Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Drig Drishya Viveka

Colours are known as objects of the seeing eye. The eye is known as an object of the perceiving mind. Thoughts in the mind are known as objects to the witness self, whereas the self is never known as an object.

Forms appear in various ways – blue or yellow; big or small; short or long, etc.. Forms are many and varied, but they are all seen through a single glance of the eye.

 The eye has many conditions like blindness, dullness, clarity and the like. All these attributes of the eye are grasped by a single cognition of the mind. This relationship - the many known by the one - applies to the attributes of the ears, skin and other sense organs (that are all known by the same mind).  

 The mind itself has many modifications – desire, decision, faith and faithlessness, resolve and indecision, modesty, knowledge, fear etc.. All these modifications are known by a single conscious self.

This conscious self does not undergo birth or death. It neither grows nor decays. It is aware of everything including itself, without the need for any instrument of knowledge.

The mind is not conscious by nature, but appears conscious due to the consciousness of self reflected in the mind.  The mind exists in two modes – the first as Ahankaara, the subject, and the second as Antahkarana, various internal forms of thought

The Ahankara is associated with the reflected consciousness of the self. Ahankaara and the reflection are intimately associated as one, just as fire and iron ball appear as one when the ball is red hot.

 The Ahankaara has intimate identification with these three – the reflected consciousness, the physical body, and the conscious witness. These three identifications are due to  nature, karma (actions of previous lifetimes), and error, respectively.

 Natural identification (between Ahankara and reflected consciousness) does not end as long as the two related elements exist.  The other two - identifications due to Karma and due to ignorance, cease when karmas are over and when knowledge arises, respectively.

 During sleep, wherein Ahankaara does not manifest, the physical body, too, appears to be unconscious. In dream,  Ahankaara is partially manifest, whereas it is fully manifest in the waking state.

 The thoughts that constitute Antahkarana, also enjoys oneness with the reflected consciousness.  These thoughts create impressions constitute the dream state, and external objects with sense organs that constitute the waking world.

The material that constitutes mind and Ahankaara is called Linga or ‘subtle’ material. It is one and inert by nature. It pervades in and through the three states of experience, and undergoes birth and activity.

The original material for the universe, Maaya, possesses two powers – creative power and concealing power.  Through the creative power, it manifests the universe ranging from subtle matter to the physical cosmos.

The created universe abides in Brahman, who is Real, Conscious, and Full by nature. Just as foam, and waves in the ocean, all forms are manifest and multiply in Brahman.

The second power of Maaya is the concealing power of ignorance, which covers the internal distinction between knower and known, and the external distinction between Brahman and the created universe. This concealing power is the cause for one’s transmigratory cycle of birth and death.

The Linga (subtle body)  enjoys the presence of reflected consciousness  and is illumined by the of the conscious witness. Associated with the physical body, it becomes the transactional Jiva (individual soul) 

Its Jiva nature is  transposed on to the conscious witness due to superimposition. The mistake is negated when ignorance is dispelled and the distinction between Jiva and the Witness Self is clear.


Similarly the power of ignorance covers the distnction between Brahman (the Conscious substratum)  and creation. Due to this, Brahman appears as subject to change (as identified with creation).

Here too, when the ignorance is dispelled, the distinction between Brahman and creation becomes clear. The changing nature is rightly attributed to creation and certainly not to Brahman.

All things in creation are associated with these five aspects.... 1) they exist, 2) they appear, 3) they are desirable,  4) they have form, and 5) they have name. Of these, the first three aspects belong to Brahman (who is the ground of all existence, appearance, and happiness). Only the last two aspects, name and form, belong to the created universe.

Among all things within creation – Space, Air, Fire, Water, Space, Gods, Animals and Humans, what differentiates them from each other are the aspects of name and form. (The aspects of being, appearing, and desirability corresponding to) existence, awareness and fullness are the same in all of things.

Whoever is intent on Brahman’s nature of existence, awareness, and fullness, should absorb oneself in its contemplation constantly, by negating internal names and forms within oneself or with the external created universe.

Samaadhi or Absorbtion in contemplation within oneself is of two kinds – with thoughts, Savikalpa, and without thoughts, Nirvikalpa.  Savikalpa is again of two types – either associated with perceived objects or with words.

One should contemplate on Desire etc. which are all internal objects in with mind, and on the conscious self as their witness.  This type of contemplation  Savikalpaka Samaadhi associated with perceived objects.  


“I am untainted; existent, aware and full by nature, self aware, and free from all duality”. This type of contemplation is Savikalpa Samadhi connected to words.

When one remains with the experience of being oneself to the exclusion of all objects, seen or heard, one is in the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This steady state is comparable to an steady flame that is protected from external breeze.

 The first type of Samadhi (Savikalpa associated with perceived objects) can be practiced centred on objects in external space, similar to objects within ones mind. Here, names and forms are differentiated from pure existence (Brahman).

The second and deeper type of Samadhi (Savikalpa as connected to words) involves the continuous contemplation on the self as one, non-divisible, revealed by the words – Existence, Awareness, and Fullness – i.e., Sat, Chit and Ananda.  

 The complete stillness of mind based on experiencing oneself, (independent of all internal and external objects) is the Samadhi of the third type (Nirvikalpa).  One should spend ones time constantly in the pursuit of Samadhi in these six ways (three types connected to internal and external objects).

When ones identification with the body is wiped out, and one has known the self who is absolute, one enjoys Samadhi (Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa) in and through all activities of the mind.

The knots of the heart are broken; all doubts are dispelled; and ones’ Karmas decay; all these occur when one has known Brahman who is both absolute and relative.

The individual self is viewed through three points of view. They are 1) consciousness apparently limited (avachhinna jiva) by body-mind, 2) consciousness that is reflected (aabhaasa jiva) in the mind, and 3) consciousness that is manifest in dream (svapna kalpita jiva).  Of these three, the first version constitutes the authentic nature of the self.       

The limiting condition  associated with the self is superimposed, whereas the self  as the locus for the superimposed condition, is real. It appears as a limited (avachhinna) Jiva  because of the superimposed condition, but essentially it is the limitless Brahman alone. 

 This apparently conditioned (avachhinna) Jiva is stated to be absolutely one with the limitless Brahman, according to the Upanishad statements like “You are That” – Tattvamasi, etc.  This absolute oneness does not refer to the other two versions of the Jiva (aabhaasa and svapna kalpita jivas).

The material of creation Maaya, also known as Prakriti, is rooted in the absolute Brahman, It has two aspects –the power to create and to conceal. It conceals the non-dual nature of Brahman creates the individual Jivas and the phenomenal universe - Jagat.

The (second version of) Jiva, as the consciousness reflected in the mind (aabhaasa) , is associated with action and its results as agent and experiencer respectively. This entire universe, Jagat, consisting of the five elements and their modifications are objects of experience for the relative Jiva.

These two, Jiva and Jagat, exist in and through transactions (as relative realities) from beginningless time until the dawn of liberation. Hence the two enjoy a objective transactional existence (vyaavahaarikam) .

Within the consciousness reflected in the mind (aabhaasa jiva)  exists sleep with its two powers to create and conceal. It conceals the transactional Jiva and Jagat, and creates new Jivas and Jagat associated with dream.

The dream Jivas and Jagat exist only as long as the dream is experienced; (they disappear when the dream ceases). Hence they have a purely subjective existence (praatibhaasikam).

The subjective (praatibhaasika) Jiva considers the dream universe as real, whereas the transactional (vyaavaharika) Jiva recognizes it to be apparent (mithya).

 The transactional Jiva believes that the universe of transactions is absolute real; whereas (one who knows) the absolute Jiva (paaramarthika) considers the universe as apparent (mitya).

The (one who knows the) absolute Jiva recognizes its oneness with Brahman as absolute. He does not see anything other than Brahman. If at all he experiences difference, it is only in terms of apparent difference (and not as something real).

Just like the attributes of water like sweetness, fluidity and coolness inhere in the waves, and also inhere in the foam that appear on the waves;

In the same way, the attributes of the conscious witness, i.e. the nature of reality, consciousness, and fullness, inhere in the transactional (vyaavahaarika) Jiva; and also, by connection, in the dream-based (praatibhasika) Jiva  

When the foam disappears, its attributes (of sweetness, fluidity and coolness) continue to exist in the wave; and when the wave disappears, they continue to exist in the water, just as it existed before (the appearance of the waves and foam).

(In the same way) the attributes of reality, consciousness, and fullness, (sat chit ananda) that are found in the Praatibhaasika Jiva, continue to exist in the Vyaavaharika Jiva. When the Vyaavaharika ceases, the attributes of sat chit ananda persist in the conscious witness (who is the absolute self – Paramarthika Jiva).


Prakarana Granthas

Seek Govinda! Author: Adi Shankaracharya

Self-Knowledge! Author: Adi Shankaracharya

Distinction between Knower -Known

Meditations on Self

Eight Verses on Guru

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