1. On hearing Dattatreya relate the wonderful story of the Hill City, Parasurama marvelled more and more.

2. He, with a clear mind, pondered over the teachings of his Master, and then returned to him and asked him again:

3. "Lord, I have considered the purport of your teachings in the shape of the magnificent stories you told me.

4. "I understand that intelligence alone is real and single, and that objects are only unreal images like a city reflected in a mirror.

5. "Her Transcendental Majesty, the Maheswari, is that consciousness manifesting as Intelligence cognisant of the whole range of phenomena beginning from the unmanifest state of sleep and ending with this world passing in quick succession within itself.

6. "All these are apparently due to the self-sufficiency of that consciousness and they come into being without any immediate cause. This much I have understood after deep consideration.

7. "But this intelligence is said to be beyond cognition because it always remains as pure knowledge itself.

8. "I do not see how it can be realised if it surpasses knowledge. The goal is not achieved without realising it.

9. "The goal is liberation. What is its nature? If one can be liberated while alive, still how is the course of his emancipated life regulated, if that is at all possible?

10. "There are sages who are active. What is the relation between the world of action and their pure conscious being?

11. "How can they engage in action while all the time they inhere in absolute consciousness? Such consciousness can be of only one kind, and liberation also can be only one in order to be effective.

12-17. "How then are these differences noticed in the lives of the jnanis? Some of them are active; some teach scriptures; some worship deities; some abstract themselves into samadhi; some lead an austere life and emaciate themselves; some give clear instructions to their disciples; some rule kingdom quite justly; some openly hold disputations with other schools of thought; some write down their teachings and experiences; others simulate ignorance; a few even reprehensible and loathsome actions; but all of them are famous as wise men in the world.

18. "How can there be such differences in their lives when there can be no difference in the state of liberation common to all? Or are there grades in knowledge and liberation?

19. "Kindly enlighten me on these points, because I am eager to learn the truth and submit to you as my sole Teacher."

20. Thus requested, Dattatreya appeared pleased with the questions and answered the worthy disciple as follows:

21. "Worthy Rama! You are indeed fit to reach that goal because you have now turned towards the right way of investigation.

22. "This is due to the Grace of God which puts you in the right way of investigation. Who can attain anything worthy, without divine Grace?

23. "The beneficent work of the self-inhering divine Grace is finished when the inward turning of one's mind increases in strength day by day.

24-25. "What you have said so far is quite true; you have rightly understood the nature of consciousness but have not realised it. A knowledge of the property of a thing without actual experience of the thing itself is as useless as no knowledge.

26. "True experience of the Self is the unawareness of even 'I am'. Can the world persist after such unawareness? Second-hand knowledge is no better than the recollection of a dream.

27. "Just as the accession of treasure in a dream is useless, so also is secondhand knowledge.

28. "I shall illustrate it with a very ancient story. There was formerly a very virtuous king ruling over Videha.

29. "He was Janaka by name, very wise and conversant with both this world and beyond. At one time he worshipped with sacrificial rites the Goddess, inhering as the Self.

30. "There came for the occasion, all the Brahmins, pandits, hermits, critics, those versed in the Vedas, those accustomed to share in sacrificial rites and sacrifices, etc.

31. "At the same time, Varuna, the God of waters, wanted to perform a similar sacrifice, but worthy men did not accept the invitation.

32-37. "For they were pleased with Janaka who respected them duly.

"Then Varuna's son, who was a great dialectician, came to them. He disguised himself as a Brahmin, in order to decoy the Brahmin guests. On entering the royal chamber he duly blessed the king and addressed him thus before all the assembly. 'O King, your assembly is not as good as it should be. It looks like a lovely lake of lotuses ravaged by crows, jackdaws and herons; it would be better without this medley of incompetents. I do not find a single individual here who will be an ornament to a great assembly like a swan to a lovely lake of lotuses. May God bless you! I shall have nothing to do with this multitude of fools.'

38-41. "Being thus insulted by Varuna's son, the whole assembly stood up to a man and said in anger:

"You charlatan of a Brahmin! How dare you insult everybody here? What learning have you which is wanting in us? Wicked man that you are, you are only a bluffer! You shall not leave this place until you have proved your superiority over us. There are great pandits assembled here from all over the world. Do you hope to subdue all of them by your learning? Tell us your special subject in which you imagine yourself more proficient than us!'

Thus challenged, Varuni replied:

42-43. "I will in a minute outdo you all in debate; but that shall be only on the condition that if I am defeated, you will throw me into the sea; and if you are defeated, I will consign you to the sea, one after another. If you agree to this condition, let us have a debate.

44-45. "They consented and the debate began in right earnest. The pandits were shortly defeated by the fallacious logic of the opponent and they were sunk in the sea by hundreds.

46. "Varuna's followers then took away the sunken pandits to his sacrifice where they were received with respect which much pleased them.

47-50. "There was one by name Kahoela, among those who were thus sunk. His son Ashtavakra, having heard of his father's fate, hastened to Janaka's court and challenged the debater skilled in fallacy. The masquerader was now defeated and straightaway condemned to the sea by the young avenger. Then Varuni threw off his mask in the court and restored back all the men formerly drowned in the sea. Kahoela's son was now puffed with pride and behaved offensively before the assembled court. The pandits were made to feel mortified before the youth.

51-52. "Just then, a female ascetic appeared in their midst, to whom the offended assembly looked for help. Encouraging them in their hopes, the charming maiden with matted locks and hermit's clothes was highly honoured by the king and she spoke in sweet and yet firm tones:

53. "Oh child! Son of Kahoela! You are indeed very accomplished, for these Brahmins have been rescued by you after you defeated Varuni in debate.

54-56. "I want to ask of you a short question, to which please give a straight answer, explicit and unreserved. What is that condition reaching which there will be all-round immortality: knowing which all doubts and uncertainties will disappear; and established in which all desires will vanish? If you have realised that unbounded state, please tell me directly.'

"Being approached by the ascetic, the son of Kahoela replied with confidence:

57-58. "I know it. Listen to what I say. There is nothing in the world not known to me. I have studied all the sacred literature with great care. Therefore hear my answer.

59-63. "What you ask is the primal and efficient cause of the universe, being itself without beginning, middle or end, and uneffected by time and space. It is pure, unbroken, single Consciousness. The whole world is manifested in it like a city in a mirror. Such is that transcendental state. On realising it, one becomes immortal; there is no place for doubts and uncertainties, as there is no more reason for ignorance as at the sight of innumerable reflected images; and there will be no more room for desire, because transcendence is then experienced.

"It is also unknowable because there is no one to know it, besides itself.

"Ascetic! I have now told you the truth as contained in the Scriptures.'

64-71. "After Ashtavakra had finished, the hermit spoke again: 'Young sage! What you say, is rightly said and accepted by all. But I draw your attention to that part of your answer where you admitted its unknowability for want of a knower outside of consciousness; and also that its knowledge confers immortality and perfection. How are these two statements to be reconciled? Either admit that consciousness is unknowable, is not known to you, and thus conclude its non-existence; or say that it is, and that you know it - and therefore it is not unknowable.

"You evidently speak from secondhand knowledge, gathered from the scriptures. Clearly, you have not realised it and so your knowledge is not personal.

"Think now - your words amount to this - you have a personal knowledge of the images but not of the mirror. How can that be?

"Tell me now if you are not ashamed of this prevarication before King Janaka and his assembly.'

"Being thus reprimanded by the ascetic, he could not speak for some time because he felt mortified and ashamed; so he remained with bent head thinking it over.

72-73. "However, the Brahmin youth could not find any satisfactory answer to her question, so he submitted to her in great humility: 'O ascetic! Truly I cannot find the answer to your question. I submit to you as your disciple. Pray tell me how the two scriptural statements are to be reconciled. But I assure you that I have not told a deliberate lie, for I know that any merits a liar may have are counteracted by his lies so that he is condemned as unworthy.'

74. "Thus requested, the ascetic was pleased with Ashtavakra's sincerity and said to him in the hearing of the assembly.

75-84. "Child, there are many who being ignorant of this sublime truth, live in a state of delusion. Dry polemics will not help one to Reality for it is well guarded on all sides. Of all the people now assembled here, no one has experienced Reality, except the king and myself. It is not a subject for discussion. The most brilliant logic can only approach it but never attain it. Although unaffected by logic coupled with a keen intellect, it can however be realised by service to one's Guru and the grace of God.

"O thou who art thyself the son of a Sage, listen to me carefully, for this is hard to understand even when hearing it explained. Hearing it a thousand times over will be useless unless one verifies the teachings by means of investigation into the Self with a concentrated mind. Just as a prince labours under a misapprehension that the string of pearls still clinging to his neck has been stolen away by another and is not persuaded to the contrary by mere words but only believes when he finds it around his neck by his own effort so also, O youth, however clever a man may be, he will never know his own self by the mere teaching of others unless he realises it for himself. Otherwise he can never realise the Self if his mind is turned outward.

85... "A lamp illumines all around but does not illumine itself or another light. It shines of itself without other sources of light. Things shine in sunlight without the necessity for any other kind of illumination. Because lights do not require to be illumined, do we say that they are not known or that they do not exist?

"Therefore, as it is thus with lights and things made aware by the conscious self, what doubt can you have regarding abstract consciousness, namely the Self?

"Lights and things being insentient, cannot be self-aware. Still, their existence or manifestation is under no doubt. That means they are self-luminous. Can you not similarly investigate with an inward mind in order to find out if the all-comprehending Self is conscious or not conscious?

"That Consciousness is absolute and transcends the three states (wakefulness, dream and slumber) and comprises all the universe making it manifest. Nothing can be apprehended without its light.

"Will anything be apparent to you, if there be no consciousness? Even to say that nothing is apparent to you (as in sleep) requires the light of consciousness. Is not your awareness of your unawareness (in sleep) due to consciousness?

"If you infer its eternal light, then closely investigate whether the light is of itself or not. Everybody falls in this investigation however learned and proficient he may be, because his mind is not bent inward but restlessly moves outward. As long as thoughts crop up, so long has the turning inward of the mind not been accomplished. As long as the mind is not inward, so long the Self cannot be realised. Turning inward means absence of desire. How can the mind be fixed within if desires are not given up?

"Therefore become dispassionate and inhere as the Self. Such inherence is spontaneous (no effort is needed to inhere as the Self). It is realised after thoughts are eliminated and investigation ceases. Recapitulate your state after you break off from it, and then will know all and the significance of its being knowable and unknowable at the same time. Thus realising the unknowable, one abides in immortality for ever and ever.

"I have now finished. Salutations to you! Farewell!

"But you have not yet understood my words because this is the first time you hear the truth. This king, the wisest among men, can make you understand. So ask him again and he will clear your doubts."

"When she had finished, she was honoured by the king and the whole assembly, and then she instantly dissolved in air and disappeared from human sight.

"I have now related to you, O Rama, the method of Self-Realisation."

Thus ends the Chapter XV on Ashtavakra Section in Tripura Rahasya.






1. When Parasurama had heard the story, he marvelled greatly and requested his Master to continue.

2-5. "Lord, this ancient legend is marvellous. Please tell me what Ashtavakra asked the king next, and the instructions he received. I had not hither to heard this story full of sublime truths. Please continue the story. Master, I am anxious to hear it in full."

Being so requested, Dattatreya, the great sage and Master, continued the holy narrative. "Listen, O Bhargava, to the discourse with Janaka.

6-7. "On the departure of the holy ascetic from vision, Ashtavakra, the son of a sage, asked Janaka who was surrounded by a whole group of pandits, the full explanation of the ascetic's brief but recondite speech. I shall now tell you Janaka's reply, to which listen attentively.

8-9. "Ashtavakra asked, 'O King of Videha, I have not clearly understood the teaching of the ascetic because of its brevity. Please explain to me then, Lord of mercy, how I shall know the unknowable'.

Being thus asked, Janaka, as if surprised, replied:

10-13. "O thou son of a sage, listen to me! It is neither unknowable nor remains unknown at any moment. Tell me how even the ablest of Masters can guide one to something which always remains unknown. If a Guru can teach, it means that he knows what he says. This transcendental state is quite easy or may be well-nigh impossible according as one's mind is inward bent in peace or out-moving in restlessness. It cannot be taught if it always remains unknown.

14. "The fact that the Vedas point to it only indirectly as 'not this - not this' shows that the knowledge can be imparted to others.

"Whatever you see becomes known by the very abstract intelligence.

15-19. "Now carefully analyse the underlying consciousness which, though abstract and apart from material objects, yet illumines them all the same. Know it to be the truth. O sage! What is not self-luminous can only fall within the orbit of intelligence and cannot be Intelligence itself. Intelligence is that by which objects are known; it cannot be what it is if it becomes the object of knowledge. What is intelligible must always be different from intelligence itself, or else it could not be made known by it. Intelligence in the abstract cannot admit of parts, which is the characteristic of objects. Therefore objects take on shapes. Carefully watch absolute Intelligence after eliminating all else from it.

20. "Just as a mirror takes on the hues of the images, so also the abstract Intelligence assumes the different shapes of objects by virtue of its holding them within itself.

21. "Abstract Intelligence can thus be made manifest by eliminating from it all that can be known. It cannot be known as such and such, for it is the supporter of one and all.

22. "This, being the Self of the seeker, is not cognisable. Investigate your true Self in the aforesaid manner.

Note. - There is no other agent to know the Self nor light by which to know it.

23. "You are not the body, nor the senses, nor the mind, because they are all transient. The body is composed of food, so how can you be the body?

24. "For the sense of 'I' (ego) surpasses the body, the senses and the mind, at the time of the cognition of objects.

Commentary. - The Self always flashes as 'I' due to its self-luminosity. The body and such things do not. The 'I' surpasses the body, etc., simultaneously with the perception of objects, for the bodily conception does not exist with the perception of objects. Otherwise the two perceptions must be coeval.

"The contention may be set out that the eternal flash of the Self as 'I' is not apparent at the time of the perception of objects. If 'I' did not shine forth at the time, the objects would not be perceived just as they are invisible in the absence of light. Why is not the flash apparent? Perceptibility is always associated with insentient matter. Who else could see the self-luminosity of the Self? It cannot shine in absolute singleness and purity. However it is there as 'I'.

"Moreover everyone feels 'I see the objects'. If it were not for the eternal being of 'I', there would always arise the doubt 'if I am' or 'if I am not' - which is absurd.

"Nor should it be supposed that 'I' is of the body, at the time of perception of objects. For, perception implies the assumption of that shape by the intellect, as is evident when identifying the body with the Self?

"Nor again should it be said that at the time of perception 'I am so and so, Chaitra,' - the Chaitra sense over-reaches the 'I' sense, but the 'I' sense is never lost by the Chaitra sense.

"There is the continuity of 'I' in deep slumber and in Samadhi. Otherwise after sleep a man would get up as somebody else.

"The concentration is possible that in deep sleep and Samadhi, the Self remains unqualified and therefore is not identical with the limited consciousness of the ego, 'I' in the wakeful state. The answer is as follows: 'I', is of two kinds - qualified and unqualified. Qualification implies limitations whereas its absence implies its unlimited nature.

"'I' is associated with limitations in dream and wakeful states, and it is free from them in deep slumber and Samadhi states.

"In that case is the 'I' in Samadhi or sleep associated with trifold division of subject, object and their relation? No! Being pure and single, it is unblemished and persists as 'I-I', and nothing else. The same is Perfection.

25. "Whereas Her Majesty the Absolute Intelligence is ever resplendent as 'I', therefore She is all and ever-knowing. You are She, in the abstract.

26. "Realise it yourself by turning your sight inward. You are only pure abstract Consciousness. Realise it this instant, for procrastination is not worthy of a good disciple. He should realise the Self at the moment of instruction.

27. "Your eyes are not meant by the aforesaid word sight. The mental eye is meant, for it is the eye of the eye, as is clear in dreams.

28. "To say that the sight is turned inward is appropriate because perception is possible only when the sight is turned towards the object.

29-31. "The sight must be turned away from other objects and fixed on a particular object in order to see it. Otherwise that object will not be perceived in entirety. The fact that the sight is not fixed on it is the same as not seeing it. Similarly is it with hearing, touch, etc.

32. "The same applies to the mind in its sensations of pain and pleasure, which are not felt if the mind is otherwise engaged.

33. "The other perceptions require the two conditions, namely, elimination of others and concentration on the one. But Self-Realisation differs from them in that it requires only one condition: elimination of all perceptions.

34. "I shall tell you the reason for this. Although consciousness is unknowable, it is still realisable by pure mind.

35-45. "Even the learned are perplexed on this point. External perceptions of the mind are dependent on two conditions.

"The first is elimination of other perceptions and the second is fixation on the particular item of perception. If the mind is simply turned away from other perceptions, the mind is in an indifferent state, where there is absence of any kind of perception. Therefore concentration on a particular item is necessary for the perception of external things. But since consciousness is the Self and not apart from the mind, concentration on it is not necessary for its realisation. It is enough that other perceptions (namely, thoughts) should be eliminated from the mind and then the Self will be realised.

"If a man wants to pick out one particular image among a series of images passing in front of him as reflections on a mirror, he must turn his attention away from the rest of the pictures and fix it on that particular one.

"If on the other hand, he wants to see the space reflected it is enough that he turns away his attention from the pictures and the space manifests without any attention on his part, for, space is immanent everywhere and is already reflected there. However it has remained unnoticed because the interspatial images dominated the scene.

"Space being the supporter of all and immanent in all, becomes manifest if only the attention is diverted from the panorama. In the same way, consciousness is the supporter of all and is immanent in all and always remains perfect like space pervading the mind also. Diversion of attention from other items is all that is necessary for Self-Realisation. Or do you say that the Self-illuminant can ever be absent from any nook or corner?

46. "There can indeed be no moment or spot from which consciousness is absent. Its absence means their absence also. Therefore consciousness of the Self becomes manifest by mere diversion of attention from things or thoughts.

47. "Realisation of Self requires absolute purity only and no concentration of mind. For this reason, the Self is said to be unknowable (meaning not objectively knowable).

48. "Therefore it was also said that the sole necessity for Self-Realisation is purity of mind. The only impurity of the mind is thought. To make it thought-free is to keep it pure.

49. "It must now be clear to you why purity of mind is insisted upon for Realisation of Self. How can the Self be realised in its absence?

50-51. "Or, how is it possible for the Self not to be found gleaming in the pure mind? All the injunctions in the scriptures are directed towards this end alone. For instance, unselfish action, devotion, and dispassion have no other purpose in view.

52. "Because, transcendental consciousness, viz., the Self, is manifest only in the stain-free mind."

After Janaka had spoken thus, Ashtavakra continued to ask:

53-54. "O King, if it is as you say that the mind made passive by elimination of thoughts is quite pure and capable of manifesting Supreme Consciousness, then sleep will do it by itself, since it satisfies your condition and there is no need for any kind of effort."

55. Thus questioned by the Brahmin youth, the King replied, "I will satisfy you on this point. Listen carefully.

56-63. "The mind is truly abstracted in sleep. But then its light is screened by darkness, so how can it manifest its true nature? A mirror covered with tar does not reflect images but can it reflect space either? Is it enough, in that case, that images are eliminated in order to reveal the space reflected in the mirror? In the same manner, the mind is veiled by the darkness of sleep and rendered unfit for illumining thoughts. Would such eclipse of the mind reveal the glimmer of consciousness?

"Would a chip of wood held in front of a single object to the exclusion of all others reflect the object simply because all others are excluded? Reflection can only be on a reflecting surface and not on all surfaces. Similarly also, realisation of the Self can only be with an alert mind and not with a stupefied one. New-born babes have no realisation of the Self for want of alertness.

"Moreover pursue the analogy of a tarred mirror. The tar may prevent the images from being seen, but the quality of the mirror is not affected, for the outer coating of tar must be reflected in the interior of the mirror. So also the mind, though diverted from dreams and wakefulness, is still in the grip of dark sleep and not free from qualities. This is evident by the recollection of the dark ignorance of sleep when one wakes.

64. "I will now tell you the distinction between sleep and Samadhi. Listen attentively:

"There are two states of mind:

(1) Illumination and (2) Consideration.

65. "The first of them is association of the mind with external objects and the second is deliberation on the object seen.

66. "Illumination is unqualified by the limitations of objects: deliberation is qualified by the limitations pertaining to the objects seen, and it is the forerunner of their clear definition.

Note. - The mind first notes a thing in its extended vision. The impression is received only after noting the thing in its non-extensive nature, and becomes deeper on musing over the first impression.

67. "There is no distinction noted in the preliminary stage of simple illumination. The thing itself is not yet defined, so illumination is said to be unqualified.

68. "The thing becomes defined later on and is said to be such and such, and so and so. That is the perception of the thing after deliberation.

69-70. "Deliberation is again of two kinds: the one is the actual experience and is said to be fresh, whereas the other is cogitation over the former and is called memory. The mind always functions in these two ways.

71-72. "Dreamless slumber is characterised by the illumination of sleep alone, and the experience continues unbroken for a time, whereas the wakeful state is characterised by deliberation repeatedly broken up by thoughts and therefore it is said not to be ignorance.

"Sleep is a state of nescience though it consists of illumination alone yet it is said to be ignorance for the same reason as a light though luminous is said to be insentient.

Commentary. - Pure intelligence is made up of luminosity, but is not insentient like a flame. It is gleaming with consciousness, thus differing from the flame. For intellect is evidence as thinking principle. Therefore it is called Absolute Consciousness, active principle, vibratory movement, all-embracing Self, or God. Because of these potentialities it creates the universe.

"Sri Sankara has said in Soundarya Lahari 'Siva owes his prowess to Sakti; He cannot even stir in Her absence.' Siva should not therefore be considered to be mere inexpressible entity depending for His movements upon Maya (like a man on his car). Sri Sankara continues, 'Siva is yoked by Thee, Oh Sakti, to His true being. Therefore a blessed few worship Thee as the endless series of waves of bliss, as the underlying basis of all that is, as the Supreme Force, maintaining the Universe, and as the Consort of Transcendence.' Thus the identity of Siva and Sakti with each other or with Transcendence is evident.

"The argument that the universe is illusory, being a figment of imagination like a hare's born, is extended further by the statement that the creation leading up to it must be equally illusory. Then the co-existence of Siva and Sakti is useless; and Siva being incomprehensible without Sakti, the idea of God-head falls to pieces. But the scriptures point to God as the primal essence from which the world has sprung, in which it exists, and into which it resolves. That statement will then be meaningless. Why should the other scriptural statement 'There is no more than One' alone be true? Is it to lend support to the argument of illusion? The proper course will be to look for harmony in these statements in order to understand them aright.

"Their true significance lies in the fact that the universe exists, but not separately from the primal Reality - God. Wisdom lies in realising everything as Siva and not in treating it as void.

"The truth is that there is one Reality which is consciousness in the abstract and also transcendental, irradiating the whole universe in all its diversity from its own being, by virtue of its self-sufficiency, which we call Maya or Sakti or Energy. Ignorance lies in the feeling of differentiation of the creatures from the Creator. The individuals are only details in the same Reality.

"In sleep, the insentient phase of stupor overpowers the sentient phase of deliberation. But the factor of illumination is ever present and that alone cannot become apparent to men, in the absence of deliberation. Therefore, sleep is said to be the state of ignorance, as distinguished from wakefulness which is conceded to be knowledge.

73. "This conclusion is admitted by the wise also. Sleep is the first born from Transcendence (vide Ch. XIV, Sl. 59) also called the unmanifest, the exterior, or the great void.

74-76. "The state prevailing in sleep is the feeling 'There is naught'. This also prevails in wakefulness, although things are visible. But this ignorance is shattered by the repeated upspringing of thoughts. The wise say that the mind is submerged in sleep because it is illumining the unmanifest condition. The submersion of mind is not, however, peculiar to sleep for it happens also at the instant of cognition of things.

77. "I shall now talk to you from my own experience. This subject is perplexing for the most accomplished persons.

78. "All these three states, namely, Samadhi, sleep and the instant of cognition of objects, are characterised by absence of perturbation.

79. "Their difference lies in the later recapitulation of the respective states which illumine different perceptions.

80. "Absolute Reality is manifest in Samadhi; a void or unmanifest condition distinguishes sleep and diversity is the characteristic of cognition in wakefulness.

81. "The illuminant is however the same all through and is always unblemished. Therefore it is said to be abstract intelligence.

82. "Samadhi and sleep are obvious because their experience remains unbroken for some appreciable period and can be recapitulated after waking up.

83. "That of cognition remains unrecognised because of its fleeting nature. But samadhi and sleep cannot be recognised when they are only fleeting.

84. "The wakeful state is iridescent with fleeting Samadhi and sleep. Men when they are awake can detect fleeting sleep because they are already conversant with its nature.

85-86. "But fleeting Samadhi goes undetected because people are not so conversant with it. O Brahmin! fleeting Samadhi is indeed being experienced by all, even in their busy moments; but it passes unnoticed by them, for want of acquaintance with it. Every instant free from thoughts and musings in the wakeful state is the condition of Samadhi.

87. "Samadhi is simply absence of thoughts. Such a state prevails in sleep and at odd moments of wakefulness.

88. "Yet, it is not called Samadhi proper, because all the proclivities of the mind are still there latent, ready to manifest the next instant.

89. "The infinitesimal moment of seeing an object is not tainted by deliberation on its qualities and is exactly like Samadhi. I will tell you further, listen!

90-93. "The unmanifest state, the first-born of abstract Intelligence revealing 'There is not anything' - is the state of abstraction full of light; it is, however, called sleep because it is the insentient phase of consciousness. Nothing is revealed because there is nothing to be revealed. Sleep is therefore the manifestation of the insentient state.

"But in Samadhi, Brahman, the Supreme Consciousness, is continuously glowing. She is the engulfer of time and space, the destroyer of void, and the pure being - (Jehovah - I AM). How can She be the ignorance of sleep?

94. "Therefore sleep is not the end-all and the be-all."

Thus did Janaka teach Ashtavakra.

Thus ends the chapter on the discourse of Janaka to Ashtavakra in Tripura Rahasya.






1. "O Bhargava! I shall now tell you what further conversation took place between Janaka and Ashtavakra.

2-3. Ashtavakra asked, "King! please tell me in greater detail what you call fleeting Samadhi in the wakeful state, so that I may follow it up in order to achieve enduring Samadhi."

Thus requested, Janaka replied:

4-11. "Listen, O Brahmin! the following are instances of that state: when a man remains unaware of 'in and out' for a short interval and is not overpowered by the ignorance of sleep; the infinitesimal time when one is beside one-self with joy; when embraced by one's beloved in all purity; when a thing is gained which was intensely longed for but given up in despair; when a lonely traveller moving with the utmost confidence is suddenly confronted with the utmost danger; when one hears of the sudden death of one's only son, who was in the best of health, in the prime of life, and at the apex of his glory.

Note. - They are examples of Samadhi in raptures of happiness or of pleasure and in spasms of fear or of sorrow.

12-14. "There are also intervals of Samadhi, namely the interim period between the waking, dream and sleep states; at the time of sighting a distant object, the mind holding the body at one end projects itself into space until it holds the object at the other end, just as a worm prolongs itself at the time of leaving one hold to catch another hold. Carefully watch the state of mind in the interval.

15-18. "Why dilate on these intervals? All happening will be brought to a standstill if intelligence be homogeneous. They are made possible when a certain harmony reigns in intelligence which ordinarily is repeatedly broken.

"Therefore the great founders of different systems of philosophy have said that the difference between the Self (i.e., abstract intelligence) and intellect (individualistic) lies only in their continuity.

Note. - Sugata (i.e., Buddha) considers the Self to be the stream of Intelligence broken up, of course, at short intervals; Kanada says that it is intellect which is characteristic of the Self.

"Anyway when once interruptions in the stream of Intelligence are admitted, it follows that these intervals between the various modifications of the intellect into objects, would represent its unmodified, original state. O son of Kahoela, know that if one can become aware of these broken Samadhis no other Samadhi need attract one.'

19-23. The Brahmin youth asked further, "O King, why are not all liberated if their lives are so iridescent with momentary Samadhi, if it be the enlightener of the unmanifest void in sleep? Liberation is the direct result of unqualified Samadhi. The Self being pure intelligence, why does it not recognise itself and remain always liberated?

"Ignorance is dispelled by pure intelligence, which is Samadhi, and this is the immediate cause of salvation.

"Please tell me, so that all my doubts may be set at rest."

The King replied as follows:

24-26. "I will tell you the secret. The cycle of births and deaths is from time immemorial caused by ignorance which displays itself as pleasure and pain and yet is only a dream and unreal. Being so, the wise say that it can be ended by knowledge. By what kind of knowledge? Wisdom born of realisation: viz., "I am That".

Commentary. - An aspirant for wisdom first turns away from the pleasures of life and absorbs himself in the search for knowledge, which he learns from a master. This is hearsay knowledge. In order to experience it, he ponders over it and clears his doubts. Then he applies the knowledge to himself and tries to feel his immortal being transcending the body, mind, etc., he succeeds in feeling his Self within. Later he remembers the Vedic teaching imparted by his Guru that the Self being unqualified, cannot be differentiated from God and experiences his unity with the Universal Self. This is in short the course of wisdom and liberation.

27-29. "Ignorance cannot be expelled by the mere experience of an unqualified expanse of intelligence as in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. For such expanse is in harmony with everything (including ignorance). It is like the canvas used in painting; the canvas remains the same whatever picture may be painted on it. Unqualified knowledge is simple light; the objects are manifest by and in it.

Commentary. - The mirror is clear and uniform when there are no objects to reflect; the same appears variegated by images reflected in it. So also the Self is pure intelligence and clear when not contaminated by thoughts; this state is called nirvikalpa. When soiled by thoughts, it is savikalpa.

30. "But ignorance or delusion should not be confounded with the savikalpa state - for ignorance is only the original contamination (i.e., cause) continuing as effect.

Commentary. - Pure intelligence (God) in His insentient aspect functions as Maya or the self-contained entity projecting ignorance as creation.

31-34. "The original cause lies in the knowledge of perfection in the Self.

Note. - One expects the contrary. The apparent contradiction is explained further on.

"The idea of perfection is due to absence of parts. Parts can appear only with time, space and form. However, the sense of completeness appears without these agencies, implying a yearning for them - thus giving rise to the sense of want. Then and there limitations come into being, and the fundamental cause of ignorance manifests as 'I am'. That is the embryonic seed from which shoots forth the sprout of the body as the individualised self (growing up to the gigantic tree of the cycle of births and deaths). The cycle of births and deaths does not end unless ignorance is put an end to. This can happen only with a perfect knowledge of the self, not otherwise.

35-38. "Such wisdom as can destroy ignorance is clearly of two sorts: indirect and direct. Knowledge is first acquired from a Master and through him from the scriptures. Such indirect knowledge cannot fulfil the object in view. Because theoretical knowledge alone does not bear fruit; practical knowledge is necessary which comes through Samadhi alone. Knowledge born of Nirvikalpa Samadhi generates wisdom by the eradication of ignorance and objective knowledge.

39-47. "Similarly, experience of casual Samadhi in the absence of theoretical knowledge does not serve the purpose either. Just as a man, ignorant of the qualities of an emerald, cannot recognise it by the mere sight of it in the treasury, nor can another recognise it if he has not seen it before, although he is full of theoretical knowledge on the subject, in the same way must theory be supplemented with practice in order that a man might become an expert. Ignorance cannot be eradicated by mere theory or by the casual Samadhi of an ignorant man.

"Again want of attention is a serious obstacle; for a man looking up to the sky cannot identify the individual constellations. Even a learned scholar is no better than a fool, if he does not pay attention when a thing is explained to him. On the other hand, a man though not a scholar but yet attentive having heard all about the planet Venus, goes out in confidence to look for it, knowing how to identify it, and finally discovers it, and so is able to recognise the same whenever he sees it again. Inattentive people are simply fools who cannot understand the ever-recurring Samadhis in their lives. They are like a man ignorant of the treasure under the floor of his house who begs for his daily food.

48. "So you see that Samadhi is useless to such people. The intellect of babes is always unmodified and yet they do not realise the self.

49. "Nirvikalpa Samadhi clearly will never eradicate ignorance. Therefore in order to destroy it Savikalpa Samadhi must be sought.

50-52. "This alone can do it. God inherent as the self is pleased by meritorious actions which are continued through several births after which the desire for liberation dawns and not otherwise, even though millions of births may be experienced. Of all things in creation, to be born a sentient being requires good luck; even so to acquire a human body requires considerable merit; while it is out of the ordinary for human beings to be endowed with both virtuous tendencies and sharp intellect.

53-60. "Observe, O Brahmin, that the mobile creation is a very small fraction of the immobile and that human beings form but a small fraction of the mobile, while most human beings are little more than animals, being ignorant of good and bad, and of right and wrong. Of sensible people, the best part runs after the pleasures of life seeking to fulfil their desire. A few learned people are stained with the longing for heaven after death. Of the remaining few, most of them have their intellects bedimmed by Maya and cannot comprehend the oneness of all (the Creator and creation). How can these poor folk, held in the grip of Maya, extend their weak sight to the sublime Truth of Oneness? People blinded by Maya cannot see this truth. Even when some people rise so high in the scale as to understand the theory, misfortune prevents their being convinced of it (for their desires sway them to and fro with force greater than the acquired, puny, theoretical knowledge, which if strictly followed should put an end to such desires, which nourish on the denial of oneness.) They try to justify their practical actions by fallacious arguments which are simply a waste of time.

"Inscrutable are the ways of Maya which denies the highest Realisation to them, it is as if they threw away the live gem in their hands thinking it to be a mere pebble.

61. "Only those transcend Maya with whose devotion the Goddess of the Self is pleased; such can discern well and happily.

62. "Being by the grace of God endowed with proper discernment and right-earnestness, they become established in transcendental Oneness and become absorbed.

"I shall now tell you the scheme of liberation.

63. "One learns true devotion to God after a meritorious life continued in several births, and then worships Him for a long time with intense devotion.

64. "Dispassion for the pleasures of life arises in a devotee who gradually begins to long for knowledge of the truth and becomes absorbed in the search for it.

65. "He then finds his gracious Master and learns from him all about the transcendental state. He has now gained theoretical knowledge.

Note. - This is Sravana.

66. "After this he is impelled to revolve the whole matter in his mind until he is satisfied from his own practical knowledge with the harmony of the scriptural injunctions and the teachings of his Master. He is able to ascertain the highest truth with clearness and certitude.

Note. - This is Manana.

67. "The ascertained knowledge of the Oneness of the Self must afterwards be brought into practice, even forcibly, if necessary, until the experience of the truth occurs to him.

Note. - This is Nidhidhyasana.

68. "After experiencing the Inner Self, he will be able to identify the Self with the Supreme and thus destroy the root of ignorance. There is no doubt of it.

69. "The inner Self is realised in advanced contemplation and that state of realisation is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

"Memory of that realisation enables one to identify the Inner Self with the Universal Self (as "I am That").

Note. - This is Pratyabhina J˝ana.

Commentary. - Contemplation is designated in its progressive stages, as Savikalpa Samadhi (qualified Samadhi) and Nirvikalpa Samadhi (unqualified Samadhi). Dhyana (contemplation) leads to the repose consequent on the resolve that the mind in its absolute purity is only the Self. There are interruptions by thought obtruding in the earlier stages. Then the practice goes by the name of Dhyana. When the repose remains smooth and uninterrupted for some appreciable time, it is called Savikalpa Samadhi. If by its constant practice, the repose ensues without any previous resolve (i.e., effortlessly) and continues uninterrupted for some time, it is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi. The Inner Self glows in all its purity, in the last stage.

After rising from it, the memory of the uncommon experience of the Self remains; it enables him to identify the transcendence of the one with that same One which is in all. (This is the Sahaja State, as is often said by Sri Ramana. Tr.)

70. "That is the Oneness of the Self, the same as the identification of the transcendence of the one with that same one in all the diversities of the world apparent to each individual. This destroys the root of ignorance, instantly and completely.

71. "Dhyana has been said to develop into Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Whereas modifications signify the manysidedness of consciousness, Nirvikalpa signifies its unitary nature.

72. "When the mind does not create pictures due to thoughts it is the unmodified state which is its primal and pure condition.

73. "When the pictures on a wall are erased, the original wall remains. No other work is necessary to restore its original condition.

74. "Similarly, the mind remains pure when thoughts are eliminated. Therefore the unqualified state is restored if the present disturbance is ended.

75. "There is indeed nothing more to be done for the most holy condition to be maintained. Nevertheless, even pandits are deluded in this matter, owing to the bane of Maya.

76. "The acutely intelligent can accomplish the purpose in a trice. Aspirants may be divided into three groups: (1) the best, (2) the middle class, and (3) the lowest.

77. "Of these, the best class realise at the very moment of hearing the truth. Their ascertainment of truth and contemplation thereon are simultaneous with their learning.

78-92. "Realisation of truth requires no effort on their part. Take my case for instance. On a moonlit summer night, I was lying drunkenly on a downy bed in my pleasure garden in the loving embrace of my beloved. I suddenly heard the sweet nectar-like songs of invisible aerial beings who taught me the oneness of the Self of which I was unaware till that moment. I instantly thought over it, meditated on it, and realised it in less than an hour. For about an hour and a half I remained in Samadhi - the state of supreme bliss.

"I regained consciousness and began to muse over my experience 'Oh wonderful! How full of bliss I was!' It was extraordinary. Let me return to it. The happiness of the king of the Gods cannot equal even to a fraction of my bliss.

"Not even the Creator, Brahma, could have that bliss; my life had been wasted in other pursuits. Just as a man ignores the fact that he holds Chintamani (the celestial gem capable of fulfilling one's desires) in his hands, and goes begging food, so also people ignorant of the fount of bliss within themselves, waste their lives seeking external pleasures! For me such hankerings are done with! Let me always abide in the eternal, infinite source of bliss within me! Enough of such foolish activities! They are shades of darkness and vain repetitions of useless labour. Be they delicious dishes, perfumed garlands, downy beds, rich ornaments or vivacious damsels - they are mere repetitions, with no novelty or originality in them. Disgust for them had no arisen in me before because I had been foolishly treading the way of the world.

"As soon as I had decided on and attempted to turn my mind inward, another bright idea struck me:

93-95. "What confusion I am in! Although I am always in the perfection of Bliss, what is it I want to do? What more can I acquire? What do I lack? When and whence can I get anything? Even if there were anything new to be gained, would it endure? How can I who am Infinite Consciousness-Bliss know effort?

96-98. "Individual bodies, their senses, minds, etc., are similar to visions in a dream; they are projected from me. Control of one mind leaves all other minds as they are. So what is the use of controlling my mind? Minds, controlled or uncontrolled, appear only to my mental eye.

99. "Again, even if all minds are controlled, mine remains free. For my mind is like infinite space, the receptacle of all things. Who is to control it and how?

100. "How can Samadhi be brought about when I am already in the perfection of bliss, for the Self is Bliss-Consciousness, even more perfect than infinite space?

101. "My own light manifests diverse activities all about the world which is again my own manifestation.

102. "What matters it if one should manifest as action or inaction? Where is the gain or loss in such manifestation?

103. "Similarly what matters it for the perfect blissful Self if it fall into Nirvikalpa Samadhi? Samadhi or no Samadhi, I am the same Perfection and eternal Peace.

104-105. "Let the body do what it likes. Thinking thus I always abide in my own Self as the Perfect fountain-head of Bliss and pure uninterrupted consciousness. I am therefore in the state of perfection and remain unblemished.

"My experience is typical of the best aspirants.

106-107. "Wisdom is achieved in the course of many births by the lowest aspirants. As for the middle class, wisdom is gained in the same birth - but slowly and gradually according to the aforesaid scheme of (1) learning the truth, (2) conviction of the same, (3) meditation - qualified Samadhi and unqualified Samadhi, and (4) finally Sahaja Samadhi (to be unattached even while engaged in the activities of the world). This last state is very rarely found.

108. "Why fall into Nirvikalpa Samadhi, without gaining the fruit of its wisdom! Even if he should experience it a hundred times it will not liberate the individual. Therefore I tell you that momentary Samadhis in the waking state are fruitless.

109. "Unless a man live the ordinary life and check every incident as the projection of the Self, not swerving from the Self in any circumstances, he cannot be said to be free from the handicap of ignorance.

110. "Nirvikalpa Samadhi is characterised by the experience of the true Self alone, namely, Pure Intelligence. Though eternal and resplendent even ordinarily, this Abstract Intelligence is as if it did not exist.

111-112. "Abstract Intelligence is the background on which the phenomena are displayed, and it must certainly manifest itself in all its purity, in they absence, although its appearance may look new at first. It remains unrecognised because it is not distinguished from the phenomena displayed by it. On their being eliminated it becomes apparent.

"This in short is the method of Self-Realisation.

113. "O Brahmin! Think over what you have now learnt, and you will realise. With the wisdom born of your realisation, you will inhere as the Self and be eternally free."

Dattatreya said:

114-15. "After giving these instructions to Ashtavakra, Janaka sent him away. Ashtavakra reached his own place and put the lessons into practice. Very soon he too became a Jivanmukta (liberated while yet alive)."

Thus ends the seventeenth chapter in Tripura Rahasya.





1. Dattatreya continued: "Thus pure intelligence, free from objective knowledge, has been proved to exist; it can be felt on many occasions in ordinary life.

2. "However, it goes undetected because people are in the meshes of Maya and not conversant with it. Alertness alone will reveal it.

3-5. "Why say so much about it? The long and short of it is this. Objective knowledge is gained by the mind; the mind cannot be objectified. Still it follows that there must be mind even in the absence of objects. Such pure mind entirely divested of all objective knowledge (or thoughts) is pure intelligence. Awareness is its nature. Therefore it is always realised, for no other knower beside itself can ever be admitted.

6-7. "Do you think, O Bhargava, that the Self is not aware when objects are seen? If not aware, the Self cannot be. If the Self is not, how can you raise this question! Can you seek any good for yourself if the Self be a myth like a flower in the sky? How can I establish the Self for you? Consider and tell me.

8-9. "Or do you mean to say that there is ordinarily an awareness of the Self but it cannot be particularised? If so, know it to be the unending awareness which is perpetually existing. That is your Self. The Self is free from particulars. How strange that knowing it, you are still ignorant!

10. "At the time of cognising of an object, the pure intellect assumes its shape and manifests as such. Of itself it is pure and has no form. Objective knowledge is thus a particularised section of pure intelligence. The Self is ever-shining, unparticularised, unblemished, ordinary existence - self-aware and self-sufficient.

11-13. "If you say that the body, etc., usually appear as the Self, I tell you that they are only the play of thoughts and nothing more. For, think well and observe carefully. When you see a pot, are you aware that it is your Self like the body? (No, your body is no less a thought and appearance in consciousness, than the pot.) Then why should the body alone be confused with the Self?

"If you argue that there is no harm or mistake in identifying the body with the Self, because it is no worse than glorifying a part instead of the whole. I tell you: Do not confine such glorification to one part only to the exclusion of all others. Extend it right through and glorify the whole universe as the Self.

14. "In that case, there will be no confusion of the object with the subject, and you will always remain as the subject.

15. "For the Self is always self-resplendent and one without a second, and it displays diversities of phenomena as a mirror its reflections.

16. "Therefore rule out creation as a mere thought or series of thoughts and realise the non-dual, residual, pure intelligence as the Self.

17. "If the body and creation are transcended and the Self realised even once, there ensues that wisdom which will eradicate ignorance and override the cycle of births and deaths.

18. "Moksha (liberation) is not to be sought in heavens or on earth or in the nether regions. It is synonymous with Self-Realisation.

19. "Moksha is not anything to be got afresh for it is already there only to be realised. Such realisation arises with the elimination of ignorance. Absolutely nothing more is required to achieve the aim of life.

20. "Moksha must not be thought to be different from the Self. If it is a thing to be acquired, its absence before attainment is implied. If it can be absent even once why should not its absence recur? The Moksha will be found to be impermanent and so not worth while striving for.

"Again if it can be acquired, acquisition implies non-self. What is non-self is only a myth like a hare growing horns.

Note. - Sri Ramana says that Moksha is another name for 'I' or 'Self'.

21. "The Self is on the other hand all-round Perfection. So where else can Moksha be located? If it were so, Moksha would be like a reflection in a mirror.

22-27. "Even the popular idea is that Moksha is release from bondage, meaning destruction of ignorance. Ignorance is itself a form of thought: destruction is its absence; to bring about its absence is only another form of thought. So then on investigation the whole statement gets involved and becomes meaningless. For a thought cannot be destroyed and be a thought still. Dream is said to be real as well as unreal (in experience and in substance, respectively). Really speaking, dream too is not unreal. For, what is unreality? Impermanency. This again is recognised by the thought of the non-continuity of the dream which implies the thought content to be dream. Is it truly non-continuous then? The intellect being always continuous, there cannot be a moment of the non-existence of anything. So then, even at the moment of thinking the absence of a thing, that thing really exists in the mind and so it is real and not unreal. All objects are, however, non-existent when not contemplated by the mind. But reality is determined by the being or non-being which cannot be ascertained by the mind because its denial implies the formation of the mental image of the denied thing and it is absurd to deny its existence. In the absence of denial, the thing must be and so everything is.

"Thus the existence of pure intelligence is proved by its manifestation, as all else, and thus Moksha cannot be exterior to the Self, anything to be gathered, acquired or assimilated.

28. "Moksha is defined as the steady glow of the Self in perfection. (The question arises whether the Self is imperfect at one time, i.e., in ignorance and perfect at another time, i.e., in Moksha). The non-modification of abstract intelligence into the objective phenomena is said to be the state of perfection. (So there is no contradiction.)

29. "Abstract Intelligence contracts at the stimuli to modification and becomes limited. Otherwise, it is infinite and unbroken.

30. "If you mean to suggest that such intelligence is broken up into segments by time, etc. - tell me whether the disintegrating influences are within the Self or without.

31-32. "If beyond consciousness, they cannot be proved to exist; if within, consciousness pervades them and is not divided. The breaking up at intervals as seen in the world is perceived by consciousness as events (the broken parts) and time (the disintegrator), both of which are pervaded by consciousness. The consciousness is itself the time and the events.

33-34. "If time be not pervaded by consciousness, how do intervals become evident? In the universal pervasiveness of consciousness, how is it to be considered broken up? Breaking up must be brought about by the agency of something external. But anything beyond the pale of consciousness cannot be even maintained or discussed.

35. "Nor can it be granted the disintegrating factor is made visible by its effects of division, while it still evades intelligence, in its entirety. For that is to say that it exists so far as its effect is concerned and does not exist in other ways - which is absurd.

36. "Therefore even the concept of exterior must lie within the bounds of consciousness (cf., Avyakta in sleep or exterior in the scheme of creation). Similarly, all that is known and knowable must also lie within.

37. "In view of this conclusion, how can the container be split up by the contained? Investigate the truth on these lines, Rama!

38-41. "Being within, the universe cannot be different from consciousness. For you know that two things cannot co-exist within the same limits. If they do, intermingling is the result. However, the universe maintains its distinctness because it is like a reflection in the mirror of consciousness.

"As regards the appearance of (Avyakta or) exterior in the scheme of creation which was traced to the root-cause of ignorance, how can manifestation in it be real? Their reality must be associated with the fact of their being of the nature of consciousness, i.e., the Self. It is therefore proper to conclude that the Self is alone and single and there is nothing beyond." When Dattatreya had finished, Parasurama asked further:

42-43. "O Lord, I find it difficult to follow your reasoning when you say that Abstract Intelligence, being only one, yet manifests as the diverse objects of creation. The two entities, the cogniser and the cognised object, are distinct and separate. Of these, the cogniser, namely consciousness, may be self-luminous illumining the objects.

44. "Just as objects stand apart from light so the universe seems apart from the Intelligent Principle.

45. "Experience does not reveal the identity of the two. Furthermore, you are confirming the statement of Janaka as regards Samadhi.

46. "Janaka has said: 'Mind divested of thoughts becomes pure and is identical with the Self and further, that alone destroys ignorance.'

47. "How can that be the Self? Mind is always taken to be a faculty with which the Self functions in the supra-material planes.

48. "The Self would be no better than insentient but for the mind, which characterises it as different from the insentient world.

49. "Further, even the scriptures admit that liberation and bondage are only attitudes of the mind according as it is unmodified or modified, respectively.

50. "How can the mind be the Self as well as its faculty? Again, granting that the world is an image on the mirror of consciousness, the fact of its perfection is there, so the non-duality of consciousness does not follow.

51. "There are hallucinations known, like a rope mistaken for a serpent. Hallucination is not correct knowledge; but it does not end the duality attendant on its perception.

52. "Still again, unreal images cannot serve any useful purpose, whereas the universe is enduring and full of purpose.

53. "Tell me how you assert it to be unreal, thus establishing the non-duality of the Supreme.

"Furthermore, if the world itself is unreal, how does that unreality happen to distinguish between fact and hallucination in the affairs of life?

54. "Still more, how does everybody happen to have the same hallucination of mistaking the unreal phenomena for reality?

All these doubts are troubling me. Please clear them for me."

55. Dattatreya, the omniscient, heard these questions and was pleased with them. Then he proceeded to answer:

56. "You have done well, Parasurama, to ask these questions although not for the first time. They must be examined until one is throughly convinced.

57. "How can the Guru himself anticipate all the doubts of the disciple unless he states them clearly? There are different grades of mind and different temperaments too.

58. "How can clear knowledge be gained if one's doubts are not raised to be met? The student with an analytical turn of mind gains deep-seated knowledge. His questions help towards depth of knowledge.

59-61. "The unquestioning student is of no use. The earnest student is recognised by his questions.

"Consciousness is one and non-dual, but shines as if diversified like the clean surface of a mirror reflecting variegated colours.

"Note how the mind unmodified in sleep, remaining single and blank, is later modified by dream and manifests as the dream world. Similarly, the One Consciousness - Sri Tripura - flashes forth as the various phenomena of the universe.

62. "The cogniser and the cognised objects are seen in dream also. Even a blind man, without sight, perceives objects.

63. "How does he do so unless by mental perception? Can anything be known at any time or place in the absence of the light of the mind?

64. "There can be no images in the absence of a mirror, for the images are not apart from the mirror.

65. "Similarly, nothing is cognisable if it lies beyond the pale of the cognising principle. For the same reason I say that the mind cannot lie apart from intelligence in the abstract.

66. "Just as the cogniser, cognition and the cognised are identified with the mind in dream, so also the seer, the sight and the phenomena are identical with the mind in the wakeful state.

67-71. "Just as an axe was created in the dream for felling a tree, which is the thing for which it was designed, so is the mind said to be the faculty for giving perception.

"But, Rama, the faculty can be only of the same degree of reality as the action itself. For was anyone injured at any time by a human horn? The action and the instrument must clearly be of the same degree of truth. Since the action itself is unreal, can the mind, the faculty, be real? So, Rama, there is no faculty known as the mind. Mind is only surmised for the location of the dream subject, dream vision and dream objects. Its reality is of the same order as that of a dream.

"Pure intelligence is quite unblemished; mind and other faculties are mere fabrications for enabling transactions to continue, which, however go on because the Absolute is self-sufficient and manifests as subject and objects. The same is often pure and unqualified, as in the aforesaid momentary Samadhi.

"I shall explain to you further:

72-79. "Absolute Consciousness and space resemble each other in being perfect, infinite, subtle, pure, unbounded, formless, immanent in all, yet undefiled within and without but space differs from the other, in being insentient.

"In fact, the conscious Self is space. This being so, they are not different from one other. Space is Self; and Self is space. It is the ignorant who see the Self as space alone owing to their delusion, just as the owls find darkness in dazzling sunlight. The wise however find in space the Self, the Abstract Intelligence.

"Her Transcendental Majesty, stainless and self-contained, irradiates diversity in Her Self like an individual in the state of dream. This diversity in the shape of men, animals and other phenomena, does not delude the Self in its purity, but does delude aberrations of the Self, namely, the individual egos.

80-81. "Her Majesty, the Absolute, remains always aware of Her Perfection and Oneness. Though Herself immutable, She appears mutable to Her own creatures just as a magician beguiles the audience with his tricks but remains himself undeceived.

82. "She is light - One without a second; and yet She appears divided to Her Own creatures, because of the veil of illusion.

83. "Just as the magician's tricks delude the audience alone and not himself, so also the veiling of Maya affects the creatures and not the creator; when the individuals held in the meshes of Maya, see diversity and also discuss Maya.

84-85. "This Maya is the dynamic aspect of the latent self-sufficiency of the Supreme and is unfailing. See how yogis, charmers and magicians remain confident and sure, without revealing themselves, and yet play upon the imagination of others seeking to achieve the impossible.

86. "Division in the Absolute amounts to contraction within particular limits under the guise of the ego which is usually termed imperfection, or ignorance.

87. "In this manner, Bhargava, has the Absolute invested its own pure and independent Self with ignorance and seems to be iridescent with its different entities.

88. "Hence the identity of space with the Self is not apparent to the learned, because they are incapable of investigating the Self with a steady mind, for that is diverted by its inherent disposition to go outward.

89-90. "Second-hand knowledge of the Self gathered from books or gurus can never emancipate a man until its truth is rightly investigated and applied to himself; direct Realisation alone will do that. Therefore, follow my advice and realise yourself, turning the mind inward.

91. "She who is the Transcendental Consciousness, creating all and comprising their essence, is Pure Radiance and therefore devoid of anything insentient.

92. "She reposes in Her own Self undefiled by the ego. The insentient cannot exist of themselves but depend on Intelligence for their recognition and definition.

93-94. "They cannot shine by their own merit and reveal their own existence. Their imbecility and their dependence on consciousness betray their imperfection.

"But pure Intelligence is absolute, shines by itself and feels its own existence, without any extraneous aids. Since it is self-radiant, it is self-contained. Such is the Perfect 'I' - the transcendental 'I' - totally absent from and unassociated with insentient creation.

95. "Because the aggregate of all phenomena is of Pure Intelligence - the Supreme - and there is nothing beyond Her orbit, there cannot possibly be anything to divide Her into sectors and so She is unbroken and continuous like mirror reflecting images.

96-97. "How are divisor and division possible for the Absolute. Such freedom from disintegration is Perfection; and the Self-radiance of such Perfectness is the unbroken 'I-I' consciousness - known as Self-repose; the eternal, immanent, unique and homogeneous essence.

98-99. "Though descriptions of and statements about the Supreme differ according to the aspects emphasised, yet She is simply self-sufficiency, energy, and abstract, unbroken, single essential Being - all unified into One, just as light and heat go to make fire, yet the three factors are discussed and described separately in practical life.

100-101. "Such is the Power called Maya, capable of accomplishing the impossible, and remaining undefiled, notwithstanding Her manifested diversity as phenomena resembling a mirror and its images. She is the eternal, single, unbroken 'I'-ness running through all manifestations.

102.-103. "These seeming breaks in the continuum are said to be non-self - the same as ignorance, insentience, void, Nature, non-existence of things, space, darkness, or the first step in creation, all of which represent nothing but the first scission in pure intelligence.

104. The passage from the infinite absolute to a limited nature is influenced by Maya and the transition is called space.

105. "But this is as yet undistinguishable from the Self owing to the non-development or absence of the ego, which is the seed of the cycles of births and deaths.

106-113. "Diversity is visible only in space, and this space is in the Self, which in turn projects it at the moment when differentiation starts although it is not then clear. Rama! Look within. What you perceive as space within is the expanse wherein all creatures exist, and it forms their Self or consciousness. What they look upon as space is your Self. Thus, the Self in one is space in another, and vice versa. The same thing cannot differ in its nature. Therefore there is no difference between space and Self - which is full and perfect Bliss-Consciousness.

"However space implies sections. Each section of intelligence is called mind. Can it be different from the Self? Pure Intelligence contaminated with inanimate excrescences is called Jiva or the individual, whose faculty for discrimination is consistent with its self-imposed limitations and is called mind.

"Thus in the transition from the Absolute to the individual, space is the first veil cast off. The clear, concentrated Self becomes pure, tenuous, susceptible space in which hard, dense, crowded, or slender things are conceived. They manifest as the five elements of which the body is composed. The individual then encases himself in the body like a silkworm in its cocoon. Thus the Absolute shines as awareness in the body (namely, 'I am the body') - just as a candle lights the covering globe. The individual consciousness is thus found to be only the radiance of the Self reflected in the body, which it illumines like an enclosed lamp illumining the interior of its cover.

114. "Just as the light of the lamp spreads out through holes made in the cover, so also the light of Intelligence extends from within through the senses to the external world.

115-116. "Consciousness, being absolute and all-pervading like space, cannot go out through the senses; but still its light extending as space presents certain phenomena; and this cognition amounts to lifting the veil of darkness to that extent. This is said to be the function of mind.

Note. - The rays of light are imperceptible in ether but when they impinge on matter the objects become visible by the reflection of the light rays on their surface. Similarly, consciousness appears to disclose the presence of objects in space by unveiling them from the ignorance surrounding them.

117. "Therefore, I tell you that mind is no other than consciousness. The difference lies in the fact that the mind is restless and the Self is always peaceful.

118-120. "Realisation of the Self subdues the restless mind which is the dynamic aspect of consciousness. On this being subdued, there gleams out the peace-filled, perfect, intelligent bliss which is synonymous with emancipation. Be assured of this. Do not think that an interlude of blank or veil of nescience will supervene after the cessation of thoughts. For, there is no such factor as a blank or veil of nescience. It is simply a figment of the imagination.

121-22. "If in a day-dream a man imagines himself taken, harassed and beaten by an enemy he will suffer from the effects until and unless he dismisses the day-dream. Will he continue to be bound by the enemy after the dream is dismissed with the enemy and his body? So it is with the veil of nescience.

123. "O Rama! Even from the very beginning there has really been no bondage or tie to the cycle of births and deaths. Only do not be deluded by identifying yourself with insentient matter but enquire: What is this bondage?

124. "The strongest fetter is the certainty that one is bound. It is as false as the fearful hallucinations of a frightened child.

125. "Even the best of men cannot find release by any amount of efforts unless his sense of bondage is destroyed.

126. "What is this bondage? How can the pure uncontaminated Absolute Self be shackled by what look like images in the mirror of the Self?

127-130. "To imagine that the Self is shackled by mental projections is to imagine that the fire reflected in a mirror can burn it. There is absolutely no bondage beyond the foolish certainty that you are bound and the difference of entity created by mind. Until these two blemishes are washed away by the holy waters of investigation into the Self, neither I, nor Brahma the Creator, nor Vishnu, nor Siva, nor even Sri Tripura the Goddess of Wisdom, can help that person to be emancipated. Therefore, Rama, surmount these two hurdles and remain eternally happy.

131. "The mind will shine as the Self if the mind be denuded of those thoughts now crowding it, and then all sense of duality will cease to exist.

132. "Mind is nothing but sectional knowledge as this and that. Eliminate such, and then pure knowledge will alone remain. This is the Self.

133. "As for the well-known example of the hallucination of a snake in a coil of rope the rope is real and the snake is unreal.

134-135. "Even after the true state of affairs is known and the hallucination of a snake dismissed, there is still the reality of the rope (which contains the potentiality of the recurrence of the same hallucination in the same person or in others). The danger is always there until the rope is recognised to be of and in the Self.

136. "Then objectivity totally ceases, and pure knowledge alone remains. There is thus a complete annihilation of duality.

137. "The sense of duality persists because there is the conviction of the purposefulness of the objective world. But such purposefulness and even durability is experienced even in dreams.

138-144. "The difference between dreams and the wakeful state lies in the fact that in the waking state the dream is determined to be false, whereas in the dream the waking state is not so determined. Therefore the waking state is universally taken to be real. But this is wrong. For do you not experience the same extent of permanency and purposefulness in dreams as in the wakeful state?

"Wakeful consciousness does not intervene in dreams nor does dream-consciousness intervene in the wakeful state, while the two factors - enduring nature and purposefulness - are common to both.

"Examine your past dreams and past waking experiences in the light of these facts and see for yourself.

"Again, note the appearance of reality in magical phenomena and the seeming purposeful actions of magical creations. Does reality rest on the slender basis of such appearances?

"The confusion is due to want of discrimination between the real and the unreal among ignorant folk. Ignorantly indeed do they say that the wakeful universe is real.

145-148. "Reality must endure for ever and ever. 'Consciousness either is or is not.' In the former case, it is obvious and in the latter it is implied, for the conception of its absence implies consciousness. (Therefore consciousness cannot be established to be transitory. It is permanent and therefore real.)

"Insentient matter is diverse in nature and its impermanency obvious. For, one object excludes all others.

"But can you conceive the absence of consciousness anywhere or at any time? If you say that there is no awareness in your sleep, tell me how you know that period or again how you know that you were not aware. If absolutely unaware, you would not now be able to say - 'I was not aware'. How was this unawareness illumined for you? Therefore you cannot escape the conclusion that there must be consciousness even to know its unawareness also. So, there is no moment when consciousness is not.

"I shall now tell you briefly the difference between reality and unreality.

149. "Reality is that whose existence is self-evident and does not require other aids to reveal it. Unreality is the contrary.

"If you say, however, that a thing is real until and unless its existence is contradicted, consider the example of a coil of rope being mistaken for a snake. The fancied snake would according to you be real in the interval antecedent to correct knowledge but that is absurd.

150-151. "Furthermore, if contradiction means non-existence, the mental image of the thing contradicted must be admitted, and that means the thing verbally denied is mentally admitted. Therefore contradiction, leads one nowhere and does not determine the unreality of a thing; nor does the appearance of a thing determine its reality. Appearance and contradiction are both intermediate.

152-154. "(According to me), there is nothing beyond the range of consciousness; also nothing certainly cannot indeed be; therefore he who denies consciousness, must be nothing but a dry logician. He may as well deny himself and say, 'I am not'. Then who speaks and what does he say? If he who denies himself out of incompetence and stupidity, can teach others and remove their ignorance by the force of his logic, then this rock before me could equally do the same.

155. "Therefore the appearance of a thing and its utility do not determine the reality of a thing or otherwise.

"All knowledge is secondary and unreliable. There is no doubt about it.

156-159. "The greatest of all delusions is the conviction that knowledge is not a delusion.

"A hallucination holds the field in the interval antecedent to correct knowledge in the same way as it does where we mistake a shining mother-of-pearl for a piece of silver. So also the mistake of the reality of the universe persists until primary and basic Self-knowledge is realised. This false sense is universal like the blue colour of the sky and it will end simultaneously with the realisation of Pure Intelligence.

160. "I have now answered your questions. Do not waver but make up your mind at once.

161. "I shall enlighten you further on the point you raised with regard to the activities of j˝anis (sages).

162-165. "J˝anis may be classified as (1) the best, (2) the middle class and (3) the lowest. Of these, the last know the Self and yet are influenced by the pleasures and pains accruing to them according to their prarabdha (past karma). J˝anis of the higher order even while reaping the fruits of their past karma are however firmer in their internal happiness like men inebriated with drink. J˝anis of the highest order are never detached from the enjoyment of their bliss even if confronted with a million times more prarabdha; they are not surprised at the most unnatural and miraculous happenings; they are not elated by the greatest pleasures, nor depressed by the worst miseries. They are always peaceful and calm within, although they appear to act like common folk.

"These differences are due to the differences in their intellects and to the degrees of development of J˝ana (wisdom).

166. "Their activities depend on their predispositions as determined by their past karma. But all their actions are like those of a drunken man.

Thus ends the Eighteenth Chapter in Tripura Rahasya.





1. After having heard Sri Dattatreya say so, Parasurama asked him further regarding the conduct and activities of the j˝anis.

2-4. "Lord, please tell me clearly how intellects differ according to the stages of jnana (wisdom). Is not wisdom of one kind alone, being simply the revelation of the Self? Moksha (emancipation) is the simple unfolding of the Self and is alone to be sought. How can it be dependent on stages of development according to mental predispositions? Do the methods also differ in the same way?''

5. Thus asked again, Sri Datta, the Ocean of Mercy, began to answer his questions.

6. "I shall now tell you the secret of it all. There is no difference in the methods, nor does j˝ana differ in fact.

7. "The fruits differ according to the grades of accomplishment. The same extends through several births and on its completion, j˝ana easily unfolds itself.

8. "The degree of efforts is according to the stage of incompleteness brought over from past births. However, j˝ana is eternal and no effort is really needed.

9. "Because it is already there and needs no accomplishment, j˝ana is pure intelligence, the same as consciousness which is ever self-radiant.

10-13. "What kind of effort can avail to disclose the eternally self-resplendent consciousness? Being coated with a thick crust of infinite vasanas (dispositions), it is not easily perceived. The incrustation must first be soaked in the running steam of mind control and carefully scraped off with the sharp chisel of investigation. Then one must turn the closed urn of crystal quartz - namely, the mind cleaned in the aforesaid manner - on the grinding wheel of alertness and finally open the lid with the lever of discrimination.

"Lo! the gem enclosed within is now reached and that is all!

"Thus you see, Rama, that all efforts are directed to cleaning up the Augean stables of predispositions.

14-15. "Intellects are the cumulative effects of the predispositions acquired by karma. Effort is necessary so long as the predispositions continue to sway the intellect.

"The dispositions are countless but I shall enumerate a few of the most important.

16. "They are roughly classified into three groups, namely, (1) Aparaadha (fault), (2) Karma (action) and (3) Kaama (desire).

17-29. "The disposition typical of the first group is diffidence in the teachings of the Guru and the holy books which is the surest way to degeneration. Misunderstanding of the teachings, due to assertiveness or pride is a phase of diffidence and stands in the way of realization for learned pandits and others.

"Association with the wise and the study of holy books cannot remove this misunderstanding. They maintain that there is no reality transcending the world; even if there were, it cannot be known; if one claims to know it, it is an illusion of the mind; for how can knowledge make a person free from misery or help his emancipation? They have many more doubts and wrong notions. So much about the first group.

"There are many more persons who cannot, however well-taught, grasp the teachings; their minds are too much cramped with predispositions to be susceptible to subtle truths. They form the second group - the victims of past actions, unable to enter the stage of contemplation necessary for annihilating the vasanas.

"The third group is the most common, consisting of the victims of desire who are always obsessed with the sense of duty (i.e., the desire to work for some ends). Desires are too numerous to count, since they rise up endlessly like waves in the ocean. Even if the stars are numbered, desires are not. The desires of even a single individual are countless - and what about the totally of them? Each desire is too vast to be satisfied, because it is insatiable; too strong to be resisted; and too subtle to be eluded. So the world, being in the grip of this demon, behaves madly and groans with pain and misery, consequent on its own misdeeds. That person who is shielded by desirelessness (dispassion) and safe from the wiles of the monster of desire, can alone rise to happiness.

"A person affected by one or more of the abovesaid three dispositions cannot get at the truth although it is self-evident.

30-33. "Therefore I tell you that all efforts are directed towards the eradication of these innate tendencies.

"The first of them (i.e., fault) comes to an end on respectfully placing one's faith in holy books and the master. The second (i.e., action) may be ended only by divine grace, which may descend on the person in this birth or in any later incarnation. There is no other hope for it. The third must be gradually dealt with by dispassion, discrimination, worship of God, study of holy scriptures, learning from the wise, investigation into the Self and so on.

34. "Efforts to overcome these obstacles are more or less according as the obstacles are greater or lesser.

35-37. "The most important of the qualifications is the desire for emancipation. Nothing can be achieved without it. Study of philosophy and discussion on the subject with others are thoroughly useless, being no better than the study of arts. For the matter of that, one might as well hope for salvation by a study of sculpture and the practice of that art. The study of philosophy in the absence of a longing for salvation, is like dressing up a corpse.

38-40. "Again, Rama, a casual desire for emancipation is also vain. Such desire often manifests on learning of the magnificence of the emancipated state. It is common to all but never brings about any abiding results. Therefore a passing desire is worthless.

"The desire must be strong and abiding, in order that it may bear fruit. The effects are in proportion to the intensity and duration of the desire.

41-43. "The desire must be accompanied by efforts for the accomplishment of the purpose. Then only will there be concerted effort. Just as a man scalded by fire runs immediately in search of soothing unguents and does not waste his time in other pursuits, so also must the aspirant run after emancipation to the exclusion of all other pursuits. Such an effort is fruitful and is preceded by indifference to all other attainments.

44-46. "Starting by discarding pleasures as being impediments to progress he develops dispassion and then the desire for emancipation, which grows in strength. This makes a man engage in the right efforts in which he becomes thoroughly engrossed. After these stages are passed, the most unique consummation takes place."

When Dattatreya finished, Parasurama was completely bewildered and asked him further:

47-49. "Lord, You said earlier that association with the wise, divine grace and dispassion are the prime factors for attaining the highest aim of life. Please tell me which is the most essential and how it can be accomplished. For nothing happens without an antecedent cause. This is certain. What is the root cause of the fundamental requisite? Or is it only accidental?"

50. Thus asked, Dattatreya answered him as follows:

"I shall tell you the root-cause of it all. Listen!

51-61. "Her transcendental Majesty, the absolute-Consciousness, being self-contained, originally pictured the whole universe in Her being, like images in a mirror. She took on the individuality, named Hiranyagarbha (the Creator), and considering the predispositions of the egos enclosed in that egg (Hiranyagarbha), She unfolded the Scriptures - the reservoir of sublime truths - for the fulfilment of desires. Since the embryonic individuals were full of unfulfilled desires Hiranyagarbha began to think out the means of their fulfilment. He elaborated a scheme of cause and effect, of actions and fruits, and consequently the individuals born later on to revolve in that wheel of cause and effect. They take different shapes and are placed in different environments consistently with their predispositions. After passing through innumerable species, the individual evolves as a human being owing to the merit he has accumulated. At first he will take to selfish pursuits. With growing desire, he will seek the unobstructed fulfilment of mighty ambitions. But in due course the methods advocated in holy books will be adopted. Failures are inevitable everywhere. Disappointments result. Expert advice is sought. Such advice will be forthcoming only from a man living in unbroken beatitude. Such a sage will, in due course, initiate the seeker in divine magnificence. The initiate's accumulated merits, reinforced by association with the wise and by divine grace, make him persist in the course, and gradually take him step by step to the highest pinnacle of happiness.

62-64. "Now you see how association with the wise is said to be the root-cause of all that is good. This happens partly through the accumulated merits of the person and partly through his unselfish devotion to God, but always as if by accident like a fruit which has suddenly fallen from the void. Therefore the goal of life being dependent on so many causes, there is variety in its attainment, either according to the intellect or the predispositions of the person. The state of the j˝ani also differs, according as his efforts have been great or less.

65-66. "Proportionately slight effort is enough for erasing slight vasanas. He whose mind has been made pure by good deeds in successive past incarnations, gains supreme results quite out of proportion to the little effort he may make (as with Janaka).

67-68. "The glimpse of J˝ana (realisation) gained by one whose mind is crowded with dense vasanas accumulated in past incarnations, does not suffice to over-ride one's deep-rooted ignorance. Such a one is obliged to practise Samadhi (Nidhidhyasana or control of mind and contemplation) in successive births for effective and final realisation.

"Thus there are seen to be different classes of sages.

69. "O Scion of Bhrgu's lineage! there are differences in states of J˝ana characterised by the aspects and attitudes of intellect and the varieties in its activities.

70-77. "Such differences are quite obvious in Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Siva (the Destroyer) who are j˝anis by nature. That does not mean that J˝ana (realisation) admits of variety. These attitudes depend on their vasanas (dispositions) and environments. They are Lords of the universe and all-knowing. Their J˝ana is pure and uncontaminated by what they do. Whether a j˝ani is fair or dark in complexion, his J˝ana neither shares these qualities nor the qualities of the mind. See the difference in the three sons of Atri, namely, Durvasa (said to be of the aspect of Siva and reputed to be exceedingly irritable), Chandra (the moon, of the aspect of Brahma and reputed to be the husband of the twenty-seven constellations who are in their turn daughters of Daksha) and myself (Dattatreya, of the aspect of Sriman Narayana or Visnu, reputed to be the ideal of saints, roaming nude in the forests, etc.). Vasishtha (one of the greatest rishis, well-known as the family preceptor of the Solar line of kings) never fails in the strictest adherence to duty as prescribed by the Scriptures; whereas, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatsujata and Sanatkumara (four sons born of Brahma's volition and instructed by Narada) are types of ascetics totally indifferent to any action including religious rites; Narada is the ideal of bhakti (devotion to God); Bhargava (Sukra, the well-known preceptor of Asuras, who incessantly fight against the gods) supports the enemies of the gods whereas the equally great sage Brihaspati (Jupiter, the preceptor of gods) supports the gods against their enemies; Vyasa is ever busy codifying the Vedas, and is propagating their truth in the shape of the Mahabharata, the Puranas and the Upapuranas; Janaka famous as the ascetic-king; Bharaataa looking like an idiot; and many others.

Note. - Bharata was a great king who, according to the custom of the great Kshatriya emperors, abdicated his throne in favour of his son when he attained his majority and retired into the forest to do penance. On one occasion, hearing the roar of a lion, a deer in an advanced state of pregnancy took fright and leapt across the stream. Her womb was disturbed and she landed on the other shore with her young one in placenta and dropped dead. The royal hermit took pity on the little thing, washed it, took it in his hands and returned to the hermitage. The baby-deer was carefully tended and remained always by its master's side. The hermit and the deer grew fond of each other.

After some time, the hermit knew that he was dying and became anxious about the safety of the deer in the forest after his own death. He died with that thought and consequently re-incarnated as a deer. Being a sage with pious disposition, the re-incarnate deer was placed in a holy environment, retaining knowledge of its past. So it did not associate with its species but remained close to a hermitage listening to the chant of the Vedas and discussions on philosophy. When it died it was reborn as a boy in a pious Brahmin family.

The parents died while he was still young. The boy was always helping others but never took to any definite work. He was healthy, strong and free from care. The neighbourhood put him down as an idiot, and so he appeared as he loafed about.

One night, the ruling chief of Savvira, passed in a palanquin; he was in haste to reach a renowned sage who lived in another province. One of his bearers took ill on the way; so his men looked about for a substitute; on finding this Brahmin boy 'idiot', they impressed him for the work; and he took his place as a bearer of the palanquin.

The chief was irritated at the slow pace of the bearers and reprimanded them. Even after repeated warnings, the pace continued to be slow and the chief was wild with rage. He alighted from the palanquin and found the new recruit to be the culprit who was thrashed and ordered to hasten.

Still there was no improvement and the chief chided him again, but could make no impression on the 'idiot'. The chief was exasperated, got down and remonstrated with him. But he received a reply which astonished him and further conversation convinced the chief of the idiot's greatness. So the chief became the disciple of Bharata, the idiot.]

78. There are so many others with individual characteristics such as Chyavana, Yaj˝avalkya, Visvamitra, etc. The secret is this.

[Note. - Chyavana: A king once went with the royal family and retinue for a pleasure trip into a forest which was famous as the habitation of a remarkable sage Chyavana by name. The young princess was playing with her companion. She came across what looked like an ant-hill and put a spike into one of its holes. Blood came out. She took fright, and returned to the elder members of the family, but did not disclose her prank to any of them.

When they had all returned home the king and many others fell ill. They suspected some involuntary evil had been perpetrated on Chyavana. When an envoy arrived in the forest praying for his blessings, the sage was found hurt in the eyes and he sent word to the king as follows:

"Your daughter hurt my eyes by driving a spike into the ant-hill which had grown over me while I was in Samadhi. I am now old and helpless. Send the mischief maker here to make amends for her mischief by becoming my helpmate."

When the envoy communicated the message to the king, he spoke to the princess, who readily acceded to the wishes of the saint. So lived in the forest with her aged consort and carefully attended to his comforts. She used to bring water from a neighbouring spring. One day the twin gods, known as Asvins, came there and admiring her loyalty to her aged husband, revealed themselves to her and offered to rejuvenate her ancient husband. She took her husband to the spring and awaited the miracle. They asked the saint to dive into the water. They too dived simultaneously. All three emerged like one another. The girl was asked to pick out her husband. She prayed to God and was enabled to identify him. The saint promised in return to include the twin benefactors among the gods eligible for sacrificial propitiation. He invited his father-in-law to arrange for a sacrifice and called on the names of the Asvins. Indra - the chief of the gods - was angry and threatened to spoil the sacrifice if innovations of the kind contemplated by Chyavana were introduced. Chyavana easily incapacitated Indra by virtue of his penance and kept his promise to his benefactors. In the meantime, Indra apologised, and was pardoned and restored to his former state.

Yaj˝avalkya is the sage of sages mentioned in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Visvamitra is too well known to be described here. He was the grand-uncle of Parasurama.]

79. "Of the three typical vasanas mentioned that one of action is the most potent and is said to be ignorance.

80-83. "Those are the best who are free from all of the vasanas, and particularly from the least trace of that of action. If free from the fault of mistrust of the teachings of the master, the vasana due to desire, which is not a very serious obstruction to realisation, is destroyed by the practice of contemplation. Dispassion need not be very marked in this case. Such people need not repeatedly engage in the study of Scriptures or the receiving of instructions from the Master, but straightaway pass into meditation and fall into samadhi, the consummation of the highest good. They live evermore as Jivanmuktas (emancipated even while alive).

84-86. "Sages with subtle and clear intellect have not considered it worth while to eradicate their desire etc., by forcing other thoughts to take their place because desires do not obstruct realisation. Therefore their desires continue to manifest even after realisation as before it. Neither are they tainted by such vasanas. They are said to be emancipated and diverse-minded. They are also reputed to be the best class of j˝anis.

87-90. "Rama, he whose mind clings to the ignorance of the necessity of work cannot hope for realisation even if Siva offers to instruct him. Similarly also the person who has the fault of marked indifference to or misunderstanding of the teachings cannot attain. On the other hand, a man only slightly affected by these two vasanas, and much more so by desires or ambitions, will by repeated hearing of the holy truth, discussion of the same, and contemplation on it, surely reach the goal though only with considerable difficulty and after a long lapse of time. Such a sage's activities will be small because he is entirely engrossed in his efforts for realisation.

Note. - His activities will be confined to the indispensable necessities of life.

91. "A sage of this class has by his long practice and rigorous discipline controlled his mind so well that predispositions are totally eradicated and the mind is as if dead. He belongs to the middle class in the scheme of classification of sages and is said to be a sage without mind.

92-94. "The last class and the least among the sages are those whose practice and discipline are not perfect enough to destroy mental predispositions. Their minds are still active and the sages are said to be associated with their minds. They are barely j˝anis and not jivanmuktas as are the other two classes. They appear to share the pleasures and pains of life like any other man and will continue to do so till the end of their lives. They will be emancipated after death.

95-96. "Prarabdha (past karma) is totally powerless with the middle class, who have destroyed their minds by continued practice.

"The mind is the soil in which the seed namely prarabdha sprouts (into pleasures and pains of life). If the soil is barren, the seed loses its sprouting power by long storage, and becomes useless.

97-103. "There are men in the world who can carefully attend to different functions at the same time and are famous as extraordinarily skilful; again some people attend to work as they are walking and conversing; while a teacher has an eye upon each student in the class-room and exercises control over them all; or you yourself knew Kartaviryarjuna, who wielded different weapons in his thousand hands and fought with you using all of them skilfully and simultaneously. In all these cases, a single mind assumes different shapes to suit the different functions at the same time. Similarly the mind of the best among j˝anis is only the Self and yet manifests as all without suffering any change in its eternal blissful nature as the Self. They are therefore many-minded.

Note. - Kartaviryarjuna was the chief of the Haihayas who were the sworn enemies of Parasurama. He was himself a devotee of Sri Dattatreya and had received the most wonderful boon from his Master, namely, that his name should be transmitted to posterity as that of an ideal king unparalleled in legend or history. His reign was indeed remarkable and his prowess was unequalled, much less excelled. Still, as destiny would have it, he was challenged by Parasurama and killed in battle.

104-105. "The prarabdha of j˝anis is still active and sprouts in the mind but only to be burnt up by the steady flame of J˝ana. Pleasure or pain is due to the dwelling of the mind on occurrences. But if these are scorched at their source, how can there be pain or pleasure?

106-108. "J˝anis of the highest order, however, are seen to be active because they voluntarily bring out the vasanas from the depth of the mind and allow them to run out. Their action is similar to that of a father sporting with his child, moving its dolls, laughing at the imagined success of one doll over another, and appearing to grieve over the injury to another, and so on; or like a man showing sympathy for his neighbour on the occasion of a gain or loss.

109-112. "The vasanas not inimical to realisation are not weeded out by the best class of j˝anis because they cannot seek new ones to crowd the old out. Therefore the old ones continue until they are exhausted and thus you find among them some highly irritable, some lustful and others pious and dutiful, and so on.

"Now the lowest order of j˝anis still under the influence of their minds know that there is no truth in the objective universe. Their samadhi is not different from that of the rest.

113. "What is samadhi? Samadhi is being aware of the Self, and nothing else - that is to say - it should not be confounded with the Nirvikalpa (undifferentiated) state, for this state is very common and frequent as has been pointed out in the case of momentary samadhis.

114-115. "Every one is experiencing the Nirvikalpa state, though unknowingly. But what is the use of such unrecognised samadhis? A similar state becomes possible to the hatha yogis also. This experience alone does not confer any lasting benefit. But one may apply the experience to the practical affairs of life. Samadhi can only be such and such alone. (Sahaja samadhi is meant here.)

Commentary. - Samadhi: Aspirants may be J˝ana yogis or Hatha yogis. The former learn the truth from the scriptures and a Guru: cogitate and understand it clearly. Later they contemplate the truth and gain samadhi.

The wise say that samadhi is the control resulting from the application of the experienced truth (i.e., the awareness of the Self) to the practical affairs of life. This samadhi is possible only for J˝ana yogis.

The Hatha yogis are of two kinds: the one intent on eliminating all perturbations of the mind, starts with the elimination of the non-self and gradually of all mental vacillations. This requires very long and determined practice which becomes his second nature and the yogi remains perfectly unagitated. The other practises the six preliminary exercises and then controls the breath (Pranayama) until he can make the air enter the Sushumna Nadi. Since the earlier effort is considerable owing to control of breath, there is a heavy strain which is suddenly relieved by the entry of air in Sushumna. The resulting happiness is comparable to that of a man suddenly relieved of a pressing load on his back. His mind is similar to that of man in a swoon or a state of intoxication. Both classes of Hatha yogis experience a happiness similar to that of deep slumber.

A J˝ana yogi, on the other hand, has theoretical knowledge of the Self, for he has heard it from the Guru and learnt it from the Sastras, and has further cogitated upon the teachings. Therefore, the veil of ignorance is drawn off from him even before the consummation of samadhi. The substratum of consciousness free from thoughts of external phenomena is distinguished by him like a mirror reflecting images. Furthermore in the earlier stage of samadhi, he is capable of remaining aware as absolute consciousness quite free from all blemishes of thought.

"Whereas a Hatha yogi cannot remain in such a state. In the j˝ani's samadhi, both the veil of ignorance and perturbation of thoughts are removed. In the Hatha yogi's samadhi, though the Self is naturally free from the two obstacles, yet it remains hidden by the veil of ignorance. The same is torn off by the j˝ani in the process of his contemplation.

"If asked what difference there is between the samadhi of a Hatha yogi and sleep, it must be said that the mind overpowered by deep ignorance is covered by dense darkness in sleep whereas the mind being associated with Sattva (quality of brightness) acts in samadhi as a thin veil for the self-effulgent principle. The Self may be compared to the Sun obstructed by dark and dense clouds in sleep, and by light mist in samadhi. For a j˝ani, the Self shines in its full effulgence like the Sun unobstructed in the heavens.

"This is how the sages describe samadhi."

116-117. (Having spoken of the j˝ani's samadhi as approved by the sages, Dattatreya proceeds to prove its unbroken nature). What is samadhi? Samadhi is absolute knowledge uncontaminated by objects. Such is the state of the best j˝anis even when they take part in the affairs of the world.

"The blue colour of the sky is known to be an unreal phenomenon and yet it appears the same to both the knowing and the unknowing, but with this difference that the one is misled by the appearance and the other is not.

118. "Just as the false perception does not mislead the man who knows, so also all that is perceived which is known to the wise to be false will never mislead them.

119. "Since the middle class of jnanis have already destroyed their minds, there are no objects for them. Their state is known as the supramental one.

120. "The mind is agitated when it assumes the shape of those objects which it mistakes for real; and unagitated otherwise. Therefore the latter state alone is supramental.

Note. - The mind of the highest order of j˝anis though associated with objects, knows them to be unreal and therefore is not agitated as is the case with the ignorant.

121. "Since a j˝ani of the highest order can engage in several actions at the same time and yet remain unaffected, he is always many-minded and yet remains in unbroken samadhi. His is absolute knowledge free from objects.

"I have now told you all that you want to know."

Thus ends the Chapter XIX on the different states of j˝anis in Tripura Rahasya.






1-20. "I shall now relate to you an ancient sacred story. On one occasion very long ago there was a very distinguished gathering of holy saints collected in the abode of Brahma, the Creator, when a very subtle and sublime disputation took place. Among those present were Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata, Vasistha, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrigu, Atri, Angiras, Pracheta, Narada, Chyavana, Vamadeva, Visvamitra, Gautama, Suka, Parasara, Vyasa, Kanva, Kasyapa, Daksha, Sumanta, Sanka, Likhita, Devala and other celestial and royal sages. Each one of them spoke of his own system with courage and conviction and maintained that it was better than all the rest. But they could reach no conclusion and so asked Brahma: 'Lord! We are sages who know all about the world and beyond, but each one's way of life differs from that of the others because the dispositions of our minds differ. Some of us are always in Nirvikalpa Samadhi, some engaged in philosophical discussions, some sunk in devotion, some have taken to work, and others seem exactly like men of the world. Which is the best among us? Please tell us. We cannot decide ourselves because each thinks that his way is the best."

"Thus requested, Brahma seeing their perplexity answered: 'Best of saints! I also would like to know. There is Parameswara who is the All-knower. Let us go and ask him.' Collecting Vishnu on their way, they went to Siva. There the leader of the deputation, Brahma, asked Siva about the matter. Having heard Brahma, Siva divined the mind of Brahma and understood that the rishis were wanting in confidence and so that any words of his would be useless. He then said to them, 'Hear me, Rishis! Neither do I clearly see which is the method. Let us meditate on the Goddess - Her Majesty Unconditioned Knowledge - we shall then be able to understand even the subtlest of truths by Her Grace.' On hearing these words of Siva, all of them, including Siva, Vishnu and Brahma, meditated on Her Divine Majesty, the Transcendental Consciousness pervading the three states of life (waking, dream and sleep). Thus invoked, She manifested in Her glory as the Transcendental Voice in the expanse of pure consciousness.

"They heard the Voice speak like thunder from the skies, 'Speak out your minds, O Rishis! Be quick, the desires of my devotees will always be fulfilled immediately.'

21-28. "Hearing the Voice, the exalted rishis prostrated and Brahma and the others praised the Goddess - namely Absolute Consciousness pervading the three states of life.

"Salutations to Thee! The Greatest! The Best! The Most Auspicious! The Absolute Knowledge! The Consciousness of the three states! The Creatrix! The Protectress! The Dissolver in the Self! The Supreme One transcending all! Salutations again!

"There was no time when Thou wert not, because Thou art unborn! Thou art ever fresh and hence Thou never growest old. Thou art all; the essence of all, the knower of all, the delighter of all. Thou art not all. Thou art nowhere, with no core in Thee, unaware of anything, and delighting no one.

"O Supreme Being! Salutations to Thee, over and over again, before and behind, above and below, on all sides and everywhere.

"Kindly tell us of Thy relative form and Thy transcendental state, Thy prowess, and Thy identity with J˝ana. What is the proper and perfect means for attaining Thee, the nature and the result of such attainment? What is the utmost finality of accomplishment, beyond which there remains nothing to be accomplished? Who is the best among the accomplished sages? Salutations again to Thee!"

29. "Thus besought, the Goddess of ultimate knowledge began with great kindness to explain it clearly to the sages:

30. "Listen, sages! I shall categorically explain to you all that you ask. I shall give you the nectar drawn out as the essence from the unending accumulation of sacred literature.

31-40. "I am the abstract intelligence wherefrom the cosmos originates, whereon it flourishes, and wherein it resolves, like the images in a mirror. The ignorant know me as the gross universe, whereas the wise feel me as their own pure being eternally glowing as 'I-I' within. This realisation is possible only in the deep stillness of thought-free consciousness similar to that of the deep sea free from waves. The most earnest of devotees worship me spontaneously and with the greatest sincerity which is due to their love of me. Although they know that I am their own non-dual Self, yet the habit of loving devotion which is deep-rooted in them makes them conceive their own Self as ME and worship ME as the life-current pervading their bodies, senses and mind without which nothing could exist and which forms the sole purport of the holy scriptures. Such is my Transcendental State.

"My concrete form is the eternal couple - the Supreme Lord and Energy - always in undivided union and abiding as the eternal consciousness pervading the three phenomenal states of waking, dream and sleep, and reclining on the cot whose four legs are Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Protector), Siva (the Destroyer) and Isvara (Disappearance) and whose surface is Sadasiva (Grace) which is contained in the mansion known as 'fulfilment of purpose' enclosed by the garden of 'Kadamba' trees in the jewel island situated in the wide ocean of nectar surrounding the cosmos and extending beyond.

"Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Isvara, Sadasiva, Ganesa, Skanda, the gods of the eight quarters, their energies of her gods, celestials, serpents and other superhuman beings all manifestations of myself. However, people do not know ME because their intellect is shrouded in ignorance.

41. "I grant boons to those who worship ME. There is no one besides ME worthy of worship or capable of fulfilling all desires.

Commentary. - All deities who receive worship and all conceptions of God are My manifestations, because I am pure intelligence which cannot under any circumstances be transcended.

42. "The fruits of worship are put forth by Me according to the mode of worship and the nature of individual desires. I am indivisible and interminable.

43. "Being non-dual and abstract intelligence I spontaneously manifest even as the smallest detail in the universe and as the universe.

44. "Though I manifest in diverse ways, I still remain unblemished because absoluteness is My being. This is My chief power, which is somewhat hard fully to understand.

45. "Therefore, O Rishis! consider this with the keenest of intellect. Though I am the abode of all and immanent in all I remain pure.

46-49. "Although I am not involved in any manner and am always free, I wield My power - called Maya; become covered with ignorance, appear full of desires, seek their fulfilment, grow restless, project favourable and unfavourable environments, am born and reborn as individuals, until growing wiser I seek a teacher and sage, learn the truth from him, put it in practice and finally become absolved. All this goes on in My pure, uncontaminated, ever free absolute intelligence. This manifestation of the ignorant and the free, and of others, is called My creation which is however, without any accessories - My power is too vast to be described. I shall tell you something of it in brief. It is that the cosmos is only the obverse of the many details in them leading up to different results.

50. "Knowledge relating to me is complex but it can be dealt with under the two categories; dual and non-dual, of which the former relates to worship and the latter to realisation. On account of their intricacies, there are many details in them leading up to different results.

51. "Dual knowledge is manifold because it depends on the concept of duality and manifests as worship, prayer, incantation, meditation, etc., etc.. all of which are due to nothing more than mental imagery.

52-53. "Even so, they are efficacious in contradistinction to day-dreams, for, the law of nature provides for it. There are degrees in the efficacy of the methods, of which the most important concerns the aspect mentioned before (see above the concrete form of Devi). The ultimate goal of all is certainly non-dual realisation.

Commentary. - Mental imagery cannot put forth tangible results either directly or in successive stages. But the one relating to God differs from ordinary day-dreams in that it purifies and strengthens the mind in order to make it fit to realise the Self. Again the most efficacious among the concepts of God is the one already mentioned, namely, the eternal couple. Although it will not directly remove ignorance yet it will help its removal for the resurrection of the man as a full blown j˝ani.

54. "Worship of Abstract Intelligence in a concrete form is not only useful but essential for non-dual realisation. For how can one be made fit for it, without Her benediction.

55. "Non-dual realisation is the same as pure Intelligence absolutely void of objective knowledge. Such realisation nullifies all objective knowledge revealing it in all its nakedness to be as harmless as a picture of a pouncing tiger or of an enraged serpent.

56. "When the mind has completely resolved into the Self, that state is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi (the undifferentiated peaceful state). After waking up from it, the person is overpowered by the memory of his experience as the one, undivided, infinite, pure Self and he knows 'I am That' as opposed to the puerile I-thought of the ignorant. That is Supreme Knowledge (Vij˝ana or Pratyabhij˝a J˝ana).

Note. - The advanced state of meditation is Savikalpa Samadhi, where the person is aware that he has turned away from objectivity towards subjectivity and feels his proximity to the state of Self-Realisation. When he actually sinks within the Self, there is no knowledge apart from the simple awareness of blissful existence. This is Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Waking up, he sees the world just as any other man does but his outlook has become different. He is now able to know his pure Self and no longer confounds himself with the ego. That is the acme of Realisation.

57. "Theoretical knowledge consists in differentiating between the Self and the non-Self through a study of the Scriptures, or the teachings of a Master, or by one's own deliberation.

58-62. "Supreme wisdom is that which puts an end to the sense of non-Self once for all. Non-dual realisation admits nothing unknown or unknowable and pervades everything in entirety so that it cannot in any way be transcended, (e.g., a mirror and the images). When that is accomplished, the intellect becomes quite clear because all doubts have been destroyed; (doubts are usually with regard to creation, the identity of the Self and their mutual relationship) and then the predispositions of the mind (e.g., lust, greed, anger, etc.) are destroyed though any remnants of these that may remain are as harmless as a fangless viper.

63. "The fruit of Self-realisation is the end of all misery here and hereafter and absolute fearlessness. That is called Emancipation.

Note. - There is an end of misery in sleep; but the potentiality of misery is not ended. Realisation destroys the cause of misery and sets the man free for ever.

64-65. "Fear implies the existence of something apart from oneself. Can the sense of duality persist after non-dual Realisation, or can there be darkness after sun-rise?

"O Rishis! There will be no fear in the absence of duality. On the other hand, fear will not cease so long as there is the sense of duality.

66. "What is perceived in the world as being apart from the Self is also clearly seen to be perishable. What is perishable must certainly involve fear of loss.

67. "Union implies separation; so also acquisition implies loss.

68-70. "If emancipation be external to the Self, it implies fear of loss, and is therefore not worth aspiring to. On the other hand, Moksha is fearlessness and not external to the Self.

"When the knower, knowledge and the known merge into unity that state is totally free from fear and hence Moksha results.

"J˝ana (Supreme Wisdom) is the state devoid of thoughts, will and desire, and is unimpeded by ignorance.

71. "It is certainly the primal state of the knower, but remains unrecognised for want of acquaintance with it. The Guru and Sastras alone can make the individual acquainted with the Self.

72-77. "The Self is abstract intelligence free from thought. The knower, knowledge and the known are not real as different entities. When differentiation among them is destroyed, their true nature is evident in the resulting non-dual consciousness, which is also the state of emancipation.

"There is in fact no differentiation among the knower, etc. The differences are simply conventions retained for the smooth working of earthly life. Emancipation is eternal and, therefore, here and now, it is nothing to be acquired. The Self manifests as the knower, knowledge and the known; the cycle of births and deaths endures with all the apparent reality of a mountain so long as this manifestation lasts. As soon as the manifestation is realised to consist of the Self alone without any admixture of non-self, the cycle of births and deaths comes to a standstill, and is broken down to fragments like clouds dispersed by strong winds.

78. "Thus you find that earnestness is the only requisite for emancipation. No other requisite is needed if the longing for emancipation is intense and unwavering.

79. "What is the use of hundreds of efforts in the absence of a real and unswerving desire for emancipation? That is the sole requisite and nothing else.

80-81. "Intense devotion signifies mental abstraction as the devotee loses himself in the desired object. In this particular instance, it will mean emancipation itself. For such unwavering devotion must certainly succeed and success is only a question of time - which may be days, months, years, or even the next birth, according as the predispositions are light or dense.

82-83. "The intellect is ordinarily befouled by evil propensities and so nothing good flourishes there. Consequently, the people are boiled in the seething cauldron of births and deaths. Of these evil propensities, the first is want of faith in the revelations made by the Guru and in the sastras; the second is addiction to desires; and the third is dullness (i.e., inability to understand the revealed truth). This is a brief statement of them.

84-85. "Of these, want of faith is betrayed by one's doubts regarding the truth of the statements and by failure to understand them. The doubt arises whether there is moksha; and later misunderstanding leads to its denial. These two are sure obstacles to any sincere efforts being made for realisation.

86. "All obstacles are set at nought by a determined belief in the contrary; that is to say - determined belief regarding the existence of moksha will destroy both uncertainty and misunderstanding.

"But the question arises how this determined belief will be possible when faith is wanting. Therefore cut at its root. What is its root?

87-88. "Want of faith has its root in unfavourable logic. Give it up and take to approved logic as found in holy books and expounded by a Guru. Then enlightenment becomes possible and faith results. Thus ends the first evil propensity.

89-95. "The second propensity, namely desire, prevents the intellect from following the right pursuit. For, the mind engrossed in desire, cannot engage in a spiritual pursuit. The abstraction of a lover is well known to all; he can hear or see nothing in front of him. Anything said in his hearing is as good as not said. Desire must therefore be first overcome before aspiring for spiritual attainment. That can be done only by dispassion. The propensity is manifold, being the forms of love, anger, greed, pride, jealousy, etc. The worst of them is pursuit of pleasure which, if destroyed destroys all else. Pleasure may be subtle or gross. Neither of these must be indulged in, even in thought. As soon as the thought of pleasure arises, it must be dismissed by the will-power developed by dispassion.

96-99. "In this way, the second evil propensity is overcome. The third, known as dullness resulting from innumerable wicked actions in preceding births, is the worst of the series and hardest to overcome by one's own efforts. Concentration of mind and understanding of truth are not possible when dullness prevails.

"There is no remedy for it other than worship of the Goddess of the Self (adoration, prayer, meditation, etc.). I remove the devotee's dullness according to his worship, quickly, or gradually, or in the succeeding birth.

100-102. "He who unreservedly surrenders himself to Me with devotion, is endowed with all the requisites necessary for Self-Realisation. He who worships Me, easily overcomes all obstacles to Self-Realisation. On the other hand, he, who being stuck up, does not take refuge in Me - the pure intelligence manipulating the person - is repeatedly upset by difficulties so that his success is very doubtful.

103-104. "Therefore, O Rishis! the chief requisite is one-pointed devotion to God. The devotee is the best of aspirants. The one devoted to abstract consciousness excels every other seeker. Consummation lies in the discernment of the Self as distinguished from the non-Self.

105-112. "The Self is at present confounded with the body, etc., such confusion must cease and awareness of the Self must result as opposed to nescience in sleep.

"The Self is experienced even now; but it is not discerned rightly, for it is identified with the body, etc., there is therefore endless suffering. The Self is not hidden indeed; it is always gleaming out as 'I', but this 'I', is mistaken for the body, owing to ignorance. On this ignorance ceasing, the 'I' is ascertained to be the true consciousness alone; and that sets all doubts at rest. This and nothing else has been ascertained by the sages to be finality. Thaumaturgic powers such as flying in space, etc., are all fragmentary and not worth a particle of Self-Realisation. For this is the unbroken and immortal bliss of the Self in which all else is included.

"Thaumaturgic powers are also hindrance to Self-Realisation. Of what use are they? They are but simple acrobatic tricks. The Creator's status appears to a Self-realised man to be only a trifle. What use are these powers, unless for wasting one's time?

113. "There is no accomplishment equal to Self-Realisation which is alone capable of ending all misery because it is the state of eternal Bliss.

114. "Self-Realisation differs from all accomplishments in that the fear of death is destroyed once for all.

115. "Realisation differs according to the antecedent practice and, commensurate with the degree of purity of mind, may be perfect, middling or dull.

Note. - Realisation of the Self and eternal inherence as unbroken 'I-I' in all surroundings are the practices and the fruit.

116-119. "You have seen great pandits well versed in the Vedas and capable of chanting them quite correctly amidst any amount of distractions. They are the best. Those who are capable businessmen, repeat the Vedas quite correctly when they engage in chanting them without other distractions. These are the middle class.

"Whereas others are constantly chanting them and do it well. Such are of the lowest order among pandits. Similarly there are distinctions among the sages also.

120-121. "Some sages abide as the Self even while engaged in complex duties, such as ruling a kingdom (e.g., King Janaka); others can do so in intervals of work; still others can do so by constant practice alone. They are respectively of the highest, the middle and the lowest order. Of these, the highest order represents the utmost limit of realisation.

122. "Unbroken supreme awareness even in dream is the mark of the highest order.

123. "The Person who is not involuntarily made the tool of his mental predispositions but who invokes them at his will, is of the highest order.

124. "He who abides in the Self as 'I-I' as spontaneously and continuously as the ignorant man does in the body, is again of the highest order.

125. "He who, though engaged in work, does not look upon anything as non-self, is a perfect sage.

126. "He who even while doing his work remains as in a sleep is a perfect sage.

127. "Thus the best among the sages are never out of samadhi, be they working or idle.

128-133. "He who is from his own experience capable of appreciating the states of other j˝anis including the best among them, is certainly a perfect sage. He who is not influenced by happiness or misery, by pleasure or pain, by desires, doubts or fear, is a perfect sage. He who realises pleasure, pain and every other phenomenon to be in and of the Self, is a perfect sage. He who feels himself pervading all - be they ignorant or emancipated - is a perfect sage. He who knowing the trammels of bondage, does not seek release from them and remains in peace, is a perfect sage.

"The perfect among the sages is identical with Me. There is absolutely no difference between us.

134. "I have now told you all these in answer to your questions. You need no longer be perplexed with doubts."

135. "Having said so, Transcendental Intelligence became silent.

"Then all the Rishis saluted Siva and the other Gods and returned to their own abodes.

"I have now told you the sacred Gita of pure knowledge, which destroys all sins and purifies the mind. This Gita is the best among Gitas because it has proceeded from Abstract Intelligence Herself and it leads one to emancipation on being attentively heard and cogitated upon.

"This Gita is the raft to save one from sinking in the ocean of Samsara (cycle of births and deaths), and so it must be read or repeated every day with love and care."

Thus ends the chapter of Vidya Gita in Tripura Rahasya.






1. After Parasurama heard this from Sri Dattatreya he felt as if released from the meshes of ignorance.

2-8. He again saluted Sri Datta and asked him with great devotion: "Lord! Please tell me exactly how wisdom can be accomplished. I want to hear the essence of it in brief. The method should also be easy and at the same time efficient. Please also tell me the characteristics of the sages, so that I may readily recognise them. What is their state with or without the body? How can they be unattached though active? Kindly tell me all this."

Thus requested, the son of Atri spoke to him with pleasure: "Listen! Rama, I am now telling you the secret of accomplishment. Of all the requisites for wisdom, Divine Grace is the most important. He who has entirely surrendered himself to the Goddess is sure to gain wisdom readily. Rama! this is the best of all the methods.

9-17. "This method does not require other aids to reinforce its efficiency, as other methods do for accomplishing the end. There is a reason for it. Pure Intelligence illumining all has cast a veil of ignorance of Her own over all. Her true nature is evident only after removing this veil by discrimination. This is hard for those whose minds are directed outward; and it is easy, sure and quick for devotees engrossed in the Goddess of the Self to the exclusion of all else.

"An intense devotee, though endowed with only a little discipline of other kinds (e.g., dispassion), can readily understand the truth though only theoretically, and expound it to others. Such exposition helps him to imbue those ideas and so he absorbs the truth. This ultimately leads him to identify all individuals with Siva and he is no longer affected by pleasure or pain. All-round identification with Siva makes him the best of J˝anis and a Jivanmukta (emancipated here and now). Therefore Bhakti Yoga (way of devotion) is the best of all and excels all else.

18-24. "The characteristics of a J˝ani are hard to understand, because they are inscrutable and inexpressible. For instance, a pandit cannot be adequately described except by his appearance, gait and dress because his feelings, depth of knowledge, etc., are known to himself alone; while the flavour of a particular dish cannot be exactly conveyed by word to one who has not tasted it; but a pandit can be understood only by another pandit by his method of expression. A bird alone can follow the track of another bird.

"There are of course some traits which are obvious, and others which are subtle and inscrutable. Those which are obvious are their speech, language, postures of meditation, signs of worship, dispassion, etc., which can however be imitated by non-sages.

25. "What are accomplishments to others to the accompaniment of dispassion, meditation, prayer, etc. remain natural to the sage whose mind is pure and unsophisticated.

26. "He whom honour and insult, loss or gain, cannot affect, is a sage of the best class.

27. "The best among sages can, without hesitation give complete answers on matters relating to Realisation and the sublimest truths.

28. "He seems to be spontaneously animated when discussing matters pertaining to J˝ana (realisation) and is never tired of their exposition.

29. "His nature is to remain without efforts. Contentment and purity abide in him. Even the most critical situations do not disturb his peace of mind.

30. "These are qualities which must be tried for oneself and verified; they are of no value as tests applied to others, for they may be genuine or spurious.

31. "An aspirant must first apply the tests to himself and always prove his own worth; he can then judge others.

32-33. "How can the repeated testing of oneself fail to improve one? Let one not spend one's time judging others; but let one judge oneself. Thus one becomes perfect.

34-38. "What have here been called the traits of a J˝ani are meant for one's own use and not for testing others, because they admit of many modifications according to circumstances. For instance, a J˝ani who has realised the Self with the least effort may continue in his old ways although his mind is unassailable. He looks like a man of the world for all practical purposes. How then can he be judged by others? Nevertheless, one J˝ani will know another at sight just as an expert can appraise precious stones at a glance.

"The J˝anis of the lowest order behave like ignorant men in their care for their bodies.

39-54. "They have not attained Sahaja Samadhi (samadhi unbroken even while engaged in work, etc.). They are in the state of Perfection only when they are calm or composed. They have as much of the body-sense and enjoy pleasure and pain with as much zest as any animal when they are not engaged in the investigation of the Self.

"Though they are not always inquiring into the Self, yet there are periods of the perfect state owing to their previous practice and experience. All the same, they are emancipated because the animal-sense is only an aberration during interludes of imperfection and does not always leave any mark of them. Their aberration is similar to the ashy skeleton of a piece of burnt cloth which, though retaining the old shape, is useless. Again, the intervals of Realisation have an abiding effect on their lives, so that the world does not continue to enthral them as heretofore. A dye applied to the border of a cloth 'creeps' and shades the body of the cloth also.

"The middle class of J˝anis are never deluded by their bodies. Delusion is the false identification of 'I' with the body; this never arises with the more advanced J˝anis, namely the middle class among them. Identification of the Self with the body is attachment to the body. The middle class of J˝anis are never attached to the body. Their minds are mostly dead because of their long practice and continued austerities. They are not engaged in work because they are entirely self-possessed. Just as a man moves or speaks in sleep without being aware of his actions, so also this class of Yogi does enough work for his minimum requirements without being aware of it. Having transcended the world, he behaves like a drunken man. But he is aware of his actions. His body continues on account of his vasanas (predispositions) and destiny. J˝anis of the highest class do not identify the Self with the body but remain completely detached from their bodies. Their work is like that of a charioteer driving the chariot, who never identifies himself with the chariot. Similarly the J˝ani is not the body nor the actor; he is Pure Intelligence. Though entirely detached from action within, to the spectator he seems to be active. Her performs his part like an actor in a drama; and plays with the world as a parent does with a child.

55-56. "Of the two higher orders of J˝anis, the one remains steadfast through his sustained practice and control of mind, whereas the other is so on account of the force of his discrimination and investigation. The difference lies in the merits of their intellect, I shall now relate to you a story in this connection.

57-79. "There was formerly a king by name Ratnangada ruling in the City of Amrita on the banks of the Vipasa. He had two sons Rukmangada and Hemangada - both wise and good and dearly loved of their father. Of them Rukmangada was well versed in the Sastras and Hemangada was a J˝ani of the highest order. On one occasion both of them went out on a hunting expedition into a dense forest, followed by their retinue. They accounted for many a deer, tigers, hares, bisons, etc., and being thoroughly exhausted, they rested beside a spring. Rukmangada was informed by some persons that there was a Brahmarakshas (a species of ghoulish spirit of a learned but degenerate Brahmin) close by, who was very learned, accustomed to challenge pandits for discussion, vanquish them and then eat them. Since Rukmangada loved learned disputations, he went with his brother to the ghoul and engaged him in argument. He was however defeated in the debate and so the ghoul caught hold of him to devour him. Seeing it, Hemangada said to the ghoul, 'O Brahmarakshas, do not eat him yet! I am his younger brother. Defeat me also in argument so that you may eat us both together.' The ghoul answered, I have long been without food. Let me first finish this long-wished for prey, and then I shall defeat you in debate and complete my meal with you. I hope to make a hearty meal of you both.

"Once I used to catch any passerby and eat him. A disciple of Vasishta, by name Devarata, once came this way and he cursed me, saying, 'May your mouth be burnt if you indulge in human prey any more.' I prayed to him with great humility and he condescended to modify his curse thus: 'You may eat such as are defeated by you in debate.' Since then I have been adhering to his words. I have now waited so long for prey that this is very dear to me. I shall deal with you after finishing this.'

"Saying so, he was about to eat the brother; but Hemangada again interceded, saying, 'O Brahmarakshas, I pray you kindly accede to my request. Tell me if you would relinquish my brother if other food were found for you. I will redeem my brother in that way if you will allow it.' But the ghoul replied, saying. 'Listen, King! there is no such price for redemption. I will not give him up. Does a man let his long wished for food slip away from his hold? However I shall tell you now a vow which I have taken. There are many questions deeply afflicting my mind. If you can answer them satisfactorily, I shall release your brother.' Then Hemangada asked the ghoul to mention the questions so that he might answer them. The ghoul then put him the following very subtle questions which I shall repeat to you, Parasurama! They are:

80. "What is more extensive than space and more subtle than the subtlest? What is its nature? Where does it abide? Tell me, Prince."

81. "Listen, Spirit! Abstract Intelligence is wider than space and subtler than the subtlest. Its nature is to glow and it abides as the Self."

82. "How can it be wider than space, being single? Or how is it subtler than the subtlest? What is that glow? And what is that Self? Tell me, Prince."

83. "Listen, Spirit! Being the material cause of all, intelligence is extensive though single; being impalpable, it is subtle. Glowing obviously implies consciousness and that is the Self."

84. Spirit: "Where and how is Chit (Abstract Intelligence) to be realised and what is the effect?"

85. Prince: "The intellectual sheath must be probed for its realisation. One-pointed search for it reveals its existence. Rebirth is overcome by such realisation."

86. Spirit: "What is that sheath and what is concentration of mind? Again what is birth?"

87. Prince: "The intellectual sheath is the veil drawn over Pure Intelligence; it is inert by itself. One-pointedness is abiding as the Self. Birth is the false identification of the Self with the body."

88. Spirit: "Why is that Abstract Intelligence which is ever shining not realised? What is the means by which it can be realised? Why did birth take place at all?"

89. Prince: "Ignorance is the cause of non-realisation. Self realises the Self; there is no external aid possible. Birth originated through the sense of doership."

90. Spirit: "What is that ignorance of which you speak? What is again the Self? Whose is the sense of doership?"

91. Prince: "Ignorance is the sense of separateness from consciousness and false identification with the non-self. As for the Self, the question must be referred to the Self in you. The ego or the 'I-thought' is the root of action.

92. Spirit: "By what means is ignorance to be destroyed? How is the means acquired? What leads to such means?"

93. Prince: "Investigation cuts at the root of ignorance. Dispassion develops investigation. Disgust of the pleasures of life generates dispassion towards them."

94. Spirit: "What is investigation, dispassion or disgust in pleasures?"

95. Prince: "Investigation is analysis conducted within oneself, discriminating the non-self from the Self, stimulated by a stern, strong and sincere desire to realise the Self. Dispassion is non-attachment to surroundings. This results if the misery consequent on attachment is kept in mind."

96. Spirit: "What is the root cause of the whole series of these requirements?"

97. Prince: "Divine Grace is the root cause of all that is good. Devotion to God alone can bring down His Grace. This devotion is produced and developed by association with the wise. That is the prime cause of all."

98. Spirit: "Who is that God? What is devotion to Him? Who are the wise?"

99. Prince: "God is the master of the Cosmos. Devotion is unwavering love for Him. The wise are those who abide in Supreme Peace and melt with love for all."

100. Spirit: "Who is always in the grip of fear, Who of misery, Who of poverty?"

101. Prince: "Fear holds a man possessed of enormous wealth; misery, of large family; and poverty, of insatiable desires."

102. Spirit: "Who is fearless? Who is free from misery? Who is never needy?"

103. Prince: "The man with no attachments is free from fear; the one with controlled mind is free from misery; the Self-realised man is never needy."

104. Spirit: "Who is he that passes men's understanding and is visible though without a body? What is the action of the inactive?"

105. Prince: "The man emancipated here and now passes men's understanding; he is seen though he does not identify himself with the body; his actions are those of the inactive."

106. Spirit: "What is real? What is unreal? What is inappropriate? Answer these questions and redeem your brother."

107. Prince: "The subject (i.e., the Self) is real; the object (i.e., the non-self) is unreal; worldly transactions are inappropriate.

"I have now answered your questions. Please release my brother at once."

108. "When the Prince had finished, the ghoul released Rukmangada with pleasure and himself appeared metamorphosed as a Brahmin.

109. "Seeing the figure of the Brahmin full of courage and tapas (penance), the two princes asked him who he was.

110-122. "I was formerly a Brahmin of Magadha. My name is Vasuman. I was famous for my learning and known as an invincible debater. I was proud of myself and sought the assembly of those learned pandits who collected in my country under royal patronage. There was among them a great saint, perfect in wisdom and entirely Self-possessed. He was known as Ashtaka. I went there for love of debate. Though I was a mere logician, I argued against his statement on Self-Realisation, by sheer force of logic. He backed his arguments by profuse quotations from the Holy Scriptures. Since I was out to win laurels, I continued to refute him. Finding me incorrigible, he kept silent. However, one of his disciples, descendant of Kasyapa lineage, was enraged at my audacity and cursed me before the king, saying: 'You chip of a Brahmin! How dare you refute my Master without first understanding his statements? May you at once become a ghoul and remain so for a long time."

"I shook with fear at the imprecation and took refuge at the feet of the sage Ashtaka. Being always Self-possessed, he took pity on me though I had figured as his opponent just before; and he modified his disciple's curse by pronouncing an end to it as follows: 'May you resume your old shape as soon as a wise man furnishes appropriate answers to all the questions which were raised here by you, answered by me but refuted by your polemics'.

"O Prince! You have now released me from that curse. I therefore consider you as the best among men, knowing all that pertains to life here and beyond."

"The princes were astonished at that story of his life.

123-124. "The Brahmin asked Hemangada further questions and became further enlightened. Then the princes returned to their city after saluting the Brahmin.

"I have now told you everything, O Bhargava!"

Thus ends the chapter on the Episode of the Ghoul in Tripura Rahasya.





1-4. After Sri Dattatreya had finished, Parasurama asked again respectfully: "Lord, what further did that Brahmin ask Hemangada and how did the latter enlighten him? The account is very interesting and I desire to hear it in full." Then Sri Datta, the Lord of Mercy, continued the story: Vasuman asked Hemangada as follows:

5-8. "Prince! I shall ask you a question. Please answer me. I learnt about the Supreme Truth from Ashtaka and later from you. You are a sage; but still, how is it that you go out hunting? How can a sage be engaged in work? Work implies duality; wisdom is non-duality; the two are thus opposed to each other. Please clear this doubt of mine."

Thus requested, Hemangada told the Brahmin as follows:

9-14. "O Brahmin! Your confusion owing to ignorance has not yet been cleared up. Wisdom is eternal and natural. How can it be contradicted by work? Should work make wisdom ineffective, how can wisdom be useful any more than a dream? No eternal good is possible in that case. All this work is dependent on Self-awareness (i.e., wisdom). Being so, can work destroy wisdom and yet remain in its absence? Wisdom is that consciousness in which this world with all its phenomena and activities is known to be as an image or series of images; duality essential for work is also a phenomenon in that non-dual awareness.

"There is no doubt that a man realises the Self only after purging himself of all thoughts, and that he is then released from bondage, once for all. Your question has thus no basis and cannot be expected of the wise."

Then the Brahmin continued further:

15-16. "True, O Prince! I have also concluded that the Self is pure, unblemished Intelligence. But how can it remain unblemished when will arises in it? Will is modification of the Self, giving rise to confusion similar to that of a snake in a coil of rope."

17-26. "Listen, O Brahmin! You do not yet clearly distinguish confusion from clarity. The sky appears blue to all alike whether they know that space is colourless or not. Even the one who knows speaks of the 'blue sky' but is not himself confused. The ignorant man is confused whereas the man who knows is not. The latter's seeming confusion is harmless like a snake that is dead. His work is like images in a mirror. There lies the difference between a sage and an ignorant man. The former has accurate knowledge and unerring judgment, whereas the latter has a blurred conception and his judgment is warped. Knowledge of Truth never forsakes a sage although he is immersed in work. All his activities are like reflections in a mirror for, being Self-realised, ignorance can no longer touch him.

"Wrong knowledge due to sheer ignorance can be corrected by true knowledge; but wrong knowledge due to fault cannot be so easily corrected. So long as there is myopia, the eyesight will be blurred and many images of a single object will be seen. Similarly, so long as there is the prarabdha (residual past karma) unaccounted for, the manifestation of the world will continue for the J˝ani, though only as a phenomenon. This will also vanish as soon as the prarabdha has played itself out and then pure, unblemished Intelligence alone will remain. Therefore I tell you, there is no blemish attached to a J˝ani though he appears active and engaged in worldly duties."

Having heard this, the Brahmin continued to ask:

27. "O Prince! How can there be any residue of past karma in a J˝ani? Does not J˝ana burn away all karma as fire does a heap of camphor?"

28-29. Then Hemangada replied: "Listen Brahmin! The three kinds of karma (1) mature (prarabdha), (2) pending (agami) and (3) in store (sancita) are common to all - not excluding the J˝ani. The first of these alone remains for the J˝ani and the other two are burnt away.

30. "Karma matures by the agency of time; such is divine law. When mature, it is bound to yield its fruits.

31. "The karma of the one who is active after Self-realisation, is rendered ineffective by his wisdom.

32. "Karma already mature and now yielding results is called prarabdha: it is like an arrow already shot from a bow which must run its course until its momentum is lost."

Note. - Prarabdha must bear fruits and cannot be checked by realisation of the Self. But there is no enjoyment of its fruits by the realised sage.

33-35. "Environments are only a result of prarabdha: notwithstanding they seem the same for all, anis react to them differently according to their own stages of realisation.

"Pleasure and pain are apparent to the least among the sages, but do not leave any mark on them as they do on the ignorant; pleasure and pain operate on the middle class of sages in the same way; however, they react only indistinctly to their surroundings, as a man in sleep does to a gentle breeze or to an insect creeping over him; pleasure and pain are again apparent to the highest among the sages, who however look upon them as unreal like a hare growing horns.

36. "The ignorant anticipate pleasure and pain before enjoyment, recapitulate them after enjoyment, and reflect over them, so that they leave a strong impression on their minds.

37. "anis of the lowest order also enjoy pleasure and pain like the ignorant, but their remembrance of such experiences is frequently broken up by intervals of realisation. Thus the worldly enjoyments do not leave an impression on their minds.

38. "anis of the middle class, accustomed to control their minds by long-continued austerities, keep their minds in check even while enjoying pleasure and pain, and thus their response to the world is as indistinct as that of a man in sleep to a gentle breeze playing on him or an ant creeping over his body.

39-41. "anis of the highest order are left untouched for they always remain as the burnt skeleton of a cloth (retaining its old shape but useless) after their realisation. Just as an actor is not really affected by the passions which he displays on the stage, so also this J˝ani, always aware of his perfection, is not affected by the seeming pleasures and pains which he regards as a mere illusion like the horns of a hare.

42. "The ignorant are not aware of the pure Self; they see it always blemished and hence they believe in the reality of objective knowledge and are therefore affected by the pleasures and pains of life.

43-49. "As for the lowest order of anis, these realise the Self off and on, and spells of ignorance overtake them whenever overcome by their predispositions, they look upon the body as the Self and the world as real. They are often able to over-ride the old tendencies, and thus there is a struggle between wisdom and ignorance - each of them prevailing alternatively. The Jnani ranges himself on the side of wisdom and fights against ignorance until falsity is thoroughly blown out, and truth prevails. Therefore J˝ana is indivisible.

50-57. "Forgetfulness of the Self never overtakes a middle class J˝ani and wrong knowledge never possesses him. However he of his own accord brings out some predispositions from his own depths in order to maintain his body according to prarabdha. This is the conduct of an accomplished J˝ani.

"As for the aspirant, there is no forgetfulness of the Self so long as he is engaged in practising samadhi. But the accomplished J˝ani is always unforgetful of the Self and picks out his own predispositions according to his own choice.

"The highest J˝ani makes no difference between samadhi and worldly transactions. He never finds anything apart from the Self and so there is no lapse for him.

"The middle order J˝ani is fond of samadhi and voluntarily abides in it. There is accordingly a lapse, however slight, when he is engaged in worldly affairs, or even in the maintenance of his body.

"On the other hand, the J˝ani of the highest order involuntarily and naturally abides in samadhi and any lapse is impossible for him under any circumstances.

"But the J˝ani of the middle order or of the highest order has no tinge of karma left in him because he is in perfection and does not perceive anything apart from the Self.

"How can there be anything of karma left when the wild fire of J˝ana is raging consuming all in its way?

Commentary. - Karma is inferred by the onlooker according to his own ideas of pleasure or pain-giving experiences for the Jnani, hence the previous statement that prarabdha remains over without being destroyed by J˝ana. That holds true for the lowest order of anis and not to the rest. The fruit is that which is enjoyed; anis of the highest order do not partake of pleasure or pain. For they are in samadhi and that does not admit of such enjoyments; when arisen from samadhi the objects (i.e., non-self) are known to be like images in a mirror, and the conscious principle of the seer and sight is equally known to be the Self. Just as the images are not apart from the mirror, so there is no non-Self apart from the Self; therefore pleasure and pain are not alien to the Self. That which is not alien need not be traced to another cause namely karma (prarabdha). The ideas of pleasure and pain in others need not be foisted on to Jnanis and explanations sought - with the result of positing prarabdha in them. The J˝ani never says 'I am happy'; 'I am miserable'; then why should prarabdha be imagined in his case? The least among anis is apt to relax from the realisation of the Self and then he gets mixed up with the world at intervals when he appropriates pleasure or pain. The conjecture of prarabdha is significant in his case but not in the case of other orders of J˝anis.

The lowest state of J˝ana is open to the doubt whether such J˝ana as is obstructed off and on, betokens emancipation. Some agree that it does not. But realisation of the Self occurs simultaneously with the raising of the veil of ignorance. This veil is destroyed whereas the outgoing tendency viksepa drags on a little longer. Prarabdha runs out after yielding its results. No residue is left for re-incarnation; nor are there the other stocks of karma to draw upon for perpetuating bewilderment. His mind perishes with the body as fire dies out for want of fuel. In the absence of a body the Realisation of the Self must assert itself and emancipate the being.

There is still another class of men whose J˝ana is contradicted by worldly pursuits. That is no J˝ana in the true sense; it is only a semblance of it.

Difference among the different orders, J˝anis-simple and J˝anis-Jivanmuktas, is perceptible to onlookers in this life. The J˝anis do not reincarnate.

Since they are found to be active sometimes or at all times, the onlooker requires an explanation and conjectures the residue of prarabdha as is the case with ordinary men. Otherwise their apparent pleasures and pains would be as if accidental, which is not acceptable to the philosopher. So, all this discussion about prarabdha to J˝anis.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita no doubt says "One is reborn in environments consistent with the thought uppermost in one's mind while dying." The statement applies to others and not to J˝anis. As for anis, the following are said in other scriptures.

1. J˝ani has the root of misery cut off at the instant of realising the Self. It is immaterial for him if he dies in a holy spot, or in foul surroundings, remaining aware, or overtaken by coma, just before death. He is emancipated all the same.

2. Unmistakably realising Siva even once by a Master's advice, by scriptural statements or by inference, there could no longer remain any tinge of obligatory duty on his part because he is emancipated.

58. "Such karma is only a trick believed to be true by the onlooker. I shall explain this point further.

59-62. "The state of the J˝ani is said to be identical with that of Siva. There is not the least difference between them. Therefore karma cannot besmear a J˝ani."

"Vasuman had all his doubts cleared by this discourse of Hemangada. He had a clear understanding of true realisation. Vasuman and the prince saluted each other and returned to their respective places."

Having heard all this, Parasurama asked Sri Datta still further:

63-65. "Master! I have heard your holy words regarding Realisation and Wisdom. My doubts are now cleared. I now understand the non-dual state of abstract consciousness pervading all and abiding in the Self. Nevertheless, kindly tell me the essence of the whole discourse in a few words so that I may always remember them."

66-68. Thus requested, Sri Datta again resumed:

"That which abides as the Self is Pure Intelligence Transcendental being comprised of the aggregate of all the egos in perfection. She is Self-contained, and fills the role of Maya by virtue of Her own prowess. Being one without a second. She makes even the impossible happen and thus displays the Universe as a series of images in a mirror. I shall now tell you how.

Commentary: Perfect ego: Ego in Perfection: 'I-I' consciousness. - Some distinctive characteristics have to be admitted in order to distinguish consciousness from inertia. Consciousness amounts to a flash of pure intelligence. It is of two kinds: (1) The subject and (2) the object. The latter of these is dependent on the former for its very existence; therefore the manifestation as 'I' is alone admissible. 'I' is imperfect when it is limited to the body or other similar entities, because time and space have their being in pure intelligence, or awareness as 'I-I', which is thus perfect. Nothing can possibly surpass and yet it is all these; therefore it is the aggregate of all the egos. Nevertheless, consciousness is distinguished from inertia for the sake of preliminary instruction, so that the disciple may become conversant with the real nature of the Self. She is transcendental and also non-dual.

The self is the subject, and non-self is the object. She is also the individual egos falsely identified with bodies. She is Ego in perfection, while abiding as pure Consciousness. This is the nature of Abstract Intelligence.

This unbroken 'I-I' consciousness remains before creation as will, self-sufficient and independent in nature and is also called Svatantra. She turns into action (kriya) during creation and is called Maya.

Creation is not vibration or metamorphosis; it is a mere projection of images like those in a mirror. Because Sakti cannot be reached by time and much less broken up by it, she is eternal; so it follows that the universe has no origin.

69-71. "She who is transcendence, awareness perfection and total-summation of all egos, of Her own Will divides Herself into two. Imperfection is concomitant with such scission; there is bound to be an insentient phase which represents the aforesaid exterior or unmanifested void. The sentient phase is Sadashiva Tattva.

Note. - This is called Ishvara in the Upanishads.

72. "Now Sadashiva, also not being perfect, sees the unmanifest void (i.e., the sentient phase becomes aware of the insentient phase) but yet knows it to be of Himself - feeling 'I am this also'.

Note. - The sentient phase is called Ishvara; and the insentient phase is called Maya or Avidya, in the Upanisads.

73-90. "Later Sadashiva identifies the insentient phase with His body at the time of starting Creation. Then he goes by the name Ishvara. Now this contaminated Higher Ego, namely Ishvara, divides Himself into the three aspects - Rudra, Vishnu and Brahma (representing the modes of Ego associated with the three qualities darkness, brightness and activity) who in their turn manifest the cosmos consisting of many worlds. Brahmas are innumerable, all of whom are engaged in creating worlds; Vishnus are equally taken up in protecting the worlds; and the Rudras in destroying them. This is the way of creation. But all of them are only images in the grand mirror of Abstract Consciousness.

"These are only manifest, but are not concrete, since they have never been created.

"The Supreme Being is always the sum-total of all the egos. Just as you fill the body and identify yourself with different senses and organs without deviating from the Ego, so does the transcendental Pure Intelligence similarly identify itself with all beginning from Sadashiva and ending with the minutest protoplasm, and yet remains single.

"Again, just as you cannot taste anything without the aid of the tongue, nor apprehend other things without the aid of other senses or organs, so also the supreme Being (Sadashiva) acts and knows through the agency of Brahma, etc., and even of worms. Just as your conscious Self remains pure and unqualified although it forms the basis of all the activities of limbs, organs and senses, so also the Supreme Intelligence is unaffected though holding all the Egos within Herself. She is not aware of any distinctions in the vastness of the cosmos nor does She make difference among the Egos.

"In this manner, the Cosmos shines in Her like images in a mirror. The shining of the Cosmos is due to Her reflection. In the same way, the individuals in the world, namely you, I, and other seers are all flashes of Her consciousness. Since all are only phases of Supreme Intelligence, that alone will shine in purity bereft of taints or impediments in the shape of objects.

"Just as the shining mirror is clear when images no longer appear in it, and the same mirror remains untainted even when the images are reflected in it, so also Pure Intelligence subsists pure and untainted whether the world is seen or not.

91-92. "This untainted Supreme Intelligence is one without a second and filled with Bliss, because totally free from the least trace of unhappiness. The sum-total of all happiness of all the living beings has taken shape as the Supreme One because She is obviously desired by all; and she is no other than the Self, which consists of pure Bliss, because the Self is the most beloved of every being.

93. "For the sake of the Self people discipline their bodies and subdue their desires; all sensual pleasures are mere sparks of Bliss inherent in the Self.

Note. - Spiritual men are known to lead abstemious lives, to deny ordinary comforts to their bodies and even to torture them, in order that they may secure a happy existence after death. Their actions clearly prove their love of the Self surviving the body, this life, etc. Their hope of future bliss further establishes the unique beatific nature of the Self, surpassing sensual pleasures which might be indulged in here and now.

94. "For sensual pleasures are similar to a sense of relief felt on unburdening oneself of a crushing load, or to the peace of sleep. Pure Intelligence is indeed Bliss because it is the only one sought for.

Commentary. - Bliss is Self. Objects are thoughts taking concrete forms; thoughts arise from the thinker; the thinker connotes intelligence. If the thinker be purged of even the least trace of thought, individuality is lost and abstract intelligence alone is left. Nothing else is admissible in the circumstances.

Since it is ultimate reality, synonymous with emancipation or immortality, there must be beatitude in it in order that it may be sought. It, in fact, is compact with Bliss, yea, dense Bliss alone.

How? Because, the contrary, (i.e., unhappiness) is associated with the exterior; it appears and disappears. Such cannot be the case if unhappiness formed part of the Self. Pleasure might similarly be said to be associated with the body, the senses, possessions, etc. However a little thought will convince one that these so-called enjoyments are meant for the Self. So the Self is that which matters, and nothing else. But every little being always seeks pleasure. Thus pleasure is the Self.

But sensual pleasure is quite obvious, whereas the Bliss of Self is purely imaginary, because it is not similarly experienced. The scriptures must be cited against this contention. The Scriptures say that all the sensual pleasures do not together amount to a particle of the inherent bliss of Self. Just as unlimited space, or just as consciousness is unknown when pure, but becomes manifest in its associated state as objects around e.g., a pot for fetching water - so also Bliss in purity is not enjoyable, but the same becomes enjoyable when broken up as sensual pleasures. This is the truth of the Scriptural statement.

One may contend that the Self is not Bliss but it seeks Bliss. If it were true, why should there be happiness in relieving oneself of a crushing load? This is perceptible at the instant of relief and similar happiness prevails in dreamless slumber. In these two instances, there are no positive sources of pleasure and yet there it is. This pleasure is however real since it is within one's experience and cannot also be avoided. Therefore it must be of the nature of Self. Still, this pleasure may be said to be relief from pain and not true pleasure. If so, why does a person awakened from sleep say "I slept happily"? The person has felt happiness in sleep. There are no happenings associated with that happiness; it is pure and must be of the nature of Self. Otherwise, even the worst savage of an animalcule would not relish sleep nor indeed long for it.

The question arises! If bliss be of the Self, why is it not always felt? The answer is that the inherent bliss is obstructed by desire, obligations and predispositions of the mind, just as the perennial sound arising from within is not heard owing to the interference of external sounds but is perceived when the ears are plugged. The pain of the load predominates for the time-being over the other natural painful dispositions of the mind and disappears at the instant of unburdening. During the interval before the other dispositions laying latent rise up to the surface, there is peace for an infinitesimal moment and that is the true Self coincide with pleasure. Other sensual pleasures are also to be explained in the same way. There is an infinite variety of predispositions laying dormant in the heart, ready to spring up at the right moment. They are always like thorns in the pillow. When one of them sticks out, it predominates over the others and grips the mind. Its manifestation takes the shape of an intense desire. Its prevalence is painful in proportion to its intensity. When that subsides on fulfilment, the pain disappears, and calm prevails for an infinitesimal period, until the next predisposition appears. This interval represents the pleasure associated with the fulfilment of desire. Thus every one's rush for enjoyment betrays the search for Self - of course, unawares and confused. If asked why no one seems to know the real genesis of bliss, the answer is overwhelming ignorance born of associating the pleasure with such incidents. The opinion prevails that pleasure is caused by such and such, and is destroyed on their disappearance. The fact is that pleasure is simply the Self, and eternal.

95. "People do not recognise the Bliss inhering as their Self, because of their ignorance. They always associate pleasure with incidents.

96-98. "Furthermore, just as images in a mirror are associated with objects, ignoring the presence of the reflecting surface, but after consideration are found to be dependent on the mirror and not apart from it, and the mirror is found to be untainted by the reflected images, so also the sages know the Self alone to be unique, real and untainted by its own projections, namely, the world, etc.

99. "The relation of the Cosmos to Pure Intelligence, i.e., abstract Self, is like that of a pot to earth, or of an ornament to gold, or of sculpture to the granite rock.

100. "O Parasurama! Denial of the existence of the world does not amount to perfection. Denial is absurd. For, it implies intelligence, and intelligence displays itself as the universe.

101. "The intelligence denying or admitting the world is there shining over all! Can the world be erased out of existence by mere denial of it?"

Note. - Here the point is that the Absolute is alone real and remains ever absolute, notwithstanding the concrete modifications which are no better than images in a mirror, not tainting it, nor existing apart from it. All are real, but real in their abstraction.

102. "Just as the images appear in a mirror and partake of its nature, so also the Cosmos is of and in the Self, and real inasmuch as it is the Self."

Note. - The world is not real as an object and apart from the Self.

103-105. "This wisdom in perfection is the realisation of all as the Self. Intelligence appears as objects by its own virtue, as a mirror appears as the images on it. This is the whole essence of the sastras. There is no bondage, no liberation, no aspirant, no process of attainment. The transcendental Conscious Principle alone subsists in the three states of being. She remains as the one uniform, absolute being. She is ignorance; She is wisdom; She is bondage; She is liberation and She is the process therefor.

106. "This is all that need be known, understood and realised. There is nothing more. I have told you all in order."

The Sage Harithayana concluded:

107-111. "The man who knows it rightly will never be overtaken by misery. O Narada! Such is the section on Wisdom, recondite with reason, subtlety, and experience. Should any one not gain wisdom after hearing or reading it but continue to wallow in ignorance, he should be put down as nothing more than a stock or a stone. What hope is there for him?

"Hearing it even once must make a man truly wise; he is sure to become wise. Sin or obstruction to wisdom is destroyed by reading it; wisdom dawns on hearing it. Writing, appreciating and discussing its contents respectively destroys the sense of duality, purifies the mind and reveals the abiding Truth.

112. "She goes by the name of Emancipation when clearly and directly realised by investigation as the one undivided Self of all; otherwise, She goes by the name of Bondage. She is the one Consciousness threading the three states of being, but untainted and unbroken by them. She is the sound, word and the significance of Hrim."

Thus ends the concluding Chapter in the most Sacred Itihasa Tripura Rahasya.






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