Friday, March 31, 2006

Sloka 15 and 16


ghaTadraShTaa ghaTaadbhinnaH sarvathaa na ghaTo yathaa .dehadraShTaa tathaa deho naahamityavadhaaraya .. 15..

Pada artha:
Yatha: Just as
Ghata-drushta: a seer of a jar
Sarvatha: is by all means
Ghataat bhinnaha: distinct from it
Na: and by no means identified with
Ghataha: it
Tatha: so
Aham: I
Deha-drushta: the seer of this gross body
Na: am not
Dehaha: the body
Avadhaaraya: ascertain
Iti: this

Just as a seer of a jar is, in all respects, distinct from it, so know it for certain that you, the seer of the body, are by no means one with it.

The guru here demonstrates to the student as how the body is different from the Self through the example of a jar. Here the guru is reinforcing his statement by telling the student to know it for sure that just as the jar is different from the seer so is the body different from the Self. It is our experience that a person seeing the jar will be distinct from it at all times. If the jar or pitcher and the seer were the same then, one can never say I see a Jar, I see a pot etc. Hence there has to be difference between the jar and the seer. Similarly, one can never say “I am changing” or “I see myself”, etc. even for that to happen there has to be a reflection (which is also nonself) or something other than Self has to be referred to. The body is seen and witnessed as undergoing all changes. Hence there must be someone else to ascertain its presence and to witness the changes.

Thus by logic and experience we know that the witness is always different from the object being witnessed. Hence, the body and the intellect that undergoes changes and being seen have to be different from the seer and that seer is but the Self. The guru is thus explaining to us the nature of the body as non-self by explaining the Self as witness to all objects and actions.

Also it is important to remember here that just because a body is seen and is different from the Self as we have learnt, WILL NOT imply that that objects and in general, the world really exists apart from Self. The illusory and impermanent nature of the body and in general, the world itself has to be remembered when we are analyzing this sloka. The body is definitely distinct from the seer which is the Self, but is also not the Self as it is ILLUSORY and IMPERMANENT in nature. Hence a seeker has to always remember that there is one and only one thing present, the Self. All the external objects seen and perceived have to be known as illusory and unreal and hence non-Self only.


evamindriyadR^iN^naahamindriyaaNiiti nishchinu .
manobuddhistathaa praaNo naahamityavadhaaraya .. 16..

Pada artha:
Evam: in this way
Nishchinu iti: come to the conclusion
Aham: I am
Indriya-druk: the seer of the senses
Na but not:
Indriyaani: the senses
Avadhaaraya iti: and also come to the conclusion
Aham: I am
Na: neither
Manaha: the mind,
Budhihi: the intellect
Tatha: nor
Pranaha: the vital force

Thus ascertain that you, the seer of the senses, are not the senses themselves; and know for certain that you are neither the mind, nor the intellect nor the vital forces.

In the previous slokas, the guru explains the nature of the body and the internal organs as different from the Self and that the Self is but a witness. In this sloka, the Guru is again repeating the words as asking the student to ascertain that the seer of the senses is not the senses and hence different from them. Similarly Self cannot be the mind, intellect or the vital forces, i.e the internal organs.

We can see that the Guru is explaining the same concept again and again, but we also have to grasp the relevance of repetition here. For a student who is not clear of the illusory nature of the body and still considers Self as embodied, it is necessary to propound the reality in many ways clearly, many times. This is what we see here. The guru in the first slokas said that “you are Tvam and Tat is Brahman” but the student still unconvinced requests the teacher for a detailed explanation. The Guru then resosts to logic and experience as we saw in last sloka.

Just like the pitcher different from the seer, the guru reinstated his statement that the body is different from the Seer. Here he extends the same to all the senses and the internal organs. The seer can never be the seen and the act of seeing; the hearer never be the heard and the act of hearing. Thus, the senses of hearing, seeing etc are always different from the one who is sensing them. The seer can never see himself, in other words, the object and its witness are distinct and unique and can never be identified.

There is always a witness to all the changes and the senses and internal organs are just like the tools that sense the external objects. A seeker thus has to discriminate between Atman and anatman by knowing the real nature of the Self. One has to know that I am not the senses nor the intellect nor the mind but I am that which is the witness to all these illusory objects and changes.

The guru thus is asking the student to be certain, to remove all the doubts on the nature of the Self and know for sure that Self is not the gross or the subtle bodies. In the next slokas, we will learn how the Guru explains this again in many ways.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sloka 13 and 14


ruupaadimaanyataH piNDastato naatmaa ghaTaadivat.h .viyadaadimahaabhuutavikaaratvaachcha kumbhavat.h .. 13..

Pada artha:
Pindaha: the gross body
Na: is notAatma: the Self
Yataha: as it is
Roopa-aadi-maan: possesed of colors etc.
Ghata aadivaat: like jars and other things
Cha: and also
Viyat-aadi-mahaabhootavikaaratvaat: because it is a modification of the ether etc., the great elements
Kumbhavat: like the pitcher

The gross body is not the Self, because it is possessed of form etc. like jars and other things and also because it is modification of the ether and other great elements like a pitcher

The guru from this sloka starts negating each of the bodies as Atman. In this world the gross body or the physical body is usually misunderstood as Self. It is our common experience that misery and happiness is attached to the comforts and well being of the body, to such a extent that one may feel proud or sad imagining the ‘beauty’ of the body and happiness is assumed only when the desires of the body are satisfied. But it is also our experience that the happiness arising from the body is temporary and will always lead to misery alone. There may be someone better looking or someone more comfortable or the needs keep on increasing, in some way other, the ego associated with the body always beings miseries. Hence the wise ones always know the ever blissful Self as different from the body and strive for the conviction of the illusory nature of the physical body. Hence it is very important for a seeker to overcome the identification with the body.

The Guru is here instructing the disciple to know the body as Anatman, i.e non atman. That which is different from the ever existent, ever blissful atman can be unreal only. The physical body is born, undergoes changes, is affected by diseases and will eventually perish too. Hence happiness arising from the body will also eventually perish. Instead of conceptualizing Self as body, the guru is here asking the student to know the true nature of Self. Self is unlimited as it is verily bliss and hence is devoid of any forms. It is ever existent and hence pervades all and cannot be classified only as a component, where as the body just like any object like an earthen pitcher or jar is limited by space and is made up of the five elements. The Self is the supreme cause of the world and hence can never be said to be made up of the five elements. The teacher after thus proving the illusory nature of the body instructs the student to give up the ego of the body as the Self.


anaatmaa yadi piNDo.ayamuktahetubalaanmataH .
karaamalakavatsaakShaadaatmaanaM pratipaadaya .. 14..

Pada artha:
Yadi: if
Ayam: this
Pindaha: gross body
Mataha: is accepted
Anatmaa: as not to be the Self
Ulta-hetu-balaat: on the strength of these arguments
Pratipaadaya: please demonstrate
Atman: the Self
Sakshaat: directly
Kara-aamalakavat: like an embolic myrobalan fruit placed on the palm of your hand

If on the strength of these arguments the body is accepted to be the Non-Self, please demonstrate directly the Self like an emblic fruit placed on the palm of one’s hand.

In the previous sloka, the guru mentions the impermanent nature of the body and explains to the disciple that the body can never be the Self. The student is here asking the guru to demonstrate this, as clearly as a berry in one’s palm.
It is very hard to overcome the ego of the body and to realize the body as different from the Self. Hence the student here is asking for the teacher to demonstrate how the body is different as per his arguments in the previous sloka. Sometimes logic is very necessary to convenience the mind. It is the nature of the mind to doubt and reason, Hence logic is also assorted to by our Acharyas to impart strong conviction about the reality.
Here the student, still unconvinced of the nature of the body is asking the guru to demonstrate the argument. The knowledge when clear will be as clear as a berry on one’s palm, just as the berry, so clearly visible and recognized and can never be mistaken, the knowledge of the Self also has to be so clear.

We encounter this term in many of the works of the Vedanta. Very clear and strong conviction is represented by Hastamalaka (berry on the palm) or karaamalaka. Just to note, we can recall the famous incident in Acharya Sankara’s life where a poor woman offers him a berry after which there was a rain of golden berries and also that one of the main disciples of Acharya was Hastamalaka (meaning one whose conviction is as clear as a berry on the palm.) who authored Hastamalakeeya. A seeker must strive for such strong conviction such as a berry in one’s palm cannot be taken as anything other than a berry, the holder is so sure of its nature. Such must be the conviction about the reality.
The teacher next replies to the student by resorting to logic and experience. Let us learn in the next sloka how the Guru answers to the student.
In the previous sloka, the disciple asks the guru to demonstrate how the body is not the Self, In this sloka, the guru concludes his argument by explaining the witness hood nature of the Atman.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God

Sloka 11 and 12


antaHkaraNatadvR^ittisaakShichaitanyavigrahaH .aanandaruupaH satyaH sankiM naatmaanaM prapadyase .. 11..

Pada artha:
Kim: why do you
Na: not
Prapadyase: recognize
Aatmanaam: yourself
San: who are
Antah karana tat vritti saakshi chaitanya vigraha: the witness of internal organ and its modifications and an embodiment of consiousness
Ananda roopaha: bliss
Satyaha: and existence?

Why do you not know yourself who are an embodiment of Existence-knowledge and Bliss, the witness of the internal organ and its modifications?

The teacher here starts explaining the meaning of ‘Thou’ in the sentence ‘That art thou’. The teacher starts by pointing out the real nature of the self as the witness to all the modifications of the mind and the inner organs. Here we see an important question being put by the Guru to the disciple.
The Guru asks: “Why do you not know yourself?” The Guru here is asking the student to recognize the true nature of the Self. The Self is not something that is external nor is it something that one does not know of since every being is conscious of its own existence. Hence to enquire about the true nature of oneself is not very hard or difficult. The teacher hence here asks the student to know the nature of the Atman. It is common experience that due to ignorance, the ego is taken as the Self and a person claims ‘I ate’, ‘I am angry’, ‘I am strong’ etc. A seeker has to enquire about who this true ‘I’ is. The real nature of the Atman as that which is the substratum of the three bodies will then be realized.

The Guru here explains the nature of the Atman as only a witness to all the modifications of the mind and intellect as we have learnt in Laghu Vakya vritti also. Acharya here is pointing out to all the seekers to remove the wrong notion of the Ego as the real ‘I’ and to enquire on the real Self which is but existence-consciousness-Bliss. We shall learn this again in the next slokas.


satyaanandasvaruupaM dhiisaakShiNaM bodhavigraham.h .chintayaatmatayaa nityaM tyaktvaa dehaadigaaM dhiyam.h .. 12..

Pada artha:
Tyaktva: Give upDeeyam: the misconception
Deha aadi gaam: of (the identity of the Self and) the body etc.
Chintya: and meditate
Nityam: always
Aatmataya: as the SelfBodha
vigraham: on consciousness
Satya aananda roopam: which is of the nature existence and bliss
Deehi saakshinaam: and is the witness of the intellect

Give up the misconception identifying the Self with the body etc. and always know yourself to be existence-knowledge-bliss, the witness of the intellect.

In the previous sloka, we learnt from the guru asking the disciple the problem in knowing the true nature of the Self. Here in this sloka, the guru explains the real meaning of ‘Tvam’ by eliminating the adjuncts one be one. Here the guru asks the disciple to give up the misconception of identifying that the body as the Self with the body and the inner organs. In the sloka this is indicated by the words, Dehaagigaam meaning body etc. indicating the gross body and the inner organs. These are temporary and as they are born, they will eventually perish too. The guru here points out again the real nature of Self as that of Existence-consciousness and Bliss.

The Self which is of the nature of existence and bliss can never be the perishable body. And that which perishes can never give eternal happiness. But Self is verily Bliss hence that which is blissful has to be eternal. Hence the ever existent Aataman is ever blissful. It thus can never be the body or mind. The Guru here says that the body, mind or the intellect that are limited and impermanent while the Atman is blissful and ever existant. The miseries and agonies one goes through is only because of this limitedness. Hence a seeker must try to realize Self as beyond all limitations and gradually remove all such illusory limitations, only then does the bliss become more and more and eventually, one realizes self as verily BLISS. Hence a seeker must try to remove the false identification with the limited ego or the body. Its only when one discriminates between the eternal and the non eternal does one realize the true nature of atman.

The Guru also says that the atman or Self has to be known as only an witness of all the actions and modifications of the mind. That which is a witness can never be the doer and the doer is always distinct from the witness. The body constantly changes and eventually perishes, similarly, we also witness the thoughts changing in the mind every moment. One moment there maybe thought of food while the next the thought of money, we always say, “I was thinking of that, I am thinking of this”, etc. hence there has to be someone, something stable and unchanging to observe all these changes, this is the witness that if being referred here and this is but the Atman or the Self or the true ‘I’. It is well known that only that which is ever present and unchanging can witness the changes. Thus, the Self has to be known as free from all actions and can never have the doership but is only a witness to all actions.

Hence the guru is telling the disciple to know the real ‘I’ as the witness to all the changes and give up all the wrong notions of the doership and identification with the body.

In the previous sloka we learnt from the guru to give up the misconception of the Self as the gross body etc. and to know the true nature of Self as Existence-consciousness-bliss. In this sloka the guru starts explaining why the body etc. cannot be the eternal Self.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sloka 9 and 10


shiShya uvaacha padaarthameva jaanaami naadyaapi bhagavansphuTam.h .ahaM brahmeti vaakyaarthaM pratipadye kathaM vada .. 9.. pada artha:Shishya uvacha: the shishya saysna jaanaami: I do not knowsphutam: clearlyadya api: upto this timeBhagavan: holy Sirpada artham eva: even the meaning of the wordskatham: howpratipadthye: I can understandvakya artham: the meaning of the sentencesaham Brahma iti: I am Brahmanvada: tell me The disciple explains his difficulties saying: “ How can I understand the meaning of the sentence ‘I am Brahman’ as I have not yet clearly known the meaning of the words in it? So please explain them to me. One can here see clearly that the disciple is earnestly seeking out the means of liberation and questions the guru again and again on the concepts not clear about. When there is earnest desire to learn, then there can never be any hesitation nor humiliation for clarifying the doubts or asking the guru again and again on the unclear concepts. We see such earnestness in the student here who is again humbly asking the teacher to explain the import of the great sentences. The student explains the difficulty in understanding as thus: The meaning of the words in the sentence itself is still not clear, and the nature of the Tat and Tvam referred and about their identity is still not understood properly. Hence the disciple says that when the words that make the sentence themselves are unclear, how then can the import of the sentence be properly grasped. Hence he is requesting the guru to explain them.


satyamaaha bhavaanatra viGYaanaM naiva vidyate .hetuH padaarthabodho hi vaakyaarthaavagateriha .. 10..

pada artha: Guru uvacha: The guru saysBhavan: youaaha: toldsatyam: truthNa eva vidyate: there is noViganam: two opinionsatra iha: in this matterpada artha bodha: an understanding of the meaning of the wordshi: is surelyhetuhu: the causevakya artha avagatehe: of the understanding of the sentence contaiing those words The teacher says: “You are right when you say that the knowledge of the meanings of the words in a sentence is essential in order that one may be able to understand its meaning.” The guru here replies to the student that whatever the student said is correct as it is very necessary to know the words that make up the sentence first in order to know the correct meaning of the sentence. To know the import of any sentence properly, every word that makes up them must be understood, even in the Mahavakyas such as ‘Tat Tavm Asi’ and ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ we have to first know what the Tvam or Aham and the Tat or Brahman is, in the sentences is being referred to. Also the nature of the Brahman and the Jeeva have to be analyzed first so that their identity is clearly established. This is very necessary to remove the wrong notions and the wrong knowledge arising from any misinterpretations. The import of the words hence must be very clear as we have also experienced from the misinterpretations of the words in the pada artha of the slokas in our group J. Hence the guru next starts explaining the meaning of the Mahavakyas in detail to the disciple, which we shall also learn from next slokas.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God

Sloka 7 and 8


shiShya uvaacha
ko jiivaH kaH parashchaatmaa taadaatmyaM vaa kathaM tayoH .tattvamasyaadivaakyaM vaa kathaM tatpratipaadayet.h .. 7..

Pada artha:
Shishya uvacha: The disciple says
Ko: who
Jeevaha: is the individual Self ?
Kaha cha : and who
Paraha Aatmaa is the universal Self?
Vaa katham: and how can there be
Tadaatmamyam: an identity
Tayoho: between them?
Vaa katham: and How can
Tat tvam Asyaadi vaakyam: the sentences such as ‘Thou art that’
Pratipaadayet: demonstrate
Tat: that

The deciple says “Who is the individual Self? Who is the universal Self? How can they be identical? And how can the sentences like “Thou Art THAt” prove their identity?”

After learning from the Guru that the knowledge of identity of Self and Brahman from the sentences such as Tat Tavm Asi is the means of liberation, the student then asks who the ‘TAT’ and ‘TVAM’ are in the sentences. The student here requests the teacher to clarify the meaning of the Mahavakya by explaining who the individual Self and the Brahman are and how they can be identical.

Let us see in the next sloka what the teacher answers to this.



atra bruumaH samaadhaanaM ko.anyo jiivastvameva hi .yastvaM pR^ichchhasi maaM ko.ahaM brahmaivaasi na saMshayaH .. 8..

Pada artha:Guruuvacha: teacher saidBruma: I shall give youSamaadhanam: the solutionAtra: in this matterKaha: whoAnyaha: elseJeevaha: is the individual SelfTvam eva hi: it is certainly you and no one elseTvam: youYaha: whoPruchhasi: sayMaam: to meKaha aham : who am IAsi: you areBrahma eva:” surely BrahmanNa samshayaha: there is no doubt The teacher says in reply: I shall give you the solution. No one else is the individual Self but yourself that put to me the question “who am I” you are no doubt Brahman itself. In the previous sloka the student asks about the jeeva and the Brahman as explained by the Guru for the Tat and Tvam words in the Mahavakya. The guru here replies that the jeeva mentioned in the previous sloka is none but the questioner itself. The jeeva referred as ‘Tvam’ is but the student who is asking the question. Hence by asking ‘who is the Jeeva?’ the student is asking the question as ‘Who am I?’. The Guru explains that it is this very jeeva who is also the Brahman as expounded by the Mahavakya. Let us learn this much clearly in the next slokas as the student further asks the Guru about this ultimate truth.

Till now we have learnt that the Guru explains to the disciple that the knowledge of the identity of the Self and Brahman arising from the great sentences as ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ etc. are the surest means of liberation from all the miseries of the world. The student then asks the teacher how it is so and to explain who the ‘THOU’ and ‘THAT’ are in these sentences.
In the last sloka we learnt from the guru explaining to the disciple in simple terms that the ‘THOU’ in these statements is none but the questioner itself and this Jeeva is but the Brahman as indicated by the Mahavakya “Aham Brahmasmi”.
Here, the disciple is still not sure of the meaning of these great statements and hence seeks further clarification thus:

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God

Sadhana Chatushtayam

Sadhana Chatushtayam:

The ultimate goal of any life is removal of all sorrows. This is possible only by realization of the nature of the Self. For this one has to know the nature of Self as the same as Brahman and the conviction arising from that knowledge is what helps the seeker achieve the ultimate goal. Now we also have to know who is competent for this knowledge. Vedanta answers this as: ‘One who is endowed with the four fold qulalifications is competent for the study of Vedanta’. There needs to be no separate study for the knowing the Self as every being is conscious of its own existence. But due to ignorance, the true blissful nature of the Self is forgotten and there rises a need to know the nature of the Self. It is this knowledge that removes the illusory ignorance. For this knowledge, the competence is obtained by the four virtues or Sadhana Cahtushtayam.

Though everyone is eligible for this knowledge as it is but verily Self, and not something arising new, for gaining the conviction and realizing the nature of Self, a normal seeker has to undergo Sadhana. The Sadhana Chatushtayam are the virtues that will help the seeker in reaching that goal which is realizing the true nature of Self.

In this mail, let us try to learn what these Sadhana Chatushtayam are.

The first of these is Viveka:
Nityanitya Viveka is the discrimination of the eternal from the non eternal. It is the conviction derived from the scriptures and the words of the Guru that the Brahman alone is unchanging and permanent while the world is impermanent. It is very essential for a seeker to discriminate between the eternal and non eternal. Or in other words a seeker must have strong conviction about the illusory nature of the world and the eternal nature of Brahman. Only that which is eternal can give eternal happiness, hence it is very essential to discriminate THAT eternal entity from the non eternal entities. If there is no discrimination then there is always a risk of getting attached to impermanent objects of sensual pleasures. The changing world of duality has to be known as non eternal.

The next is Vairagya:
Viragya is dispassion. Dispassion towards worldly objects that can never lead to eternal happiness has to be achieved by a seeker. This includes removing all attachments and bondings. The objects of pleasure are to be known as illusory and impermanent through discrimination and renounced. Attachment to the objects to the world always bars the knowledge. If the mind is delved in thinking about money and other objects of sensual pleasures and affected by the happiness and miseries due to them, then how can a seeker turn inward and concentrate on the true knowledge? Hence, vairagya is one of the essential qualifications for a seeker.

Acharya Sankara in his Aparoksha anubhuti says that the indifference to the worldy objects even from those in Brahma loka to those in this world should be such as the indifference shown to the excreta of the crow by normal people. All sense objects should be valued with such an attitude. As Sri Ramakrishna also says, Kamini and Kanchana have to be stayed away from. The attachment to the sensual pleasures and money have to be broken. Vairagya is thus very necessary for a seeker to vanquish all the desires of the mind and turn it towards the knowledge of the Self.

The next are samaadi sadaka sampatti: This consists of a group of six virtues. They are:
1) Sama: It is the capacity of mind to turn away from objects of senses and wordly pleasures and focus it on the reality. A seeker has to control the mind from straying away to the objects of the world. Abandoning all sensual desires at all times is Sama.

2) Dama: It is the capacity to control the functioning of organs of desire and knowledge; includes the body and its desires.

3) Uparthi: It is performing actions without any desire for fruits. As we have Nishkamya karma has to be practiced at all times. One must abstain from the desire of the fruits of all actions.

4) Titiksha: It is the capacity to bear all sufferings and enjoyments of past deeds with out any happiness or sadness. The world and its happenings has to be known as illusory and the mind should not be affected by the happenings in the world. Titiksha is the capacity to be unaffected by happenings due to the result of previous karmas. Great Saints like Ramana Maharshi, Sri Ramakrishna have shown us this by their life, pain or pleasure, cold or heat, the mind should never be distracted or affected and one must always remember the ultimate reality underlying everything.

5) Samadhana: Patience and fixing the mind on things and thoughts ideal for spiritual practice. Unwavering concentration of the mind on the reality is Samadhana. The goal should be pursued with all patience and concentration.

6) Shraddha: It is the unshaken faith in teachings of Guru and words of Vedanta. There must be complete faith in the reality propounded by scriptures and in the words of Sadguru, only then will the conviction be strong. Even minute disbelief, suspicions on the import of the scriptures will only lead to the downfall of a seeker. Faith is hence very necessary.

The last of the Sadhana Chatushtayam is Mumukshutva:
It is the eargerness to attain moksha. There should be desire for any work, passion for what is sought out. And Vedanta accepts only one desire, only one passion for a seeker, that of Moksha. It is the only desire allowed. The attitude and the intensity of eagerness a seeker should be like that of a person caught in a house on fire who runs from the fire without bothering about the house nor its objects. Just like that a seeker must be capable of abandoning all the pleasures and objects of the world and seek out the reality with earnest desire. Sri Ramakrishna says that this eagerness should be so intense like that of a person gasping for air under water. It is only when such eagerness is there that the seeker attains the goal.

Thus all these qualities are necessary for a seeker. If one has the discriminative power and is yet devoid of the dispassion or the eagerness to attain liberation, then there is no use. Similarly, if one has dispassion towards all objects of world but no eagerness, and mind subject to anger or sorrow then also it is useless. Hence it is insisted that there should be all the four said qualifications. Only when all these are present that the seeker is competent for the knowledge.
May the ever present all pervading Lord bless us all with these Sadhana Chatushtayam.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God

Sloka 5 and 6


gururuvaacha saadhviite vachanavyaktiH pratibhaati vadaami te .idaM taditi vispaShTaM saavadhaanamanaaH shR^iNu .. 5..

Guru uvaacha: Teacher says-

Vachana yukti: this particular question
Te: of yours
Pratibhati: is
Saadhvi: excellent
Vadaami: I shall explain it
Te: to you
Vishpashtam: clearly
Shrunu: listen
Saavdhaana mana: with an attentive mind
Idam tadidti: it is this:

The teacher says: This question of yours appears to me to be very good one. I shall give an answer to it as clearly as possible. Listen to me with an attentive mind. It is this:

The question that has been put is the one that leads one to the knowledge of the ultimate reality. It is when such a urge for truth happens that a seeker progresses. Hence the guru here says that the question asked here is very good.

Let us learn in the next sloka, how the guru answers to this question.

In the previous sloka, the disciple asks the Guru, the means by which one can be liberated easily from the miseries arising from the bondages of the world. To this the Guru answers thus:


tattvamasyaadivaakyokthaM yajjiivaparamaatmanoH .taadaatmyaviShayaM GYaanaM tadidaM muktisaadhanam.h .. 6..

Pada artha:
Tat jnaanam: the knowledge
Tat-tvam-Asi aadi vakya utham: that arises from the sentence such as ‘THOU ART THAT’ etc.
Tadaatmya vishayam: and relates to the identity
Jeeva parama atamanoho: of the individual Self and the Universal Self
Tat idam mukti saadhanam: is the means of liberation

The knowledge of the identity of the individual Self and the universal Self, originating from the vedic sentences such as ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ etc. is the means of liberation.

It is only when there are dualities that there are all the miseries and sufferings in the world and only the knowledge about the true nature of the Self and the realization that the Self is not different from the Brahman but the same as the Brahman can liberate one from all the miseries. The individual Self i.e. the Jeeva and the Universal self, i.e. the Brahman are identical but are regarded as different due to ignorance. Instructed by the teacher, through the scriptures and such Mahavakyas which proclaim the vedic truth of this ultimate reality, one can easily overcome all illusory sorrows arising out of this illusory ignorance. When such ignorance is removed, there can be neither fear nor any miseries and a seeker is immediately set free from the bondage of the ignorance.

We have to note here that in the beginning of this work the seeker asks the teacher for the easiest way of coming out of the miseries to which the teacher instructs the disciple about the Mahavakyas, that the knowledge from them is a means of liberation. It implies that there is no need to do elaborate rituals or severe austerities. These are just to purify the intellect and prepare oneself for that ultimate knowledge. But for earnest seeker of Reality, as we see here in this work, the disciple endowed with eagerness to learn, and proper sadhana and control over mind, just the knowledge arising from the study of scriptures is enough to free from the illusory ignorance of the nature of the Self. Like in the proverbial story of the ten fools crossing the river, the scriptures act just like the wise man, showing a seeker the true nature of the Self. It is this knowledge which is ever present but covered by the ignorance, which is known again by such statements as Tat Tvam Asi that removes all the illusory bonds of the world and hence its miseries. This knowledge is not something that is gained newly by the statements but is only reinstated by them. The teacher here instructs that this knowledge of one’s true nature is the means of liberation.

Let us see in the next sloka what the disciple asks next to the teacher.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sloka 3 and 4

Hari OM to all


taapatrayaarkasaMtaptaH kashchidudvignamaanasaH .shamaadisaadhanairyuktaH sadguruM paripR^ichchhati .. 3..

Pada artha:
Taapa traya akra santaptaha: Scorched by the sun of the three miseries
Udvijgna maanasaha: anxious in heart
Yuktaha: endowed
Shamaadi saadhanav: with means leading to liberation, such as control of internal organs etc.
Kaschin: someone
Paripruchati: says
Satgurum: to a right teacher

Scorched by the sun of the three distresses, with spiritual struggle raging in his mind, endowed with self control and other virtues, which are the means of liberation, a seeker asks to a teacher, a knower of Brahman thus:

The works starts with a disciple asking the teacher the means of attaining liberation from all the troubles without much difficulty. The disciple here approaches the teacher with his problems. After going through all the struggles and the pains in the world, a person realizes that only eternal bliss is worthy of being sought out, and approaches a teacher with all conflicts in the mind thus.

Taapatraya means the three flames of misery namely the misery arising from the body and the mind, the misery arising from the perishable creatures and the misery arising from the external natural forces such as rain storm etc. which can be considered as the actions of the Gods. If there are no miseries then it implies that there is ever present happiness! It is only when there are troubles that a person seeks out happiness and the means of happiness.

Something is sought out only if it is not present. Hence when a person struggles in the world due to miseries arising from these three, he realizes that happiness from the world is also impermanent and tries to seek out eternal happiness. Such a person then becomes a seeker, a seeker of that eternal truth, a seeker of that eternal bliss which will be realized as the very nature of the Self.
Such a seeker after experiencing the miseries of the world, is approaching a sadguru here with all conflicts in the mind.

It is our common experience that only when there is neither strong conviction nor complete knowledge that all confusions and conflicts arise in mind. Till such conviction is achieved there will always be confusions and conflicts in the mind about the paths, scriptures, words and in general the world itself!! It is at such times that a Guru helps us. When the mind is in confusion one must always take resort to a Sadguru, be it in form of the Scriptures or the words of Mahatmas, as the disciple does in this work.

Acharya here also mentions that the disciple endowed with Samaadi sadaka sampatti approches a Guru. Only when a seeker has these virtues and spiritual disciplines, that one becomes eligible to receive the teachings about the reality. Or else it will be as useless as rain on a stone. The importance of the sadhana chatushtaya as we learnt in the Laghu vakya vritti Sloka 13 also is clearly seen here. Such a seeker realizes the Self-knowledge on approaching a SADGURU. Here we see that Acharya mentions ‘Sadguru’ and not just a guru, thus clearly telling us to take resort to a Sadguru who is always immersed in the reality of Self and not anyone who may as well distract the seeker to wrong goals.

With all the Shraddha and bhakti to that Sadguru who is but Brahman, let us proceed to the next sloka and see what the disciple asks the teacher.


anaayaasena yenaasmaanmuchcyeyaM bhavabandhanaat.h .tanme saMkShipya bhagavankevalaM kR^ipayaa vada .. 4..

Pada artha:

Vada: Please explain
Me: to me
Samkshipya: briefly
Kevalam: krupaya: through mercy alone
Bahgavan: Holy Sir
Tat: that
Yena: by which
Muchyeyam: I may become liberated
Anayaasena: without any effort
Asmaat bhava bhandhanaat: from the bondage of birth and death.

Have unadulterated mercy on me, Holy Sir, and please explain to me briefly the means by which I may become liberated from the bondage of this transmigratory existence without any difficulty.

After approaching the Guru with the problems, the disciple asks to explain that means by which all the miseries of the world are overcome and all the bondages are liberated. It is only out of mercy that Jnanis though immersed in the infinite bliss, come down to the worldly plane to help out earnest seekers from the miseries of the world. The disciple asks the teacher to have such mercy and to explain the means by which with out much difficulty one is liberated from the bondages which alone are the cause of all the miseries. Let us see in the next sloka what the teacher explains to the disciple.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Sloka 1 and 2

Hari OM to all,

By grace of God we have finished learning Sri Sankara’s Laghu vakya Vritti in our group. Let us proceed to learn Sankaracharya’s another work ‘Vakya Vritti’. This work consists of 53 slokas in the form of discussion between Guru and shishya. In Laghu vakya Vritti, Acharya deals in detail with the Mahavakya ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ while in this work, the import and significance of the Mahavakya, ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ is revealed to us.
We shall follow ‘Vakya Vritti’ translated by Swami Jagadananda and published by RK Mutt for the word meaning and brief explanations that will follow each sloka. May the grace of Guru lead us in learning this work.

Let us start by offering our prayers to the Lord in the form of the first two slokas:


sargasthitipralayahetumachintyashaktiM vishveshvaraM viditavishvamanantamuurtim.h .nirmuktabandhanamapaarasukhaamburaashiM shriivallabhaM vimalabodhaghanaM namaami .. 1..

Pada artha:

Nammami: I bow down
Sri vallabham: to the one who is dear to Sri
Sarga-shiti-pralaya-hetum: who is the cause of the creation, the maintenance, and the dissolution of the universe,
Achintya-shaktim: whose power is inscrutable,
Vishwa-Ishwaram: who is the lord of the universe
Vidita-vishwam: to whom all universe is known
Ananta Murtim: who possess an endless number of forms
Nirmukta-bandhanam: who is perfectly free from all bondages
Apaara-sukha-Ambushareeram: who is an ocean of endless happiness
Vimala-bodha-dhanam: who is pure consciousness unalloyed.

I bow down to that pure consciousness, an unlimited happiness, which is Vishnu, the beloved of Sri, the all knowing Lord of the universe, assuming manifold forms yet berefit of all bondages, possessing an inscrutable power and hence the cause, maintenance and dissolution of the universe.

Acharya starts the work by bowing down to the Lord who is none but the Brahman. That lord who is endless happiness and hence verily bliss, who is the pure consciousness and the Lord who is free from all bondages, to that Lord we bow down. It is the Brahman from which all forms originate, exits and seem to dissolute in, such Lord who is the creator, sustainer and destructor of the entire creation, to that Lord we salute. The endless number of forms which are but that of Lord who is the all pervading, all knower and the controller of all creation, let us offer our prayers to that Lord who but the Self.

The second sloka of Vakya vritti is thus:


yasya prasaadaadahameva viShNurmayyeva sarvaM parikalpitaM cha .itthaM vijaanaami sadaatmaruupaM tasyaa.nghripadmaM praNato.asmi nityam.h .. 2..

Pada artha:
Asmi nityam: always
Pranataha: bow down
Tasyaanghripaadam: to the lotus feet of him
Yasya prasaadaat: by whose grace
Vijaanaami: I know
Sadaa: for ever
Aatymaroopam: the nature of the Self
Ithyam: thus
Ahameva: I myself am
Vishnuhu: the all pervading one
Eva: and that one is me
Cha: and also
Sarvam: everything
Parukalpitam: is superimposed
Mayi eva: on me alone

I always bow down to the lotus feet of my teacher by whose grace I have known for ever that I am Vishnu and that whole of the phenomenal universe is superimposed on me alone.

Guru means the remover of darkness. Darkness here means ignorance. Hence that which removes the ignorance is the Guru; Hence Guru is none other than the Brahman which is the substratum of all the names and forms. As we all have learnt in the stotra

“Guru sakshat para brahma
tasmai Sri guruve namaha”.
Guru is verily Brahman, to such a guru I bow down.

All the forms, be it as a human form or the scriptures that remove this illusory ignorance are but our Guru. Acharaya here says that by the grace of whom, the darkness of ignorance is removed and the ever blissful, all pervading nature of the Self is known, to that Guru, let us always bow down.

‘Vishnu’ means one who is present everywhere. This is none but the Brahman of the Vedas. By the grace of guru, a seeker realizes the true nature of the Self and the nature of the world. That is, the jagat mithyatvam and the Brahma Satyam is known. This world is known to be nothing but an illusion, and the nature of Self is realized as that ever present substratum on which the world is superimposed. To such guru, who is but Brahman by whose grace a seeker knows the nature of Self, let us bow down and offer our salutations before the proceeding to the next slokas.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God