Mandukya Upanishad

The shortest of all, consists of only 12 verses explaining the passage of the living being through the states of wakefulness (Vaisvanara), dream (Taijasa), deep sleep (Prajna) and in transcendental consciousness (Turiya) in which it is possible to realize the Self. The Mandukya Upanishad is an important Upanishad in Hinduism, particularly to its Advaita Vedanta school. It tersely presents several central doctrines, namely that "the universe is Brahman," "the self (soul, atman) exists and is Brahman," and "the four states of consciousness". The Mandukya Upanishad also presents several theories about the syllable Aum. It asserts that Aum is Brahman, which is the Whole, and that Brahman is this self (ātman). Here we find the maha vakya considered as the essence of the Atharva Veda:- ayam atma brahma, "Atman and Brahman are the same". The text of this Upanishad is often accompanied by the elaboration by Gaudapada entitled Mandukya karika. In contrast to the older Upanishads, the Mandukya Upanishad is very short, with clear and concise formulations. It has 12 terse prose paragraphs. The text of the Mandukya Upanishad is fully incorporated in the Mandukya Karika, a commentary attributed to the 6th century CE Gaudapada, and is not known to exist independent of this commentary. Here we marked Gaurapada's work as "Karika" with number. This editions with Mandukya Karika uses Shankara's commentary from the translation by Vidyavachaspati V. Panoli.

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Shanti Mantra

माण्डूक्योपनिषत् कारिकासहिता

। सगौडपादीयकारिकाथर्ववेदीयमाण्डूक्योपनिषत् ।

ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः श‍ृणुयाम देवा भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः ।

स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवांसस्तनूभिर्व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः ॥

भद्रं नो अपि वातय मनः ॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ।

māṇḍūkyopaniṣat kārikāsahitā

. sagauḍapādīyakārikātharvavedīyamāṇḍūkyopaniṣat .

oṃ bhadraṃ karṇebhiḥ śṛṇuyāma devā bhadraṃ paśyemākṣabhiryajatrāḥ .

sthirairaṅgaistuṣṭuvāṃsastanūbhirvyaśema devahitaṃ yadāyuḥ ..

bhadraṃ no api vātaya manaḥ ..

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ .

Sloka : 1 (Upanishad)

हरिः ॐ । ॐ इत्येतदक्षरं इदꣳ सर्वं तस्योपव्याख्यानं

भूतं भवद् भविष्यदिति सर्वमोंकार एव ।

यच्चान्यत् त्रिकालातीतं तदप्योंकार एव ॥ १॥

hariḥ oṃ . oṃ ityetadakṣaraṃ idagͫ sarvaṃ tasyopavyākhyānaṃ

bhūtaṃ bhavad bhaviṣyaditi sarvamoṃkāra eva .

yaccānyat trikālātītaṃ tadapyoṃkāra eva .. 1..

All this is the letter Om. A vivid explanation of this (is begun). All that is past, present, and future is but Om. Whatever transcends the three periods of time, too, is Om.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Introductory & Commentary How does, again, the determination of (the meaning of) Aum help the realization of the essential nature of Atman? It is thus explained:- The Śruti passages such as these declare thus:- “It is Aum.” “This (Aun) is the (best) support.” “Oh, Satyakāma, It is the Aum which is also the higher and the lower Brahman.” “Meditate on the Self as Aum.” “Aum, this word is Brahman.” “All this is verily Aum [Om].” As the rope, etc., which are the substratum of such illusions (misapprehensions) as the snake, etc., so is the non-dual Atman, which is the Ultimate Reality, the substratum of such imaginations as the vital breath (Prana), etc., which are unreal. Similarly, Aum is the substratum of the entire illusion of the world of speech having for its (corresponding) contents such illusory objects as Prana, etc., imagined in Atman. And Aum is verily of the same essential character as the Atman; for it is the name for Atman. All illusions such as Prana, etc., having Atman for their substratum and denoted by words—which are but modifications of Aum—, cannot exist without names (which are but the modification of Aum). This is supported by such Śruti passages as:- “The modification being only a name arising from speech.” “All this related to It (Brahman) is held together by the cord of speech, and strands of (specific) names.” “All these (are rendered possible in experience) by names,” etc. Aum, the word, is all this. As all diversified objects that we see around us, indicated by names, are not different from their (corresponding) names, and further as the different names are not different from Aum, therefore all this is verily Aum. As a thing is known through its name, so the highest Brahman is known through Aum alone. Therefore the highest Brahman is verily Aum. This (treatise) is the explanation of that, tasya, that is, of Aum, the word, which is of the same nature as the higher as well as the lower Brahman. Upavyākhyānam means clear explanation, because Aum is the means to the knowledge of Brahman on account of its having the closest proximity to Brahman. The word ‘Prastutam’ meaning ‘commences’ should be supplied to complete the sentence (as otherwise, it is incomplete). That which is conditioned by the triple (conceptions of) time, such as past, present and future is also verily Aum for reasons already explained. All that is beyond the three (divisions of) time, i.e., unconditioned by time, and yet known by their effects, which is called ‘Avyākṛta’, the unmanifested, etc.,—that also is verily Aum.

Sloka : 2 (Upanishad)

सर्वꣳ ह्येतद् ब्रह्मायमात्मा ब्रह्म सोऽयमात्मा चतुष्पात् ॥ २॥

sarvagͫ hyetad brahmāyamātmā brahma so'yamātmā catuṣpāt .. 2..

All this is certainly Brahman. This Self is Brahman. This Self, as such, is possessed of four quarters.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Introductory & Commentary Though the name and the object signified by the name are one and the same, still the explanation has been given (here) by giving prominence to the name (Aum). Though in the Upaniṣadic passage,—“Aum, this word, is all this”—explanation has been furnished by giving prominence to the name (Aum), the same thought is again expounded by giving prominence to the thing signified by the name. The object is to realize the knowledge of the oneness of the name and the thing signified by it. Otherwise, (the explanation) that the knowledge of the thing is dependent on the name, might suggest that the oneness of the name and the thing is to be taken only in a figurative sense. The purpose of the knowledge of the unity (of the name and the thing signified by it) is to simultaneously remove, by a single effort, (the illusion of) both the name and the thing and establish (the nature of) Brahman which is other than both. Therefore,the Śruti says,’ “The quarters (Pādas) are the letters of Aum (Mātrā) and the letters are the quarters.” All this is verily Brahman. All that has been said to consist merely of Aum (in the previous text) is Brahman. That Brahman which has been described (as existing) inferentially is now pointed out, as being directly known, by the passage, “This Self is Brahman”. The word this, meaning that which appears divided into four quarters, is pointed out as the innermost Self, with a gesture (of hand) by the passage, “This is Atman”. That Atman indicated by Aum, signifying both the higher and the lower Brahman, has four quarters (Pādas), not indeed, like the four feet (Pādas) of a cow, but like the four quarters (Pādas) of a coin known as Kārṣāpaṇa. The knowledge of the fourth (Turiya) is attained by merging the (previous) three, such as Viśva, etc., in it in the order of the previous one, in the succeeding one. Here the word ‘Pāda’ or ‘foot’ is used in the sense of instrument. The word ‘Pāda’ is again used in the sense of an object when the object to be achieved is the fourth (Turiya).

Sloka : 3 (Upanishad)

जागरितस्थानो बहिष्प्रज्ञः सप्ताङ्ग एकोनविंशतिमुखः

स्थूलभुग्वैश्वानरः प्रथमः पादः ॥ ३॥

jāgaritasthāno bahiṣprajñaḥ saptāṅga ekonaviṃśatimukhaḥ

sthūlabhugvaiśvānaraḥ prathamaḥ pādaḥ .. 3..

(The Self) seated in the waking state and called Vaisvanara who, possessed of the consciousness of the exterior, and seven limbs and nineteen mouths, enjoys the gross objects, is the first quarter.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Jāgaritasthāna, i.e., his sphere (of activity) is the waking state. Bahiṣprajña, i.e., who is aware of objects other than himself. The meaning is that consciousness appears, as it were, related to outward objects on account of Avidya. Similarly Saptāṅga, i.e., he has seven limbs. The Śruti says, “Of that Vaiśvānara Self, the effulgent region is his head, the sun his eye, the air his vital breath, the ether (Ākāśa) the (middle part of his) body, the water his kidney and the earth his feet.” The Āhavanīya fire (one of the three fires of the Agnihotra sacrifice) has been described as his mouth in order to complete the imagery of the Agnihotra sacrifice. He is called Saptāṅga because these are the seven limbs of his body. Similarly he has nineteen mouths. These are the five organs of perception (Buddhindriyas); the five organs of action (Karmendriyas); the five aspects of vital breath (Prana, etc.); the mind (Manas); the intellect (Buddhi); egoity (Ahamkara); mind-stuff (Chitta). These are, as it were, the mouths, i.e., the instruments by means of which he (Vaiśvānara) experiences (objects). He, the Vaiśvānara, thus constituted, experiences through the instruments enumerated above, gross objects, such as sound, etc. He is called Vaiśvānara because he leads all creatures of the universe in diverse ways (to the enjoyment of various objects); or because he comprises all beings. Following the grammatical rules regarding the compound which gives the latter meaning, the word that is formed is Viśvānara, which is the same as Vaiśvānara. He is the first quarter because he is non-different from the totality of gross bodies (known as Virāt). He is called first (quarter) because the subsequent quarters are realized through him (Vaiśvānara). Objection:- While the subject-matter under discussion treats of the innermost Self (Pratyak Ātmā) as having four quarters—in the text, “This Atman is Brahman”—how is it that (the external universe consisting of) the effulgent regions, etc., have been described as its limbs such as head, etc.? Reply:- This, however, is no mistake; because the object is to describe the entire phenomena, including those of gods (Adhidaiva) as having four quarters from the standpoint of this Atman known as the Virāt (i.e., the totality of the gross universe). And in this way alone is non-duality established by the removal of (the illusion of) the entire phenomena. Further, the one Atman is realized as existing in all beings and all beings are seen as existing in Atman. And, thus alone, the meaning of such Śruti passages as “Who sees all beings in the Self, etc.” can be said to be established. Otherwise, the subjective world will, verily, be, as in the case of such philosophers as the Sāmkhyas, limited by its (one’s) own body. And if that be the case, no room would be left for the Advaita which is the special feature of the Śruti. For, in the case of duality, there would be no difference between the Advaita and the Sāmkhya and other systems. The establishment of the identity of all with Atman is sought by all the Upaniṣads. It is, therefore, quite reasonable to speak of the effulgent regions, etc., as seven limbs in connection with the subjective (individual self, Adhyātma) associated with the gross body, because of its identity with the Adhidaiva (comprising the super-physical regions) universe from the standpoint of the Virāt (the totality of the gross physical universe). This is further known from such characteristic indication (of the Śrutí), as “Thy head shall fall”, etc. The identity (of Adhyātma and Adhidaiva) from the standpoint of the Virāt indicates similar identity of the selves known as the Hiraṇyagarbha and the Taijasa as well as of the Unmanifested (Isvara) and the Prajna. It is also stated in the Madhu Brāhmaṇa, “This bright immortal person in this earth and that bright immortal person in the body (both are Madhu).” It is an established fact that the Self in deep sleep (Prajna) is identical with the Unmanifested (Isvara) because of the absence of any distinction between them. Such being the case, it is clearly established that non-duality is realized by the disappearance (of the illusion) of all duality.

Sloka : 4 (Upanishad)

स्वप्नस्थानोऽन्तःप्रज्ञः सप्ताङ्ग एकोनविंशतिमुखः

प्रविविक्तभुक्तैजसो द्वितीयः पादः ॥ ४॥

svapnasthāno'ntaḥprajñaḥ saptāṅga ekonaviṃśatimukhaḥ

praviviktabhuktaijaso dvitīyaḥ pādaḥ .. 4..

(The Self) seated in the state of dream and called Taijasa who, possessed of the consciousness of the interior, and seven limbs and nineteen mouths, enjoys the subtle objects, is the second quarter.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

He is called the Svapnasthāna because the dream (state) is his (Taijasa) sphere. Waking consciousness, being associated as it is with many means, and appearing conscious of objects as if external, though (in reality) they are nothing but states of mind, leaves in the mind corresponding impressions. That the mind (in dream) without any of the external means, but possessed of the impressions left on it by the waking consciousness, like a piece of canvas with the pictures painted on it, experiences the dream state also as if it were like the waking, is due to its being under the influence of ignorance, desire and their action. Thus it is said, “(And when he falls asleep) then after having taken away with him (portion of the) impressions from the world during the waking state (destroying and building up again, he experiences dream by his own light)” (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad, 4. 3. 9). Similarly the Atharvana, after introducing the subject with “(all the senses) become one in the highest Deva, the mind,” continues “There the god (mind) enjoys in dream greatness” (Praśna Upaniṣad). From the standpoint of the sense-organs, the mind is internal. He (the Taijasa) is called the Antaḥprajña or conscious of the internal because his consciousness in dream becomes aware of the mental states, which are impressions left by the previous waking state. He is called the Taijasa because he appears as the subject though this (dream) consciousness is without any (gross) object and is of the nature of the essence of light. The Viśva (the subject of the waking state) experiences consciousness associated with gross external objects; whereas, here (in the dream state), the object of experience is consciousness consisting of Vāsanās (the impressions of past experience). Therefore this experience is called the experience of the subtle. The rest is common (with the previous Śruti). This Taijasa is the second quarter (of Ātmarn).

Sloka : 5 (Upanishad)

यत्र सुप्तो न कञ्चन कामं कामयते न कञ्चन स्वप्नं पश्यति

तत् सुषुप्तम् । सुषुप्तस्थान एकीभूतः प्रज्ञानघन

एवानन्दमयो ह्यानन्दभुक् चेतोमुखः प्राज्ञस्तृतीयः पादः ॥ ५॥

yatra supto na kañcana kāmaṃ kāmayate na kañcana svapnaṃ paśyati

tat suṣuptam . suṣuptasthāna ekībhūtaḥ prajñānaghana

evānandamayo hyānandabhuk cetomukhaḥ prājñastṛtīyaḥ pādaḥ .. 5..

Where the sleeper desires not a thing of enjoyment and sees not any dream, that state is deep sleep. (The Self) seated in the state of deep sleep and called Prajna, in whom everything is unified, who is dense with consciousness, who is full of bliss, who is certainly the enjoyer of bliss, and who is the door to the knowledge (of the preceding two states), is the third quarter.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The adjectival clause, viz., “Wherein the sleeper,” etc., is put with a view to enabling one to grasp what the state of deep sleep (Suṣupti) signifies, inasmuch as sleep characterized by the absence of the knowledge of Reality is the common feature of those mental modifications which are associated with (waking, that is) perception (of gross objects) and (dream, that is the) non-perception (of gross objects). Or the object of the introduction of the adjectival clause may be to distinguish the state of deep sleep (of the sleeping person) from the two previous states as sleep characterized by the absence of knowledge of Reality is the common feature of the three states. ‘Wherein,’ that is to say, in which state or time, the sleeping person does not see any dream, nor does he desire any desirable (object). For; in the state of deep sleep, there does not exist, as in the two other states, any desire or the dream experience whose characteristic is to take a thing for what it is not. He is called the ‘Suṣuptasthāna’ because his sphere is this state of deep sleep. Similarly it is called Ekībhūta, i.e., the state in which all experiences become unified—a state in which all objects of duality, which are nothing but forms of thought, spread over the two states (viz., the waking and the dream), reach the state of indiscrimination or non-differentiation without losing their characteristics, as the day, revealing phenomenal objects, is enveloped by the darkness of night. Therefore conscious experiences, which are nothing but forms of thought, perceived during dream and waking states, become a thick mass (of consciousness) as it were (in deep sleep); this state of deep sleep is called the ‘Prajñānagharta’ (a mass of all consciousness unified) on account of the absence of all manifoldness (discrimination of variety). As at night, owing to the indiscrimination produced by darkness, all (percepts) become a mass (of darkness) as it were, so also in the state of deep sleep all (objects) of consciousness, verily, become a mass (of consciousness). The word ‘eva’ (‘verily’) in the text denotes the absence of any other thing except consciousness (in deep sleep). (At the time of deep sleep) the mind is free from the miseries of the efforts made on account of the states of the mind being involved in the relationship of subject and object:- therefore, it is called the Ānandamaya, that is, endowed with an abundance of bliss. But this is not Bliss Itself; because it is not Bliss Infinite. As in common (experience) parlance, one, free from efforts, is called happy and enjoyer of bliss. As the Prajna enjoys this state of deep sleep which is entirely free from all efforts, therefore it is called the ‘Ānandabhuk’ (the experiencer of bliss). The Śruti also says, “This is its highest bliss.” It is called the ‘Cetomukha’ because it is the doorway to the (cognition) of the two other states of consciousness known as dream and waking. Or because the Ceta (the perceiving entity) characterized by (empirical) consciousness (Bodha) is its doorway leading to the experience of dreams, etc., therefore it is called the “Cetomukha’. It is called Prajna as it is conscious of the past and the future as well as of all objects. It is called the Prajna, the knower par excellence, even in deep sleep, because of its having been so in the two previous states. Or it is called the Prajna because its peculiar feature is consciousness undifferentiated. In the two other states consciousness exists, no doubt, but it is (there) aware of (the experiences of) variety. The Prajna, thus described, is the third quarter.

Sloka : 6 (Upanishad)

एष सर्वेश्वरः एष सर्वज्ञ एषोऽन्तर्याम्येष योनिः

सर्वस्य प्रभवाप्ययौ हि भूतानाम् ॥ ६॥

eṣa sarveśvaraḥ eṣa sarvajña eṣo'ntaryāmyeṣa yoniḥ

sarvasya prabhavāpyayau hi bhūtānām .. 6..

This is the Lord of all; this is omniscient; this is the in-dwelling controller (of all); this is the source and indeed the origin and dissolution of all beings.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

This in its natural state, is the Lord (Isvara) of all. All, that is to say, of the entire physical and super-physical universe. He (Isvara) is not something separate from the universe as others hold. The Śruti also says, “O good one, Prana (Prajna or Isvara) is that in which the mind is bound.” He is omniscient because he is the knower of all beings in their different conditions. He is the Antaryāmin, that is, he alone entering into all, directs everything from within. Therefore He is called the origin of all because from Him proceeds the universe characterized by diversity, as described before. It being so, He is verily that from which all things proceed and in which all disappear.

Sloka : 1.1 (Karika)

अत्रैते श्लोका भवन्ति

बहिष्प्रज्ञो विभुर्विश्वो ह्यन्तःप्रज्ञस्तु तैजसः ।

घनप्रज्ञस्तथा प्राज्ञ एक एव त्रिधा स्मृतः ॥ १॥

atraite ślokā bhavanti

bahiṣprajño vibhurviśvo hyantaḥprajñastu taijasaḥ .

ghanaprajñastathā prājña eka eva tridhā smṛtaḥ .. 1..

Visva having exterior consciousness is all-pervading, whereas Taijasa has interior consciousness, and Prajna, similarly is dense with consciousness. Thus the One alone is regarded in there ways.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The implication of the passage is this:—That Atman is (as witness) distinct from the three states (witnessed) and that he is pure and unrelated, is established by his moving in three states, in succession, and also on account of the knowledge, “I am. that,” resulting from the experience which unites through memory. The Śruti also corroborates it by the illustration of the ‘great fish’, etc.

Sloka : 1.2 (Karika)

दक्षिणाक्षिमुखे विश्वो मनस्यन्तस्तु तैजसः ।

आकाशे च हृदि प्राज्ञस्त्रिधा देहे व्यवस्थितः ॥ २॥

dakṣiṇākṣimukhe viśvo manasyantastu taijasaḥ .

ākāśe ca hṛdi prājñastridhā dehe vyavasthitaḥ .. 2..

Visva is seen in the right eye which is its seat of experience, whereas Taijasa is inside the mind and Prajna is in the space inside the heart. In these three ways he dwells in the body.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

This verse is intended to show that the threefold experience of Viśva, etc. (Taijasa and Prajna) is realised in the waking state alone. Dakṣinākṣi:- the means of perception (of gross objects) is the right eye. The presence of Viśva, the cognizer of gross objects, is chiefly felt there. The Śruti also says, “The person that is in the right eye is known as Indha—the Luminou s One” (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad). Indha, which means the effulgent one, who is the Vaiśvānara and also known as the Virāt Atman (the totality of gross bodies), the perceiver in the sun, is the same as the perceiver in the eye. Objection:- The Hiranyagarbha is distinct from the knower of the body (Kṣetra) who is the cognizer, the controller of the right eye, who is also the general experiencer and who is the Lord of the body. Reply:- No, for, in reality, such a distinction is not admitted. The Śrutí says, “One effulgent being alone is hidden in all beings.” The Smṛti also says:- “Me do thou also know, O Arjuna, to be the Kṣetrajña (the knower of the body) in all Kṣetras (bodies)” (Gītā, 13. 2). “indivisible, yet it exists as if divided in beings” (Gītā, 13. 16). Though the presence of Viśva is equally felt in all sense-organs without distinction yet the right eye is particularly singled out (as the chief instrument for its perception), because he (Viśva) makes a greater use of the right eye in perceiving objects. (The right eye is made here to represent all the sense-organs). The one, who has his abode in the right eye, having perceived (external) forms, closes the eye; and then recollecting them within the mind sees the very same (external objects) as in a dream, as the manifestation of the (subtle) impressions (of memory). As is the case here (waking), so also is the case with dream. Therefore, Taijasa, the perceiver in the mind.within, is verily the same as Viśva. With the cessation of the activity known as memory, the perceiver (in the waking and dream states) is unified with Prajna in the Ākāśa of the heart and becomes verily a mass of consciousness, because there is, then, a cessation of mental activities. Both perception and memory are forms of thought, in the absence of which the seer remains indistinguiṣably in the form of Prana in the heart alone. For, the Śruti also says, “Prana alone withdraws all these within.” Taijasa is identical with Hiraṇyagarbha on account of its existence being realised in mind. Mind is the characteristic indication (of both). This is supported by such scriptural passages as “This Puruṣa (Hiraṇyagarbha) is all mind,” etc. Objection:- The Prana (vital breath) of a deep sleeper is manifested. The sense-organs (at the time of deep sleep) are merged in it. How, then, can it (Prana) be said to be unmanifested? Reply:- This is no mistake, for the unmanifested (Avyākritā) is characterised by the absence (of the knowledge) of time and space. Though Prana, in the case of a person who identifies himself with (particular) Prana, appears to be manifested (during the time of waking and dream), yet even in the case of those who (thus) identify themselves with individualized Prana, the Prana, during deep sleep, loses (such) particular identification, which is due to its limitation by the body, and is verily the same as the unmanifested. As in the case of those who identify themselves with individualized Pranas, the Prana, at the time of death, ceases to be the manifested, so also in the case of those who think of themselves as identified with the individualized Pranas, the Prana attains to the condition like the unmanifested, in the state of deep sleep. This Prana (of deep sleep) further contains the seed (cause) of (future) creation (as is the case with the Avyākritā). The cognizer of the two states—deep sleep and Avyākritā—is also one (viz., the Pure Consciousness). It (one in deep sleep) is identical with the (apparently) different cognizers identifying themselves with the conditioned (in the states.of waking and dream), and therefore such attributes as “unified,” “mass of all consciousness,” etc., as described above, are reasonably applicable to it (one in deep sleep). Other reason, already stated, supports it. How does, indeed, the word Prana apply to the Avyākrita (unmanifested)? It is supported by the Śruti passage, “Oh, good one, the mind is tied to the Prana.” Objection:- In that Śruti passage, the word Prana indicates Sat (Existence) i.e., the Brahman, (not the Avyākrita) which is the subject-matter under discussion, as the text commences with the passage, “All this was Sat in the beginning.” Reply:- This is no mistake, for (in that passage) the Sat is admitted to be that which contains within it the seed or cause (of creation). Though Sat, i.e., Brahman, is indicated in that passage by the word ‘Prana’, yet the Brahman that is indicated by the words Sat and Prana (in that connection) is not the one who is free from its attribute of being the seed or cause that creates all beings. For if in that Śruti passage, Brahman, devoid of the causal relation (i.e., the Absolute) were sought to be described, then the Śruti would have used such expressions as “Not this, Not this,” “Wherefrom speech turns back”, “That is something other than both the known and the unknown”, etc. The Smṛti also declares, “It is neither Sat (existence) nor Asat (non-existence)” (Gītā). If by the text were meant the (Absolute) devoid of causal relation then the coming back, to the relative plane of consciousness, of those who were in deep sleep and unified with Sat at the time of Praḷaya (cosmic dissolution), could not happen. Further, (in that case) the liberated souls would again come back to the relative plane of consciousness; for the absence of seed or cause (capable of giving birth to the world of names and forms) would be the common feature of both. Further, in the absence of the seed (cause, i.e., at the time of Suṣupti and Praḷaya) which can be destroyed by Knowledge (alone), Knowledge itself becomes futile. Therefore the word Sat (the text of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, the passage under discussion) in that aspect in which causality is attributed to it, is indicated by Prana, and accordingly has been described in all the Śrutis as the cause. It is for this reason also that the Absolute Brahman, dissociated from its causal attribute, has been indicated in such Śruti passages as “It is beyond the unmanifested which is higher than the manifested”, “He is causeless and is the substratum of the external (effect) and the internal (cause),” “Wherefrom words come back....”, “Not this, not this”, etc. That which is designated as Prajna (when it is viewed as the cause of the phenomenal world) will be described as Turiya separately when it is not viewed as the cause, and when it is free from all phenomenal relationship (such as that of the body, etc.), i.e., in its absolutely Real aspect. The causal condition is also verily experienced in this body from such cognition of the man who is awakened from the deep sleep, as “I did not know anything (at the time of deep sleep).” Therefore it is said that (one) Atman is perceived as threefold in the (one) body.

Sloka : 1.3 (Karika)

विश्वो हि स्थूलभुङ्नित्यं तैजसः प्रविविक्तभुक् ।

आनन्दभुक् तथा प्राज्ञस्त्रिधा भोगं निबोधत ॥ ३॥

viśvo hi sthūlabhuṅnityaṃ taijasaḥ praviviktabhuk .

ānandabhuk tathā prājñastridhā bhogaṃ nibodhata .. 3..

Visva is ever the enjoyer of the gross, taijasa of the subtle, and, similarly, Prajna of bliss. Know (therefore) the enjoyment in three ways.

Sloka : 1.4 (Karika)

स्थूलं तर्पयते विश्वं प्रविविक्तं तु तैजसम् ।

आनन्दश्च तथा प्राज्ञं त्रिधा तृप्तिं निबोधत ॥ ४॥

sthūlaṃ tarpayate viśvaṃ praviviktaṃ tu taijasam .

ānandaśca tathā prājñaṃ tridhā tṛptiṃ nibodhata .. 4..

The grass satisfies Visva, the subtle satisfies Taijasa and, similarly, gladness satisfies Prajna. Know (therefore) the satisfaction in three ways.

Sloka : 1.5 (Karika)

त्रिषु धामसु यद्भोज्यं भोक्ता यश्च प्रकीर्तितः ।

वेदैतदुभयं यस्तु स भुञ्जानो न लिप्यते ॥ ५॥

triṣu dhāmasu yadbhojyaṃ bhoktā yaśca prakīrtitaḥ .

vedaitadubhayaṃ yastu sa bhuñjāno na lipyate .. 5..

He who knows these two, viz that which is shown to be the thing to be enjoyed and that which is (shown) to be the enjoyer, in the three states, does not become affected, even though enjoying.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

In the three states, namely, waking, etc., the one and the same object of experience appears in threefold forms as the gross, the subtle and the blissful. Further, the experiencer (of the three states) known (differently) as Viśva, Taijasa and Prajna has been described as one on account of the unity of consciousness implied in such cognition as ‘I am that’ (common to all conditions). as well as from the absence of any distinction in respect of the perceiver. He who knows the two (experiencer and the objects of experience), appearing as many in the form of subject and objects of experience, though enjoying them, is not affected thereby; because all objects (of experience) are experienced by one subject alone. As (the heat of the) fire does not increase or decrease by consuming wood, etc., so also nothing is added to or taken away (from the knowingness or awareness of the Atman) by its experience of that which, is its object.

Sloka : 1.6 (Karika)

प्रभवः सर्वभावानां सतामिति विनिश्चयः ।

सर्वं जनयति प्राणश्चेतोंऽशून्पुरुषः पृथक् ॥ ६॥

prabhavaḥ sarvabhāvānāṃ satāmiti viniścayaḥ .

sarvaṃ janayati prāṇaścetoṃ'śūnpuruṣaḥ pṛthak .. 6..

It is a settled fact that coming into being can be said only of positive entities that exist. Prana creates all; and Purusha creates the conscious beings separately.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The manifestation can be predicated of positive entities comprehended as the different forms of Viśva, Taijasa and Prajna—whose existence, of the nature of illusory names and forms caused by an innate Avidya (ignorance), cannot be denied. This is thus explained later on:- “Neither in reality nor in illusion can the son of a barren woman be said to be born.” For, if things could come out of non-entity, Brahman whose existence is inferred from experience will itself be rendered a non-entity because of the absence of means of comprehension. That the snake (in the rope) appearing as such on account of an illusory cause (Māya) which itself is the effect of ignorance (Avidya), pre-exists in the form of the rope is a matter of common experience. For by no one is the illusion of the rope-snake or the mirage, etc., ever perceived without a substratum. As before the illusory appearance of the snake, its existence was certainly there in the rope, so also all positive entities before their manifestation certainly exist in the form of a cause, i.e., Prana. The Śruti also declares this in such passages as:- “All this (the phenomenal universe) was verily Brahman at the beginning” and “All this existed, at the beginning as Atman.” Prana manifests all. As the rays proceed from the sun, so also all different centres of consciousness (i.e., the Jivas) which are like the (many) reflections of the same sun in the water and which are manifested differently as Viśva, Taijasa and Prajna, comprising various physical forms of gods, animals, etc., proceed from the Puruṣa. The Puruṣa manifests all these entities called as living beings, which are different from inanimate objects, but of the same nature as itself (Puruṣa), like fire and its sparks and like the sun with its reflections in water. Prana, the causal self, manifests all other entities like the spider producing the web. There are such scriptural pass-ages in its support as, “The sparks from the fire, etc.”

Sloka : 1.7 (Karika)

विभूतिं प्रसवं त्वन्ये मन्यन्ते सृष्टिचिन्तकाः ।

स्वप्नमायासरूपेति सृष्टिरन्यैर्विकल्पिता ॥ ७॥

vibhūtiṃ prasavaṃ tvanye manyante sṛṣṭicintakāḥ .

svapnamāyāsarūpeti sṛṣṭiranyairvikalpitā .. 7..

Those who think of creation hold it as the manifestation of God's power; while others regard creation as same as dream and illusion.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Creation is the manifestation of the superhuman power of God ; thus think those who reflect on (the process of) creation. But those who intently think of the Ultimate Reality find no interest in (the theory of) creation. It (that no interest should be attached to the act of creation) is also supported by such Śruti passages as, “Indra (the great god) assumed diverse forms through Maya (Maya)”. The juggler throws the thread up in the sky, climbs by it with his arms, disappears from the sight (of the spectators), engages himself in a fight (in the sky) in which his limbs, having been severed, fall to the ground and he rises up again. The on-looker, though witnessing the performance, does not evince any interest in the thought in regard to the reality of the jugglery performed by the juggler. Similarly there is a real juggler who is other than the rope and the one that climbs up the rope. The manifestation of deep sleep, dream and waking is analogous to the throwing up of the rope by the juggler (in the above illustration) and the (empirical selves known as) Prajna, Viśva and Taijasa, related to the three states, are similar to the juggler, who appears to have climbed up the rope. As he, the juggler, remains on the ground unseen (by the on-lookers) having veiled himself, as it were, by his illusion, so also is the truth about the Highest Reality known as Turiya Therefore those noble souls seeking Moksa evince interest in the contemplation of this (the Turiya) but not in the creation which is futile. The word, ‘SvapnaMayasarūpa’—meaning, alike dream and illusion—is intended to show that all these (false) notions (regarding manifestation) belong only to those who imagine the process of creation or manifestation.

Sloka : 1.8 (Karika)

इच्छामात्रं प्रभोः सृष्टिरिति सृष्टौ विनिश्चिताः ।

कालात्प्रसूतिं भूतानां मन्यन्ते कालचिन्तकाः ॥ ८॥

icchāmātraṃ prabhoḥ sṛṣṭiriti sṛṣṭau viniścitāḥ .

kālātprasūtiṃ bhūtānāṃ manyante kālacintakāḥ .. 8..

Creation is the mere will of the Lord, say those who thought out well the (process of) creation, but those who rely upon time hold that the birth of beings is from time.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The manifestation (creation) proceeds from the mere will of God because His will in reality cannot but achieve its purpose. Such objects as pot, etc., are but the (manifestation of the) will (of the potter). They can never be anything external or unrelated to such will. Some say manifestation proceeds from time.

Sloka : 1.9 (Karika)

भोगार्थं सृष्टिरित्यन्ये क्रीडार्थमिति चापरे ।

देवस्यैष स्वभावोऽयमाप्तकामस्य का स्पृहा ॥ ९॥

bhogārthaṃ sṛṣṭirityanye krīḍārthamiti cāpare .

devasyaiṣa svabhāvo'yamāptakāmasya kā spṛhā .. 9..

Some others hold that creation is for the enjoyment (of God), yet others say that it is for His sport. But it is the very nature of the resplendent Being, (for) what desire can he have whose desire is all fulfilled?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Others think that the purpose of manifestation is only the enjoyment (by God of the objects so created), that creation is merely a diversion of God. These two theories are refuted (by the author) by the single assertion that it is the very nature of the Effulgent (Brahman). Thus taking this standpoint (the nature of the Effulgent Being) all the theories (of creation) herein (stated) are refuted for the reason indicated by:- “What could be the desire for manifestation on the part of Brahman whose desires are ever in a state of fulfilment?” For the rope, etc., to appear as snake, no other reason can be assigned than Avidya.

Sloka : 7 (Upanishad)

नान्तःप्रज्ञं न बहिष्प्रज्ञं नोभयतःप्रज्ञं

न प्रज्ञानघनं न प्रज्ञं नाप्रज्ञं ।



प्रपञ्चोपशमं शान्तं शिवमद्वैतं चतुर्थं मन्यन्ते

स आत्मा स विज्ञेयः ॥ ७॥

nāntaḥprajñaṃ na bahiṣprajñaṃ nobhayataḥprajñaṃ

na prajñānaghanaṃ na prajñaṃ nāprajñaṃ .



prapañcopaśamaṃ śāntaṃ śivamadvaitaṃ caturthaṃ manyante

sa ātmā sa vijñeyaḥ .. 7..

The Fourth is thought of as that which is not conscious of the internal world, nor conscious of the external world, nor conscious of both the worlds, nor dense with consciousness, nor simple consciousness, nor unconsciousness, which is unseen, actionless, incomprehensible, uninferable, unthinkable, indescribable, whose proof consists in the identity of the Self (in all states), in which all phenomena come to a cessation, and which is unchanging, auspicious, and non-dual. That is the Self; that is to be known.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Introductory & Commentary The fourth quarter which now comes in order (for explanation) has to be described. This is done in the words of the text:- “Not conscious of the internal object.” It (Turiya) does not admit of description or indication by means of words, for all uses (affirmative or negative) of language fail to express it. Therefore Turiya is sought to be indicated by the negation of all attributes (characteristics). Objection:- Then it becomes mere void or Sunya. Reply:- No, because it is impossible for imagination to exist without a substratum. The illusion of silver, a snake, a man or mirage, etc., cannot be conceived as existing without the (corresponding) substratum of the mother-of-pearl, rope, stump or desert, etc. Objection:- If that be the case, Turiya ought to be indicatable by words and not by the negation of all attributes. For, it is the substratum of all imaginations such as, Prana, etc., in the same way as jars, etc., which being the substratum of water, etc., are indicated as such by words. Reply:- The idea of Prana, etc., (supposed to exist in Turiya) is unreal like the false idea of silver, etc., in the mother-of-pearl, etc. A relation between the real and the unreal cannot be expressed by words because such relation is, itself, non-existent. Turiya cannot be the object of any other instrument of knowledge (such as direct perception) like the cow, etc., because of its unique nature, owing to the absence of Upādhis. Atman cannot have anything like a generic property, like the cow, etc., because it is devoid of all Upādhis or attributes; it has neither generic nor specific characteristics because it is one, without a second. It cannot be known by any activity (proceeding from it) as in the case of a cook; because it is devoid of all actions. It cannot be described by attributes such as blue, etc., because it is without any attribute. Therefore it follows that Turiya cannot be indicated by any name. Objection:- Then it (Turiya) would be like the “horns of a hare” and hence one’s pursuit of it must be futile. Reply:- No, the knowledge of Turiya as identical with Self (Atman) destroys the hankering after objects which are non-self just as the knowledge of mother-of-pearls (mistaken for silver) removes the desire for (illusory) silver. For, once the identity of Turiya and Self is realised there is no possibility of one’s being deluded by ignorance, desire and the like misapprehensions (which are the effects of ignorance) and there is no reason for Turiya not being known as identical with the Self. For all the Upaniṣads point to this end only as is evident from the following:- “That thou art”, “This Atman is Brahman”, “That is real and that is Atman”, “The Brahman which is directly and immediately cognized”, “He is both without and within, as well as causeless”, “All this is verily Atman”, etc. This very Atman has been described as constituting the Highest Reality and its opposite (the unreal) and as having four quarters. Its unreal (illusory) aspect has been described as due to ignorance, like the illusion of snake in the rope, having for its characteristics the three quarters and being of the same nature as the seed and the sprout. Now is described (in the following Śruti) Turiya which is not of the nature of cause but which is of the nature of the Highest Reality corresponding to the rope—by negating the three states, enumerated above, which correspond to the snake, etc. Objection:- The object was to describe Atman as having four quarters. By the very descriptions of the three quarters, the fourth is established as being other than the three characterised by the “conscious of the subjective”, etc. Therefore the negation (of attributes relating to the three quarters) for the purpose of indicating Turiya implied in the statement, “Turiya is that which is not conscious of the subjective”, etc., is futile. Reply:- No. As the nature of the rope is realised by the negation of the (illusory) appearances of the snake, etc., so also it is intended to establish the very Self, which subsists in the three states, as TuriyaThis is done in the same way as (the great Vedic statement) “Thou art that”. If Turiya were, in fact, anything different from Atman subsisting in the three states, then, the teachings of the Scriptures would have no meaning on account of the absence of any instrument of knowledge (regarding Turiya). Or the other (inevitable alternative would be to declare absolute nihilism ( śūnya) to be the ultimate Truth. Like the (same) rope mistaken as snake, garland, etc., when the same Atman is mistaken as Antaḥprajña (conscious of the subjective) etc., in the three states associated with different characteristics, the knowledge, resulting from the negation of such attributes as the conscious of the subjective, etc., is the means of establishing the absolute absence of the unreal phenomena of the world (imagined) in Atman. As a matter of fact, the two results, namely, the negation of (superimposed) attributes and the disappearance of the unreal phenomena happen at the same time. Therefore no additional instrument of knowledge or no other effort is to be made or sought after for the realisation of TuriyaWith the cessation of the idea of the snake, etc., in the rope, the real nature of the rope becomes revealed and this happens simultaneously with the knowledge of the distinction between the rope and the snake. But those who say that the knowledge, in addition to the removal of the darkness (that envelopes the jar), enables one to know the jar, may as well affirm that the act of cutting (a tree), in addition to its undoing the relation of the members of the body intended to be cut, also functions (in other ways) in other parts of the body. As the act of cutting intended to divide the tree into two is said to be complete with the severance of the parts (of the tree) so also the knowledge employed to perceive the jar covered by the darkness (that envelopes it) attains its purpose when it results in removing the darkness, though that is not the object intended to be produced. In such case the knowledge of the jar, which is invariably connected with the removal of the darkness, is not the result accomplished by the instrument of knowledge. Likewise, the knowledge, which is (here) the same as that which results from the negation of predicates, directed towards the discrimination of such attributes as “the conscious of the subjective” etc., superimposed upon Atman, cannot function with regard to Turiya in addition to its act of negating of such attributes as “the conscious of the subjective” which is not the object intended to be produced. For, with the negation of the attributes such as “conscious of the subjective,” etc., is accomplished simultaneously the cessation of the distinction between the knower, the known and the knowledge. Thus it will be said later on, “Duality cannot exist when Gnosis, the highest Truth (non-duality), is realised.” The knowledge of duality cannot exist even for a moment immediately after the moment of the cessation of duality. If it should remain, there would follow what is known as regressus ad infinitum; and consequently duality will never cease. Therefore it is established that the cessation of such unreal attributes as “conscious of the subjective” etc., superimposed upon Atman is simultaneous with the manifestation of the Knowledge which, in itself, is the means (pramana) for the negation of duality. By the statement that it (Turiya) is “not conscious of the subjective” is indicated that it is not “Taijasa”. Similarly by the statement that it is “not conscious of the objective,” it is denied that it (Turiya) is Viśva. By saying that it is “not conscious of either”, it is denied that Turiya is any intermediate state between the waking and the dream states. By the statement that Turiya is “not a mass all sentiency”, it is denied that it is the condition of deep sleep—which is held to be a causal condition on account of one’s inability to distinguish the truth from error (in deep sleep). By saying that it is “not simple consciousness”, it is implied that Turiya cannot simultaneously cognize the entire world of consciousness (by a single act of consciousness). And lastly by the statement that it is “not unconsciousness” it is implied that Turiya is not insentient or of the nature of matter. Objection:- How, again, do such attributes as “conscious of the subjective,” etc., which are (directly) perceived to subsist in Atman become non-existent only by an act of negation as the snake, etc. (perceived) in the rope, etc., become non-existent (by means of an act of negation)? Reply:- Though the states (waking and dream) are really of the essence of consciousness itself, and as such are non-different from each other (from the point of view of the substratum), yet one state is seen to change into another as do the appearances of the snake, water-line, etc., having for their substratum the rope, etc. But the consciousness itself is real because it never changes. Objection:- Consciousness is seen to change (disappear) in deep sleep. Reply:- No, the state of deep sleep is a matter of experience. For the Śruti says, “Knowledge of the Knower is never absent.” Hence it (Turiya) is “unseen” ; and because it is unseen therefore it is “incomprehensible”. Turiya cannot be apprehended by the organs of action. Alakṣanam means “uninferable”, because there is no Liṅga (common characteristic) for its inference. Therefore Turiya is “unthinkable” and hence “indescribable” (by words). It is “essentially of the nature of consciousness consisting of Self”. Turiya should be known by spotting that consciousness that never changes in the three states, viz., waking, etc., and whose nature is that of a Unitary Self. Or, the phrase may signify that the knowledge of the one Atman alone is the means for realising Turiya, and therefore Turiya is the essence of this consciousness or Self or Atman. The Śruti also says, “It should be meditated upon as Atman.” Several attributes, such as the “conscious of the subjective” etc., associated with the manifestation (such as, Viśva, etc.) in each of the states have already been negated. Now by describing Turiya as “the cessation of illusion”, the attributes which characterise the-three states, viz., waking, etc., are negated. Hence it is “ever Peaceful”, i.e., without any manifestation of change—and “all bliss”. As it is non-dual, i.e., devoid of illusory ideas of distinction, therefore it is called “Turiya”, the “Fourth”, because it is totally distinct (in character) from the three quarters which' are mere appearances. “This, indeed, is the Atman and it should be known,” is intended to show that the meaning of the Vedic statement, “That thou art”, points to the relationless Atman (Turiya) which is like the rope (in the illustration) different from the snake, line on the ground, stick, etc,, which are mere appearances. That Atman which has been described in such Śruti passages as “unseen, but the seer”, “the consciousness of the seer is never absent”, etc., should be known. (The incomprehensible) Turiya “should be known”, and this is said so only from the standpoint of the previously unknown condition, for duality cannot exist when the Highest Truth is known.

Sloka : 1.10 (Karika)

अत्रैते श्लोका भवन्ति

निवृत्तेः सर्वदुःखानामीशानः प्रभुरव्ययः ।

अद्वैतः सर्वभावानां देवस्तुर्यो विभुः स्मृतः ॥ १०॥

atraite ślokā bhavanti

nivṛtteḥ sarvaduḥkhānāmīśānaḥ prabhuravyayaḥ .

advaitaḥ sarvabhāvānāṃ devasturyo vibhuḥ smṛtaḥ .. 10..

Turiya, the Lord powerful to bring about the cessation of all sorrows, is imperishable, is regarded as the non-dual Lord of all entities, and is all-pervading.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

In (the Knowledge of) Īśāna, meaning the Turiya Atman there is a cessation of all miseries characterised by the three states, viz., Prajna, Taijasa and Viśva. The word ‘Īśāna’ is explained as ‘Prahhu’, i.e., the one who brings about the cessation of miseries. It is because misery is destroyed by one’s own Knowledge of it (Turiya). ‘Avyaya’ means that which is not subject to any change, i.e., which does not deviate from its own nature. How? It is so because Turiya is non-dual, all other entities being illusory (unreal) like the idea of the snake, etc., imagined in the rope. It is he who is recognised as the Deva (on account of his effulgent nature), the Turiya, the fourth, the Vibhu, that is the all-pervading one.

Sloka : 1.11 (Karika)

कार्यकारणबद्धौ ताविष्येते विश्वतैजसौ ।

प्राज्ञः कारणबद्धस्तु द्वौ तौ तुर्ये न सिध्यतः ॥ ११॥

kāryakāraṇabaddhau tāviṣyete viśvataijasau .

prājñaḥ kāraṇabaddhastu dvau tau turye na sidhyataḥ .. 11..

Visva and Taijasa are regarded as conditioned by cause and effect. Prajna is conditioned by cause. But these two (viz cause and effect) do not exist in Turiya.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The generic and specific characters of Viśva, etc., are described with a view to determining the real nature of Turiya‘Kārya’ or effect is that which is done, i.e., which has the characteristic of result. ‘Kāraṇa’ or the cause is that which acts, i.e., it is the state in which the effect remains latent. Both Viśva and Taijasa, described above, are known as being conditioned by cause and effect, characterised by both non-apprehension and mis-apprehension of Reality. But Prajna is conditioned by cause alone. Cause, characterised by the non-apprehension of Reality, is the condition of Prajna. Therefore these two, cause and effect, i.e., non-apprehension and mis-apprehension of Reality, do not exist, i.e., are not possible in Turiya.

Sloka : 1.12 (Karika)

नऽऽत्मानं न परांश्चैव न सत्यं नापि चानृतम् ।

प्राज्ञः किञ्चन संवेत्ति तुर्यं तत्सर्वदृक्सदा ॥ १२॥

na''tmānaṃ na parāṃścaiva na satyaṃ nāpi cānṛtam .

prājñaḥ kiñcana saṃvetti turyaṃ tatsarvadṛksadā .. 12..

Prajna knows neither himself nor others, neither truth nor untruth. But that Turiya is ever the all seer.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How is it that Prajna is conditioned by cause? And how is it, again, that the two conditions of non-apprehension and mis-apprehension of Reality do not exist in Turiya? It is because Prajna does not, like Viśva and Taijasa, perceive anything of the duality, external to and other than itself and born of the cause known as Avidya. Therefore it is conditioned by darkness characterised by non-apprehension of Reality which is the cause of mis-apprehension. As Turiya exists always, ever all-seeing , on account of the absence of anything other than Turiya, it is never associated with the causal condition characterised by non-apprehension of Reality. Consequently mis-apprehension of Reality winch is the result of non-apprehension is not found in TuriyaFor, it is not possible to find in the sun, whose nature is to be ever-luminous, anything contrary to light, viz., darkness, or any other light different from itself. The Śruti also says:- “The Knowledge of the seer is never absent.” Or the phrase may be explained thus:- Turiya may be designated as ever all-seeing because it subsists in all, in dream and waking states and all the seers that cognize them (in those states) are Turiya alone. This is also borne out by the following Śruti passage, “There is no seer other than this.”

Sloka : 1.13 (Karika)

द्वैतस्याग्रहणं तुल्यमुभयोः प्राज्ञतुर्ययोः ।

बीजनिद्रायुतः प्राज्ञः सा च तुर्ये न विद्यते ॥ १३॥

dvaitasyāgrahaṇaṃ tulyamubhayoḥ prājñaturyayoḥ .

bījanidrāyutaḥ prājñaḥ sā ca turye na vidyate .. 13..

The non-cognition of duality is common to both Prajna and Turiya. Prajna is possessed of sleep of the nature of cause, whereas that sleep does not exist in Turiya.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

This śloka is meant to remove a doubt that has arisen incidentally. The doubt is this:- How is it that it is Prajna alone and not Turiya that is bound by the condition of cause, since the non-cognition of duality is the common feature of both? This doubt is thus removed :- The meaning of the phrase Bījanidrāyuta is:- Nidrā or sleep is characterised by the absence of the Knowledge of Reality. This is the cause which gives rise to the cognition of varieties. Prajna is associated with this sleep which is the cause. It is because Turiya is ever all-seeing, therefore the sleep characterised by the absence of the Knowledge of Reality does not exist in TuriyaTherefore the bondage in the form of causal condition does not exist in Turiya.

Sloka : 1.14 (Karika)

स्वप्ननिद्रायुतावाद्यौ प्राज्ञस्त्वस्वप्ननिद्रया ।

न निद्रां नैव च स्वप्नं तुर्ये पश्यन्ति निश्चिताः ॥ १४॥

svapnanidrāyutāvādyau prājñastvasvapnanidrayā .

na nidrāṃ naiva ca svapnaṃ turye paśyanti niścitāḥ .. 14..

The first two (viz Visva and taijasa) are associated with dream and sleep, but Prajna (is associated) with sleep devoid of dream. The knowers of Brahman do not see either sleep or dream in Turiya.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Svapna or dream is the mis-apprehension of Reality like that of the snake in the rope. Nidrā or sleep has already been defined as darkness characterised by the absence of the Knowledge of Reality. Viśva and Taijasa are associated with these, viz., the conditions of dream and sleep. Therefore they have been described as conditioned by the characteristics of cause and effect. But Prajna is associated with sleep alone without dream; therefore it is described as conditioned by cause only. The knower of Brahman does not see them (dream and sleep) in Turiya, as it would be inconsistent like seeing darkness in the Sun. Therefore Turiya has been described as not associated with the conditions of cause and effect.

Sloka : 1.15 (Karika)

अन्यथा गृह्णतः स्वप्नो निद्रा तत्त्वमजानतः ।

विपर्यासे तयोः क्षीणे तुरीयं पदमश्नुते ॥ १५॥

anyathā gṛhṇataḥ svapno nidrā tattvamajānataḥ .

viparyāse tayoḥ kṣīṇe turīyaṃ padamaśnute .. 15..

Dream belongs to him who perceives wrongly and sleep to him who knows not Reality. When the false notion of these two comes to an end, the state of Turiya is attained.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

When is one established in Turiya? It is thus replied:- During the states of dream and waking when one wrongly cognizes Reality like the perception of the snake in the place of the rope, he is said to be experiencing dream. Nidrā or sleep, characterised by the ignorance of Reality, is the common feature of the three states. Viśva and Taijasa, on account of their having the common features of Svapna (dream) and Nidrā (sleep), form a single class. That Nidrā (sleep) which is characterised by the predominance of wrong apprehension (of Reality) constitutes the state of inversion which is Svapna (dream). But in the third state, Nidrā (sleep), alone, characterised by the nonapprehension of Reality is the only inversion. (This forms the second or the other class implied in the text which speaks only of dream and sleep as covering the three states.) Therefore when these two classes of the nature of effect and cause, characterised by the mis-apprehension and non-apprehension respectively (of Reality), disappear by the destruction of the inversion characterised by effect and cause, by the knowledge of the nature of the Highest Reality, then one realises Turiya which is the goal. Then one does not find in Turiya this condition, the characteristics of which are these two (effect and cause), and one thus becomes firm in the Highest Reality which is Turiya.

Sloka : 1.16 (Karika)

अनादिमायया सुप्तो यदा जीवः प्रबुध्यते ।

अजमनिद्रमस्वप्नमद्वैतं बुध्यते तदा ॥ १६॥

anādimāyayā supto yadā jīvaḥ prabudhyate .

ajamanidramasvapnamadvaitaṃ budhyate tadā .. 16..

When the individual Self, sleeping under the influence of Maya that is beginningless, is awakened, then he realises (Turiya that is) unborn, sleepless, dreamless and non-dual.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

One who is called the Jiva, the individual soul, (whose characteristic is to be) subject to the law of transmigration, sleeping under the influence of Maya which is active from time without beginning and which has the double characteristics of non-apprehending (on account of its being of the nature of the cause) and mis-apprehending Reality, experiences such dreams as, “This is my father, this is my son, this is my grandson, this is my property and these are my animals, I am their master, I am happy, I am miserable, I have suffered loss on account of this, I have gained on this account”... When the Jiva remains asleep experiencing these dreams in the two states he is then thus, awakened by the gracious teacher who has himself realised the Reality, indicated by Vedānta:- “Thou art not this, of the nature of cause and effect, but That thou art.” When the Jiva is thus awakened from sleep, he, then, realises his real nature. What is his nature? It (Self) is birthless, because it is beyond cause and effect and because it has none of the characteristics such as birth, etc., which are (inevitably) associated with all (relative) existence. It is birthless, i.e., it is devoid of all changes associated with the object of relative existence including the conditions of cause and effect. It is Anidram (sleepless) because there does not exist in it Nidrā (sleep), the cause, of the nature of the darkness of Avidya, which produces the changes called birth, etc. Turiya is free from Svapna (dream) because it is free from Nidrā (sleep) which is the cause of mis-apprehension of Reality (dream). It is because the Self is free from sleep and dream therefore the Jiva, then realises himself as the Turiya Atman, birthless and non-dual.

Sloka : 1.17 (Karika)

प्रपञ्चो यदि विद्येत निवर्तेत न संशयः ।

मायामात्रमिदं द्वैतमद्वैतं परमार्थतः ॥ १७॥

prapañco yadi vidyeta nivarteta na saṃśayaḥ .

māyāmātramidaṃ dvaitamadvaitaṃ paramārthataḥ .. 17..

If a phenomenal world were to exist, it should, no doubt, cease to be. This duality is but an illusion; in reality it is non-dual.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

If the knowledge of non-duality (Turiya) be possible.after the disappearance of the perceived manifold, how could non-duality be said to exist (always) while the perceptual manifold remains? This is explained thus:- This would have been true if the manifold really existed. This manifold being only a false imagination, like the snake in the rope, does not really exist. There is no-doubt that it would (certainly) disappear if it really existed. The snake imagined in the rope, through false conception, does not really exist and therefore does, not disappear through correct understanding. Nor, similarly, does the illusion of the vision conjured up by the magician exist and then disappear as though a veil thrown over the eyes of the spectators (by the magician) were removed. Similar is this duality of the cognized universe called the Phenomenal or manifold, (Mayamātraṃ dvaitaṃ) a mere illusion. Non-duality Turiya like the rope and the magician (in the illustrations) is alone the Supreme Reality. Therefore the fact is that there is no such thing as the manifold about which appearance or disappearance can be predicated.

Sloka : 1.18 (Karika)

विकल्पो विनिवर्तेत कल्पितो यदि केनचित् ।

उपदेशादयं वादो ज्ञाते द्वैतं न विद्यते ॥ १८॥

vikalpo vinivarteta kalpito yadi kenacit .

upadeśādayaṃ vādo jñāte dvaitaṃ na vidyate .. 18..

The notion (such as the teacher, the taught and the scripture) will disappear, if anyone had imagined it. This notion (of the teacher etc.,) is for the purpose of instruction. When (the Truth is) realised, duality does not exist.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- How could (duality implied in) ideas such as the teacher, the taught and the scripture disappear? Reply:- This is thus explained. If such ideas had ever been imagined by someone then they might be supposed to disappear. As the manifold is like the illusion (conjured up by the magician or) of the snake in the rope, so also are the ideas of the teacher, etc. These ideas, namely, the ideas of teacher, taught, and scripture are for the purpose of teaching which are (therefore appear) true till one realises the Highest Truth. But duality does not exist when one, as a result of the teaching, attains knowledge, i.e., realises the Highest Reality.

Sloka : 8 (Upanishad)

सोऽयमात्माऽध्यक्षरमोंकारोऽधिमात्रं पादा

मात्रा मात्राश्च पादा अकार उकारो मकार इति ॥ ८॥

so'yamātmā'dhyakṣaramoṃkāro'dhimātraṃ pādā

mātrā mātrāśca pādā akāra ukāro makāra iti .. 8..

That same Self, from the point of view of the syllable, is Om, and viewed from the stand point of the letters, the quarters are the letters, and the letters are the quarters. The letters are a, u and m.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

In the word Aum prominence is given to that which is indicated by several names. The word Aum which has been explained before as Atman having four quarters is again the same Atman described here from the standpoint of syllable where prominence is given to the name. What, again, is that syllable? It is thus replied:- Aum. It is that word Aum which being divided into parts, is viewed from the standpoint of letters. How? Those which constitute the quarters of the Atman are the letters of Aum. What are they? The letters are A, U and M. Tn the first Upaniṣad it is said, “Aum, the word, is all this.” The word Aum is the name (abhidhāna) which indicates everything (abhidheya) past, present, future and all that which is beyond even the conception of time. Thus Aum is the name for Brahman. The second Upaniṣad declares that Brahman is the Atman. The Atman with its four quarters has been explained in the following Upaniṣads. Therefore all these explanations are of Aum from the standpoint of Atman where prominence is given to that which is indicated by names. Now the same Aum is explained from the standpoint of the word itself, that is the name which indicates Atman or the Supreme Reality. The Highest Truth as explained above by the process of the refutation of the erroneous superimposition can be grasped only by the students of sharp or middling intelligence. But those ordinary students who cannot enter upon philosophical reflection regarding the Supreme Reality as given in the previous texts, are advised to concentrate on Aum as the symbol of the Ultimate Reality.

Sloka : 9 (Upanishad)

जागरितस्थानो वैश्वानरोऽकारः प्रथमा

मात्राऽऽप्तेरादिमत्त्वाद् वाऽऽप्नोति ह वै सर्वान्

कामानादिश्च भवति य एवं वेद ॥ ९॥

jāgaritasthāno vaiśvānaro'kāraḥ prathamā

mātrā''pterādimattvād vā''pnoti ha vai sarvān

kāmānādiśca bhavati ya evaṃ veda .. 9..

Vaisvanara seated in the waking state is the first letter a, owing to its all-pervasiveness or being the first. He who knows thus verily accomplishes all longings and becomes the first.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Points of specific resemblance between them are thus pointed out. That which is Vaiśvānara, whose sphere of activity is the waking state, is the first letter of Aum. What is the Common feature between them? It is thus explained:- the first point of resemblance is pervasiveness. All sounds are pervaded by A. This is corroborated by the Śruti passage, “The sound A is the whole of speech.” Similarly the entire universe is pervaded by the Vaiśvānara as is evident from such Śruti passages as, “The effulgent Heaven is the head of this, the Vaiśvānara Atman,” etc. The identity of the name and the object, indicated by the name, has already been described. The word ‘Ādimat’ means that this has a beginning. As the letter A is with a beginning, so also is Vaiśvānara. Vaiśvānara is identical with A on account of this common feature. The knower of this identity gets the following result :- One who knows this, i.e., the identity described above, has all his desires fulfilled and becomes the first of the great.

Sloka : 10 (Upanishad)

स्वप्नस्थानस्तैजस उकारो द्वितीया मात्रोत्कर्षाद्

उभयत्वाद्वोत्कर्षति ह वै ज्ञानसन्ततिं समानश्च भवति

नास्याब्रह्मवित्कुले भवति य एवं वेद ॥ १०॥

svapnasthānastaijasa ukāro dvitīyā mātrotkarṣād

ubhayatvādvotkarṣati ha vai jñānasantatiṃ samānaśca bhavati

nāsyābrahmavitkule bhavati ya evaṃ veda .. 10..

Taijasa seated in the dream is u, the second letter (of Om), owing to the similarity of excellence or intermediate position. He who knows thus verily advances the bounds of his knowledge and becomes equal (to all) and none who is not a knower of Brahman is born in his family.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

He who is Taijasa having for its sphere of activity the dream state is U (उ) the second letter of Aum. What is the point of resemblance? It is thus replied:- The one common feature is superiority. The letter U:is, as it were, ‘superior’ to A; similarly Taijasa is superior to Viśva. Another common feature is:- the letter U (उ) is in between the letters A (अ) and M (म). Similarly Taijasa is in between Viśva and Prajna. Therefore this condition of being in the middle is the common feature. Now is described the result of this knowledge. The knowledge (of the knower of this identity) is always on the increase, i.e., his power of knowing increases considerably. He is regarded in the same way by all, i.e., his enemies, like his friends, do not envy him. Further, in his family not one is born who is not a knower of Brahman.

Sloka : 11 (Upanishad)

सुषुप्तस्थानः प्राज्ञो मकारस्तृतीया मात्रा मितेरपीतेर्वा

मिनोति ह वा इदꣳ सर्वमपीतिश्च भवति य एवं वेद ॥ ११॥

suṣuptasthānaḥ prājño makārastṛtīyā mātrā miterapītervā

minoti ha vā idagͫ sarvamapītiśca bhavati ya evaṃ veda .. 11..

Prajna seated in the state of deep sleep is m, the third letter (of Om), because of his being the measure or the entity wherein all become absorbed. He who knows thus measures all this and absorbs all.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

One who is Prajna associated with deep sleep is M (म) the third sound (letter) of Aum. What is the common feature? It is thus explained. Here this is the common feature:- The word Miti in the text means “measure”. As barley is measured by Prastha (a kind of measure), so also Viśva and Taijasa are, as it were, measured by Prajna during their evolution (utpātti) and involution (praḷaya) by their appearance from and disappearance into Prajna (deep sleep). Similarly after once finishing the utterance of Aum when it is re-uttered, the sounds (letters) A and U, as it were, merge into and emerge from M. Another common feature is described by the word “Apiteh” which means “becoming one”. When the word Aum is uttered the sounds (letters) A and U become one, as it were, in the last sound (letter) M. Similarly, Viśva and Taijasa become one (merge themselves) in Prajna in deep sleep. Therefore Prajna and the sound M are identical on account of this common basis that underlies them both. Now is described the merit of this knowledge. (One who knows this identity) comprehends all this, i.e., the real nature of the universe. Further he realises himself as the Atman, the cause of the universe, i.e., Isvara. The enumeration of these secondary merits is for the purpose of extolling the principal means (of knowledge).

Sloka : 1.19 (Karika)

अत्रैते श्लोका भवन्ति

विश्वस्यात्वविवक्षायामादिसामान्यमुत्कटम् ।

मात्रासम्प्रतिपत्तौ स्यादाप्तिसामान्यमेव च ॥ १९॥

atraite ślokā bhavanti

viśvasyātvavivakṣāyāmādisāmānyamutkaṭam .

mātrāsampratipattau syādāptisāmānyameva ca .. 19..

When the identity of Visva with the letter a is meant, ie., when the identity of Visva with the letter a is admitted, the common feature of being the first is seen to be obvious, as also the common feature of all-pervasiveness.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

When the Śruti intends to describe Viśva as of the same nature as A (अ), then the most prominent ground is seen to be the fact of each being the first, as described in the Upaniṣad discussed above. “Mātrā sampratipath” in the text means the identity of Viśva and A. Another prominent reason for such identity is their all-pervasiveness.

Sloka : 1.20 (Karika)

तैजसस्योत्वविज्ञान उत्कर्षो दृश्यते स्फुटम् ।

मात्रासम्प्रतिपत्तौ स्यादुभयत्वं तथाविधम् ॥ २०॥

taijasasyotvavijñāna utkarṣo dṛśyate sphuṭam .

mātrāsampratipattau syādubhayatvaṃ tathāvidham .. 20..

In the event of Taijasa being apprehended as identical with u, ie, when the identity of taijasa with the letter u is admitted, the common feature of superiority is seen clearly and so, too, is the intermediate position.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

When Taijasa is intended to be described as ‘U’, the reason of their being ‘Superior’ (in respective cases) is seen to be quite clear. Their being in ‘the middle’ is also another plain ground. All these explanations are as before.

Sloka : 1.21 (Karika)

मकारभावे प्राज्ञस्य मानसामान्यमुत्कटम् ।

मात्रासम्प्रतिपत्तौ तु लयसामान्यमेव च ॥ २१॥

makārabhāve prājñasya mānasāmānyamutkaṭam .

mātrāsampratipattau tu layasāmānyameva ca .. 21..

In the even of Prajna being apprehended as identical with m, ie, when the identity of Prajna with the letter m is admitted, the common feature of being the measure is seen to be obvious and so too is the common feature of absorption.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Regarding the identity of Prajna, and M the plain common features are that both of them are the ‘measure’ as well as that wherein all merge.

Sloka : 1.22 (Karika)

त्रिषु धामसु यत्तुल्यं सामान्यं वेत्ति निश्चितः ।

स पूज्यः सर्वभूतानां वन्द्यश्चैव महामुनिः ॥ २२॥

triṣu dhāmasu yattulyaṃ sāmānyaṃ vetti niścitaḥ .

sa pūjyaḥ sarvabhūtānāṃ vandyaścaiva mahāmuniḥ .. 22..

He who knows conclusively the common similarities in the three states, becomes worthy of worship and adoration by all beings, and is also a great sage.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

One who knows positively, i.e., without a shadow of doubt, the common features that are found in the three states, is worshipped and adored in the world. He is a knower of Brahman.

Sloka : 1.23 (Karika)

अकारो नयते विश्वमुकारश्चापि तैजसम् ।

मकारश्च पुनः प्राज्ञं नामात्रे विद्यते गतिः ॥ २३॥

akāro nayate viśvamukāraścāpi taijasam .

makāraśca punaḥ prājñaṃ nāmātre vidyate gatiḥ .. 23..

The letter a leads to Visva and the letter u to Taijasa. Again, the letter m (leads) to Prajna. For the one who is free from letters, there is no attainment.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Having identified the quarters of Atman with the sounds (letters) of Aum, on account of the common features stated above, he who realises the nature of the sound Aum, described above, and meditates upon it, attains to Viśva through the help of A. The meaning is that he who meditates on Aum having for his support A becomes Vaiśvānara. Similarly the meditator of U becomes Taijasa. Again the sound M leads its meditator to Prajna. But when M too disappears, causality itself is negated. Therefore about such Aum, which thus becomes soundless, no attainment can be predicated.

Sloka : 12 (Upanishad)

अमात्रश्चतुर्थोऽव्यवहार्यः प्रपञ्चोपशमः शिवोऽद्वैत

एवमोंकार आत्मैव संविशत्यात्मनाऽऽत्मानं य एवं वेद ॥ १२॥

amātraścaturtho'vyavahāryaḥ prapañcopaśamaḥ śivo'dvaita

evamoṃkāra ātmaiva saṃviśatyātmanā''tmānaṃ ya evaṃ veda .. 12..

That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The amātroḥ (soundless) is that which has no parts (sounds, etc., or letters). This partless Aum which is the fourth, is nothing but Pure Atman. It is incomprehensible, because both speech and mind which correspond to the name and the object disappear or cease; the name and the object (that is indicated by the name) which are only forms of speech and mind cease or disappear (in the partless Aum), It is the cessation of the (illusion of) phenomena and all bliss and is identical with non-duality. Aum, as thus understood, has three sounds which are the same as the three quarters and therefore Aum is identical with Atman. He who knows this merges his self in the Self which is the Highest Reality. Those who know Brahman, i.e., those who realise the Highest Reality merge into Self, because in their case the notion of the cause which corresponds to the third quarter (of Atman) is destroyed (burnt). They are not born again, because Turiya is not a cause. For, the illusory snake which has merged in the rope on the discrimination of the snake from the rope, does not reappear as before, to those who know the distinction between them, by any effort of the mind (due to the previous impressions). To the men of dull or mediocre intellect who still consider themselves as students of philosophy, who having renounced the world, tread on the path of virtue and who know the common features between the sounds (mātrāḥ) and the quarters (or parts) as described above,—to them Aum, if meditated upon in a proper way, becomes a great help to the realisation of Brahman. The same is indicated in the Kārikā later on thus:- “The three inferior stages of life, etc” (Māṇḍūkya Kārikā, Advaita Chapter, 16.)

Sloka : 1.24 (Karika)

अत्रैते श्लोका भवन्ति

ओंकारं पादशो विद्यात्पादा मात्रा न संशयः ।

ओंकारं पादशो ज्ञात्वा न किञ्चिदपि चिन्तयेत् ॥ २४॥

atraite ślokā bhavanti

oṃkāraṃ pādaśo vidyātpādā mātrā na saṃśayaḥ .

oṃkāraṃ pādaśo jñātvā na kiñcidapi cintayet .. 24..

Om should be known, quarter by quarter. It is beyond doubt that the quarters (of the self) are the letters (of Om). Having known Om, quarter by quarter, one should not think of anything else.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Here are, as before, the following verses:- Aumkāra should be known along with the quarters; for the quarters are identical with sounds (letters) because of their common features described before. Having thus understood Aumkāra, no other object, seen or unseen, should be thought of; for, the knower of Aumkāra has all his desires fulfilled.

Sloka : 1.25 (Karika)

युञ्जीत प्रणवे चेतः प्रणवो ब्रह्म निर्भयम् ।

प्रणवे नित्ययुक्तस्य न भयं विद्यते क्वचित् ॥ २५॥

yuñjīta praṇave cetaḥ praṇavo brahma nirbhayam .

praṇave nityayuktasya na bhayaṃ vidyate kvacit .. 25..

Let the mind be fixed on Om, for Om is Brahman, the fearless. For him who us ever fixed on Om, there is no fear anywhere.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The word Yuñjīta means to unify, i.e., to absorb. The mind should be absorbed in Aum, which is of the nature of the Supreme Reality, as explained before. The Aum is Brahman, the ever-fearless. He who is always unified with Aum knows no fear whatever; for the Śruti says, “The knower of Brahman is not afraid of anything”.

Sloka : 1.26 (Karika)

प्रणवो ह्यपरं ब्रह्म प्रणवश्च परः स्मृतः ।

अपूर्वोऽनन्तरोऽबाह्योऽनपरः प्रणवोऽव्ययः ॥ २६॥

praṇavo hyaparaṃ brahma praṇavaśca paraḥ smṛtaḥ .

apūrvo'nantaro'bāhyo'naparaḥ praṇavo'vyayaḥ .. 26..

Om is indeed the lower Brahman; Om is (also) regarded as the higher (Brahman). Om is without a cause, without interior and exterior, without effect, and is undecaying.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Aum is both the Lower Brahman and the Supreme TuriyaWhen from the highest standpoint, the sounds and quarters disappear (in the soundless Aum) it is verily the same as the Supreme Brahman. It is without cause because no cause can be predicated of it. It is unique because nothing else, belonging to any other species-separate from it, exists. Similarly nothing else exists outside it. It is further not related to any effect (because it is not the cause of anything). It is without cause and exists everywhere, both inside and outside, like salt in the water of the ocean.

Sloka : 1.27 (Karika)

सर्वस्य प्रणवो ह्यादिर्मध्यमन्तस्तथैव च ।

एवं हि प्रणवं ज्ञात्वा व्यश्नुते तदनन्तरम् ॥ २७॥

sarvasya praṇavo hyādirmadhyamantastathaiva ca .

evaṃ hi praṇavaṃ jñātvā vyaśnute tadanantaram .. 27..

Om is indeed the beginning, middle and end of everything. Having known Om thus, one attains immediately the identity with the self.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Aum is the beginning, middle and end of all; that is, everything originates from Aum, is sustained by it and ultimately merges in it. As the magician, etc. (without undergoing any change in themselves) stand in relation to the illusory elephant, (the illusion of) snake-rope, the mirage and the dream, etc., so also is the sacred syllable Aum to the manifested manifold such as Ākāśa (ether), etc. The meaning is that he who knows thus, the Aum, Atman, which, like the magician, etc., does not undergo any change, at once becomes unified with it.

Sloka : 1.28 (Karika)

प्रणवं हीश्वरं विद्यात्सर्वस्य हृदि संस्थितम् ।

सर्वव्यापिनमोङ्कारं मत्वा धीरो न शोचति ॥ २८॥

praṇavaṃ hīśvaraṃ vidyātsarvasya hṛdi saṃsthitam .

sarvavyāpinamoṅkāraṃ matvā dhīro na śocati .. 28..

One should know Om to be the Lord dwelling in the hearts of all. having known the all-pervasive Om, the intelligent one does not grieve.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Know Aum as the Isvara present in the mind, which is the seat of memory and perception, of all things. The man of discrimination realising Aumkāra as all-pervading like the sky, i.e., knowing it as the Atman, not bound by the law of transmigration, does not grieve; for, there is no cause of misery for him. The Scriptures also abound in such passages as, “The knower of Atman goes beyond grief.”

Sloka : 1.29 (Karika)

अमात्रोऽनन्तमात्रश्च द्वैतस्योपशमः शिवः ।

ओंकारो विदितो येन स मुनिर्नेतरो जनः ॥ २९॥

इति माण्डूक्योपनिषदर्थाविष्करणपरायांसु

गौडपादियकारीकायांसु प्रथममागमप्रकरणम् ॥ १॥

। ॐ तत्सत् ।

amātro'nantamātraśca dvaitasyopaśamaḥ śivaḥ .

oṃkāro vidito yena sa munirnetaro janaḥ .. 29..

iti māṇḍūkyopaniṣadarthāviṣkaraṇaparāyāṃsu

gauḍapādiyakārīkāyāṃsu prathamamāgamaprakaraṇam .. 1..

. oṃ tatsat .

He by whom is known Om which is without measure and possessed of infinite magnitude and which is auspicious, since all duality ceases in it, is a sage and none else.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Amātra or soundless Aum signifies Turiya Mātrā means “measure”; that which has infinite measure or magnitude is called Anantamātra. That is to say, it is mot possible to determine its extension or measure by pointing to this or that. It is ever-peaceful on account of its being the negation of all duality. He who knows Aum, as explained above, is the (real) sage because he has realised the nature of the Supreme Reality. No one else, though he may be an expert in the knowledge of the Scriptures, is a sage.

Sloka : 2.1 (Karika)

गौडपादीयकारिकासु वैतथ्याख्यं द्वितीयं प्रकरणम् ।

। हरिः ॐ ।

वैतथ्यं सर्वभावानां स्वप्न आहुर्मनीषिणः ।

अन्तःस्थानात्तु भावानां संवृतत्वेन हेतुना ॥ १॥

gauḍapādīyakārikāsu vaitathyākhyaṃ dvitīyaṃ prakaraṇam .

. hariḥ oṃ .

vaitathyaṃ sarvabhāvānāṃ svapna āhurmanīṣiṇaḥ .

antaḥsthānāttu bhāvānāṃ saṃvṛtatvena hetunā .. 1..

The wise declare the unreality of all objects in a dream because they are located within (the body) and (also) because they are confined within a limited space.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Aum. It has been already said, “Duality does not exist when (true) knowledge arises,” and this is borne out by such Śruti passages as, “It (Atman) is verily one and without a second,” etc. This is all based merely on the authority of the Śruti. It is also equally possible to determine the unreality (illusoriness) of duality through pure reasoning; and for this purpose is begun the second chapter which commences with the words Vaitathyam (unreality) etc. The word, Vaitathyam signifies the fact of its being unreal or false. Of what is this (unreality) predicated? Of all objects, both internal and external, perceived in the dream. It is thus declared by the wise, i.e., those who are experts in the use of the means (pramāṇas) of arriving at true knowledge. The reason of this unreality is stated thus; For, the objects perceived are found to be located within the body. All these entities such as a mountain, an elephant, etc., perceived in the dream are cognized there (i.e., within) and not outside the body. Therefore they must be regarded as unreal. Objection:- This (“being within”) is no valid reason. A jar and other things on account of their being perceived within a cover, such as a cloth, etc. (cannot be called unreal). Reply:- On account of their being confined in a limited space, that is, within the body (where dream objects are cognized). It is not possible for the mountain, the elephant, etc., to exist in the limited space (within the nerves of the body) which are within the body.. A mountain does not or cannot exist inside a body.

Sloka : 2.2 (Karika)

अदीर्घत्वाच्च कालस्य गत्वा देशान्न पश्यति ।

प्रतिबुद्धश्च वै सर्वस्तस्मिन्देशे न विद्यते ॥ २॥

adīrghatvācca kālasya gatvā deśānna paśyati .

pratibuddhaśca vai sarvastasmindeśe na vidyate .. 2..

Since the period is short, one does not go to the place and see. Also, every dreamer, when awakened, does not exist in that place (of dream).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

That all that is perceived to exist in dreams is located in a limited space, is not a fact. For a man sleeping in the east, often finds himself, as it were , experiencing dreams in the north. Anticipating this objection (of the opponent) it is said:—The dreamer does not go to another region outside his body where he experiences dream. For, it is found that as soon as a man falls asleep he experiences dream objects, as it were, at a place which is hundreds of Yojanas away from his body and which can be reached only in the course of a month. The long period of time which is necessary to go to that region (where dream objects are perceived) and again to come back (to the place where the sleeper lies) is not found to be an actual fact. Hence on account of the shortness of time the experiencer of the dream does not go to another region. Moreover, the dreamer when he wakes up, does not find himself in the place where he experiences the dream. Had the man (really) gone to another place while dreaming and cognized (or perceived) the dream-objects there, then he would have certainly woke up there alone. But this does not happen. Though a man goes to sleep at night he feels as though he were seeing objects in the day-time and meeting many persons. (If that meeting were real) he ought to have been met by those persons (whom he himself met during the dream). But this does not happen; for if it did, they would have said, “We met you there to-day.” But this does not happen. Therefore one does not (really) go to another region in dream.

Sloka : 2.3 (Karika)

अभावश्च रथादीनां श्रूयते न्यायपूर्वकम् ।

वैतथ्यं तेन वै प्राप्तं स्वप्न आहुः प्रकाशितम् ॥ ३॥

abhāvaśca rathādīnāṃ śrūyate nyāyapūrvakam .

vaitathyaṃ tena vai prāptaṃ svapna āhuḥ prakāśitam .. 3..

The non-existence of the chariot etc., (seen in dream) is heard of (in the sruti) from the point of view of reasoning. The knowers of Brahman say that the unreality thus arrived at (through reasoning) is revealed (by the sruti) in the context of dream.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

For this reason also the objects perceived to exist in dream are illusory. For, the absence of the chariots, etc. (perceived in dream) is stated by Śruti, in such passages as “There exists neither chariot, etc.” its assertion being based on reason. In the opinion of the wise, i.e., the knowers of Brahman, the illusoriness (of the dream objects) has been established on the ground of their being perceived within the contracted space in the body. The Śruīi only reiterates it in order to establish the self-luminosity (of Atman) in dream.

Sloka : 2.4 (Karika)

अन्तःस्थानात्तु भेदानां तस्माज्जागरिते स्मृतम् ।

यथा तत्र तथा स्वप्ने संवृतत्वेन भिद्यते ॥ ४॥

antaḥsthānāttu bhedānāṃ tasmājjāgarite smṛtam .

yathā tatra tathā svapne saṃvṛtatvena bhidyate .. 4..

There is the unreality of the objects even in the waking state. Just as they are unreal in dream, so also are they unreal in the waking state. the objects (in dream) differ owing to the location within the body owing to the spatial limitation.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The proposition to be established (Pratijñā) is the illusoriness of objects that are perceived in the waking state. “Being perceived” is the “ground” (hetu) for the inference. They are like the objects that are perceived in dream, is the illustration (dṛṣṭāntaḥ). As the objects perceived to exist in dream are illusory so also are the objects perceived in the waking state. The common feature of “being perceived” is the relation (Upanaya) between the illustration given and the proposition taken for consideration. Therefore the illusoriness is admitted of objects that are perceived to exist in the waking state. This is what is known as the reiteration (Nigamanam) of the proposition or the conclusion. The objects perceived to exist in the dream are different from those perceived in the waking state in respect of their being perceived in a limited space within the body. The fact of being seen and the (consequent) illusoriness are common to both.

Sloka : 2.5 (Karika)

स्वप्नजागरितस्थाने ह्येकमाहुर्मनीषिणः ।

भेदानां हि समत्वेन प्रसिद्धेनैव हेतुना ॥ ५॥

svapnajāgaritasthāne hyekamāhurmanīṣiṇaḥ .

bhedānāṃ hi samatvena prasiddhenaiva hetunā .. 5..

The wise say that the states of waking and dream are same, in view of the similarity of the objects (seen in both the states) and in view of the well-known ground of inference.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The identity (of the experiences) of the dream and waking states is declared by the wise on account of the reason, already stated, i.e., the experience of objects (in both the states) is associated with subject-object relationship. This Kārikā enunciates the conclusion that has already been arrived at in the previous inference by the wise.

Sloka : 2.6 (Karika)

आदावन्ते च यन्नास्ति वर्तमानेऽपि तत्तथा ॥

वितथैः सदृशाः सन्तोऽवितथा इव लक्षिताः ॥ ६॥

ādāvante ca yannāsti vartamāne'pi tattathā ..

vitathaiḥ sadṛśāḥ santo'vitathā iva lakṣitāḥ .. 6..

That which is non-existent in the beginning and at the end is definitely so in the present (ie., in the middle). The objects, though they bear the mark of the unreal, appear as though real.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The objects perceived to exist in the waking state are unreal for this reason also, that they do not really exist either at the beginning or at the end. Such objects (of experience) as mirage, etc., do not really exist either at the beginning or at the end. Therefore they do not (really) exist in the middle either. This is the decided opinion of the world. The several objects perceived to exist really in the waking state are also of the same nature. Though they (the objects of experience) are of the same nature as illusory objects, such as mirage, etc., on account of their non-existence at the beginning and at the end, still they are regarded as real by the ignorant, that is, the persons that do not know Atman.

Sloka : 2.7 (Karika)

सप्रयोजनता तेषां स्वप्ने विप्रतिपद्यते ।

तस्मादाद्यन्तवत्त्वेन मिथ्यैव खलु ते स्मृताः ॥ ७॥

saprayojanatā teṣāṃ svapne vipratipadyate .

tasmādādyantavattvena mithyaiva khalu te smṛtāḥ .. 7..

Their utility is opposed in dream. therefore, on the ground of having a beginning and an end, they are regarded as definitely unreal.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- The assertion that the objects perceived to exist in the waking state are illusory like those of the dream state is illogical. It is so because the objects of the waking experience, such as food, drink or vehicles, etc., are seen to serve some purpose, that is, they appease hunger and thirst as well as do the work of carrying a man to and fro. But this is not the case with the objects perceived in dream. Therefore the conclusion that the objects perceived in the waking state are unreal like those seen in dream is mere fancy. Reply:- It is not so. Objection:- Why? Reply:- It is because the serving as means to some end or purpose which is found in respect of food, drink, etc. (in the waking state) is contradicted in dream. A man, in the waking state, eats and drinks and feels appeased and free from thirst. But as soon as he goes into sleep, he finds himself (in dream) afflicted with hunger and thirst as if he were without food and drink for days and nights. And the contrary also happens to be equally true. A man satiated with food and drink in dream finds himself, when awakened, quite hungry and thirsty. Therefore the objects perceived in the waking state are contradicted in dream. Hence, we think that the illusoriness of the objects perceived in the waking state like those of dream need not be doubted. Therefore both these objects are undoubtedly admitted to be illusory on account of their common feature of having a beginning and an end.

Sloka : 2.8 (Karika)

अपूर्वं स्थानिधर्मो हि यथा स्वर्गनिवासिनाम् ।

तान्यं प्रेक्षते गत्वा यथैवेह सुशिक्षितः ॥ ८॥

apūrvaṃ sthānidharmo hi yathā svarganivāsinām .

tānyaṃ prekṣate gatvā yathaiveha suśikṣitaḥ .. 8..

(To see) unusual things (in dream) is indeed an attribute of the dreamer just as it is in the case of those who dwell in heaven. These he perceives by going there, even as one, well instructed, does in this world.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- The assertion about the illusoriness of objects perceived in the waking state on account of their similarity to those perceived in the dream state is not correct. Reply:- Why? Objection:- The illustration does not agree with the thing to be illustrated. Reply:- How? Objection:- Those objects that are cognized in the waking state are not seen in dream. Reply:- What then are they (dream experiences)? Objection:- A man perceives in dream objects which.are never usually seen in the waking state. He finds himself (in dream) to be with eight hands and seated on an elephant with four tusks. Similarly various other unusual (abnormal) objects are seen in the dream. These (dream objects) are not like other illusory objects. They are, without doubt, real (in themselves). Therefore the illustration does not agree. Hence, the statement that the waking experiences are unreal like those of dream is not correct. Reply:- No, your conclusion is not correct. You think that the objects perceived in dream are extraordinary (not like those usually seen in the waking state), but these are not absolutely real in themselves. What, then, is their nature? They are only peculiar to the circumstances of the perceiver associated with those (dream) conditions, i.e., of the dreamer associated with the dream-conditions. As the denizens of heaven, such as Indra, etc., have the characteristics of being endowed with a thousand eyes, etc. (on account of the very condition of their existence in heaven), so also there are the (peculiar) unusual (abnormal) features of the dreamer (on account of the peculiar condition of the dream state). These (dream experiences) are not absolutely real like the absolute reality of the perceiver. The dreamer associated with the (dream) conditions, while in the dream state, sees all these abnormal or peculiar objects which are but the imaginations of his own mind. It is like the case of a man, in the waking experience, who is well instructed regarding the route to be taken to reach another country, and who while going to that country sees on the way objects belonging to that locality. Hence as perception of snake in the rope and the mirage in the desert which are due to the (mental) conditions of the perceiver are unreal, so also the objects transcending the limits of the waking experience, perceived in dream, are unreal on account of their being due to the (peculiar) condition of the dream state itself. Therefore the illustration of dream is not incorrect.

Sloka : 2.9 (Karika)

स्वप्नवृत्तावपि त्वन्तश्चेतसा कल्पितं त्वसत् ।

बहिश्चेतोगृहीतं सद्दृष्टं वैतथ्यमेतयोः ॥ ९॥

svapnavṛttāvapi tvantaścetasā kalpitaṃ tvasat .

bahiścetogṛhītaṃ saddṛṣṭaṃ vaitathyametayoḥ .. 9..

Even in dream what is imagined by the mind (chitta) within is unreal, while what is grasped outside by the mind is real. But both these are seen to be unreal.

Sloka : 2.10 (Karika)

जाग्रद्वृत्तावपि त्वन्तश्चेतसा कल्पितं त्वसत् ।

बहिश्चेतोगृहीतं सद्युक्तं वैतथ्यमेतयोः ॥ १०॥

jāgradvṛttāvapi tvantaścetasā kalpitaṃ tvasat .

bahiścetogṛhītaṃ sadyuktaṃ vaitathyametayoḥ .. 10..

Even in the waking state what is imagined by the mind within is unreal, while what is grasped by the mind outside is real. It is reasonable to hold both these to be unreal.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Having refuted the contention of the opponent that there exists no similarity between objects of the waking state and the abnormal (unusual) objects seen in dream, (the text proceeds to point out) the truth of the objects of waking state being (unreal) like those of dream. In the dream state also those which are mere modifications of the mind, cognized within, are illusory. For, such internal objects vanish the moment after they are cognized. In that very dream such objects as pot, etc., cognized by the mind and perceived by the sense-organs, eyes, etc., as existing outside, are held to be real. Thus, though all the dream experiences are, without doubt, known to be unreal, yet they arrange themselves as real and unreal. Both kinds of objects (in dream), imagined by the mind internally and externally, are found to be unreal. Similarly in the waking experience objects known as real and imaginary (mental) should be rationally held to be unreal. Objects, internal and external, are creations of the mind (whether they be-in the dream or in the waking state). Other matters have already been explained.

Sloka : 2.11 (Karika)

उभयोरपि वैतथ्यं भेदानां स्थानयोर्यदि ।

क एतान्बुध्यते भेदान् को वै तेषां विकल्पकः ॥ ११॥

ubhayorapi vaitathyaṃ bhedānāṃ sthānayoryadi .

ka etānbudhyate bhedān ko vai teṣāṃ vikalpakaḥ .. 11..

If the objects of both the states be unreal, who comprehends all these and who again imagines them?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The opponent asks, “If the objects, cognized in the-waking and dream states, be devoid of reality, who is the cognizer of these,—objects imagined by the mind, both inside (subjective), and outside (objective)? Who is, again, their fmaginer?” In short, what is the support (substratum) of memory and knowledge? If you say none,. then we shall be led to the conclusion that there is nothing like Atman or Self.

Sloka : 2.12 (Karika)

कल्पयत्यात्मनाऽऽत्मानमात्मा देवः स्वमायया

स एव बुध्यते भेदानिति वेदान्तनिश्चयः ॥ १२॥

kalpayatyātmanā''tmānamātmā devaḥ svamāyayā

sa eva budhyate bhedāniti vedāntaniścayaḥ .. 12..

The self-luminous Self, by Its own Maya imagines Itself by Itself and It alone cognises all objects. This is a settled fact of the Vedanta-texts.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The self-luminous Atman himself, by his own Maya, imagines in himself the different objects, to be described hereafter. It is like the imagining of the snake, etc., in the rope, etc. He himself cognizes them, as he has imagined them. There is no other substratum of knowledge and memory. The aim of Vedānta is to declare that knowledge and memory are not without, support as the Buddhistic nihilists maintain.

Sloka : 2.13 (Karika)

विकरोत्यपरान्भावानन्तश्चित्ते व्यवस्थितान् ।

नियतांश्च बहिश्चित्त एवं कल्पयते प्रभुः ॥ १३॥

vikarotyaparānbhāvānantaścitte vyavasthitān .

niyatāṃśca bahiścitta evaṃ kalpayate prabhuḥ .. 13..

The Lord imagined in diverse forms the worldly objects existing in the mind. With the mind turned outward, He imagines diversely permanent objects (as also impermanent things). Thus the Lord imagines.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How does he imagine the ideas? It is described thus:—The word “Vikaroti” means creates or imagines, i.e., manifests in multiple forms. Lord, i.e., Atman,. with his mind turned outward, imagines in diverse forms various objects, perceived in the (outside) world, such as sound, etc., as well as other objects, and also various objects permanent (such as earth, etc.), and impermanent, i.e., which exist only for the moment, i.e., as long as that imagination lasts—all being of the nature of subtle ideas (Vāsanas) in his mind and not yet fully manifested. Similarly, turning his mind within, the Lord imagines various ideas which are subjective. “Prabhu” in the text means the Lord (Isvara), i.e., the Atman.

Sloka : 2.14 (Karika)

चित्तकाला हि येऽन्तस्तु द्वयकालाश्च ये बहिः ॥

कल्पिता एव ते सर्वे विशेषो नान्यहेतुकः ॥ १४॥

cittakālā hi ye'ntastu dvayakālāśca ye bahiḥ ..

kalpitā eva te sarve viśeṣo nānyahetukaḥ .. 14..

Things that exist within as long as the thought lasts and things that are external and conform to two points of time, are all imaginations alone. The distinction (between them) is caused by nothing else.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

A doubt is raised as to the statement that everything is mere imagination of mind like the dream. For, the imagination of mind, such as desire, etc., determined by mind, is different from objects perceived to exist outside, on account of the latter being determined by two points in time. This objection is not valid. Objects perceived to exist within, only as long as the thought About them lasts, signify those (subjective) ideas which are only determined by mind; i.e., such objects have no other time to determine them except that wherein the idea in the mind exists (when.imagining such ideas). The meaning is that such (subjective) ideas are experienced at the time when they are imagined. Objects related to two points of time signify those external objects which are cognizable by others at some other point of time and which cognize the latter in their turn. Therefore such objects are said to be mutually limited by one another. As for example, when it is said that he remains till the cow is milked, the statement means, “The cow is milked as long as he remains and he remains as long as the cow is milked.” A similar instance is the following:- “It is like that, that is like this.” In this way, the objects perceived to exist outside mutually determine one another. Therefore they are known as “Dvayakālāh” that is, related to two points in time. Ideas perceived within and existing as long as the mind that cognizes them lasts, as well as the external objects related to two points in time, are all mere imaginations. The peculiar characteristic of being related to two points in time of the objects that are perceived to exist outside is not due to any other cause except their being imagined by the mind. Therefore the illustration of dream well applies here.

Sloka : 2.15 (Karika)

अव्यक्ता एव येऽन्तस्तु स्फुटा एव च ये बहिः ।

कल्पिता एव ते सर्वे विशेषस्त्विन्द्रियान्तरे ॥ १५॥

avyaktā eva ye'ntastu sphuṭā eva ca ye bahiḥ .

kalpitā eva te sarve viśeṣastvindriyāntare .. 15..

The objects that seem to be unmanifested within the mind, and those that seem to be manifested without, are all mere imaginations, their distinction being the difference in the sense-organs.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Though the objects perceived within, as mere mental impressions, are unmanifested, and though the objects perceived outside through the sense-organs such as eyes, etc., are known as manifested (gross entities), yet the distinction is not due to anything substantial in the nature of the (two kinds of) objects. For, such distinction is seen in dreams as well. What is, then, the cause of this distinction? It is only due to the difference in the use of sense-organs (by means of which these objects are perceived). Hence, it is established that the objects perceived in the waking state are as much imagination of the mind as those seen in the dream.

Sloka : 2.16 (Karika)

जीवं कल्पयते पूर्वं ततो भावान्पृथग्विधान् ।

बाह्यानाध्यात्मिकांश्चैव यथाविद्यस्तथास्मृतिः ॥ १६॥

jīvaṃ kalpayate pūrvaṃ tato bhāvānpṛthagvidhān .

bāhyānādhyātmikāṃścaiva yathāvidyastathāsmṛtiḥ .. 16..

First of all, He imagines the Jiva (individual soul) and then (He imagines) various objects, external and internal. As is (a man’s) knowledge, so is (his) memory of it.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What is the source of the imagination of various objects, subjective and objective that are perceived and appear to be related to one another as cause and effect? It is thus explained:—The Jiva is of the nature of cause and effect and is further characterised by such ideas as “I do this, I am happy and miserable.” Such Jiva is, at first, imagined in the Atman which is pure and devoid of any such characteristics, like the imagination of a snake in a rope. Then for the knowledge of the Jiva are imagined various existent entities, both subjective and objective, such as Prana, etc., constituting different ideas such as the agent, action and the result (of action). What is the cause of this imagination? It is thus explained:—It, the Jiva, who is the product of imagination and competent to effect further imagination, has its memory determined by its own inherent knowledge. That is to say, its knowledge is always followed by a memory, similar to that knowledge. Hence, from the knowledge of the idea of cause results the knowledge of the idea of the effect. Then follows.the memory of both cause and effect. This memory is followed by its knowledge which results in the various states of knowledge characterised by action, actor and the effect. These are followed by their memory, which, in its turn, is followed by the states of knowledge. In this way are imagined various objects, subjective and objective, which are perceived and seen to be related to one another as cause and effect.

Sloka : 2.17 (Karika)

अनिश्चिता यथा रज्जुरन्धकारे विकल्पिता ।

सर्पधारादिभिर्भावैस्तद्वदात्मा विकल्पितः ॥ १७॥

aniścitā yathā rajjurandhakāre vikalpitā .

sarpadhārādibhirbhāvaistadvadātmā vikalpitaḥ .. 17..

Just as a rope, the nature of which is not known in the dark, is imagined to be things such as a snake, a water-line, etc., so too is the Self imagined (as various things).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

It has been said that the imagination of Jiva (the Jiva- idea) is the source of all (other) imaginations (ideas). What is the cause of this Jiva -idea? It is thus explained by an illustration:—It is found in common experience that a rope, not known as such, is imagined, in hazy darkness, as snake, water-line, stick or any one of the many similar things. All this is due to the previous absence of knowledge regarding the real nature of the rope. If previously the rope had been known in its real nature, then the imagination of snake, etc., would not have been possible, as in the case of one’s own fingers. Similarly, Atman has been variously imagined as, Jiva, Prana and so forth because It is not known in Its own nature, I.e., pure essence of knowledge itself, the non-dual Atman, quite distinct from such phenomenal characteristics indicated by the relation of cause and effect, etc., which are productive of misery. This is the unmistakable verdict of all the Upaniṣads.

Sloka : 2.18 (Karika)

निश्चितायां यथा रज्ज्वां विकल्पो विनिवर्तते ।

रज्जुरेवेति चाद्वैतं तद्वदात्मविनिश्चयः ॥ १८॥

niścitāyāṃ yathā rajjvāṃ vikalpo vinivartate .

rajjureveti cādvaitaṃ tadvadātmaviniścayaḥ .. 18..

As when the (real nature of the) rope is known, the illusion ceases and the rope alone remains in its non-dual nature, so too is the ascertainment of the Self.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

When it is determined that it is nothing but the rope alone, then all illusions regarding the rope disappear and the (non-dual) knowledge that there exists nothing else but the rope, becomes firmly established. Similar is the knowledge,—like the light of the sun—produced by the negative Scriptural statements which deny all phenomenal attributes (in Ātmari),—statements like “Not this”, “Not this”, etc., leading to the knowledge of the real nature of Atman, as:- “All this is verily Atman”, “(It is) without cause and effect, without internality and externality”, “(It is) ever without and within and beginningless”, “(It is) without decay and death, immortal, fearless, one and without a second.”

Sloka : 2.19 (Karika)

प्राणादिभिरनन्तैश्च भावैरेतैर्विकल्पितः ।

मायैषा तस्य देवस्य यया सम्मोहितः स्वयम् ॥ १९॥

prāṇādibhiranantaiśca bhāvairetairvikalpitaḥ .

māyaiṣā tasya devasya yayā sammohitaḥ svayam .. 19..

(The Self) is imagined as infinite objects like prana etc. This is the Maya of the luminous One by which It itself is deluded, (as it where).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

If it be definitely ascertained that Atman is verily one, how could it be imagined as the endless objects like Prana, etc., having the characteristics of the phenomenal experience? It is thus explained:—This is due to the Maya (ignorance) inhering in the luminous Atman. As the illusion conjured up by the juggler makes the very clear sky appear covered with trees blooming with flowers and leaves, so does this luminous Atman become deluded, as it were, by his own Maya. “My Maya cannot be easily got over” declares the Gītā.

Sloka : 2.20 (Karika)

प्राण इति प्राणविदो भूतानीति च तद्विदः ।

गुणा इति गुणविदस्तत्त्वानीति च तद्विदः ॥ २०॥

prāṇa iti prāṇavido bhūtānīti ca tadvidaḥ .

guṇā iti guṇavidastattvānīti ca tadvidaḥ .. 20..

The knowers of Prana hold Prana (to be the cause of the world), which the knowers of the elements regard the elements (to be the cause). Qualities (are the cause), say the knowers of quality, whereas the knowers of category consider categories (to be so).

Sloka : 2.21 (Karika)

पादा इति पादविदो विषया इति तद्विदः ।

लोका इति लोकविदो देवा इति च तद्विदः ॥ २१॥

pādā iti pādavido viṣayā iti tadvidaḥ .

lokā iti lokavido devā iti ca tadvidaḥ .. 21..

The knowers of the quarters (such as Visva) hold the quarters (to be the cause), while the knowers of sensory objects regard sensory objects (to be the cause). the worlds (are real), say the knowers of the worlds, and the knowers of the gods consider the gods (to be so).

Sloka : 2.22 (Karika)

वेदा इति वेदविदो यज्ञा इति च तद्विदः ।

भोक्तेति च भोक्तृविदो भोज्यमिति च तद्विदः ॥ २२॥

vedā iti vedavido yajñā iti ca tadvidaḥ .

bhokteti ca bhoktṛvido bhojyamiti ca tadvidaḥ .. 22..

Those well-versed in the Vedic lore hold the Vedas (to be real), while the sacrificers subscribe it to the sacrifices. Those who know the enjoyer hold the enjoyer (to be real), whereas those familiar with the enjoyable things think of them (to be real).

Sloka : 2.23 (Karika)

सूक्ष्म इति सूक्ष्मविदः स्थूल इति च तद्विदः ।

मूर्त इति मूर्तविदोऽमूर्त इति च तद्विदः ॥ २३॥

sūkṣma iti sūkṣmavidaḥ sthūla iti ca tadvidaḥ .

mūrta iti mūrtavido'mūrta iti ca tadvidaḥ .. 23..

Subtlety (is real), say those who know the subtlety, while those familiar with the gross regard it to be so. (Reality is) possessed of a form, say the worshippers of God with form, while the worshippers of the formless (hold the reality) to be formless.

Sloka : 2.24 (Karika)

काल इति कालविदो दिश इति च तद्विदः ।

वादा इति वादविदो भुवनानीति तद्विदः ॥ २४॥

kāla iti kālavido diśa iti ca tadvidaḥ .

vādā iti vādavido bhuvanānīti tadvidaḥ .. 24..

The astrologers hold time (to be real), while the knowers of directions consider directions (to be so). Those stiff in debate affirm that disputations (lead to the reality), whereas those who aspire after the worlds consider them (to be real).

Sloka : 2.25 (Karika)

मन इति मनोविदो बुद्धिरिति च तद्विदः ।

चित्तमिति चित्तविदो धर्माधर्मौ च तद्विदः ॥ २५॥

mana iti manovido buddhiriti ca tadvidaḥ .

cittamiti cittavido dharmādharmau ca tadvidaḥ .. 25..

The knowers of the mind hold it (to be the Self), while the knowers of the intellect regard it (to be so). The knowers of the heart ascribe (reality to it), whereas it is attributed to virtue and vice by those who know them.

Sloka : 2.26 (Karika)

पञ्चविंशक इत्येके षड्विंश चापरे ।

एकत्रिंशक इत्याहुरनन्त इति चापरे ॥ २६॥

pañcaviṃśaka ityeke ṣaḍviṃśa cāpare .

ekatriṃśaka ityāhurananta iti cāpare .. 26..

Some say that twenty-five categories (constitute the reality), whereas others speak of twenty-six. Again, some say that thirty-one categories (constitute it), yet some others hold that they are infinite.

Sloka : 2.27 (Karika)

लोकाꣳल्लोकविदः प्राहुराश्रमा इति तद्विदः ।

स्त्रीपुंनपुंसकं लैङ्गाः परापरमथापरे ॥ २७॥

lokāgͫllokavidaḥ prāhurāśramā iti tadvidaḥ .

strīpuṃnapuṃsakaṃ laiṅgāḥ parāparamathāpare .. 27..

Those who know the people (and their pleasures) find reality in pleasures. Those who are familiar with the stages of life regard them (as real). The grammarians (ascribe reality) to the words in the masculine, feminine and neuter genders, whereas others (know reality) to be the higher and lower (brahman).

Sloka : 2.28 (Karika)

सृष्टिरिति सृष्टिविदो लय इति च तद्विदः ।

स्थितिरिति स्थितिविदः सर्वे चेह तु सर्वदा ॥ २८॥

sṛṣṭiriti sṛṣṭivido laya iti ca tadvidaḥ .

sthitiriti sthitividaḥ sarve ceha tu sarvadā .. 28..

Those who know all about creation (say that reality consists in) creation. (Reality lies) in dissolution, say those who know it, while those who know about subsistence (hold it to be the reality). All these ideas are always imagined on the Self.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Prana means Prājña (the Jiva associated with deep sleep) and Bījātmā (the causal self). All the entities from Prana to the Sthiti (subsistence) are only various effects of Prana. These and other popular ideas of their kind, imagined by all beings, are like the imaginations of the snake, etc., in the rope, etc. These are through ignorance imagined in Atman which is free from all these distinctions. These fancies are due to the lack of determination of the real nature of the Self. This is the purport of these ślokas. No attempt is made to explain the meaning of each word in the texts beginning with Prana, etc., on account of the futility of such effort and also on account of the clearness of the meaning of the terms.

Sloka : 2.29 (Karika)

यं भावं दर्शयेद्यस्य तं भावं स तु पश्यति ।

तं चावति स भूत्वाऽसौ तद्ग्रहः समुपैति तम् ॥ २९॥

yaṃ bhāvaṃ darśayedyasya taṃ bhāvaṃ sa tu paśyati .

taṃ cāvati sa bhūtvā'sau tadgrahaḥ samupaiti tam .. 29..

He to whom (a teacher) might show an object sees that alone (as the reality). That object, too, becoming one with him, protects him. That state of being engrossed culminates in his self-identity with the object shown.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What more is to be gained (by this kind of endless discussion)? Whatever idea or interpretation of such things as Prana, etc., narrated above or omitted, is shown to the inquirer by the teacher or other trustworthy person. He realises that as the sole essence (Atman), i.e., he understands that as “I am that or that is mine”. Such conception about Atman as is revealed to the inquirer, appears to him as the sole essence and protects him, i.e., keeps him away from all other ideas (because it appears to him as the highest ideal). On account of his devotion (attachment) to that ideal, he realises it as the sole essence in due course, i.e., attains his identity with it. Prana—All interpretations of Atman must be included in the Prana, as Prana or the causal Self is the highest manifestation of Atman in the relative plane. Realises, etc.—It is because such inquirer, for want of proper discrimination, accepts the words of the teacher as the highest truth. The teacher also, realising the limited intellectual capacity of the student, teaches him, at first, only a partial view of truth. On account, etc.—Such student only gets a partial view of Reality though he takes it as the sole essence. He shuts his eyes to other views. On account of his single-minded devotion to that ideal he becomes intolerent of other view-points. But he who takes a particular idea to be the Reality and condemns other ideas as untrue, has not realised the Highest Truth. For, to a knower of Reality, all imaginations are identical with Brahman and hence have the same value. This is the mistake generally committed by the mystics who, for want of the faculty of rational discrimination, do not see any truth in the views of others.

Sloka : 2.30 (Karika)

एतैरेषोऽपृथग्भावैः पृथगेवेति लक्षितः ।

एवं यो वेद तत्त्वेन कल्पयेत्सोऽविशङ्कितः ॥ ३०॥

etaireṣo'pṛthagbhāvaiḥ pṛthageveti lakṣitaḥ .

evaṃ yo veda tattvena kalpayetso'viśaṅkitaḥ .. 30..

By these things that are non-separate (from the Self), this Self is manifested as though separate. He who knows this truly comprehends (the meaning of the Vedas) without entertaining any doubt.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Though this Atman is verily non-separate from these, the Prana, etc.,—like the rope from such imaginary ideas as the snake, etc.,—it appears as separate to the ignorant persons. But to the Knower (of truth), the Prana, etc., do not exist apart from Atman, just as the snake, etc., falsely imagined in the rope, do not exist apart from the rope. For, the Śruti also says, “All that exists is verily Atman” One who thus knows truly, that is, from Scriptures as well as by reasoning that Prana, etc., imagined in Atman, do not exist separately from Atman fas in the illustration) of the (illusory) snake and the rope, and further knows that Atman is ever pure and free from all imaginations,—construes, without hesitation, the text of the Vedas according to its division. That is to say, he knows that the meaning of this passage is this and of that passage is that. None but the Knower of Atman is able to know truly the (meaning of the) Vedas. “None but the Knower of Atman is able to derive any benefit from his actions,” says Manu.

Sloka : 2.31 (Karika)

स्वप्नमाये यथा दृष्टे गन्धर्वनगरं यथा ।

तथा विश्वमिदं दृष्टं वेदान्तेषु विचक्षणैः ॥ ३१॥

svapnamāye yathā dṛṣṭe gandharvanagaraṃ yathā .

tathā viśvamidaṃ dṛṣṭaṃ vedānteṣu vicakṣaṇaiḥ .. 31..

Just as dream and magic, as well as a city in the sky, are seen (to be unreal), so too, is this universe seen (to be unreal) from the Vedanta-texts by the wise.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The unreality of duality has been demonstrated by of Vedānta Scriptures. Therefore it is stated:—Dream objects and illusion, though unreal when their true nature is considered, are thought, in spite of their unreality, as real by the ignorant. As an imaginary city in the sky, filled with shops full of vendable articles, houses, palaces and villages frequented by men and women, though appearing real to us, is seen to vanish suddenly as dream and illusion, which are known to be unreal (though they appear to be real),—so also is perceived this entire duality of the universe to be unreal. Where is this taught? This is thus taught in the Vedānta Scriptures. “There is no multiplicity here.” “Indra (assumed diverse forms) through the powers of Maya.” “In the beginning all this existed as Brahman.” “Fear rises verily from duality,” “That duality does never exist.” “When all this has become Atman then who can see whom and by what?” In these and other passages, the wise men, i.e., those who see the real nature of things, declare (the unreal nature of the universe). The Smṛti of Vyāsa also supports this view in these words:- “This duality of the universe, perceived by the wise like a hole seen in darkness in the ground, is unstable like the bubbles that appear in rain-water, always undergoing destruction, ever devoid of bliss, and ceasing to exist, after dissolution.”

Sloka : 2.32 (Karika)

न निरोधो न चोत्पत्तिर्न बद्धो न च साधकः ।

न मुमुक्षुर्न वै मुक्त इत्येषा परमार्थता ॥ ३२॥

na nirodho na cotpattirna baddho na ca sādhakaḥ .

na mumukṣurna vai mukta ityeṣā paramārthatā .. 32..

There is no dissolution, no origination, none in bondage, none possessed of the means of liberation, none desirous of liberation, and none liberated. This is the ultimate truth.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

This verse sums up the meaning of the chapter. When duality is perceived to be illusory and Atman alone is known as the sole Reality, then it is clearly established that all our experiences, ordinary or religious (Vedic), verily pertain to the domain of ignorance. Then one perceives that there is no dissolution, i.e., destruction (from the standpoint of Reality); no birth or creation, i.e., coming into existence; no one in bondage, i.e., no worldly being; no pupilage, i.e., no one adopting means for the attainment of liberation; no seeker after liberation, and no one free from bondage (as bondage does not exist). The Ultimate Truth is that the stage of bondage, etc., cannot exist in the absence of creation and destruction. How can it be said that there is neither creation nor destruction? It is thus replied:-—There is no duality (at any time). The absence of duality is indicated by such Scriptural passages as, “When duality appears to exist....” “One who appears to see multiplicity....” “All this is verily Atman.” “Atman is one and without a second.” “All that exists is verily the Atman,” etc. Birth or death can be predicated only of that which exists and never of what does not exist, such as the horns of a hare, etc. That which is non-dual (Advaita) can never be said to be born or destroyed. That it should be non-dual and at the same time subject to birth and death, is a contradiction in terms. It has already been said that our dual experience characterised by (the activities of) Prana, etc., is a mere illusion having Atman for its substratum, like the snake imagined in the rope which is its substratum. The imagination characterised by the appearance of the snake in the rope cannot be produced from nor dissolved in the rope (i.e., in any external object), nor is produced from the imaginary snake or dissolved in the mind, nor even in both (i.e., the rope and the mind). Thus duality being non-different from mental (subjective) imagination (cannot have a beginning or an end). For, duality is not perceived when one’s mental activities are controlled (as in Samādhi) or in deep sleep. Therefore it is established that duality is a mere illusion of the mind. Hence it is well said that the Ultimate Reality is the absence of destruction, etc., on account of the non-existence of duality (which exists only in the imagination of the mind). Objection:- If this be the case, the object of the teachings should be directed to prove the negation of duality and not to establish as a positive fact non-duality, inasmuch as there is a contradiction (in employing the same means for the refutation of one and the establishment of another). If this were admitted, then the conclusion will tend to become Nihilistic in the absence of evidence for the existence of non-duality as Reality; for, duality has already been said to be non-existent. Reply:- This contention is not consistent with reason. Why do you revive a point already established, viz., that it is unreasonable to conceive of such illusions as the snake in the rope, etc., without a substratum? Objection:- This analogy is not relevant as even the rope, which is the substratum of the imaginary snake, is also an imaginary entity. Reply:- It is not so. For, upon the disappearance of the imagination, the unimagined substratum can be reasonably said to exist on account of its unimagined character. Objection:- It may be contended that like the imagination of the snake in the rope, it (the unimaginary substratum) is also unreal. Reply:- It cannot be so. For, it (Brahman) is ever unimagined, because it is like the rope that is never the object of our imagination and is real even before the knowledge of the unreality of the snake. Further, the existence of the subject (knower or witness) of imagination must be admitted to be antecedent to the imagination. Therefore it is unreasonable to say that such subject is non-existent. Objection:- How can the Scripture, if it cannot make us understand the true nature of the Self (which is non-duality), free our mind from the idea of duality? Reply:- There is no difficulty. Duality is superimposed upon Atman through ignorance, like the snake, etc., upon the rope. How is it so? I am happy, I am miserable, ignorant, born, dead, worn out, endowed with body, I see, I am manifested and unmanifested, the agent, the enjoyer, related and unrelated, decayed and old, this is mine,—these and such other ideas are superimposed upon Atman. The notion of Atman (Self) persists in all these, because no such idea can ever be conceived of without the notion of Atman. It is like the notion of the rope which persists in (all superimposed ideas, such as) the snake, the water-line, etc. Such being the case, the Scripture has no function with regard to the Atman which, being of the nature of the substantive, is ever self-evident. The function of the Scripture is to accomplish that which is not accomplished yet. It does not serve the purpose of evidence if it is to establish what has been already established. The Atman does not realise its own natural condition on account of such obstacles as the notion of happiness, etc., superimposed by ignorance; and the true nature is realised only when one knows it as such. It is therefore the Scripture, whose purpose is to remove the idea of happiness, etc. (associated with Atman) that produces the consciousness of the not-happy (i.e., attributeless) nature of Atman by such statements as “Not this” “Not this”, “(It is) not gross,” etc. Like the persistence of Atman (in all states of consciousness) the not-happy (attributeless) characteristic of Atman does not inhere in all ideas such as of being happy and the like. If it were so, then one would not have such specific experience as that of being happy, etc., superimposed upon Atman, in the same manner as coldness cannot be associated with fire whose specific characteristic is that of heat. It is, therefore, that such specific characteristics as that of being happy, etc., are imagined in Atman which is, undoubtedly, without any attributes. The Scriptural teachings which speak of Atman as being not-happy, etc., are meant for the purpose of removing the notion that Atman is associated with such specific attributes as happiness, etc. There is the following aphoristic statement by the knowers of the Āgama. “The validity of Scripture is established by its negating all positive characteristics of Atman (which otherwise cannot be indicated by Scriptures).”

Sloka : 2.33 (Karika)

भावैरसद्भिरेवायमद्वयेन च कल्पितः ।

भावा अप्यद्वयेनैव तस्मादद्वयता शिवा ॥ ३३॥

bhāvairasadbhirevāyamadvayena ca kalpitaḥ .

bhāvā apyadvayenaiva tasmādadvayatā śivā .. 33..

This (Self) is imagined to be unreal objects and also to be non-dual. The objects are also imagined on the non-dual (Self). therefore non-duality is auspicious.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The reason for the interpretation of the previous verse is thus stated:- Just as in a rope, an unreal snake, streak of water or the like is imagined, which are nonseparate (non-dual) from the existing rope,—the same (rope) being spoken of as this snake, this streak of water, this stick, or the like,—even so this Atman is imagined to be the innumerable objects such as Prana, etc., which are unreal and perceived only through ignorance, but not from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality. For, unless the mind is active, nobody is ever able to perceive any object. But no action is possible for Atman. Therefore the objects that are perceived to exist by the active mind can never be imagined to have existence from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality. It is therefore this (non-dual) Atman which alone is imagined as such illusory objects as Prana, etc., which are perceived, as well as the non-dual and ultimately real Atman (which is the substratum of illusory ideas, such as Prana, etc.) in the same manner as the rope is imagined as the substratum of the illusion of the snake. Though always one and unique (i.e., of the nature of the Atman), the Prana, etc., the entities that are perceived, are imagined (from the standpoint of ignorance) as having the nondual and ultimately real Atman as their substratum. For, no illusion is ever perceived without a substratum. As “non-duality” is the substratum of all illusions (from the standpoint of ignorance) and also as it is, in its real nature, ever unchangeable, non-duality alone is (the highest) bliss even in the state of imagination, i.e., the empirical experiences. Imaginations alone (which make Prana, etc., appear as separate from Atman) are the cause of misery. These imaginations cause fear, etc., like the imaginations of the snake, etc., in the rope. Non-duality is free from fear and therefore it is the (highest) bliss.

Sloka : 2.34 (Karika)

नाऽऽत्मभावेन नानेदं न स्वेनापि कथञ्चन ।

न पृथङ्नापृथक्किञ्चिदिति तत्त्वविदो विदुः ॥ ३४॥

nā''tmabhāvena nānedaṃ na svenāpi kathañcana .

na pṛthaṅnāpṛthakkiñciditi tattvavido viduḥ .. 34..

This (world) viewed on the basis of the Self, is not different. Neither does it ever exist independent by itself nor is anything different or non-different (from the Self). Thus know the knowers of Truth.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Why is non-duality called the highest bliss? One suffers from misery when one finds differences in the form of multiplicity, i.e., when one finds an object separate from another. For when this manifold of the universe with the entire relative phenomena consisting of Prana, etc., imagined in the non-dual Atman, the Ultimate Reality is realised to be identical with the Atman, the Supreme Reality, then alone multiplicity ceases to exist, i.e., Prana, etc., do not appear to be separate from Atman. It is just like the snake that is imagined (to be separate from the rope) but that does no longer remain as such when its true nature is known with the help of a light to be nothing but the rope. This manifold (Idam) does never really exist as it appears to be, that is to say, in the forms of Prana, etc., because it is imaginary just like the snake seen in the place of the rope. Therefore different objects, such as Prana, etc., do not exist as separate from one other as a buffalo appears to be separate from a horse. The idea of separation being unreal, there is nothing which exists as separate from an object of the same nature or from other objects (of different nature). The Brāhmaṇas, i.e., the Knowers of Self, know this to be the essence of the Ultimate Reality. Therefore the implication of the verse is that non-duality alone, on account of the absence of any cause that may bring about misery, is verily the (highest) bliss.

Sloka : 2.35 (Karika)

वीतरागभयक्रोधैर्मुनिभिर्वेदपारगैः ।

निर्विकल्पो ह्ययं दृष्टः प्रपञ्चोपशमोऽद्वयः ॥ ३५॥

vītarāgabhayakrodhairmunibhirvedapāragaiḥ .

nirvikalpo hyayaṃ dṛṣṭaḥ prapañcopaśamo'dvayaḥ .. 35..

By the sages who are free from attachment, fear and anger and well-versed in the Vedas is realised this Self which is beyond all imaginations, in which the phenomenal world ceases to exist and which is non-dual.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The perfect knowledge as described above, is thus extolled. The sages who are always free from all blemishes such as attachment, fear, spite, anger, etc., who are given to contemplation, who can discriminate between the real and the unreal and who can grasp the essence of the meaning of the Vedas, i.e., who are well versed in the Vedanta (i.e., the Upanishads) do realise the real nature of this Atman which is free from all imaginations and also free from this the illusion of the manifold. This Atman is the total negation of the phenomena of duality and therefore it is non-dual. The intention of the Śruti passage is this:- The Supreme Self can be realised only by the Sannyāsins (men of renunciation) who are free from all blemishes and who are enlightened regarding the essence of the Upaniṣads and never by others, i.e., those vain logicians whose mind is clouded by passion, etc., and who find truth only in their own creeds and opinions.

Sloka : 2.36 (Karika)

तस्मादेवं विदित्वैनमद्वैते योजयेत्स्मृतिम् ।

अद्वैतं समनुप्राप्य जडवल्लोकमाचरेत् ॥ ३६॥

tasmādevaṃ viditvainamadvaite yojayetsmṛtim .

advaitaṃ samanuprāpya jaḍavallokamācaret .. 36..

Therefore, having known it thus, one should fix one’s memory on non-duality (ie., should give undivided attention). Having attained the non-dual, one should conduct oneself as though one were a dullard.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

As non-duality, on account of its being the negation of all evils, is bliss and fearlessness, therefore knowing it to be such, direct your mind to the realisation of the non-dual Atman. In other words, concentrate your memory on the realisation of non-duality alone. Having known this non-dual Brahman which is free from hunger, etc., unborn and directly perceptible as the Self and which transcends all codes of human conduct, i.e., by attaining to the consciousness that ‘I am the Supreme Brahman,’ behave with others as one not knowing the Truth; that is to say, let not others know what you are and what you have become.

Sloka : 2.37 (Karika)

निस्तुतिर्निर्नमस्कारो निःस्वधाकार एव च ।

चलाचलनिकेतश्च यतिर्यादृच्छिको भवेत् ॥ ३७॥

nistutirnirnamaskāro niḥsvadhākāra eva ca .

calācalaniketaśca yatiryādṛcchiko bhavet .. 37..

The ascetic should be free from praise and salutation and also from rituals. The body and the Self should be his support and he should depend upon what chance brings.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What should be his code of conduct in the world? It is thus stated:—He should give up all such formalities as praise, salutation, etc., and be free from all desires for external objects. In other words, he should take up the life of a Paramahamsa Sannyāsin. The Śruti also supports this view in such passages as “knowing this Atman”, etc. This is further approved in such Smṛti passages as, “With their consciousness in That (Brahman), their self being That, intent on That, with That for their Supreme Goal” (Gītā), etc. The word “chalam” in the text signifying “changing” indicates the “body” because it changes every moment. The word “Achalam” signifying “unchanging” indicates the “Knowledge of Self”. He has the (changing) body for his support when he, for the purpose of such activities as eating, etc., forgets the Knowledge of the Self, the (real) support of Atman, unchanging like the Ākāśa, (ether) and relates himself to egoism. Such a wise man never takes shelter under external objects. He entirely depends upon circumstances, that is to say, he maintains his body with whatever food or strips of cloth, etc., are brought to him by mere chance.

Sloka : 2.38 (Karika)

तत्त्वमाध्यात्मिकं दृष्ट्वा तत्त्वं दृष्ट्वा तु बाह्यतः ।

तत्त्वीभूतस्तदारामस्तत्त्वादप्रच्युतो भवेत् ॥ ३८॥

इति गौडपादीयकारिकासु वैतथ्याख्यं द्वितीयं प्रकरणम् ॥ २॥

tattvamādhyātmikaṃ dṛṣṭvā tattvaṃ dṛṣṭvā tu bāhyataḥ .

tattvībhūtastadārāmastattvādapracyuto bhavet .. 38..

iti gauḍapādīyakārikāsu vaitathyākhyaṃ dvitīyaṃ prakaraṇam .. 2..

Having perceived Truth internally and having perceived it externally, one should become identified with Truth, should derive delight from Truth, and should never deviate from Truth.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The truth regarding external objects such as the earth, etc., and the truth regarding internal objects characterised by body, etc., is that these are as unreal as a snake seen in the rope, or objects seen in dream or magic. For, there are such Śruti passages as, “modification being only a name, arising from speech, etc.” The Śruti further declares, “Atman is both within and without, birthless, causeless, having no within or without, entire, all-pervading like the Ākāśa (ether), subtle, unchanging, without attributes and parts, and without action. That is Truth, That is Atman and That thou art.” Knowing it to be such from the point of view of Truth, he becomes one with Truth and derives his enjoyment from Truth and not from any external object. But a person ignorant of Truth, takes the mind to be the Self and believes the Atman to be active like the mind, and becomes active. He thus thinks his self to be identified with the body, etc., and deviated from Atman saying, “Oh, I am now fallen from the Knowledge of Self.” When his mind is concentrated he sometimes thinks that he is happy and one with the Self. He declares “Oh, I am now one with the essence of Truth.” But, the knower of Self never makes any such statement, as Atman is ever one and changeless and as it is impossible for Atman to deviate from its own nature. The consciousness that “I am Brahman” never leaves him. In other words, he never loses the consciousness regarding the essence of the Self. The Smṛti supports this view in such passages as “The wise man views equally a dog or an outcaste.” “He sees who sees the Supreme Lord remaining the same, in all beings.” (Gītā)

Sloka : 3.1 (Karika)

ॐ ॥ उपासानाश्रितो धर्मो जाते ब्रह्मणि वर्तते ।

प्रागुत्पत्तेरजं सर्वं तेनासौ कृपणः स्मृतः ॥ १॥

oṃ .. upāsānāśrito dharmo jāte brahmaṇi vartate .

prāgutpatterajaṃ sarvaṃ tenāsau kṛpaṇaḥ smṛtaḥ .. 1..

The aspirant, resorting himself to devotion, remains in the conditioned Brahman. Prior to creation all this was of the nature of the birthless Brahman. Hence the man (with such a view) is considered to be of narrow outlook.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

While determining the meaning of Aum, it has been stated in the form of a proposition that “Atman is the negation of phenomena, blissful and non-dual.” It has been further stated that “Duality does not exist when the reality is known.” Further, in the chapter on Illusion, that duality does not exist really has been established by the illustrations of dream, magic, castle-in-the-air, etc., and also by reasoning on the grounds of “the capability of being seen” and “the being finite,” etc. Now it is asked whether non-duality can be established only by scriptural evidence or whether it can be proved by reasoning as well. It is said in reply that it is possible to establish non-duality by reasoning as well. How is it possible? This is shown in this chapter on Advaita. It has been demonstrated in the last chapter that the entire realm of dualism including the object and the act of devotion is illusory, and the attributeless, non-dual Atman alone is the Reality. The word “upāsanāŚrīta” in the text, meaning the one betaking himself to devotion, signifies him who has recourse to devotional exercises as means to the attainment of liberation and who further thinks that he is the devotee and Brahman is his object of worship. This Jiva or the embodied being further thinks that through devotional practices he, at present related to the evolved Brahman (Personal God), would attain to the ultimate Brahman after the dissolution of the body. Prior to the manifestation, according to this Jiva, everything including itself, was unborn. In other words he thinks, “I shall, through devotional practices, regain that which was my real nature before manifestation, though at present I subsist in the Brahman that appears in the form of the manifold.” Such a Jiva, that is, the aspirant, betaking itself to devotion, inasmuch as it knows only a partial aspect of Brahman, is called of narrow or poor intellect by those who regard Brahman as eternal and unchanging. The Upaniṣad of the Talavakāra (Kena) supports this view in such statements as, “That which is not expressed (indicated) by speech and by which speech is expressed, That alone know as Brahman and not that which people here adore,” etc.

Sloka : 3.2 (Karika)

अतो वक्ष्याम्यकार्पण्यमजाति समतां गतम् ।

यथा न जायते किञ्चिज्जायमानं समन्ततः ॥ २॥

ato vakṣyāmyakārpaṇyamajāti samatāṃ gatam .

yathā na jāyate kiñcijjāyamānaṃ samantataḥ .. 2..

Therefore, I shall describe that (Brahman) which is free from limitation, is unborn and is ever the same. Listen how nothing whatsoever is born, though it appears to be born in all respects.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

One unable to realise Atman, which is both within and without and birthless, and therefore believing oneself to be helpless through Avidya, thinks, “I am born, I subsist in the Brahman with attributes (saguṇa) and through devotion to It I shall become Brahman,” and thus becomes Kripaṇa (narrow-minded). Therefore, I shall describe Brahman which has never been subject to any limitation and which is birthless (changeless). The narrowness of mind has been described in such Śruti passages as, “When one sees another, hears another, knows another, then there is limitedness (littleness), mortality and unreality,” “Modification is only a name arising from speech, but the truth is that all is clay,” etc. But contrary to it is Brahman known as Bhumā (great) which is both within and without and which is free from all limitations. I shall now describe that Brahman, free from all limitations, by realising which one gets rid of all narrowness superimposed by ignorance. It (Brahman) is called Ajāti, birthless, inasmuch as none knows its birth or cause. It is the same always and everywhere. How is it so? It is so because there does not exist in it (Brahman) any inequality caused by the presence of parts or limbs. For, only that which is with parts may be said to be born (or to have taken new form) by a change of its parts. But as Atman is without parts, it is always the same and even, that is to say, it does not manifest itself in any new form through a change of the parts. Therefore it is without birth and free from limitation. Now listen as to how Brahman is not born, how it does not undergo change by so much as a jot, but ever remains unborn, though it appears, through ignorance, to be born and to give birth to others, like the rope and the snake.

Sloka : 3.3 (Karika)

आत्मा ह्याकाशवज्जीवैर्घटाकाशैरिवोदितः ।

घटादिवच्च सङ्घातैर्जातावेतन्निदर्शनम् ॥ ३॥

ātmā hyākāśavajjīvairghaṭākāśairivoditaḥ .

ghaṭādivacca saṅghātairjātāvetannidarśanam .. 3..

The self is said to be existing in the form of Jivas (individual souls), just as (the infinite) ether exists in the form of ether confined within jars. Similarly, It is said to be existing as the aggregate of bodies, even as ether exists like jars etc. This is the illustration with regard to birth.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

It has been said in the previous text, “I shall now describe Brahman, birthless and free from all narrowness.” Now I shall give an illustration and a reason to substantiate the proposition. As the Supreme Atman is like the Ākāśa, subtle, without parts and all-pervasive, it is compared to the Ākāśa. The Supreme Self again, who is likened to the Ākāśa, is said to be manifested as the embodied beings (Jivas) or Kṣetrajñas (Knowers of bodies), and are likened to the Ghaṭākāśas or the Ākāśa enclosed in jars. This is the Supreme Self which is like the Ākāśa. Or the sentence may be explained thus:—As the totality of the Ākāśa enclosed within the pots is said to constitute what is known as the Mahākāśa or the great expanse of ether, similarly the totality of the embodied beings (Jivas) constitutes the Supreme Being. The creation or manifestation of the Jivas (embodied beings) from the Supreme Self, as stated in the Vedānta, is like the creation or manifestation of the Ghaṭākāśa (i.e., the ether enclosed in a jar) from the Mahākāśa (or the great and undifferentiated ether). That is to say, creation or manifestation is not real. As from that Ākāśa are produced such physical objects as the pot, etc., similarly from the Supreme Self which is like the Ākāśa, are produced the entire aggregate of material entities, such as the earth, etc., as well as the individual bodies, all characterised by causality, the entire production being nothing but mere imagination like that of the snake in the rope. Therefore it is said, “The aggregates (of the gross bodies) are produced like the pot, etc.” When the Śruti, with a view to the enlightenment of the ignorant, speaks of the creation or manifestation (of the Jivas) from the Atman, then such manifestation, being admitted as a fact, is explained with the help of the illustration of the creation of the pot, etc., from the Ākāśa.

Sloka : 3.4 (Karika)

घटादिषु प्रलीनेषु घटाकाशादयो यथा ।

आकाशे सम्प्रलीयन्ते तद्वज्जीवा इहाऽऽत्मनि ॥ ४॥

ghaṭādiṣu pralīneṣu ghaṭākāśādayo yathā .

ākāśe sampralīyante tadvajjīvā ihā''tmani .. 4..

Just as when the jars etc., cease to exist, the ether etc., confined within them become merged in the infinite ether, so also the individual souls become merged in the Self here.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

As the creation of ether enclosed within the pot, etc., follows the creation of the pot, etc., and as the merging of the same ether (in the Mahākāśa) is consequent on the destruction of the pot, etc.; in the same manner the creation or manifestation of the Jiva follows that of the aggregate of the body, etc., and the merging of the Jiva in the Supreme Self follows in the wake of the destruction of the aggregate of the body, etc. The meaning is that neither the creation nor destruction is in itself real (from the standpoint of the Absolute).

Sloka : 3.5 (Karika)

यथैकस्मिन्घटाकाशे रजोधूमादिभिर्युते ।

न सर्वे सम्प्रयुज्यन्ते तद्वज्जीवाः सुखादिभिः ॥ ५॥

yathaikasminghaṭākāśe rajodhūmādibhiryute .

na sarve samprayujyante tadvajjīvāḥ sukhādibhiḥ .. 5..

Just as when the ether confined within a particular jar contains dust and smoke, that is not the case with all jars, in the same way, all the individual souls are not associated with happiness etc.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The dualists contend that if one Atman exists in all bodies then the birth, death, happiness, etc., of one Atman (as Jiva) must affect all and, further, there must follow a confusion regarding the results of the action (done by individuals). This contention is,thus refuted:-—As the Ākāśa enclosed within one jar being soiled by dust, smoke, etc., does not make the Ākāśa enclosed in other jars soiled with the dust and the smoke, so all created beings are not affected by the happiness, etc. (of one Jiva). Objection:- Is it not your contention that there is only one Atman? Reply:- Yes, we admit it. Have you not heard that there is only one Atman like the all-pervading space, in all bodies? Objection:- If there be only one Atman then it must always and everywhere feel misery and happiness. Reply:- This objection cannot be raised by the Sāṃkhyas. For, the Sāṃkhyas do not admit that misery, happiness, etc., ever cling to the Atman; for they assert that happiness, misery, etc., belong inseparably to Buddhi. Further, there is no evidence for imagining multiplicity of Atman which is of the very nature of knowledge. Objection:- In the absence of the multiplicity of Atman the theory that the Pradhāna or Prakṛti acts for the sake of others does not hold good. Reply:- No, this argument is not valid; for whatever the Pradhāna or Prakṛti may be supposed to accomplish by itself for another cannot inseparably inhere in Atman. If bondage and liberation accomplished by the Pradhāna inseparably inhered in the multiple Puruṣas, then the theory that the Pradhāna (Prakṛti) always acts for the sake of others would not be consistent with the unity of Atman existing everywhere. And the theory of the Sāṃkhyas regarding the multiplicity of Atman would be reasonable. But the Sāṃkhyas do not admit that the purpose of bondage or liberation can ever be inseparably associated with the Puruṣa. For, they admit that the Puruṣas are attributeless and are centres of Pure Consciousness. Therefore, the very existence of the Puruṣa is their support for the theory that the action of Pradhāna is directed to serve the purpose of others (the Puruṣas). But the supposition of the multiplicity of Puruṣas need not be made for this purpose. Therefore the theory of the Pradhāna seeking to serve the purpose of others cannot be an argument for the supposition of the multiplicity of Atman. The Sāṃkhyas have no other argument in support of their supposition regarding the multiplicity of Atman. The Pradhāna takes upon itself bondage and liberation only through the instrumentality of the existence of the other (the Puruṣa). The Puruṣa which is of the very nature of knowledge, is the cause of the activity of the Pradhāna by the fact of its very existence and not on account of its any specific qualities. So it is through ignorance alone that people imagine the Puruṣa (Atman) to be many and also thereby give up the real import of the Vedas. The Vaiśeṣikas and others assert that attributes such as desire, etc., are inseparably related to Atman. This view is also not correct. For, the Samskāras (the impressions) which are the cause of memory cannot have any inseparable relation with Atman which has no parts. Further, if it be contended that the origin of memory lies in the contact of Atman with the mind, we say that this contention is not valid; for, in that case there will be no principle regarding memory. Memory of all things will come simultaneously. Besides mind can never be related to the Atman which is devoid of all sensations such as touch, etc., and which belongs to a class other than that of the mind. Further the Vaiśeṣikas do not admit that the attributes (Guṇa) such as forms, etc. (Rūpas), action (Karma), generality (Sāmānya), particularity (Viśeṣa) and inherence (Samavāya), can exist independently of the substance (Dravya). If these are totally independent of one another, the contact between the Atman and desire, etc., and also between the attributes (Guṇa) and the substance (Dravya) will be an absurdity. Objection:- The contact characterised by an inseparable inherence is possible in the case of entities where such relation is proved to be innate. Reply:- This objection is not valid; for such innate relationship cannot be reasonable, as the Atman, the ever permanent, is antecedent to the desires, etc., which are transitory. And if desires, etc., be admitted to have inseparable innate relationship with Atman, then the former would be as permanent as such innate attributes of Atman as greatness, etc. That is not desirable, for then there would be no room for liberation of the Atman. Further, if inseparable relationship (Samavāya) were something separate from the substance, then another factor must be stated which can bring about the relationship between Samavāya and the substance,—as in the case of the substance and the attributes. Nor can it be stated that Samavāya is a constant inseparable relationship with Atman; for, in that case, the Atman and Samavāya on account of their constant and inseparable relationship can never be different from one another. If, on the other hand, the relationship of Samavāya be totally different from the Atman, and the attributes also be different from the substance, then the possessive case cannot be used to indicate their mutual relation which is possible only when the two terms connected by the possessive are not totally different. If Atman be inseparably connected with such categories as desires, etc., which have both “beginning” and “end,” then it would itself be impermanent. If Atman be considered to have parts and undergo changes, like the body, etc., then, these two defects always associated with the body, etc., would be inevitable in the case of the Atman. (Therefore the conclusion is that) as the Ākāśa (ether), on account of the superimposition of ignorance (Avidya), is regarded as soiled by dust and smoke, in like manner, the Atman also, on account of the limiting condition of the mind caused by the erroneous attribution of Avidya, appears to be associated with the contamination of misery, happiness, etc. And such being the case, the idea of bondage and liberation, being empirical in nature, does not contradict (the permanent nature of Atman from the standpoint of Truth). For, all the disputants admit the relative experience to be caused by Avidya and deny its existence from the standpoint of the Supreme Reality. Hence it follows that the supposition of the multiplicity of Atman made by the logicians is without basis and superfluous.

Sloka : 3.6 (Karika)

रूपकार्यसमाख्याश्च भिद्यन्ते तत्र तत्र वै ।

आकाशस्य न भेदोऽस्ति तद्वज्जीवेषु निर्णयः ॥ ६॥

rūpakāryasamākhyāśca bhidyante tatra tatra vai .

ākāśasya na bhedo'sti tadvajjīveṣu nirṇayaḥ .. 6..

Though forms, functions and names differ here and there (in respect of the ether contained by jars etc.,), yet this causes no differences in the ether. Similar is the conclusion with regard to individual souls.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- If Atman be one then how is it possible to justify the variety of experiences pointing to the multiplicity of Atman (which is explained as being) due to Avidya (ignorance)? Reply:- This is thus explained:- In our common experience with regard to this Ākāśa (which is really one), we find variety of forms, such as large, small, etc., in respect of the Ākāśa enclosed in a pot, a water-bowl and a cover. Similarly there are various functions (of the same Ākāśa) such as fetching water, preserving water and sleeping. Lastly there are various names as the ether enclosed in a jar (ghaṭa). the ether enclosed in a water-bowl (karaka), etc., caused by different upadhis. All these different forms, functions and names are matters of common experience. This variety of experience caused by different forms, etc., is not true from, the standpoint of the ultimate Reality. For, in reality Ākāśa. never admits of any variety. Our empirical activities based upon the difference in Ākāśa are not possible without the instrumentality of an adventitious upadhi. As in this illustration, the Jivas (embodied beings) which may be compared to the Ākāśa enclosed in a jar, are regarded as different, this difference being caused by the upadhis. This is the conclusion of the wise. This text gives one of the explanations of the empirical world as stated by the wise.

Sloka : 3.7 (Karika)

नाऽऽकाशस्य घटाकाशो विकारावयवौ यथा ।

नैवाऽऽत्मनः सदा जीवो विकारावयवौ तथा ॥ ७॥

nā''kāśasya ghaṭākāśo vikārāvayavau yathā .

naivā''tmanaḥ sadā jīvo vikārāvayavau tathā .. 7..

As the ether within a jar is not a modification nor a part of the (infinite) ether, so an individual soul is never a modification nor a part of the (supreme) Self.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- Our experience of the variety of forms, functions, etc., associated with the ether enclosed in the pot, etc., is true from the standpoint of the ultimate Reality (and not illusory, as you say). Reply:- No, this cannot be so. For, the ether enclosed in the pot cannot be the evolved effect of the real ether in the same way as the ornament, etc., are the effect of gold or the foam, bubble, moisture, etc., are the effect of water. Nor, again is the Ghaṭākāśa (the Ākāśa in the pot) similar to the branches and other parts of a tree. As Ghaṭākāśa is neither a part (limb) nor an evolved effect of the Ākāśa, so also the Jiva (the embodied being), compared to the Ākāśa enclosed in the pot, is neither, as in the illustrations given above, an effect nor part (limb) of the Atman, the ultimate Reality, which may be compared to the Mahākāśa (i.e., the undifferentiated expanse of ether). Therefore the relative experience based upon the multiplicity of Atman is an illusion (from the standpoint of the ultimate Reality).

Sloka : 3.8 (Karika)

यथा भवति बालानां गगनं मलिनं मलैः ।

तथा भवत्यबुद्धानामात्माऽपि मलिनो मलैः ॥ ८॥

yathā bhavati bālānāṃ gaganaṃ malinaṃ malaiḥ .

tathā bhavatyabuddhānāmātmā'pi malino malaiḥ .. 8..

Just as to the children the sky becomes soiled by dirt, so too, to the unwise the Self becomes tainted by impurities.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

As the diversity of experiences such as forms, functions, etc., is caused by the admitted differences of the Ghaṭākāśa, etc., so also is the experience of birth, death, etc., consequent on the perception of the different Jivas, due to the limitations caused by Avidya (ignorance). Therefore the contamination of misery, action and result (of action) caused by Avidya does not really inhere in the Atman. In order to establish this meaning by an illustration, the text says:—As in our ordinary experience it is found that the ignorant regard the Ākāśa (ether),—which, to those who know, the real nature of a thing by discrimination, is never soiled by any contamination—as soiled with cloud, dust and smoke, so also the Supreme Atman, the Knower, the innermost Self directly perceived within, is regarded by those who do not know the real nature of the innermost Self, as affected by the evils of misery, action and result. But this is not the case with those who can discriminate. As in the desert are never found foam, waves, etc., though thirsty creatures falsely attribute these things to it, similarly the Atman also is never affected by the turbidity of misery, etc., falsely attributed to it by the ignorant.

Sloka : 3.9 (Karika)

मरणे सम्भवे चैव गत्यागमनयोरपि ।

स्थितौ सर्वशरीरेषु आकाशेनाविलक्षणः ॥ ९॥

maraṇe sambhave caiva gatyāgamanayorapi .

sthitau sarvaśarīreṣu ākāśenāvilakṣaṇaḥ .. 9..

The Self, in regard to Its death and birth, going and coming, and Its existence in all the bodies, is not dissimilar to ether.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The point which has been just stated is again thus developed:—Birth, death, etc., of the Atman as seen in all bodies is like the creation, destruction, coming, going and existence of the Ghaṭākāśa (or ether enclosed within a jar).

Sloka : 3.10 (Karika)

सङ्घाताः स्वप्नवत्सर्वे आत्ममायाविसर्जिताः ।

आधिक्ये सर्वसाम्ये वा नोपपत्तिर्हि विद्यते ॥ १०॥

saṅghātāḥ svapnavatsarve ātmamāyāvisarjitāḥ .

ādhikye sarvasāmye vā nopapattirhi vidyate .. 10..

All aggregates (such as body) are created like dream by the Maya of the Self. Whether they be superior (to another) or equal, there is no ground to prove their reality.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The aggregates of body, etc., answering to the pots, etc., in the illustration, are produced,—like the body, etc., seen in dream or conjured up by the magician—by the illusion of the Atman, i.e., the Avidya (ignorance) which is in the perceiver. That is to say, they do not exist from the standpoint of the ultimate Reality. If it be argued, in order to establish their reality, that there is a superiority (among the created beings),—as in the case of the aggregates of cause and effect constituting gods who are superior to lower beings, such as birds and beasts—or that there is an equality (of all created beings), yet no cause can be set forth regarding their creation or reality. As there is no cause therefore all these are due to Avidya or ignorance; they have no real existence.

Sloka : 3.11 (Karika)

रसादयो हि ये कोशा व्याख्यातास्तैत्तिरीयके ।

तेषामात्मा परो जीवः खं यथा सम्प्रकाशितः ॥ ११॥

rasādayo hi ye kośā vyākhyātāstaittirīyake .

teṣāmātmā paro jīvaḥ khaṃ yathā samprakāśitaḥ .. 11..

The individual Self of the sheaths beginning with that made of food, which have been described in the Taittiriya Upanishad, is (the same as) the supreme Self, as explained (by us already) on the analogy of ether.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Now statements are made in order to show that the existence of the essence of Atman which is non-dual and without birth, etc., can as well be proved on the evidence of the Śruti. Rasa, etc., are the five sheaths such as the physical sheath (Annarasamaya), the vital sheath (Pranamaya), etc. These are called “sheaths” (Kośa) because they are like the sheath of the sword, the previous sheaths being outer than the following ones. These have been clearly explained in the Taittirīyaka, i.e., in a chapter of the Taittirīyaka-śākhā Upaniṣad. It is the Self (Atman) of these sheaths. By It, the innermost Self, the five sheaths are regarded as alive. It is again called Jiva as it is the cause of the life of all. What is It? It is the Supreme Self which has ' been described before as “Brahman which is Existence, Knowledge and Infinity.” It has been further stated that from this Atman the aggregates of the body known as Rasa, etc., having the characteristics of the sheath, have been created by its (Atman’s) power called ignorance, this creation being like the illusory creation of objects seen in a dream or in a performance of jugglery. We have described this Atman as the ether (Ākāśa) in the text, “The Atman is verily like the Ākāśa” (Gauḍapada Kārikā, 3. 3). This Atman cannot be established by the reasoning of a man who follows the logician’s method of arguments as the Atman referred to by us is different from the Atman of the logicians.

Sloka : 3.12 (Karika)

द्वयोर्द्वयोर्मधुज्ञाने परं ब्रह्म प्रकाशितम् ।

पृथिव्यामुदरे चैव यथाऽऽकाशः प्रकाशितः ॥ १२॥

dvayordvayormadhujñāne paraṃ brahma prakāśitam .

pṛthivyāmudare caiva yathā''kāśaḥ prakāśitaḥ .. 12..

Just as it is taught that ether in the earth and the belly is verily the same, so also the supreme Brahman is declared to be the same with reference to every two (viz., the corporeal and superphysical), in the Madhu-Brahmana (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Moreover, in the words “All this is the Supreme Atman, the Brahman, the bright, the immortal Person who is both the celestial (superphysical—Adhidaiva) and the corporeal (Adhyātma), who is in this earth as well as the Knower incorporated in the body,”—Brahman alone is described in order to indicate the limit at which duality vanishes. Where does this occur? It is thus replied:—It occurs in the Madhu Brāhmaṇa chapter which is known as the chapter dealing with the Knowledge of Brahman. It is because therein is described the nectar (i.e., immortality) which is known as Madhu, i.e., honey, as it gives us the highest bliss. This Brahman is like the Ākāśa which is said to be the same or identical though separately indicated as existing in the earth and in the stomach.

Sloka : 3.13 (Karika)

जीवात्मनोरनन्यत्वमभेदेन प्रशस्यते ।

नानात्वं निन्द्यते यच्च तदेवं हि समञ्जसम् ॥ १३॥

jīvātmanorananyatvamabhedena praśasyate .

nānātvaṃ nindyate yacca tadevaṃ hi samañjasam .. 13..

Since the non-difference of Jiva (individual soul) and the supreme Self is extolled on the basis of their identity, and since diversity is censured, therefore, that (non-duality) alone is reasonable.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The Śāstras as well as the sages like Vyāsa, etc., extol the identity of Jiva and the Supreme Self through the negation of all differences—the conclusion arrived at by reasoning and supported by the scriptures. Further, the experiences of multiplicity which are natural (to the ignorant) and common to all beings—the view propounded by those who do not understand the real import of the Śāstras and who indulge in futile reasoning—have been condemned thus:- “But there is certainly nothing corresponding to the dual existence,” “Fear arises from the consciousness of duality,” “If he sees the slightest difference (in Atman) then he is overcome with fear,” “All this is verily Atman, “He goes from death to death who sees here (in this Atman) multiplicity.” Other Knowers of Brahman as well as the scriptures (quoted above) extol identity (of Jiva and Brahman) and condemn multiplicity. Thus alone this praise and condemnation can easily be comprehended; in other words, it accords with reason. But the false views (vainly) advanced by the logicians, not easy of comprehension, cannot be accepted as facts (Truth).

Sloka : 3.14 (Karika)

जीवात्मनोः पृथक्त्वं यत्प्रागुत्पत्तेः प्रकीर्तितम् ।

भविष्यद्वृत्त्या गौणं तन्मुख्यत्वं हि न युज्यते ॥ १४॥

jīvātmanoḥ pṛthaktvaṃ yatprāgutpatteḥ prakīrtitam .

bhaviṣyadvṛttyā gauṇaṃ tanmukhyatvaṃ hi na yujyate .. 14..

The separateness of the individual soul and the supreme Self which has been declared (in the sruti) prior to the discussion of creation (in the Upanishads), is in a secondary sense in view of the result of the future, for it (separateness) is not in fitness if held in its primary sense.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- Even the Śruti has already declared the separateness of the Jiva and the Supreme Self in that part of the Upaniṣad which describes the creation (of the universe), i.e., in the ritual portion (Karmakāṇḍa) of the Vedas. The texts of the Karma - kāṇḍa, referred to here, describe the Supreme Puruṣa who had multiple desire, in such words as, “desirous of this,” “desirous of that,” “He, the Highest, supported the heaven and the earth,” etc. This being the case, how is it possible, when there is a conflict between the knowledge portion and the ritual portion of the Vedas, to conclude that the unity underlying the meaning of the knowledge portion (of the Vedas) is alone reasonable and accurate? Reply:- Our reply is as follows:- The seperateness (of Jiva and ParamAtman) described in the Karma - kāṇḍa (ritual portion of the Vedas)—anterior to such Upaniṣadic statements dealing with the creation of the universe as “That from which all these beings emanate,” “As small sparks (come out) from fire,” “The Ākāśa has evolved from that which is this Atman,” “It created heat”—is not real from the absolute.standpoint. Objection:- What is it then? Reply:- It has only a secondary meaning. The separateness (between Jiva and ParamAtman implied in these passages) is like that between the undifferentiated ether (Mahākāśa) and the ether enclosed in the jar (Ghaṭākāśa). This statement is made with reference to a future happening as in the case of another statement we often make, “He is cooking rice.” For, the words describing separateness (of Jiva and ParamAtman) can never reasonably uphold such separateness as absolutely real, as the statements regarding the separateness of Atman only reiterate the multiple experiences of those beings who are still under the spell of their inborn Avidya or ignorance. Here in the Upaniṣads, the texts regarding the creation, destruction, etc., of the universe are meant only to establish the identity of Jiva and the Supreme Self, as is known from the texts, “That thou art,” “He does not know who knows I am another and he is another”. In other words, in the Upaniṣads the purpose of the Śruti is to establish the identity (of Jiva and Brahman). Keeping in view this identity which is going to be established later on, the (dualistic) texts only reiterate the common experience of multiplicity (due to ignorance). Therefore these (dualistic) texts are only metaphorical. Or, the Kārikā may be explained thus:-—The scriptural text, “He is one and without a second,” declares the (complete) identity of Jiva and Brahman even before creation, denoted by such passages as, “He saw,” “He created fire,” etc. The culmination is, again, that identity as is known from such Śruti passages as, “That is the Reality; He is the Atman. That thou art”. Now, if keeping in view this future identity, the separateness of Jiva and Atman has been declared in some texts, it must have been used in a metaphorical way as is the case with the statement “He is cooking rice”.

Sloka : 3.15 (Karika)

मृल्लोहविस्फुलिङ्गाद्यै सृष्टिर्या चोदिताऽन्यथा ।

उपायः सोऽवताराय नास्ति भेदः कथञ्चन ॥ १५॥

mṛllohavisphuliṅgādyai sṛṣṭiryā coditā'nyathā .

upāyaḥ so'vatārāya nāsti bhedaḥ kathañcana .. 15..

The creation which is differently set forth by means of (the illustrations of) earth, gold, sparks etc., is (just) a means to reveal the idea (of identity). But multiplicity does not exist in any manner.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- Before creation all this might have been unborn, one and non-dual; but after creation, all this evolved world and the embodied beings (Jivas) denote multiplicity. Reply:- No, it cannot be so. For, the scriptural passages dealing with creation have another meaning. This difficulty raised here has already been solved by the statements that the aggregates (entities) of body, etc., like dream-objects, are produced through illusion of the subject (Atman) and that creation and the differences of the Jivas are like the creation and the differences of the Ghaṭākāśas, i.e., the bits of Ākāśa enclosed in different jars. The scriptural statements dealing with creation and differences (of the created beings), have again been referred to here in order to show that such statements regarding creation have the purpose of determining the unity of Jiva and Brahman. The (theory of) creation has been described in the scripture through the illustrations of earth, iron, sparks, etc., or otherwise; but all these modes of creation are meant for enlightening our intellect so that it may comprehend the identity of Jiva and Brahman. It is just like the story of the organs of speech (vāk), etc., being smitten with evil by the Asuras (demons) as described in the chapter on Prana (vital breath), where the real purpose of the Śruti is to demonstrate the special importance of Prana. Objection:- We do not accept this meaning as indicated. Reply:- Your contention is not correct. For this story about Prana, etc., has been differently narrated in different recensions of the Vedas. If the story of Prana were literally true, there should have been one version only in all recensions. Different versions of contradictory nature would not have been narrated. But we do come across such different versions in the Vedas. Therefore the scriptural passages recording stories of Prana are not meant to serve any purpose of their own, i.e., they should not be taken literally. The scriptural statements regarding creation should also be understood in a similar manner. Objection:- There have been different creations in different cycles. Therefore, the scriptural statements regarding creations (of the universe) and stories (of Prana) are different as they refer to the Creations in different cycles. Reply:- This contention is not valid. For, they (the illustrations of earth, iron, etc., as well as the stories of Prana) serve no other useful purpose than clearing our intellect as stated above. No one can imagine any other utility of the scriptural statements regarding creation and Prana. Objection:- We contend that these are for the purpose of meditation so that one may ultimately attain to that end. Reply:- This is not correct either; for no one desires to attain his identity with the dispute (in the case of the Prana narrative), or with the creation or destruction (in the case of the scriptural statements regarding creation, etc.). Therefore we have reasonably to conclude that the scriptural statements regarding creation, etc., are for the purpose of helping the mind to realise the oneness of Atman, and for no other purpose whatsoever. Therefore, no multiplicity is brought about by creation, etc.

Sloka : 3.16 (Karika)

आश्रमास्त्रिविधा हीनमध्यमोत्कृष्टदृष्टयः ।

उपासनोपदिष्टेयं तदर्थमनुकम्पया ॥ १६॥

āśramāstrividhā hīnamadhyamotkṛṣṭadṛṣṭayaḥ .

upāsanopadiṣṭeyaṃ tadarthamanukampayā .. 16..

There are three stages of life – low, medium, and high. This meditation is enjoined for their sake out of compassion.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- If according to such Śruti passages as “Atman is one and without a second”, etc., the Atman alone, the one, the eternally pure, illumined and free, is the highest and the ultimate Reality and all else is unreal, what then is the purpose of the devotion and spiritual practices implied in such Śruti passages as “Oh dear, Atman alone is to be seen”, “The Atman who is free from”, “He desired”, “It should be worshipped as Atman”, etc.? Further, what is the utility of Karma (Vedic works) like Agnihotra, etc.? Reply:- Yes, listen to the reasons. Āśrama signifies those who are competent to follow the disciplines of life as prescribed for the different stages. The word (in the text) also includes those who belong to the (different) castes and therefore who observe the rites (prescribed for those castes). The application of the word “Āśrama” implies that these castes are also three in number. How? It is because they are endowed with three kinds of intellect, viz., low, middle and high. This discipline as well as the (various) Karmas (works) are prescribed for the Āśramis of low and average intellect, by the Śruti, out of compassion, so that they also, following the correct disciplines, may attain to the superior knowledge. That this discipline is not for those who possess the right understanding, i.e., who are already endowed with the Knowledge of Atman which is one and without a second, is supported by such Śruíi passages as “That which cannot be known by the mind, but by which, they say, the mind is able to think, that alone know to be Brahman, and not that which people here adore”, “That thou art”, “All this is verily Atman”, etc. In the previous Kārikās it has been proved that the Scriptural statements regarding creation, etc., do not conflict with the nondual Atman. This Kārikā states that the prescription of various disciplines associated with different Varṇas and Āśramas also does not contradict the view of the non-dual Atman. The statements regarding creation, etc., as well as the various spiritual disciplines are only meant for the unenlightened in order to assist them to understand the oneness of Atman.

Sloka : 3.17 (Karika)

स्वसिद्धान्तव्यवस्थासु द्वैतिनो निश्चिता दृढम् ।

परस्परं विरुध्यन्ते तैरयं न विरुध्यते ॥ १७॥

svasiddhāntavyavasthāsu dvaitino niścitā dṛḍham .

parasparaṃ virudhyante tairayaṃ na virudhyate .. 17..

The dualists, firmly settled in their own doctrine which is arrived at by their own conclusions, contradict one another. But this (view of the non-dualist) is in no conflict with them.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The knowledge of the non-dual Self is established by both Scriptures and reasoning. Therefore, it is alone the perfect knowledge. Other views, on account of their being devoid of the bases of Scriptures and reasoning, lead to false systems. The views of the dualists are false on account of this additional reason, that they are the fruitful sources of the vices of attachment and hatred, etc. How is this? The dualists following the views of Kapila, Kanāda, Buddha and Jina, etc., hold firmly to the conclusions as outlined and formulated by their respective schools. They think that the view they hold is alone the ultimate Reality, whereas other views are not so. Therefore they become attached to their own views and hate others whom they consider to be opposed to them. Thus being overcome with attachment and hatred, they contradict one another, the reason being the adherence to their own convictions as the only truth. But our view, viz., the unity of Atman, based upon the identity of all, supported by the Vedas, does not conflict with others who find contradictions among themselves,—as one’s limbs such as hands, feet, etc., do not conflict with one another. Hence the purport of the Śruti is that the knowledge of the oneness of Atman, as it is free from the blemish of attachment and aversion, is the true knowledge. This Karikā proves the superiority of the Advaita knowledge over other views as it does not contradict the Scriptural statements regarding creation and exercises (Upāsana), and also because it does not clash with other theories. Advaita alone harmonises all other doctrines and theories. It alone gives the rationale of other relative views regarding Truth.

Sloka : 3.18 (Karika)

अद्वैतं परमार्थो हि द्वैतं तद्भेद उच्यते ।

तेषामुभयथा द्वैतं तेनायं न विरुध्यते ॥ १८॥

advaitaṃ paramārtho hi dvaitaṃ tadbheda ucyate .

teṣāmubhayathā dvaitaṃ tenāyaṃ na virudhyate .. 18..

Non-duality is indeed the supreme Reality, inasmuch as duality is said to be its product. For them duality constitutes both (the Real and the unreal). Hence this (our view) is not opposed (to theirs).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How is it that the non-dualist does not conflict with the dualist? The reason is thus stated:-—As nonduality is the ultimate Reality, therefore duality or multiplicity is only its effect. The Scriptural passages such as, “He is one and without a second”, “He created fire”, etc., support this view. It is further borne out by reason as duality is not perceived in the states of swoon, deep sleep or trance (samādhi), in the absence of the activity of the mind. Therefore duality is said to be the effect of non-duality. But the dualists perceive duality alone either way, that is, from both the absolute and the relative standpoints. As duality is perceived only by the deluded and non-duality by us who are enlightened, therefore our view does not clash with their views. For, the Scripture also says, “Indra (the Supreme Lord) created all these diverse forms through Maya”, “There exists nothing like duality”. It is like the case of a man on a spirited elephant, who knows that none can oppose him, but who yet does not drive his beast upon a lunatic who though standing on the ground, shouts at the former, “I am also on an elephant, drive your beast on me”. Therefore from the standpoint of Reality, the Knower of Brahman is the very self of (even) the dualists. Hence, our, viz., the non-dualistic view does not clash with other views. It may be asked in view of the differences between the dualistic and the non-dualistic views, how it can be said that the latter does not find any contradiction with the former. The text of the Kārikā gives the reply. It says that the so-called duality does not exist at all. Whatever exists is non-dual Brahman alone. Therefore the non-dualist cannot quarrel with a thing which is ultimately non-existent.

Sloka : 3.19 (Karika)

मायया भिद्यते ह्येतन्नान्यथाऽजं कथञ्चन ।

तत्त्वतो भिद्यमाने हि मर्त्यताममृतं व्रजेत् ॥ १९॥

māyayā bhidyate hyetannānyathā'jaṃ kathañcana .

tattvato bhidyamāne hi martyatāmamṛtaṃ vrajet .. 19..

This unborn (Self) undergoes modification through Maya and not in any other way. For, if the modifications are to be a reality, the immortal would tend to be mortal.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

If duality were the effect of non-duality, then it could be contended that duality also, like the Advaita, is the Supreme Reality. In order to remove this doubt which may crop up in the minds of some, it is said that non-duality which is the Supreme Reality appears manifold through Maya, like the one moon appearing as many to one with defective eye-sight and the rope appearing (to the deluded) as the snake, the water-line, etc. This manifold is not real, for Atman is without any part. An object endowed with parts may be said to undergo modification by a change of its parts, as clay undergoes differentiation into pots, etc. Therefore the purport is that the changeless (unborn) Atman which is without parts cannot, in any manner, admit of distinction excepting through Maya or the illusion of the perceiver. If the appearance of manifoldness were real, then the Atman, the ever-unborn and non-dual, which is, by its very nature, immortal would become mortal as though fire would become cold (which is an absurdity). The reversal of one’s own nature is not desired by any—as it is opposed to all means of proofs. Therefore the Reality—which is Atman—changeless and unborn, appears to undergo a modification only through Maya. Hence it follows that duality is not the ultimate Reality.

Sloka : 3.20 (Karika)

अजातस्यैव भावस्य जातिमिच्छन्ति वादिनः ।

अजातो ह्यमृतो भावो मर्त्यतां कथमेष्यति ॥ २०॥

ajātasyaiva bhāvasya jātimicchanti vādinaḥ .

ajāto hyamṛto bhāvo martyatāṃ kathameṣyati .. 20..

The disputants think of the very unborn Self on terms of birth. How can the Self that is unborn and immortal tend towards mortality?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Some interpreters of the Upaniṣads, who are garrulous and who put on the airs of the Knowers of Brahman, admit that the Reality—the Atman—which is by nature ever-unborn (changeless) and immortal, really passes into birth (i.e., becomes the universe). If, according to them, the Atman really passes into birth it must undergo destruction. But, how is it possible for the Atman which is, by its very nature, ever-unborn (changeless) and immortal to become mortal, i.e., to be subject to destruction? It can never become mortal which is contrary to its very nature.

Sloka : 3.21 (Karika)

न भवत्यमृतं मर्त्यं न मर्त्यममृतं तथा ।

प्रकृतेरन्यथाभावो न कथञ्चिद्भविष्यति ॥ २१॥

na bhavatyamṛtaṃ martyaṃ na martyamamṛtaṃ tathā .

prakṛteranyathābhāvo na kathañcidbhaviṣyati .. 21..

The immortal can never become mortal. So, too mortal can never become immortal. For a change in one’s nature cannot ever take place in any manner.

Sloka : 3.22 (Karika)

स्वभावेनामृतो यस्य भावो गच्छति मर्त्यताम् ।

कृतकेनामृतस्तस्य कथं स्थास्यति निश्चलः ॥ २२॥

svabhāvenāmṛto yasya bhāvo gacchati martyatām .

kṛtakenāmṛtastasya kathaṃ sthāsyati niścalaḥ .. 22..

How can the entity that is immortal remain unchanged according to one to whom a thing that is immortal by nature can be born, since it is a product (in his view) ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

As in common experience the immortal never becomes mortal, nor the mortal ever becomes immortal; therefore it is, in no way, possible for a thing to reverse its nature, i.e., to become otherwise than what it is. Fire can never change its character of being hot. The disputant who maintains that the naturally immortal entity becomes mortal, i.e., really passes into birth, makes the futile proposition that that entity before creation is by its very nature, immortal. How can he assert that the entity is of immortal nature if it be admitted that it passes into birth? That is to say, how can the immortal retain its immortal nature of changelessness if it should undergo a change? It cannot, by any means, be so. Those who hold that the Atman passes into birth (i.e., undergoes a change), cannot speak of the Atman as ever birthless. Everything, according to them, must be mortal. Hence there cannot be a state called liberation.

Sloka : 3.23 (Karika)

भूततोऽभूततो वाऽपि सृज्यमाने समा श्रुतिः ।

निश्चितं युक्तियुक्तं च यत्तद्भवति नेतरत् ॥ २३॥

bhūtato'bhūtato vā'pi sṛjyamāne samā śrutiḥ .

niścitaṃ yuktiyuktaṃ ca yattadbhavati netarat .. 23..

The sruti favours equally the creation in reality and through Maya. That which is settled by the sruti and supported by reasoning is true, and not anything else.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- Those who do not admit the change or the passing into birth of Brahman, cannot justify the Scriptural passages which support creation. Reply:- Yes, we also admit the existence of Scriptural texts supporting creation as actual, but such texts serve other purposes. Though the question has already been disposed of, the contention is here again made and refuted in order to allay all doubts regarding the applicability or otherwise of the Scriptural texts to the subject-matter that is going to be dealt with. The Scriptural text regarding creation is the same, whether the creation of things is taken in the real sense or as a mere illusion produced by the juggler. Objection:- If words admit of metaphorical and direct meanings, it is reasonable to understand the world according to their direct meaning. Reply:- We do not admit it. For, creation, in any sense other than illusion, is unknown to us, and further, no purpose is served by admitting (the act of) creation. All creation, whether metaphorical or actual, refers to the apparent creation caused by Avidya but not to any creation from the standpoint of Reality. For the Scripture says, “Though existing both within and without, he (the Atman) is (really) changeless”. Therefore we have stated in the foregoing part of this work only what is supported by reason and determined by the Śruīi such words as, “He is one and without a second and is free from birth and death”. That alone is the true import of the Scripture and not anything else.

Sloka : 3.24 (Karika)

नेह नानेति चाऽऽम्नायादिन्द्रो मायाभिरित्यपि ॥

अजायमानो बहुधा मायया जायते तु सः ॥ २४॥

neha nāneti cā''mnāyādindro māyābhirityapi ..

ajāyamāno bahudhā māyayā jāyate tu saḥ .. 24..

Since the sruti says, "There is no multiplicity here", "the Lord, owing to Maya, (is seen diversely)", and "The Self, though unborn, (appears to be born in many ways)", it becomes obvious that He is born through Maya.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

It may be asked how the changelessness (Ajāti) of Atman is the final conclusion of the Śruti. In reply it is said that if creation were real, then the existence of the variety of objects would be absolutely real. Consequently there ought not to be Scriptural texts implying their unreality. But there are such Scriptural texts as, “In this (Atman) there is no multiplicity,” etc., which negate the existence of duality. Therefore creation (imaginary) has been imagined in order to help the understanding of the non-duality of Atman. It is like the story of Prana. And this is further borne out by the use of the word, “Maya” denoting unreality (in connection with creation) in such Scriptural texts as “Indra through Maya assumed diverse forms”. Objection:- The word denotes knowledge (Prajna). Reply:- It is true, but sens e-knowledge is illusory. The word “Maya” is used to denote that (sense-) knowledge. Hence there is no blemish (in such use of the word). The word “Mayabhiḥ” (through Maya) in the Scriptural text means through sense-knowledge, which is illusory. For, the Scripture again says, “Though unborn he appears to be born in many ways.” Therefore Atman passes into birth through Maya alone. The word “Tu” (“verily”) in the text (of the Kārikā) denotes certainty, that is to say, it indicates that creation is possible only through Maya or illusion and not in any real sense. For, birthlessness and birth in various forms cannot be predicated of the same object, as fire cannot be both hot and cold. Further, from such Śruti passages as “How can there be any delusion and any grief for him who sees unity,” etc., we know that the knowledge of the unity of Atman is alone the conclusion of Śruti on account of the (good) result it brings to the knower. Again, the perception of differentiation implied by creation has been condemned in such Śruti passages as, “He goes from death to death (who sees here many)”.

Sloka : 3.25 (Karika)

सम्भूतेरपवादाच्च सम्भवः प्रतिषिध्यते ।

को न्वेनं जनयेदिति कारणं प्रतिषिध्यते ॥ २५॥

sambhūterapavādācca sambhavaḥ pratiṣidhyate .

ko nvenaṃ janayediti kāraṇaṃ pratiṣidhyate .. 25..

By the censure of (the worship of) Hiranyagarbha is negated creation. By the statement, "Who will cause it to be born?", is denied causality.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

By the condemnation of Sambhūti (i.e., Hiraṇyagarbha) as something fit to be meditated upon, in such Śruti passage as, “They enter into blind darkness who worship Sambhūti,” the whole creation (evolution) is negatived. For, if Sambhūti were absolutely real, then its condemnation, in such manner, would not be reasonable. Objection:- The condemnation of Sambhūti is meant here for co-ordinating Sambhūti with Vināśa as is the case with the Śruti passage, “They enter into blind darkness who worship Avidya”. Reply:- Yes, it is indeed true that the condemnation of the exclusive worship of Sambhūti is made for the purpose of co-ordinating the meditation regarding Sambhūti with the Karma (ritual) known as Vināśa. Still it should not be forgotten that as the purpose of the Karma known as Vināśa is to transcend death,—whose nature is the desire consequent upon the inborn ignorance of man—so also the aim of the co-ordination of the meditation on Devatā (i.e., Sambhūti or Hiraṇyagarbha) with the Karma (called Vināśa) undertaken for the purpose of the purification of the mind of man, is to transcend death,—which is of the nature of the attachment to ritual and its results characterised by the dual hankering after the end and the means. For, thus alone man becomes free from death which is of the nature of impurity and is characterised by the dual impulse of end and means. Therefore the co-ordination of the meditation of Devatā and of Karma—which is Avidya—leads to freedom from death. Thus the realisation of Vidyā (the highest knowledge), characterised by the identity of the Supreme Self and Jiva, is inevitable for one who has transcended death,—of the form of Avidya and characterised by the dual impulses (of the means and the end),—and who is established in renunciation and also devoted to the meaning of the import of the Upaniṣad. It is therefore said thus :- BrahmAvidya (i.e., the knowledge of Brahman—which is the means for the attainment of Immortality and which is (from the relative standpoint) subsequent to the state of the antecedent Avidya (ignorance) being related to the same person (who is still in the state of ignorance), is said to be coordinated with Avidya (avidya). Hence the negation of Sambhūti is for the purpose of condemnation as it serves a purpose other than the knowledge of Brahman which (alone) is the means to the attainment of Immortality. Though it serves the purpose of removing impurity yet the devotion to Sambhūti does not enable one to realise (directly) immortality. (Therefore the condemnation of Sambhūti is reasonable.) Hence, Sambhūti, being thus negatived, it can be said to have only a relative existence. Having regard to the unity of Atman, the ultimate Reality, creation (symbolised by Hiraṇyagarbha) which is known as immortal (only from the relative standpoint) is negated. Such being the case, who can bring into being the Jiva who is seen as created only through illusion (Maya) and who exists only while ignorance (Avidya) lasts? This Jiva reverts to its original nature (of Brahman) with the disappearance of Avidvā, For, no one can verily bring into being the snake (falsely) superimposed upon the rope through Avidya and which disappears when one knows (the true nature of the rope). Therefore no one can produce or create the Jiva. The words “Ko nu” (“who can?”) in the text, being in the form of interrogation refute the idea of causality. The purport of the Kārikā is that there can be no cause for a thing which is seen to be born only through ignorance and which disappears with the destruction of the said ignorance. The Śruti also says, “This Atman is not born from any cause nor is anything born from it.”

Sloka : 3.26 (Karika)

स एष नेति नेतीति व्याख्यातं निह्नुते यतः ।

सर्वमग्राह्यभावेन हेतुनाऽजं प्रकाशते ॥ २६॥

sa eṣa neti netīti vyākhyātaṃ nihnute yataḥ .

sarvamagrāhyabhāvena hetunā'jaṃ prakāśate .. 26..

On the ground of non-apprehension (of Brahman), all the preceding instruction (for Its comprehension) is negated by the sruti, "This Self is that which has been declared as ‘Not this, not this’". Hence the unborn Self becomes revealed by Itself.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The Śruti in such passage as, “This is the final instruction. It is not this, not this,” has determined the nature of Atman by the refutation of all specific characteristics. But knowing this Atman to be incomprehensible the Śruti has again sought to establish the very same Atman through other means and finally refuted what have been described (as the means for the attainment of Atman). That is to say, the Śruti, in such passage as, “It is not this, not this,” demonstrates the incomprehensibility of Atman or in other words, refutes the idea that Atman can be realised or understood. Those who do not understand that the means (suggested for the realisation of Atman) have only one purpose, viz., the realisation of the end (i.e., the non-dual Atman), make a mistake by thinking that what are suggested as the means have the same reality as the end. In order to remove this error, the Śruti negates the reality of the means by pointing out the incomprehensibility of Atman, as its reason. Subsequently, the student knows that the means serve their purpose by pointing only to the end and the end itself is always one and changeless. To such a student the knowledge of the unborn Self which is both within and without reveals itself.

Sloka : 3.27 (Karika)

सतो हि मायया जन्म युज्यते न तु तत्त्वतः ।

तत्त्वतो जायते यस्य जातं तस्य हि जायते ॥ २७॥

sato hi māyayā janma yujyate na tu tattvataḥ .

tattvato jāyate yasya jātaṃ tasya hi jāyate .. 27..

Birth of that which exists occurs only through Maya and not in reality. He who thinks that something is born in reality, (should know) that that which is already born is (re)born.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Thus hundreds of Scriptural passages conclude that the essence which is the non-dual and birthless Self, existing both within and without, is the only Reality, and that nothing else, besides the Self, exists. Now, in order to determine this very Reality through reason, again it is stated:-— Objection:- It may also be true that if Reality be incomprehensible then the knowledge of Self would be unreal. Reply:- No, this cannot be, for the effect is comprehended. As the effects, that is to say creation (of new things), come from a really existent magician through Maya (magic), so also the comprehension of the effects, in the form of the creation of the universe, leads us to infer the existence of the Atman, the Supreme Reality, who, like the magician, is, as it were, the substratum of the illusion which is seen in the form of the creation of the universe. For, the creation of the universe is possible only with a Reality, i.e., an existing cause, like the birth of the effects, such as the elephant, etc., conjured up through illusion (by an existing magician); and this creation is never possible with a non-existing cause. It is not, however, possible for the unborn Atman to really pass into birth. Or, the first line of the text may be explained in another manner. As a really existing entity, such as the rope, etc., passes into such effects as the snake, etc., only through Maya and not in reality, similarly, the real and the incomprehensible Atman is seen to pass into birth, in the form of the universe, like the rope becoming the snake, only through illusion. The birthless Atman cannot pass into birth from the standpoint of Reality. But the disputant who holds that the unborn Atman, the Supreme Reality, is really born in the form of the universe, cannot assert that the unborn is born, as this implies a contradiction. In that case he must admit that, in fact, what is (already) born, again passes into birth. If, thus, birth is predicated of that which is already born, then the disputant is faced with what is known in logic as regressus ad infinitum. Therefore it is established that the Essence which is Atman is ever unborn and non-dual.

Sloka : 3.28 (Karika)

असतो मायया जन्म तत्त्वतो नैव युज्यते ।

वन्ध्यापुत्रो न तत्त्वेन मायया वाऽपि जायते ॥ २८॥

asato māyayā janma tattvato naiva yujyate .

vandhyāputro na tattvena māyayā vā'pi jāyate .. 28..

The birth of that which is non-existent cannot occur either through Maya or in reality, for a son of a barren woman cannot be born either through Maya or in reality.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

There are those who hold that all entities are unreal, that the non-existent produces this world. But production, by the non-existent, of any thing either in reality or in illusion is not possible. For we know nothing like it in our experience. As the son of a barren woman is not seen to be born either really or through Maya, the theory of the non-existence of things is in truth untenable.

Sloka : 3.29 (Karika)

यथा स्वप्ने द्वयाभासं स्पन्दते मायया मनः ।

तथा जाग्रद्द्वयाभासं स्पन्दते मायया मनः ॥ २९॥

yathā svapne dvayābhāsaṃ spandate māyayā manaḥ .

tathā jāgraddvayābhāsaṃ spandate māyayā manaḥ .. 29..

As in dream the mind vibrates through Maya, as though with dual roles, so in the waking state the mind vibrates through Maya, as though with dual roles.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How is it possible for the Reality to pass into birth through Maya? It is thus replied; As the snake imagined in the rope, is real when seen as the rope, so also the mind, from the standpoint of the knowledge of the ultimate Reality, is seen to be identical with Atman. This mind, in dream, appears to us as dual in the forms of the cogniser and the cognised through Maya, as the snake àppears to be separate from the rope through ignorance. Similarly, indeed the mind acts (in a dual form) in the waking state through Maya. That is to say, the mind appears to act.

Sloka : 3.30 (Karika)

अद्वयं च द्वयाभासं मनः स्वप्ने न संशयः ।

अद्वयं च द्वयाभासं तथा जाग्रन्न संशयः ॥ ३०॥

advayaṃ ca dvayābhāsaṃ manaḥ svapne na saṃśayaḥ .

advayaṃ ca dvayābhāsaṃ tathā jāgranna saṃśayaḥ .. 30..

There can be no doubt that the non-dual mind alone appears in dream in dual roles. Similarly, in the waking state too, the non-dual mind appears to possess dual roles.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Really speaking, the snake is identical with the rope. In like manner, the mind which is nondual as Atman appears undoubtedly in dual forms in dreams. Verily in dream, such objects of perception as elephants, etc., or their perceivers such as eyes, etc., have no existence independently of consciousness (mind). Similar is the case in the waking state as well. For (conciousness) mind, which is the highest Reality, is common to both.

Sloka : 3.31 (Karika)

मनोदृश्यमिदं द्वैतं यत्किञ्चित्सचराचरम् ।

मनसो ह्यमनीभावे द्वैतं नैवोपलभ्यते ॥ ३१॥

manodṛśyamidaṃ dvaitaṃ yatkiñcitsacarācaram .

manaso hyamanībhāve dvaitaṃ naivopalabhyate .. 31..

Whatever there is, moving and unmoving, which constitutes this duality, is perceived by the mind, for when mind does not exist as mind, duality is never perceived.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

It has been said that it is the mind alone which appears as dual (objects) like the appearance of the snake in the rope. But what is its proof? Our answer is this:- We make the statement on the strength of an inference following the method of agreement and difference. The proposition is that all this duality perceived as such by the imagination of the mind is, in reality, nothing but the mind. The reason for such inference is that duality is perceived when the mind acts and it vanishes when the mind ceases to act; that is to say, when the (activity, i.e., the Vṛttis of the) mind is withdrawn unto itself by the knowledge got through discrimination, repeated practice and renunciation,—like the disappearance of the snake in the rope—or during deep sleep. Hence on account of the disappearance of duality it is established that duality is unreal or illusory. That the perception of duality is due to the action of the mind is further proved in this Kārikā.

Sloka : 3.32 (Karika)

आत्मसत्यानुबोधेन न सङ्कल्पयते यदा ।

अमनस्तां तदा याति ग्राह्याभावे तदग्रहम् ॥ ३२॥

ātmasatyānubodhena na saṅkalpayate yadā .

amanastāṃ tadā yāti grāhyābhāve tadagraham .. 32..

When the mind ceases to imagine consequent on the realisation of the Truth which is the Self, then it attains the state of not being the mind and becomes a non-perceiver, owing to the absence of objects to be perceived.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How does the mind become naught? It is thus replied:—The Atman alone is the Reality like the clay; as in the Śruti passage, “All modifications are mere names arising from efforts of speech. The clay alone is real.” That knowledge of the reality of Atman comes through the Scripture and the teacher. The mind having attained to that knowledge does not imagine, as there remains nothing to be imagined. The mind then is like fire when there is no fuel to burn. When the mind thus does no longer imagine, it ceases to be mind, that is, the mind, for want of any object to be cognised, becomes free from all cognition.

Sloka : 3.33 (Karika)

अकल्पकमजं ज्ञानं ज्ञेयाभिन्नं प्रचक्षते ।

ब्रह्मज्ञेयमजं नित्यमजेनाजं विबुध्यते ॥ ३३॥

akalpakamajaṃ jñānaṃ jñeyābhinnaṃ pracakṣate .

brahmajñeyamajaṃ nityamajenājaṃ vibudhyate .. 33..

(The knowers of Brahman) say that the knowledge which is free from imagination, and unborn is not distinct from the knowable. The knowledge of which Brahman is the sole object is unborn and everlasting. The unborn (Self) is known by the (knowledge that is) unborn.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

If all this duality be illusory, how is the knowledge of the Self to be realised? It is thus replied:- The Knowers of Brahman describe knowledge, i.e., the mere essence of thought, which is unborn and free from all imaginations as non-different from Brahman, the ultimate Reality, which is also the object of knowledge. This is supported by such Scriptural passages as, “Like heat from fire, knowledge (Jñānam) is never absent from the knower (Atman),” “Brahman is Knowledge and Bliss,” “Brahman is Reality, Knowledge and Infinity,” etc. The knowledge of which Brahman is the object, is non-different from (the know-able) Brahman, as is the heat from the fire. The Essence of the Self, which is the object of knowledge, verily knows itself by means of unborn knowledge, which is of the very nature of Atman. Brahman which is of the nature of one homogeneous mass of eternal consciousness, does not depend upon another instrument of knowledge (for its illumination), as is the case with the sun, which being of the nature of continuous light (does not require any instrument to illumine itself). As non-different, etc.—The Jñānam or knowledge is the same as Brahman; otherwise no knowledge would be able to tell us what Brahman is. Darkness cannot illumine the sun. Only the light of the sun which is the sun itself, can illumine the sun. Another instrument—Such as scripture, etc., which only tell us what is not self. To the Jñāni (Jnani), even when he acts in this empirical world, the knower, the knowledge and the object of knowledge are all Brahman. And yet all these, being of the nature of Brahman, are without birth (Aja).

Sloka : 3.34 (Karika)

निगृहीतस्य मनसो निर्विकल्पस्य धीमतः ।

प्रचारः स तु विज्ञेयः सुषुप्तेऽन्यो न तत्समः ॥ ३४॥

nigṛhītasya manaso nirvikalpasya dhīmataḥ .

pracāraḥ sa tu vijñeyaḥ suṣupte'nyo na tatsamaḥ .. 34..

The behaviour of the mind (thus) restrained, which is free from all imagination and which is endowed with discrimination, should be noticed. The mind in deep sleep is of a different character and is not like that (when it is under restraint).

Sloka : 3.35 (Karika)

लीयते हि सुषुप्ते तन्निगृहीतं न लीयते ।

तदेव निर्भयं ब्रह्म ज्ञानालोकं समन्ततः ॥ ३५॥

līyate hi suṣupte tannigṛhītaṃ na līyate .

tadeva nirbhayaṃ brahma jñānālokaṃ samantataḥ .. 35..

The mind becomes dissolved in deep sleep, but when under restraint, it doesn’t become dissolved. That (mind) alone becomes Brahman, the fearless, endowed with the light that is Consciousness on all sides.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

It has been stated before that the mind, free from imagination on account of the knowledge of Truth, which is Atman, becomes tranquil for want of external objects, like the fire not fed by fuel. Such mind may be said to be under control, It has been further stated that duality disappears when the mind thus ceases to act. The Yogis should particularly know the behaviour of the mind which is thus brought under discipline, which is free from all imaginations and which is possessed of discrimination. Objection:- In the absence of all specific consciousness the mind, in the state of deep sleep, behaves exactly in the same manner as does the mind under control. What is there to be known in the absence of all specific knowledge? Reply:- To this objection we reply thus:-—Your objection is not valid. For, the behaviour of the mind in deep sleep, overcome by the darkness of delusion caused by ignorance, and still full of many potential desires which are the seeds of numerous future undesirable activities, is quite different from the behaviour of the mind well under control and free from the ignorance which produces activities that give rise to numerous afflictions, and from which has been burnt away by the fire of self-knowledge the ignorance which contains the harmful seed of all potential tendencies to act. The behaviour of the latter kind of mind is quite different. Therefore it is not like the mind in deep sleep. Hence the behaviour of such mind should be known. This is the purport.

Sloka : 3.36 (Karika)

अजमनिद्रमस्वप्नमनामकमरूपकम् ।

सकृद्विभातं सर्वज्ञं नोपचारः कथञ्चन ॥ ३६॥

ajamanidramasvapnamanāmakamarūpakam .

sakṛdvibhātaṃ sarvajñaṃ nopacāraḥ kathañcana .. 36..

(Brahman is) birthless, sleepless, dreamless, nameless, formless, ever-resplendent and omniscient. (As regards That) there can be no routine practice of any kind.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Brahman is both within and without as well as unborn, as there is no cause for its passing into birth. For, we have already stated that (the phenomenon of) birth is seen on account of the ignorance (of the real nature of a thing), as is the case with the rope giving birth to the (illusion of the) snake. It is birthless because all ignorance is destroyed by the knowledge of Truth which is the Atman. Hence it is free from sleep ; for, Atman, which is, by nature, non-dual, is always free from sleep the nature of which is that of beginningless delusion characterised by ignorance. Therefore it is free from dream. Names and forms which are ascribed to it are due to the ignorance of its real nature. These names and forms are destroyed by Knowledge. It is like the (destruction of the illusion of the) snake seen in the rope. Hence Brahman cannot be described by any name, nor can it be in any manner described to be of any form. To support this, there are such Śruti passages as, “From which words come back,” etc. Moreover, it is ever effulgent or it is of the very nature of effulgence. For, it is free from (the ideas of) manifestation and non-manifestation characterised by wrong apprehension and non-apprehension. Apprehension and nonapprehension are (as inseparable) as day and night. Darkness is the characteristic of ignorance. These are the causes of the non-manifestation (of the real nature of Atman). These are absent in Atman. Moreover, Atman is always of the nature of consciousness and effulgence. Therefore it is reasonable to speak of Atman as ever-effulgent. It is all-knowing, that is to say, Atman is all that exists and Atman is consciousness (awareness) itself. As regards such Brahman (i.e., the one that knows such Brahman) no action can be enjoined, as may be in the case of others, who (on account of their ignorance of the real nature of Brahman) are asked to practise concentration, etc., on the nature of Atman. The purport is that besides the destruction of ignorance it is not possible to prescribe any disciplinary action (for the knowledge of Brahman), as Brahman is always of the nature of purity, knowledge and freedom. The nature of Brahman, which is the subject-matter under discussion is thus described in other ways. The purport of the Kārikā is that apart from the realisation of one’s identity with the attributeless Brahman no effort is to be made by him. The categorical imperative of Kant has no meaning for a knower of Atman. Yogic Samādhi is not the same as the goal of Jñāna Yoga as described in the philosophy of Advaita Vedānta or the Kārikā.

Sloka : 3.37 (Karika)

सर्वाभिलापविगतः सर्वचिन्तासमुत्थितः ।

सुप्रशान्तः सकृज्ज्योतिः समाधिरचलोऽभयः ॥ ३७॥

sarvābhilāpavigataḥ sarvacintāsamutthitaḥ .

supraśāntaḥ sakṛjjyotiḥ samādhiracalo'bhayaḥ .. 37..

The Self is devoid of all (external) organs, and is above all internal organs. It is exquisitely serene, eternally resplendent, divinely absorbed, unchanging and fearless.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Now is explained the reason for indicating Brahman as without name, etc., as stated above. The word Abhilāpa, meaning expression, denotes here the instrument of sound by which all sounds are expressed. Brahman is beyond speech. The instrument of sound is used in the sense of metonymy, i.e., it also implies other instruments of sense-knowledge. The purport is that the Atman is beyond all external sense-organs. Similarly, it is beyond all activities of the mind. The word “Chintā” in the text stands for “mind” (or the internal organ of thought). For, the Śruti says, “It is verily without Prana and without mind”, “It is higher than the imperishable Supreme.” It is all peace as it is free from all distinctions. The Atman is ever-effulgent, that is to say, being of the nature of self-consciousness which is its very essence, it is eternal light. The Atman is denoted by the word Samādhi as it can be realised only by the knowledge arising out of the deepest concentration (on its essence) or, the Atman is denoted by Samādhi because the Jiva concentrates his mind on Atman. It is immovable, i.e., beyond change. Hence, it is fearless as it is free from change.

Sloka : 3.38 (Karika)

ग्रहो न तत्र नोत्सर्ग्रश्चिन्ता यत्र न विद्यते ।

आत्मसंस्थं तदा ज्ञानमजाति समतां गतम् ॥ ३८॥

graho na tatra notsargraścintā yatra na vidyate .

ātmasaṃsthaṃ tadā jñānamajāti samatāṃ gatam .. 38..

Where there is no thought whatever, there is no acceptance or rejection. Then knowledge, rooted in the Self, attains the state of birthlessness and sameness.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

As Brahman alone has been described in the previous text as Samādhi (i.e., the sole object of concentration) and as free from activity and fear, therefore in that Brahman there is nothing to accept nor is there anything to give up. For, acceptance or abandonment is possible only where there is change or the possibility of change. But both these are inconsistent with Brahman—as nothing else exists which can cause a change in Brahman, and further because Brahman is without parts. Therefore, the meaning is that in Brahman there is no possibility of either accepting or giving up anything. The purport of the Kārikā is this:- How can there be any acceptance or abandonment (in Brahman) where, in the absence of the mind, no mentation whatsoever is possible? When the knowledge of Reality which is the Self, ensues, then Knowledge, for want of any object to rest upon, becomes established in Atman, like the heat of fire (in the absence of fuel). Ajāti, i.e., free from birth. It attains to the state of supreme non-duality. Thus is concluded, by means of reasoning and Scriptural authority what was stated before as a proposition in the following words:- “Now I shall describe the non-dual Brahman which is free from limitation and birth and which is the same everywhere.” Everything else, other than the knowledge of Reality which is the Self, birthless and homogeneous, implies limitation. The Śruti also says, “O Gārgi, he who departs from this world without knowing that Imperishable One, is, indeed, narrow-minded.” The purport is that everyone, realising this knowledge, becomes established in Brahman and attains to the fulfilment of all desires.

Sloka : 3.39 (Karika)

अस्पर्शयोगो वै नाम दुर्दर्शः सर्वयोगिभिः ।

योगिनो बिभ्यति ह्यस्मादभये भयदर्शिनः ॥ ३९॥

asparśayogo vai nāma durdarśaḥ sarvayogibhiḥ .

yogino bibhyati hyasmādabhaye bhayadarśinaḥ .. 39..

This Yoga that is said to be not in touch with anything is hard to be perceived by anyone of the Yogis, for the Yogis who behold fear in what is fearless, are afraid of it.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Though such is the nature of the knowledge of the Supreme Reality, yet it is described in the Upaniṣads as Yoga not in touch with anything; for, it is free from all touch implying relations (with objects). It is hard to be attained by the Yogis who are devoid of the knowledge taught in the Vedānta philosophy. In other words, this truth can be realised only by the efforts culminating in the knowledge of Atman as the Sole Reality. The Yogis shrink from it, which is free from all fear, for they think that this Yoga brings about the annihilation of their self. In other words, the Yogis, being devoid of discrimination, who, through fear, apprehend the destruction of their self, are afraid of it which is, in reality, fearlessness.

Sloka : 3.40 (Karika)

मनसो निग्रहायत्तमभयं सर्वयोगिनाम् ।

दुःखक्षयः प्रबोधश्चाप्यक्षया शान्तिरेव च ॥ ४०॥

manaso nigrahāyattamabhayaṃ sarvayoginām .

duḥkhakṣayaḥ prabodhaścāpyakṣayā śāntireva ca .. 40..

For all the Yogis, fearlessness, cessation of misery, awareness and everlasting peace, depend upon the control of their mind.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

hose who regard mind and the sense-organs, when seen apart from their identity with the very nature of Brahman, as mere imagination,—like that of the snake when seen apart from its identity with the rope—and who thus deny the sole reality of the mind and the sense-organs (independent of Brahman), i.e., those who look upon themselves as of the very nature of Brahman, spontaneously enjoy, as quite natural to them, fearlessness and eternal peace known as Freedom, (perfect knowledge) for which they (the Jñānis) do not depend upon any mechanical effort (such as the control of the mind, etc.). We have already stated that no duty (effort), whatsoever, exist for the Jñāni. But those other Yogis who are also traversing the path (leading to Truth), but who possess inferior or middling understanding and who look upon the mind as separate from but related to Atman, and who are ignorant of the knowledge regarding the reality of Atman—the Yogis belonging to this class can experience fearlessness as a result of the discipline of the mind. To them the destruction of misery is also dependent upon mental control. The ignorant can never experience the cessation of misery, if the mind, (considered) related to Atman, becomes active. Besides, their knowledge of self is dependent on their control of the mind. And similarly, eternal peace, known as Mokṣa (or liberation), in their case, depends upon the mental discipline.

Sloka : 3.41 (Karika)

उत्सेक उदधेर्यद्वत्कुशाग्रेणैकबिन्दुना ।

मनसो निग्रहस्तद्वद्भवेदपरिखेदतः ॥ ४१॥

utseka udadheryadvatkuśāgreṇaikabindunā .

manaso nigrahastadvadbhavedaparikhedataḥ .. 41..

By a tireless effort such as that by which the emptying of an ocean, drop by drop, is aimed at with the help of the edge of a Kusa grass, the conquest of the mind will become possible through absence of dejection.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

As one may try to empty the ocean, by draining off its water drop by drop, with the help of a (blade of) Kuśa -grass, even so may one control the mind by making the same effort with a heart which becomes neither depressed nor tired. This Kārikā gives us an idea of the effort that a Yogi should make to control his mind completely. But it appears that the complete suppression of the mental Vṛttis is impossible in this way. And as the happiness of a Yogi is dependent upon such suppression, he can never attain to eternal Truth by the Yogic method. Jñāna - yoga is the royal road for the attainment of eternal Truth and peace.

Sloka : 3.42 (Karika)

उपायेन निगृह्णीयाद्विक्षिप्तं कामभोगयोः ।

सुप्रसन्नं लये चैव यथा कामो लयस्तथा ॥ ४२॥

upāyena nigṛhṇīyādvikṣiptaṃ kāmabhogayoḥ .

suprasannaṃ laye caiva yathā kāmo layastathā .. 42..

With the (proper) means one should bring under restraint the mind that is torn amid desire and enjoyment. Even when the mind is well settled down in sleep, it should be brought under restraint, for sleep is as harmful as desire.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Is untiring effort the only way for bringing the mind under discipline? We say, in reply, no. One should, with untiring effort, follow the means, to be stated presently, in order to bring the mind under discipline, that is to say, bring it back to Atman, when the mind turns towards objects of desires and enjoyments. The word “Laya” in the text indicates Suṣupti, i.e., deep sleep in which state one becomes oblivious of all things. The (injunction implied in the) words “should be brought under discipline”, should also be applied in the case of the mind when it feels happy, that is to say free from all worries in the state of Laya or oblivion. Why should it be further brought under discipline if it feels pleasure (in that state)? It is thus replied:- Because the state of oblivion is as harmful as desire, the mind should be withdrawn from the state of oblivion as it should be withdrawn from objects of enjoyment.

Sloka : 3.43 (Karika)

दुःखं सर्वमनुस्मृत्य कामभोगान्निवर्तयेत् ।

अजं सर्वमनुस्मृत्य जातं नैव तु पश्यति ॥ ४३॥

duḥkhaṃ sarvamanusmṛtya kāmabhogānnivartayet .

ajaṃ sarvamanusmṛtya jātaṃ naiva tu paśyati .. 43..

Remembering that everything is productive of grief, one should withdraw (one’s mind) from the enjoyment of the objects of desire. (Similarly), remembering that everything is the unborn Brahman, one does not certainly see the born (ie., duality).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What is the way of disciplining the mind? It is thus replied:- Remember that all duality is caused by Avidya or illusion and therefore afflicted with misery. Thereby dissuade the mind from seeking enjoyments produced by desires. In other words, withdraw the mind from all dual objects by impressing upon it the idea of complete non-attachment. Realise from the teachings of the Scriptures and the Āchāryās that all this is verily the changeless Brahman. Then you will not see anything to the contrary, viz., duality; for it does not exist.

Sloka : 3.44 (Karika)

लये सम्बोधयेच्चित्तं विक्षिप्तं शमयेत्पुनः ।

सकषायं विजानीयात्समप्राप्तं न चालयेत् ॥ ४४॥

laye sambodhayeccittaṃ vikṣiptaṃ śamayetpunaḥ .

sakaṣāyaṃ vijānīyātsamaprāptaṃ na cālayet .. 44..

The mind that is in deep sleep should be awakened and the mind that is distracted should be brought back to tranquillity again. One should know the mind as passion-tinged, and should not disturb it when it has attained the state of equillibrium.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

When the mind is immersed in oblivion, i.e., in Suṣupti, then rouse it up by means of knowledge and by detachment. That is to say, turn the mind to the exercise of discrimination which leads to the knowledge of the Self. The word “Chitta” in the text bears the same meaning as “Manas” or mind. Bring the mind back to the state of tranquillity if it is distracted by the various objects of desires. When the mind is thus, by constant practice, awakened from the state of inactivity and also turned back from all objects, but not yet established in equilibrium, that is to say, when the mind still dwells in an intermediary state,—then know the mind to be possessed of attachment. Then the mind contains within it the seeds of desires for enjoyment and inactivity. From that state also, bring the mind, with care, to the realisation of equilibrium. Once the mind hás realised the state of equilibrium, that is, when it is on the way to realise that state, then do not disturb it again. In other words, do not turn it to (by attachment) external objects.

Sloka : 3.45 (Karika)

नाऽऽस्वादयेत्सुखं तत्र निःसङ्गः प्रज्ञया भवेत् ।

निश्चलं निश्चरच्चित्तमेकी कुर्यात्प्रयत्नतः ॥ ४५॥

nā''svādayetsukhaṃ tatra niḥsaṅgaḥ prajñayā bhavet .

niścalaṃ niścaraccittamekī kuryātprayatnataḥ .. 45..

In that state one should not enjoy the happiness, but should, by means of discrimination, become unattached. When the mind that has become still tends towards wandering, it should be unified (with the self) with efforts.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The seeker should not taste that happiness that is experienced by the Yogis seeking after Samādhi. In other words, he is not to be attached to that happiness. What then should be done by the student? He should be unattached to such happiness, by gaining knowledge through discrimination, and think that whatever happiness is experienced is false and conjured up by ignorance. The mind should be turned back from such happiness. When, however, having been once withdrawn from happiness and fixed on the state of steadiness, the mind again manifests its outgoing propensities, then control it by adopting the above-mentioned means; and with great care, make it one with Atman; that is, make the mind attain to the condition of pure existence and thought.

Sloka : 3.46 (Karika)

यदा न लीयते चित्तं न च विक्षिप्यते पुनः ।

अनिङ्गनमनाभासं निष्पन्नं ब्रह्म तत्तदा ॥ ४६॥

yadā na līyate cittaṃ na ca vikṣipyate punaḥ .

aniṅganamanābhāsaṃ niṣpannaṃ brahma tattadā .. 46..

When the mind does not become merged nor distracted again, when it becomes motionless and does not make appearances (as objects), then it verily becomes Brahman.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

When the mind brought under discipline by the above-mentioned methods, does not fall into the oblivion of deep sleep, nor is distracted by external objects, that is to say, when the mind becomes quiescent like the flame of a light kept in a windless place; or when the mind does not appear in the form of an object,—when the mind is endowed with these characteristics, it verily becomes one with Brahman.

Sloka : 3.47 (Karika)

स्वस्थं शान्तं सनिर्वाणमकथ्यं सुखमुत्तमम् ।

अजमजेन ज्ञेयेन सर्वज्ञं परिचक्षत ॥ ४७॥

svasthaṃ śāntaṃ sanirvāṇamakathyaṃ sukhamuttamam .

ajamajena jñeyena sarvajñaṃ paricakṣata .. 47..

That highest Bliss exists in one’s own Self. It is calm, identical with liberation, indescribable, and unborn. Since It is one with the unborn knowable (Brahman), the knowers of Brahman speak of It as the Omniscient (Brahman).

Sloka : 3.48 (Karika)

न कश्चिज्जायते जीवः सम्भवोऽस्य न विद्यते ।

एतत्तदुत्तमं सत्यं यत्र किञ्चिन्न जायते ॥ ४८॥

इति गौडपादियकारिकायामद्वैताख्यं तृतीयं

प्रकरणम् ॥ ३॥ ॐ तत्सत् ॥

na kaścijjāyate jīvaḥ sambhavo'sya na vidyate .

etattaduttamaṃ satyaṃ yatra kiñcinna jāyate .. 48..

iti gauḍapādiyakārikāyāmadvaitākhyaṃ tṛtīyaṃ

prakaraṇam .. 3.. oṃ tatsat ..

No Jiva (individual soul), whichsoever, is born. It has no cause (of birth). (Such being the case), this is the highest Truth where nothing is born whatsoever.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The above-mentioned bliss which is the highest Reality and which is characterised by the knowledge of the Atman is centred in the Self. It is all peace, characterised by the cessation of all evils. It is the same as liberation. It is indescribable as nobody is able to describe it; for, it is totally different from all objects. This ultimate bliss is directly realized by the Yogis. It is unborn because it is not produced like anything resulting from empirical perceptions. It is identical with the Unborn which is the object sought by Knowledge. The Knowers of Brahman describe this bliss verily as the omniscient Brahman, as it is identical with that Reality which is omniscient.

Sloka : 4.1 (Karika)

ज्ञानेनाऽऽकाशकल्पेन धर्मान्यो गगनोपमान् ।

ज्ञेयाभिन्नेन सम्बुद्धस्तं वन्दे द्विपदां वरम् ॥ १॥

jñānenā''kāśakalpena dharmānyo gaganopamān .

jñeyābhinnena sambuddhastaṃ vande dvipadāṃ varam .. 1..

I bow down to him who is the best among men and who has realised the individual souls that are like ether, through his knowledge which again resembles ether and is not different from the object of knowledge.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The proposition regarding Advaita (as the Supreme Truth) has been based upon scriptural evidence, by determining the nature of Aum. That proposition has been established by proving the unreality of the distinction implied by the external objects (of experience). Again the third chapter dealing with Advaita has directly established the proposition on the authority of scripture and reason with the concluding statement that “This alone is the Ultimate Truth”. At the end of the previous chapter it has been hinted that the opinions of the dualists and the nihilists, who are opposed to the philosophy of Advaita which gives the true import of the scriptures, bear the name of true philosophy. But that is not true because of their mutual contradictions and also because of their being vitiated by attachment to their own opinions and aversion to those of others. The philosophy of Advaita has been extolled as the true philosophy on account of its being free from any vitiation (referred to above regarding the theories of the dualists and nihilists). Now is undertaken the chapter styled Alātasānti (i.e., on the quenching of the fire-brand) in order to conclude the final examination for the establishment of the philosophy of Advaita, by following the process known as the method of disagreement, which is done by showing here in detail that other systems cannot be said to be true philosophy. For there are mutual contradictions implied in them. The first verse has for its purpose the salutation to the promulgator of the philosophy of Advaita, conceiving him as identical with the Advaita Truth. The salutation to the teacher is made in commencing a scripture in order to bring the undertaking to a successful end. The word “Ākāśakalpa” in the text means resembling Ākāśa, that is to say, slightly different from Ākāśa. What is the purpose of such knowledge which resembles Ākāśa? By such Knowledge is known the nature of the Dharmas (i.e., the attributes of Atman). The attributes are the same as the substance. What is the nature of these Dharmas? They also can be known by the analogy of Ākāśa, that is to say, these Dharmas also resemble Ākāśa. The word “Jñeyābhinna” in the text is another attribute of ‘Jnanam’ or Knowledge and means that this knowledge is not separate from the Atmans (Jivas) which are the objects of knowledge. This identity of the knowledge and the knowable is like the identity of fire and heat and the sun and its light. I bow to the God, known as Nārāyaṇa, who by knowledge, non-different from the nature of Atman (the object of knowledge) and which resembles Ākāśa, knew the Dharmas which, again, may be compared to Ākāśa. The import of the words “Dvipadām Varam” (Supreme among the bipeds), is that Nārāyaṇa is the greatest of all men, characterised by two legs, that, is to say, He is the “Puruṣottama”, the best of all men. By the adoration of the teacher it is implied that the purpose of this chapter is to establish, by the refutation of the opposite views, Advaita which gives the philosophy of the Ultimate Reality, characterised by the identity of the knower, knowledge and the object of knowledge.

Sloka : 4.2 (Karika)

अस्पर्शयोगो वै नाम सर्वसत्त्वसुखो हितः ।

अविवादोऽविरुद्धश्च देशितस्तं नमाम्यहम् ॥ २॥

asparśayogo vai nāma sarvasattvasukho hitaḥ .

avivādo'viruddhaśca deśitastaṃ namāmyaham .. 2..

I bow down to that Yoga which is devoid of touch with anything (that implies relationship), which conduces to the happiness of all beings and is beneficial, and which is free from dispute and contradiction and is taught by the scriptures.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Now salutation is made to the Yoga taught by the Advaita Philosophy, in order to extol it. The word Asparśayoga in the text means the Yoga which is always and in all respects free from sparśa or relationship with anything and which is of the same nature as Brahman. This Yoga is well known as the Asparśayoga to all Knowers of Brahman. This Yoga is conducive to the happiness of all beings. There are certain forms of Yoga such as Tapas or austerity, which though conducive to the supreme happiness, are associated with misery. But this is not of that kind. Then what is its nature? It tends to the happiness of all beings. It may however be contended that the enjoyment of certain desires gives pleasure but certainly does not tend to one’s well-being. But this Asparśayoga conduces to both happiness and well-being. For, it never changes its nature. Moreover, this Yoga is free from strife, that is to say, in it there is no room for any passage-at-words, which is inevitable in all disputes consisting of two opposite sides. Why so? For, it is non-contradictory in nature. To this kind of Yoga, taught in the scripture, I bow.

Sloka : 4.3 (Karika)

भूतस्य जातिमिच्छन्ति वादिनः केचिदेव हि ।

अभूतस्यापरे धीरा विवदन्तः परस्परम् ॥ ३॥

bhūtasya jātimicchanti vādinaḥ kecideva hi .

abhūtasyāpare dhīrā vivadantaḥ parasparam .. 3..

Certain disputants postulate the birth of an entity already existing, while some others, proud of their intelligence, and opposing among themselves, postulate the birth of what is not existing already.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How do the dualists quarrel with one another? It is thus replied:- Some disputants, such as the followers of the Sāṃkhya system, admit production as the effect of an entity that is already existent. But this is not the view of all the dualists. For the intelligent followers of the Nyāya and the Vaiśeṣika systems, that is to say, those who believe that they possess wisdom, maintain that evolution proceeds from a non-existing cause. The meaning is that these disputants, quarrelling among themselves, claim victory over their respective opponents.

Sloka : 4.4 (Karika)

भूतं न जायते किञ्चिदभूतं नैव जायते ।

विवदन्तो द्वया ह्येवमजातिं ख्यापयन्ति ते ॥ ४॥

bhūtaṃ na jāyate kiñcidabhūtaṃ naiva jāyate .

vivadanto dvayā hyevamajātiṃ khyāpayanti te .. 4..

That which already exists cannot be born and that which does not exist also cannot be born. Those who argue thus are none but non-dualists and proclaim only the birthlessness.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What do they, by refuting each other’s conclusions and quarrelling among themselves, really establish? It is thūs replied:—No entity which is already in existence can again pass into birth. The reason is that as entity, it already exists. Ft is just like the Atman, which already being in existence, cannot be born again as a new entity. Thus argues the supporter of evolution from non-ens (i.e., from a non-existing cause) and refutes the Sāṃkhya theory that an existing cause is born again as an effect. Similarly, the follower of the Sāṃkhya theory refutes the supporter of the non-ens view regarding creation by a non-existing cause. He declares that a non-existing cause, on account of its very non-existence, cannot, like the horns of a hare, produce an effect. Thus quarrelling among themselves, by supporting “existent” and “non-existent” causes, they refute theirs respective opponent’s views and declare, in effect, the truth that there is no creation at all.

Sloka : 4.5 (Karika)

ख्याप्यमानामजातिं तैरनुमोदामहे वयम् ।

विवदामो न तैः सार्धमविवादं निबोधत ॥ ५॥

khyāpyamānāmajātiṃ tairanumodāmahe vayam .

vivadāmo na taiḥ sārdhamavivādaṃ nibodhata .. 5..

We approve the birthlessness revealed by them. We do not quarrel with them. Now, learn this which is free from all disputes.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

We simply accept the view of the Ajāti or the absolute non-causation declared by them and say,“Let it be so”. We do not quarrel with them by taking either side in the disputation. In other words, like them, we do not quarrel with each other. Hence Oh ye pupils, know from us the Ultimate Reality as taught by us, which is free from dispute.

Sloka : 4.6 (Karika)

अजातस्यैव धर्मस्य जातिमिच्छन्ति वादिनः ।

अजातो ह्यमृतो धर्मो मर्त्यतां कथमेष्यति ॥ ६॥

ajātasyaiva dharmasya jātimicchanti vādinaḥ .

ajāto hyamṛto dharmo martyatāṃ kathameṣyati .. 6..

The disputants think of the self on terms of birth. How can the Self that is unborn and immortal tend towards mortality.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The word “disputant” in the text includes all the dualists, viz., those who believe that evolution proceeds from an existing cause, as well as those who believe its opposite. This verse has already been commented upon.

Sloka : 4.7 (Karika)

न भवत्यमृतं मर्त्यं न मर्त्यममृतं तथा ।

प्रकृतेरन्यथाभावो न कथञ्चिद्भविष्यति ॥ ७॥

na bhavatyamṛtaṃ martyaṃ na martyamamṛtaṃ tathā .

prakṛteranyathābhāvo na kathañcidbhaviṣyati .. 7..

The immortal can never become mortal. So, too the mortal can never become immortal. For a change in one’s nature cannot ever take place in any manner.

Sloka : 4.8 (Karika)

स्वभावेनामृतो यस्य धर्मो गच्छति मर्त्यताम् ।

कृतकेनामृतस्तस्य कथं स्थास्यति निश्चलः ॥ ८॥

svabhāvenāmṛto yasya dharmo gacchati martyatām .

kṛtakenāmṛtastasya kathaṃ sthāsyati niścalaḥ .. 8..

How can the entity that is immortal remain unchanged according to one in whose view a thing that is immortal by nature can be born, since it is an effect (in his view) ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

These verses have already been explained. They are repeated here in order to justify our view that the disputants mentioned above only contradict each other.

Sloka : 4.9 (Karika)

सांसिद्धिकी स्वाभाविकी सहजा अकृता च या ।

प्रकृतिः सेति विज्ञेया स्वभावं न जहाति या ॥ ९॥

sāṃsiddhikī svābhāvikī sahajā akṛtā ca yā .

prakṛtiḥ seti vijñeyā svabhāvaṃ na jahāti yā .. 9..

By the term nature is to be known that which comes into being through right attainments, which is intrinsic, inborn, and non-produced, and which does not give up its character.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Even the nature of a thing in ordinary experience does not undergo any reversal. What is meant by the nature of a thing? This is thus replied:—The word “samsiddhi” means “complete attainment”. The nature of a thing is formed by such complete attainment as in the case of the perfected Yogis who attain to such superhuman powers as Aṇimā, etc. These powers thus acquired by the Yogis never undergo any transformation in the past and future. Therefore these constitute the very nature of the Yogis, Similarly, the characteristic quality of a thing, such as heat or light of fire and the like, never undergoes any change either in time or space. So also the nature of a thing which is part of it from its very birth, as the flying power of the bird, etc., through the sky, is called its prakṛti. Anything else which is not produced by any other cause (except the thing itself); such as the running downwards of water is also called prakṛti. And lastly, anything which does not cease to be itself is known popularly to be its prakṛti. The purport of the Kārikā is that if in the case of empirical entities, which are only imagined, their nature or prakṛti does not undergo any change, then how should it be otherwise in the case of the immortal or unchanging nature regarding the Ultimate Reality, whose very Prakṛti is Ajāti or absolute non-manifestation.

Sloka : 4.10 (Karika)

जरामरणनिर्मुक्ताः सर्वे धर्माः स्वभावतः ।

जरामरणमिच्छन्तश्च्यवन्ते तन्मनीषया ॥ १०॥

jarāmaraṇanirmuktāḥ sarve dharmāḥ svabhāvataḥ .

jarāmaraṇamicchantaścyavante tanmanīṣayā .. 10..

All the souls are free from decay and death by nature. But by thinking of decay and death, and becoming absorbed in that thought, they deviate (from that nature).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What is the basis of that Prakṛti whose change is imagined by the disputants? What, again, is the defect in such imagination? This is thus replied:—The words “Free from senility and death,” in the text signify freedom from all changes characterised by senility, death, etc. Who are thus free (from all changes)? These are all the Jivas, who are, by their very nature, free from all changes. Though the Jivas are such by their very nature, yet they think, as it were, that they are subject to senility and death. By such imagination about their selves, like the imagination of the snake in the rope, they (appear to) deviate from their nature. This happens on account of their identification, through thinking, with senility and death. That is to say, they (appear to) fall from their real nature by this defect in their thought.

Sloka : 4.11 (Karika)

कारणं यस्य वै कार्यं कारणं तस्य जायते ।

जायमानं कथमजं भिन्नं नित्यं कथं च तत् ॥ ११॥

kāraṇaṃ yasya vai kāryaṃ kāraṇaṃ tasya jāyate .

jāyamānaṃ kathamajaṃ bhinnaṃ nityaṃ kathaṃ ca tat .. 11..

According to him who holds that the cause itself is the effect, the cause must be born. How can that which is born be unborn? How can that which is subject to modification be eternal ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How is it that the Sāṃkhyas, who believe in the evolution of an existing cause, maintain a view which is irrational? It is thus replied by the followers of the Vaiśeṣika system:- Those who say that the cause, that is to say, such material cause as clay, is, in itself, the effect; or in other words those disputants who assert that the cause itself changes into the effect, maintain, as a matter of fact, that the ever-existent and unborn cause, namely the Pradhāna, etc., is born again as the effect, such as Mahat, etc. If Pradhāna be born in the form of Mahat, etc., then how can it be designated as birthless? To say that it is unborn, i.e., immutable and at the same time born, i.e., passing into change, involves a contradiction. Further, the Sāṃkhyas designate Pradhāna as eternal. How is it possible for Pradhāna to be eternal if even a part of it be affected by change? In other words, ordinary experience does not furnish us with the instance of a jar, composed of parts, which, if broken in any part, can still be called permanent or immutable. The purport is that a contradiction is obvious in the statement that it is affected partly by change and at the same time it is unborn and eternal.

Sloka : 4.12 (Karika)

कारणाद्यद्यनन्यत्वमतः कार्यमजं यदि ।

जायमानाद्धि वै कार्यात्कारणं ते कथं ध्रुवम् ॥ १२॥

kāraṇādyadyananyatvamataḥ kāryamajaṃ yadi .

jāyamānāddhi vai kāryātkāraṇaṃ te kathaṃ dhruvam .. 12..

If (in your view) the effect is non-different from the cause and if, for that reason, the effect also is unborn, how can the cause be eternal, since it is non-different from the effect that undergoes birth ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

This verse is meant to make the meaning of the previous one clearer. If your object be to maintain that the unborn cause is identical with the effect, then it necessarily follows that the effect also becomes equally unborn. But it is certainly a contradiction to say that a thing is an effect and at the same time unborn. There is a further difficulty. In the case of identity of the cause and the effect, how can, according to you, the cause, which is non-different from the born effect, be permanent and immutable? It is not possible to imagine that a part of a hen is being cooked and that another part is laying eggs. If the identity of cause and effect be maintained then it may be asked if the cause be identical with the effect or if the effect be identical with the cause. In the former case of identity, the effect becomes unborn and in the latter case the cause becomes something born and loses its immutable and permanent character.

Sloka : 4.13 (Karika)

अजाद्वै जायते यस्य दृष्टान्तस्तस्य नास्ति वै ।

जाताच्च जायमानस्य न व्यवस्था प्रसज्यते ॥ १३॥

ajādvai jāyate yasya dṛṣṭāntastasya nāsti vai .

jātācca jāyamānasya na vyavasthā prasajyate .. 13..

He who holds the view that the effect is born from an unborn cause, has no example (to be cited). If the born effect is viewed as born from another born thing, it leads to ad infinitum.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Moreover, the disputant who says that the effect is produced from an unborn cause, cannot furnish an illustration to support his view. In other words, it is consequently established that nothing is born from an unborn cause as there is no illustration to support this view. If, on the other hand, it be contended that the effect is born from a born cause, then that cause must be born from some other born cause and so on, which position never enables us to reach a cause which is, in itself, unborn. In other words, we are faced with an infinite regress.

Sloka : 4.14 (Karika)

हेतोरादिः फलं येषामादिर्हेतुः फलस्य च ।

हेतोः फलस्य चानादिः कथं तैरूपवर्ण्यते ॥ १४॥

hetorādiḥ phalaṃ yeṣāmādirhetuḥ phalasya ca .

hetoḥ phalasya cānādiḥ kathaṃ tairūpavarṇyate .. 14..

How can they, who hold that the effect is the source of the cause and the cause is the source of the effect, assert beginninglessness for cause and effect ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The Śruti, in the passage, “When all this has, verily, become his Atman” declares, from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality, the absence of duality. From this standpoint of the Scriptural text, it is said:- The cause, i.e., the merit (Dharma) and the demerit (Adharma), etc., has, for its cause, the effect, viz., the aggregate of the body, etc. Similarly, the cause, viz., merit and demerit, etc., is the cause of the effect, viz., the aggregate of the body, etc. How can disputants who maintain this view, viz., that both the cause and the effect are with beginning on account of mutual interdependence of the cause and the effect, assert that both the cause and the effect are without beginning? In other words, this position implies an inherent contradiction. The Atman, which is eternal and immutable, can never become either the cause or the effect.

Sloka : 4.15 (Karika)

हेतोरादिः फलं येषामादिर्हेतुः फलस्य च ।

तथा जन्म भवेत्तेषां पुत्राज्जन्म पितुर्यथा ॥ १५॥

hetorādiḥ phalaṃ yeṣāmādirhetuḥ phalasya ca .

tathā janma bhavetteṣāṃ putrājjanma pituryathā .. 15..

According to the disputants who hold that the effect is the origin of the cause and the cause is the origin of the effect, birth may be possible, just as a father might be born of a son.

Sloka : 4.16 (Karika)

सम्भवे हेतुफलयोरेषितव्यः क्रमस्त्वया ।

युगपत्सम्भवे यस्मादसम्बन्धो विषाणवत् ॥ १६॥

sambhave hetuphalayoreṣitavyaḥ kramastvayā .

yugapatsambhave yasmādasambandho viṣāṇavat .. 16..

If cause and effect be possible, the order (in which they originate) has to be found out by you, for if they originate simultaneously, there is no relationship between the two, as is the case with the horns of a cow.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How does the contention of the opponent imply a contradiction? It is thus replied:—The admission that the cause is produced from an effect, which is itself born of a cause, carries with it the contradiction which may be stated to be like the birth of the father from the son. If it be contended that the contradiction, pointed out above, cannot be valid, then the opponent should determine the order in which cause and effect succeed each other. The opponent has to show that the “cause” which is antecedent, produces the “effect” which is subsequent. For the following reason also, the order of “cause” and “effect” must be shown. For, if cause and effect arise simultaneously, then they cannot be related as the cause and the effect, as it is impossible to establish the causal relation between the two horns of a cow produced simultaneously.

Sloka : 4.17 (Karika)

फलादुत्पद्यमानः सन्न ते हेतुः प्रसिध्यति ।

अप्रसिद्धः कथं हेतुः फलमुत्पादयिष्यति ॥ १७॥

phalādutpadyamānaḥ sanna te hetuḥ prasidhyati .

aprasiddhaḥ kathaṃ hetuḥ phalamutpādayiṣyati .. 17..

Your cause that is produced from an effect cannot be established. How will a cause, that is itself not established, produce an effect ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How can there be no causal relation? It is thus replied:- The cause cannot have a definite existence if it is to be born of an effect which is, itself, yet unborn, and therefore which is non-existent like the horns of a hare. How can the cause contemplated by you, which is, itself, indefinite and which is non-existent like the horns of a hare, produce an effect? Two things which are mutually dependent upon each other for their production and which are like the horns of a hare, cannot be related as cause and effect or in any other way.

Sloka : 4.18 (Karika)

यदि हेतोः फलात्सिद्धिः फलसिद्धिश्च हेतुतः ।

कतरत्पूर्वनिष्पन्नं यस्य सिद्धिरपेक्षया ॥ १८॥

yadi hetoḥ phalātsiddhiḥ phalasiddhiśca hetutaḥ .

kataratpūrvaniṣpannaṃ yasya siddhirapekṣayā .. 18..

If the cause emerges from the effect and if the effect emerges from the cause, which of the two has arisen first on which depends the emergence of the other ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Though any relation between cause and effect has been found to be an impossibility, yet it may be contended by the opponent that the cause and the effect, though not causally related, yet depend upon each other for their mutual existence. As a reply to this contention we ask:- Which of the two, the cause and the effect, is antecedent to the other, upon the previous existence of which, the subsequent existence of the other is dependent?

Sloka : 4.19 (Karika)

अशक्तिरपरिज्ञानं क्रमकोपोऽथ वा पुनः ।

एवं हि सर्वथा बुद्धैरजातिः परिदीपिता ॥ १९॥

aśaktiraparijñānaṃ kramakopo'tha vā punaḥ .

evaṃ hi sarvathā buddhairajātiḥ paridīpitā .. 19..

Your inability (to reply) tantamounts to ignorance, or there will be a difference in the order of succession (postulated by you). Thus indeed is the absence of birth revealed by the wise in all manner.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

If you think that this cannot be explained then this inability shows your ignorance, that is to say, it demonstrates that you are deluded regarding the Knowledge of Reality. Again, the order of succession, pointed out by you—that the effect comes from the cause and the cause comes from the effect—is also inconsistent. Thus is shown the impropriety of the causal relation between the cause and the effect. This leads the wise among the disputants, by showing the fallacy in each other’s arguments, to declare, in effect, the non-evolution of things (which is our opinion).

Sloka : 4.20 (Karika)

बीजाङ्कुराख्यो दृष्टान्तः सदा साध्यसमो हि सः ।

न हि साध्यसमो हेतुः सिद्धौ साध्यस्य युज्यते ॥ २०॥

bījāṅkurākhyo dṛṣṭāntaḥ sadā sādhyasamo hi saḥ .

na hi sādhyasamo hetuḥ siddhau sādhyasya yujyate .. 20..

What is called the illustration of a seed and a sprout is always equal to the major term (yet to be proved). The middle term (viz., the illustration) that is equal to the unproved major term, cannot be applied for establishing a proposition yet to be proved.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- We have asserted the causal relation between the cause and the effect. But you have raised mere verbal difficulties to show the inconsistency in our statement and made a caricature of our standpoint by pointing out its absurdity like the birth of the father from the son or a causal relation between the two horns (of a bull), etc. We do not, for a moment, admit the production of an effect from a cause not already existent or of a cause from an effect not established. Reply:- What is, then, your contention? Objection:- We admit the causal relation as in the case of the seed and the sprout. Reply:- To this we reply as follows:-—The illustration of the causal relation existing between the seed and the sprout is itself the same as the major term in my syllogism, that is to say, the illustration itself is to be proved. Objection:- It is apparent that the causal relation of the seed and the sprout is without beginning. Reply:- It is not so. The beginning of all antecedents must be admitted, as is the case with the consequents. As a sprout just produced from a seed is with beginning, similarly the seed also, produced from another sprout (existing in the past), by the very succession implied in the act of production, is with beginning. Therefore all antecedent sprouts as well as seeds are with beginning. As every seed and every sprout, among the seeds and the sprouts, are with beginning, so it is unreasonable to say that any one of these is without beginning. This is also equally applicable to the argument of the cause and the effect. Objection:- Each of the series of the seeds and the sprouts is without beginning. Reply:- No. The unity or oneness of such series cannot be justified. Even those who maintain the beginninglessness of the seed and the sprout, do not admit the existence of a thing known as the series of the seed and the sprout apart from the seed and the sprout. Nor do they admit such a series in the case of the cause and the effect. Therefore it has been rightly asked, “How do you assert the beginninglessness of the cause and the effect?” Other explanations being unreasonable, we have not raised any verbal difficulty. Even in our ordinary experience expert logicians do not use anything, which is yet to be established, as the middle term or illustration in order to establish relation between the major and the minor terms of a syllogism. The word Hetu or the middle term is used here in the sense of illustration, as it is the illustration which leads to the establishment of a proposition. In the context illustration is meant and not reason.

Sloka : 4.21 (Karika)

पूर्वापरापरिज्ञानमजातेः परिदीपकम् ।

जायमानाद्धि वै धर्मात्कथं पूर्वं न गृह्यते ॥ २१॥

pūrvāparāparijñānamajāteḥ paridīpakam .

jāyamānāddhi vai dharmātkathaṃ pūrvaṃ na gṛhyate .. 21..

The ignorance regarding antecedence and succession reveals birthlessness. From a thing that is born, why is it that its antecedent cause is not comprehended ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How do the wise assert the view of Ajāti (Ajati) or absolute non-evolution? It is thus replied:—The very fact that one does not know the antecedence and the subsequence of the cause and the effect is, in itself, the clearest indication of absolute non-evolution. If the effect (Dharma, i.e., the Jiva) be taken as produced (from a cause) then why cannot its antecedent cause be pointed out? It goes without saying that one who accepts birth as a fact must also know its antecedent cause. For, the relationship of the cause and the effect is inseparable and therefore cannot be given up Therefore the absence of knowledge (regarding the cause) clearly indicates the fact of absolute non-evolution.

Sloka : 4.22 (Karika)

स्वतो वा परतो वाऽपि न किञ्चिद्वस्तु जायते ।

सदसत्सदसद्वाऽपि न किञ्चिद्वस्तु जायते ॥ २२॥

svato vā parato vā'pi na kiñcidvastu jāyate .

sadasatsadasadvā'pi na kiñcidvastu jāyate .. 22..

Nothing whatsoever is born either of itself or of something else. Similarly, nothing whatsoever is born whether it be existent or non-existent or both existent and non-existent.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

For this reason, also, nothing whatsoever is born. That which is (supposed to be) born cannot be born of itself, of another or of both. Nothing, whether it be existing or non-existing, or both, is ever born. Of such an entity, birth is not possible in any manner whatsoever. Nothing is born out of itself, i.e., from its own form which in itself has not yet come into existence. A jar cannot be produced from the self-same jar. A thing cannot be born from another thing, which is other than itself, as a jar cannot be produced from another jar, or a piece of cloth from another piece of cloth. Similarly, a thing cannot be born both out of itself and another, as that involves a contradiction. A jar or a piece of cloth cannot be produced by both a jar and a piece of cloth. Objection:- A jar is produced from clay, and a son is born of a father. Reply:- Yes, the deluded use a word like “birth” and have a notion corresponding to the word. Both the word and the notion are examined by men of discrimination who wish to ascertain whether these are true or not. After examination they come to the conclusion that things, such as a jar or a son, etc., denoted by the words and signified by the notions, or mere verbal expressions. The Scripture also corroborates it, saying, “All effects are mere names and figures of speech.” If the thing is ever-existent, then it cannot be born again. The very existence is the reason for non-evolution. A father or clay is the illustration to support the contention. If these objects, on the other hand, be non-existent, even then they cannot be said to be produced. The very-non-existence is the reason. The horns of a hare are an illustration. If things be both existent and non-existent, then also, it cannot be born. For, such contradictory ideas cannot be associated with a thing. Therefore it is established that nothing whatsoever is born. Those who, again, assert that the very fact of birth is born again, that the cause, the effect and the act of birth form one-unity, and also that all objects have only momentary existence, maintain a view which is very far from reason. For a thing immediately after being pointed out as “It is this,” ceases to exist and consequently no memory of the thing is possible in the absence of such cognition.

Sloka : 4.23 (Karika)

हेतुर्न जायतेऽनादेः फलं चापि स्वभावतः ।

आदिर्न विद्यते यस्य तस्य ह्यादिर्न विद्यते ॥ २३॥

heturna jāyate'nādeḥ phalaṃ cāpi svabhāvataḥ .

ādirna vidyate yasya tasya hyādirna vidyate .. 23..

A cause is not born of an effect that is beginningless, nor does an effect take birth naturally (from a cause that is beginningless). For that which has no cause has no birth also.

Sloka : 4.24 (Karika)

प्रज्ञप्तेः सनिमित्तत्वमन्यथा द्वयनाशतः ।

सङ्क्लेशस्योपलब्धेश्च परतन्त्रास्तिता मता ॥ २४॥

prajñapteḥ sanimittatvamanyathā dvayanāśataḥ .

saṅkleśasyopalabdheśca paratantrāstitā matā .. 24..

Knowledge has its object, since otherwise it brings about the destruction of duality. Besides, from the experience of pain, the existence of external objects, as upheld by the system of thought of the opponents, is admitted.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

In accepting the beginninglessness of the cause and the effect you are forced to admit the absence of birth regarding them. How is it so? The cause cannot be produced from an effect, which is without beginning. In other words, you do not certainly mean that the cause-is produced from an effect which is, itself, without beginning and free from birth. Nor do you admit that the effect, by following its own inherent nature, (i.e., without any extraneous cause) is produced from a cause which is unborn and without beginning. Therefore by admitting the beginninglessness of the cause and the effect, you, verily, accept the fact of their being never produced. It is because we know from common experience that what is without beginning is also free from birth which means a beginning. Beginning is admitted of a thing, which has birth, and not of a thing which has none. An objection is raised in order to strengthen the meaning already stated. The word Prajñapti in the text signifies “knowledge”, i.e., the experience of such notions as that of sound, etc. This (subjective) knowledge has a cause, i.e., an (external) agent or object corresponding to it. In other words, we premise that knowledge is not merely subjective but has an object outside the perceiving subject. Cognition of sound, etc., is not possible without objects. For, such experience is always produced by a cause. In the absence of such (external) object, the variety and multiplicity of experiences such as sound, touch, colour, viz., blue, yellow, red, etc., would not have existed. But the varieties are not non-existent, for these are directly perceived by all. Hence, because:- the variety of manifold experiences exist, it is necessary to admit the existence—as supported by the system of the opposite school—of external objects which are outside the ideas of the perceiving subject. The subjective knowledge has one characteristic alone, i.e., it is of the very nature of illumination. It does not admit of any variety within itself. The variety of experiences of colour, such as blueness, yellowness, etc., cannot possibly be explained, by merely imagining a variety in the subjective knowledge, without admitting variety of external objects which are the substratum of these multiple colours. In other words, no variety of colour is possible in a (white) crystal without its coming-in contact with such adjuncts as the external objects which possess such colours as blueness, etc. For this additional reason also one is forced to admit the existence of external object,—supported by the Scripture of the opposite school,—an object which is external to the knowledge (of the perceiving subject):- Misery caused by burns, etc., is experienced by all. Such pain as is caused by burns, etc., would not have been felt in the absence of the fire, etc., which is the cause of the burns and which exists independent of the knowledge (of the perceiving subject). But such pain is experienced by all. Hence, we think that external objects do exist. It is not reasonable to conclude that such pain is caused by mere subjective knowledge. For, such misery is not found elsewhere.

Sloka : 4.25 (Karika)

प्रज्ञप्तेः सनिमित्तत्वमिष्यते युक्तिदर्शनात् ।

निमित्तस्यानिमित्तत्वमिष्यते भूतदर्शनात् ॥ २५॥

prajñapteḥ sanimittatvamiṣyate yuktidarśanāt .

nimittasyānimittatvamiṣyate bhūtadarśanāt .. 25..

In accordance with the perception of the cause of knowledge, the latter is deemed to be based on external objects. But from the point of view of reality, the (external) cause is regarded as no cause.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

To this objection, we reply as follows:-—We admit that you posit a cause of the subjective experience on account of such arguments as the existence of the variety (in the objective world) and because of the experience of pain. Stick for a while to your argument that reason demands that an external object should exist to produce a subjective impression. The opponent:- Please let us know what you (Advaitin) are going to say next. Reply:- Yes, the jar, etc., posited by you as the cause, that is to say, the cause of the subjective impression, are not, according to us, the external cause, the substratum (of the impression); nor are they the cause for our experiences of variety. Objection:- How? Reply:- We say so from the standpoint of the true nature of Reality. When the true nature of clay is known a jar does not exist apart from the clay as exists a buffalo in entire independence of a horse. Nor does cloth exist apart from the thread in it. Similarly the threads have no existence apart from the fibres. If we thus proceed to find out the true nature of the thing, by going from one cause to another, till language or the object denoted by the language fails us, we do not still find any (final) cause. “Bhūtadarsanāt” (from the true nature of the thing) may be “Abhūtadarsartāt” (from the unreality of the experiences). According to this interpretation, the meaning of the Kārikā is that we do not admit external objects as the cause on account of the unreality of these (external) objects, which are as unreal as the snake seen instead of the rope. The (so-called) cause ceases to be the cause as the former is due to the illusory perception of the perceiver. For, it (the external world) disappears in the absence of such illusory knowledge. The man in dreamless sleep and trance (Samādhi) and he who has attained the highest knowledge do not experience any object outside their self as they are free from such illusory cognition. An object which is cognised by a lunatic is never known as such by a sane man. Thus is answered the contention regarding the causality based upon the arguments of the perception of variety and the existence of pain.

Sloka : 4.26 (Karika)

चित्तं न संस्पृशत्यर्थं नार्थाभासं तथैव च ।

अभूतो हि यतश्चार्थो नार्थाभासस्ततः पृथक् ॥ २६॥

cittaṃ na saṃspṛśatyarthaṃ nārthābhāsaṃ tathaiva ca .

abhūto hi yataścārtho nārthābhāsastataḥ pṛthak .. 26..

Consciousness is not in contact with objects nor is it in contact with the appearances of objects. For the object is certainly non-existent and (the ideas constituting) the appearances of object are not separate from consciousness.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Because there are no external objects as cause, the mind does not relate itself to external objects which are supposed to be the cause of the subjective impression. Nor is the mind related to the ideas which appear as external objects, as the mind, like the dream-mind, is identical with such ideas. It is because the external objects such as sound, etc., perceived in the waking state, are as unreal as dream-objects, for reasons stated already. Another reason is that the ideas appearing as external objects are not different from the mind. It is the mind alone which, as in dream, appears as external objects such as the jar, etc.

Sloka : 4.27 (Karika)

निमित्तं न सदा चित्तं संस्पृशत्यध्वसु त्रिषु ।

अनिमित्तो विपर्यासः कथं तस्य भविष्यति ॥ २७॥

nimittaṃ na sadā cittaṃ saṃspṛśatyadhvasu triṣu .

animitto viparyāsaḥ kathaṃ tasya bhaviṣyati .. 27..

Consciousness does not ever come in contact with objects in the three periods of time. Without a cause (ie., external object) how can there be its false apprehension ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- The mind appears as the jar, etc., though such objects are non-existent. Therefore there must exist false knowledge. Such being the case, there must be right knowledge somewhere (in relation to, or as distinguished from, false knowledge which we point out). Reply:- Our reply to this contention is as follows:-—The mind certainly does not come in contact with a cause—an external object—in any of the three periods of time, past, present or future. If the mind had ever truly come in contact with such objects then such relation would give us an idea of true knowledge from the standpoint of Reality. And in relation to that knowledge the appearance of the jar, etc., in the mind, in the absence of the jar, etc., could have been termed as false knowledge. But never does the mind come in contact with an external object (which does not in reality exist). Hence how is it possible for the mind to fall into error when there is no cause for such an assumption? In other words, the mind is never subject to false knowledge. This is, indeed, the very nature of the mind that it takes the forms of the jar, etc., though in reality, such jar, etc., which may cause the mental forms, do not at all exist.

Sloka : 4.28 (Karika)

तस्मान्न जायते चित्तं चित्तदृश्यं न जायते ।

तस्य पश्यन्ति ये जातिं खे वै पश्यन्ति ते पदम् ॥ २८॥

tasmānna jāyate cittaṃ cittadṛśyaṃ na jāyate .

tasya paśyanti ye jātiṃ khe vai paśyanti te padam .. 28..

Therefore consciousness is not born, nor are things perceived by it born. Those who perceive it as having birth, may as well see footprints in the sky.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The verses of the Kārikā from 25 to 27 give the views of a class of Buddhistic thinkers, known as the Vijñānavādins (the subjective idealists) who thus refute the views of those who maintáin the reality of external objects. The Advaitic teacher (Gauḍapāda) approves of these arguments. Now he makes use of these very arguments of the Vijñānavādins as the ground (middle term) for refuting the conclusions of the subjective idealists. The Kārikā has this end in view. The subjective idealist admits that the mind, even in the absence of the (external) jar, etc., takes the form of the jar, etc. We also agree with this conclusion because this is in conformity with the real nature of things. In like manner, the mind, though never produced, appears to be produced and cognised as such. Therefore the mind is never produced, as is the case with the object cognised by it. The Vijñānavādins who affirm the production of the mind and also assert that the mind is momentary, full of pain, non-Self in nature, etc., forget that the real nature of the mind can never be understood by the mind fas described by them). Thus the Vijñānavādins who see the production of the mind resemble those who (profess to) see in the sky foot-prints left by birds, etc. In other words, the Vijñānavādins are more audacious than the others, viz., the dualists. And the Nihilists who, in spite of the perception of the visible world, assert the absolute non-existence of everything including their own experiences, ate even mote audacious than the Vijñānavādins. These Nihilists take the position of those who claim to compress the whole sky in the palms of their hands.

Sloka : 4.29 (Karika)

अजातं जायते यस्मादजातिः प्रकृतिस्ततः ।

प्रकृतेरन्यथाभावो न कथञ्चिद्भविष्यति ॥ २९॥

ajātaṃ jāyate yasmādajātiḥ prakṛtistataḥ .

prakṛteranyathābhāvo na kathañcidbhaviṣyati .. 29..

Since it is the birthless that is born (in the view of the disputants), birthlessness is its nature. Hence deviation from this nature can happen in no way whatsoever.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

For reasons already stated it is established that Brahman is one and unborn. This verse summarises, the conclusion of what has already been stated in the form of proposition. The unborn mind, which is verily Brahman, is imagined by the disputants to be born. Therefore (according to them) the ever-unborn is said to be born. For, it is unborn by its very nature. It is simply impossible for a thing, which is ever unborn by nature, to be anyhow born, that is to say, to be anyhow otherwise than what it is.

Sloka : 4.30 (Karika)

अनादेरन्तवत्त्वं च संसारस्य न सेत्स्यति ।

अनन्तता चाऽऽदिमतो मोक्षस्य न भविष्यति ॥ ३०॥

anāderantavattvaṃ ca saṃsārasya na setsyati .

anantatā cā''dimato mokṣasya na bhaviṣyati .. 30..

If transmigratory existence be beginningless, its termination will not be reached. And liberation will not be eternal, if it has a beginning.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Here is another defect in the arguments of those who maintain that the Atman is, in reality, subject to both bondage and liberation. If the world (i.e., the state of bondage of the Atman) be without beginning or a definite past, then its end cannot be established by any logical reasoning. In ordinary experience, there is no instance of an object which has no beginning but has an end. Objection:- We see a break in the beginningless continuity of the relation of the seed and the sprout. Reply:- This illustration has no validity; for, the seed and the sprout do not constitute a single entity. In like manner, liberation cannot be said to have no end if it be asserted that liberation which is attained by acquisition of knowledge has a (definite) beginning. For, the jar, etc., which have a beginning have also an end. Objection:- There is no defect in our argument as liberation, not being any substance, may be like the destruction of a jar, etc. Reply:- In that case it will contradict your proposition that liberation has a positive existence from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality. Further, liberation being a non-entity, like the horn of a hare cannot ever have a beginning. This Kārikā gives us the reason for the statement that Atman is ever-pure, ever-free and ever-existent. Atman, conceived as such, is not a theological dogma, nor is it based upon the intuition of the mystic, but it is a metaphysical fact.

Sloka : 4.31 (Karika)

आदावन्ते च यन्नास्ति वर्तमानेऽपि तत्तथा ।

वितथैः सदृशाः सन्तोऽवितथा इव लक्षिताः ॥ ३१॥

ādāvante ca yannāsti vartamāne'pi tattathā .

vitathaiḥ sadṛśāḥ santo'vitathā iva lakṣitāḥ .. 31..

That which is non-existent in the beginning and the end is definitely so in the present. The objects, although similar to the unreal, look as though real.

Sloka : 4.32 (Karika)

सप्रयोजनता तेषां स्वप्ने विप्रतिपद्यते ।

तस्मादाद्यन्तवत्त्वेन मिथ्यैव खलु ते स्मृताः ॥ ३२॥

saprayojanatā teṣāṃ svapne vipratipadyate .

tasmādādyantavattvena mithyaiva khalu te smṛtāḥ .. 32..

Their utility is opposed in dream. Therefore, for the reasons of their having a beginning and an end, they are definitely remembered to be unreal.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

These two verses have been explained before in the chapter on Illusion (Chapter II. 6, 7). They are quoted here again in connection with the topics which are discussed in relation to the unreality of the universe and liberation.

Sloka : 4.33 (Karika)

सर्वे धर्मा मृषा स्वप्ने कायस्यान्तर्निदर्शनात् ।

संवृतेऽस्मिन्प्रदेशे वै भूतानां दर्शनं कुतः ॥ ३३॥

sarve dharmā mṛṣā svapne kāyasyāntarnidarśanāt .

saṃvṛte'sminpradeśe vai bhūtānāṃ darśanaṃ kutaḥ .. 33..

All objects are unreal in dream, inasmuch as they are seen within the body. In this narrow space, how is the vision of creatures possible ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

This and the following verses are meant to explain in detail one of the previous Kārikās which states that the (so-called) cause (of the opponent) is, really speaking, no cause at all. (Ref. Verse 25, Chapt. IV.)

Sloka : 4.34 (Karika)

न युक्तं दर्शनं गत्वा कालस्यानियमाद्गतौ ।

प्रतिबुद्धश्च वै सर्वस्तस्मिन्देशे न विद्यते ॥ ३४॥

na yuktaṃ darśanaṃ gatvā kālasyāniyamādgatau .

pratibuddhaśca vai sarvastasmindeśe na vidyate .. 34..

It is not reasonable to say that objects in dream are seen by (actually) going to them, since it runs counter to the regulation of time that is needed for the journey. Further, none, when awake, remains in the place of dream.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The time and space involved in undertaking a journey and in coming back, have a definite and fixed standard in the waking state. These are seen to be reversed in dream. On account of this inconsistency it can be positively said that the dreamer does not actually go out to another place during his dream experiences.

Sloka : 4.35 (Karika)

मित्राद्यैः सह संमन्त्र्य सम्बुद्धो न प्रपद्यते ।

गृहीतं चापि यत्किञ्चित्प्रतिबुद्धो न पश्यति ॥ ३५॥

mitrādyaiḥ saha saṃmantrya sambuddho na prapadyate .

gṛhītaṃ cāpi yatkiñcitpratibuddho na paśyati .. 35..

(In dream) what has been discussed with friends and others (and settled) is not resorted to when awake. Whatsoever is acquired (in dream0, too, is not seen when awake.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

A man, in dream, holds conversation with his friends, etc. But, on being awake, he finds it all as unreal. Further, he possesses in dream gold, etc., but, in the awakened state he realises all these possessions to be unreal. Though he goes to other countries in dream, he does not, in reality, make any such journey.

Sloka : 4.36 (Karika)

स्वप्ने चावस्तुकः कायः पृथगन्यस्य दर्शनात् ।

यथा कायस्तथा सर्वं चित्तदृश्यमवस्तुकम् ॥ ३६॥

svapne cāvastukaḥ kāyaḥ pṛthaganyasya darśanāt .

yathā kāyastathā sarvaṃ cittadṛśyamavastukam .. 36..

And in dream the body becomes unreal, since another body is seen (in the bed). As is the body, so is everything cognised by the consciousness – all unreal.

Sloka : 4.37 (Karika)

ग्रहणाज्जागरितवत्तद्धेतुः स्वप्न इष्यते ।

तद्धेतुत्वात्तु तस्यैव सज्जागरितमिष्यते ॥ ३७॥

grahaṇājjāgaritavattaddhetuḥ svapna iṣyate .

taddhetutvāttu tasyaiva sajjāgaritamiṣyate .. 37..

Since the experience (of objects) in dream is just like that in the waking state, the former is thought of as being caused by the latter. Such being the case, the waking state is considered to be real for that dreamer alone.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The body, which appears to be wandering in the dream, is unreal; for, another body, quite different from it, is seen in the spot where the dreamer lies. As the body perceived in the dream is unreal, so also all that is cognised by the mind, even in the waking state, is unreal; for, all these perceived objects are mere different states of the mind. The significance of this chapter is that even the waking experiences, on account of their being similar to the dream experiences, are unreal.

Sloka : 4.38 (Karika)

उत्पादस्याप्रसिद्धत्वादजं सर्वमुदाहृतम् ।

न च भूतादभूतस्य सम्भवोऽस्ति कथञ्चन ॥ ३८॥

utpādasyāprasiddhatvādajaṃ sarvamudāhṛtam .

na ca bhūtādabhūtasya sambhavo'sti kathañcana .. 38..

Such birth is not established, everything is said to be unborn. Besides, it is not possible for the unreal to be born from the real, in any way whatsoever.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- Though the waking experiences are the cause of the dream ones, still the former cannot be unreal like the latter. The dream is extremely evanescent whereas the waking experiences are seen to be permanent. Reply:- This is true with regard to the people who do not possess discrimination. Men of discrimination do not see the production or the birth of anything, as creation or evolution cannot be established as a fact. Hence all this is known in the Vedāntic books as unborn (i.e., non-dual Brahman). For the Śruti declares, “He (the Atman) is both within and without and is, at the same time, unborn.” If you contend that the illusory dream is the effect of the real waking state, we say that your contention is untenable. In our common experience, we never see a non-existing thing produced from an existing one. Such non-existing thing as the horn of a hare is never seen to be produced from any other object.

Sloka : 4.39 (Karika)

असज्जागरिते दृष्ट्वा स्वप्ने पश्यति तन्मयः ।

असत्स्वप्नेऽपि दृष्ट्वा च प्रतिबुद्धो न पश्यति ॥ ३९॥

asajjāgarite dṛṣṭvā svapne paśyati tanmayaḥ .

asatsvapne'pi dṛṣṭvā ca pratibuddho na paśyati .. 39..

Having seen unreal things in the waking state, one, deeply impressed, sees those very things in dream. Likewise, having seen unreal objects in dream, one does not see them when awake.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- It is you who stated that the dream is the effect of the waking experience. That being the case, how do you refute causality? Reply:- Listen to our explanation of the causality, referred to in that instance. One perceives in the waking state objects which are unreal like the snake imagined in the rope. Being deeply impressed by such (illusory) perception, he imagines in the dream, as in the waking; state, the subject-object relationship and thereby perceives (dream) objects. But though full of the unreal seen in the dream, he does not see those (unreal) objects, over again, in the waking state. The reason is the absence of the imaginary subject-object relationship (one experiences in dream). The word “cha,” “moreover” in the text denotes that the causal relationship between the waking and the dream states is not always observed. Similarly, things seen in the waking state are not, sometimes, cognised in dream. Therefore the statement that the waking condition is the cause of the dream is not made from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality.

Sloka : 4.40 (Karika)

नास्त्यसद्धेतुकमसत्सदसद्धेतुकं तथा ।

सच्च सद्धेतुकं नास्ति सद्धेतुकमसत्कुतः ॥ ४०॥

nāstyasaddhetukamasatsadasaddhetukaṃ tathā .

sacca saddhetukaṃ nāsti saddhetukamasatkutaḥ .. 40..

There is no non-existent that serves as the cause of the non-existent, in the same way as the existent does not serve as the cause of the non-existent. There is no real entity that serves as the cause of another real entity. How can the unreal be the product of the real ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

From the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality, things can, in no way, enter into causal relation. How? An unreal cannot be the cause of another unreal. An unreal entity such as the horns of a hare, which may be said to be the cause of another unreal entity such as a castle in the air, has no existence whatsoever. Similarly, an object like a jar, which is perceived and which is the effect of an unreal object like the horns of the hare, is never existent. In like manner, a jar which is perceived and which is the effect of another jar that also is perceived to exist, is, in itself, non-existent. And lastly, how is existence possible of a real object as the cause of an unreal one? No other causal relation is possible nor can be conceived of. Hence men of knowledge find that the causal relation between any objects whatsoever is not capable of being proved. The causal relation between the waking and the dream states has been stated from the empirical standpoint alone. But it cannot be established from the standpoint of Truth. Further, no causal relation, whatsoever, is admissible.

Sloka : 4.41 (Karika)

विपर्यासाद्यथा जाग्रदचिन्त्यान्भूतवत्स्पृशेत् ।

तथा स्वप्ने विपर्यासात् धर्मांस्तत्रैव पश्यति ॥ ४१॥

viparyāsādyathā jāgradacintyānbhūtavatspṛśet .

tathā svapne viparyāsāt dharmāṃstatraiva paśyati .. 41..

Just as one, for want of discrimination, takes unthinkable objects in the waking state as real, so too, in dream, one sees things in that state alone, for want of discrimination.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

This verse intends to remove the slightest possibility of the causal relation between the waking and the dream States, though both are unreal. As in the waking state, one, through want of proper discrimination, imagines the snake seen in place of the rope as real—the nature of which, in fact, cannot be really determined,—so also in dream, one, through want of discrimination, imagines as if one really perceives such objects as elephant, etc. These dream objects, such as elephants, etc., are peculiar to the dream condition alone; they are not the effect of the waking experiences.

Sloka : 4.42 (Karika)

उपलम्भात्समाचारादस्तिवस्तुत्ववादिनाम् ।

जातिस्तु देशिता बुद्धैः अजातेस्त्रसतां सदा ॥ ४२॥

upalambhātsamācārādastivastutvavādinām .

jātistu deśitā buddhaiḥ ajātestrasatāṃ sadā .. 42..

For those who, from their own experience and right conduct, believe in the existence of substantiality, and who are ever afraid of the birthless, instruction regarding birth has been imparted by the wise.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Wise men, i.e., the exponents of Advaita Philosophy, have, no doubt, supported causality. But they have done so only for those who have little discrimination but who are eager (to know the Truth) and who are endowed with faith. These people assert that external objects exist as real because they perceive them, and also because they cling to the observances of various duties associated with the different Varṇās and Āśramas? instructions regarding causality are only meant for them as a means to (some) end. Let them hold on to the idea of causality. Rut the students who practise disciplines in accordance with Vedānta philosophy will, without such belief in causality, spontaneously get the knowledge of Self, unborn and non-dual. Causality is declared not from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality. These students, who believe in Scriptures, and who are devoid of discrimination, fear the idea of absolute non-manifestation on account of their gross intellect, as they are afraid of the annihilation of their selves. It has also been stated before that these Scriptural statement (regarding creation) are meant as a help to our higher understanding of Reality. (In Reality, there is no multiplicity.)

Sloka : 4.43 (Karika)

अजातेस्त्रसतां तेषामुपलम्भाद्वियन्ति ये ।

जातिदोषा न सेत्स्यन्ति दोषोऽप्यल्पो भविष्यति ॥ ४३॥

ajātestrasatāṃ teṣāmupalambhādviyanti ye .

jātidoṣā na setsyanti doṣo'pyalpo bhaviṣyati .. 43..

For those who, for fear of the Unborn, and also owing to their perception (of duality), deviate from the right path, the evil springing up from acceptance of birth (creation), does not accrue. The evil effect, if there be any, will be but little.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Those who on account of their perception (of the phenomenal objects) and attachment to the various duties of caste and other stages of life, shrink from the non-dual and unborn Atman, and believing in the existence of dual objects, go away from the Self, that is to say, pin their faith to duality,—these people who are thus afraid of the truth of absolute non-manifestation, but who are endowed with faith and who stick to the path of righteousness, are not much affected by the evil results consequent on such belief in causality. For, they also try to follow the path of discrimination. Even if a little blemish attaches to such persons, it is insignificant, being due to their not having realised the Supreme Truth.

Sloka : 4.44 (Karika)

उपलम्भात्समाचारान्मायाहस्ती यथोच्यते ।

उपलम्भात्समाचारादस्ति वस्तु तथोच्यते ॥ ४४॥

upalambhātsamācārānmāyāhastī yathocyate .

upalambhātsamācārādasti vastu tathocyate .. 44..

Just as an elephant magically conjured up is called an elephant by relying on perception and right conduct, similarly, for reasons of perception and right conduct a thing is said to be existing.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- Objects answering to the features of duality do exist, on account of such evidence as our (direct) perception of them and also on account of the possibility of our dealings with them. Reply:- No, this objection is not valid. For, direct perception and the possibility of dealing practically with objects do not always prove the existence of objects. Objection:- How do you say that our contention admits of irregularity? Reply:- It is thus stated:- The elephant conjured up by a magician, is, verily, perceived as the real elephant. Though unreal, it (the magic elephant) is called the (real) elephant, on account of its being endowed with Such attributes of an elephant as the possibility of its being tied up with a rope or being climbed upon, etc. Though unreal, the magic elephant is looked upon as (a real) one. In like manner, it is said that multiple objects, pointing to duality, exist on account of their being perceived and also on account of the possibility of our dealing practically with them. Hence the two grounds, adduced above, cannot prove the existence of (external) objects establishing the fact of duality.

Sloka : 4.45 (Karika)

जात्याभासं चलाभासं वस्त्वाभासं तथैव च ।

अजाचलमवस्तुत्वं विज्ञानं शान्तमद्वयम् ॥ ४५॥

jātyābhāsaṃ calābhāsaṃ vastvābhāsaṃ tathaiva ca .

ajācalamavastutvaṃ vijñānaṃ śāntamadvayam .. 45..

That which bears semblance of birth, appears as though moving, and, similarly seems to be a thing (of attributes), is Consciousness that is birthless, unmoving and non-material, serene and non-dual.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What is that entity—the Ultimate Reality—which is the substratum of all false cognitions as causality (creation), etc.? It is thus replied:—Though unborn fit appears to be born. As for example, we say that Devadatta is born. Again it appears to move (though it is free from all motion):- as we say, “That Devadatta is going”. Further, it appears as an object in which inhere certain qualities. For instance, we say “That Devadatta is fair and tall”. Though from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality, Consciousness is ever unborn, immovable, and not of the character of material objects, yet it appears as a. Devadatta who is born, who moves and who is known to be fair and tall. What is that entity which answers to these descriptions? It is Consciousness which, being free from birth, change, etc., is all peace and therefore non-dual.

Sloka : 4.46 (Karika)

एवं न जायते चित्तमेवंधर्मा अजाः स्मृताः ।

एवमेव विजानन्तो न पतन्ति विपर्यते ॥ ४६॥

evaṃ na jāyate cittamevaṃdharmā ajāḥ smṛtāḥ .

evameva vijānanto na patanti viparyate .. 46..

Thus Consciousness is unborn; thus the souls are regarded to be unborn. Those who realise thus certainly do not fall into misfortune.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Thus, that is to say, for the reasons stated above,, the mind is free from birth. Similarly the Dharmas> that is, the Jivas9 are also unborn. This is the statement of the Knowers of Brahman. The word “Dharmāḥ” (i.e., “Selves”) is metaphorically used in the plural sense,, in consequence of our perception of variety which is, in rëálity, the appearance of the non-dual Atman as different, corporeal beings. Those who know the consciousness, stated above, which is the essence of the Self, non-dual and free from birth, etc., and, accordingly, renounce the hankering after all external objects,—they do not fall any more into this ocean of the darkness of Avidya. The Śruti also says, “Where is grief or delusion for the one that realises non-duality?”

Sloka : 4.47 (Karika)

ऋजुवक्रादिकाभासमलातस्पन्दितं यथा ।

ग्रहणग्राहकाभासं विज्ञानस्पन्दितं तथा ॥ ४७॥

ṛjuvakrādikābhāsamalātaspanditaṃ yathā .

grahaṇagrāhakābhāsaṃ vijñānaspanditaṃ tathā .. 47..

Just as the fire-brand set in motion appears as straight, crooked etc., similarly, the vibration of Consciousness appears as the perceiver and the perceived.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

In order to explain the truth regarding the Ultimate Reality already stated, it is thus said:—As in common experience it is noticed that a fire-brand when moved, appears straight, crooked, etc., so does Consciousness appear as the perceiver, the perceived, and the like. What is that which appears as the perceiver, the perceived, etc.? It is Consciousness set in motion. There is no motion in Consciousness. It only appears to be moving. This appearance is due to Avidya or ignorance. No motion is possible in Consciousness which is ever immovable. It has already been stated that Consciousness is unborn and immovable.

Sloka : 4.48 (Karika)

अस्पन्दमानमलातमनाभासमजं यथा ।

अस्पन्दमानं विज्ञानमनाभासमजं तथा ॥ ४८॥

aspandamānamalātamanābhāsamajaṃ yathā .

aspandamānaṃ vijñānamanābhāsamajaṃ tathā .. 48..

Just as the fire-brand devoid of motion is without appearances and birth, so also Consciousness devoid of vibration is without appearances and birth.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

As that very fire-brand, when not in motion, does not take any form, straight or crooked, etc., becomes free from all appearances and remains changeless, so also the consciousness, which appears as moving through ignorance, when dissociated from the idea of motion on the disappearance of ignorance, becomes free from all appearances, as those of birth, etc., and remains unborn and motionless.

Sloka : 4.49 (Karika)

अलाते स्पन्दमाने वै नाऽऽभासा अन्यतोभुवः ।

न ततोऽन्यत्र निस्पन्दान्नालातं प्रविशन्ति ते ॥ ४९॥

alāte spandamāne vai nā''bhāsā anyatobhuvaḥ .

na tato'nyatra nispandānnālātaṃ praviśanti te .. 49..

When the fire-brand is in motion, the appearances do not come from elsewhere. Neither do they, when the fire-brand is free from motion, go elsewhere, nor do they enter into it.

Sloka : 4.50 (Karika)

न निर्गता अलातात्ते द्रव्यत्वाभावयोगतः ।

विज्ञानेऽपि तथैव स्युराभासस्याविशेशतः ॥ ५०॥

na nirgatā alātātte dravyatvābhāvayogataḥ .

vijñāne'pi tathaiva syurābhāsasyāviśeśataḥ .. 50..

They did not go out of the fire-brand owing to their not being of the nature of substance. In the case of Consciousness, too, the appearances must be the same, for as appearance there can be no distinction.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Moreover, when that very fire-brand is in motion, the appearances, straight or crooked, etc., do not come to it from anywhere else outside the fire-brand. Nor do the appearances go elsewhere from the fire-brand when it is motionless. Nor, again, do the appearances, enter into the fire-brand when it is motionless. Moreover, those appearances do not emerge from the fire-brand as something that comes out of a house. The reason is that appearances are not of the nature of substance. The appearances have no reality. Entrance, etc., can be said of a real thing but not of anything unreal. The appearance of birth, etc., in the case of consciousness is exactly similar, for, appearances are of the same nature in both the cases.

Sloka : 4.51 (Karika)

विज्ञाने स्पन्दमाने वै नाऽऽभासा अन्यतोभुवः ।

न ततोऽन्यत्र निस्पन्दान्न विज्ञानं विशन्ति ते ॥ ५१॥

vijñāne spandamāne vai nā''bhāsā anyatobhuvaḥ .

na tato'nyatra nispandānna vijñānaṃ viśanti te .. 51..

When Consciousness is in motion, the appearances do not come from elsewhere. Neither do they, when the Consciousness is free from motion, go elsewhere, nor do they enter again into It.

Sloka : 4.52 (Karika)

न निर्गतास्ते विज्ञानाद्द्रव्यत्वाभावयोगतः ।

कार्यकारणताभावाद्यतोऽचिन्त्याः सदैव ते ॥ ५२॥

na nirgatāste vijñānāddravyatvābhāvayogataḥ .

kāryakāraṇatābhāvādyato'cintyāḥ sadaiva te .. 52..

They did not go out of Consciousness owing to their not being of the nature of substance, for they ever remain incomprehensible on account of the absence of relation of effect and cause.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How are the two appearances similar? It is thus replied:- The fire-brand and Consciousness are alike in all respects. The only special feature of Consciousness is that it always remains immutable. What is the cause of such appearances as birth, etc., in Consciousness which is ever immutable? In the absence of causality, it is not reasonable to establish the relationship of the producer and the produced (between Consciousness and appearances). The appearances, being illusory, are ever unthinkable. The purport of the whole thing is this:- As the fire-brand (which is merely a point) is associated with forms straight, crooked, etc., though, in reality, such crooked or straight forms are ever non-existent, so also, pure Consciousness is associated with the ideas of birth, etc., though such ideas as birth, etc., are ever non-existent. Hence these ideas of birth, etc., associated with Consciousness are illusory.

Sloka : 4.53 (Karika)

द्रव्यं द्रव्यस्य हेतुः स्यादन्यदन्यस्य चैव हि ।

द्रव्यत्वमन्यभावो वा धर्माणां नोपपद्यते ॥ ५३॥

dravyaṃ dravyasya hetuḥ syādanyadanyasya caiva hi .

dravyatvamanyabhāvo vā dharmāṇāṃ nopapadyate .. 53..

A substance could be the cause of a substance and another could be the cause of any other thing. But the souls cannot be regarded either as substances or as some other thing different from all else.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

It has already been established that the essence of Self is one and unborn. Those who imagine causal relation in Atman must admit that substance may be the cause of another substance and that which is other than substance may be the cause of something else which is also other than substance. But a thing itself cannot be the cause of itself. Further, we do not find in common experience a non-substance which is independently the cause of something. The selves (i.e., the Jivas or beings) can be called neither substance nor other than substance. Hence the Jivas or selves cannot be the cause or effect of anything. Therefore Atman, being neither substance nor other than substance, is neither the cause nor the effect of anything.

Sloka : 4.54 (Karika)

एवं न चित्तजा धर्माश्चित्तं वाऽपि न धर्मजम् ।

एवं हेतुफलाजातिं प्रविशन्ति मनीषिणः ॥ ५४॥

evaṃ na cittajā dharmāścittaṃ vā'pi na dharmajam .

evaṃ hetuphalājātiṃ praviśanti manīṣiṇaḥ .. 54..

Thus external objects are not born of Consciousness; nor is Consciousness born of external objects. Thus have the wise settled the birthlessness of cause and effect.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Thus, for reasons already stated, the mind is verily of the nature of the essence of the Self. External objects are not caused by the mind nor is the mind the product of the external objects. That is because all (external) entities are mere appearances in Consciousness. Thus neither the (so-called) effect comes from the (so-called) cause nor the cause from the effect. In this way is reiterated the absolute non-evolution of causality. In other words, the knowers of Brahman declare the absence of causality with regard to Atman.

Sloka : 4.55 (Karika)

यावद्धेतुफलावेशस्तावद्धेतुफलोद्भवः ।

क्षीणे हेतुफलावेशे नास्ति हेतुफलोद्भवः ॥ ५५॥

yāvaddhetuphalāveśastāvaddhetuphalodbhavaḥ .

kṣīṇe hetuphalāveśe nāsti hetuphalodbhavaḥ .. 55..

As long as there is fascination for cause and effect, so long do cause and effect come into existence. When the fascination for cause and effect ceases, there is no further springing up of cause and effect.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What happens with regard to those who cling to the belief in cause and effect? In reply, it is said:—As long as there is faith in causality, as long as a man thinks, “I am the agent; these virtuous and vicious deeds belong to me. I shall enjoy the results of these actions, being born in course of time, as some being,” in other words, as long as a man falsely attributes causality to Atman and devotes his mind to it, cause and effect must operate for him; that is to say, the man must without intermission be subject to birth and death, which are the result of his attachment to the belief in causality. But when attachment to causality, due to ignorance, is destroyed by the knowledge of non-duality as described above,—like the destruction of the possession of a ghost through the power of incantation, medicinal herb, etc.—then on account of the wearing away of the illusion of causality, do cause and effect cease to exist.

Sloka : 4.56 (Karika)

यावद्धेतुफलावेशः संसारस्तावदायतः ।

क्षीणे हेतुफलावेशे संसारं न प्रपद्यते ॥ ५६॥

yāvaddhetuphalāveśaḥ saṃsārastāvadāyataḥ .

kṣīṇe hetuphalāveśe saṃsāraṃ na prapadyate .. 56..

As long as one is completely absorbed in cause and effect, so long does transmigration continue. When the absorption in cause and effect ceases, one does not undergo transmigration.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What is the harm if the law of cause and effect continues to operate? In reply we say:—As long as faith in causality is not destroyed by right knowledge, our course (of birth and death) in this world will continue. But when that faith is destroyed (by right knowledge) the world also ceases to exist for want of any other cause for its existence.

Sloka : 4.57 (Karika)

संवृत्या जायते सर्वं शाश्वतं नास्ति तेन वै ।

सद्भावेन ह्यजं सर्वमुच्छेदस्तेन नास्ति वै ॥ ५७॥

saṃvṛtyā jāyate sarvaṃ śāśvataṃ nāsti tena vai .

sadbhāvena hyajaṃ sarvamucchedastena nāsti vai .. 57..

From the relative plane (of thinking) everything seems to be born and is not, therefore, eternal. From the absolute plane (of perception) everything is the unborn (Self) and there is, therefore, nothing like destruction.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- Nothing else verily exists except the unborn Atman. Then how can you speak of the origin and destruction of the cause and the effect as well as of (the chain of birth and death constituting) the world? Reply:- Listen. The word Saṃvṛti in the text signifies the (illusory) experiences of the empirical world which are caused by ignorance. All this is born of this power of ignorance which brings into existence the illusory experiences of the world. For this reason, nothing is permanent in the realm of ignorance. Therefore it is said that the world, having the characteristics of origination and destruction, is spread before us (i.e., the ignorant persons). But as one with the Ultimate Reality, all this is nothing but the unborn Atman. Therefore, in the absence of birth, there cannot be any destruction, viz., the destruction of cause or effect.

Sloka : 4.58 (Karika)

धर्मा य इति जायन्ते जायन्ते ते न तत्त्वतः ।

जन्म मायोपमं तेषां सा च माया न विद्यते ॥ ५८॥

dharmā ya iti jāyante jāyante te na tattvataḥ .

janma māyopamaṃ teṣāṃ sā ca māyā na vidyate .. 58..

The souls that are thus born are not born in reality. Their birth is like that of an object through Maya. And that Maya again is non-existent.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Those, again, who imagine the birth of the Jivas and other entities, do so only through Saṃvṛti or the power of ignorance as stated in the preceding Kārikā. The Jivas are seen to be born only through ignorance. But from the standpoint of the Supreme Reality no such birth is possible. This (supposed) birth of the Jivas through ignorance, described above, is like the birth of objects through illusion (Maya). Opponent:- Then there must be something real known as Maya or illusion? Reply:- It is not so. That Maya or illusion is never existent. Maya or illusion is the name we give to something which does not (really) exist (but which is perceived).

Sloka : 4.59 (Karika)

यथा मायामयाद्बीजाज्जायते तन्मयोऽङ्कुरः ।

नासौ नित्यो न चोच्छ्येदी तद्वद्धर्मेषु योजना ॥ ५९॥

yathā māyāmayādbījājjāyate tanmayo'ṅkuraḥ .

nāsau nityo na cocchyedī tadvaddharmeṣu yojanā .. 59..

Just as from a magical seed comes out a sprout of that very nature which is neither permanent nor destructible, so too, is the reasoning applicable in respect of objects.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Now, is the birth of Jivas, that are seen to exist, illusory? To this question, our reply is as follows:—From an illusory mango seed is born a mango sprout which is equally illusory. This sprout is neither permanent nor destructible, simply because it does not exist. In the like manner, ideas of birth and death are applied to the Jivas. The purport is that from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality, neither birth nor death is applicable to Jivas.

Sloka : 4.60 (Karika)

नाजेषु सर्वधर्मेषु शाश्वताशाश्वताभिधा ।

यत्र वर्णा न वर्तन्ते विवेकस्तत्र नोच्यते ॥ ६०॥

nājeṣu sarvadharmeṣu śāśvatāśāśvatābhidhā .

yatra varṇā na vartante vivekastatra nocyate .. 60..

In the case of all birthless entities the terms permanent and non-permanent can have no application. Where words fail to describe, no entity can be spoken of in a discriminative manner.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

From the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality, no epithet such as permanence or impermanence, nor any sound corresponding to such names, can be applied to Jivas (selves or beings) which are eternal, birthless, and which are always of the nature of a homogeneous consciousness. That by which an object is designated is known as “Varṇa” or name associated with a sound. The words fail to denote the nature of Atman. It cannot be discriminated as this or that, permanent or impermanent. The Śruti also says, “Whence words fall back,” etc.

Sloka : 4.61 (Karika)

यथा स्वप्ने द्वयाभासं चित्तं चलति मायया ।

तथा जाग्रद्द्वयाभासं चित्तं चलति मायया ॥ ६१॥

yathā svapne dvayābhāsaṃ cittaṃ calati māyayā .

tathā jāgraddvayābhāsaṃ cittaṃ calati māyayā .. 61..

As in dream Consciousness vibrates through illusion, as though dual by nature, so in the waking state Consciousness vibrates through illusion as though possessed of dual appearances.

Sloka : 4.62 (Karika)

अद्वयं च द्वयाभासं चित्तं स्वप्ने न संशयः ।

अद्वयं च द्वयाभासं तथा जाग्रन्न संशयं ॥ ६२॥

advayaṃ ca dvayābhāsaṃ cittaṃ svapne na saṃśayaḥ .

advayaṃ ca dvayābhāsaṃ tathā jāgranna saṃśayaṃ .. 62..

There can be no doubt that the non-dual Consciousness alone appears in dream as though dual. Similarly, in waking state, too, the non-dual Consciousness appears as though dual, undoubtedly.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

That pure consciousness which is non-dual (from the standpoint of the Supreme Reality) is sought to be described by words, is due to the active condition of the mind (which is due to Avidya). This description (of the non-dual Atman by words) has no meaning from the standpoint of the Ultimate Truth. These verses have already been explained.

Sloka : 4.63 (Karika)

स्वप्नदृक्प्रचरन्स्वप्ने दिक्षु वै दशसु स्थितान् ।

अण्डजान्स्वेदजान्वाऽपि जीवान्पश्यति यान्सदा ॥ ६३॥

svapnadṛkpracaransvapne dikṣu vai daśasu sthitān .

aṇḍajānsvedajānvā'pi jīvānpaśyati yānsadā .. 63..

The dreamer, as he wanders in the dream-land always sees the creatures born from eggs or from moisture as existing in all the ten directions.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Here is another reason which also shows us that duality describable by words, does not exist. The beings or Jivas, born of eggs or moisture, which a dreamer going about in all ten directions perceives in his dream condition as existing, (have, as a matter of fact, no existence apart from the mind of the dreamer). Objection:- Suppose we admit this. What are you driving at? Reply:- Our reply is as follows:-

Sloka : 4.64 (Karika)

स्वप्नदृक्चित्तदृश्यास्ते न विद्यन्ते ततः पृथक् ।

तथा तद्दृश्यमेवेदं स्वप्नदृक्चित्तमिष्यते ॥ ६४॥

svapnadṛkcittadṛśyāste na vidyante tataḥ pṛthak .

tathā taddṛśyamevedaṃ svapnadṛkcittamiṣyate .. 64..

These (creatures), perceptible to the consciousness of the dreamer, have no existence apart from his consciousness. So also this consciousness of the dreamer is admitted to be the object of perception to that dreamer alone.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Those beings perceived by the mind of the dreamer have no existence outside the mind of the person who dreams about them. It is the mind alone which imagines itself to have assumed the forms of many diversified beings. Similarly, that mind of the dreamer is, again, perceived by the dreamer alone. Therefore there is no separate thing called mind which is apart from the dreamer himself.

Sloka : 4.65 (Karika)

चरञ्जागरिते जाग्रद्दिक्षु वै दशसु स्थितान् ।

अण्डजान्स्वेदजान्वाऽपि जीवान्पश्यति यान्सदा ॥ ६५॥

carañjāgarite jāgraddikṣu vai daśasu sthitān .

aṇḍajānsvedajānvā'pi jīvānpaśyati yānsadā .. 65..

The man in the waking state, as he wanders in the places of the waking state, always sees the creatures born from eggs or from moisture as existing in all the ten directions.

Sloka : 4.66 (Karika)

जाग्रच्चितेक्षणीयास्ते न विद्यन्ते ततः पृथक् ।

तथा तद्दृश्यमेवेदं जाग्रतश्चित्तमिष्यते ॥ ६६॥

jāgraccitekṣaṇīyāste na vidyante tataḥ pṛthak .

tathā taddṛśyamevedaṃ jāgrataścittamiṣyate .. 66..

These (creatures), perceptible to the consciousness of the man in the waking state, have no existence apart from his consciousness. So also, this consciousness of the man in the waking state is admitted to be the object of perception to that man of the waking state alone.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The Jivas, perceived in the waking state, do not exist anywhere except in the mind of the perceiver, for, they are not seen independent of the mind. These Jivas are similar to the Jivas, perceived in the dream, which are cognized by the mind of the dreaming person alone. That mind again, having the characteristic of perception of Jivas is non different from the perceiver of the wakings condition, because it is seen by the perceiver, as is the case with the mind which perceives the dream. The rest has already been interpreted (in the previous verses).

Sloka : 4.67 (Karika)

उभे ह्यन्योन्यदृश्ये ते किं तदस्तीति नोच्यते ।

लक्षणाशून्यमुभयं तन्मतेनैव गृह्यते ॥ ६७॥

ubhe hyanyonyadṛśye te kiṃ tadastīti nocyate .

lakṣaṇāśūnyamubhayaṃ tanmatenaiva gṛhyate .. 67..

Both these are perceptible to each other. "Does it exist?" (To such a question) "No" is said (by way of answer). Both these are devoid of valid proof, and each can be perceived only through the idea of the other.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Both the mind and the Jivas, or in other words, the mind and its modifications (which are seen as external objects) are each an object of perception to the other. In other words, one is perceived only through the other. The mind exists only in relation to the Jiva, etc., and the Jiva and objects exist only in relation to the mind. Therefore they are each an object of perception to the other. Hence wise men assert that nothing whatsoever, neither the mind nor its object, can be said to have any existence (if either be considered by itself)—(from the standpoint of either the idealist or the realist). As in the dream the elephant as well as the mind that perceives the elephant, are not really existent, so also is the case with the mind and its objects of the waking condition. How is it so? For, both the mind and its objects have no proof of their existence (independent of each other). They are each an object of perception to the other. One cannot cognize a jar without the cognition of a jar; nor can one have a cognition of a jar without a jar. In the case of the jar and the cognition of the jar it is not possible to conceive the distinction between the instrument of knowledge and the object of knowledge.

Sloka : 4.68 (Karika)

यथा स्वप्नमयो जीवो जायते म्रियतेऽपि च ।

तथा जीवा अमी सर्वे भवन्ति न भवन्ति च ॥ ६८॥

yathā svapnamayo jīvo jāyate mriyate'pi ca .

tathā jīvā amī sarve bhavanti na bhavanti ca .. 68..

Just as a creature seen in dream takes birth and dies, so also do all these creatures come into being and disappear.

Sloka : 4.69 (Karika)

यथा मायामयो जीवो जायते म्रियतेऽपि च ।

तथा जीवा अमी सर्वे भवन्ति न भवन्ति च ॥ ६९॥

yathā māyāmayo jīvo jāyate mriyate'pi ca .

tathā jīvā amī sarve bhavanti na bhavanti ca .. 69..

Just as a creature conjured up by magic takes birth and dies, so also do all these creatures come into being and disappear.

Sloka : 4.70 (Karika)

यथा निर्मितको जीवो जायते म्रियतेऽपि वा ।

तथा जीवा अमी सर्वे भवन्ति न भवन्ति च ॥ ७०॥

yathā nirmitako jīvo jāyate mriyate'pi vā .

tathā jīvā amī sarve bhavanti na bhavanti ca .. 70..

Just as an artificial creature (brought into being by incantation and medicine), takes birth and dies, so also do all these creatures come into being and disappear.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The “magician’s Jiva” means that which is conjured up before our vision by the feat of a magician. The “artificial Jiva” is that which is brought into existence by means of incantation, medicinal herb, etc. As the Jivas born of egg, etc., and created in dream, are seen to come into existence and then to pass away, so also the Jivas such as human beings, etc., seen in the waking state, though really non-existent (appear to come into existence and then pass away). These are merely the imagination of the mind.

Sloka : 4.71 (Karika)

न कश्चिज्जायते जीवः सम्भवोऽस्य न विद्यते ।

एतत्तदुत्तमं सत्यं यत्र किञ्चिन्न जायते ॥ ७१॥

na kaścijjāyate jīvaḥ sambhavo'sya na vidyate .

etattaduttamaṃ satyaṃ yatra kiñcinna jāyate .. 71..

No creature whichsoever is born, nor is there any source for it. This is that supreme truth where nothing is born whatsoever.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

It has already been stated that the appearances of birth, death, etc., of the Jivas are possible only in the empirical plane, as is the case with the dream-beings. But the Ultimate Truth is that no Jiva is ever born. The rest has already been stated.

Sloka : 4.72 (Karika)

चित्तस्पन्दितमेवेदं ग्राह्यग्राहकवद्द्वयम् ।

चित्तं निर्विषयं नित्यमसङ्गं तेन कीर्तितम् ॥ ७२॥

cittaspanditamevedaṃ grāhyagrāhakavaddvayam .

cittaṃ nirviṣayaṃ nityamasaṅgaṃ tena kīrtitam .. 72..

This duality consisting in the subject-object relationship is nothing but the vibration of Consciousness. Again, Consciousness is without object and is, therefore, declared to be ever unattached.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The whole world of duality consisting of the subject and the object is, verily, an act of the mind. But from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality, the mind, which is verily Atman, is unrelated to any object. On account of the absence of relation (with any object), the mind is declared as eternal and unattached. The Śruti also says, “The Puruṣa is always free from relation.” That which perceives objects outside of it, is related to such objects. But the mind, having no such external object, is free from all relations.

Sloka : 4.73 (Karika)

योऽस्ति कल्पितसंवृत्या परमार्थेन नास्त्यसौ ।

परतन्त्राभिसंवृत्या स्यान्नास्ति परमार्थतः ॥ ७३॥

yo'sti kalpitasaṃvṛtyā paramārthena nāstyasau .

paratantrābhisaṃvṛtyā syānnāsti paramārthataḥ .. 73..

That which exists by virtue of being an imagined empirical view, does not exist in reality. Again, that which exists on the basis of the empirical view brought about by other schools of thought, does not really exist.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- It has been said that the mind is free from the relation with any objects, as such objects do not exist. But this non-attachment regarding the mind cannot be maintained inasmuch as objects in the forms of the teacher, the Scripture and the pupil exist. Reply:- There is no such defect in our contention. Objection:- How? Reply:- The existence of such objects as Scripture, etc., is due to the empirical experience which is illusory. The empirical knowledge in respect of Scripture, teacher and taught is illusory and imagined only as a means to the realisation of the Ultimate Reality. Therefore Scripture, etc., which exist only on the strength of illusory empirical experiences, have no real existence. It has already been said that duality vanishes when the Ultimate Reality is known. Again, the objects (which appear to come into existence through the illusory experiences), supported by other schools of thought as existent, do not, when analysed from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality, verily exist. Hence it has been rightly said in the previous Kārikā that the mind is unattached.

Sloka : 4.74 (Karika)

अजः कल्पितसंवृत्या परमार्थेन नाप्यजः ।

परतन्त्राभिनिष्पत्त्या संवृत्या जायते तु सः ॥ ७४॥

ajaḥ kalpitasaṃvṛtyā paramārthena nāpyajaḥ .

paratantrābhiniṣpattyā saṃvṛtyā jāyate tu saḥ .. 74..

Inasmuch as the soul, according to the conclusions arrived at by other schools of thought, takes birth from a fancied empirical view point, it is said in consistence with that empirical point of view that the soul is unborn; but from the point of view of supreme Reality, it is not even unborn.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- If Scriptural teaching, etc., were illusory, then the birthlessness of Atman, as taught by Scripture, is also due to illusory imagination. Reply:- This is, indeed, true. Atman is said to be unborn only in relation to illusory empirical experiences which comprehend ideas of Scripture, teacher and taught. From the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality, Atman cannot be said to be even unborn. Atman which is said to be unborn only as against the conclusion of those schools (which maintain that Atman comes into existence), appears to be born to the ignorant. Therefore, the notion (based upon illusion) that Atman is unborn has no bearing on the Ultimate Reality.

Sloka : 4.75 (Karika)

अभूताभिनिवेशोऽस्ति द्वयं तत्र न विद्यते ।

द्वयाभावं स बुद्ध्वैव निर्निमित्तो न जायते ॥ ७५॥

abhūtābhiniveśo'sti dvayaṃ tatra na vidyate .

dvayābhāvaṃ sa buddhvaiva nirnimitto na jāyate .. 75..

There is a mere fascination for unreal things, though there exists no duality. Having realised the absence of duality, one is not born again for want of a cause.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

As objects are, really speaking, non-existent, therefore people who believe in their existence have, in fact, attachment for duality which is unreal. It is a mere belief in the (existence of) objects which (really speaking) do not exist. There is no duality. The cause of birth is this attachment. Therefore one who has realised the unreality of duality is never born again as he is free from the cause (of birth), viz., attachment to the illusory duality.

Sloka : 4.76 (Karika)

यदा न लभते हेतूनुत्तमाधममध्यमान् ।

तदा न जायते चित्तं हेत्वभावे फलं कुतः ॥ ७६॥

yadā na labhate hetūnuttamādhamamadhyamān .

tadā na jāyate cittaṃ hetvabhāve phalaṃ kutaḥ .. 76..

When there are no causes – superior, inferior or medium – then Consciousness does not take birth. How can there be any result when the cause is absent.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The superior cause consists of those Dharmas (i.e., duties of life), wholly virtuous, which are prescribed according to different castes and stages of life, and which when performed without any attachment to the result, enable one to attain to the position of gods, etc. The middling cause consists of those duties, mixed with certain irreligious practices the observance of which enables one to attain to the position of man, etc. The inferior cause consists of those particular tendencies, characterised by irreligious practices alone, which lead one to the position of lower creatures, such as beasts, birds, etc. When the mind realising the essence of Self which is one and without a second and which is free from all (illusory) imaginations, does not find the existence of any of the causes, superior, inferior or middling, all imagined through ignorance,—like a man of discrimination not seeing any dirt which a child sees in the sky-then it does not undergo any birth, i.e., it does not objectify itself as god, man or beast, which are the effects of their respective causes (enumerated above). No effect can be produced in the absence of a cause, as sprouts cannot come forth in the absence of the seed.

Sloka : 4.77 (Karika)

अनिमित्तस्य चित्तस्य याऽनुत्पत्तिः समाऽद्वया ।

अजातस्यैव सर्वस्य चित्तदृश्यं हि तद्यतः ॥ ७७॥

animittasya cittasya yā'nutpattiḥ samā'dvayā .

ajātasyaiva sarvasya cittadṛśyaṃ hi tadyataḥ .. 77..

The birthlessness of Consciousness which is free from causes is constant and absolute, for all this (ie., duality and birth) was an object of perception to It which had been unborn (even before).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

It has already been stated that in the absence of a cause, the mind is not subject to birth. But what is the nature of that non-evolution of the mind? It is thus replied:—The causes of birth are meritorious actions and their opposite. The state of absolute non-manifestation of the mind,—known as liberation (knowledge) and free from causality on account of the realisation of the Supreme—is always constant under all conditions and absolute, that is, ever non-dual. Even before the attainment of knowledge, the mind always remains nonmanifest and non-dual. Even prior to the realisation of the highest knowledge the idea of duality (i.e., the subject and the object) and the idea of birth are merely an objectification of the mind. Hence the non-evolution of the mind which is always free from change or birth is constant and absolute. In other words, it cannot be said that this non-evolution or liberation sometimes exists and sometimes disappears. It is always the same and changeless. It may be contended from the previous Kārikā that liberation depends upon the external factor of time. This contention is-answered in this verse.

Sloka : 4.78 (Karika)

बुध्द्वाऽनिमित्ततां सत्यां हेतुं पृथगनाप्नुवन् ।

वीतशोकं तथा काममभयं पदमश्नुते ॥ ७८॥

budhdvā'nimittatāṃ satyāṃ hetuṃ pṛthaganāpnuvan .

vītaśokaṃ tathā kāmamabhayaṃ padamaśnute .. 78..

Having realised the Truth that is uncaused and having abstained from obtaining any further cause, one attains the state of fearlessness that is devoid of grief and delusion (kama).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Through the reasoning indicated above, one knows the absence of duality, which is the cause of birth and thus realises absolute non-causation as the Ultimate Truth. Further, he does not see the reality of anything else as cause, such as religious merit, etc., which may enable one to attain to the position of gods, etc. Thus freeing himself from all desires, he attains to the highest state, i.e., liberation (knowledge) which is free from desire, grief, ignorance and fear. That is to say, he no longer becomes subject to birth and death.

Sloka : 4.79 (Karika)

अभूताभिनिवेशाद्धि सदृशे तत्प्रवर्तते ।

वस्त्वभावं स बुद्ध्वैव निःसङ्गं विनिवर्तते ॥ ७९॥

abhūtābhiniveśāddhi sadṛśe tatpravartate .

vastvabhāvaṃ sa buddhvaiva niḥsaṅgaṃ vinivartate .. 79..

Owing to fascination for unreal objects, Consciousness engages Itself in things that are equally unreal. On realisation of the non-existence of objects, Consciousness, becoming free from attachment, abstains (from them).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Attachment to the unreal (objects) is due to the firm belief that duality exists, though in reality such duality is ever non-existent. On account of such attachment which is of the nature of delusion caused by ignorance, the mind runs after objects corresponding to those desires. But when a man knows the unreality of all duality of objects, then he becomes indifferent to them and turns away his mind from the unreal (objects) to which he feels attached.

Sloka : 4.80 (Karika)

निवृत्तस्याप्रवृत्तस्य निश्चला हि तदा स्थितिः ।

विषयः स हि बुद्धानां तत्साम्यमजमद्वयम् ॥ ८०॥

nivṛttasyāpravṛttasya niścalā hi tadā sthitiḥ .

viṣayaḥ sa hi buddhānāṃ tatsāmyamajamadvayam .. 80..

Then, there follows a state of stillness, when the Consciousness has become free from attachment and does not engage Itself (in unreal things). That is the object of vision to the wise. That is the (supreme) state on non-distinction, and that is birthless and non-dual.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

When the mind is withdrawn from all duality of objects, and when it does not attach itself to any objects,—as no objects exist—then the mind attains to the state of immutability which is of the same nature as Brahman. This realisation of the mind as Brahman is characterised by the mass of unique non-dual consciousness. As that condition of the mind is known,, (only) by the wise who have known the Ultimate Reality, that state is supreme and undifferentiated, birthless and non-dual.

Sloka : 4.81 (Karika)

अजमनिद्रमस्वप्नं प्रभातं भवति स्वयम् ।

सकृद्विभातो ह्येवैष धर्मो धातुस्वभावतः ॥ ८१॥

ajamanidramasvapnaṃ prabhātaṃ bhavati svayam .

sakṛdvibhāto hyevaiṣa dharmo dhātusvabhāvataḥ .. 81..

This is birthless, sleepless, dreamless, and self-luminous. For this Entity (the Self) is ever luminous by Its very nature.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The nature of that which is realisable by the wise is again described:—It (Atman) reveals itself by itself. It does not depend for its revelation upon any external light, such as the sun, etc. Self-luminosity is its very nature. It is ever-luminous. This is the inherent characteristic of the Dharma, known as Atman.

Sloka : 4.82 (Karika)

सुखमाव्रियते नित्यं दुःखं विव्रियते सदा ।

यस्य कस्य च धर्मस्य ग्रहेण भगवानसौ ॥ ८२॥

sukhamāvriyate nityaṃ duḥkhaṃ vivriyate sadā .

yasya kasya ca dharmasya graheṇa bhagavānasau .. 82..

Owing to the Lord’s fondness for any object whatsoever, he becomes ever veiled effortlessly, and is unveiled every time with strenuous effort.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

How is it that the people, at large, do not realise Atman, which is the Supreme Reality, though It is again and again thus explained? To this the following reply is given:- On account of the mind apprehending through attachment, single objects of the world of duality, the blissful nature of Atman is easily covered. The reason for this concealment is only the perception of duality. There is no other cause for it. Moreover, misery is brought to the surface. The knowledge of the Supreme Reality is extremely hard to attain. The Lord, the non-dual Atman, the effulgent Being, though again and again taught by the Vedānta Scriptures and the teachers, is not therefore comprehended. The Śruti also says, “One who speaks of Atman is looked upon with wonder and he who has attained and who has realised it, is equally an object of wonder.”

Sloka : 4.83 (Karika)

अस्ति नास्त्यस्ति नास्तीति नास्ति नास्तीति वा पुनः ।

चलस्थिरोभयाभावैरावृणोत्येव बालिशः ॥ ८३॥

asti nāstyasti nāstīti nāsti nāstīti vā punaḥ .

calasthirobhayābhāvairāvṛṇotyeva bāliśaḥ .. 83..

A man of puerile imagination definitely covers the Self by affirming that It "exists", exists not", "Exists and exists not", or again, "exists not", "exists not", and by possessing such views as (that It is) changing and unchanging, both changing and unchanging and non-existent.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Attachment of the learned to such predicates as existence, non-existence, etc., serves verily as a veil between them and the Supreme Reality. What wonder is there that childish persons on account of their undeveloped intellect are unable to grasp Atman! This Kārikā brings out the aforesaid idea. Some disputant asserts that Atman exists. Another disputant, viz., the Buddhist, says that it is non-existent. A third disputant, the Jaina, who is a pseudo-nihilist, believing in both the existence and non-existence of Self, proclaims that Atman both exist and does not exist. The absolute nihilist says that nothing exists at all. He who predicates existence of Atman associates it with changeability in order to make it distinct from such impermanent objects as a jar, etc. The theory that Atman is non-existent, i.e., inactive, is held on account of its undifferentiated nature. It is called both existent and non-existent on account of its being subject to both changeability and immutability. Non-existence is predicated of Atman on account of everything ending in absolute negation or void. All the four classes of disputants, mentioned above, asserting existence, non-existence, existence and non-existence, and total non-existence (about Atman), derived respectively from their notion of changeability, immutability, combination of both and total negation, reduce themselves to the position of the childish, devoid of all discrimination; and by associating Atman with all these illusory ideas (Kalpanā) cover Its real nature. If these (so-called) learned men act as veritable children on account of their ignorance of Ultimate Reality, what is to be said regarding those who are, by nature, unenlightened!

Sloka : 4.84 (Karika)

कोट्यश्चतस्र एतास्तु ग्रहैर्यासां सदाऽऽवृतः ।

भगवानाभिरस्पृष्टो येन दृष्टः स सर्वदृक् ॥ ८४॥

koṭyaścatasra etāstu grahairyāsāṃ sadā''vṛtaḥ .

bhagavānābhiraspṛṣṭo yena dṛṣṭaḥ sa sarvadṛk .. 84..

These are the four alternative views, owing to a fascination for which the Lord becomes ever hidden. He is the all-seer by whom is the Lord perceived as untouched by these.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What is the nature of the essence, i.e., the Ultimate Reality, by knowing which people are purged of their stupidity and are really made to attain to wisdom? It is thus replied:- There are four alternate theories regarding Atman such as, It exists, It does not exist, etc., mentioned in the works of those who are fond of disputations. The Atman always remains covered and hidden from these vain talkers on account of their attachment to their theories. The thoughtful person who has realised the Atman, known only by the (correct understanding of) Upaniṣads, as ever-untouched by any of the four alternative predicates such as It exists,. It does not exist, etc., is the seer of all, the omniscient and the real knower of the Ultimate Reality.

Sloka : 4.85 (Karika)

प्राप्य सर्वज्ञतां कृत्स्नां ब्राह्मण्यं पदमद्वयम् ।

अनापन्नादिमध्यान्तं किमतः परमीहते ॥ ८५॥

prāpya sarvajñatāṃ kṛtsnāṃ brāhmaṇyaṃ padamadvayam .

anāpannādimadhyāntaṃ kimataḥ paramīhate .. 85..

Having attained omniscience in its entirety, as well as the non-dual state of Brahmanhood that is devoid of beginning, middle, and end, does anyone wish anything thereafter ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The state of the Brāhmaṇa signifies the state in which one is established in Brahman. The Śruti says, “This is the eternal glory of the Brāhmaṇa.” That state of Brāhmaṇa is free from beginning, end or middle. That is to say, that state of non-duality is free from the (illusory ideas of) creation, preservation and destruction. Having obtained the whole of omniscience, described above, i.e., the state of Brāhmaṇa, a non-dual state without beginning, end or middle, which is the same as the realisation of Self, the summum bonum of existence—what else remains for him to be desired? In other words, all other strivings become useless for him. It is thus said in Gītā, “He has nothing to gain by the activities (of the relative world).”

Sloka : 4.86 (Karika)

विप्राणां विनयो ह्येष शमः प्राकृत उच्यते ।

दमः प्रकृतिदान्तत्वादेवं विद्वाञ्शमं व्रजेत् ॥ ८६॥

viprāṇāṃ vinayo hyeṣa śamaḥ prākṛta ucyate .

damaḥ prakṛtidāntatvādevaṃ vidvāñśamaṃ vrajet .. 86..

This is the humility of the Brahmanas; this is said to be their natural control. Since, by nature, they have conquered the senses, this is their restraint. Having known thus, the enlightened one becomes rooted in tranquillity.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The humility of the Brāhmaṇas which is due to their realisation of their identity with the Self, is quite natural. This is (the real significance of) his humility. The tranquillity (of the mind which the Knowers of Brahman enjoy) is also natural and not induced by any artificial means. Brahman is all peace and tranquility. Hence the Brāhmaṇas are said to have controlled their sense-organs (from pursuing the external objects). This is also the cause of the tranquillity of their nature. Having realised Brahman which is, by nature, all-peace the wise man attains to peace which is the characteristic of Brahman. That is to say, he becomes identical with Brahman.

Sloka : 4.87 (Karika)

सवस्तु सोपलम्भं च द्वयं लौकिकमिष्यते ।

अवस्तु सोपलम्भं च शुद्धं लौकिकमिष्यते ॥ ८७॥

savastu sopalambhaṃ ca dvayaṃ laukikamiṣyate .

avastu sopalambhaṃ ca śuddhaṃ laukikamiṣyate .. 87..

The duality that is co-existent with both object and (its) perception is said to be the ordinary (waking) state. That state where there is only perception without (the actual presence of an) object is said to be the ordinary (dream) state.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

We have so far, come to the following conclusions:- The theories of mere disputants contradicting one another, are the causes of our existence in the relative (Saṃsāra) world. Further these theories are characterised by partiality and aversion. Therefore these are merely false, as already shown by reasoning. On the other hand the philosophy of Advaita alone gives us true knowledge, as, being free from the four alternative predicates referred to above,—it is untouched by partiality and aversion and is all-peace by its very nature. Now the following topic is introduced as an explanation of the Vedāntic method of arriving at truth. The word “Savastu” in the text implies objects that are perceived in our empirical experiences. Similarly, the word “Sopalambha” in the text implies the idea of one’s coming in contact with such objects. This constitutes the world of duality, common to all human beings and known as the waking state which is characterised by the subject-object relationship and which alone is the sphere of all our dealings including the Scriptural, etc. The waking state, thus characterised, is admitted in the Vedānta Scriptures. There is another state which lacks the experiences (of the waking state) caused by external sense-organs. But there exists in that state the idea of coming in contact with objects, though such objects are absent. This is admitted (in the Vedāntas) as the dream state, which is again common to all, and different from and subtler than the gross state of waking.

Sloka : 4.88 (Karika)

अवस्त्वनुपलम्भं च लोकोत्तरमिति स्मृतम् ।

ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं च विज्ञेयं सदा बुद्धैः प्रकीर्तितम् ॥ ८८॥

avastvanupalambhaṃ ca lokottaramiti smṛtam .

jñānaṃ jñeyaṃ ca vijñeyaṃ sadā buddhaiḥ prakīrtitam .. 88..

The state devoid of object and devoid of perception is regarded as extraordinary. Thus have the wise for ever declared knowledge, object, and the knowable.

Sloka : 4.89 (Karika)

ज्ञाने च त्रिविधे ज्ञेये क्रमेण विदिते स्वयम् ।

सर्वज्ञता हि सर्वत्र भवतीह महाधियः ॥ ८९॥

jñāne ca trividhe jñeye krameṇa vidite svayam .

sarvajñatā hi sarvatra bhavatīha mahādhiyaḥ .. 89..

On acquiring knowledge (of the threefold objects) and on knowing the objects in succession, there follows consequently, for the man of great intellect here, the state of omniscience for ever.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The state in which one neither perceives any object nor possesses the idea of coming in contact with such object—a state free from the relationship of subject and object—is called the highest state, which is beyond all empirical experiences. All empirical experiences consist of the subject-object relationship. This state is free from all such relationship and is the seed of future experiences. This is known as the state of deep sleep. That alone is called knowledge? which is the realisation of essence, i.e., the Supreme Reality, as well as the means to do so, viz., the analysis of the states of gross experience, subtle experience and the condition beyond all experiences. The three states, mentioned above, are the objects of knowledge; for, there cannot be anything knowable besides these three states. All entities falsely imagined by the different schools of the disputants are included in these three states. That which is to be ultimately known is the truth regarding the Supreme Reality, known as Turīya, i.e., the knowledge of Self, non-dual and Unborn. The illumined ones, i.e., those who have seen the Supreme Reality have described these features (topics) ranging from the, objects of gross experience to the Supremely Knowable Self. The word Jnanam signifies knowledge by which one grasps the significance of the three states. The word “Jneya” or knowable, signifies the three states which should be known. The first (knowable) consists of the gross stated of empirical experience. Then comes the state of subtle experience in which the first state loses itself, i.e., merges. And last comes deep sleep which is beyond all empirical experiences (gross or subtle) which results in the absemce of the two previous states, i.e., i n which the two previous states merge. By the knowledge of these three, one after the other, and consequently, by the negation of the three states the Turīya, non-dual, birthless and fearless, which alone is the Supreme Reality, is realised. Thus the knower (possessed of the highest power of discrimination) attains in this very life the state of omniscience which is identical with the knowledge of Self. He is called Mahādhīḥ or the man of the highest intellect as he has understood that which transcends all human experiences. His omniscience is constant and remains undiminished. For, the knowledge of Self once realised remains as such for ever. This is because the knowledge of the knower of the Supreme Reality does not appear and disappear like that of mere vain disputants. The scriptural statements that the Atman being known, everything else is known, is explained in the Kārikā.

Sloka : 4.90 (Karika)

हेयज्ञेयाप्यपाक्यानि विज्ञेयान्यग्रयाणतः ।

तेषामन्यत्र विज्ञेयादुपलम्भस्त्रिषु स्मृतः ॥ ९०॥

heyajñeyāpyapākyāni vijñeyānyagrayāṇataḥ .

teṣāmanyatra vijñeyādupalambhastriṣu smṛtaḥ .. 90..

Those which are to be abandoned, realised, adopted, and made ineffective should be known first. Of these, the three, excepting the thing to be realised, are regarded as mere imaginations born of ignorance.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

There may arise a doubt that the three states of empirical experience may constitute the Ultimate Reality on account of their being pointed out as things to be gradually known. In order to remove this doubt it is said, the “Heyas” or things to be avoided are the three states of empirical experience, viz., the waking, the dream and the deep sleep. These do not exist in Atman just as the snake is not present in the rope. Therefore they should be avoided. The word Jñeya, i.e., the thing to be known, in this text refers to the knowledge of the Ultimate Reality, free from the four alternative theories described before. The things to be acquired are the accessories of spiritual realisation, viz., wisdom, childlike innocence and silence. These virtues are practised by the sages after they have renounced the threefold desires. The word “Pākyāni” in the text signifies the latent impressions which in due course attain maturity, viz., such blemishes as attachment, aversion, delusion, etc. These are known as Kaṣāya or the passions that hide the real nature of the soul. As a means to their realisation of the Supreme Reality, sages should first of all be acquainted with these four things, viz., the thing to be avoided, the thing to be realised, the thing to be acquired and the thing to be rendered ineffective. These, however, with the exception of the thing to be known—that is to say, with the exception of the non-dual Brahman alone, the essence of the Ultimate Reality, that should be realised—are perceived on account of our imagination. This is the conclusion of the Knowers of Brahman with regard to the three things, viz., those to be avoided, acquired, and those that are (awaiting maturity and therefore) to be made ineffective. In other words, these three do not exist from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality.

Sloka : 4.91 (Karika)

प्रकृत्याऽऽकाशवज्ज्ञेयाः सर्वे धर्मा अनादयः ।

विद्यते न हि नानात्वं तेषां क्वचन किञ्चन ॥ ९१॥

prakṛtyā''kāśavajjñeyāḥ sarve dharmā anādayaḥ .

vidyate na hi nānātvaṃ teṣāṃ kvacana kiñcana .. 91..

It should be known that all souls are, by nature, similar to ether, and eternal. There is no diversity anywhere among them, even an iota of it.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Those who seek liberation should regard, from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality, all Jivas, as by their very nature without beginning, i.e., eternal, and, like Ākāśa, subtle, free from all blemish and all-pervading. The plural number used with regard to the ‘Jivas’ may suggest multiplicity. The second line of the Kārikā is meant to remove any such apprehension. There is no multiplicity in the Jivas even in the slightest degree and under any condition.

Sloka : 4.92 (Karika)

आदिबुद्धाः प्रकृत्यैव सर्वे धर्माः सुनिश्चिताः ।

यस्यैवं भवति क्षान्तिः सोऽमृतत्वाय कल्पते ॥ ९२॥

ādibuddhāḥ prakṛtyaiva sarve dharmāḥ suniścitāḥ .

yasyaivaṃ bhavati kṣāntiḥ so'mṛtatvāya kalpate .. 92..

All souls are, by nature, illumined from the very beginning, and their characteristics are well ascertained. He, for whom there is thus the freedom from want of further acquisition of knowledge, is considered to be fit for immortality.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Even the knowableness attributed to the Jivas is also due to the illusion of empirical experiences. It cannot be applied from the standpoint of the Supreme Reality. This idea is explained in this text. The Jivas are illumined, by their very nature, from the very beginning. That is to say, all the Jivas, like the sun which is of the very nature of eternal light, are ever illumined. No effort need be made to define their nature, as the nature of the Jiva is, from the very beginning, well determined. It cannot be subject to any such doubt as, “The Jiva may be like this or like that”. The seeker of liberation who in the manner above described, does not stand in need of anything else to make this knowledge certain to himself or others,—just as the sun, by nature ever illumined, is never in need of any light from itself or others—who thus always rests without forming ideas of duality regarding any further knowledge of his own self, becomes capable of realising the Ultimate Reality.

Sloka : 4.93 (Karika)

आदिशान्ता ह्यनुत्पन्नाः प्रकृत्यैव सुनिर्वृताः ।

सर्वे धर्माः समाभिन्ना अजं साम्यं विशारदम् ॥ ९३॥

ādiśāntā hyanutpannāḥ prakṛtyaiva sunirvṛtāḥ .

sarve dharmāḥ samābhinnā ajaṃ sāmyaṃ viśāradam .. 93..

All souls are, from the very beginning, tranquil, unborn and, by nature, entirely detached, equal, and non-different, and inasmuch as Reality is thus unborn, unique, and pure, (therefore there is no need of tranquillity to be brought into the Self).

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Similarly, there is no room for any effort to make Atman peaceful, for, all Jivas are, by their very nature, eternally peaceful, unborn and of the nature of eternal freedom. All Jivas are further of the same nature and norf-separate from one another. They being Atman in their very essence, ever pure, unborn and established in sameness, therefore the effort of attaining to liberation is meaningless. For, if something is accomplished with regard to an entity which is always of the same nature, it does not make any change in the thing itself.

Sloka : 4.94 (Karika)

वैशारद्यं तु वै नास्ति भेदे विचरतां सदा ।

भेदनिम्नाः पृथग्वादास्तस्मात्ते कृपणाः स्मृताः ॥ ९४॥

vaiśāradyaṃ tu vai nāsti bhede vicaratāṃ sadā .

bhedanimnāḥ pṛthagvādāstasmātte kṛpaṇāḥ smṛtāḥ .. 94..

There cannot ever be any purification for those who always tread the path of duality. They follow the path of difference, and speak of diversity and are, therefore, considered to be mean.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Those who have realised the truth regarding the Ultimate Reality as described above, are alone free from narrowness. Others are verily narrow-minded. This is thus described in this verse. “Drowned in the idea of separation” means those who stick to the idea of separation, that is to say, those who confine themselves to the multiplicity of phenomenal experiences. Who are they? They are those who assert that the multiplicity of objects exists, i.e., the dualists. They are called “narrowminded” as they never realise the natural purity of Atman on account of their ever-dwelling on the thought of multiplicity, i.e., on account of their taking as real the duality of experiences imagined through ignorance. Therefore it has been truly said that these people are narrow-minded.

Sloka : 4.95 (Karika)

अजे साम्ये तु ये केचिद्भविष्यन्ति सुनिश्चिताः ।

ते हि लोके महाज्ञानास्तच्च लोको न गाहते ॥ ९५॥

aje sāmye tu ye kecidbhaviṣyanti suniścitāḥ .

te hi loke mahājñānāstacca loko na gāhate .. 95..

They who have well-settled convictions regarding that which is unborn and ever the same,indeed are possessed of great knowledge in this world. But the common man cannot comprehend it.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

That this knowledge of the Supreme Reality is incapable of being understood by the poor intellect, by the unwise, i.e., by persons of small intellect who are outside the knowledge of Vedanta,—is thus explained in this verse. Those few, even though they may be women or others, who are firm in their conviction of the nature of Ultimate Reality, unborn and undivided, are alone possessors of the highest wisdom. They alone know the essence of Reality. Others, i.e., persons of ordinary, intellect, cannot understand their ways, that is to say, the Supreme Reality realised by the wise. It is said in the Smṛti:—“Even the gods feel puzzled while trying to follow in the footsteps of those who leave no track behind, of those who realise themselves in all beings and who are always devoted to the welfare of all. They? leave no track behind like the birds flying through the sky.”

Sloka : 4.96 (Karika)

अजेष्वजमसङ्क्रान्तं धर्मेषु ज्ञानमिष्यते ।

यतो न क्रमते ज्ञानमसङ्गं तेन कीर्तितम् ॥ ९६॥

ajeṣvajamasaṅkrāntaṃ dharmeṣu jñānamiṣyate .

yato na kramate jñānamasaṅgaṃ tena kīrtitam .. 96..

The knowledge existing in the birthless souls is regarded unborn and unrelated. Inasmuch as the knowledge has no relation with other objects, it is declared to be unattached.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

What constitutes the highest Wisdom (i.e., the wisdom of the knower of the non-dual Atman)? This is thus explained:- Knowledge which constitutes the essence of the Dhūrmas (Jivas), unborn, immutable and identical with Atman, is also admitted to be unborn and immutable. It is just like the light and the heat belonging to the sun. Knowledge, being ever unrelated to other objects, is said to be unborn. As knowledge is, thus, unrelated to other objects, it is like the Ākāśa, called unconditioned or absolute.

Sloka : 4.97 (Karika)

अणुमात्रेऽपि वैधर्मे जायमानेऽविपश्चितः ।

असङ्गता सदा नास्ति किमुताऽऽवरणच्युतिः ॥ ९७॥

aṇumātre'pi vaidharme jāyamāne'vipaścitaḥ .

asaṅgatā sadā nāsti kimutā''varaṇacyutiḥ .. 97..

If there be birth for a thing, however insignificant it may be, non-attachment shall never be possible for the ignorant man. What to speak (then) of the destruction of covering for him ?

Commentary of Shankaracharya

If persons, through ignorance, think,—as those who differ from us assert—that an entity (i.e., Jiva or Atman) does undergo the slightest change, either subjectively or objectively, then such ignorant persons can never realise the ever-unrelatedness (of Atman). Therefore it goes without saying that there cannot be any destruction of bondage (that is supposed to keep the Jiva bound to the world).

Sloka : 4.98 (Karika)

अलब्धावरणाः सर्वे धर्माः प्रकृतिनिर्मलाः ।

आदौ बुद्धास्तथा मुक्ता बुध्यन्त इति नायकाः ॥ ९८॥

alabdhāvaraṇāḥ sarve dharmāḥ prakṛtinirmalāḥ .

ādau buddhāstathā muktā budhyanta iti nāyakāḥ .. 98..

All souls are devoid of any covering and are by nature pure. They are illumined as well as free from the beginning. Thus they are said to be masters since they are capable of knowing.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

Objection:- It has been stated in the previous Kārikā that (according to the view of the ignorant) the destruction of the veil covering the real nature of Atman is not possible. This is a (tacit) admission by the Vedāntist that the (real) nature of the Jivas is covered by a veil. Reply:- It is not so. The Jivas are never subject to any veil or bondage imposed by ignorance. That is to say, they are ever free from any bondage (which does not at all exist). They are pure by nature; illumined and free from the very beginning as it is said that they are of the nature of eternal purity, knowledge and freedom. If so, why are Jivas described as capable of knowing (the Ultimate Reality) by teachers who are competent to know the Truth, i.e., those who are endowed with the power of discrimination? The reply is that it is like speaking about the sun as shining though the very nature of the sun is all-light, or speaking about the hill, which is ever free from any motion, as always standing.

Sloka : 4.99 (Karika)

क्रमते न हि बुद्धस्य ज्ञानं धर्मेषु तायिनः ।

सर्वे धर्मास्तथा ज्ञानं नैतद्बुद्धेन भाषितम् ॥ ९९॥

kramate na hi buddhasya jñānaṃ dharmeṣu tāyinaḥ .

sarve dharmāstathā jñānaṃ naitadbuddhena bhāṣitam .. 99..

The knowledge of the one who is enlightened and all-pervasive, does not enter into objects. And so the souls also do not enter into objects. This fact was not mentioned by the Buddha.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The knowledge of the wise man, that is to say, of the one who has attained to the Supreme Reality, is ever unrelated to other objects or Jivas. This knowledge is always centred in or is identical with Jiva (i.e., Atman) like the sun and its light. The word “Tāyee”, “All-light”, in the text signifies that which is all-pervasive like Ākāśa or, it may mean that which is adorable or allknowledge. All entities, i.e., Jivas (beings like so many Atmans) are as unattached as the Ākāśa, and ever-un-related to anything else. Knowledge (Jnana) which has been compared to Ākāśa in the beginning of this chapter is non-different from the knowledge of the wise one who is all-light. Therefore the Ākāśa like knowledge of the wise does not relate itself to any other object. This is also the essence of the Dharmas or all entities. The essence of all the entities is the essence of Brahman, and is, like Ākāśa, immutable, changeless, free from parts, permanent, one and without a second, unattached, non-cognizable, unthinkable and beyond hunger and thirst. The Śruti also says, “The knowledge (characteristic) of the seer is never absent.” This knowledge regarding the Ultimate Reality, non-dual and characterised by the absence of perceiver, perception and the perceived, is not the same as that declared by the Buddha. The view of the Buddha, which rejects the existence of external objects and asserts the existence of ideas alone, is said to be similar to or very near the truth of non-dual Atman. But this knowledge of non-duality which is the Ultimate Reality can be attained through Vedanta alone.

Sloka : 4.100 (Karika)

दुर्दर्शमतिगम्भीरमजं साम्यं विशारदम् ।

बुद्ध्वा पदमनानात्वं नमस्कुर्मो यथाबलम् ॥ १००॥

इति गौडपादाचर्यकृता माण्डूक्योपनिषत्कारिकाः सम्पूर्णाः ॥

durdarśamatigambhīramajaṃ sāmyaṃ viśāradam .

buddhvā padamanānātvaṃ namaskurmo yathābalam .. 100..

iti gauḍapādācaryakṛtā māṇḍūkyopaniṣatkārikāḥ sampūrṇāḥ ..

Having realised the non-dual state that is hard to perceive, deep, unborn, uniform and serene,we offer our salutations to It, as best as we can.

Commentary of Shankaracharya

The treatise is now completed. This Salutation is made with a view to extol the knowledge of the Supreme Reality. It is extremely difficult to understand it. In other words, it is difficult of comprehension as it is not related to any of the four possible predicates, such as existence, non-existence, etc. It is profound, that is, very deep like a great ocean. People devoid of discrimination cannot fathom it. This knowledge (Jnana) is, further, birthless, always the same and all-light. Having attained this knowledge which is free from multiplicity, having become one with it, we salute it. Though this absolute knowledge cannot be subjected to any relative treatment (such as, Salutation, etc.) yet we view it from the relative standpoint and adore it to the best of our ability. The Concluding Salutation by Shri Shankaracharya 1. I bow to that Brahman, the destroyer of all fear of those who take shelter under It,—which, though unborn, appears to be associated with birth through Its (inscrutable and indescribable) power (of knowledge and activity); which, though ever at rest, appears to be moving; and which, though non-dual, appears to have assumed multifarious forms to those whose vision is deluded by the perception of endless objects and their attributes. 2. I prostrate to the feet of that Great Teacher, the most adored among the adorable, who,—out of sheer compassion for the beings drowned in the deep ocean of the world, infested with the terrible sharks of incessant births (and deaths),—rescued, for the benefit of all, this nectar, hardly obtainable even by the gods, from the innermost depths of the ocean of the Vedas by churning it with the (churning) rod of his illumined reason. 3. I make obeisance with my whole being to those holy feet—the dispellers of the fear of this chain of births and deaths—of my great teacher who, through the light of his illumined reason, destroyed the darkness of delusion enveloping my mind; who destroyed for ever my (notions of) appearance and disappearance in this terrible ocean of innumerable births and deaths; and who makes all others also that take shelter at his feet, attain to the unfailing knowledge of Scriptures, peace and the state of perfect non-differentiation. Aum Peace! Peace! Peace!

Shanti Mantra (END)

ॐ तत्सत् ॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ।

oṃ tatsat ..

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ .


The Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad (Sanskrit: माण्डूक्य उपनिषद्, Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad) is the shortest of all the Upanishads, and is assigned to Atharvaveda. It is in prose, consisting of twelve terse verses. It discusses the syllable Aum, presents the theory of four states of consciousness, and asserts that Aum is Brahman, which is the Whole, and that Brahman is this self (ātman).

The Mandukya Upanishad is notable for having been recommended in the Muktikā Upanishad, through two central characters of the Ramayana, as the one Upanishad that alone is sufficient for knowledge to gain moksha, and as first in its list of eleven principal Upanishads. The text is also notable for inspiring Gaudapada’s Karika, a classic for the Vedanta school of Hinduism.


The Mandukya Upanishad opens by declaring, “Om!, this syllable is this whole world”. Thereafter it presents various explanations and theories on what it means and signifies. This discussion is built on a structure of “four fourths” or “fourfold”, derived from A + U + M + “silence”.

The Upanishad states that time is threefold: the past, the present and the future, that these three are “Aum”. The four fourth of time is that which transcends time, that too is “Aum” expressed.

The Upanishad states that “this brahman is the Whole. Brahman is this self (ātman); that [brahman] is this self (ātman), consisting of four corners.”

The Mandukya Upanishad enumerates four states of consciousness: wakeful, dream, deep sleep and the state of ekatma (being one with Self, the oneness of Self). These four are A + U + M + “without an element” respectively.

The Mandukya Upanishad enumerates fourfold etymological roots of the syllable “Aum”. It states that the first element of “Aum” is A, which is from Apti (obtaining, reaching) or from Adimatva (being first). The second element is U, which is from Utkarsa (exaltation) or from Ubhayatva (intermediateness). The third element is M, from Miti (erecting, constructing) or from Mi Minati, or apīti (annihilation). The fourth is without an element, without development, beyond the expanse of universe. In this way, states the Upanishad, the syllable Om is the Atman (the self) indeed.

Four states of consciousness

The Mandukya Upanishad describes four states of consciousness, namely waking (jågrat), dreaming (svapna), and deep sleep (suṣupti), which correspond to the Three Bodies Doctrine:

  1. The first state is the waking state, in which we are aware of our daily world. “It is described as outward-knowing (bahish-prajnya), gross (sthula) and universal (vaishvanara)”. This is the gross body.
  2. The second state is the dreaming mind. “It is described as inward-knowing (antah-prajnya), subtle (pravivikta) and burning (taijasa)”. This is the subtle body.
  3. The third state is the state of deep sleep. In this state the underlying ground of concsiousness is undistracted, “the Lord of all (sarv’-eshvara), the knower of all (sarva-jnya), the inner controller (antar-yami), the source of all (yonih sarvasya), the origin and dissolution of created things (prabhav’-apyayau hi bhutanam)”. This is the causal body.
  4. The fourth factor is Turiya, pure consciousness. It is the background that underlies and transcends the three common states of consciousness.

Theory and nature of Atman

The Upanishad describes the first state of Self as outwardly cognitive with seven limbs, nineteen mouths, enjoying the gross, a state of Self common in all of human beings.

The Mandukya Upanishad asserts the second state of Self as inwardly cognitive with seven limbs, nineteen mouths, enjoying the exquisite, a state of brilliant Self.

The Upanishad states the third state of Self as one without desire or anticipations, where pure conscience is his only mouth, where he is in unified cognition, enjoying the delight, a state of blissful Self.

The Upanishad states the fourth state of Self as one beyond all the three, beyond extrospective state, beyond introspective state, beyond cognitive state, the state of ekatmya pratyaya sara (one with the Self), tranquil, benign, advaita (without second). He then is the Self, just Atman, the one which should be discerned.

Introduction by Shankaracharya

With the word Aum, etc., begins the treatise, consisting of four[1] chapters, the quintessence[2] of the substance[3] of the import of Vedānta.[4] Hence[5] no separate mention is made of the (mutual) relationship, the subject-matter and the object to be attained (Matters usually stated in an introduction to a study of any Vedàntic treatise). For, that which constitutes the relationship, the subject-matter and the object of the Vedāntic study is evident here. Nevertheless, that one desirous of explaining a Prakaraṇa (treatise), should deal with them is the opinion of the scholastic. This treatise must be said to contain a subject-matter on account of its revealing[6] the means (for the realization of Ātman) that serves the purpose, or the end to be attained. It therefore possesses, though indirectly, ‘specific relationship’, ‘subject-matter’ and ‘the end to be attained’. What then, is that end[7] in view? It is thus explained: As a man stricken with disease regains his normal[8] state with the removal[9] of (the cause of) the disease, so the self labouring under misapprehension, owing to identification[10] of itself with misery, recovers its normal[11] state with the cessation (of the illusion) of duality, which manifests itself as the phenomenal universe. This realization of non-duality is the end to be attained. This treatise is begun for the purpose of revealing[12] Brahman inasmuch as by knowledge (Vidyā) the illusion of duality, caused by ignorance, is destroyed. This is established by such scriptural passages as: ‘For where there is, as it were, duality, where there exists, as it were, another, there one sees another, and one knows another. But where all this has, verily, become Ātman (for one), how should one see another, how should one know another?’

The first chapter, then, seeks, by dealing specifically with the Vedic texts,[13] to indicate the (traditional) means to the realization of the essential nature of Ātman and is devoted to the determination[14] of the meaning of Aum. The second chapter seeks rationally[15] to demonstrate the unreality of duality; the illusion (duality) being destroyed, the knowledge of non-duality (becomes evident), as the cessation of the imagination of snake, etc., in the rope reveals the real nature of the rope. The third chapter is devoted to the rational demonstration of the truth of non-duality, lest it should, in like manner,[16] be contended to be unreal. The fourth chapter is devoted to the rational refutation of the other schools of thought which are antagonistic to the truth as pointed out in the Vedas and which are opposed to the knowledge of the Advaitic Reality, by pointing out their falsity on account of their own mutual[17] contradiction.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

  1. Four chapters—i.e., the Māṇḍūkyopaniṣad with the Kārikā by Gauḍapāda treated in four chapters: viz., the Āgama Prakaraṇa, the Vaitathya Prakaraṇa, the Advaita Prakaraṇa and the Alātaśānti Prakaraṇa. The mere Upaniṣadic portion without the Kārikā does not present a full view of the philosophic system of Vedānta which seeks to interpret human knowledge as a whole (vide Foreword).

  2. Quintessence—It is because the Māṇḍūkya Śruti confines itself only to the establishment of non-duality without controverting the doctrines of the other systems. Muktikopaniṣad aptly describes that Māṇḍūkya alone, among the Upaniṣads, is sufficient for liberation (the attainment of truth). Cf.

  3. Substance—The doctrine of the non-difference of Jīva and Brahman.

  4. Vedānta—It literally means the last portion of the Vedas which is identical with the Upaniṣads. The word also signifies the essence of the Vedas. Vedāntic works usually deal with the following: the fitness of a pupil for the study of Brahmavidyā, the qualification of the teacher, the nature of Jīva and Brahman, and finally the non-difference or non-duality of the two.

  5. Hence, etc.—Śaṅkara treats the Māṇḍūkyopaniṣad and the Kārikā not as a Śāstra but as a Prakaraṇa (treatise). A Śāstra though related to a particular end in view deals with varieties of topics. But a Prakaraṇa is a short manual which confines itself to some essential topics of a Śāstra. All the arguments of the Māṇḍūkyopaniṣad with Kārikā ultimately point to the establishment of the attributeless Brahman, thus serving the purpose of a Prakaraṇa which is defined as follows:— Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation शास्त्रकदेशसंबन्धं शास्त्रकार्यान्तरे स्थितम् । आहुः प्रकरणं नाम ग्रन्थभेदं विपाश्चितः ॥ śāstrakadeśasaṃbandhaṃ śāstrakāryāntare sthitam | āhuḥ prakaraṇaṃ nāma granthabhedaṃ vipāścitaḥ || The other Vedāntic texts also establish the truth of non-duality but they incidentally discuss various other philosophical doctrines. A Prakaraṇa (treatise) has four indispensable elements (anubandha) literally, “what sticks to another,” namely, the determination of the fitness of the student for the study of the treatise (abhikārī), the subject-matter (viṣaya), the mutual relationship (sambandha) between the treatise and the subject-matter (which is that of the explainer and the explained) and the object to be attained by the study, i.e., its utility (prayojana).

  6. Revealing, etc.—Though liberation is attained through the knowledge of the non-duality of Jīva and Brahman and not as a result of the study of scriptures, yet the scriptures indirectly help the attainment of this knowledge by pointing to the illusory character of duality.

  7. Object—Is the knowledge something to be produced or is it ever-existent? In the former case, it would be like other effects, impermanent, and in the latter case, the means pursued would be futile. The reply is that though the Knowledge of Ātman is eternally existent, yet it is obscured by ignorance in the Jīva. The aim of Sādhanā is to remove this obstruction. Thus Sādhanā serves a useful purpose though it does not make the student attain anything new.

  8. Normal state—The sick man thinks that he has lost the normal state during the period of his illness.

  9. Removal, etc.—This is done by means of medicine, etc.

  10. Identification, etc.—This suffering is due to the illusion of duality, such as egoism, etc., caused by ignorance which does not exist in reality. Otherwise its destruction would be an impossibility.

  11. Normal state—This state being in itself perfect, cannot be transcended by any other state.

  12. Revealing, etc.—This is done by the removal of ignorance.which is the cause of the illusion of duality.

  13. Vedic texts—The first chapter of the Māṇḍūkyopaniṣad, namely, the Āgama Prakaraṇa, consists mainly of the Upaniṣadic texts. The doctrines contained therein are established rationally in the following three chapters.

  14. Determination—This would enable the student to attain the knowledge of the self, whose real nature is revealed by the demonstration of the unreality of duality which is an illusion. Ātman is realized through such knowledge. Therefore the indirect result of the explanation of the real nature of Aum leads to the attainment of the summum bonum. The rational treatment will follow.

  15. Rationally—With the disappearance of the sense of reality with regard to illusions, there spontaneously arises the knowledge of truth. Gauḍapāda in the second, third and fourth chapters of the Kārikā, rationally presents the truth, presented in the first.

  16. In like manner—There may be a doubt regarding the very existence of Reality when duality is removed. The argument followed by the author of the Kārikā is that the knowledge of Reality is such that it is never contradicted.

  17. Mutual contradiction—The contradictions are pointed out with a view to establishing the truth of non-dualism—a course frequently pursued by both Gauḍapāda and Śaṅkara.

Verse 1: Introductory Remarks by Shankara

How does, again, the determination of (the meaning of) Aum help the realization of the essential nature of Ātman? It is thus[1] explained: The Śruti[2] passages such as these declare[3] thus: “It[4] is Aum.” “This (Aun) is the (best)[5] support.” “Oh, Satyakāma, It[6] is the Aum which is also the higher and the lower Brahman.” “Meditate[7] on the Self as Aum.” “Aum, this[8] word is Brahman.” “All[9] this is verily Aum.” As the rope, etc., which are the substratum of such illusions (misapprehensions) as the snake, etc., so is the non-dual Ātman, which is the Ultimate Reality, the substratum of such imaginations as the vital[10] breath (Prāṇa), etc., which are unreal. Similarly, Aum is the substratum of the entire illusion of the world of speech having[11] for its (corresponding) contents such illusory objects as Prāṇa, etc., imagined in Ātman. And Aum is verily of the same[12] essential character as the Ātman; for it is the name for Ātman. All illusions such as Prāṇa, etc., having Ātman for their substratum and denoted by words—which are but modifications[13] of Aum—, cannot exist[14] without names (which are but the modification of Aum). This is supported by such Śruti passages as: “The modification[15] being only a name arising from speech.” “All this related to It (Brahman) is held[16] together by the cord[17] of speech, and strands[18] of (specific) names.” “All these (are rendered possible in experience) by names,” etc.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

  1. Thus—The reason given here chiefly depends upon the scriptural authority, because the first chapter of this work lays emphasis on the scriptural texts.

  2. Śruti passages—For detailed explanations of these passages the reader is referred to the respective Upaniṣads in which they occur.

  3. Declare—The ultimate relationship between Aum and Brahman is thus explained. The phenomena of the world consist of ideas or the menial states, ideas depend upon words for their expression. The utterance of the word Aum (A U M) gives the clue to the pronunciations of all the words or sounds used by human beings. The various parts of the vocal organ used in the utterance of sounds come in contact with each other while pronouncing the word Aum. Therefore, Aum is the matrix of all sounds which in their diversified forms give rise to words used in the language. The substratum of phenomena is Brahman. The substratum of all sounds, as seen above, is Aum. The sounds signifying the phenomena are non-different from the phenomena as both are illusions. When the illusion disappears the substratum alone remains which, being one, admits of no difference. Hence Brahman is Aum.

  4. It is, etc.—Kaṭhopaniṣad, 1.2. 15. When Aum is uttered, with concentration there arises the consciousness of Brahman in the mind. Therefore Aum is the nearest symbol helping the concentration of the mind leading to the realization of Brahman. The principle of this process is known as śākhācandranyāya.

  5. Best—Kaṭhopaniṣad, 1.2.17. This is the best symbol of Brahman like an image (pratimā) of Viṣṇu.

  6. It is, etc.—Praśnopaniṣad, 5.2. “The knower through the support (of the Aum) attains to one or the other. Through the meditation of Aum one can realize both the Para (attributeless) Brahman and the Apara (associated with names and forms) Brahman.”

  7. Meditate—One, who seeks to realize the Self through “one-pointed” concentration on Aum, feels that the gross universe (symbolised by A) is absorbed into the subtle (U) and (U) into the causal (M) and, finally, the universe dependent upon causal relation is withdrawn into the transcendental which is known as Amātrā and which cannot be designated by any letter or sound.

  8. This word, etc.—Taittirīyopaniṣad, 1.8.1 Aum indicates that both Saguṇa and Nirguṇa Brahman have the same substratum-which is the Nirguṇa (attributeless) Brahman or the highest Reality.

  9. All this is, etc.—Both, i.e., Aum and Brahman, are the support of everything, they form the most universal concept. Therefore the knowledge of Aum and Brahman is identical.

  10. Vital breath—The non-dual Brahman, being the only existing Reality, does not admit of any other existence. Therefore Prāṇa, etc. and their effects are but mental manifestations which are unreal,, having Brahman for their substratum,—like the illusion of snake superimposed upon a rope.

  11. Having, etc.—Prāṇa, etc., are merely modifications of speech because they cannot be conceived of without names. As again names are nothing but different manifestations of Aum, therefore Prāṇa, etc., have Aum for their substratum.

  12. Same nature—The name and the thing indicated by it are identical inasmuch as both are mental (Kālpanika).

  13. Modifications—All sounds are included in “A”—the first letter of the alphabet (cf. The Śruti passage, akāro vai sarvāvāk). “A” is the chief constituent of Aum. Therefore all mental manifestations (i.e., the objects denoted by them are identical with the sounds associated with them) cannot exist apart from Aum.

  14. Cannot exist, etc— The purpose of the Śruti is to show the identity of the name and the object. This can be understood from the standpoint of mentalism which explains everything as mere idea or a mental state or content.

  15. Modification—Chāndogya Upaniṣad, 6.1.4.

  16. Held with—i.e., Pervaded.

  17. Cord— It stands for the general (sāmānya).

  18. Strands—They denote the particular (viśeṣa).

Verse 2: Introductory Remarks by Shankara

Though the name and the object signified by the name are one and the same, still the explanation[1] has been given (here) by giving prominence[2] to the name (Aum). Though in the Upaniṣadic passage,—“Aum, this word, is all this”—explanation has been furnished by giving prominence[3] to the name (Aum), the same thought is again expounded by giving prominence to the thing signified by the name. The object is to realize the knowledge of the oneness of the name and the thing signified by it. Otherwise, (the explanation) that the knowledge of the thing is dependent on the name, might suggest that the oneness of the name and the thing is to be taken only in a figurative[4] sense. The purpose of the knowledge of the unity (of the name and the thing signified by it) is to simultaneously remove, by a single effort, (the illusion of) both the name and the thing and establish (the nature of) Brahman which[5] is other than both. Therefore,the Śruti says,’ “The quarters (Pādas) are the letters of Aum (Mātrā) and the letters are the quarters.”

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

  1. Explanation—i.e., of what is intended to be taught by the Upaniṣadic text.

  2. Prominence—Because Aum is the first word of the first Upaniṣad. The purport of the sentence is that Aum is the symbol, the most universal, for all the phenomena of the world. Therefore prominence is given to Aum (abhidhāna).

  3. Prominence—The second Upaniṣad is “All this is, truly, Brahman.” Hence the emphasis is on ‘All this’—which is the object (abhidheya) signified by Aum.

  4. Figurative—i.e., the mere convention of calling a thing by a particular name.

  5. Which is, etc.—The knowledge of the attributeless Brahman is possible only when the illusion of both the name and the thing signified by it is removed.

Verse 7: Introductory Remarks by Shankara

The fourth[1] quarter which now comes in order (for explanation) has to be described. This is done in the words of the text: “Not conscious of the internal object.” It (Turīya) does not admit of description or indication by means of words, for all uses (affirmative or negative) of language fail to express it. Therefore Turīya is sought[2] to be indicated by the negation of all attributes (characteristics).

(Objection)—Then it becomes mere void or Śūnya.

(Reply)—No,[3] because it is impossible for imagination to exist without[4] a substratum. The illusion of silver, a snake, a man or mirage, etc., cannot be conceived as existing without the (corresponding) substratum of the mother-of-pearl, rope, stump or desert, etc.

(Objection)—If that be the case, Turīya ought to be indicatable by words and not by the negation of all attributes. For, it is the substratum of all imaginations such as, Prāṇa, etc., in the same way as jars, etc., which being the substratum of water, etc., are indicated as such by words.

(Reply)—The idea of Prāṇa, etc., (supposed to exist in Turīya) is unreal like the false idea of silver, etc., in the mother-of-pearl, etc. A relation[5] between the real and the unreal cannot be expressed by words because such relation is, itself, non-existent. Turīya cannot be the object of any other instrument of knowledge (such as direct perception) like the cow, etc., because of its unique nature, owing to the absence of Upādhis. Ātman cannot have anything like a generic property, like the cow, etc., because it is devoid of all Upādhis or attributes; it has neither generic nor specific characteristics because it is one, without a second. It cannot be known by any activity (proceeding from it) as in the case of a cook; because it is devoid of all actions. It cannot be described by attributes such as blue, etc., because it is without any attribute. Therefore it follows that Turīya cannot be indicated by any name.

(Objection)—Then it (Turīya) would be like the “horns of a hare” and hence one’s pursuit of it must be futile.[6]

(Reply)—No, the knowledge of Turīya as identical with Self (Ātman) destroys the hankering after objects[7] which are non-self just as the knowledge of mother-of-pearls (mistaken for silver) removes the desire for (illusory) silver. For, once the identity of Turīya and Self is realised there is no possibility of one’s being deluded[8] by ignorance, desire and the like misapprehensions (which are the effects of ignorance) and there is no reason for Turīya not being known as identical with the Self. For all the Upaniṣads point to this end only as is evident from the following: “That thou art”, “This Ātman is Brahman”, “That is real and that is Ātman”, “The Brahman which is directly and immediately cognized”, “He is both without and within, as well as causeless”, “All this is verily Ātman”, etc. This very Ātman has been described as constituting the Highest Reality and its opposite[9] (the unreal) and as having four quarters. Its unreal (illusory) aspect has been described as due to ignorance, like the illusion of snake in the rope, having for its characteristics the three quarters and being of the same nature as the seed[10] and the sprout. Now is described (in the following Śruti) Turīya which is not of the nature of cause but which is of the nature of the Highest Reality corresponding to the rope—by negating[11] the three states, enumerated above, which correspond to the snake,[12] etc.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

  1. Fourth quarter—The “fourth” is not the fourth state or condition in which Ātman is to be viewed. Turīya which is indicated here as the “fourth” comes in only for consideration after the three states have been considered. Ātman itself does not admit of any condition or state. Waking, dream and deep sleep are its three states or quarters and Turīya, as will be seen later on, is present in all these three. Turīya is designated here as the fourth because in the preceding texts, three quarters of Ātman have been explained. It has occupied the “fourth” place in respect of explanations.

  2. Sought to be, etc.—It is because it cannot be directly pointed out like other objects of perception.

  3. No, etc.—The contention of the opponent is this: You say that Turīya is not void (śūnya) as the illusion (vikalpa) of Prāṇa, etc., cannot subsist without a substratum which is Turīya. In that case Turīya is not non-indicatable as it can be indicated as the substratum of Prāṇa, etc. Therefore it must be such as can be indicated. But you say that it is arrived at by mere negation and therefore non-indicatable by words. If Turīya is indicatable as a substratum, then it becomes indicatable by that which is superimposed upon it as is the case with a pot which is indicatable by the water in it. In that case you contradict yourself as you have already said that Brahma is unindicatable by any word. To this our reply is:—We would like to ask you if (i) your idea of indicatability of Brahman as the substratum is that of illusory superimposition, or (ii) is that of real superimposition. It cannot be thereby illusory superimposition because the superimposition, in that case, would not appear as existing as it does. From the standpoint of the empirical reality of the appearance which is experienced by the ignorant persons, we say that Turīya is indicatable by the illusory ideas that are superimposed upon it. And if you admit the ideas (vikalpa) of Prāṇa, etc., as unreal, then there is no disagreement between us. Again this indicatability of Turīya as a substratum cannot be (due to) real superimposition or the superimposition of reality. For, as the idea of silver that is superimposed upon the mother-of-pearl is unreal, so also the idea of Prāṇa, etc., that is superimposed upon Turīya is equally unreal. There cannot be any relationship between a real substratum and the unreal form superimposed on it. Therefore the conclusion is that if one takes his stand upon the causal or relative plane, then Turīya may be indicated as a substratum of the illusory ideas of Prāṇa, etc. But from the standpoint of Truth, Turīya cannot be indicated by any word which implies relationship. And Śruti also denies all relationship in Brahman.

  4. Without, etc.—No illusion can be dissociated from the idea of existence. The first impression that one gets of an illusion is that it exists and later on its existence is traced to a positive substratum.

  5. Relation—Indicatability by words is possible in the following instances only: (i) Possessive case, (ii) conventional meaning of a word, (iii) generic or specific property, (iv) activity, (v) attribute and substance. But none of these applies to Turīya because it is one without a second and also it is without any attribute. Hence Turīya cannot be indicated by any word.

  6. Futile—It is because no benefit can accrue from the knowledge of something which is as unreal as the “mare’s nest

  7. Objects—Such as the illusory worldly objects to which the ignorant are attached.

  8. Deluded— Delusion is the cause of all human misery.

  9. Its opposite—i.e., the illusory objects. As a matter of fact, only Brahman exists and He is the One and All. Nothing called unreal ever exists. What appears to the ignorant as unreal or illusory is also Brahman from the highest Advaitic standpoint. Therefore Brahman comprises everything.

  10. Seed and sprout—The three states are characterised by the relation of cause and effect as the seed and the sprout are.

  11. Negating, etc.—The student, at first, by the process of negation separates Brahman from the superimposition and then realises that what has been negated as superimposition is, in fact, the very nature of Brahman. This is the highest Advaitic realisation.

  12. Snake, etc.—The rope is often mistaken for a snake or a garland or a stick or a streak of water or a fissure in the ground.

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