plurality may continue owing to some small
remainder of beginningless imagination. For as this imagination which
constitutes the means for the view of plurality is itself false, it is
necessarily put an end to by the rise of true knowledge. If this did not
take place, that imagination would never come to an end, since there is
no other means but knowledge to effect its cessation. To say that the
view of plurality, which is the effect of that imagination, continues
even after its root has been cut, is mere nonsense. The instance of some
one seeing the moon double is not analogous. For in his case the
non-cessation of wrong knowledge explains itself from the circumstance
that the cause of wrong knowledge, viz. the real defect of the eye which
does not admit of being sublated by knowledge, is not removed, although
that which would sublate wrong knowledge is near. On the other hand,
effects, such as fear and the like, may come to an end because they can
be sublated by means of knowledge of superior force. Moreover, if it
were true that knowledge arises through the dispelling of the
imagination of plurality, the rise of knowledge would really never be
brought about. For the imagination of plurality has through gradual
growth in the course of beginningless time acquired an infinite
strength, and does not therefore admit of being dispelled by the
comparatively weak conception of non-duality. Hence we conclude that the
knowledge which the Vedânta-texts aim at inculcating is a knowledge
other than the mere knowledge of the sense of sentences, and denoted by
'dhyâna,' 'upâsanâ' (i. e. meditation), and similar terms.

With this agree scriptural texts such as 'Having known it, let him
practise meditation' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 21); 'He who, having searched out
the Self, knows it' (Ch. Up. VIII, 7, 1); 'Meditate on the Self as Om'
(Mu. Up. II, 2, 6); 'Having known that, he is freed from the jaws of
death' (Ka. Up. I, 3, 15); 'Let a man meditate on the Self only as his
world' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 15); 'The Self is to be seen, to be heard, to her
reflected on, to be meditated on' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 6); 'That we must
search out, that we must try to understand' (Ch. Up. VIII, 7, 1).

(According to the principle of the oneness of purport of the different
sâkhâs) all these texts must be viewed as agreeing in meaning with the
injunction of meditation contained in the passage quoted from the Bri.
Up.; and what they enjoin is therefore meditation. In the first and
second passages quoted, the words 'having known' and 'having searched
out' (vijñâya; anuvidya) contain a mere reference to (not injunction of)
the apprehension of the meaning of texts, such apprehension subserving
meditation; while the injunction of meditation (which is the true
purport of the passages) is conveyed by the clauses 'let him practise
meditation' (prajñâm kurvîta) and 'he knows it.' In the same way the
clause 'the Self is to be heard' is a mere anuvâda, i.e. a mere
reference to what is already established by other means; for a person
who has read the Veda observes that it contains instruction about
matters connected with certain definite purposes, and then on his own
account applies himself to methodical 'hearing,' in order definitely to
ascertain these matters; 'hearing' thus is established already. In the
same way the clause 'the Self is to be reflected upon' is a mere anuvâda
of reflection which is known as a means of confirming what one has
'heard.' It is therefore meditation only which all those texts enjoin.
In agreement with this a later Sûtra also says, 'Repetition more than
once, on account of instruction' (Ve. Sû. IV, I, I). That the knowledge
intended to be enjoined as the means of final release is of the nature
of meditation, we conclude from the circumstance that the terms
'knowing' and'meditating' are seen to be used in place of each other in
the earlier and later parts of Vedic texts. Compare the following
passages: 'Let a man meditate on mind as Brahman,' and 'he who knows
this shines and warms through his celebrity, fame, and glory of
countenance' (Ch. Up. III, 18, 1; 6). And 'He does not know him, for he
is not complete,' and 'Let men meditate on him as the Self (Bri. Up. I,
4, 7). And 'He who knows what he knows,' and 'Teach me the deity on
which you meditate' (Ch. Up. IV, 1, 6; 2, 2).

'Meditation' means steady remembrance, i.e. a continuity of steady
remembrance, uninterrupted like the flow of oil; in agreement with the
scriptural passage which declares steady remembrance to be the means of
release, 'on the attainment of remembrance all the ties are loosened'
(Ch. Up. VII, 26, 2). Such remembrance is of the same character (form)
as seeing (intuition); for the passage quoted has the same purport as
the following one, 'The fetter of the heart is broken, all doubts are
solved, and all the works of that man perish when he has been seen who
is high and low' (Mu. Up. II, 2, 8). And this being so, we conclude that
the passage 'the Self is to be seen' teaches that 'Meditation' has the
character of 'seeing' or 'intuition.' And that remembrance has the
character of 'seeing' is due to the element of imagination
(representation) which prevails in it. All this has been set forth at
length by the Vâkyakâra. 'Knowledge (vedana) means meditation (upâsana),
scripture using the word in that sense'; i.e. in all Upanishads that
knowledge which is enjoined as the means of final release is Meditation.
The Vâkyakâra then propounds a pûrvapaksha (primâ facie view), 'Once he
is to make the meditation, the matter enjoined by scripture being
accomplished thereby, as in the case of the prayâjas and the like'; and
then sums up against this in the words 'but (meditation) is established
on account of the term meditation'; that means--knowledge repeated more
than once (i.e. meditation) is determined to be the means of Release.--
The Vâkyakâra then goes on 'Meditation is steady remembrance, on the
ground of observation and statement.' That means--this knowledge, of the
form of meditation, and repeated more than once, is of the nature of
steady remembrance.

Such remembrance has been declared to be of the character of 'seeing,'
and this character of seeing consists in its possessing the character of
immediate presentation (pratyakshatâ). With reference to remembrance,
which thus acquires the character of immediate presentation and is the
means of final release, scripture makes a further determination, viz. in
the passage Ka. Up. I, 2, 23, 'That Self cannot be gained by the study
of the Veda ("reflection"), nor by thought ("meditation"), nor by much
hearing. Whom the Self chooses, by him it may be gained; to him the Self
reveals its being.' This text says at first that mere hearing,
reflection, and meditation do not suffice to gain the Self, and then
declares, 'Whom the Self chooses, by him it may be gained.' Now a
'chosen' one means a most beloved person; the relation being that he by
whom that Self is held most dear is most dear to the Self. That the Lord
(bhagavân) himself endeavours that this most beloved person should gain
the Self, he himself declares in the following words, 'To those who are
constantly devoted and worship with love I give that knowledge by which
they reach me' (Bha. Gî. X, 10), and 'To him who has knowledge I am dear
above all things, and he is dear to me' (VII, 17). Hence, he who
possesses remembrance, marked by the character of immediate presentation
(sâkshâtkâra), and which itself is dear above all things since the
object remembered is such; he, we say, is chosen by the highest Self,
and by him the highest Self is gained. Steady remembrance of this kind
is designated by the word 'devotion' (bhakti); for this term has the
same meaning as upâsanâ (meditation). For this reason scripture and
smriti agree in making the following declarations, 'A man knowing him
passes over death' (Svet. Up. III, 8); 'Knowing him thus he here becomes
immortal' (Taitt. Âr. III, 12,7); 'Neither by the Vedas, nor by
austerities, nor by gifts, nor by sacrifice can I be so seen as thou
hast seen me. But by devotion exclusive I may in this form be known and
seen in truth, O Arjuna, and also be entered into' (Bha. Gî. XI, 53, 54);
'That highest Person, O Pârtha, may be obtained by exclusive devotion'
(VIII, 22).

That of such steady remembrance sacrifices and so on are means will be
declared later on (Ve. Sû. III, 4, 26). Although sacrifices and the like
are enjoined with a view to the origination of knowledge (in accordance
with the passage 'They desire to know,' Bri. Up. IV, 4, 22), it is only
knowledge in the form of meditation which--being daily practised,
constantly improved by repetition, and continued up to death--is the
means of reaching Brahman, and hence all the works connected with the
different conditions of life are to be performed throughout life only
for the purpose of originating such knowledge. This the Sûtrakâra
declares in Ve. Sû. IV, 1, 12; 16; III, 4, 33, and other places. The
Vâkyakâra also declares that steady remembrance results only from
abstention, and so on; his words being 'This (viz. steady remembrance =
meditation) is obtained through abstention (viveka), freeness of mind
(vimoka), repetition (abhyâsa), works (kriyâ), virtuous conduct
(kalyâna), freedom from dejection (anavasâda), absence of exultation
(anuddharsha); according to feasibility and scriptural statement.' The
Vâkyakâra also gives definitions of all these terms. Abstention (viveka)
means keeping the body clean from all food, impure either owing to
species (such as the flesh of certain animals), or abode (such as food
belonging to a Kândâla or the like), or accidental cause (such as food
into which a hair or the like has fallen). The scriptural passage
authorising this point is Ch. Up. VII, 26, 'The food being pure, the
mind becomes pure; the mind being pure, there results steady remembrance.'
Freeness of mind (vimoka) means absence of attachment to desires. The
authoritative passage here is 'Let him meditate with a calm mind' (Ch.
Up. III, 14, 1). Repetition means continued practice. For this point the
Bhâshya-kâra quotes an authoritative text from Smriti, viz.: 'Having
constantly been absorbed in the thought of that being' (sadâ
tadbhâvabhâvitah; Bha. Gî. VIII, 6).--By 'works' (kriyâ) is understood
the performance, according to one's ability, of the five great
sacrifices. The authoritative passages here are 'This person who
performs works is the best of those who know Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 1,
4); and 'Him Brâhmanas seek to know by recitation of the Veda, by
sacrifice, by gifts, by penance, by fasting' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 22).--By
virtuous conduct (kalyânâni) are meant truthfulness, honesty, kindness,
liberality, gentleness, absence of covetousness. Confirmatory texts are
'By truth he is to be obtained' (Mu. Up. III, 1, 5) and 'to them belongs
that pure Brahman-world' (Pr. Up. I, 16).--That lowness of spirit or
want of cheerfulness which results from unfavourable conditions of place
or time and the remembrance of causes of sorrow, is denoted by the term
'dejection'; the contrary of this is 'freedom from dejection.' The
relevant scriptural passage is 'This Self cannot be obtained by one
lacking in strength' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 4).--'Exultation' is that
satisfaction of mind which springs from circumstances opposite to those
just mentioned; the contrary is 'absence of exultation.' Overgreat
satisfaction also stands in the way (of meditation). The scriptural
passage for this is 'Calm, subdued,' &c. (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 23).--What the
Vâkyakâra means to say is therefore that knowledge is realised only
through the performance of the duly prescribed works, on the part of a
person fulfilling all the enumerated conditions.

Analogously another scriptural passage says 'He who knows both knowledge
and non-knowledge together, overcoming death by non-knowledge reaches
the Immortal through knowledge' (Îs. Up. II). Here the term
'non-knowledge' denotes the works enjoined on the different castes and
âsramas; and the meaning of the text is that, having discarded by such
works death, i.e. the previous works antagonistic to the origination of
knowledge, a man reaches the Immortal, i.e. Brahman, through knowledge.
The non-knowledge of which this passage speaks as being the means of
overcoming death can only mean that which is other than knowledge, viz.
prescribed works. The word has the same sense in the following passage:
'Firm in traditional knowledge he offered many sacrifices, leaning on
the knowledge of Brahman, so as to pass beyond death by non-knowledge'
(Vi. Pu. VI, 6, 12).--Antagonistic to knowledge (as said above) are all
good and evil actions, and hence--as equally giving rise to an
undesirable result--they may both be designated as evil. They stand in
the way of the origination of knowledge in so far as they strengthen the
elements of passion and darkness which are antagonistic to the element
of goodness which is the cause of the rise of knowledge. That evil works
stand in the way of such origination, the following scriptural text
declares: 'He makes him whom he wishes to lead down from these worlds do
an evil deed' (Ka. Up. III, 8). That passion and darkness veil the
knowledge of truth while goodness on the other hand gives rise to it,
the Divine one has declared himself, in the passage 'From goodness
springs knowledge' (Bha. Gî. XIV, 17). Hence, in order that knowledge
may arise, evil works have to be got rid of, and this is effected by the
performance of acts of religious duty not aiming at some immediate
result (such as the heavenly world and the like); according to the text
'by works of religious duty he discards all evil.' Knowledge which is
the means of reaching Brahman, thus requires the works prescribed for
the different âsramas; and hence the systematic enquiry into works (i.
e. the Pûrva Mîmâmsâ)--from which we ascertain the nature of the works
required and also the transitoriness and limitation of the fruits of
mere works--forms a necessary antecedent to the systematic enquiry into
Brahman. Moreover the discrimination of permanent and non-permanent
things, &c. (i.e. the tetrad of 'means' mentioned above, p. 11) cannot
be accomplished without the study of the Mîmâmsâ; for unless we
ascertain all the distinctions of fruits of works, means, modes of
procedure and qualification (on the part of the agent) we can hardly
understand the true nature of works, their fruits, the transitoriness or
non-transitoriness of the latter, the permanence of the Self, and
similar matters. That those conditions (viz. nityânityavastuviveka,
sama, dama, &c.) are 'means' must be determined on the basis of viniyoga
('application' which determines the relation of principal and
subordinate matters--angin and anga); and this viniyoga which depends on
direct scriptural statement (sruti), inferential signs (linga), and so
on, is treated of in the third book of the Pûrva Mîmâmsâ-sûtras. And
further we must, in this connexion, consider also the meditations on the
Udgîtha and similar things--which, although aiming at the success of
works, are of the nature of reflections on Brahman (which is viewed in
them under various forms)--and as such have reference to knowledge of
Brahman. Those works also (with which these meditations are connected)
aim at no special results of their own, and produce and help to perfect
the knowledge of Brahman: they are therefore particularly connected with
the enquiry into Brahman. And that these meditations presuppose an
understanding of the nature of works is admitted by every one.

Mohini Shakti Devi
05 February 2010, 11:01 PM


Brahman, which is pure intelligence and opposed to all difference,
constitutes the only reality; and everything else, i.e. the plurality of
manifold knowing subjects, objects of knowledge, and acts of knowledge
depending on those two, is only imagined on (or 'in') that Brahman, and
is essentially false.

'In the beginning, my dear, there was that only which is, one only
without a second' (Ch. Up. VI, 2, 1); 'The higher knowledge is that by
which the Indestructible is apprehended' (Mu. Up. I, 1, 5); 'That which
cannot be seen nor seized, which has no eyes nor ears, no hands nor feet,
the permanent, the all-pervading, the most subtle, the imperishable
which the wise regard as the source of all beings' (Mu. Up. I, 1, 6);
'The True, knowledge, the Infinite is Brahman' (Taitt. Up. II, 1); 'He
who is without parts, without actions, tranquil, without fault, without
taint' (Svet. Up. VI, 19); 'By whom it is not thought, by him it is
thought; he by whom it is thought knows it not. It is not known by those
who know it, known by those who do not know it' (Ke. Up. II, 3); 'Thou
mayest not see the seer of sight; thou mayest not think the thinker of
thought' (Bri. Up. III, 4, 2); 'Bliss is Brahman' (Taitt. Up. III, 6, 1);
'All this is that Self' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 7); 'There is here no diversity
whatever' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 19); 'From death to death goes he who sees
any difference here' (Ka. Up. II, 4, 10); 'For where there is duality as
it were, there one sees the other'; 'but where the Self has become all
of him, by what means, and whom, should he see? by what means, and whom,
should he know?' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 15); 'the effect is a name merely
which has its origin in speech; the truth is that (the thing made of
clay) is clay merely' (Ch. Up. VI, 1, 4); 'for if he makes but the
smallest distinction in it there is fear for him' (Taitt. Up. II, 7);--
the two following Vedânta-sûtras: III, 2, 11; III, 2, 3--the following
passages from the Vishnu-purâna: 'In which all difference vanishes,
which is pure Being, which is not the object of words, which is known by
the Self only--that knowledge is called Brahman' (VI, 7, 53); 'Him whose
essential nature is knowledge, who is stainless in reality'; 'Him who,
owing to erroneous view, abides in the form of things' (I, 2, 6); 'the
Reality thou art alone, there is no other, O Lord of the world!--
whatever matter is seen belongs to thee whose being is knowledge; but
owing to their erroneous opinion the non-devout look on it as the form
of the world. This whole world has knowledge for its essential nature,
but the Unwise viewing it as being of the nature of material things are
driven round on the ocean of delusion. Those however who possess true
knowledge and pure minds see this whole world as having knowledge for
its Self, as thy form, O highest Lord!' (Vi. Pu. I, 4, 38 ff.).--'Of
that Self, although it exists in one's own and in other bodies, the
knowledge is of one kind, and that is Reality; those who maintain
duality hold a false view' (II, 14, 31); 'If there is some other one,
different from me, then it can be said, "I am this and that one is
another"' (II, 13, 86); 'As owing to the difference of the holes of the
flute the air equally passing through them all is called by the names of
the different notes of the musical scale; so it is with the universal
Self' (II, 14, 32); 'He is I; he is thou; he is all: this Universe is
his form. Abandon the error of difference. The king being thus
instructed, abandoned the view of difference, having gained an intuition
of Reality' (II, 16, 24). 'When that view which gives rise to difference
is absolutely destroyed, who then will make the untrue distinction
between the individual Self and Brahman?' (VI, 7, 94).--The following
passages from the Bhagavad-Gîtâ: 'I am the Self dwelling within all
beings' (X, 20); 'Know me to be the soul within all bodies' (XIII, 2);
'Being there is none, movable or immovable, which is without me' (X, 39).--
All these and other texts, the purport of which clearly is instruction
as to the essential nature of things, declare that Brahman only, i.e.
non-differenced pure intelligence is real, while everything else is

The appearance of plurality is due to avidyâ.

'Falsehood' (mithyâtva) belongs to what admits of being terminated by
the cognition of the real thing--such cognition being preceded by
conscious activity (not by mere absence of consciousness or knowledge).
The snake, e.g. which has for its substrate a rope or the like is false;
for it is due to an imperfection (dosha) that the snake is imagined in
(or 'on') the rope. In the same way this entire world, with its
distinctions of gods, men, animals, inanimate matter, and so on, is,
owing to an imperfection, wrongly imagined in the highest Brahman whose
substance is mere intelligence, and therefore is false in so far as it
may be sublated by the cognition of the nature of the real Brahman. What
constitutes that imperfection is beginningless Nescience (avidyâ), which,
hiding the truth of things, gives rise to manifold illusions, and cannot
be defined either as something that is or as something that is not.--'By
the Untrue they are hidden; of them which are true the Untrue is the
covering' (Ch, Up. VIII, 3, 1); 'Know Mâya to be Prakriti, and the great
Lord him who is associated with Mâya' (Svet. Up. IV, 10); 'Indra appears
manifold through the Mâyâs' (Bri. Up. II, 5, 19); 'My Mâya is hard to
overcome' (Bha. Gî. VII, 14); 'When the soul slumbering in beginningless
Mâyâ awakes' (Gau. Kâ. I, 16).--These and similar texts teach that it is
through beginningless Mâyâ that to Brahman which truly is pure
non-differenced intelligence its own nature hides itself, and that it
sees diversity within itself. As has been said, 'Because the Holy One is
essentially of the nature of intelligence, the form of all, but not
material; therefore know that all particular things like rocks, oceans,
hills and so on, have proceeded from intelligence [FOOTNOTE 22:1] But
when, on the cessation of all work, everything is only pure intelligence
in its own proper form, without any imperfections; then no differences--
the fruit of the tree of wishes--any longer exist between things.
Therefore nothing whatever, at any place or any time, exists apart from
intelligence: intelligence, which is one only, is viewed as manifold by
those whose minds are distracted by the effects of their own works.
Intelligence pure, free from stain, free from grief, free from all
contact with desire and other affections, everlastingly one is the
highest Lord--Vâsudeva apart from whom nothing exists. I have thus
declared to you the lasting truth of things--that intelligence only is
true and everything else untrue. And that also which is the cause of
ordinary worldly existence has been declared to you' (Vi. Pu. II, 12,
39, 40, 43-45).

Avidyâ is put an end to by true Knowledge.

Other texts declare that this Nescience comes to an end through the
cognition of the essential unity of the Self with Brahman which is
nothing but non-differenced intelligence. 'He does not again go to death;'
'He sees this as one;' 'He who sees this does not see death' (Ch. Up.
VI, 27); 'When he finds freedom from fear and rest in that which is
invisible, incorporeal, undefined, unsupported, then he has obtained the
fearless' (Taitt. Up. II, 7); 'The fetter of the heart is broken, all
doubts are solved and all his works perish when he has been beheld who
is high and low' (Mu. Up. II, 2, 8); 'He knows Brahman, he becomes
Brahman only' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9); 'Knowing him only a man passes over
death; there is no other path to go' (Svet. Up. III, 8). In these and
similar passages, the term 'death' denotes Nescience; analogously to the
use of the term in the following words of Sanatsujâta, 'Delusion I call
death; and freedom from delusion I call immortality' (Sanatsuj. II, 5).
The knowledge again of the essential unity and non-difference of Brahman--
which is ascertained from decisive texts such as 'The True, knowledge,
the Infinite is Brahman' (Taitt. Up. II, 1); 'Knowledge, bliss is
Brahman' (Bri. Up. III, 9, 28)--is confirmed by other passages, such as
'Now if a man meditates on another deity, thinking the deity is one and
he another, he does not know' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 10); 'Let men meditate
upon him as the Self (Bri. Up. I, 4, 7); 'Thou art that' (Ch. Up. VI, 8,
7); 'Am I thou, O holy deity? and art thou me, O holy deity?'; 'What I
am that is he; what he is that am I.'--This the Sûtrakâra himself will
declare 'But as the Self (scriptural texts) acknowledge and make us
apprehend (the Lord)' (Ve. Sû. IV, 1, 3). Thus the Vâkyakâra also, 'It
is the Self--thus one should apprehend (everything), for everything is
effected by that.' And to hold that by such cognition of the oneness of
Brahman essentially false bondage, together with its cause, comes to an
end, is only reasonable.

Scripture is of greater force than Perception

But, an objection is raised--how can knowledge, springing from the
sacred texts, bring about a cessation of the view of difference, in
manifest opposition to the evidence of Perception?--How then, we rejoin,
can the knowledge that this thing is a rope and not a snake bring about,
in opposition to actual perception, the cessation of the (idea of the)
snake?--You will perhaps reply that in this latter case there is a
conflict between two forms of perception, while in the case under
discussion the conflict is between direct perception and Scripture which
is based on perception. But against this we would ask the question how,
in the case of a conflict between two equal cognitions, we decide as to
which of the two is refuted (sublated) by the other. If--as is to be
expected--you reply that what makes the difference between the two is
that one of them is due to a defective cause while the other is not: we
point out that this distinction holds good also in the case of Scripture
and perception being in conflict. It is not considerations as to the
equality of conflicting cognitions, as to their being dependent or
independent, and so on, that determine which of the two sublates the
other; if that were the case, the perception which presents to us the
flame of the lamp as one only would not be sublated by the cognition
arrived at by inference that there is a succession of different flames.
Wherever there is a conflict between cognitions based on two different
means of knowledge we assign the position of the 'sublated one' to that
which admits of being accounted for in some other way; while that
cognition which affords no opening for being held unauthoritative and
cannot be accounted for in another way, is the 'sublating one [FOOTNOTE
25:1].' This is the principle on which the relation between 'what
sublates' and 'what is sublated' is decided everywhere. Now apprehension
of Brahman--which is mere intelligence, eternal, pure, free,
self-luminous--is effected by Scripture which rests on endless unbroken
tradition, cannot therefore be suspected of any, even the least,
imperfection, and hence cannot be non-authoritative; the state of
bondage, on the other hand, with its manifold distinctions is proved by
Perception, Inference, and so on, which are capable of imperfections and
therefore may be non-authoritative. It is therefore reasonable to
conclude that the state of bondage is put an end to by the apprehension
of Brahman. And that imperfection of which Perception--through which we
apprehend a world of manifold distinctions--may be assumed to be
capable, is so-called Nescience, which consists in the beginningless
wrong imagination of difference.--Well then--a further objection is
raised--let us admit that Scripture is perfect because resting on an
endless unbroken tradition; but must we then not admit that texts
evidently presupposing the view of duality, as e.g. 'Let him who desires
the heavenly world offer the Jyotishtoma-sacrifice'--are liable to
refutation?--True, we reply. As in the case of the Udgâtri and
Pratihartri breaking the chain (not at the same time, but) in
succession [FOOTNOTE 26:1], so here also the earlier texts (which refer
to duality and transitory rewards) are sublated by the later texts which
teach final release, and are not themselves sublated by anything else.

The texts which represent Brahman as devoid of qualities have greater

The same reasoning applies to those passages in the Vedânta-texts which
inculcate meditation on the qualified Brahman, since the highest Brahman
is without any qualities.--But consider such passages as 'He who
cognises all, who knows all' (Mu. Up. I, 1, 9); 'His high power is
revealed as manifold, as essential, acting as force and knowledge' (Svet.
Up. VI, 8); 'He whose wishes are true, whose purposes are true' (Ch. Up.
VIII, 1, 5); how can these passages, which clearly aim at defining the
nature of Brahman, be liable to refutation?--Owing to the greater weight,
we reply, of those texts which set forth Brahman as devoid of qualities.
'It is not coarse, not fine, not short, not long' (Bri. Up. III, 8, 8);
'The True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman' (Taitt. Up. II, 1); 'That
which is free from qualities,' 'that which is free from stain'--these
and similar texts convey the notion of Brahman being changeless, eternal
intelligence devoid of all difference; while the other texts--quoted
before--teach the qualified Brahman. And there being a conflict between
the two sets of passages, we--according to the Mîmâmsâ principle
referred to above--decide that the texts referring to Brahman as devoid
of qualities are of greater force, because they are later in order
[FOOTNOTE 27:1] than those which speak of Brahman as having qualities.
Thus everything is settled. The text Taitt. Up. II, 1 refers to Brahman
as devoid of qualities.

But--an objection is raised--even the passage 'The True, knowledge,
infinite is Brahman' intimates certain qualities of Brahman, viz. true
being, knowledge, infinity!--Not so, we reply. From the circumstance
that all the terms of the sentence stand in co-ordination, it follows
that they convey the idea of one matter (sense) only. If against this
you urge that the sentence may convey the idea of one matter only, even
if directly expressing a thing distinguished by several qualities; we
must remark that you display an ignorance of the meaning of language
which appears to point to some weakmindedness on your part. A sentence
conveys the idea of one matter (sense) only when all its constitutive
words denote one and the same thing; if, on the other hand, it expresses
a thing possessing several attributes, the difference of these
attributes necessarily leads to a difference in meaning on the part of
the individual words, and then the oneness of meaning of the sentence is
lost.--But from your view of the passage it would follow that the
several words are mere synonyms!--Give us your attention, we reply, and
learn that several words may convey one meaning without being idle
synonyms. From the determination of the unity of purport of the whole
sentence [FOOTNOTE 27:2] we conclude that the several words, applied to
one thing, aim at expressing what is opposite in nature to whatever is
contrary to the meanings of the several words, and that thus they have
meaning and unity of meaning and yet are not mere synonyms. The details
are as follows. Brahman is to be defined as what is contrary in nature
to all other things. Now whatever is opposed to Brahman is virtually set
aside by the three words (constituting the definition of Brahman in the
Taittiriya-text). The word 'true' (or 'truly being') has the purport of
distinguishing Brahman from whatever things have no truth, as being the
abodes of change; the word 'knowledge' distinguishes Brahman from all
non-sentient things whose light depends on something else (which are not
self-luminous); and the word 'infinite' distinguishes it from whatever
is limited in time or space or nature. Nor is this 'distinction' some
positive or negative attribute of Brahman, it rather is just Brahman
itself as opposed to everything else; just as the distinction of white
colour from black and other colours is just the true nature of white,
not an attribute of it. The three words constituting the text thus _have_
a meaning, have _one_ meaning, and are non-synonymous, in so far as they
convey the essential distinction of one thing, viz. Brahman from
everything else. The text thus declares the one Brahman which is
self-luminous and free from all difference. On this interpretation of
the text we discern its oneness in purport with other texts, such as
'Being only this was in the beginning, one only, without a second.'
Texts such as 'That from whence these beings are born' (Taitt. Up. III,
1); 'Being only this was in the beginning' (Ch. Up. VI, 2, 1); 'Self
alone was this in the beginning' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 1), &c., describe
Brahman as the cause of the world; and of this Brahman the Taittirîya
passage 'The True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman' gives the strict

In agreement with the principle that all sâkhâs teach the same doctrine
we have to understand that, in all the texts which speak of Brahman as
cause, Brahman must be taken as being 'without a second', i.e. without
any other being of the same or a different kind; and the text which aims
at defining Brahman has then to be interpreted in accordance with this
characteristic of Brahman, viz. its being without a second. The
statement of the Chândogya as to Brahman being without a second must
also be taken to imply that Brahman is non-dual as far as qualities are
concerned; otherwise it would conflict with those passages which speak
of Brahman as being without qualities and without stain. We therefore
conclude that the defining Taittirîya-text teaches Brahman to be an
absolutely homogeneous substance.

But, the above explanation of the passage being accepted, it follows
that the words 'true being,' 'knowledge,' &c., have to be viewed as
abandoning their direct sense, and merely suggesting a thing distinct in
nature from all that is opposite (to what the three words directly
denote), and this means that we resort to so-called implication (implied
meaning, lakshanâ)!--What objection is there to such a proceeding? we
reply. The force of the general purport of a sentence is greater than
that of the direct denotative power of the simple terms, and it is
generally admitted that the purport of grammatical co-ordination is
oneness (of the matter denoted by the terms co-ordinated).--But we never
observe that all words of a sentence are to be understood in an implied
sense!--Is it then not observed, we reply, that _one_ word is to be
taken in its implied meaning if otherwise it would contradict the
purport of the whole sentence? And if the purport of the sentence, which
is nothing but an aggregate of words employed together, has once been
ascertained, why should we not take two or three or all words in an
implied sense--just as we had taken one--and thus make them fit in with
the general purport? In agreement herewith those scholars who explain to
us the sense of imperative sentences, teach that in imperative sentences
belonging to ordinary speech all words have an implied meaning only (not
their directly denotative meaning). For, they maintain, imperative forms
have their primary meaning only in (Vedic) sentences which enjoin
something not established by other means; and hence in ordinary speech
the effect of the action is conveyed by implication only. The other
words also, which form part of those imperative sentences and denote
matters connected with the action, have their primary meaning only if
connected with an action not established by other means; while if
connected with an ordinary action they have a secondary, implied,
meaning only [FOOTNOTE 30:1]. Perception reveals to us non-differenced
substance only

We have so far shown that in the case of a conflict between Scripture
and Perception and the other instruments of knowledge, Scripture is of
greater force. The fact, however, is that no such conflict is observed
to exist, since Perception itself gives rise to the apprehension of a
non-differenced Brahman whose nature is pure Being.--But how can it be
said that Perception, which has for its object things of various kinds--
and accordingly expresses itself in judgments such as 'Here is a jar,'
'There is a piece of cloth'--causes the apprehension of mere Being? If
there were no apprehension of difference, all cognitions would have one
and the same object, and therefore would give rise to one judgment only--
as takes place when one unbroken perceptional cognition is continued for
some time.--True. We therefore have to enquire in what way, in the
judgment 'here is a jar,' an assertion is made about being as well as
some special form of being. These implied judgments cannot both be
founded on perception, for they are the results of acts of cognition
occupying different moments of time, while the perceptional cognition
takes place in one moment (is instantaneous). We therefore must decide
whether it is the essential nature of the jar, or its difference from
other things, that is the object of perception. And we must adopt the
former alternative, because the apprehension of difference presupposes
the apprehension of the essential nature of the thing, and, in addition,
the remembrance of its counterentities (i.e. the things from which the
given thing differs). Hence difference is not apprehended by Perception;
and all judgments and propositions relative to difference are founded on
error only.

Difference--bheda--does not admit of logical definition

The Logicians, moreover, are unable to give a definition of such a thing
as 'difference.' Difference cannot in the first place be the essential
nature (of that which differs); for from that it would follow that on
the apprehension of the essential nature of a thing there would at once
arise not only the judgment as to that essential nature but also
judgments as to its difference from everything else.--But, it may be
objected to this, even when the essential nature of a thing is
apprehended, the judgment 'this thing is different from other things'
depends on the remembrance of its counterentities, and as long as this
remembrance does not take place so long the judgment of difference is
not formed!--Such reasoning, we reply, is inadmissible. He who maintains
that 'difference' is nothing but 'essential nature' has no right to
assume a dependence on counterentities since, according to him,
essential nature and difference are the same, i.e. nothing but essential
nature: the judgment of difference can, on his view, depend on
counterentities no more than the judgment of essential nature does. His
view really implies that the two words 'the jar' and 'different' (in the
judgment 'the jar is different') are synonymous, just as the words
'hasta' and 'kara' are (both of which mean 'hand').

Nor, in the second place, can 'difference' be held to be an attribute
(dharma). For if it were that, we should have to assume that
'difference' possesses difference (i.e. is different) from essential
nature; for otherwise it would be the same as the latter. And this
latter difference would have to be viewed as an attribute of the first
difference, and this would lead us on to a third difference, and so in
infinitum. And the view of 'difference' being an attribute would further
imply that difference is apprehended on the apprehension of a thing
distinguished by attributes such as generic character and so on, and at
the same time that the thing thus distinguished is apprehended on the
apprehension of difference; and this would constitute a logical seesaw.--
'Difference' thus showing itself incapable of logical definition, we are
confirmed in our view that perception reveals mere 'Being' only.

Moreover, it appears that in states of consciousness such as 'Here is a
jar,' 'There is a piece of cloth,' 'The jar is perceived,' 'The piece of
cloth is perceived,' that which constitutes the things is Being
(existence; sattâ) and perception (or 'consciousness'; anubhûti). And we
observe that it is pure Being only which persists in all states of
cognition: this pure Being alone, therefore, is _real_. The differences,
on the other hand, which do not persist, are unreal. The case is
analogous to that of the snake-rope. The rope which persists as a
substrate is real, while the non-continuous things (which by wrong
imagination are superimposed on the rope) such as a snake, a cleft in
the ground, a watercourse, and so on, are unreal.

But--our adversary objects--the instance is not truly analogous. In the
case of the snake-rope the non-reality of the snake results from the
snake's being sublated (bâdhita) by the cognition of the true nature of
the substrate 'This is a rope, not a snake'; it does not result from the
non-continuousness of the snake. In the same way the reality of the rope
does not follow from its persistence, but from the fact of its being not
sublated (by another cognition). But what, we ask, establishes the
non-reality of jars and pieces of cloth?--All are agreed, we reply, that
we observe, in jars and similar things, individual difference
(vyâvritti, literally 'separation,' 'distinction'). The point to decide
is of what nature such difference is. Does it not mean that the judgment
'This is a jar' implies the negation of pieces of cloth and other
things? But this means that by this judgment pieces of cloth and other
things are sublated (bâdhita). Individual difference (vyâvritti) thus
means the cessation (or absence), due to sublation, of certain objects
of cognition, and it proves the non-reality of whatever has
non-continuous existence; while on the other hand, pure Being, like the
rope, persists non-sublated. Hence everything that is additional to pure
Being is non-real.--This admits of being expressed in technical form.
'Being' is real because it persists, as proved by the case of the rope
in the snake-rope; jars and similar things are non-real because they are
non-continuous, as proved by the case of the snake that has the rope for
its substrate.

From all this it follows that persisting consciousness only has real
being; it alone is.

Being and consciousness are one. Consciousness is svayamprakâsa.

But, our adversary objects, as mere Being is the object of consciousness,
it is different therefrom (and thus there exists after all 'difference'
or 'plurality').--Not so, we reply. That there is no such thing as
'difference,' we have already shown above on the grounds that it is not
the object of perception, and moreover incapable of definition. It
cannot therefore be proved that 'Being' is the object of consciousness.
Hence Consciousness itself is 'Being'--that which is.--This
consciousness is self-proved, just because it is consciousness. Were it
proved through something else, it would follow that like jars and
similar things it is not consciousness. Nor can there be assumed, for
consciousness, the need of another act of consciousness (through which
its knowledge would be established); for it shines forth (prakâsate)
through its own being. While it exists, consciousness--differing therein
from jars and the like--is never observed not to shine forth, and it
cannot therefore be held to depend, in its shining forth, on something
else.--You (who object to the above reasoning) perhaps hold the
following view:--even when consciousness has arisen, it is the object
only which shines forth--a fact expressed in sentences such as: the jar
is perceived. When a person forms the judgment 'This is a jar,' he is
not at the time conscious of a consciousness which is not an object and
is not of a definite character. Hence the existence of consciousness is
the reason which brings about the 'shining forth' of jars and other
objects, and thus has a similar office as the approximation of the
object to the eye or the other organs of sense (which is another
condition of perceptive consciousness). After this the existence of
consciousness is inferred on the ground that the shining forth of the
object is (not permanent, but) occasional only [FOOTNOTE 34:1]. And
should this argumentation be objected to on the ground of its implying
that consciousness--which is essentially of the nature of intelligence--
is something non-intelligent like material things, we ask you to define
this negation of non-intelligence (which you declare to be
characteristic of consciousness). Have we, perhaps, to understand by it
the invariable concomitance of existence and shining forth? If so, we
point out that this invariable concomitance is also found in the case of
pleasure and similar affections; for when pleasure and so on exist at
all, they never are non-perceived (i.e. they exist in so far only as we
are conscious of them). It is thus clear that we have no consciousness
of consciousness itself--just as the tip of a finger, although touching
other things, is incapable of touching itself.

All this reasoning, we reply, is entirely spun out of your own fancy,
without any due consideration of the power of consciousness. The fact is,
that in perceiving colour and other qualities of things, we are not
aware of a 'shining forth' as an attribute of those things, and as
something different from consciousness; nor can the assumption of an
attribute of things called 'light,' or 'shining forth,' be proved in any
way, since the entire empirical world itself can be proved only through
consciousness, the existence of which we both admit. Consciousness,
therefore, is not something which is inferred or proved through some
other act of knowledge; but while proving everything else it is proved
by itself. This may be expressed in technical form as follows--
Consciousness is, with regard to its attributes and to the empirical
judgments concerning it, independent of any other thing, because through
its connexion with other things it is the cause of their attributes and
the empirical judgments concerning them. For it is a general principle
that of two things that which through its connexion with the other is
the cause of the attributes of--and the empirical judgments about--the
latter, is itself independent of that other as to those two points. We
see e.g. that colour, through its conjunction with earth and the like,
produces in them the quality of visibility, but does not itself depend
for its visibility on conjunction with colour. Hence consciousness is
itself the cause of its own 'shining forth,' as well as of the
empirically observed shining forth of objects such as jars and the like.

Consciousness is eternal and incapable of change.

This self-luminous consciousness, further, is eternal, for it is not
capable of any form of non-existence--whether so--called antecedent
non-existence or any other form. This follows from its being
self-established. For the antecedent non-existence of self-established
consciousness cannot be apprehended either through consciousness or
anything else. If consciousness itself gave rise to the apprehension of
its own non-existence, it could not do so in so far as 'being,' for that
would contradict its being; if it is, i.e. if its non-existence is not,
how can it give rise to the idea of its non-existence? Nor can it do so
if not being; for if consciousness itself is not, how can it furnish a
proof for its own non-existence? Nor can the non-existence of
consciousness be apprehended through anything else; for consciousness
cannot be the object of anything else. Any instrument of knowledge
proving the non-existence of consciousness, could do so only by making
consciousness its object--'this is consciousness'; but consciousness, as
being self-established, does not admit of that objectivation which is
implied in the word 'this,' and hence its previous non-existence cannot
be proved by anything lying outside itself.

As consciousness thus does not admit of antecedent non-existence, it
further cannot be held to originate, and hence also all those other
states of being which depend on origination cannot be predicated of it.

As consciousness is beginningless, it further does not admit of any
plurality within itself; for we observe in this case the presence of
something which is contrary to what invariably accompanies plurality
(this something being 'beginninglessness' which is contrary to the
quality of having a beginning--which quality invariably accompanies
plurality). For we never observe a thing characterised by plurality to
be without a beginning.--And moreover difference, origination, &c., are
objects of consciousness, like colour and other qualities, and hence
cannot be attributes of consciousness. Therefore, consciousness being
essentially consciousness only, nothing else that is an object of
consciousness can be its attribute. The conclusion is that consciousness
is free from difference of any kind.

The apparent difference between Consciousness and the conscious subject
is due to the unreal ahamkâra.

From this it further follows that there is no substrate of
consciousness--different from consciousness itself--such as people
ordinarily mean when speaking of a 'knower.' It is self-luminous
consciousness itself which constitutes the so-called 'knower.' This
follows therefrom also that consciousness is not non-intelligent (jada);
for non-intelligence invariably accompanies absence of Selfhood
(anâtmatva); hence, non-intelligence being absent in consciousness,
consciousness is not non-Self, that means, it is the Self.

But, our adversary again objects, the consciousness which expresses
itself in the judgment 'I know,' proves that the quality of being a
'knower' belongs to consciousness!--By no means, we reply. The
attribution to consciousness of this quality rests on error, no less
than the attribution, to the shell, of the quality of being silver.
Consciousness cannot stand in the relation of an agent toward itself:
the attribute of being a knowing agent is erroneously imputed to it--an
error analogous to that expressed in the judgment 'I am a man,' which
identifies the Self of a person with the outward aggregate of matter
that bears the external characteristics of humanity. To be a 'knower'
means to be the agent in the action of knowing; and this is something
essentially changeful and non-intelligent (jada), having its abode in
the ahamkâra, which is itself a thing subject to change. How, on the
other hand, could such agency possibly belong to the changeless
'witness' (of all change, i.e. consciousness) whose nature is pure Being?
That agency cannot be an attribute of the Self follows therefrom also
that, like colour and other qualities, agency depends, for its own proof,
on seeing, i.e. consciousness.

That the Self does not fall within the sphere (is not an object of), the
idea of 'I' is proved thereby also that in deep sleep, swoon, and
similar states, the idea of the 'I' is absent, while the consciousness
of the Self persists. Moreover, if the Self were admitted to be an agent
and an object of the idea of 'I,' it would be difficult to avoid the
conclusion that like the body it is non-intelligent, something merely
outward ('being for others only, not for itself') and destitute of
Selfhood. That from the body, which is the object of the idea of 'I,'
and known to be an agent, there is different that Self which enjoys the
results of the body's actions, viz. the heavenly word, and so on, is
acknowledged by all who admit the validity of the instruments of
knowledge; analogously, therefore, we must admit that different from the
knower whom we understand by the term 'I,' is the 'witnessing' inward
Self. The non-intelligent ahamkâra thus merely serves to manifest the
nature of non-changing consciousness, and it effects this by being its
abode; for it is the proper quality of manifesting agents to manifest
the objects manifested, in so far as the latter abide in them. A mirror,
e.g., or a sheet of water, or a certain mass of matter, manifests a face
or the disc of the moon (reflected in the mirror or water) or the
generic character of a cow (impressed on the mass of matter) in so far
as all those things abide in them.--In this way, then, there arises the
erroneous view that finds expression in the judgment 'I know.'--Nor must
you, in the way of objection, raise the question how self-luminous
consciousness is to be manifested by the non-intelligent ahamkâra, which
rather is itself manifested by consciousness; for we observe that the
surface of the hand, which itself is manifested by the rays of sunlight
falling on it, at the same time manifests those rays. This is clearly
seen in the case of rays passing through the interstices of network; the
light of those rays is intensified by the hand on which they fall, and
which at the same time is itself manifested by the rays.

It thus appears that the 'knowing agent,' who is denoted by the 'I,' in
the judgment 'I know,' constitutes no real attribute of the Self, the
nature of which is pure intelligence. This is also the reason why the
consciousness of Egoity does not persist in the states of deep sleep and
final release: in those states this special form of consciousness passes
away, and the Self appears in its true nature, i.e. as pure
consciousness. Hence a person who has risen from deep, dreamless sleep
reflects, 'Just now I was unconscious of myself.'

Summing up of the pûrvapaksha view.

As the outcome of all this, we sum up our view as follows.--Eternal,
absolutely non-changing consciousness, whose nature is pure
non-differenced intelligence, free from all distinction whatever, owing
to error illusorily manifests itself (vivarttate) as broken up into
manifold distinctions--knowing subjects, objects of knowledge, acts of
knowledge. And the purpose for which we enter on the consideration of
the Vedânta-texts is utterly to destroy what is the root of that error,
i.e. Nescience, and thus to obtain a firm knowledge of the oneness of
Brahman, whose nature is mere intelligence--free, pure, eternal.

[FOOTNOTE 22:1. In agreement with the use made of this passage by the
Pûrvapakshin, vijñâna must here be understood in the sense of avidyâ.
Vijñânasabdena vividham jñâyate-neneti karanavyutpattyâ-vidyâ-bhidhiyate.
Sru. Pra.]

[FOOTNOTE 25:1. The distinction is illustrated by the different views
Perception and Inference cause us to take of the nature of the flame of
the lamp. To Perception the flame, as long as it burns, seems one and
the same: but on the ground of the observation that the different
particles of the wick and the oil are consumed in succession, we infer
that there are many distinct flames succeeding one another. And we
accept the Inference as valid, and as sublating or refuting the
immediate perception, because the perceived oneness of the flame admits
of being accounted for 'otherwise,' viz. on the ground of the many
distinct flames originating in such rapid succession that the eye
mistakes them for one. The inference on the other hand does not admit of
being explained in another way.]

[FOOTNOTE 26:1. The reference is to the point discussed Pû. Mî. Sû. VI,
5, 54 (Jaim. Nyâ. Mâlâ Vistara, p. 285).]

[FOOTNOTE 27:1. The texts which deny all qualities of Brahman are later
in order than the texts which refer to Brahman as qualified, because
denial presupposes that which is to be denied.]

[FOOTNOTE 27:2. The unity of purport of the sentence is inferred from
its constituent words having the same case-ending.]

[FOOTNOTE 30:1. The theory here referred to is held by some of the
Mîmâmsakas. The imperative forms of the verb have their primary meaning,
i.e. the power of originating action, only in Vedic sentences which
enjoin the performance of certain actions for the bringing about of
certain ends: no other means of knowledge but the Veda informing us that
such ends can be accomplished by such actions. Nobody, e.g. would offer
a soma sacrifice in order to obtain the heavenly world, were he not told
by the Veda to do so. In ordinary life, on the other hand, no imperative
possesses this entirely unique originative force, since any action which
may be performed in consequence of a command may be prompted by other
motives as well: it is, in technical Indian language, established
already, apart from the command, by other means of knowledge. The man
who, e.g. is told to milk a cow might have proceeded to do so, apart
from the command, for reasons of his own. Imperatives in ordinary speech
are therefore held not to have their primary meaning, and this
conclusion is extended, somewhat unwarrantably one should say, to all
the words entering into an imperative clause.]

[FOOTNOTE 34:1. Being not permanent but occasional, it is an effect only,
and as such must have a cause.]

Mohini Shakti Devi
05 February 2010, 11:03 PM

This entire theory rests on a fictitious foundation of altogether hollow
and vicious arguments, incapable of being stated in definite logical
alternatives, and devised by men who are destitute of those particular
qualities which cause individuals to be chosen by the Supreme Person
revealed in the Upanishads; whose intellects are darkened by the
impression of beginningless evil; and who thus have no insight into the
nature of words and sentences, into the real purport conveyed by them,
and into the procedure of sound argumentation, with all its methods
depending on perception and the other instruments of right knowledge.
The theory therefore must needs be rejected by all those who, through
texts, perception and the other means of knowledge--assisted by sound
reasoning--have an insight into the true nature of things.

There is no proof of non-differenced substance.

To enter into details.--Those who maintain the doctrine of a substance
devoid of all difference have no right to assert that this or that is a
proof of such a substance; for all means of right knowledge have for
their object things affected with difference.--Should any one taking his
stand on the received views of his sect, assert that the theory of a
substance free from all difference (does not require any further means
of proof but) is immediately established by one's own consciousness; we
reply that he also is refuted by the fact, warranted by the witness of
the Self, that all consciousness implies difference: all states of
consciousness have for their object something that is marked by some
difference, as appears in the case of judgments like 'I saw this.' And
should a state of consciousness--although directly apprehended as
implying difference--be determined by some fallacious reasoning to be
devoid of difference, this determination could be effected only by means
of some special attributes additional to the quality of mere Being; and
owing to these special qualities on which the determination depends,
that state of consciousness would clearly again be characterised by
difference. The meaning of the mentioned determination could thus only
be that of a thing affected with certain differences some other
differences are denied; but manifestly this would not prove the
existence of a thing free from all difference. To thought there at any
rate belongs the quality of being thought and self-illuminatedness, for
the knowing principle is observed to have for its essential nature the
illumining (making to shine forth) of objects. And that also in the
states of deep sleep, swoon, &c., consciousness is affected with
difference we shall prove, in its proper place, in greater detail.
Moreover you yourself admit that to consciousness there actually belong
different attributes such as permanency (oneness, self-luminousness, &c.
), and of these it cannot be shown that they are only Being in general.
And even if the latter point were admitted, we observe that there takes
place a discussion of different views, and you yourself attempt to prove
your theory by means of the differences between those views and your own.
It therefore must be admitted that reality is affected with difference
well established by valid means of proof.

Sabda proves difference.

As to sound (speech; sabda) it is specially apparent that it possesses
the power of denoting only such things as are affected with difference.
Speech operates with words and sentences. Now a word (pada) originates
from the combination of a radical element and a suffix, and as these two
elements have different meanings it necessarily follows that the word
itself can convey only a sense affected with difference. And further,
the plurality of words is based on plurality of meanings; the sentence
therefore which is an aggregate of words expresses some special
combination of things (meanings of words), and hence has no power to
denote a thing devoid of all difference.--The conclusion is that sound
cannot be a means of knowledge for a thing devoid of all difference.

Pratyaksha--even of the nirvikalpaka kind--proves difference.

Perception in the next place--with its two subdivisions of
non-determinate (nirvikalpaka) and determinate (savikalpaka)
perception--also cannot be a means of knowledge for things devoid of
difference. Determinate perception clearly has for its object things
affected with difference; for it relates to that which is distinguished
by generic difference and so on. But also non-determinate perception has
for its object only what is marked with difference; for it is on the
basis of non-determinate perception that the object distinguished by
generic character and so on is recognised in the act of determinate
perception. Non-determinate perception is the apprehension of the object
in so far as destitute of some differences but not of all difference.
Apprehension of the latter kind is in the first place not observed ever
to take place, and is in the second place impossible: for all
apprehension by consciousness takes place by means of some distinction
'This is such and such.' Nothing can be apprehended apart from some
special feature of make or structure, as e.g. the triangularly shaped
dewlap in the case of cows. The true distinction between non-determinate
and determinate perception is that the former is the apprehension of the
first individual among a number of things belonging to the same class,
while the latter is the apprehension of the second, third, and so on,
individuals. On the apprehension of the first individual cow the
perceiving person is not conscious of the fact that the special shape
which constitutes the generic character of the class 'cows' extends to
the present individual also; while this special consciousness arises in
the case of the perception of the second and third cow. The perception
of the second individual thus is 'determinate' in so far as it is
determined by a special attribute, viz. the extension, to the
perception, of the generic character of a class--manifested in a certain
outward shape--which connects this act of perception with the earlier
perception (of the first individual); such determination being
ascertained only on the apprehension of the second individual. Such
extension or continuance of a certain generic character is, on the other
hand, not apprehended on the apprehension of the first individual, and
perception of the latter kind thence is 'non-determinate.' That it is
such is not due to non-apprehension of structure, colour, generic
character and so on, for all these attributes are equally objects of
sensuous perception (and hence perceived as belonging to the first
individual also). Moreover that which possesses structure cannot be
perceived apart from the structure, and hence in the case of the
apprehension of the first individual there is already perception of
structure, giving rise to the judgment 'The thing is such and such.' In
the case of the second, third, &c., individuals, on the other hand, we
apprehend, in addition to the thing possessing structure and to the
structure itself, the special attribute of the persistence of the
generic character, and hence the perception is 'determinate.' From all
this it follows that perception never has for its object that which is
devoid of all difference.

The bhedâbheda view is untenable.

The same arguments tend to refute the view that there is difference and
absence of difference at the same time (the so-called bhedâbheda view).
Take the judgment 'This is such and such'; how can we realise here the
non-difference of 'being this' and 'being such and such'? The 'such and
such' denotes a peculiar make characterised, e.g. by a dewlap, the
'this' denotes the thing distinguished by that peculiar make; the
non-difference of these two is thus contradicted by immediate
consciousness. At the outset the thing perceived is perceived as
separate from all other things, and this separation is founded on the
fact that the thing is distinguished by a special constitution, let us
say the generic characteristics of a cow, expressed by the term 'such
and such.' In general, wherever we cognise the relation of
distinguishing attribute and thing distinguished thereby, the two
clearly present themselves to our mind as absolutely different.
Somethings--e.g. staffs and bracelets--appear sometimes as having a
separate, independent existence of their own; at other times they
present themselves as distinguishing attributes of other things or
beings (i.e. of the persons carrying staffs or wearing bracelets). Other
entities--e.g. the generic character of cows--have a being only in so
far as they constitute the form of substances, and thus always present
themselves as distinguishing attributes of those substances. In both
cases there is the same relation of distinguishing attribute and thing
distinguished thereby, and these two are apprehended as absolutely
different. The difference between the two classes of entities is only
that staffs, bracelets, and similar things are capable of being
apprehended in separation from other things, while the generic
characteristics of a species are absolutely incapable thereof. The
assertion, therefore, that the difference of things is refuted by
immediate consciousness, is based on the plain denial of a certain form
of consciousness, the one namely--admitted by every one--which is
expressed in the judgment 'This thing is such and such.'--This same
point is clearly expounded by the Sûtrakâra in II, 2, 33.

Inference also teaches difference.

Perception thus having for its object only what is marked by difference,
inference also is in the same case; for its object is only what is
distinguished by connexion with things known through perception and
other means of knowledge. And thus, even in the case of disagreement as
to the number of the different instruments of knowledge, a thing devoid
of difference could not be established by any of them since the
instruments of knowledge acknowledged by all have only one and the same
object, viz. what is marked by difference. And a person who maintains
the existence of a thing devoid of difference on the ground of
differences affecting that very thing simply contradicts himself without
knowing what he does; he is in fact no better than a man who asserts
that his own mother never had any children.

Perception does not reveal mere being.

In reply to the assertion that perception causes the apprehension of
pure Being only, and therefore cannot have difference for its object;
and that 'difference' cannot be defined because it does not admit of
being set forth in definite alternatives; we point out that these
charges are completely refuted by the fact that the only objects of
perception are things distinguished by generic character and so on, and
that generic character and so on--as being relative things--give at once
rise to the judgment as to the distinction between themselves and the
things in which they inhere. You yourself admit that in the case of
knowledge and in that of colour and other qualities this relation holds
good, viz. that something which gives rise to a judgment about another
thing at the same time gives rise to a judgment about itself; the same
may therefore be admitted with regard to difference [FOOTNOTE 44:1].

For this reason the charge of a regressus in infinitum and a logical
seesaw (see above, p. 32) cannot be upheld. For even if perceptive
cognition takes place within one moment, we apprehend within that moment
the generic character which constitutes on the one hand the difference
of the thing from others, and on the other hand the peculiar character
of the thing itself; and thus there remains nothing to be apprehended in
a second moment.

Moreover, if perception made us apprehend only pure Being judgments
clearly referring to different objects--such as 'Here is a jar,' 'There
is a piece of cloth'--would be devoid of all meaning. And if through
perception we did not apprehend difference--as marked by generic
character, &c., constituting the structure or make of a thing, why
should a man searching for a horse not be satisfied with finding a
buffalo? And if mere Being only were the object of all our cognitions,
why should we not remember, in the case of each particular cognition,
all the words which are connected with all our cognitions? And further,
if the cognition of a horse and that of an elephant had one object only,
the later cognition would cause us to apprehend only what was
apprehended before, and there being thus no difference (of object of
cognition) there would be nothing to distinguish the later state of
cognition from remembrance. If on the other hand a difference is
admitted for each state of consciousness, we admit thereby that
perception has for its objects things affected with difference.

If all acts of cognition had one and the same object only, everything
would be apprehended by one act of cognition; and from this it would
follow that there are no persons either deaf or blind!

Nor does, as a matter of fact, the eye apprehend mere Being only; for
what it does apprehend is colour and the coloured thing, and those other
qualities (viz. extension, &c.), which inhere in the thing together with
colour. Nor does feeling do so; for it has for its objects things
palpable. Nor have the ear and the other senses mere Being for their
object; but they relate to what is distinguished by a special sound or
taste or smell. Hence there is not any source of knowledge causing us to
apprehend mere Being. If moreover the senses had for their object mere
Being free from all difference, it would follow that Scripture which has
the same object would (not be originative of knowledge but) perform the
function of a mere anuvâda, i.e. it would merely make statements about
something, the knowledge of which is already established by some other
means. And further, according to your own doctrine, mere Being, i.e.
Brahman, would hold the position of an object with regard to the
instruments of knowledge; and thus there would cling to it all the
imperfections indicated by yourself--non-intelligent nature,
perishableness and so on.--From all this we conclude that perception has
for its object only what is distinguished by difference manifesting
itself in generic character and so on, which constitute the make or
structure of a thing. (That the generic character of a thing is nothing
else but its particular structure follows) from the fact that we do not
perceive anything, different from structure, which could be claimed as
constituting the object of the cognition that several individuals
possess one and the same general form. And as our theory sufficiently
accounts for the ordinary notions as to generic character, and as
moreover even those who hold generic character to be something different
from structure admit that there is such a thing as (common) structure,
we adhere to the conclusion that generic character is nothing but
structure. By 'structure' we understand special or distinctive form; and
we acknowledge different forms of that kind according to the different
classes of things. And as the current judgments as to things being
different from one another can be explained on the basis of the
apprehension of generic character, and as no additional entity is
observed to exist, and as even those who maintain the existence of such
an additional thing admit the existence of generic character, we further
conclude that difference (bheda) is nothing but generic character (jâti).--
But if this were so, the judgment as to difference would immediately
follow from the judgment as to generic character, as soon as the latter
is apprehended! Quite true, we reply. As a matter of fact the judgment
of difference is immediately formulated on the basis of the judgment as
to generic character. For 'the generic character' of a cow, e.g., means
just the exclusion of everything else: as soon as that character is
apprehended all thought and speech referring to other creatures
belonging to the same wider genus (which includes buffaloes and so on
also) come to an end. It is through the apprehension of difference only
that the idea of non-difference comes to an end.

[FOOTNOTE 44:1. Colour reveals itself as well as the thing that has
colour; knowledge reveals itself as well as the object known; so
difference manifests itself as well as the things that differ.]

Plurality is not unreal.

Next as to the assertion that all difference presented in our
cognition--as of jars, pieces of cloth and the like--is unreal because
such difference does not persist. This view, we maintain, is altogether
erroneous, springs in fact from the neglect of distinguishing between
persistence and non-persistence on the one hand, and the relation
between what sublates and what is sublated on the other hand. Where two
cognitions are mutually contradictory, there the latter relation holds
good, and there is non-persistence of what is sublated. But jars, pieces
of cloth and the like, do not contradict one another, since they are
separate in place and time. If on the other hand the non-existence of a
thing is cognised at the same time and the same place where and when its
existence is cognised, we have a mutual contradiction of two cognitions,
and then the stronger one sublates the other cognition which thus comes
to an end. But when of a thing that is perceived in connexion with some
place and time, the non-existence is perceived in connexion with some
other place and time, there arises no contradiction; how then should the
one cognition sublate the other? or how can it be said that of a thing
absent at one time and place there is absence at other times and places
also? In the case of the snake-rope, there arises a cognition of
non-existence in connexion with the given place and time; hence there is
contradiction, one judgment sublates the other and the sublated
cognition comes to an end. But the circumstance of something which is
seen at one time and in one place not persisting at another time and in
another place is not observed to be invariably accompanied by falsehood,
and hence mere non-persistence of this kind does not constitute a reason
for unreality. To say, on the other hand, that what is is real because
it persists, is to prove what is proved already, and requires no further

Being and consciousness are not one.

Hence mere Being does not alone constitute reality. And as the
distinction between consciousness and its objects--which rests just on
this relation of object and that for which the object is--is proved by
perception, the assertion that only consciousness has real existence is
also disposed of.

The true meaning of Svayamprakâsatva.

We next take up the point as to the self-luminousness of consciousness
(above, p. 33). The contention that consciousness is not an object holds
good for the knowing Self at the time when it illumines (i.e.
constitutes as its objects) other things; but there is no absolute rule
as to all consciousness never being anything but self-luminous. For
common observation shows that the consciousness of one person may become
the object of the cognition of another, viz. of an inference founded on
the person's friendly or unfriendly appearance and the like, and again
that a person's own past states of consciousness become the object of
his own cognition--as appears from judgments such as 'At one time I knew.'
It cannot therefore be said 'If it is consciousness it is self-proved'
(above p. 33), nor that consciousness if becoming an object of
consciousness would no longer be consciousness; for from this it would
follow that one's own past states, and the conscious states of others--
because being objects of consciousness--are not themselves consciousness.
Moreover, unless it were admitted that there is inferential knowledge of
the thoughts of others, there would be no apprehension of the connexion
of words and meaning, and this would imply the absolute termination of
all human intercourse depending on speech. Nor also would it be possible
for pupils to attach themselves to a teacher of sacred lore, for the
reason that they had become aware of his wisdom and learning. The
general proposition that consciousness does not admit of being an object
is in fact quite untenable. The essential 'nature of consciousness or
knowledge--consists therein that it shines forth, or manifests itself,
through its own being to its own substrate at the present moment; or (to
give another definition) that it is instrumental in proving its own
object by its own being [FOOTNOTE 48:1].

Now these two characteristics are established by a person's own state of
consciousness and do not vanish when that consciousness becomes the
object of another state of consciousness; consciousness remains also in
the latter case what it is. Jars and similar things, on the other hand,
do not possess consciousness, not because they are objects of
consciousness but because they lack the two characteristics stated
above. If we made the presence of consciousness dependent on the absence
of its being an object of consciousness, we should arrive at the
conclusion that consciousness is not consciousness; for there are
things--e.g. sky-flowers--which are not objects of consciousness and at
the same time are not consciousness. You will perhaps reply to this that
a sky-flower's not being consciousness is due not to its not being an
object of consciousness, but to its non-existence!--Well then, we
rejoin, let us say analogously that the reason of jars and the like not
being contradictory to Nescience (i.e. of their being jada), is their
not being of the nature of consciousness, and let us not have recourse
to their being objects of consciousness!--But if consciousness is an
object of consciousness, we conclude that it also is non-contradictory
of Nescience, like a jar!--At this conclusion, we rejoin, you may arrive
even on the opposite assumption, reasoning as follows: 'Consciousness is
non-contradictory of Nescience, because it is not an object of
consciousness, like a sky-flower! All which shows that to maintain as a
general principle that something which is an object of consciousness
cannot itself be consciousness is simply ridiculous.'

[FOOTNOTE 48:1. The comment of the Sru. Pra. on the above definitions
runs, with a few additional explanations, as follows: The term
'anubhûti' here denotes knowledge in general, not only such knowledge as
is not remembrance (which limited meaning the term has sometimes). With
reference to the 'shining forth' it might be said that in this way jars
also and similar things know or are conscious because they also shine
forth' (viz. in so far as they are known); to exclude jars and the like
the text therefore adds 'to its own substrate' (the jar 'shines forth,'
not to itself, but to the knowing person). There are other attributes
of the Self, such as atomic extension, eternity, and so on, which are
revealed (not through themselves) but through an act of knowledge
different from them; to exclude those the text adds 'through its own
being.' In order to exclude past states of consciousness or acts of
knowledge, the text adds 'at the present moment.' A past state of
consciousness is indeed not revealed without another act of knowledge
(representing it), and would thus by itself be excluded; but the text
adds this specification (viz. 'at the present moment') on purpose, in
order to intimate that a past state of consciousness can be represented
by another state--a point denied by the opponent. 'At the present
moment' means 'the connexion with the object of knowledge belonging to
the present time.' Without the addition of 'to its own substrate' the
definition might imply that a state of consciousness is manifest to
another person also; to exclude this the clause is added. This first
definition might be objected to as acceptable only to those who maintain
the svayamprakâsatva-theory (which need not be discussed here); hence a
second definition is given. The two clauses 'to its own substrate' and
'at the present moment' have to be supplied in this second definition
also. 'Instrumental in bringing about' would apply to staffs, wheels,
and such like implements also; hence the text adds 'its own object.'
(Staffs, wheels, &c. have no 'objects.') Knowledge depending on sight
does not bring about an object depending on hearing; to exclude this
notion of universal instrumentality the text specifies the object by the
words 'its own.' The clause 'through its own being' excludes the sense
organs, which reveal objects not by their own being, but in so far as
they give rise to knowledge. The two clauses 'at the present moment' and
'to its own substrate' have the same office in the second definition as
in the first.]

Consciousness is not eternal.

It was further maintained by the pûrvapakshin that as consciousness is
self-established it has no antecedent non-existence and so on, and that
this disproves its having an origin. But this is an attempt to prove
something not proved by something else that is equally unproved;
comparable to a man blind from birth undertaking to guide another blind
man! You have no right to maintain the non-existence of the antecedent
non-existence of consciousness on the ground that there is nothing to
make us apprehend that non-existence; for there is something to make us
apprehend it, viz. consciousness itself!--But how can consciousness at
the time when it is, make us apprehend its own previous non-existence
which is contradictorily opposed to it?--Consciousness, we rejoin, does
not necessarily constitute as its objects only what occupies the same
time with itself; were it so it would follow that neither the past nor
the future can be the object of consciousness. Or do you mean that there
is an absolute rule that the Antecedent non-existence of consciousness,
if proved, must be contemporaneous with consciousness? Have you then, we
ask, ever observed this so as to be able to assert an absolute rule? And
if it were observed, that would prove the existence of previous
non-existence, not its negation!--The fact, however, is that no person
in his senses will maintain the contemporaneous existence of
consciousness and its own antecedent non-existence. In the case of
perceptive knowledge originating from sensation, there is indeed this
limitation, that it causes the apprehension of such things only as are
actually present at the same time. But this limitation does not extend
to cognitions of all kinds, nor to all instruments of knowledge; for we
observe that remembrance, inference, and the magical perception of Yogis
apprehend such things also as are not present at the time of
apprehension. On this very point there rests the relation connecting the
means of knowledge with their objects, viz. that the former are not
without the latter. This does not mean that the instrument of knowledge
is connected with its object in that way that it is not without
something that is present at the time of cognition; but rather that the
instrument of knowledge is opposed to the falsehood of that special form
in which the object presents itself as connected with some place and
time.--This disposes also of the contention that remembrance has no
external object; for it is observed that remembrance is related to such
things also as have perished.--Possibly you will now argue as follows.
The antecedent non-existence of consciousness cannot be ascertained by
perception, for it is not something present at the time of perception.
It further cannot be ascertained by the other means of knowledge, since
there is no characteristic mark (linga) on which an inference could be
based: for we do not observe any characteristic mark invariably
accompanied by the antecedent non-existence of consciousness. Nor do we
meet with any scriptural text referring to this antecedent
non-existence. Hence, in the absence of any valid instrument of
knowledge, the antecedent non-existence of consciousness cannot be
established at all.--If, we reply, you thus, altogether setting aside
the force of self-provedness (on which you had relied hitherto), take
your stand on the absence of valid means of knowledge, we again must
request you to give in; for there is a valid means of knowledge whereby
to prove the antecedent non-existence of consciousness, viz. valid
non-perception (anupalabdhi).

Moreover, we observe that perceptional knowledge proves its object, be
it a jar or something else, to exist only as long as it exists itself,
not at all times; we do not, through it, apprehend the antecedent or
subsequent existence of the jar. Now this absence of apprehension is due
to the fact that consciousness itself is limited in time. If that
consciousness which has a jar for its object were itself apprehended as
non-limited in time, the object also--the jar--would be apprehended
under the same form, i.e. it would be eternal. And if self-established
consciousness were eternal, it would be immediately cognised as eternal;
but this is not the case. Analogously, if inferential consciousness and
other forms of consciousness were apprehended as non-limited in time,
they would all of them reveal their objects also as non-limited, and
these objects would thus be eternal; for the objects are conform in
nature to their respective forms of consciousness.

There is no consciousness without object.

Nor is there any consciousness devoid of objects; for nothing of this
kind is ever known. Moreover, the self-luminousness of consciousness has,
by our opponent himself, been proved on the ground that its essential
nature consists in illumining (revealing) objects; the self-luminousness
of consciousness not admitting of proof apart from its essential nature
which consists in the lighting up of objects. And as moreover, according
to our opponent, consciousness cannot be the object of another
consciousness, it would follow that (having neither an object nor itself
being an object) it is something altogether unreal, imaginary.

Nor are you justified in maintaining that in deep sleep, swoon,
senselessness and similar states, pure consciousness, devoid of any
object, manifests itself. This view is negatived by 'valid
non-perception' (see above, p. 52). If consciousness were present in
those states also, there would be remembrance of it at the time of
waking from sleep or recovery from swoon; but as a matter of fact there
is no such remembrance.--But it is not an absolute rule that something
of which we were conscious must be remembered; how then can the absence
of remembrance prove the absence of previous consciousness?--Unless, we
reply, there be some cause of overpowering strength which quite
obliterates all impressions--as e.g. the dissolution of the body--the
absence of remembrance does necessarily prove the absence of previous
consciousness. And, moreover, in the present case the absence of
consciousness does not only follow from absence of remembrance; it is
also proved by the thought presenting itself to the person risen from
sleep, 'For so long a time I was not conscious of anything.'--Nor may it
be said that even if there was consciousness, absence of remembrance
would necessarily follow from the absence (during deep sleep) of the
distinction of objects, and from the extinction of the consciousness of
the 'I'; for the non-consciousness of some one thing, and the absence of
some one thing cannot be the cause of the non-remembrance of some other
thing, of which there had been consciousness. And that in the states in
question the consciousness of the 'I' does persist, will moreover be
shown further on.

But, our opponent urges, have you not said yourself that even in deep
sleep and similar states there is consciousness marked by difference?--
True, we have said so. But that consciousness is consciousness of the
Self, and that this is affected by difference will be proved further on.
At present we are only interested in denying the existence of your pure
consciousness, devoid of all objects and without a substrate. Nor can we
admit that your pure consciousness could constitute what we call the
consciousness of the Self; for we shall prove that the latter has a

It thus cannot be maintained that the antecedent non-existence of
consciousness does not admit of being proved, because consciousness
itself does not prove it. And as we have shown that consciousness itself
may be an object of consciousness, we have thereby disproved the alleged
impossibility of antecedent non-existence being proved by other means.
Herewith falls the assertion that the non-origination of consciousness
can be proved.

Consciousness is capable of change.

Against the assertion that the alleged non-origination of consciousness
at the same time proves that consciousness is not capable of any other
changes (p. 36), we remark that the general proposition on which this
conclusion rests is too wide: it would extend to antecedent
non-existence itself, of which it is evident that it comes to an end,
although it does not originate. In qualifying the changes as changes of
'Being,' you manifest great logical acumen indeed! For according to your
own view Nescience also (which is not 'Being') does not originate, is
the substrate of manifold changes, and comes to an end through the rise
of knowledge! Perhaps you will say that the changes of Nescience are all
unreal. But, do you then, we ask in reply, admit that any change is
real? You do not; and yet it is only this admission which would give a
sense to the distinction expressed by the word 'Being' [FOOTNOTE 54:1].

Nor is it true that consciousness does not admit of any division within
itself, because it has no beginning (p. 36). For the non-originated Self
is divided from the body, the senses, &c., and Nescience also, which is
avowedly without a beginning, must needs be admitted to be divided from
the Self. And if you say that the latter division is unreal, we ask
whether you have ever observed a real division invariably connected with
origination! Moreover, if the distinction of Nescience from the Self is
not real, it follows that Nescience and the Self are essentially one.
You further have yourself proved the difference of views by means of the
difference of the objects of knowledge as established by non-refuted
knowledge; an analogous case being furnished by the difference of acts
of cleaving, which results from the difference of objects to be cleft.
And if you assert that of this knowing--which is essentially knowing
only--nothing that is an object of knowledge can be an attribute, and
that these objects--just because they are objects of knowledge--cannot
be attributes of knowing; we point out that both these remarks would
apply also to eternity, self-luminousness, and the other attributes of
'knowing', which are acknowledged by yourself, and established by valid
means of proof. Nor may you urge against this that all these alleged
attributes are in reality mere 'consciousness' or 'knowing'; for they
are essentially distinct. By 'being conscious' or 'knowing', we
understand the illumining or manifesting of some object to its own
substrate (i.e. the substrate of knowledge), by its own existence (i.e.
the existence of knowledge) merely; by self-luminousness (or
'self-illuminatedness') we understand the shining forth or being
manifest by its own existence merely to its own substrate; the terms
'shining forth', 'illumining', 'being manifest' in both these
definitions meaning the capability of becoming an object of thought and
speech which is common to all things, whether intelligent or
non-intelligent. Eternity again means 'being present in all time';
oneness means 'being defined by the number one'. Even if you say that
these attributes are only negative ones, i.e. equal to the absence of
non-intelligence and so on, you still cannot avoid the admission that
they are attributes of consciousness. If, on the other hand, being of a
nature opposite to non-intelligence and so on, be not admitted as
attributes of consciousness--whether of a positive or a negative
kind--in addition to its essential nature; it is an altogether unmeaning
proceeding to deny to it such qualities, as non-intelligence and the

We moreover must admit the following alternative: consciousness is
either proved (established) or not. If it is proved it follows that it
possesses attributes; if it is not, it is something absolutely nugatory,
like a sky-flower, and similar purely imaginary things.

[FOOTNOTE 54:1. The Sânkara is not entitled to refer to a distinction of
real and unreal division, because according to his theory all
distinction is unreal.]

Mohini Shakti Devi
05 February 2010, 11:04 PM
Consciousness is the attribute of a permanent Conscious self.

Let it then be said that consciousness is proof (siddhih) itself. Proof
of what, we ask in reply, and to whom? If no definite answer can be
given to these two questions, consciousness cannot be defined as
'proof'; for 'proof' is a relative notion, like 'son.' You will perhaps
reply 'Proof to the Self'; and if we go on asking 'But what is that
Self'? you will say, 'Just consciousness as already said by us before.'
True, we reply, you said so; but it certainly was not well said. For if
it is the nature of consciousness to be 'proof' ('light,'
'enlightenment') on the part of a person with regard to something, how
can this consciousness which is thus connected with the person and the
thing be itself conscious of itself? To explain: the essential character
of consciousness or knowledge is that by its very existence it renders
things capable of becoming objects, to its own substrate, of thought and
speech. This consciousness (anubhûti), which is also termed jñâna,
avagati, samvid, is a particular attribute belonging to a conscious Self
and related to an object: as such it is known to every one on the
testimony of his own Self--as appears from ordinary judgments such as 'I
know the jar,' 'I understand this matter,' 'I am conscious of (the
presence of) this piece of cloth.' That such is the essential nature of
consciousness you yourself admit; for you have proved thereby its
self-luminousness. Of this consciousness which thus clearly presents
itself as the attribute of an agent and as related to an object, it
would be difficult indeed to prove that at the same time it is itself
the agent; as difficult as it would be to prove that the object of
action is the agent.

For we clearly see that this agent (the subject of consciousness) is
permanent (constant), while its attribute, i. e. consciousness, not
differing herein from joy, grief, and the like, rises, persists for some
time, and then comes to an end. The permanency of the conscious subject
is proved by the fact of recognition, 'This very same thing was formerly
apprehended by me.' The non-permanency of consciousness, on the other
hand, is proved by thought expressing itself in the following forms, 'I
know at present,' 'I knew at a time,' 'I, the knowing subject, no longer
have knowledge of this thing.' How then should consciousness and (the
conscious subject) be one? If consciousness which changes every moment
were admitted to constitute the conscious subject, it would be
impossible for us to recognise the thing seen to-day as the one we saw
yesterday; for what has been perceived by one cannot be recognised by
another. And even if consciousness were identified with the conscious
subject and acknowledged as permanent, this would no better account for
the fact of recognition. For recognition implies a conscious subject
persisting from the earlier to the later moment, and not merely
consciousness. Its expression is 'I myself perceived this thing on a
former occasion.' According to your view the quality of being a
conscious agent cannot at all belong to consciousness; for consciousness,
you say, is just consciousness and nothing more. And that there exists a
pure consciousness devoid of substrate and objects alike, we have
already refuted on the ground that of a thing of this kind we have
absolutely no knowledge. And that the consciousness admitted by both of
us should be the Self is refuted by immediate consciousness itself. And
we have also refuted the fallacious arguments brought forward to prove
that mere consciousness is the only reality.--But, another objection is
raised, should the relation of the Self and the 'I' not rather be
conceived as follows:--In self-consciousness which expresses itself in
the judgment 'I know,' that intelligent something which constitutes the
absolutely non-objective element, and is pure homogeneous light, is the
Self; the objective element (yushmad-artha) on the other hand, which is
established through its being illumined (revealed) by the Self is the
_I_--in 'I know'--and this is something different from pure
intelligence, something objective or external?

By no means, we reply; for this view contradicts the relation of
attribute and substrate of attribute of which we are directly conscious,
as implied in the thought 'I know.'

Consider also what follows.--'If the _I_ were not the Self, the
inwardness of the Self would not exist; for it is just the consciousness
of the _I_ which separates the inward from the outward.

'"May I, freeing myself from all pain, enter on free possession of
endless delight?" This is the thought which prompts the man desirous of
release to apply himself to the study of the sacred texts. Were it a
settled matter that release consists in the annihilation of the I, the
same man would move away as soon as release were only hinted at. "When I
myself have perished, there still persists some consciousness different
from me;" to bring this about nobody truly will exert himself.

'Moreover the very existence of consciousness, its being a consciousness
at all, and its being self-luminous, depend on its connexion with a Self;
when that connexion is dissolved, consciousness itself cannot be
established, not any more than the act of cutting can take place when
there is no person to cut and nothing to be cut. Hence it is certain
that the I, i.e. the knowing subject, is the inward Self.'

This scripture confirms when saying 'By what should he know the knower?'
(Bri. Up. II, 4, 15); and Smriti also, 'Him who knows this they call the
knower of the body' (Bha. Gî. XIII, 1). And the Sûtrakâra also, in the
section beginning with 'Not the Self on account of scriptural statement'
(II, 3, 17), will say 'For this very reason (it is) a knower' (II, 3,
18); and from this it follows that the Self is not mere consciousness.

What is established by consciousness of the 'I' is the I itself, while
the not-I is given in the consciousness of the not-I; hence to say that
the knowing subject, which is established by the state of consciousness,
'I know,' is the not-I, is no better than to maintain that one's own
mother is a barren woman. Nor can it be said that this 'I,' the knowing
subject, is dependent on its light for something else. It rather is
self-luminous; for to be self-luminous means to have consciousness for
one's essential nature. And that which has light for its essential
nature does not depend for its light on something else. The case is
analogous to that of the flame of a lamp or candle. From the
circumstance that the lamp illumines with its light other things, it
does not follow either that it is not luminous, or that its luminousness
depends on something else; the fact rather is that the lamp being of
luminous nature shines itself and illumines with its light other things
also. To explain.--The one substance tejas, i.e. fire or heat, subsists
in a double form, viz. as light (prabhâ), and as luminous matter.
Although light is a quality of luminous substantial things, it is in
itself nothing but the substance tejas, not a mere quality like e.g.
whiteness; for it exists also apart from its substrates, and possesses
colour (which is a quality). Having thus attributes different from those
of qualities such as whiteness and so on, and possessing illumining
power, it is the substance tejas, not anything else (e.g. a quality).
Illumining power belongs to it, because it lights up itself and other
things. At the same time it is practically treated as a quality because
it always has the substance tejas for its substrate, and depends on it.
This must not be objected to on the ground that what is called light is
really nothing but dissolving particles of matter which proceed from the
substance tejas; for if this were so, shining gems and the sun would in
the end consume themselves completely. Moreover, if the flame of a lamp
consisted of dissolving particles of matter, it would never be
apprehended as a whole; for no reason can be stated why those particles
should regularly rise in an agglomerated form to the height of four
fingers breadth, and after that simultaneously disperse themselves
uniformly in all directions--upwards, sideways, and downwards. The fact
is that the flame of the lamp together with its light is produced anew
every moment and again vanishes every moment; as we may infer from the
successive combination of sufficient causes (viz. particles of oil and
wick) and from its coming to an end when those causes are completely

Analogously to the lamp, the Self is essentially intelligent (kid-rûpa),
and has intelligence (kaitanya) for its quality. And to be essentially
intelligent means to be self-luminous. There are many scriptural texts
declaring this, compare e.g. 'As a mass of salt has neither inside nor
outside but is altogether a mass of taste, thus indeed that Self has
neither inside nor outside but is altogether a mass of knowledge' (Bri.
Up. IV, 5, 13); 'There that person becomes self-luminous, there is no
destruction of the knowing of the knower' (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 14; 30); 'He
who knows, let me smell this, he is the Self (Ch. Up. VIII, 12, 4); 'Who
is that Self? That one who is made of knowledge, among the prânas,
within the heart, the light, the person' (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 7); 'For it is
he who sees, hears, smells, tastes, thinks, considers, acts, the person
whose Self is knowledge' (Pr. Up. IV, 9); 'Whereby should one know the
knower' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 15). 'This person knows,' 'The seer does not
see death nor illness nor pain' (Ch. Up. VII, 26, 2); 'That highest
person not remembering this body into which he was born' (Ch. Up. VIII,
12, 3); 'Thus these sixteen parts of the spectator that go towards the
person; when they have readied the person, sink into him' (Pr. Up. VI,
5); 'From this consisting of mind, there is different an interior Self
consisting of knowledge' (Taitt. Up. II, 4). And the Sûtrakâra also will
refer to the Self as a 'knower' in II, 3, 18. All which shows that the
self-luminous Self is a knower, i.e. a knowing subject, and not pure
light (non-personal intelligence). In general we may say that where
there is light it must belong to something, as shown by the light of a
lamp. The Self thus cannot be mere consciousness. The grammarians
moreover tell us that words such as 'consciousness,' 'knowledge,' &c.,
are relative; neither ordinary nor Vedic language uses expressions such
as 'he knows' without reference to an object known and an agent who

With reference to the assertion that consciousness constitutes the Self,
because it (consciousness) is not non-intelligent (jada), we ask what
you understand by this absence of non-intelligence.' If you reply
'luminousness due to the being of the thing itself (i.e. of the thing
which is ajada)'; we point out that this definition would wrongly
include lamps also, and similar things; and it would moreover give rise
to a contradiction, since you do not admit light as an attribute,
different from consciousness itself. Nor can we allow you to define
ajadatva as 'being of that nature that light is always present, without
any exception,' for this definition would extend also to pleasure, pain,
and similar states. Should you maintain that pleasure and so on,
although being throughout of the nature of light, are non-intelligent
for the reason that, like jars, &c., they shine forth (appear) to
something else and hence belong to the sphere of the not-Self; we ask in
reply: Do you mean then to say that knowledge appears to itself?
Knowledge no less than pleasure appears to some one else, viz. the 'I':
there is, in that respect, no difference between the judgment 'I know,'
and the judgment 'I am pleased.' Non-intelligence in the sense of
appearingness-to-itself is thus not proved for consciousness; and hence
it follows that what constitutes the Self is the non-jada 'I' which is
proved to itself by its very Being. That knowledge is of the nature of
light depends altogether on its connection with the knowing 'I': it is
due to the latter, that knowledge, like pleasure, manifests itself to
that conscious person who is its substrate, and not to anybody else. The
Self is thus not mere knowledge, but is the knowing 'I.'

The view that the conscious subject is something unreal, due to the
ahamkâra, cannot be maintained.

We turn to a further point. You maintain that consciousness which is in
reality devoid alike of objects and substrate presents itself, owing to
error, in the form of a knowing subject, just as mother o' pearl appears
as silver; (consciousness itself being viewed as a real substrate of an
erroneous imputation), because an erroneous imputation cannot take place
apart from a substrate. But this theory is indefensible. If things were
as you describe them, the conscious 'I' would be cognised as co-ordinate
with the state of consciousness 'I am consciousness,' just as the
shining thing presenting itself to our eyes is judged to be silver. But
the fact is that the state of consciousness presents itself as something
apart, constituting a distinguishing attribute of the I, just as the
stick is an attribute of Devadatta who carries it. The judgment 'I am
conscious' reveals an 'I' distinguished by consciousness; and to declare
that it refers only to a state of consciousness--which is a mere
attribute--is no better than to say that the judgment 'Devadatta carries
a stick' is about the stick only. Nor are you right in saying that the
idea of the Self being a knowing agent, presents itself to the mind of
him only who erroneously identifies the Self and the body, an error
expressing itself in judgments such as 'I am stout,' and is on that
account false; for from this it would follow that the consciousness
which is erroneously imagined as a Self is also false; for it presents
itself to the mind of the same person. You will perhaps rejoin that
consciousness is not false because it (alone) is not sublatcd by that
cognition which sublates everything else. Well, we reply, then the
knowership of the Self also is not false; for that also is not sublatcd.
You further maintain that the character of being a knower, i.e. the
agent in the action of knowing, does not become the non-changing Self;
that being a knower is something implying change, of a non-intelligent
kind (jada), and residing in the ahamkâra which is the abode of change
and a mere effect of the Unevolved (the Prakriti); that being an agent
and so on is like colour and other qualities, an attribute of what is
objective; and that if we admit the Self to be an agent and the object
of the notion of the 'I,' it also follows that the Self is, like the
body, not a real Self but something external and non-intelligent. But
all this is unfounded, since the internal organ is, like the body,
non-intelligent, an effect of Prakriti, an object of knowledge,
something outward and for the sake of others merely; while being a
knowing subject constitutes the special essential nature of intelligent
beings. To explain. Just as the body, through its objectiveness,
outwardness, and similar causes, is distinguished from what possesses
the opposite attributes of subjectiveness, inwardness, and so on; for
the same reason the ahamkâra also--which is of the same substantial
nature as the body--is similarly distinguished. Hence the ahamkâra is
no more a knower than it is something subjective; otherwise there would
be an evident contradiction. As knowing cannot be attributed to the
ahamkâra, which is an object of knowledge, so knowership also cannot be
ascribed to it; for of that also it is the object. Nor can it be
maintained that to be a knower is something essentially changing. For to
be a knower is to be the substrate of the quality of knowledge, and as
the knowing Self is eternal, knowledge which is an essential quality of
the Self is also eternal. That the Self is eternal will be declared in
the Sûtra, II, 3, 17; and in II, 3, 18 the term 'jña' (knower) will show
that it is an essential quality of the Self to be the abode of
knowledge. That a Self whose essential nature is knowledge should be the
substrate of the (quality of) knowledge--just as gems and the like are
the substrate of light--gives rise to no contradiction whatever.

Knowledge (the quality) which is in itself unlimited, is capable of
contraction and expansion, as we shall show later on. In the so-called
kshetrajña--condition of the Self, knowledge is, owing to the influence
of work (karman), of a contracted nature, as it more or less adapts
itself to work of different kinds, and is variously determined by the
different senses. With reference to this various flow of knowledge as
due to the senses, it is spoken of as rising and setting, and the Self
possesses the quality of an agent. As this quality is not, however,
essential, but originated by action, the Self is essentially unchanging.
This changeful quality of being a knower can belong only to the Self
whose essential nature is knowledge; not possibly to the non-intelligent
ahamkâra. But, you will perhaps say, the ahamkâra, although of non-
intelligent nature, may become a knower in so far as by approximation to
intelligence it becomes a reflection of the latter. How, we ask in
return, is this becoming a reflection of intelligence imagined to take
place? Does consciousness become a reflection of the ahamkâra, or does
the ahamkâra become a reflection of consciousness? The former
alternative is inadmissible, since you will not allow to consciousness
the quality of being a knower; and so is the latter since, as explained
above, the non-intelligent ahamkâra can never become a knower. Moreover,
neither consciousness nor the ahamkâra are objects of visual perception.
Only things seen by the eye have reflections.--Let it then be said that
as an iron ball is heated by contact with fire, so the consciousness of
being a knower is imparted to the ahamkâra through its contact with
Intelligence.--This view too is inadmissible; for as you do not allow
real knowership to Intelligence, knowership or the consciousness of
knowership cannot be imparted to the ahamkâra by contact with
Intelligence; and much less even can knowership or the consciousness of
it be imparted to Intelligence by contact with the essentially non-
intelligent ahamkâra. Nor can we accept what you say about
'manifestation.' Neither the ahamkâra, you say, nor Intelligence is
really a knowing subject, but the ahamkâra manifests consciousness
abiding within itself (within the ahamkâra), as the mirror manifests the
image abiding within it. But the essentially non-intelligent ahamkâra
evidently cannot 'manifest' the self-luminous Self. As has been said
'That the non-intelligent ahamkâra should manifest the self-luminous
Self, has no more sense than to say that a spent coal manifests the Sun.'
The truth is that all things depend for their proof on self-luminous
consciousness; and now you maintain that one of these things, viz. the
non-intelligent ahamkâra--which itself depends for its light on
consciousness--manifests consciousness, whose essential light never
rises or sets, and which is the cause that proves everything! Whoever
knows the nature of the Self will justly deride such a view! The
relation of 'manifestation' cannot hold good between consciousness and
the ahamkâra for the further reason also that there is a contradiction
in nature between the two, and because it would imply consciousness not
to be consciousness. As has been said, 'One cannot manifest the other,
owing to contradictoriness; and if the Self were something to be
manifested, that would imply its being non-intelligent like a jar.' Nor
is the matter improved by your introducing the hand and the sunbeams
(above, p. 38), and to say that as the sunbeams while manifesting the
hand, are at the same time manifested by the hand, so consciousness,
while manifesting the ahamkâra, is at the same time itself manifested by
the latter. The sunbeams are in reality not manifested by the hand at
all. What takes place is that the motion of the sunbeams is reversed
(reflected) by the opposed hand; they thus become more numerous, and
hence are perceived more clearly; but this is due altogether to the
multitude of beams, not to any manifesting power on the part of the hand.

What could, moreover, be the nature of that 'manifestation' of the Self
consisting of Intelligence, which would be effected through the ahamkâra?
It cannot be origination; for you acknowledge that what is self-
established cannot be originated by anything else. Nor can it be
'illumination' (making to shine forth), since consciousness cannot--
according to you--be the object of another consciousness. For the same
reason it cannot be any action assisting the means of being conscious of
consciousness. For such helpful action could be of two kinds only. It
would either be such as to cause the connexion of the object to be known
with the sense-organs; as e.g. any action which, in the case of the
apprehension of a species or of one's own face, causes connexion between
the organ of sight and an individual of the species, or a looking-glass.
Or it would be such as to remove some obstructive impurity in the mind
of the knowing person; of this kind is the action of calmness and self-
restraint with reference to scripture which is the means of apprehending
the highest reality. Moreover, even if it were admitted that
consciousness may be an object of consciousness, it could not be
maintained that the 'I' assists the means whereby that consciousness is
effected. For if it did so, it could only be in the way of removing any
obstacles impeding the origination of such consciousness; analogous to
the way in which a lamp assists the eye by dispelling the darkness which
impedes the origination of the apprehension of colour. But in the case
under discussion we are unable to imagine such obstacles. There is
nothing pertaining to consciousness which obstructs the origination of
the knowledge of consciousness and which could be removed by the
ahamkâra.--There is something, you will perhaps reply, viz. Nescience!
Not so, we reply. That Nescience is removed by the ahamkâra cannot be
admitted; knowledge alone can put an end to Nescience. Nor can
consciousness be the abode of Nescience, because in that case Nescience
would have the same abode and the same object as knowledge.

In pure knowledge where there is no knowing subject and no object of
knowledge--the so-called 'witnessing' principle (sâkshin)--Nescience
cannot exist. Jars and similar things cannot be the abode of Nescience
because there is no possibility of their being the abode of knowledge,
and for the same reason pure knowledge also cannot be the abode of
Nescience. And even if consciousness were admitted to be the abode of
Nescience, it could not be the object of knowledge; for consciousness
being viewed as the Self cannot be the object of knowledge, and hence
knowledge cannot terminate the Nescience abiding within consciousness.
For knowledge puts an end to Nescience only with regard to its own
objects, as in the case of the snake-rope. And the consequence of this
would be that the Nescience attached to consciousness could never be
destroyed by any one.--If Nescience, we further remark, is viewed as
that which can be defined neither as Being nor non-Being, we shall show
later on that such Nescience is something quite incomprehensible.--On
the other hand, Nescience, if understood to be the antecedent non-
existence of knowledge, is not opposed in nature to the origination of
knowledge, and hence the dispelling of Nescience cannot be viewed as
promoting the means of the knowledge of the Self.--From all this it
follows that the ahamkâra cannot effect in any way 'manifestation of

Nor (to finish up this point) can it be said that it is the essential
nature of manifesting agents to manifest things in so far as the latter
have their abode in the former; for such a relation is not observed in
the case of lamps and the like (which manifest what lies outside them).
The essential nature of manifesting agents rather lies therein that they
promote the knowledge of things as they really are, and this is also the
nature of whatever promotes knowledge and the means thereof. Nor is it
even true that the mirror manifests the face. The mirror is only the
cause of a certain irregularity, viz. the reversion of the ocular rays
of light, and to this irregularity there is due the appearance of the
face within the mirror; but the manifesting agent is the light only. And
it is evident that the ahamkâra is not capable of producing an
irregularity (analogous to that produced by the mirror) in consciousness
which is self-luminous.--And--with regard to the second analogous
instance alleged by you--the fact is that the species is known through
the individual because the latter is its substrate (as expressed in the
general principle, 'the species is the form of the individual'), but not
because the individual 'manifests' the species. Thus there is no reason,
either real or springing from some imperfection, why the consciousness
of consciousness should be brought about by its abiding in the ahamkâra,
and the attribute of being the knowing agent or the consciousness of
that cannot therefore belong to the ahamkâra. Hence, what constitutes
the inward Self is not pure consciousness but the 'I' which proves
itself as the knowing subject. In the absence of egoity, 'inwardness'
could not be established for consciousness.

Mohini Shakti Devi
05 February 2010, 11:06 PM
The conscious subject persists in deep sleep.

We now come to the question as to the nature of deep sleep. In deep
sleep the quality of darkness prevails in the mind and there is no
consciousness of outward things, and thus there is no distinct and clear
presentation of the 'I'; but all the same the Self somehow presents
itself up to the time of waking in the one form of the 'I,' and the
latter cannot therefore be said to be absent. Pure consciousness assumed
by you (to manifest itself in deep sleep) is really in no better case;
for a person risen from deep sleep never represents to himself his
state of consciousness during sleep in the form, 'I was pure
consciousness free from all egoity and opposed in nature to everything
else, witnessing Nescience'; what he thinks is only 'I slept well.' From
this form of reflection it appears that even during sleep the Self. i.e.
the 'I,' was a knowing subject and perceptive of pleasure. Nor must you
urge against this that the reflection has the following form: 'As now I
feel pleasure, so I slept then also'; for the reflection is distinctly
_not_ of that kind. [FOOTNOTE 68:1] Nor must you say that owing to the
non-permanency of the 'I' its perception of pleasure during sleep
cannot connect itself with the waking state. For (the 'I' is permanent
as appears from the fact that) the person who has risen from sleep
recalls things of which he was conscious before his sleep, 'I did such
and such a thing,' 'I observed this or that,' 'I said so or so.'--But,
you will perhaps say, he also reflects, 'For such and such a time I was
conscious of nothing!'--'And what does this imply?' we ask.--'It implies
a negation of everything!'--By no means, we rejoin. The words 'I was
conscious' show that the knowing 'I' persisted, and that hence what is
negated is only the objects of knowledge. If the negation implied in 'of
nothing' included everything, it would also negative the pure
consciousness which you hold to persist in deep sleep. In the judgment
'I was conscious of nothing,' the word 'I' clearly refers to the 'I,' i.
e. the knowing Self which persists even during deep sleep, while the
words 'was conscious of nothing' negative all knowledge on the part of
t`at 'I'; if, now%2K in the face of this, you undertake to prove by means
of this very judgment that knowledge--which is expressly denied--existed
at the time, and that the persisting knowing Self did not exist, you may
address your proof to the patient gods who give no reply!--But--our
opponent goes on to urge--I form the following judgment also: 'I then
was not conscious of myself,' and from this I understand that the 'I'
did not persist during deep sleep!--You do not know, we rejoin, that
this denial of the persistence of the 'I' flatly contradicts the state
of consciousness expressed in the judgment 'I was not conscious of
myself' and the verbal form of the judgment itself!--But what then is
denied by the words 'of myself?--This, we admit, is a reasonable
question. Let us consider the point. What is negatived in that judgment
is not the knowing 'I' itself, but merely the distinctions of caste,
condition of life, &c. which belong to the 'I' at the time of waking. We
must distinguish the objects of the several parts of the judgment under
discussion. The object of the '(me) myself' is the 'I' distinguished by
class characteristics as it presents itself in the waking state; the
object of the word 'I' (in the judgment) is that 'I' which consists of a
uniform flow of self-consciousness which persists in sleep also, but is
then not quite distinct. The judgment 'I did not know myself' therefore
means that the sleeper was not conscious of the place where he slept, of
his special characteristics, and so on.--It is, moreover, your own view
that in deep sleep the Self occupies the position of a witnessing
principle with regard to Nescience. But by a witness (sâkshin) we
understand some one who knows about something by personal observation
(sâkshât); a person who does not know cannot be a witness. Accordingly,
in scripture as well as in ordinary language a knowing subject only, not
mere knowledge, is spoken of as a witness; and with this the Reverend
Pânini also agrees when teaching that the word 'sâkshin' means one who
knows in person (Pâ. Sû. V, 2, 91). Now this witness is nothing else but
the 'I' which is apprehended in the judgment 'I know'; and how then
should this 'I' not be apprehended in the state of sleep? That which
itself appears to the Self appears as the 'I,' and it thus follows that
also in deep sleep and similar states the Self which then shines forth
appears as the 'I.'

[FOOTNOTE 68:1. I. e. the reflection as to the perception of pleasure
refers to the past state of sleep only, not to the present moment of

The conscious subject persists in the state of release.

To maintain that the consciousness of the 'I' does not persist in the
state of final release is again altogether inappropriate. It in fact
amounts to the doctrine--only expressed in somewhat different words--
that final release is the annihilation of the Self. The 'I' is not a
mere attribute of the Self so that even after its destruction the
essential nature of the Self might persist--as it persists on the
cessation of ignorance; but it constitutes the very nature of the Self.
Such judgments as 'I know', 'Knowledge has arisen in me', show, on the
other hand, that we are conscious of knowledge as a mere attribute of
the Self.--Moreover, a man who suffering pain, mental or of other kind--
whether such pain be real or due to error only--puts himself in relation
to pain--'I am suffering pain'--naturally begins to reflect how he may
once for all free himself from all these manifold afflictions and enjoy
a state of untroubled ease; the desire of final release thus having
arisen in him he at once sets to work to accomplish it. If, on the other
hand, he were to realise that the effect of such activity would be the
loss of personal existence, he surely would turn away as soon as
somebody began to tell him about 'release'. And the result of this would
be that, in the absence of willing and qualified pupils, the whole
scriptural teaching as to final release would lose its authoritative
character.--Nor must you maintain against this that even in the state of
release there persists pure consciousness; for this by no means improves
your case. No sensible person exerts himself under the influence of the
idea that after he himself has perished there will remain some entity
termed 'pure light!'--What constitutes the 'inward' Self thus is the 'I',
the knowing subject.

This 'inward' Self shines forth in the state of final release also as an
'I'; for it appears to itself. The general principle is that whatever
being appears to itself appears as an 'I'; both parties in the present
dispute establish the existence of the transmigrating Self on such
appearance. On the contrary, whatever does not appear as an 'I', does
not appear to itself; as jars and the like. Now the emancipated Self
does thus appear to itself, and therefore it appears as an 'I'. Nor does
this appearance as an 'I' imply in any way that the released Self is
subject to Nescience and implicated in the Samsâra; for this would
contradict the nature of final release, and moreover the consciousness
of the 'I' cannot be the cause of Nescience and so on. Nescience
(ignorance) is either ignorance as to essential nature, or the cognition
of something under an aspect different from the real one (as when a
person suffering from jaundice sees all things yellow); or cognition of
what is altogether opposite in nature (as when mother o' pearl is
mistaken for silver). Now the 'I' constitutes the essential nature of
the Self; how then can the consciousness of the 'I,' i.e. the
consciousness of its own true nature, implicate the released Self in
Nescience, or, in the Samsâra? The fact rather is that such
consciousness destroys Nescience, and so on, because it is essentially
opposed to them. In agreement with this we observe that persons like the
rishi Vâmadeva, in whom the intuition of their identity with Brahman had
totally destroyed all Nescience, enjoyed the consciousness of the
personal 'I'; for scripture says, 'Seeing this the rishi Vâmadeva
understood,_I_ was Manu and the Sun' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 10). And the
highest Brahman also, which is opposed to all other forms of Nescience
and denoted and conceived as pure Being, is spoken of in an analogous
way; cp. 'Let me make each of these three deities,' &c. (Ch. Up. VI, 3,
3); 'May I be many, may I grow forth' (Ch. Up. VI, 2, 3); 'He thought,
shall I send forth worlds?' (Ait. Âr. II, 4, 1, 1); and again, 'Since I
transcend the Destructible, and am higher also than the Indestructible,
therefore I am proclaimed in the world and in the Veda as the highest
Person' (Bha. Gî. XV, 18); 'I am the Self, O Gûdâkesa.' (Bha. Gî. X, 20);
'Never was I not' (Bha. Gî. II, 12); 'I am the source and the
destruction of the whole world' (Bha. Gî. VII, 6); 'I am the source of
all; from me proceeds everything' (Bha. Gî. X, 8); 'I am he who raises
them from the ocean of the world of death' (Bha. Gî. XII, 7); 'I am the
giver of seed, the father' (Bha. Gî. XIV, 4); 'I know the things past'
(Bha. Gî. VII, 26).--But if the 'I' (aham) constitutes the essential
nature of the Self, how is it that the Holy One teaches the principle of
egoity (ahamkâra) to belong to the sphere of objects, 'The great
elements, the ahamkâra, the understanding (buddhi), and the Unevolved'
(Bha. Gî. XIII, 5)?--As in all passages, we reply, which give
information about the true nature of the Self it is spoken of as the 'I',
we conclude that the 'I' constitutes the essential nature of the inward
Self. Where, on the other hand, the Holy One declares the ahamkâra--a
special effect of the Unevolved--to be comprised within the sphere of
the Objective, he means that principle which is called ahamkâra, because
it causes the assumption of Egoity on the part of the body which belongs
to the Not-self. Such egoity constitutes the ahamkâra also designated as
pride or arrogance, which causes men to slight persons superior to
themselves, and is referred to by scripture in many places as something
evil. Such consciousness of the 'I' therefore as is not sublated by
anything else has the Self for its object; while, on the other hand,
such consciousness of the 'I' as has the body for its object is mere
Nescience. In agreement with this the Reverend Parâsara has said, 'Hear
from me the essential nature of Nescience; it is the attribution of
Selfhood to what is not the Self.' If the Self were pure consciousness
then pure consciousness only, and not the quality of being a knowing
subject, would present itself in the body also, which is a Not-self
wrongly imagined to be a Self. The conclusion therefore remains that the
Self is nothing but the knowing 'I'. Thus it has been said, 'As is
proved by perception, and as also results from reasoning and tradition,
and from its connexion with ignorance, the Self presents itself as a
knowing 'I'. And again,'That which is different from body, senses, mind,
and vital airs; which does not depend on other means; which is permanent,
pervading, divided according to bodies-that is the Self blessed in
itself.' Here 'not dependent on other means' means 'self-luminous'; and
'pervading' means 'being of such a nature as to enter, owing to
excessive minuteness, into all non-sentient things.'

In cases of Scripture conflicting with Perception, Scripture is not
stronger. The True cannot be known through the Untrue.

With reference to the assertion (p. 24 ff.) that Perception, which
depends on the view of plurality, is based on some defect and hence
admits of being otherwise accounted for--whence it follows that it is
sublated by Scripture; we ask you to point out what defect it is on
which Perception is based and may hence be accounted for otherwise.--'
The beginningless imagination of difference' we expect you to reply.--
But, we ask in return, have you then come to know by some other means
that this beginningless imagination of difference, acting in a manner
analogous to that of certain defects of vision, is really the cause of
an altogether perverse view of things?--If you reply that this is known
just from the fact that Perception is in conflict with Scripture, we
point out that you are reasoning in a circle: you prove the
defectiveness of the imagination of plurality through the fact that
Scripture tells us about a substance devoid of all difference; and at
the same time you prove the latter point through the former. Moreover,
if Perception gives rise to perverse cognition because it is based on
the imagination of plurality, Scripture also is in no better case--for
it is based on the very same view.--If against this you urge that
Scripture, although based on a defect, yet sublates Perception in so far
as it is the cause of a cognition which dispels all plurality
apprehended through Perception, and thus is later in order than
Perception; we rejoin that the defectiveness of the foundation of
Scripture having once been recognised, the circumstance of its being
later is of no avail. For if a man is afraid of a rope which he mistakes
for a snake his fear does not come to an end because another man, whom
he considers to be in error himself, tells him 'This is no snake, do not
be afraid.' And that Scripture _is_ founded on something defective is
known at the very time of hearing Scripture, for the reflection (which
follows on hearing) consists in repeated attempts to cognise the oneness
of Brahman--a cognition which is destructive of all the plurality
apprehended through the first hearing of the Veda.--We further ask, 'By
what means do you arrive at the conclusion that Scripture cannot
possibly be assumed to be defective in any way, while defects may be
ascribed to Perception'? It is certainly not Consciousness--self-proved
and absolutely devoid of all difference--which enlightens you on this
point; for such Consciousness is unrelated to any objects whatever, and
incapable of partiality to Scripture. Nor can sense-perception be the
source of your conviction; for as it is founded on what is defective it
gives perverse information. Nor again the other sources of knowledge;
for they are all based on sense-perception. As thus there are no
acknowledged means of knowledge to prove your view, you must give it up.
But, you will perhaps say, we proceed by means of the ordinary empirical
means and objects of knowledge!--What, we ask in reply, do you
understand by 'empirical'?--What rests on immediate unreflective
knowledge, but is found not to hold good when tested by logical
reasoning!--But what is the use, we ask, of knowledge of this kind? If
logical reasoning refutes something known through some means of
knowledge, that means of knowledge is no longer authoritative!--Now you
will possibly argue as follows: 'Scripture as well as Perception is
founded on Nescience; but all the same Perception is sublated by
Scripture. For as the object of Scripture, i.e. Brahman, which is one
and without a second, is not seen to be sublated by any ulterior
cognition, Brahman, i.e. pure non-differenced Consciousness, remains as
the sole Reality.'--But here too you are wrong, since we must decide
that something which rests on a defect is unreal, although it may remain
unrefuted. We will illustrate this point by an analogous instance. Let
us imagine a race of men afflicted with a certain special defect of
vision, without being aware of this their defect, dwelling in some
remote mountain caves inaccessible to all other men provided with sound
eyes. As we assume all of these cave dwellers to be afflicted with the
same defect of vision, they, all of them, will equally see and judge
bright things, e.g. the moon, to be double. Now in the case of these
people there never arises a subsequent cognition sublating their
primitive cognition; but the latter is false all the same, and its
object, viz., the doubleness of the moon, is false likewise; the defect
of vision being the cause of a cognition not corresponding to reality.--
And so it is with the cognition of Brahman also. This cognition is based
on Nescience, and therefore is false, together with its object, viz.
Brahman, although no sublating cognition presents itself.--This
conclusion admits of various expressions in logical form. 'The Brahman
under dispute is false because it is the object of knowledge which has
sprung from what is affected with Nescience; as the phenomenal world is.'
'Brahman is false because it is the object of knowledge; as the world
is.' 'Brahman is false because it is the object of knowledge, the rise
of which has the Untrue for its cause; as the world is.'

You will now perhaps set forth the following analogy. States of dreaming
consciousness--such as the perception of elephants and the like in one's
dreams--are unreal, and yet they are the cause of the knowledge of real
things, viz. good or ill fortune (portended by those dreams). Hence
there is no reason why Scripture--although unreal in so far as based on
Nescience--should not likewise be the cause of the cognition of what is
real, viz. Brahman.--The two cases are not parallel, we reply. The
conscious states experienced in dreams are not unreal; it is only their
objects that are false; these objects only, not the conscious states,
are sublated by the waking consciousness. Nobody thinks 'the cognitions
of which I was conscious in my dream are unreal'; what men actually
think is 'the cognitions are real, but the things are not real.' In the
same way the illusive state of consciousness which the magician produces
in the minds of other men by means of mantras, drugs, &c., is true, and
hence the cause of love and fear; for such states of consciousness also
are not sublated. The cognition which, owing to some defect in the
object, the sense organ, &c., apprehends a rope as a snake is real, and
hence the cause of fear and other emotions. True also is the imagination
which, owing to the nearness of a snake, arises in the mind of a man
though not actually bitten, viz. that he has been bitten; true also is
the representation of the imagined poison, for it may be the cause of
actual death. In the same way the reflection of the face in the water is
real, and hence enables us to ascertain details belonging to the real
face. All these states of consciousness are real, as we conclude from
their having a beginning and actual effects.--Nor would it avail you to
object that in the absence of real elephants, and so on, the ideas of
them cannot be real. For ideas require only _some_ substrate in general;
the mere appearance of a thing is a sufficient substrate, and such an
appearance is present in the case in question, owing to a certain defect.
The thing we determine to be unreal because it is sublated; the idea is
non-sublated, and therefore real.

Nor can you quote in favour of your view--of the real being known
through the unreal--the instance of the stroke and the letter. The
letter being apprehended through the stroke (i.e. the written character)
does not furnish a case of the real being apprehended through the unreal;
for the stroke itself is real.--But the stroke causes the idea of the
letter only in so far as it is apprehended as being a letter, and this
'being a letter' is untrue!--Not so, we rejoin. If this 'being a letter'
were unreal it could not be a means of the apprehension of the letter;
for we neither observe nor can prove that what is non-existent and
indefinable constitutes a means.--Let then the idea of the letter
constitute the means!--In that case, we rejoin, the apprehension of the
real does not spring from the unreal; and besides, it would follow
therefrom that the means and what is to be effected thereby would be one,
i.e. both would be, without any distinction, the idea of the letter only.
Moreover, if the means were constituted by the stroke in so far as it is
_not_ the letter, the apprehension of all letters would result from the
sight of one stroke; for one stroke may easily be conceived as _not_
being _any_ letter.--But, in the same way as the word 'Devadatta'
conventionally denotes some particular man, so some particular stroke
apprehended by the eye may conventionally symbolise some particular
letter to be apprehended by the ear, and thus a particular stroke may be
the cause of the idea of a particular letter!--Quite so, we reply, but
on this explanation the real is known through the real; for both stroke
and conventional power of symbolisation are real. The case is analogous
to that of the idea of a buffalo being caused by the picture of a
buffalo; that idea rests on the similarity of picture and thing
depicted, and that similarity is something real. Nor can it be said
(with a view to proving the pûrvapaksha by another analogous instance)
that we meet with a cognition of the real by means of the unreal in the
case of sound (sabda) which is essentially uniform, but causes the
apprehension of different things by means of difference of tone (nâda).
For sound is the cause of the apprehension of different things in so far
only as we apprehend the connexion of sound manifesting itself in
various tones, with the different things indicated by those various
tones [FOOTNOTE 77:1]. And, moreover, it is not correct to argue on the
ground of the uniformity of sound; for only particular significant
sounds such as 'ga,' which can be apprehended by the ear, are really
'sound.'--All this proves that it is difficult indeed to show that the
knowledge of a true thing, viz. Brahman, can be derived from Scripture,
if Scripture--as based on Nescience--is itself untrue.

Our opponent may finally argue as follows:--Scripture is not unreal in
the same sense as a sky-flower is unreal; for antecedently to the
cognition of universal non-duality Scripture is viewed as something that
_is_, and only on the rise of that knowledge it is seen to be unreal. At
this latter time Scripture no longer is a means of cognising Brahman,
devoid of all difference, consisting of pure Intelligence; as long on
the other hand as it is such a means, Scripture _is_; for then we judge
'Scripture is.'--But to this we reply that if Scripture is not (true),
the judgment 'Scripture is' is false, and hence the knowledge resting on
false Scripture being false likewise, the object of that knowledge, i.e.
Brahman itself, is false. If the cognition of fire which rests on mist
being mistaken for smoke is false, it follows that the object of that
cognition, viz. fire itself, is likewise unreal. Nor can it be shown
that (in the case of Brahman) there is no possibility of ulterior
sublative cognition; for there may be such sublative cognition, viz. the
one expressed in the judgment 'the Reality is a Void.' And if you say
that this latter judgment rests on error, we point out that according to
yourself the knowledge of Brahman is also based on error. And of our
judgment (viz. 'the Reality is a Void') it may truly be said that all
further negation is impossible.--But there is no need to continue this
demolition of an altogether baseless theory.

[FOOTNOTE 77:1. And those manifestations of sound by means of various
tones are themselves something real.]

Mohini Shakti Devi
05 February 2010, 11:08 PM
No scriptural texts teach a Brahman devoid of all difference.

We now turn to the assertion that certain scriptural texts, as e.g.
'Being only was this in the beginning,' are meant to teach that there
truly exists only one homogeneous substance, viz. Intelligence free from
all difference.--This we cannot allow. For the section in which the
quoted text occurs, in order to make good the initial declaration that
by the knowledge of one thing all things are known, shows that the
highest Brahman which is denoted by the term 'Being' is the substantial
and also the operative cause of the world; that it is all-knowing,
endowed with all powers; that its purposes come true; that it is the
inward principle, the support and the ruler of everything; and that
distinguished by these and other good qualities it constitutes the Self
of the entire world; and then finally proceeds to instruct Svetaketu
that this Brahman constitutes his Self also ('Thou art that'). We have
fully set forth this point in the Vedârtha-samgraha and shall establish
it in greater detail in the present work also, in the so-called
ârambhana-adhikarana.--In the same way the passage 'the higher knowledge
is that by which the Indestructible is apprehended, &c.' (Mu. Up. I, 1,
5) first denies of Brahman all the evil qualities connected with Prakriti,
and then teaches that to it there belong eternity, all-pervadingness,
subtilty, omnipresence, omniscience, imperishableness, creativeness with
regard to all beings, and other auspicious qualities. Now we maintain
that also the text 'True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman', does not
prove a substance devoid of all difference, for the reason that the
co-ordination of the terms of which it consists explains itself in so
far only as denoting one thing distinguished by several attributes. For
'co-ordination' (sâmânâdhikaranya, lit.'the abiding of several things in
a common substrate') means the reference (of several terms) to one
thing, there being a difference of reason for the application (of
several terms to one thing). Now whether we take the several terms,'
True','Knowledge','Infinite', in their primary sense, i. e. as denoting
qualities, or as denoting modes of being opposed to whatever is contrary
to those qualities; in either case we must needs admit a plurality of
causes for the application of those several terms to one thing. There is
however that difference between the two alternatives that in the former
case the terms preserve their primary meaning, while in the latter case
their denotative power depends on so-called 'implication' (lakshanâ).
Nor can it be said that the opposition in nature to non-knowledge,
&c.(which is the purport of the terms on the hypothesis of lakshanâ),
constitutes nothing more than the essential nature (of one
non-differenced substance; the three terms thus having one purport
only); for as such essential nature would be sufficiently apprehended
through one term, the employment of further terms would be purposeless.
This view would moreover be in conflict with co-ordination, as it would
not allow of difference of motive for several terms applied to one
thing. On the other hand it cannot be urged against the former
alternative that the distinction of several attributes predicated of one
thing implies a distinction in the thing to which the attributes belong,
and that from this it follows that the several terms denote several
things--a result which also could not be reconciled with
'co-ordination'; for what 'co-ordination' aims at is just to convey the
idea of one thing being qualified by several attributes. For the
grammarians define 'coordination' as the application, to one thing, of
several words, for the application of each of which there is a different

You have further maintained the following view:--In the text 'one only
without a second', the phrase 'without a second' negatives all duality
on Brahman's part even in so far as qualities are concerned. We must
therefore, according to the principle that all Sâkhâs convey the same
doctrine, assume that all texts which speak of Brahman as cause, aim at
setting forth an absolutely non-dual substance. Of Brahman thus
indirectly defined as a cause, the text 'The True, knowledge, infinite
is Brahman,' contains a direct definition; the Brahman here meant to be
defined must thus be devoid of all qualities. Otherwise, moreover, the
text would be in conflict with those other texts which declare Brahman
to be without qualities and blemish.--But this also cannot be admitted.
What the phrase 'without a second' really aims at intimating is that
Brahman possesses manifold powers, and this it does by denying the
existence of another ruling principle different from Brahman. That
Brahman actually possesses manifold powers the text shows further on,
'It thought, may I be many, may I grow forth,' and 'it sent forth fire,'
and so on.--But how are we to know that the mere phrase 'without a
second' is meant to negative the existence of all other causes in
general?--As follows, we reply. The clause 'Being only this was in the
beginning, one only,' teaches that Brahman when about to create
constitutes the substantial cause of the world. Here the idea of some
further operative cause capable of giving rise to the effect naturally
presents itself to the mind, and hence we understand that the added
clause 'without a second' is meant to negative such an additional cause.
If it were meant absolutely to deny all duality, it would deny also the
eternity and other attributes of Brahman which you yourself assume. You
in this case make just the wrong use of the principle of all the--Sâkhâs
containing the same doctrine; what this principle demands is that the
qualities attributed in all--Sâkhâs to Brahman as cause should be taken
over into the passage under discussion also. The same consideration
teaches us that also the text 'True, knowledge', &c., teaches Brahman to
possess attributes; for this passage has to be interpreted in agreement
with the texts referring to Brahman as a cause. Nor does this imply a
conflict with the texts which declare Brahman to be without qualities;
for those texts are meant to negative the evil qualities depending on
Prakriti.--Those texts again which refer to mere knowledge declare
indeed that knowledge is the essential nature of Brahman, but this does
not mean that mere knowledge constitutes the fundamental reality. For
knowledge constitutes the essential nature of a knowing subject only
which is the substrate of knowledge, in the same way as the sun, lamps,
and gems are the substrate of Light. That Brahman is a knowing subject
all scriptural texts declare; cp. 'He who is all knowing' (Mu. Up. I, 1,
9); 'It thought' (Ch. Up. VI, 2, 3); 'This divine being thought' (Ch. Up.
VI, 3, 2); 'He thought, let me send forth the worlds' (Ait. Âr. II,4, 1,
2); 'He who arranges the wishes--as eternal of those who are not eternal,
as thinker of (other) thinkers, as one of many' (Ka. Up. II, 5, 13);
'There are two unborn ones--one who knows, one who does not know--one
strong, the other weak' (Svet. Up. I, 9); 'Let us know Him, the highest
of Lords, the great Lord, the highest deity of deities, the master of
masters, the highest above the god, the lord of the world, the adorable
one' (Svet. Up. VI, 7); 'Of him there is known no effect (body) or
instrument; no one is seen like unto him or better; his high power is
revealed as manifold, forming his essential nature, as knowledge,
strength, and action' (Svet. Up. VI, 8); 'That is the Self, free from
sin, ageless, deathless, griefless, free from hunger and thirst, whose
wishes are true, whose purposes are true' (Ch. Up. VIII, 1, 5). These
and other texts declare that to Brahman, whose essential nature is
knowledge, there belong many excellent qualities--among which that of
being a knowing subject stands first, and that Brahman is free from all
evil qualities. That the texts referring to Brahman as free from
qualities, and those which speak of it as possessing qualities, have
really one and the same object may be inferred from the last of the
passages quoted above; the earlier part of which--'free from sin,' up to
'free from thirst'--denies of Brahman all evil qualities, while its
latter part--'whose wishes are true,' and so on--asserts of its certain
excellent qualities. As thus there is no contradiction between the two
classes of texts, there is no reason whatever to assume that either of
them has for its object something that is false.--With regard to the
concluding passage of the Taittiriya-text, 'from whence all speech,
together with the mind, turns away, unable to reach it [FOOTNOTE 82:1],'
we point out that with the passage 'From terror of it the wind blows,'
there begins a declaration of the qualities of Brahman, and that the
next section 'one hundred times that human bliss,' &c., makes statements
as to the relative bliss enjoyed by the different classes of embodied
souls; the concluding passage 'He who knows the bliss of that Brahman
from whence all speech, together with the mind, turns away unable to
reach it,' hence must be taken as proclaiming with emphasis the infinite
nature of Brahman's auspicious qualities. Moreover, a clause in the
chapter under discussion--viz. 'he obtains all desires, together with
Brahman the all-wise' (II, 1)--which gives information as to the fruit
of the knowledge of Brahman clearly declares the infinite nature of the
qualities of the highest all-wise Brahman. The desires are the
auspicious qualities of Brahman which are the objects of desire; the man
who knows Brahman obtains, together with Brahman, all qualities of it.
The expression 'together with' is meant to bring out the primary
importance of the qualities; as also described in the so-called dahara-
vidyâ (Ch. Up. VIII, 1). And that fruit and meditation are of the same
character (i.e. that in meditations on Brahman its qualities are the
chief matter of meditation, just as these qualities are the principal
point in Brahman reached by the Devotee) is proved by the text
'According to what a man's thought is in this world, so will he be after
he has departed this life' (Ch. Up. III, 14, 1). If it be said that the
passage 'By whom it is not thought by him it is thought', 'not
understood by those who understand' (Ke. Up. II, 3), declares Brahman
not to be an object of knowledge; we deny this, because were it so,
certain other texts would not teach that final Release results from
knowledge; cp. 'He who knows Brahman obtains the Highest' (Taitt. Up. II,
1, 1); 'He knows Brahman, he becomes Brahman.' And, moreover, the text
'He who knows Brahman as non-existing becomes himself non-existing; he
who knows Brahman as existing, him we know himself as existing' (Taitt
Up. II, 6, 1), makes the existence and non-existence of the Self
dependent on the existence and non-existence of knowledge which has
Brahman for its object. We thus conclude that all scriptural texts
enjoin just the knowledge of Brahman for the sake of final Release. This
knowledge is, as we already know, of the nature of meditation, and what
is to be meditated on is Brahman as possessing qualities. (The text from
the Ke. Up. then explains itself as follows:--) We are informed by the
passage 'from whence speech together with mind turns away, being unable
to reach it', that the infinite Brahman with its unlimited excellences
cannot be defined either by mind or speech as being so or so much, and
from this we conclude the Kena text to mean that Brahman is not thought
and not understood by those who understand it to be of a definitely
limited nature; Brahman in truth being unlimited. If the text did not
mean this, it would be self-contradictory, parts of it saying that
Brahman is _not_ thought and _not_ understood, and other parts, that it
_is_ thought and _is_ understood.

Now as regards the assertion that the text 'Thou mayest not see the seer
of seeing; thou mayest not think the thinker of thinking' (Bri. Up. III,
5, 2), denies the existence of a seeing and thinking subject different
from mere seeing and thinking--This view is refuted by the following
interpretation. The text addresses itself to a person who has formed the
erroneous opinion that the quality of consciousness or knowledge does
not constitute the essential nature of the knower, but belongs to it
only as an adventitious attribute, and tells him 'Do not view or think
the Self to be such, but consider the seeing and thinking Self to have
seeing and thinking for its essential nature.'--Or else this text may
mean that the embodied Self which is the seer of seeing and the thinker
of thinking should be set aside, and that only the highest Self--the
inner Self of all beings--should be meditated upon.--Otherwise a
conflict would arise with texts declaring the knowership of the Self,
such as 'whereby should he know the knower?' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 15).

Your assertion that the text 'Bliss is Brahman' (Taitt. Up. III, 6, 1)
proves pure Bliss to constitute the essential nature of Brahman is
already disposed of by the refutation of the view that knowledge
(consciousness) constitutes the essential nature of Brahman; Brahman
being in reality the substrate only of knowledge. For by bliss we
understand a pleasing state of consciousness. Such passages as
'consciousness, bliss is Brahman,' therefore mean 'consciousness--the
essential character of which is bliss--is Brahman.' On this identity of
the two things there rests that homogeneous character of Brahman, so
much insisted upon by yourself. And in the same way as numerous passages
teach that Brahman, while having knowledge for its essential nature, is
at the same time a knowing subject; so other passages, speaking of
Brahman as something separate from mere bliss, show it to be not mere
bliss but a subject enjoying bliss; cp. 'That is one bliss of Brahman'
(Taitt. Up. II, 8, 4); 'he knowing the bliss of Brahman' (Taitt. Up. II,
9, 1). To be a subject enjoying bliss is in fact the same as to be a
conscious subject.

We now turn to the numerous texts which, according to the view of our
opponent, negative the existence of plurality.--'Where there is duality
as it were' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 15); 'There is not any plurality here; from
death to death goes he who sees here any plurality' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 19);
'But when for him the Self alone has become all, by what means, and whom,
should he see?' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 15) &c.--But what all these texts deny
is only plurality in so far as contradicting that unity of the world
which depends on its being in its entirety an effect of Brahman, and
having Brahman for its inward ruling principle and its true Self. They
do not, on the other hand, deny that plurality on Brahman's part which
depends on its intention to become manifold--a plurality proved by the
text 'May I be many, may I grow forth' (Ch. Up. VI, 2, 3). Nor can our
opponent urge against this that, owing to the denial of plurality
contained in other passages this last text refers to something not real;
for it is an altogether laughable assertion that Scripture should at
first teach the doctrine, difficult to comprehend, that plurality as
suggested by Perception and the other means of Knowledge belongs to
Brahman also, and should afterwards negative this very doctrine!

Nor is it true that the text 'If he makes but the smallest "antaram" (i.
e. difference, interval, break) in it there is fear for him' (Taitt. Up.
II, 7) implies that he who sees plurality within Brahman encounters fear.
For the other text 'All this is Brahman; let a man meditate with calm
mind on all this as beginning, ending and breathing in it, i.e. Brahman'
(Ch. Up. III, 14, 1) teaches directly that reflection on the plurality
of Brahman is the cause of peace of mind. For this passage declares that
peace of mind is produced by a reflection on the entire world as
springing from, abiding within, and being absorbed into Brahman, and
thus having Brahman for its Self; and as thus the view of Brahman
constituting the Self of the world with all its manifold distinctions of
gods, men, animals, inanimate matter and so on, is said to be the cause
of peace of mind, and, consequently, of absence of fear, that same view
surely cannot be a _cause_ of fear!--But how then is it that the Taitt.
text declares that 'there is fear for him'?--That text, we reply,
declares in its earlier part that rest in Brahman is the cause of
fearlessness ('when he finds freedom from fear, rest, in that which is
invisible, incorporeal, undefined, unsupported; then he has obtained
fearlessness'); its latter part therefore means that fear takes place
when there is an interval, a break, in this resting in Brahman. As the
great Rishi says 'When Vâsudeva is not meditated on for an hour or even
a moment only; that is loss, that is great calamity, that is error, that
is change.'

The Sûtra III, 2, ii does not, as our opponent alleges, refer to a
Brahman free from all difference, but to Brahman as possessing
attributes--as we shall show in its place. And the Sûtra IV, 2, 3
declares that the things seen in dreams are mere 'Mâyâ' because they
differ in character from the things perceived in the waking state; from
which it follows that the latter things are real.

[FOOTNOTE 82:1. Which passage appears to refer to a nirguna brahman,
whence it might be inferred that the connected initial passage--'Satyam
jñanam,' &c.--has a similar purport.]

Mohini Shakti Devi
05 February 2010, 11:10 PM
Nor do Smriti and Purâna teach such a doctrine.

Nor is it true that also according to Smriti and Purânas only non-
differenced consciousness is real and everything else unreal.--'He who
knows me as unborn and without a beginning, the supreme Lord of the
worlds' (Bha. Gî. X, 3); 'All beings abide in me, I abide not in them.
Nay, the beings abide not in me--behold my lordly power. My Self
bringing forth the beings supports them but does not abide in them' (Bha.
Gî. IX, 4, 5); 'I am the origin and the dissolution of the entire world;
higher than I there is nothing else: on me all this is strung as pearls
on a thread' (Bha. Gî. VII, 6, 7); 'Pervading this entire Universe by a
portion (of mine) I abide' (Bha. Gî. X, 42); 'But another, the highest
Person, is called the highest Self who, pervading the three worlds
supports them, the eternal Lord. Because I transcend the Perishable and
am higher than the Imperishable even, I am among the people and in the
Veda celebrated as the supreme Person' (Bha. Gî. XV, 17, 18).

'He transcends the fundamental matter of all beings, its modifications,
properties and imperfections; he transcends all investing (obscuring)
influences, he who is the Self of all. Whatever (room) there is in the
interstices of the world is filled by him; all auspicious qualities
constitute his nature. The whole creation of beings is taken out of a
small part of his power. Assuming at will whatever form he desires he
bestows benefits on the whole world effected by him. Glory, strength,
dominion, wisdom, energy, power and other attributes are collected in
him, Supreme of the supreme in whom no troubles abide, ruler over high
and low, lord in collective and distributive form, non-manifest and
manifest, universal lord, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, highest
Lord. The knowledge by which that perfect, pure, highest, stainless
homogeneous (Brahman) is known or perceived or comprehended--that is
knowledge: all else is ignorance' (Vishnu Purâna VI, 5, 82-87).--'To
that pure one of mighty power, the highest Brahman to which no term is
applicable, the cause of all causes, the name "Bhagavat" is suitable.
The letter bha implies both the cherisher and supporter; the letter ga
the leader, mover and creator. The two syllables bhaga indicate the six
attributes--dominion, strength, glory, splendour, wisdom, dispassion.
That in him--the universal Self, the Self of the beings--all beings
dwell and that he dwells in all, this is the meaning of the letter va.
Wisdom, might, strength, dominion, glory, without any evil qualities,
are all denoted by the word bhagavat. This great word bhagavat is the
name of Vâsudeva who is the highest Brahman--and of no one else. This
word which denotes persons worthy of reverence in general is used in its
primary sense with reference to Vâsudeva only; in a derived sense with
regard to other persons' (Vi. Pu. VI, 5, 72 ff.); 'Where all these
powers abide, that is the form of him who is the universal form: that is
the great form of Hari. That form produces in its sport forms endowed
with all powers, whether of gods or men or animals. For the purpose of
benefiting the worlds, not springing from work (karman) is this action
of the unfathomable one; all-pervading, irresistible' (Vi. Pu. VI, 7, 69-
71); 'Him who is of this kind, stainless, eternal, all-pervading,
imperishable, free from all evil, named Vishnu, the highest abode' (Vi.
Pu. I, 22,53); 'He who is the highest of the high, the Person, the
highest Self, founded on himself; who is devoid of all the
distinguishing characteristics of colour, caste and the like; who is
exempt from birth, change, increase, decay and death; of whom it can
only be said that he ever is. He is everywhere and in him everything
abides; hence he is called Vâsudeva by those who know. He is Brahman,
eternal, supreme, imperishable, undecaying; of one essential nature and
ever pure, as free from all defects. This whole world is Brahman,
comprising within its nature the Evolved and the Unevolved; and also
existing in the form of the Person and in that of time' (Vi. Pu. I, 2,
10-14); 'The Prakriti about which I told and which is Evolved as well as
Unevolved, and the Person--both these are merged in the highest Self.
The highest Self is the support of all, the highest Lord; as Vishnu he
is praised in the Vedas and the Vedânta-texts' (Vi. Pu. VI, 4, 38, 39).
'Two forms are there of that Brahman, one material, the other immaterial.
These two forms, perishable and imperishable, are within all things: the
imperishable one is the highest Brahman, the perishable one this whole
world. As the light of a fire burning in one place spreads all around,
so the energy of the highest Brahman constitutes this entire world' (Vi.
Pu. I, 23,53-55). 'The energy of Vishnu is the highest, that which is
called the embodied soul is inferior; and there is another third energy
called karman or Nescience, actuated by which the omnipresent energy of
the embodied soul perpetually undergoes the afflictions of worldly
existence. Obscured by Nescience the energy of the embodied soul is
characterised in the different beings by different degrees of
perfection' (Vi. Pu. VI, 7, 61-63).

These and other texts teach that the highest Brahman is essentially free
from all imperfection whatsoever, comprises within itself all auspicious
qualities, and finds its pastime in originating, preserving, reabsorbing,
pervading, and ruling the universe; that the entire complex of
intelligent and non-intelligent beings (souls and matter) in all their
different estates is real, and constitutes the form, i.e. the body of
the highest Brahman, as appears from those passages which co-ordinate it
with Brahman by means of terms such as sarîra (body), rûpa (form), tanu
(body), amsa (part), sakti (power), vibhûti (manifestation of power),
and so on;--that the souls which are a manifestation of Brahman's power
exist in their own essential nature, and also, through their connexion
with matter, in the form of embodied souls (kshetrajña);--and that the
embodied souls, being engrossed by Nescience in the form of good and
evil works, do not recognise their essential nature, which is knowledge,
but view themselves as having the character of material things.--The
outcome of all this is that we have to cognise Brahman as carrying
plurality within itself, and the world, which is the manifestation of
his power, as something real.

When now the text, in the sloka 'where all difference has vanished' (Vi.
Pu. VI, 7, 53), declares that the Self, although connected with the
different effects of Prakriti, such as divine, human bodies, and so on,
yet is essentially free from all such distinctions, and therefore not
the object of the words denoting those different classes of beings, but
to be defined as mere knowledge and Being; to be known by the Self and
not to be reached by the mind of the practitioner of Yoga (yogayuj);
this must in no way be understood as denying the reality of the world.--
But how is this known?--As follows, we reply. The chapter of the Purâna
in which that sloka occurs at first declares concentration (Yoga) to be
the remedy of all the afflictions of the Samsâra; thereupon explains the
different stages of Yoga up to the so-called pratyâhâra (complete
restraining of the senses from receiving external impressions); then, in
order to teach the attainment of the 'perfect object' (subhâsraya)
required for dhâranâ, declares that the highest Brahman, i. e. Vishnu,
possesses two forms, called powers (sakti), viz. a denned one (mûrta)
and an undefined one (amûrta); and then teaches that a portion of the
'defined' form, viz. the embodied soul (kshetrajña), which is
distinguished by its connexion with matter and involved in Nescience--
that is termed 'action,' and constitutes a third power--is not perfect.
The chapter further teaches that a portion of the undefined form which
is free from Nescience called action, separated from all matter, and
possessing the character of pure knowledge, is also not the 'perfect
object,' since it is destitute of essential purity; and, finally,
declares that the 'perfect object' is to be found in that defined form
which is special to Bhagavat, and which is the abode of the three powers,
viz. that non-defined form which is the highest power, that non-defined
form which is termed embodied soul, and constitutes the secondary
(apara) power, and Nescience in the form of work--which is called the
third power, and is the cause of the Self, which is of the essence of
the highest power, passing into the state of embodied soul. This defined
form (which is the 'perfect object') is proved by certain Vedânta-texts,
such as 'that great person of sun-like lustre' (Svet. Up. III, 8). We
hence must take the sloka, 'in which all differences vanish,' &c., to
mean that the pure Self (the Self in so far as knowledge only) is not
capable of constituting the 'perfect object.' Analogously two other
passages declare 'Because this cannot be reflected upon by the beginner
in Yoga, the second (form) of Vishnu is to be meditated upon by Yogins-
the highest abode.' 'That in which all these powers have their abode,
that is the other great form of Hari, different from the (material)
Visva form.'

In an analogous manner, Parâsara declares that Brahmâ, Katurmukha,
Sanaka, and similar mighty beings which dwell within this world, cannot
constitute the 'perfect object' because they are involved in Nescience;
after that goes on to say that the beings found in the Samsâra are in
the same condition--for they are essentially devoid of purity since they
reach their true nature, only later on, when through Yoga knowledge has
arisen in them--; and finally teaches that the essential individual
nature of the highest Brahman, i.e. Vishnu, constitutes the 'perfect
object.' 'From Brahmâ down to a blade of grass, all living beings that
dwell within this world are in the power of the Samsâra due to works,
and hence no profit can be derived by the devout from making them
objects of their meditation. They are all implicated in Nescience, and
stand within the sphere of the Samsâra; knowledge arises in them only
later on, and they are thus of no use in meditation. Their knowledge
does not belong to them by essential nature, for it comes to them
through something else. Therefore the stainless Brahman which possesses
essential knowledge,' &c. &c.--All this proves that the passage 'in
which all difference vanishes' does not mean to deny the reality of the

Mohini Shakti Devi
05 February 2010, 11:15 PM
Nor, again, does the passage 'that which has knowledge for its essential
nature' (Vi. Pu. 1,2,6) imply that the whole complex of things different
from knowledge is false; for it declares only that the appearance of the
Self--the essential nature of which is knowledge--as gods, men, and so
on, is erroneous. A declaration that the appearance of mother o' pearl
as silver is founded on error surely does not imply that all the silver
in the world is unreal!--But if, on the ground of an insight into the
oneness of Brahman and the world--as expressed in texts where the two
appear in co-ordination--a text declares that it is an error to view
Brahman, whose essential nature is knowledge, under the form of material
things, this after all implies that the whole aggregate of things is
false!--By no means, we rejoin. As our sástra distinctly teaches that
the highest Brahman, i. e. Vishnu, is free from all imperfections
whatsoever, comprises within himself all auspicious qualities, and
reveals his power in mighty manifestations, the view of the world's
reality cannot possibly be erroneous. That information as to the oneness
of two things by means of co-ordination does not allow of sublation (of
either of the two), and is non-contradictory, we shall prove further on.
Hence also the sloka last referred to does not sublate the reality of
the world.

'That from whence these beings are born, by which, when born, they live,
into which they enter when they die, endeavour to know that; that is
Brahman' (Taitt. Up. III, 1). From this scriptural text we ascertain
that Brahman is the cause of the origination, and so on, of the world.
After this we learn from a Purâna text ('He should make the Veda grow by
means of Itihâsa and Purâna; the Veda fears that a man of little reading
may do it harm') that the Veda should be made to grow by Itihâsa and
Purâna. By this 'making to grow' we have to understand the elucidation
of the sense of the Vedic texts studied by means of other texts,
promulgated by men who had mastered the entire Veda and its contents,
and by the strength of their devotion had gained full intuition of Vedic
truth. Such 'making to grow' must needs be undertaken, since the purport
of the entire Veda with all its Sâkhâs cannot be fathomed by one who has
studied a small part only, and since without knowing that purport we
cannot arrive at any certitude.

The Vishnu Purâna relates how Maitreya, wishing to have his knowledge of
Vedic matters strengthened by the holy Parâsara, who through the favour
of Pulastya and Vasishtha had obtained an insight into the true nature
of the highest divinity, began to question Parâsara, 'I am desirous to
hear from thee how this world originated, and how it will again
originate in future, and of what it consists, and whence proceed animate
and inanimate things; how and into what it has been resolved, and into
what it will in future be resolved?' &c. (Vi. Pu. I, 1). The questions
asked refer to the essential nature of Brahman, the different modes of
the manifestation of its power, and the different results of
propitiating it. Among the questions belonging to the first category,
the question 'whence proceed animate and inanimate things?' relates to
the efficient and the material cause of the world, and hence the clause
'of what the world consists' is to be taken as implying a question as to
what constitutes the Self of this world, which is the object of creation,
sustentation, and dissolution. The reply to this question is given in
the words 'and the world is He.' Now the identity expressed by this
clause is founded thereon that he (i.e. Brahman or Vishnu) pervades the
world as its Self in the character of its inward Ruler; and is not
founded on unity of substance of the pervading principle and the world
pervaded. The phrase 'consists of' (-maya) does not refer to an effect
(so that the question asked would be as to the causal substance of which
this world is an effect), for a separate question on this point would be
needless. Nor does the--maya express, as it sometimes does-e.g. in the
case of prana-maya [FOOTNOTE 92:1], the own sense of the word to which it
is attached; for in that case the form of the reply 'and the world is
He' (which implies a distinction between the world and Vishnu) would be
inappropriate; the reply would in that case rather be 'Vishnu only.'
What 'maya' actually denotes here is abundance, prevailingness, in
agreement with Pânini, V, 4, 21, and the meaning is that Brahman
prevails in the world in so far as the entire world constitutes its body.
The co-ordination of the two words 'the world' and 'He' thus rests on
that relation between the two, owing to which the world is the body of
Brahman, and Brahman the Self of the world. If, on the other hand, we
maintained that the sâstra aims only at inculcating the doctrine of one
substance free from all difference, there would be no sense in all those
questions and answers, and no sense in an entire nastra devoted to the
explanation of that one thing. In that case there would be room for one
question only, viz. 'what is the substrate of the erroneous imagination
of a world?' and for one answer to this question, viz. 'pure
consciousness devoid of all distinction!'--And if the co-ordination
expressed in the clause 'and the world is he' was meant to set forth the
absolute oneness of the world and Brahman, then it could not be held
that Brahman possesses all kinds of auspicious qualities, and is opposed
to all evil; Brahman would rather become the abode of all that is impure.
All this confirms the conclusion that the co-ordination expressed in
that clause is to be understood as directly teaching the relation
between a Self and its body.--The sloka, 'From Vishnu the world has
sprung: in him he exists: he is the cause of the subsistence and
dissolution of this world: and the world is he' (Vi. Pu. I, 1, 35),
states succinctly what a subsequent passage--beginning with 'the highest
of the high' (Vi. Pu. I, 2, 10)--sets forth in detail. Now there the
sloka,'to the unchangeable one' (I, 2, 1), renders homage to the holy
Vishnu, who is the highest Brahman in so far as abiding within his own
nature, and then the text proceeds to glorify him in his threefold form
as Hiranyagarbha, Hari, and Sankara, as Pradhâna, Time, and as the
totality of embodied souls in their combined and distributed form. Here
the sloka, 'Him whose essential nature is knowledge' (I, 2, 6),
describes the aspect of the highest Self in so far as abiding in the
state of discrete embodied souls; the passage cannot therefore be
understood as referring to a substance free from all difference. If the
sâstra aimed at teaching that the erroneous conception of a manifold
world has for its substrate a Brahman consisting of non-differenced
intelligence, there would be room neither for the objection raised in I,
3, I ('How can we attribute agency creative and otherwise to Brahman
which is without qualities, unlimited, pure, stainless?') nor for the
refutation of that objection, 'Because the powers of all things are the
objects of (true) knowledge excluding all (bad) reasoning, therefore
there belong to Brahman also such essential powers as the power of
creating, preserving, and so on, the world; just as heat essentially
belongs to fire [FOOTNOTE 94:1].' In that case the objection would rather
be made in the following form: 'How can Brahman, which is without
qualities, be the agent in the creation, preservation, and so on, of the
world?' and the answer would be, 'Creation by Brahman is not something
real, but something erroneously imagined.'--The purport of the objection
as it stands in the text is as follows: 'We observe that action creative
and otherwise belongs to beings endowed with qualities such as goodness,
and so on, not perfect, and subject to the influence of karman; how then
can agency creative, and so on, be attributed to Brahman which is devoid
of qualities, perfect, not under the influence of karman, and incapable
of any connexion with action?' And the reply is, 'There is nothing
unreasonable in holding that Brahman as being of the nature described
above, and different in kind from all things perceived, should possess
manifold powers; just as fire, which is different in kind from water and
all other material substances, possesses the quality of heat and other
qualities.' The slokas also, which begin with the words 'Thou alone art
real' (Vi. Pu. I, 4, 38 ff.), do not assert that the whole world is
unreal, but only that, as Brahman is the Self of the world, the latter
viewed apart from Brahman is not real. This the text proceeds to confirm,
'thy greatness it is by which all movable and immovable things are
pervaded.' This means--because all things movable and immovable are
pervaded by thee, therefore all this world has thee for its Self, and
hence 'there is none other than thee' and thus thou being the Self of
all art alone real. Such being the doctrine intended to be set forth,
the text rightly says, 'this all-pervasiveness of thine is thy
greatness'; otherwise it would have to say, 'it is thy error.' Were this
latter view intended, words such as 'Lord of the world,' 'thou,' &c.,
could not, moreover, be taken in their direct sense, and there would
arise a contradiction with the subject-matter of the entire chapter, viz.
the praise of the Holy one who in the form of a mighty boar had uplifted
in play the entire earth.--Because this entire world is thy form in so
far as it is pervaded as its Self by thee whose true nature is knowledge;
therefore those who do not possess that devotion which enables men to
view thee as the Self of all, erroneously view this world as consisting
only of gods, men, and other beings; this is the purport of the next
sloka, 'this which is seen.'--And it is an error not only to view the
world which has its real Self in thee as consisting of gods, men, and so
on, but also to consider the Selfs whose true nature is knowledge as
being of the nature of material beings such as gods, men, and the like;
this is the meaning of the next sloka, 'this world whose true nature is
knowledge.'--Those wise men, on the other hand, who have an insight into
the essentially intelligent Self, and whose minds are cleared by
devotion--the means of apprehending the Holy one as the universal Self--,
they view this entire world with all its manifold bodies--the effects of
primeval matter--as thy body--a body the Self of which is constituted by
knowledge abiding apart from its world-body; this is the meaning of the
following sloka: 'But those who possess knowledge,' &c.--If the
different slokas were not interpreted in this way, they would be mere
unmeaning reiterations; their constitutive words could not be taken in
their primary sense; and we should come into conflict with the sense of
the passages, the subject-matter of the chapter, and the purport of the
entire sâstra. The passage, further, 'Of that Self although it exists in
one's own and in other bodies, the knowledge is of one kind' (Vi. Pu. II,
14, 31 ff.), refers to that view of duality according to which the
different Selfs--although equal in so far as they are all of the essence
of knowledge--are constituted into separate beings, gods, men, &c., by
their connexion with different portions of matter all of which are
modifications of primary matter, and declares that view to be false. But
this does not imply a denial of the duality which holds good between
matter on the one hand and Self on the other: what the passage means is
that the Self which dwells in the different material bodies of gods, men,
and so on, is of one and the same kind. So the Holy one himself has said,
'In the dog and the low man eating dog's flesh the wise see the same';
'Brahman, without any imperfection, is the same' (Bha. Gî. V, 18, 19).
And, moreover, the clause 'Of the Self although existing in one's own
and in other bodies' directly declares that a thing different from the
body is distributed among one's own and other bodies.

Nor does the passage 'If there is some other (para) different (anya)
from me,' &c. (Vi. Pu. II, 13, 86) intimate the oneness of the Self; for
in that case the two words 'para' and 'anya' would express one meaning
only (viz. 'other' in the sense of 'distinct from'). The word 'para'
there denotes a Self distinct from that of one's own Self, and the word
'anya' is introduced to negative a character different from that of pure
intelligence: the sense of the passage thus is 'If there is some Self
distinct from mine, and of a character different from mine which is pure
knowledge, then it can be said that I am of such a character and he of a
different character'; but this is not the case, because all Selfs are
equal in as far as their nature consists of pure knowledge.--Also the
sloka beginning 'Owing to the difference of the holes of the flute' (Vi.
Pu. II, 14, 32) only declares that the inequality of the different Selfs
is owing not to their essential nature, but to their dwelling in
different material bodies; and does not teach the oneness of all Selfs.
The different portions of air, again, passing through the different
holes of the flute--to which the many Selfs are compared--are not said
to be one but only to be equal in character; they are one in character
in so far as all of them are of the nature of air, while the different
names of the successive notes of the musical scale are applied to them
because they pass out by the different holes of the instrument. For an
analogous reason the several Selfs are denominated by different names,
viz. gods and so on. Those material things also which are parts of the
substance fire, or water, or earth, are one in so far only as they
consist of one kind of substance; but are not absolutely one; those
different portions of air, therefore, which constitute the notes of the
scale are likewise not absolutely one. Where the Purâna further says 'He
(or "that") I am and thou art He (or "that"); all this universe that has
Self for its true nature is He (or "that"); abandon the error of
distinction' (Vi. Pu. II, 16, 23); the word 'that' refers to the
intelligent character mentioned previously which is common to all Selfs,
and the co-ordination stated in the two clauses therefore intimates that
intelligence is the character of the beings denoted 'I' and 'Thou';
'abandon therefore,' the text goes on to say, 'the illusion that the
difference of outward form, divine and so on, causes a corresponding
difference in the Selfs.' If this explanation were not accepted (but
absolute non-difference insisted upon) there would be no room for the
references to difference which the passages quoted manifestly contain.

Accordingly the text goes on to say that the king acted on the
instruction he had received, 'he abandoned the view of difference,
having recognised the Real.'--But on what ground do we arrive at this
decision (viz. that the passage under discussion is not meant to teach
absolute non-duality)?--On the ground, we reply, that the proper topic
of the whole section is to teach the distinction of the Self and the
body--for this is evident from what is said in an early part of the
section, 'as the body of man, characterised by hands, feet, and the like,'
&c. (Vi. Pu. II, 13, 85).--For analogous reasons the sloka 'When that
knowledge which gives rise to distinction' &c. (Vi. Pu. VI, 7, 94)
teaches neither the essential unity of all Selfs nor the oneness of the
individual Self and the highest Self. And that the embodied soul and the
highest Self should be essentially one, is no more possible than that
the body and the Self should be one. In agreement herewith Scripture
says, 'Two birds, inseparable friends, cling to the same tree. One of
them eats the sweet fruit, the other looks on without eating' (Mu. Up.
III, 1, 1). 'There are two drinking their reward in the world of their
own works, entered into the cave, dwelling on the highest summit. Those
who know Brahman call them shade and light,' &c. (Ka. Up. I, 3, 1). And
in this sâstra also (i.e. the Vishnu Purâna) there are passages of
analogous import; cp. the stanzas quoted above, 'He transcends the
causal matter, all effects, all imperfections such as the gunas' &c.

The Sûtras also maintain the same doctrine, cp. I, 1, 17; I, 2, 21; II,
1, 22; and others. They therein follow Scripture, which in several
places refers to the highest and the individual soul as standing over
against each other, cp. e.g. 'He who dwells in the Self and within the
Self, whom the Self does not know, whose body the Self is, who rules the
Self from within' (Bri. Up. III, 7, 22); 'Embraced by the intelligent
Self (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 21); 'Mounted by the intelligent Self (IV, 3, 35).
Nor can the individual Self become one with the highest Self by freeing
itself from Nescience, with the help of the means of final Release; for
that which admits of being the abode of Nescience can never become quite
incapable of it. So the Purâna says, 'It is false to maintain that the
individual Self and the highest Self enter into real union; for one
substance cannot pass over into the nature of another substance.'
Accordingly the Bhagavad Gîtâ declares that the released soul attains
only the same attributes as the highest Self. 'Abiding by this knowledge,
they, attaining to an equality of attributes with me, do neither come
forth at the time of creation, nor are troubled at the time of general
destruction' (XIV, 2). Similarly our Purâna says, 'That Brahman leads
him who meditates on it, and who is capable of change, towards its own
being (âtmabhâva), in the same way as the magnet attracts the iron' (Vi.
Pu. VI, 7, 30). Here the phrase 'leads him towards his own being' means
'imparts to him a nature like his own' (not 'completely identifies him
with itself'); for the attracted body does not become essentially one
with the body attracting.

The same view will be set forth by the Sûtrakâra in IV, 4, 17; 21, and I,
3, 2. The Vritti also says (with reference to Sû. IV, 4, 17) 'with the
exception of the business of the world (the individual soul in the state
of release) is equal (to the highest Self) through light'; and the
author of the Dramidabhâshya says, 'Owing to its equality (sâyujya) with
the divinity the disembodied soul effects all things, like the divinity.'
The following scriptural texts establish the same view, 'Those who
depart from hence, after having known the Self and those true desires,
for them there is freedom in all the worlds' (Ch. Up. VIII, 1, 6); 'He
who knows Brahman reaches the Highest' (Taitt. Up. II, 1); 'He obtains
all desires together with the intelligent Brahman' (Taitt. Up. II, 1, 1);
'Having reached the Self which consists of bliss, he wanders about in
these worlds having as much food and assuming as many forms as he likes'
(Taitt. Up. III, 10, 5); 'There he moves about' (Ch. Up. VIII, 12, 3);
'For he is flavour; for only after having perceived a flavour can any
one perceive pleasure' (Taitt. Up. II, 7); 'As the flowing rivers go to
their setting in the sea, losing name and form; thus he who knows, freed
from name and form, goes to the divine Person who is higher than the
high' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 8); 'He who knows, shaking off good and evil,
reaches the highest oneness, free from stain' (Mu. Up. III, 1, 3).

The objects of meditation in all the vidyâs which refer to the highest
Brahman, are Brahman viewed as having qualities, and the fruit of all
those meditations. For this reason the author of the Sûtras declares
that there is option among the different vidyâs--cp. Ve. Sû. III, 3, II;
III., 3, 59. In the same way the Vâkyakâra teaches that the qualified
Brahman only is the object of meditation, and that there is option of
vidyâs; where he says '(Brahman) connected (with qualities), since the
meditation refers to its qualities.' The same view is expressed by the
Bhâshyakâra in the passage beginning 'Although he who bases himself on
the knowledge of Being.'--Texts such as 'He knows Brahman, he becomes
Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9) have the same purport, for they must be
taken in connexion with the other texts (referring to the fate of him
who knows) such as 'Freed from name and form he goes to the divine
Person who is higher than the high'; 'Free from stain he reaches the
highest oneness' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 8; III, 1,3); 'Having approached the
highest light he manifests himself in his own shape' (Kh. Up. VIII, 3,
4). Of him who has freed himself from his ordinary name and form, and
all the distinctions founded thereon, and has assumed the uniform
character of intelligence, it may be said that he is of the character of
Brahman.--Our Purâna also propounds the same view. The sloka (VI, 7, 91),
'Knowledge is the means to obtain what is to be obtained, viz. the
highest Brahman: the Self is to be obtained, freed from all kinds of
imagination,' states that that Self which through meditation on Brahman,
is freed from all imagination so as to be like Brahman, is the object to
be attained. (The three forms of imagination to be got rid of are so-
called karma-bhâvanâ, brahma-bhâvanâ and a combination of the two. See
Vi. Pu. VI, 7.) The text then goes on, 'The embodied Self is the user of
the instrument, knowledge is its instrument; having accomplished Release--
whereby his object is attained--he may leave off.' This means that the
Devotee is to practise meditation on the highest Brahman until it has
accomplished its end, viz. the attainment of the Self free from all
imagination.--The text continues, 'Having attained the being of its
being, then he is non-different from the highest Self; his difference is
founded on Nescience only.' This sloka describes the state of the
released soul. 'Its being' is the being, viz. the character or nature,
of Brahman; but this does not mean absolute oneness of nature; because
in this latter case the second 'being' would be out of place and the
sloka would contradict what had been said before. The meaning is: when
the soul has attained the nature of Brahman, i.e. when it has freed
itself from all false imagination, then it is non-different from the
highest Self. This non-difference is due to the soul, as well as the
highest Self, having the essential nature of uniform intelligence. The
difference of the soul--presenting itself as the soul of a god, a man,
&c.--from the highest Self is not due to its essential nature, but rests
on the basis of Nescience in the form of work: when through meditation
on Brahman this basis is destroyed, the difference due to it comes to an
end, and the soul no longer differs from the highest Self. So another
text says, 'The difference of things of one nature is due to the
investing agency of outward works; when the difference of gods, men,
&c., is destroyed, it has no longer any investing power' (Vi. Pu. II,
14, 33).--The text then adds a further explanation, 'when the knowledge
which gives rise to manifold difference is completely destroyed, who
then will produce difference that has no real existence?' The manifold
difference is the distinction of gods, men, animals, and inanimate
things: compare the saying of Saunaka:'this fourfold distinction is
founded on false knowledge.' The Self has knowledge for its essential
nature; when Nescience called work--which is the cause of the manifold
distinctions of gods, men, &c.--has been completely destroyed through
meditation on the highest Brahman, who then will bring about the
distinction of gods, & c., from the highest Self--a distinction which in
the absence of a cause cannot truly exist.--That Nescience is called
karman (work) is stated in the same chapter of the Purâna (st.
61--avidyâ karmasamjña).

Mohini Shakti Devi
05 February 2010, 11:16 PM
The passage in the Bhagavad Gîtâ, 'Know me to be the kshetrajña' (XIII,
2), teaches the oneness of all in so far as the highest Self is the
inward ruler of all; taken in any other sense it would be in conflict
with other texts, such as 'All creatures are the Perishable, the
unchanging soul is the Imperishable; but another is the highest Person'
(Bha. Gî. XV, 16). In other places the Divine one declares that as
inward Ruler he is the Self of all: 'The Lord dwells in the heart of all
creatures' (XVIII, 61), and 'I dwell within the heart of all' (XV, 15).
and 'I am the Self which has its abode within all creatures' (X, 20).
The term 'creature' in these passages denotes the entire aggregate of
body, &c., up to the Self.--Because he is the Self of all, the text
expressly denies that among all the things constituting his body there
is any one separate from him,'There is not anything which is without me'
(X, 39). The place where this text occurs is the winding up of a
glorification of the Divine one, and the text has to be understood
accordingly. The passage immediately following is 'Whatever being there
is, powerful, beautiful, or glorious, even that know thou to have sprung
from a portion of my glory; pervading this entire Universe by a portion
of mine I do abide' (X, 41; 42).

All this clearly proves that the authoritative books do _not_ teach the
doctrine of one non-differenced substance; that they do _not_ teach that
the universe of things is false; and that they do _not_ deny the
essential distinction of intelligent beings, non-intelligent things, and
the Lord.

[FOOTNOTE 92:1. 'Prânamaya' is explained as meaning 'prana' only.]

[FOOTNOTE 94:1. The sense in which this sloka has to be taken is 'As in
ordinary life we ascribe to certain things (e.g. gems, mantras) certain
special powers because otherwise the effects they produce could not be
accounted for; so to Brahman also,' &c.]

07 February 2010, 08:12 AM
Admin Note


This is the opening chapters of a 500 page book

I hope that you are not planning to cut and paste the 500 page book here on HDF!

Please just post a link instead. There is no point dumping large amounts of text on HDF unless you want to discuss it or provide your own comments on it or are looking for opinions etc.

Cutting and pasting large dump of texts is considered spamming. Spamming HDF is against the rules.

Thank you!

07 February 2010, 10:30 AM
Admin Note

I hope that you are not planning to cut and paste the 500 page book here on HDF!

I too concur... it seems this simple request to avoid cut 'n paste is not taken to heart.

What does cut 'n paste do? I can go read the information on-line somewhere. What is of value is the undersanding, the POV , insight, comprehension and/or opinions of the author that is to be brought to life. That is, the poster ( of the cut 'n paste) would like to make a point and use a hymn, verse, parable, page, etc. to set the stage , to prepare the reader for the conversation and/or point out whe s/he agrees or dis-agrees with an idea or concept.

I know I do not read multiple pages of cut 'n pase ; I pass it up.


03 May 2010, 11:58 AM
1) The layout becomes obscured when copying large texts on forums
2) Sometimes there are copyrights on the original text
3) It's much easier to post a link to the original website
4) When you do add something of your own, nobody is going to see the difference between the original text and your comments

So please, don't copy paste large texts.