by Adi Sankara
translated by John Richards
1. I prostrate myself before Govinda, the true Guru and ultimate Bliss, who is the unattainable resort of all scriptures and Vedanta.
2. Human nature is the hardest of creaturely states to obtain, even more so that of manhood. Brahminhood is rarer still, and beyond that dedication to the path of Vedic religion. Beyond even that there is discrimination between self and non-self, but liberation by persistence in the state of the unity of God and self is not to be achieved except by the meritorious deeds of hundreds of thousands of lives.
3. These three things are hard to achieve, and are attained only by the grace of God - human nature, the desire for liberation, and finding refuge with a great sage.
4. He is a suicide who has somehow achieved human birth and even manhood and full knowledge of the scriptures but does not strive for self-liberation, for he destroys himself by clinging to the unreal.
5. Who could be more foolish than the man who has achieved the difficult attainment of a human body and even manhood but still neglects his true good?
6. People may quote the scriptures, make sacrifices to the gods, perform actions and pay homage to the deities, but there is no liberation without recognising the oneness of one's own true being - not even in the lifetime of a hundred Brahmas (countless millions of years).
7. Scripture declares that there is no hope of immortality by means of wealth, so it is evident that liberation cannot be brought about by actions.
8. So let the man of understanding strive for liberation, abandoning desire for the enjoyment of external aims and pleasures, and after becoming the pupil of a good and great teacher, let him fix his mind on the goal he indicates.
9. Sunk in the sea of samsara, one should oneself rouse oneself by holding onto right understanding until one reaches the state of the attainment of union.
10. Abandoning all actions and breaking free from the bonds of achievements, the wise and intelligent should apply themselves to self-knowledge.
11. Action is for the purification of the mind, not for the understanding of reality. The recognition of reality is through discrimination, and not by even tens of millions of actions.
12. Proper analysis leads to the realisation of the reality of the rope, and this is the end of the pain of the fear of the great snake caused by delusion.
13. The realisation of the truth is seen to depend on meditation on statements about what is good, not on bathing or donations or by hundreds of yogic breathing exercises.
14. Achievement of the goal depends primarily on a fit seeker. Things like locality and time are merely secondary in this matter.
15. So he who would know his own nature should practise meditation on the subject after taking refuge with a guru who is a true knower of God and an ocean of compassion.
The Four Perfections
16. It is the wise and learned man, skilled in sorting out the pros and cons of an argument who is really endowed with the qualities necessary for self-realisation.
17. Discriminating and dispassionate, endowed with peace and similar qualities, and longing for liberation - such is the man who is considered fit to practise seeking for God.
18. The wise talk here of four qualities, possessed of which one will succeed, but without which one will fail.
19. First is listed discrimination between unchanging and changing realities, and after that dispassion for the enjoyment of the fruits of action both here and hereafter, and then the group of six qualities including peace and of course the desire for liberation.
20. "God is the Truth and the world is unreal." It is this realisation that is considered discrimination between the permanent and the impermanent.
21. Dispassion is the turning away from what can be seen and heard and so on in everything which is impermanent, from the body up to the highest heavenly states.
22. The settling of the mind in its goal, by turning away from the mass of objects through observing their defects again and again, is known as peace.
23. The establishment of the senses each in its own source by means of turning away from their objects is known as control. The supreme restraint is in the mind function not being involved in anything external.
24. Bearing all afflictions without retaliation and without mental disturbance is what is known as patience.
25. The holding on to the knowledge of the truth of the Scriptures and the guru's teaching is called faith. It is by means of this that reality is grasped.
26. The continual holding onto the awareness of God alone - continually, is known as concentration - not just mental self- gratification.
27. The wish to be freed by the knowledge of one's true nature from such bonds as seeing oneself as the agent, which are contingent on the body and created by ignorance - this is desire for liberation.
28. This desire for liberation can bear fruit through dispassion, peacefulness etc. by the grace of the guru, even when only weak or mediocre.
29. It is in a man who has strong dispassion and desire for liberation though that peacefulness and so on are really fruitful.
30. But where there is a weakness in these qualities of renunciation and desire for liberation, apparent peacefulness and such like have as much substance as water in the desert.
31. Among the contributory factors of liberation, devotion stands supreme, and it is the search for one's own true nature that is meant by devotion.
32. Others say that devotion is inquiry into the reality of one's own nature. He who possesses the above qualities and would know the truth about his own nature should take refuge with a wise guru who can free him from his bonds.
33. The guru should be one who knows the scriptures, is blameless and a supreme knower of God. He should be at peace in God, tranquil as a fire that has run out of fuel. He should be a boundless ocean of compassion and the friend of those who seek his protection.
34. After prostrating oneself with devotion before the guru and satisfying him with prostrations, humble devotion and service, one should ask him what one needs to know.
The Appeal to the Higher Self
35. Hail, lord, friend of those who bow before you, and ocean of compassion. I have fallen into this sea of samsara. Save me with a direct glance from your eye which bestows grace like nectar.
36. I am stricken by the unquenchable forest fire of samsara and blown about by unforseeable winds of circumstances. Save me from death, for I am afraid and take refuge in you, for I know of no one else to help me.
37. Good and peaceful, great men living for the good of all, and having themselves crossed the fearful torrent of becoming, with no ulterior motive help others to cross too.
38. It is the nature of great souls to act spontaneously for the relief of the distress of others, just as the moon here of itself protects the earth parched by the heat of the fierce rays of the sun.
39. Pour upon me your sweet words, imbued with the taste of God's bliss. They spring from your lips as if poured out of a jug, and are pleasing to the ear. For I am tormented by samsara's afflictions, like the flames of a forest fire, Lord. Blessed are those who receive even a passing glance from your eyes.
40. How can I cross this sea of changing circumstances? What should I do, what means employ? In your mercy, Lord, show me how to end the pain of samsara, for I understand nothing.
The Beginning of the Teaching
41. As he said this, tormented by the forest fire of samsara, the great Sage looked at him with a gaze full of compassion, urging him to abandon fear, now that he had taken refuge in him.
42. Out of compassion the Sage undertakes his instruction since he has come to him for help in his search for liberation, is willing to do as he is told, is pacified of mind and calm.
43. Don't be afraid, master. Destruction is not for you. There is indeed a means of crossing the sea of samsara, the way taken by which those who have crossed over before, and I will now instruct you in it.
44. There is a certain great means which puts an end to the fear of samsara. Crossing the sea of change by means of it, you will achieve the ultimate joy.
45. Supreme understanding springs from meditating on the meaning of Vedanta, and that is followed immediately by the elimination of the pain of samsara.
46. The practice of faith, devotion and meditation are declared by scripture to be the means to liberation for a seeker after liberation. He who perseveres in these will achieve freedom from the bondage to the body, created by ignorance.
47. Linked with ignorance, your supreme self has become involved in the bonds of non self, and from that in samsara. The fire of the knowledge born from discriminating between these two will burn out the consequences of ignorance along with its very root.
48. The disciple said: Out of compassion hear this question I put to you, so that when I have heard the reply from your lips I will be able to put it into practice.
49. What exactly is bondage? How does it come about and remain? How is one freed from it? What exactly is non self? What is the Supreme Self? And how does one discriminate between them? Explain this to me.
50. The guru replied: You are indeed blessed, for you have achieved the true purpose of life and sanctified your family, in that you seek deification by liberation from the bonds of ignorance.
51. Sons and suchlike are able free their father from debts, but no-one can free some-one else from bondage.
52. The pain of something like a weight on the head can be removed by others, but the pain of things like hunger can be put an end to by no-one but oneself.
53. A sick man is seen to get better by taking the appropriate medicine - not through treatment undertaken by others.
54. Reality can be experienced only with the eye of understanding, not just by a scholar. What the moon is like must be seen with one's own eyes. How can others do it for you?
55. Who but yourself can free you from the bonds of the fetters of things like ignorance, lust and the consequences of your actions - even in hundreds of thousands of years?
56. Liberation is achieved not by observances or by analysis, nor by deeds or learning, but only by the realisation of one's oneness with God, and by no other means.
57. The beauty of a lute and skill in playing its cords can bring some pleasure to people but can hardly make you a king.
58. In the same way, speech alone, even a deluge of words, with scholarship and skill in commenting on the scriptures, may achieve some personal satisfaction but not liberation.
59. When the supreme reality is not understood, the study of the scriptures is useless, and study of the scriptures is useless when the supreme reality has been understood.
60. The tangle of words is a great forest which leads the mind off wandering about, so wise men should strive to get to know the truth about their own nature.
61. Except for the medicine of the knowledge of God, what use are Vedas, scriptures, mantras and such medicines when you have been bitten by the snake of ignorance?
62. An illness is not cured just by pronouncing the name of the medicine without drinking it, and you will not be liberated by just pronouncing the word God without direct experience.
63. How can one reach liberation by just pronouncing the word God without achieving the elimination of the visible universe and realising the truth about one's own nature? It will just be a waste of speech.
64. One cannot become a king just by saying, "I am the king," without defeating one's enemies and taking possession of the country.
65. A buried treasure will not come out just by calling it, but needs a good map, digging, removal of obstructing stones and so on to get at it. In the same way the pure reality, hidden by the effects of Maya, cannot be achieved by just abusing it, but by instruction from a knower of God, reflection, meditation and so on.
66. So the wise should strive with all their ability for liberation from the bonds of change, as they would in the case of sickness and things like that.
67. The question you have asked today is a good one in the opinion of those learned in the scriptures, to the point and full of meaning. It needs to be understood by those seeking liberation.
68. Listen careful to what I say, master. By hearing this you will be freed from the bonds of change.
69. The primary basis of liberation is held to be total dispassion for everything impermanent, and after that peacefulness, restraint, patience, and the complete renunciation of scriptural observances.
70. After that the practicant finds there comes listening, reflection on what one has heard, and long meditation on the truth. Then the wise man will experience the supreme non-dual state and come here and now to the bliss of Nirvana.
71. When you have heard me fully explain what you need to know about the discrimination between self and non-self, then bear it in mind.
72-73. The body, constituted of marrow, bone, fat, flesh, ligament and skin, and composed of feet, legs, chest, arms, back and head, is the seat of the "I" and "mine" delusion, and is known as the physical body by the wise, while space, air, fire, water and earth are the subtle elements.
74. When these various elements are combined, they form the physical body, while in themselves they constitute the objects of the senses, the five types of sound and so on, for the enjoyment of the individual.
75. The ignorant who are bound to the senses by the strong, hardly breakable bonds of desire, are borne here and there, up and down, in the control of their own karmic impulses.
76. Deer, elephant, moth, fish and wasp, these five have all died from attachment by their own volition to one of the five senses, sound etc., so what about the man who is attached to all five!
77. The effect of the senses is more deadly than even that of a cobra. Their poison kills a man who only just looks at them with his eyes.
78. Only he who is free from the terrible hankering after the senses which is so hard to overcome is fit for liberation, and no-one else, not even if he is an expert in the six branches of scripture.
79. The shark of longing grasps those whose desire for liberation is only superficial by the throat as they try to cross the sea of samsara and drowns them halfway.
80. He who has killed the shark of the senses with the sword of firm dispassion can cross the sea of samsara without impediment.
81. Realise that death quickly waylays the senseless man who follows the uneven way of the senses, but that man achieves his purpose who follows the guidance of a true, compassionate guru. Know this as the truth.
82. If you really have a desire for liberation, avoid the senses from a great distance, as you would poison, and continually practice the nectar-like qualities of contentment, compassion, forbearance, honesty, calm and restraint.
83. He who neglects that which should be undertaken at all times, the liberation from the bonds created by beginningless ignorance, and gets stuck in pandering to the alien good of this body, is committing suicide by doing so.
84. He who seeks to know himself while pampering of the body is crossing a river holding onto a crocodile in mistake for a log.
85. This infatuation with the body and such things is a great death for the seeker after liberation. He who has overcome this infatuation is worthy of liberation.
86. Overcome this great death of infatuation with such things as the body, wives and children. Sages who have overcome it go to the supreme realm of God.
87. This body is material and offensive, consisting of skin, flesh, blood, sinews, veins, fat, marrow and bones, and full of urine and excrement.
88. This material body, which arises from past action out of material elements formed by the combination of subtle elements, is the vehicle of sensation for the individual. This is the state of a waking person perceiving material objects.
89. The life force creates for itself, out of itself, material object of enjoyment by means of the external senses - such colourful things as flowers, perfumes, women, etc. That is why this has its fullest enjoyment in the waking state.
90. See this material body, all that the external existence of a man depends on, as just like the house of a house-dweller.
91. Birth, old age and death are inherent in the physical body, as are such conditions as a heavy build and childhood, while there are different circumstances like caste and occupation, all sorts of diseases, and various different types of treatment, like respect and contempt to bear with.
92. Ears, skin, eyes, nose and tongue are organs of sense, since they enable the experience of objects, while voice, hands, feet and bowels are organs of action through their inclination to activity.
93-94. The inner sense is known variously as mind, understanding, the sense of agency, or volition, depending on its particular function - mind as imagining and analysing, understanding as establishing the truth of a matter, the sense of responsibility from relating everything to oneself, and volition as seeking its own good.
95. The one vital breath (prana) takes the form of all the various breathings, exhalations and psychic currents and fields according to the various functions and characteristics, as do gold and water and such things.
96. The eight citadels of groups of five categories, starting respectively with speech, hearing, vital breath, ether, intelligence, ignorance desire and action, constitute what is known as the subtle body.
97. Hear that this higher body, also known as the subtle body, with its desires and its tendency to follow the course of causal conditioning, is derived from the undifferentiated elements, and is a beginningless superimposition, due to its ignorance, on the true self.
98-99. Sleep is a distinct state of the self in which it shines by itself alone, whereas in dreaming the mind itself assumes the sense of agency due to the various desires of the waking state, while the supreme self shines on, on its own, as pure consciousness, the witness of everything from anger and such things on, without being itself affected by any of the actions performed by the mind. Since it is unattached to action, it is not affected by anything done by its superimpositions.
100. The subtle body is the vehicle of all operations for the self, like an axe and so on for the carpenter. The self itself is pure consciousness, and, as such, remains unattached.
101. Blindness, short-sightedness and sharp eyesight are simply due to the healthiness or defectiveness of the eye, just as such states as deafness and dumbness are conditions of the ear etc., not of the self, the knower.
102. Breathing in and out, yawning, sneezing and bodily secretions are described by experts as functions depending on the Inner Energy, while hunger and thirst for truth are functions of the Inner Energy direct.
103. The mind, as a reflection of Light, resides in the body with its senses, the eyes etc., through identifying itself with them.
104. The sense of responsibility is what feels itself as the doer and bearer of the consequences, and in together with the three Attributes, purity etc., undergoes the three states (of sleeping, dreaming and waking).
105. When the senses are favourable it is happy, and when they are not it is unhappy. So happiness and suffering are its attributes, and not those of the ever blissful self.
106. The senses are enjoyable only for the sake of oneself, not for themselves. The self is the most dear of everything, and consequently the self is ever blissful, and never experiences suffering.
107. That we experience the bliss of the self free from the senses in deep sleep is verified by the scriptures, by direct experience, by tradition and by deduction.
The Three Gunas
108. The so-called Inexpressible, the Lord's power, is the ultimate, beginningless ignorance made up of the three qualities (gunas), the pure Maya knowable through its effects, out of which this whole world is produced.
109. It cannot be said to either exist or not exist, to be divisible or indivisible, composite or unitary or both. It is amazing and indescribable.
110. It can be overcome by the realisation of the pure non-dual God, like the false idea of a snake through the recognition of the rope. It is composed of the three qualities (gunas) of passion, dullness and purity, recognised by their effects.
111. The distracting power of passion is by nature active, and from it the primeval emanation of activity has taken place. The mental states like desire and pain continually arise from it as well.
112. Lust, anger, greed, pride, envy, self-importance and jealousy - these are the awful effects produced by passion. Consequently this passion quality is the cause of bondage.
113. The veiling effect of the dullness quality is the power that distorts the appearance of things. It is the cause of samsara in man, and what leads to the activation of the distracting power (of passion).
114. Even a wise and learned man and an adept in the knowledge of the extremely subtle self can be overcome by dullness, and fail to realise it, even when demonstrated it in many different ways. What is presented by delusion he looks on as good, and grasps at its qualities. Such, alas, is the strength of the great veiling power of this awful dullness quality!
115. Lack of sense or distorted understanding, lack of judgement, and bewilderment - these never leave him who is caught in this delusion, and the distracting power torments him continually.
116. Ignorance, laziness, drowsiness, sleep, carelessness, stupidity and so on are the effects of the dullness quality. One stuck in these does not understand anything, but remains as if asleep, like a wooden post.
117. Clear purity is like water, but combined with these other qualities it leads to samsara, though in this purity the nature of the self is reflected, like the disk of the sun illuminating the whole world.
118. In purity mixed with the other qualities virtues such as humility, restraint, truthfulness, faith, devotion, desire for liberation, spiritual tendencies and freedom from entanglement occur.
119. In real purity however the qualities which occur are contentment, self-understanding, supreme peace, fulfilment, joy and abiding in one's supreme self, through which one experiences real bliss.
120. This Inexpressible, described as made up of the three qualities (gunas), is the active body of the self. Deep sleep is a special condition of it, in which the activity of all functions of awareness cease.
121. Deep sleep is the cessation of all forms of awareness, and the reversion of consciousness to a latent form of the self. "I knew nothing" is the universal experience.
122. The body, its functions, vital energies, the thinking mind, etc., and all forms, objects, enjoyment, etc. the physical elements such as the ether, in fact everything up to this Inexpressible are not one's true nature.
123. Everything is the creation of Maya from space itself down to the individual body. Look on it all as a desert mirage, unreal and not yourself.
124. Now I will instruct you in the true nature of your supreme self, by understanding which a man is freed from his bonds and achieves final fulfillment.
125. There is something your own, unchanging, the "I", the substratum, the basis, which is the triple observer, distinct from the five sheaths.
126. The awareness that knows everything whether waking, dreaming or in deed sleep, and whether or not there is movement in the mind, that is the "I".
127. It is that which experiences everything, but which nothing else can experience, which thinks through the intelligence etc., but which nothing else can think.
128. It is that by which all this is filled, but which nothing else can fill, and which, in shining, makes all this shines as well.
129. It is that whose mere presence makes the body, bodily senses, and mind etc. keep to their appropriate functions like servants.
130. It is that by which everything from the ego function down to the body is known like an earthen vessel, for its very nature is everlasting consciousness.
131. This is one's inmost nature, the eternal Person, whose very essence is unbroken awareness of happiness, who is ever unchanging and pure consciousness, and in obedience to whom the various bodily function continue.
132. In one of pure nature, the morning light of the Unmanifest shines even here in the cave of the mind, illuminating all this with its glory, like the sun up there in space.
133. That which knows the thinking mind and ego functions takes its form from the body with its senses and other functions, like fire does in a ball of iron, but it neither acts nor changes in any way.
134. It is never born, never dies, grows, decays, or changes. Even when the body is destroyed it does not cease to be, like the space in an earthen vessel.
135. The true self, of the nature of pure consciousness, and separate from the productions of nature, illuminates all this, real and unreal, without itself changing. It plays in the states of waking and so on, as the foundation sense of 'I exist', as the awareness, witness of all experience.
Bondage and Freedom
136. By means of a trained mind, and thanks to your faculty of understanding, experience in practice the true self of this 'I exist' in yourself, cross the ocean of Samsara's waves of birth and death, and established in the nature of God, and achieve the goal (of life).
137. Seeing 'This is me' in what is not really oneself, this is man's bondage, the result of ignorance and the cause of the descent into the pain of birth and death. It is because of this that one sees this unreal body as real, and identifying oneself with it, feeds it and cares for it with the senses, like a grub in its cocoon.
138. One who is confused by lack of clarity sees something which is not there, like a man mistaking a rope for a snake through lack of understanding, and experiencing great pain etc. from mistakenly taking hold of it. So, my friend, hear this - Bondage is thinking that something non-existent exists.
139. This obscuring power conceals the infinite glory of one's true self which radiates with its indivisible, eternal and unified power of understanding, like an eclipse obscures the sun's disk, and creates darkness.
140. When he has lost sight of his true self, immaculate and resplendent, a man identifies himself with his body out of ignorance. Then the great so-called dispersive power torments him with its fetters of continuous desire, hatred etc.
141. When a man has fallen to the state of being swallowed up by the great shark of ignorance, he assumes to himself the various states superimposed upon him, and in a pitiful state wanders rising and sinking in the great ocean of Samsara.
142. Just as cloud formations, arising from the suns rays, obscure the sun and fill the sky, so the sense of self-identity, arising from one's true nature, obscures the existence of the true self and itself fills experience.
143. Just as the thick clouds covering the sun on a bad day are buffeted by cold, howling blasts of wind, so, when one's true nature is obscured by deep ignorance, the strong dispersive power torments the confused understanding with many afflictions.
144. It is from these powers that man's bondage has arisen. Confused by them, he mistakes the body for himself and wanders in error.
145. The seed of the Samsara tree is ignorance, identification with the body is its shoot, desire is its first leaves, activity its water, the bodily frame its trunk, the vital forces its branches, the faculties its twigs, the senses its flowers, the manifold pains arising from various actions its fruit, and the bird on it is the individual experiencing them.
146. Ignorance is the root of this bondage to what is not one's true nature, a bondage which is called beginningless and endless. It gives rise to the long course of suffering - birth, death, sickness, old age, etc.
147. It cannot be destroyed by weapons, wind or fire, nor even by countless actions - by nothing, in fact, except by the wonderful sword of wisdom, sharpened by God's grace.
The Freeing of the Self
148. He who is devoted to the authority of the scriptures achieves steadiness in his religious life, and that brings inner purity. The man of pure understanding comes to the experience of his true nature, and by this Samsara is destroyed, root and all.
149. One's true nature does not shine out when covered by the five sheaths, material and otherwise, although they are the product of its own power, like the water in a pool, covered with algae.
150. On removing the algae, the clean, thirst-quenching and joy-inducing water is revealed to a man.
151. When the five sheaths have been removed, the supreme light shines forth, pure, eternally blissful, single in essence, and within.
152. To be free from bondage the wise man must practise discrimination between self and non-self. By that alone he will become full of joy, recognising himself as Being, Consciousness and Bliss.
153. Just as one separates a blade of grass from its sheaths, so by discriminating one's true nature as internal, unattached and free from action, and abandoning all else, one is free and identified only with one's true self.
The Food Kosha
154. This body is the product of food, and constitutes the material sheath. It depends on food and dies without it. It is a mass of skin, flesh, blood, bones and uncleanness. It is not fit to see as oneself, who is ever pure.
155. The body did not exist before birth, nor will it exist after death. It is born for a moment, its qualities are momentary, and it is inherently changing. It is not a single thing, but inert, and should be viewed like an earthen pot. How could it be one's true self, which is the observer of changing phenomena?
156. Made up of arms and legs and so on, the body cannot be one's true self as it can live on without various limbs, and other faculties persist without them. What is controlled cannot be the controller.
157. While the body of the observer is of a specific nature, behaviour and situation, it is clear that the nature of one's true self is devoid of characteristics.
158. How could the body, which is a heap of bones, covered with flesh, full of filth and highly impure, be oneself, the featureless observer?
159. The deluded man makes the assumption that he is the mass of skin, flesh, fat bones and filth, while the man who is strong in discrimination knows himself as devoid of characteristics, the innate supreme Reality.
160. 'I am the body' is the opinion of the fool. 'I am body and soul' is the view of the scholar, while for the great-souled, discriminating man, his inner knowledge is 'I am God'.
161. Get rid of the opinion of yourself as this mass of skin, flesh, fat, bones and filth, foolish one, and make yourself instead the self of everything, the God beyond all thought, and enjoy supreme peace.
162. While the scholar does not overcome his sense of 'I am this' in the body and its faculties, there is no liberation for him, however much he may be learned in religion and philosophy.
163. Just as you have no self identification with your shadow-body, reflection-body, dream-body or imagination-body, so you should not have with the living body either.
164. Identification of oneself with the body is the seed of the pain of birth etc. in people attached to the unreal, so get rid of it with care. When this thought is eliminated, there is no more desire for rebirth.
The Vital-Breath Kosha
165. The vital energy joined to the five activities forms the vitality sheath, by which the material sheath is filled, and engages in all these activities.
166. The Breath, being a product of the vital energy, is not one's true nature either. Like the air, it enters and leaves the body, and knows neither its own or other people's good or bad, dependent as it is on something else.
The Mind Kosha
167. The faculty of knowledge and the mind itself constitute the mind-made sheath, the cause of such distinctions as 'me' and 'mine'. It is strong and has the faculty of creating distinctions of perception etc., and works itself through the vitality sheath.
168. The mind-made fire burns the multiplicity of experience in the fuel of numerous desires of the senses presented as oblations in the form of sense objects by the five senses like five priests.
169. There is no such thing as ignorance beyond the thinking mind. Thought is itself ignorance, the cause of the bondage of becoming. When thought is eliminated, everything else is eliminated. When thought increases everything else increases.
170. In sleep which is devoid of actual experience, it is the mind alone which produces everything, the experiencer and everything else, by its own power, and in the waking state there is no difference. All this is the product of the mind.
171. In deep sleep when the thinking mind has gone into abeyance there is nothing, by every one's experience, so man's Samsara is a mind creation, and has no real existence.
172. Cloud is gathered by the wind, and is driven away by it too. Bondage is imagined by the mind, and liberation is imagined by it too.
173. By dwelling with desire on the body and other senses the mind binds a man like an animal with a rope, and the same mind liberates him from the bond by creating simple distaste for the senses as if they were poison.
174. Thus the mind is the cause of a man's finding both bondage and liberation. When soiled with the attribute of desire it is the cause of bondage, and when clear of desire and ignorance it is the cause of liberation.
175. By achieving the purity of an habitual discrimination and dispassion, the mind is inclined to liberation, so the wise seeker after liberation should first develop these.
176. A great tiger known as the mind lives in the forest of the senses, so pious seekers after liberation should not go there.
177. The mind continually presents endless coarse or subtle sense experiences for a person -- all the differences of physique, caste, state and birth, and the fruits resulting from attributes and actions.
178. The mind continually confuses that which is by nature unattached, binding it with the fetters of body, senses and faculties so that it thinks in terms of 'me' and 'mine' in the experiences he is achieving.
179. Man's Samsara is due to the error of additions (to his true nature), and it is from the mind's imagination that the bondage of these additions comes. This is the cause of the pain of birth and so on for the man without discrimination who is filled with desire and ignorance.
180. That is why the wise who have experienced reality call the mind ignorance, for it is by that that everything is driven, like a mass of clouds by the wind.
181. So the mind must be earnestly purified by the seeker after liberation. Once it is purified, the fruit of liberation comes easily to hand.
182. Completely rooting out desire for the senses and abandoning all activity by one-pointed devotion to liberation, he who is established with true faith in study etc., purges away the passion from his understanding.
183. What is mind-made cannot be one's true nature, because it is changeable, having a beginning and an end, because it is subject to pain, and because it is itself an object. The knower cannot be seen as an object of consciousness.
The Intellect Kosha
184. The intellect along with its faculties, its activities and its characteristic of seeing itself as the agent, constitutes the knowledge sheath which is the cause of man's samsara.
185. Intellectual knowledge which as a function is a distant reflection of pure consciousness, is a natural faculty. It continually creates the awareness 'I exist', and strongly identifies itself with the body, its faculties and so on.
186. This sense of self is from beginningless time. As the person it is the agent of all relative occupations. Through its proclivities from the past it performs good and bad actions, and bears their fruit.
187. After experiencing them it is born in all sorts of different wombs, and progresses up and down in life, the experiencer of the knowledge-created states of waking, sleeping etc., and of pleasure and pain.
188. It always sees as its own such things as the body, and its circumstances, states, duties, actions and functions. The knowledge sheath is very impressive owing to its inherent affinity to the supreme self, which, identifying itself with the superimposition, experiences samsara because of this illusion.
189. This knowledge-created light shines among the faculties of the heart, and the true self, although itself motionless, becomes the actor and the experiencer while identified with this superimposition.
190. Allied to the intellect, just a part of itself, although the true self of everything, and beyond the limitations of such an existence, it identifies itself with this illusory self - as if clay were to identify itself with earthen jars.
191. In conjunction with such additional qualities, the supreme self seems to manifest the same characteristics, just as the undifferentiated fire seems to take on the qualities of the iron it heats.
192. The disciple questioned: Whether it is by mistake or for some other reason that the supreme self has become a living being, the identification is beginningless, and there can be no end to what has no beginning.
193. So the state of a living being is going to be a continual samsara, and there can be no liberation for it. Can you explain this to me?
194. The teacher replied: You have asked the right question, wise one, so now listen. The mistaken imagination of illusion is not a reality.
195. Outside of illusion no attachment can come about for what is by nature unattached, actionless and formless, as in the case of blueness and space (the sky).
196. Existence as a living being, due to the mistaken intellect identifying itself with its own light, the inner joy of understanding, beyond qualities and beyond activity does not really exist, so when the illusion ceases, it does too, having no real existence of its own.
197. So long as the illusion exists, it too has existence, created by the confusion of misunderstanding, in the same way that a rope seems to be a snake so long as the illusion persists. When the illusion comes to an end, so does the snake.
The Manifest and Hidden Self
198-199. Ignorance and its effects are seen as beginningless until with the arising of insight, ignorance and its effects are destroyed along with its root, even if beginningless, like dreams on awaking from sleep. Even if beginningless this world of appearances is not eternal - like something originally non-existent.
200-201. Even if beginningless, something originally non-existent is seen to come to an end. In the same way the living organism which is thought to belong to oneself through its identification with the intellect, does not really exist. On the other hand, the true self is quite distinct from it, and the identification of oneself with the intellect is due to misunderstanding.
202. The cessation of that wrong identification is achieved by right understanding, and by no other means. Right understanding is held by scripture to be the recognition of the oneness of God and oneself.
203. This recognition is achieved by right discrimination between what is truly oneself and what is not, so one must develop this discrimination between the conventional self and one's true self.
204. Like very muddy water, which is clearly water again when the mud is removed, one's true self shines forth again when the contamination is removed.
205. When the non-existent is removed the individual is disclosed as the supreme self, so one must see to the removal of thoughts about "me" and suchlike from oneself.
206. The level of sense awareness cannot be one's true self since it is changeable, physical, restricted, a sense-object and intermittent. What is transient should not be mistaken what is eternal.
207. The level of pleasure is the aspect of ignorance which is a sort of reflection the blissfulness of the true self. Its attributes are the qualities of enjoyment and so on, which are experienced when an enjoyable object is present. It presents itself spontaneously to those fortunate enough to experience the fruits of good deeds, something from which everyone experiences great pleasure without trying to.
208. The pleasure level is manifest at its fullest extent in deep sleep, whereas in dreams and the waking state it is only partially manifest, stimulated by such things as the sight of enjoyable objects.
209. The pleasure level cannot be the true self either, since it is changeable, a conditioned phenomenon, the result of good deeds, and involved in the other levels of consciousness as well.
210. When all these five levels have been disposed of by meditating on scripture, when everything as been eliminated there remains the witness, pure consciousness itself.
211. This self, the light itself, beyond the five levels, the witness of the three states, changeless, unsullied, eternal joy - this should be recognised by the wise as one's real self.
212. The disciple questioned: After transcending these five levels as unreal, master, I find nothing but a nothingness, the absence of everything. What object remains for a wise person to identify with?
213-214. The teacher answered: You have spoken the truth, learned one. You are skilled in discrimination. That by which all other phenomena, starting with the thought of "me", are experienced, but which is itself experienced by none, know that, by the subtlest of understanding, as your true self.
215. Whatever is experienced by something else has that as its witness. When there is nothing else to experience something, one cannot talk of it being witnessed.
216. This has the nature of self-awareness, since it is conscious of itself. Thus the individual self is by its self-awareness none other than the Supreme itself.
217. That which is fully manifest in the waking state, dream and deep sleep, which is perceived within in the form of the various experiences and impressions like self-consciousness, and which is experienced as the eternal Bliss, and Consciousness of one's true self, see this within your own heart.
218. The ignorant see the reflection of the sun in the water of a jar and think it is the sun itself. In the same way the fool sees the reflection of consciousness in its associated qualities and mistakenly identifies himself with it.
219. The wise man ignores jar, water and the sun's reflection in it, and sees the self-illuminating sun itself which gives light to all three but is independent of them.
220-222. When a man abandons the body and the intellect which is just a derivative of consciousness, and recognising one's true self, the experiencer, pure awareness, the source of everything existent and non-existent, itself devoid of attributes, eternal, all-pervading, omnipresent, subtle, empty of inside and outside, and itself none other than one's true self (for this is truly inborn), he becomes free from evil, sinless and immortal, free from pain, and the incarnation of joy. Master of himself he is afraid of no-one. There is no other way to the breaking of the bonds of temporal existence for the seeker after liberation than the realisation of his own true nature.
223. The recognition of one's inseparable oneness with God is the means of liberation from temporal existence, by which the wise person achieves the non-dual, blissful nature of God.
224. Having attained the nature of God, the knower returns no more to the temporal state, so it is essential to recognise one's own true inseparable oneness with God.
225. God is the truth, knowledge and eternal. He is pure, transcendent and self-sufficient - the everlasting, undiluted bliss which is enthroned undivided and inseparable within.
226. This supreme Reality is non-dual in the absence of any other reality beside itself. In the state of knowledge of ultimate truth there is nothing else.
227. This great variety of things which we experience through our failure to understand is all really God himself, once the distortion of thought is removed.
228. A pot made of clay is nothing other than clay, and its true reality is always simply clay. The pot is no more than the shape of a pot, and is just a mistake of imagination based on the name.
229. No one can show that the reality of the pot is different from the clay, so the pot is just an imagination based on misunderstanding, and the clay is the only final reality.
230. Similarly everything which is made of God is just God and has no separate existence. Whoever says it exists is not yet free from delusion and is like someone talking in his sleep.
231. The supreme scripture of the Arthava Veda declares that "All this is God", so all this is simply God, and anything in addition to that has no reality.
232. If it has any reality, that is the end of any eternal reality for oneself, the scriptures are false, and the Lord himself a liar, three things which are quite unacceptable to great souls.
233. The Lord, who knows the reality of things, has stated "I do not depend on them" (Bhagavad Gita 9.4) and "Things do not exist in me" (Bhagavad Gita 9.5).
234. If everything really existed, it ought to exist in deep sleep too. Since nothing does, then it follows that it is unreal and an illusion like a dream.
235. So the world is not distinct from the Supreme Self, and its perception is an illusion like all attributes. What we add to That has no reality, but merely appears to exist in addition to That through misunderstanding.
236. Whatever a deluded person experiences in his delusion is still always God. The silver is only mother-of-pearl. It is always God that is mistaken for something else, and whatever is added to God is just a name.
237. So there exists only the supreme God, the One Reality without a second, consisting of pure consciousness, without any blemish, peace itself and without beginning or end, actionless and having the nature of pure bliss.
238. Beyond all delusion-created distinctions, this Whatever shines by its own light, eternal, fulfilled, indivisible, infinite, formless, inexpressible, nameless and indestructible.
239. Seers know this supreme Reality, free from the distinctions of knower, known and knowledge, infinite, complete in itself and consisting of pure Awareness.
240. What cannot be got rid of or taken hold of, beyond the sphere of mind and speech, measureless and beginning-and-endless is God, one's true self and supreme glory.
That Art Thou
241. The words "God" and "yourself", referred to by the terms "That" and "Thou" are conscientiously purified by repetition of the scriptural phrase "Thou art That", and are clearly seen to be identical.
242. Their identity can be indicated but not described, since they have mutually exclusive meanings like a firefly and the sun, a king and a slave, a well and the ocean, or an atom and mount Meru.
243. The distinction between them is due to the imagined additional associations, but in reality there are no such additions. The primary mental activity is due to the Lord's Maya, and in the case of the individual it is the result of the five sheaths.
244. These are additions to the Lord and the individual, and when they are removed, there is neither Supreme nor individual. A ruler is known by his kingdom, and a warrior by his arms. Take these away, and there is neither warrior nor king.
245. Scripture itself, with the words "Here is the teaching" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.3.6), denies the imagined duality in God. One must get rid of these additions by means of understanding backed up by the authority of the scriptures.
246. "Not this, not this" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.3.6) means that nothing one can think of is real, like a rope mistaken for a snake, or like a dream. Carefully getting rid of the apparent in this way, one should then come to understand the oneness of the Lord and the individual.
247. So the meaning of these two expressions, Lord and individual, must be carefully considered until their essential oneness is understood. It is not enough just to reject or accept either of them. One must come to the recognition of the identity of the meaning of them both.
248-249. In the phrase "this person is Devadatta" the identity is indicated by removing the distinction, and in the same way, in the expression "Thou art That" the wise must get rid of the apparent contradiction and recognise the complete identity of God and self by carefully identifying the shared attribute of pure consciousness. Hundreds of scriptural sayings declare the identity of oneself and God in this way.
250. In accordance with "It is nothing material" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3.8.8) eliminate the unreal and find that which like the sky is pure and solitary, and is beyond thought. Eliminate too this purely illusory body which you have hitherto identified with yourself. Then recognising, "I am God" with purified understanding, see your true self as undifferentiated consciousness.
251. Everything made of clay, such as pot, is always to be seen as purely clay. In the same way, everything deriving from this supreme Self must be simply recognised as pure Reality. Since there is no reality beyond that, it is truly one's very self, and you are that still, unblemished, non-dual, supreme Reality of God.
252. Just as the things like places, time, objects and observer imagined in a dream are unreal, so the world experienced in the waking state too is created by one's own ignorance. Since the body-creating forces, self-identification, and so on, are also unreal, you are that still, unblemished, non-dual, supreme Reality of God.
253. That which is mistakenly imagined to exist is recognised by wisdom to be That alone, and is thus undifferentiated. The colourful world of a dream disappears. What remains other than oneself on waking?
254. Beyond birth, creed, family and tribe, free from the distortion of attributes of name and appearance, transcending locality, time and objects, you are That, God himself. Meditate on the fact within yourself.
255. That supreme Reality beyond the realm of anything that can be said, but the resort of the pure eye of understanding, the pure reality of Consciousness-Awareness-Mind, etc. - you are That, God himself. Meditate on the fact within yourself.
256. That which is unaffected by the six afflictions (of aging, death, hunger, thirst, desire and ignorance), which is meditated on in the heart of the devotee, unrecognised by the senses, unknown by the intellect - you are That, God himself. Meditate on the fact within yourself.
257. That basis on which the mistakenly imagined world exists, itself dependent on nothing else, devoid of true and false, without parts, and without mental image - you are That, God himself. Meditate on the fact within yourself.
258. That which is indestructible, free from birth, growth, development, decay, illness and death; which is the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of everything - you are That, God himself. Meditate on the fact within yourself.
259. Free of parts, of an unchanging quality, undisturbed like a waveless sea, declared to be of an eternally indivisible nature - you are That, God ihimself. Meditate on the fact within yourself.
260. Itself One but the cause of the many, the supreme Cause which does away with all other causes, itself devoid of distinctions of "cause" and "effect" - you are That, God himself. Meditate on the fact within yourself.
261. Without modification, great and unending, the supreme Reality beyond destruction and indestructibility, the eternal unfading, unblemished, fulfilment - you are That, God himself. Meditate on the fact within yourself.
262. That Reality which manifests itself as the many through the illusions of names, shapes, attributes and changes, but which, like gold is always itself unchanged (in different objects) - you are That, God himself. Meditate on the fact within yourself.
263. That, beyond which there is nothing, but which shines beyond everything else, the inner, uniform self-nature of being-consciousness-joy, infinite and eternal - you are That, God himself. Meditate on the fact within yourself.
264. One should meditate within oneself with the mind well controlled on the truth declared here. Then the truth will be disclosed free from doubt, like water in the palm of one's hand.
265. Realising one's true nature as pure consciousness, one should remain always established in oneself, like a king surrounded by his army, and should redirect all that is back into God.
266. In the cave of the mind, free from attributes of being and not-being, there exists God, the Truth, supreme and without a second. He who by himself dwells in that cave returns no more to a mother's womb.
267. Even when one knows the truth, there still remains the strong, beginningless tendency to think "I am the doer and the reaper of the consequences" which is the cause of samsara. It must be carefully removed by living in the state of observing the truth within oneself. The wise call that removal of this tendency liberation.
268. The tendency to see "me" and "mine" in the body and the senses, which are not oneself must be done way with by the wise by remaining identified with one's true self.
269. Recognising one's true inner self, the witness of the mind and its operations, and reflecting on the truth of "I am That", get rid of this wrong opinion about oneself.
270. Abandoning the concerns of the world, abandoning concern about the body, and abandoning even concern about scriptures, see to the removal wrong assumptions about yourself.
271. It is owing to people's worldly desires, their desires for scriptures, and their desires concerning their bodies that they do not achieve realisation.
272. Those who know about these things call these three desires the iron fetter that binds the feet of those who are seeking escape from the prison-house of samsara. He who is free from them reaches liberation.
The Way to Liberation
273. The beautiful smell of aloe wood which is masked by a bad smell through contamination by water and such things becomes evident again when it is rubbed clean.
274. Desire for one's true self which is veiled by endless internal other desires becomes pure and evident again like the smell of sandalwood through application with wisdom.
275. When the mass of desires for things other than oneself obscuring the contrary desire for one's real self are eliminated by constant self-remembrance, then it discloses itself of its own accord.
276. As the mind becomes more and more inward-turned, it becomes gradually freed from external desires, and when all such desires are fully eliminated self-realisation is completely freed from obstruction.
277. When he is always poised in self-awareness the yogi's thinking mind stops, and the cessation of desires takes place as a result, so see to the removal of all ideas of additions to your true self.
278. Dullness (tamas) is removed by passion (rajas) and purity (sattva), desire is removed by purity, and purity when itself purified, so establishing yourself in purity, see to the removal of all ideas of additions to your true self.
279. Recognising that the effects of past conditioning will sustain the body, remain undisturbed and work away hard at seeing to the removal of all ideas of additions to your true self.
280. "I am not the individual life. I am God." Getting rid of all previous misidentifications like this, see to the removal of all ideas of additions to your true self created by the power of desires.
281. Recognising yourself as the self of everything by the authority of scripture, by reasoning and by personal experience, see to the removal of all ideas of additions to your true self whenever they manifest themselves.
282. The wise man has no business concerning himself with the acquisition or disposal of things, so by adherence to the one reality, see to the removal of all ideas of additions to your true self.
283. Realising the identity of yourself and God by the help of sayings like "You are That", see to the removal of all ideas of additions to your true self so as to strengthen the adherence of yourself in God.
284. Eliminate completely your self-identification with this body, and with determination see that your mind is devoted to the removal of all ideas of additions to your true self.
285. So long as even a dream-like awareness of yourself as an individual in the world remains, as a wise person persistently see to the removal of all ideas of additions to your true self.
286. Without giving way to the least descent into forgetfulness through sleep, worldly affairs or the various senses, meditate on yourself within.
287. Shunning the body which is derived from the impurities of your mother and father and itself made up of impurities and flesh as you would an outcaste from a good distance, become Godlike and achieve the goal of life.
288. Restoring the self in you to the supreme Self like the space in a jar back to Space itself by meditation on their indivisibility, always remain silent, wise one.
289. Taking up through your true self the condition of your real glory, reject thoughts of a divine universe as much as of yourself as a reality, as you would a dish of filth.
290. Transferring your present self-identification with the body to yourself as consciousness, being and bliss, abandon the body and be complete forever.
291. When you know "I am that very God" in which the reflection of the world appears, like a city in a mirror, then you will be one who has achieved the goal of life.
292. Attaining that Reality which is self-existent and primal, non-dual consciousness, and bliss, formless and actionless, one should abandon the unreal body taken on by oneself, like an actor doffing his costume.
293. All this experienced by oneself is false, and so is the sense of I-hood in view of its ephemeral nature. How can "I know everything" be true of something which is itself ephemeral.
294. That which warrants the term "I" on the other hand is that which is the observer of the thought "I" etc. in view of its permanent existence even in the state of deep sleep. Scripture itself declares that it is "unborn and eternal" (Katha Upanishad 1.2.18). That true inner self is distinct from both being and not-being.
295. The knower of all the changes in changing things must itself be permanent and unchanging. The unreality in the extremes of being and not-being is repeatedly seen in the experience of thought, dreaming and deep sleep.
296. So give up identification with this mass of flesh as well as with what thinks it a mass. Both are intellectual imaginations. Recognise your true self as undifferentiated awareness, unaffected by time, past, present or future, and enter Peace.
297. Give up identification with family, tribe, name, shape and status which depend on the putrid body. Give up physical properties too such as the sense of being the doer and be the very nature of undifferentiated joy.
298. There are other obstacles seen to be the cause of samsara for men. Of these the root and first manifestation is the sense of doership.
299. So long as one has any association with this awful sense of being the doer there cannot be the least achievement of liberation which is something very different.
300. Free from the grasp of feeling oneself the doer, one achieves ones true nature which is, like the moon, pure, consummate, self-illuminating being and bliss.
301. Even he who, with a mind under the influence of strong dullness, has thought of himself as the body, will attain to full identification with God when that delusion is completely removed.
302. The treasure of the bliss of God is coiled round by the very powerful, terrible snake of doership which guards it with its three fierce heads consisting of the three qualities (dullness, passion and purity) but the wise man can enjoy this bliss-imparting treasure by cutting off the snake's three heads with the great sword of understanding of the scriptures.
303. How can one be free from pain so long as there is there is any trace of poison in the body? The same applies to the pain of self-consciousness in an aspirant's liberation.
304. In the total cessation of self-identification and the ending of the multifarious mental misrepresentations it causes, the truth of "This is what I am" is achieved through inner discernment.
305. Get rid forthwith of doership, your self-identification, that is, with the agent, a distorted vision of yourself which stops you from resting in your true nature, and by identification with which you, who are really pure consciousness and a manifestation of joy itself, experience samsara with all its birth, decay, death and suffering.
306. You are really unchanging, the eternally unvarying Lord, consciousness, bliss and indestructible glory. If it were not for the wrong identification with a false self you would not be subject to samsara.
307. So cut down your enemy, this sense of being the doer, with the great sword of knowledge, caught like a splinter in the throat of some-one having a meal, and enjoy to your heart's content the joy of the possession of your true nature.
308. Stop the activity of the false self-identification and so on, get rid of desire by the attainment of the supreme Reality, and practice silence in the experience of the joy of your true self, free from fantasies, with your true nature fulfilled in God.
309. Even when thoroughly eradicated, a great sense of doership can revive again and create a hundred different distractions, if it is once dwelt on again for a moment in the mind, like monsoon rain-clouds driven on by the wind.
310. Overcoming the enemy of the false self, one should give it no opportunity by dwelling on the senses again, because that is the way it comes back to life, like water for a withered citrous tree.
311. He who is attached to the idea of himself as the body is desirous of physical pleasure, but how could some-one devoid of such an idea seek physical pleasure? Hence separation from one's true good is the cause of bondage to samsara since one is stuck in seeing things as separate from oneself.
312. A seed is seen to grow with the development of the necessary conditions, while the failure of the conditions leads to the failure of the seed. So one must remove these conditions.
313. The increase of desires leads to activity, and from the increase of activity there is more desire. Thus a man prospers in every way, and samsara never comes to an end.
314. To break the bonds of samsara, the ascetic should burn away both of these (desire and activity), since thinking about these and external activity lead to the increase of desires.
315-316. The increase of these two is the cause of one's samsara, and the means to the destruction of these three is to see everything as simply God everywhere, always and in all circumstances. By the increase of desire for becoming the Truth, these three come to an end.
317. Through the stopping of activity there comes the stopping of thinking, and then the cessation of desires. The cessation of desires is liberation, and is what is known as here-and-now liberation.
318. When the force of the desire for the Truth blossoms, selfish desires wither away, just like darkness vanishes before the radiance of the light of dawn.
319. Darkness and the mass of evils produced by darkness no longer exist when the sun has risen. Similarly, when one has tasted undifferentiated bliss, no bondage or trace of suffering remains.
320. Transcending everything to do with the senses, cultivating the blissful and only Truth, and at peace within and without - this is how one should pass one's time so long as any bonds of karma remain.
321. One should never permit carelessness in one's adherence to God. "Carelessness is death" (Mahabharata 5.42.43) says the Master (Sanatkumara) who was of Brahma's son.
322. There is no greater evil than carelessness about his own true nature for a wise man. From this comes delusion, from this comes misconceptions about oneself, from this comes bondage, from this comes suffering.
323. Forgetfulness afflicts even a wise man with harmful mental states when it finds him well-disposed to the senses, like a woman does her infatuated lover.
324. Just as the algae cleared off water does not stay off even for a moment, so illusion obscures the sight of even a wise man whose mind is outward-directed.
325. When the mind loses its direction towards its goal and becomes outward-turned it runs from one thing to another, like a play-ball carelessly dropped on the steps of some stairs.
326. A mind directed towards the senses dwells with imagination on their qualities. From imagining finally comes desire, and from desire comes the way a man directs his activity.
327. As a result, there is no death like carelessness in meditation to the wise knower of God. The meditator achieves perfect fulfilment, so carefully practice peace of mind.
328. From carelessness one turns aside from one's true nature, and he who turns aside from it slips downwards. He who has thus fallen invariably comes to disaster, but is not seen to rise again.
329. So one should abandon the imagination which is the cause of all ills. He has reached fulfilment who is completely dead while still alive. The Yajur Veda (Taittiriya Upanishad 2.7) declares there is still something to fear for anyone who still sees distinctions in things.
330. Whenever a wise man sees the least distinction in the infinite God, whatever he has carelessly perceived as a distinction then becomes a source of fear for him.
331. When, in spite of hundreds of testimonies to the contrary in the Vedas and other scriptures, one identifies oneself with anything to do with the senses, one experiences countless sorrows, doing something prohibited like a thief.
332. He who is devoted to meditating on the Truth attains the eternal glory of his true nature, while he who delights in dwelling on the unreal perishes. This can be seen even in the case of whether someone is a thief or not.
333. An ascetic should abandon dwelling on the unreal which is the cause of bondage, and should fix his attention on himself in his knowledge that "This is what I am". Establishment in God through self-awareness leads to joy and finally removes the suffering caused by ignorance.
334. Dwelling on externals increases the fruit of superfluous evil desires for all sorts of things, so wisely recognising this fact, one should abandon externals and cultivate attention to one's true nature within.
335. When externals are abandoned there comes peace of mind. When the mind is at peace there comes awareness of one's supreme self. When that is fully experienced there comes the destruction of the bonds of samsara, so abandonment of externals is the road to liberation.
336. What man, being learned, and aware of the distinction between real and unreal, relying on the scriptures and seeking the supreme goal of life, would knowingly, like a child, hanker after resting in the unreal, the cause of his own downfall.
337. There is no liberation for him who is deliberately attached to the body and such things, while there is no self-identification with such things as the body for a liberated man. There is no being awake for some-one asleep, nor sleep for some-one awake, for these two states are by their very nature distinct.
338. He who knows himself within and without, and recognises himself as the underlying support in all things moving and unmoving, remaining indivisible, fulfilled in himself by abandoning all that is not himself - he is liberated.
339. The means of liberation from bondage is through the one self in everything, and there is nothing higher than this one self in everything. When one does not cling to anything to do with the senses, one achieves these things, and being the one self in everything depends on resting in one's true self.
340. How is not clinging to the senses possible when one's basis is self-identification with the body, and one's mind is attached to enjoying external pleasures, and on doing whatever is necessary to do so? But it can be achieved within themselves by those who have abandoned all objects of rules and observances, who are always resting in self-awareness, who know the Truth and energetically seek the bliss of Reality.
341. Scripture prescribes meditation for realisation of the self in everything to the ascetic who has fulfilled the requirement of listening to scripture, saying "At peace and self-controlled" and so on (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.23).
342. Even wise men cannot get rid of the sense of doership all of a sudden when it has grown strong, but those who are unwavering in so-called imageless samadhi can, whose desire for this has been developed over countless lives.
343. The outward-turning power of the mind binds a man to the sense of doership by its veiling effect, and confuses him by the attributes of that power.
344. To overcome the outward-turning power of the mind is hard to accomplish without completely eliminating the veiling effect, but the covering over one's inner self can be removed by discriminating between seer and objects, like between milk and water. Absence of an barrier is finally unquestionable when there is no longer any distraction caused by illusory objects.
345. Perfect discrimination, born of direct experience establishing the truth of the distinction between seer and objects, severs the bonds of delusion produced by Maya (the creative power, which makes things appear to exist), and as a result the liberated person is no longer subject to samsara.
346. The fire of the knowledge of the oneness of above and below burns up completely the tangled forest of ignorance. What seed of samsara could there still be for such a person who has achieved non-duality?
347. The veiling effect only disappears with full experience of Reality, and the elimination of false knowledge leads to the end of the suffering caused by that distraction.
348. These three (the removal of veiling effect, false knowlege and suffering) are clearly apparent in the case of recognising the true nature of the rope, so a wise man should get to know the truth about the underlying reality if he wants to be liberated from his bonds.
349-350. Like fire in conjunction with iron, the mind manifests itself as knower and objects by dependence on something real, but as the duality that causes is seen to be unreal in the case of delusions, dreams and fantasies, so the products of natural causation, from the idea of doership down to the body itself and all its senses, are also unreal in view of the way they are changing every moment, while one's true nature itself never changes.
351. The supreme self is the internal reality of Truth and Bliss, eternally indivisible and pure consciousness, the witness of the intellect and the other faculties, distinct from being or not-being, the reality implied by the word "I".
352. Distinguishing the real from the unreal in this way by means of his inborn capacity of understanding, and liberated from these bonds, a wise man attains peace by recognising his own true nature as undifferentiated awareness.
353. The knot of ignorance in the heart is finally removed when one comes to see one's own true non-dual nature by means of imageless samadhi.
354. Assumptions of "you", "me", "it" occur in the non-dual, undifferentiated supreme self because of a failure in the understanding, but all a man's false assumptions disappear in samadhi and are completely destroyed by the realisation of the truth of the underlying reality.
355. An ascetic who is peaceful, disciplined, fully withdrawn, long-suffering and meditative always cultivates the presence of the self of everything in himself. Eradicating in this way the false assumptions created by the distorting vision of ignorance, he lives happily in God free from action and free from imaginations.
356. Only those who have achieved samadhi and who have withdrawn the external senses, the mind and their sense of doership into their true nature as consciousness are free from being trapped in the snare of samsara, not those who just repeat the statements of others.
357. Because of the diversity of the things he identifies himself with, a man tends to see himself as complex, but with the removal of the identification, he is himself again and perfect as he is. For this reason a wise man should get rid of self-identifications and always cultivate imageless samadhi.
358. Adhering to the Real a man comes to share in the nature of that Reality by his one-pointed concentration on it, in the same way that a grub is able to become a wasp by concentration on a wasp.
359. A grub achieves wasphood by abandoning attachment to other activities and concentrating on the nature of being a wasp. In the same way an ascetic meditates on the reality of the supreme self and achieves it through his one-pointed concentration on it.
360. The reality of the supreme self is extremely subtle and is not capable of being experienced by those of coarse vision, but it can be known by those worthy of it by reason of their very pure understanding by means of a mind made extremely subtle by meditation.
361. As gold purified in a furnace loses its impurities and achieves its own true nature, the mind gets rid of the impurities of the attributes of delusion, passion and purity through meditation and attains Reality.
362. When by the effect of constant meditation the purified mind becomes one with God, then samadhi, now freed from images, experiences in itself the state of non-dual bliss.
363. The destruction of the bonds of all desires through this samadhi is the destruction of all karma, and there follows the manifestation of one's true nature without effort, inside, outside, everywhere and always.
364. Thought should be considered a hundred times better than hearing, and meditation is thousands of times better than thought, while imageless samadhi is infinite in its effect.
365. The experience of the reality of God becomes permanent though imageless samadhi, but not otherwise as it is mixed with other things by the restlessness of the mind.
366. So, established in meditation, with the senses controlled, the mind calmed and continually turned inwards, destroy the darkness of beginningless ignorance by recognising the oneness of Reality.
367. The primary door to union with God is cutting off talking, not accepting possessions, freedom from expectation, dispassion and a secluded manner of life.
368. Living in seclusion is the cause of control of the senses, restraint of the mind leads to inner stillness and tranquillity leads to mastery of self-centred desire. From that comes the ascetic's continual experience of the unbroken bliss of God. So the wise man should always strive for the cessation of thought.
369. Restrain speech within. Restrain the mind in the understanding and restrain the understanding in the consciousness that observes the understanding. Restrain that in the perfect and imageless self, and enjoy supreme peace.
370. Body, functions, senses, mind, understanding and so on - whichever of these adjuncts the mind's activity is connected with, that becomes the ascetic's identity for the time.
371. When this process is stopped, the wise man knows the perfect joy of the letting go of everything, and experiences the attainment of the overwhelming bliss of Reality.
372. Internal renunciation and external renunciation - it is the dispassionate man who is capable of these. The dispassionate man abandons fetters internal and external because of his yearning for liberation.
373. The dispassionate man, established in God, is indeed capable of abandoning the external bond of the senses and the internal one of selfishness and so on.
374. As a discriminating person realise that dispassion and understanding are like a bird's wings for a man. Without them both he cannot reach the nectar of liberation growing on top of a creeper.
375. The extremely dispassionate man achieves samadhi. A person in samadhi experiences steady enlightenment. He who is enlightened to the Truth achieves liberation from bondage, and he who is truly liberated experiences eternal joy.
376. I know of no higher source of happiness for a self-controlled man than dispassion, and when allied to thoroughly pure self-knowledge it leads to the sovereign state of self-mastery. Since this is the gate to the unfading maiden of liberation, always and with all eagerness develop this supreme wisdom within yourself in happiness.
377. Cut off desire for the poison-like senses, for these are death-dealing. Get rid of pride in birth, family and state of life, and throw achievements far away. Drop such unreal things as the body into the sacrificial bowl of your true self, and develop wisdom within. You are the Witness. You are beyond the thinking mind. You are truly God, non-dual and supreme.
378. Direct the mind resolutely towards God, restraining the senses in their various seats, and looking on the state of the body as a matter of indifference. Realise your oneness with God, remaining continually intent on identifying with its nature, and joyfully drink the bliss of God within, for what use is there in other, empty things?
379. Stop thinking about anything which is not your true self, for that is degrading and productive of pain, and instead think about your true nature, which is bliss itself and productive of liberation.
380. This treasure of consciousness shines unfading with its own light as the witness of everything. Meditate continually on it, making this your aim, distinct as it is from the unreal.
381. This one should be aware of with unbroken application, continually turning to it with a mind empty of everything else, knowing it to be one's own true nature.
382. This one should identify with firmly, abandoning the sense of doership and so on, remaining indifferent to them, as one is to things like a cracked jar.
383. Turning one's purified awareness within on the witness as pure consciousness, one should gradually bring it to stillness and then become aware of the perfection of one's true nature.
384. One should become aware of oneself, indivisible and perfect like Space itself, when free from identification with such things as one's body, senses, functions, mind and sense of doership, which are all the products of one's own ignorance.
385. Space when freed from the hundreds of additional objects like pots and pans, receptacles and needles is one, and in the same way the supreme Reality becomes no longer multiple but one and pure when freed from the sense of doership and so on.
386. All additional objects from Brahma to the last clump of grass are simply unreal, so one should be aware of one's own perfect true nature abiding alone and by itself.
387. When rightly seen, what had been mistaken in error for something else is only what it always was and not something different. When the mistaken perception is removed the reality of the rope is seen for what it is, and the same is true for the way everything is really oneself.
388. One is oneself Brahma, one is Vishnu, one is Indra, one is Shiva, and one is oneself all this. Nothing else exists except oneself.
389. Oneself is what is within, oneself is without, oneself is in front and oneself is behind. Oneself is to the south, oneself is to the north, and oneself is also above and below.
390. Just as waves, foam, whirlpool and bubbles are all in reality just water, so consciousness is all this from the body to the sense of doership. Everything is just the one pure consciousness.
391. This whole world known to speech and mind is really the supreme Reality. Nothing else exists but the Reality situated beyond the limits of the natural world. Are pots, jars, tubs and so on different from clay? It is the man confused by the wine of Maya that talks of "you" and "me".
392. The scripture talks of the absence of duality in the expression "where there is nothing else" (Chandogya Upanishad 7.24.1) with several verbs to remove any idea of false attribution.
393. What else is there to know but one's true supreme nature, God himself, like space pure, imageless, unmoving, unchanging, free of within or without, without a second and non-dual.
394. What more is to be said here? The individual is himself God. Scripture declares that this whole extended world is the indivisible God. Those who have been illuminated by the thought "I am God", themselves live steadfastly as God, abandoning external objects, as the eternal consciousness and bliss.
395. Destroy the desires arising from opinions about yourself in this impure body, and even more so those of the subtle mental level, and remain as yourself, the God within, the eternal body of bliss, celebrated by the scriptures.
396. So long as a man is concerned about the corpse-like body, he is impure and suffers from his enemies in the shape of birth, death and sickness. When however he thinks of himself as pure godlike and immovable, then he is freed from those enemies, as the scriptures proclaim.
397. Getting rid of all apparent realities within oneself, one is oneself the supreme God, perfect, non-dual and actionless.
398. When the mind waves are put to rest in one's true nature, the imageless God, then this false assumption exists no longer, but is recognised as just empty talk.
399. What we call "All this" is a false idea and mistaken assumption of in the one Reality. How can there be distinctions in something which is changeless, formless and without characteristics?
400. Seer, seeing and seen and so on have no existence in the one Reality. How can there be distinctions in something which is changeless, formless and without characteristics?
401. In the one Reality which is completely perfect like the primal ocean, how can there be distinctions in something which is changeless, formless and without characteristics?
402. When the cause of error has been annihilated like darkness in light, how can there be distinctions in something which is changeless, formless and without characteristics?
403. How can there be distinctions in a supreme reality which is by nature one? Who has noticed any distinctions in the pure joy of deep sleep?
404. After realisation of the supreme Truth, all this no longer exists in one's true nature of the imageless God. The snake is not to be found in time past, present or future, and not a drop of water is to be found in a mirage.
405. Scripture declares that this dualism is Maya-created and actually non-dual in the final analysis. It is experienced for oneself in deep sleep.
406. The identity of a projection with its underlying reality is recognised by the wise in the case of the rope and the snake, etc. The false assumption arises from a mistake.
407. This falsely imagined reality depends on thought, and in the absence of thought it no longer exists, so put thought to rest in samadhi in the inner reality of one's higher nature.
408. The wise man experiences the perfection of God in his heart in samadhi as something which is eternal consciousness, complete bliss, incomparable, transcendent, ever free, free from effort, and like infinite space indivisible and unimaginable.
409. The wise man experiences the perfection of God in his heart in samadhi as something which is free from natural causation, a reality beyond thought, uniform, unequalled, far from the associations of pride, vouched for by the pronouncements of scripture, eternal, and familiar to us as ourselves.
410. The wise man experiences the perfection of God in his heart in samadhi as something which is unaging, undying, the abiding reality among changing objects, formless, like a calm sea free from questions and answers, where the effects of natural attributes are at rest, eternal, peaceful and one.
411. With the mind pacified by samadhi within, recognise the infinite glory of yourself, sever the sweet-smelling bonds of samsara, and energetically become one who has achieved the goal of human existence.
412. Free from all false self-identification, meditate on yourself as the non-dual being-consciousness-bliss within yourself, and you will no longer be subject to samsara.
413. Seeing it as no more than a man's shadow, a mere reflection brought about by causality, the sage looks on his body as from a distance like a corpse, with no intention of taking it up again.
414. Come to the eternally pure reality of consciousness and bliss and reject afar identification with this dull and unclean body. Don't remember it any more, like something once vomited is fit only for contempt.
415. Burning this down along with its roots in the fire of his true nature, the imageless God, the wise man remains alone in his nature as eternally pure consciousness and bliss.
416. Let the body, spun on the thread of previous causation, fall or stay put, like a cows garland. The knower of the Truth takes no more notice of it, as his mental functions are merged in his true nature of God.
417. To satisfy what desire, or for what purpose should the knower of the Truth care for his body, when he knows himself in his own true nature of indivisible bliss.
418. The fruit gained by the successful man, liberated here and now, is the enjoyment in himself of the experience of being and bliss within and without.
419. The fruit of dispassion is understanding, the fruit of understanding is imperturbability, and the fruit of the experience of bliss within is peace. This is the fruit of imperturbability.
420. If the successive stages do not occur it means that the previous ones were ineffective. Tranquillity is the supreme satisfaction, leading to incomparable bliss.
421. The fruit of insight referred to is feeling no disquiet at the experience of suffering. How could a man who has done various disgusting actions in a time of aberration do the same again when he is in his right mind?
422. The fruit of knowledge should be the turning away from the unreal, while turning towards the unreal is seen to be the fruit of ignorance. This can be seen in the case of some-one who recognises or does not recognise things like a mirage. Otherwise what fruit would there be for seers?
423. When the knot of the heart, ignorance, has been thoroughly removed, how could the senses be the cause of the mind being directed outwards for some-one who does not want them?
424. When there is no upsurge of desire for goods, that is the summit of dispassion. When there is no longer any occurrence of the self-identification with the doer, that is the summit of understanding, and when there is no more arising of latent mental activity, that is the summit of equanimity.
425. He is the enjoyer of the fruit of infinite past good deeds, blessed and to be revered on earth, who free from external things by always been established in his awareness of God, regards objects which others look on as desirable like some-one half asleep, or like a child, and who looks at the world like a world seen in a dream, or like some mere chance encounter.
426. That ascetic is of established wisdom who enjoys the experience of being and bliss with his mind merged in God, beyond change and beyond action.
427. That function of the mind which is imageless pure awareness, and which is immersed in the essential oneness of oneself and God is known as wisdom, and he in whom this state is well established is called one of established wisdom.
428. He whose wisdom is well established, whose bliss is uninterrupted, and whose awareness of multiplicity is virtually forgotten, he is regarded as liberated here and now.
429. When a man's mind is at rest in God even when he is awake he does not share the usual condition of being awake. He whose awareness is free of desires is regarded as liberated here and now.
430. He whose worries in samsara have been put to rest, who though made up of parts does not identify himself with them, and whose mind is free from thoughts, he is regarded as liberated here and now.
431. The sign of a man liberated here and now is the absence of thoughts of "me" and "mine" in the body while it still exists, going along with him like his shadow.
432. The sign of a man liberated here and now is not running back to the past, not dwelling on the future, and being unconcerned about the present.
433. The sign of a man liberated here and now is to look with an equal eye on everything in this manifold existence with all its natural faults, knowing that in itself it is without characteristics.
434. The sign of a man liberated here and now is to remain unmoved in either direction, looking on things with an equal eye within, whether encountering the pleasant or the painful.
435. The sign of a man liberated here and now is to be unaware of internal or external, since the ascetic's mind is occupied with enjoying the experience of the bliss of God.
436. The sign of a man liberated here and now is that he remains unconcerned and free from the sense of "me" and "mine" in the things needing to be done by the body and the senses and so on.
437. The sign of a man liberated here and now is that he is free from the bonds of samsara, knowing his own identity with God with the help of the scriptures.
438. He is regarded as liberated here and now who has no sense of "this is me" in the body and senses, nor of "it exists" in anything else.
439. The sign of a man liberated here and now is that he knows by wisdom that there is never any distinction between God and what proceeds from God.
440. The sign of a man liberated here and now is that he remains the same whether he is revered by the good or tortured by the bad.
441. That ascetic is liberated into whom, because of his being pure reality, the sense object can flow and merge without leaving any alteration, like the water of a river's flow.
442. There is no more samsara for him who knows the Truth of God as there was before. If there is, then it is not the knowledge of God, since it is still outward turned.
443. If it is suggested that he still experiences samsara because of the strength of his previous desires, the answer is, No, desires become powerless through the knowledge of one's oneness with Reality.
444. The impulses of even an extremely passionate man are arrested in face of his mother, and in the same way those of the wise cease in face of the perfect bliss of the knowledge of God.
445. Some-one practising meditation is seen to have external functions still. Scripture declares that this is the effect of the fruits of previous conditioning.
446. So long as pleasure and the like occur, one acknowledges the effect of previous conditioning. A result occurs because of a previous cause. Nothing happens without a cause.
447. With the realisation that "I am God", all the actions accumulated over ages are wiped out, like actions in a dream on waking up.
448. How could the good or even dreadfully bad deeds done in the dreaming state lead a man to heaven or hell when he arises from sleep?
449. Recognising himself as unattached and impartial space, he never hold on to anything with the thought of actions yet to be done.
450. Space is not affected with the smell of wine by contact with the jar, and in the same way one's true nature is not affected by their qualities through contact with the things one identified oneself with.
451. The karma created before the arising of knowledge does not come to an end with knowledge without producing its effect, like an arrow shot at a target after being loosed.
452. An arrow released in the understanding that it was at a tiger does not stop when it is seen to be a cow, but pierces the target with the full force of its speed.
453. The effects of previous conditioning are too strong for even a wise man, and it is eliminated only by enduring it, but the effects of present and future conditioning are all destroyed by the fire of true understanding. Those who are always established in the knowledge of their oneness with God, as a result of that are not affected by these three aspects of conditioning since they share the unconditioned nature of God.
454. The question of the existence of past conditioning does not apply for the ascetic who, by getting rid of self-identification with anything else, is established within in the knowledge of the perfection of God as his true nature, just as questions concerned with things in a dream have no meaning when one has woken up.
455. He who has woken up makes no distinctions about his dream body and the multiplicity of things connected with it as being "me", "mine" or anything else, but simply remains himself by staying awake.
456. He has no desire to assert the reality of those illusions, and he has no need to hold on to the things he has woken up from. If he still chases these false realities he is certainly considered not awake yet.
457. In the same way he who lives in God remains in his own nature and seeks nothing else. Like the memory of things seen in a dream is the way the seer experiences eating, going to the toilet and so on.
458. The body has been formed by causation so past causality appropriately applies to it, but it does not apply to the beginningless self, since one's true nature has not been causally formed.
459. Scriptures which do not err affirm that one's true nature is "Unborn, eternal and abiding" (Katha Upanishad 1.2.18), so how could causality apply to someone established in such a self?
460. Causality applies only so long as one identifies oneself with the body, so he who does not consider himself the body has abolished causality for himself.
461. Even the opinion that causality applies to the body is a mistake. How can a false assumption be true, and how can something which does not exist have a beginning? How can something with no beginning have an end, and how can causality apply to something that does not exist?
462-463. The ignorant have the problem that if ignorance has been completely eliminated by knowledge, how does the body persist? To settle this doubt scripture talks about causality in accordance with conventional views, but not to teach the reality of the body and such things to the wise.
464. Complete in himself, without beginning or end, infinite and unchanging, God is one and without a second. There is nothing other than He.
465. The essence of Truth, the essence of Consciousness, the eternal essence of Bliss and unchanging, God is one and without a second. There is nothing other than He.
466. The one reality within everything, complete, infinite, and limitless, God is one and without a second. There is nothing other than He.
467. He cannot be removed or grasped; he cannot be received from someone else, or held onto. God is one and without a second. There is nothing other than He.
468. Without attributes, indivisible, subtle, inconceivable, and without blemish, God is one and without a second. There is nothing other than He.
469. His appearance is formless, beyond the realm of mind and speech. God is one and without a second. There is nothing other than He.
470. Exuberant Reality, self-reliant, complete, pure, conscious and unique, God is one and without a second. There is nothing other than He.
471. Great ascetics who have abandoned desires and given up possessions, calm and disciplined, come to know this supreme Truth, and in the end attain the supreme peace by their self-realisation.
472. You too should recognise this supreme Truth about yourself, your true nature and the essence of bliss, and shaking off the illusion created by your own imagination, become liberated, fulfilled and enlightened.
473. See the Truth of yourself with the clear eye of understanding, after the mind has been made thoroughly unwavering by meditation. If the words of scripture you have heard are really received without doubting, you will experience no more mistaken perception.
474. When one has freed oneself from association with the bonds of ignorance by the realisation of the reality of Truth, Wisdom and Bliss, then scripture, traditional practices and the sayings of the wise remain proofs, but the inner experience of truth is proof too.
475. Bondage, freedom, contentment, worry, health, hunger and so on are matters of personal experience, and other people's knowledge of them can only be by inference.
476. Impartial gurus teach, as do the scriptures, that the wise man crosses over by means of wisdom alone through the grace of God.
477. Knowing his true indivisible nature by his own realisation the perfected man should remain in full possession of himself free from imaginations within.
478. The conclusion of all the scriptures and of experience is that God is the individual and the whole world too, and that liberation is to remain in the one indivisible Reality. The scriptures are also the authority for the non-duality of God.
479. Having thus attained the supreme reality by self discipline through the words of his guru and the testimony of the scriptures, his faculties at peace and his mind at peace, he becomes something self-poised and immovable.
Song of Liberation
480. Having established his mind for some time in the supreme God, he arose from supreme bliss and uttered these words.
481. My intellect has vanished and my mental activities have been swallowed up in the realisation of the oneness of myself and God. I no longer know this from that, nor what or how great this unsurpassed joy is.
482. Words cannot express nor the mind conceive the greatness of the ocean of the supreme God, full of the nectar of bliss. Like the state of a hail-stone fallen into the ocean, my mind has now melted away in the tiniest fraction of it, fulfilled by its essential nature of Bliss.
483. Where has the world gone? Who has removed it, or where has it disappeared to? I saw it only just now, and now it is not there. This a great wonder.
484. In the great ocean filled with the nectar of the indivisible bliss of God, what is to be got rid of, what is to be held onto, what is there apart from oneself and what has any characteristics of its own?
485. I can neither see, hear or experience anything else there, as it is I who exist there by myself with the characteristics of Being and Bliss.
486. Salutation upon salutation to you, great guru, free from attachment, the embodiment of absolute Truth, with the nature of ever non-dual bliss, the sea of eternal compassion on earth.
487. Your very glance has soothed like gentle moonlight the weariness produced by the great heat of samsara, and I have immediately attained my own true everlasting home, the abode of imperishable glory and bliss.
488. Through your grace I am blessed, I have achieved the goal, I am freed from the bonds of samsara, I am eternal bliss by nature, and fulfilled.
489. I am free, I am bodiless, I am without sex and indestructible. I am at peace, I am infinite, without blemish and eternal.
490. I am not the doer and I am not the reaper of the consequences. I am unchanging and without activity. I am pure awareness by nature, I am perfect and forever blessed.
491. I am distinct from the seer, hearer, speaker, doer and experiencer. I am eternal, undivided, actionless, limitless, unattached - perfect awareness by nature.
492. I am neither this nor that, but the pure supreme reality which illuminates them both. I am God, the indivisible, devoid of inside and outside, complete.
493. I am uncomparable, beginningless Reality. I am far from such thoughts as "you", "me", and "this". I am eternal bliss, the Truth, the non-dual God himself.
494. I am Narayana, I am the slayer of Naraka and of Pura. I am the supreme Person and the Lord. I am indivisible awareness, the witness of everything. I have no master and I am without any sense of "me" and "mine".
495. I abide in all creatures, being the very knowledge which is their inner and outer support. I myself am the ejoyer and all enjoyment, in fact whatever I experienced before now.
496. In me who am the ocean of infinite joy the manifold waves of the universe arise and come to an end, impelled by the winds of Maya.
497. Ideas like "material" are mistakenly imagined about me by people under the influence of their presuppositions, as are divisions of time like kalpas, years, half-years and seasons, dividing the indivisible and inconceivable.
498. The presuppositions of the severely deluded can never affect the underlying reality, just as the great torrent of a mirage flood cannot wet a desert land.
499. Like space, I am beyond contamination. Like the sun, I am distinct from the things illuminated. Like a mountain, I am always immovable. Like the ocean, I am boundless.
500. I am no more bound to the body than the sky is to a cloud, so how can I be affected by its states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep?
501. Imagined attributes added to one's true nature come and go. They create karma and experience its effects. They grow old and die, but I always remain immovable like mount Kudrali.
502. There is no outward turning nor turning back for me, who am always the same and indivisible. How can that perform actions which is single, of one nature, without parts and complete, like space?
503. How can there be good and bad deeds for me who am organless, mindless, changeless and formless, and experience only indivisible joy? The scriptures themselves declare "he is not affected" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.3.22).
504. Heat or cold, the pleasant or the unpleasant coming into contact with a man's shadow in no way affect the man himself who is quite distinct from his shadow.
505. The qualities of things seen do not touch the seer, who is quite distinct from them, changeless and unaffected, just as household objects do not touch the lamp there.
506. Like the sun's mere witnessing of actions, like fire's non-involvement with the things it is burning, and like the relationship of a rope to the idea superimposed on it, so is the unchanging consciousness within me.
507. I neither do nor make things happen. I neither experience nor cause to experience. I neither see nor make others see. I am that supreme light without attributes.
508. When intervening factors (the water) move, the ignorant ascribe the movement of the reflection to the object itself, like the sun which is actually immovable. They think "I am the doer", "I am the reaper of the consequences", and "Alas, I am being killed."
509. Whether my physical body falls into water or onto dry land, I am not dirtied by their qualities, just as space is not affected by the qualities of a jar it is in.
510. Such states as thinking oneself the doer or the reaper of the consequences, being wicked, drunk, stupid, bound or free are false assumptions of the understanding, and do not apply in reality to one's true self, the supreme, perfect and non-dual God.
511. Let there be tens of changes on the natural level, hundreds of changes, thousands of changes. What is that to me, who am unattached consciousness? The clouds never touch the sky.
512. I am that non-dual God, who like space is subtle and without beginning or end, and in whom all this from the unmanifest down to the material is displayed as no more than an appearance.
513. I am that non-dual God who is eternal, pure, unmoving and imageless, the support of everything, the illuminator of all objects, manifest in all forms and all-pervading, and yet empty of everything.
514. I am that non-dual God who is infinite Truth, Knowledge and Bliss, who transcends the endless modifications of Maya, who is one's own reality and to be experienced within.
515. I am actionless, changeless, partless, formless, imageless, endless and supportless - one without a second.
516. I am the reality in everything. I am everything and I am the non-dual beyond everything. I am perfect indivisible awareness and I am infinite bliss.
517. I have received this glory of the sovereignty over myself and over the world by the compassion of your grace, noble and great-souled guru. Salutation upon salutation to you, and again salutation.
518. You, my teacher, have my supreme saviour, waking me up from sleep through your infinite compassion, lost in a vast dream as I was and afflicted every day by countless troubles in the Maya-created forest of birth, old age and death, and tormented by the tiger of this feeling myself the doer.
519. Salutation to you, King of gurus, who remain always the same in your greatness. Salutation to you who are manifest as all this that we see.
Further Teachings on the Sage
520. Seeing his noble disciple, who had achieved the joy of his true nature in samadhi, who had awaken to the Truth, and experienced deep inner contentment, kneeling thus before him, the best of teachers and supreme great soul spoke again and said these words.
521. The world is a sequence of experiences of God, so it is God that is everything, and one should see this in all circumstances with inner insight and a peaceful mind. What has ever been seen by sighted people but forms, and in the same way what other resort is there for a man of understanding but to know God?
522. What man of wisdom would abandon the experience of supreme bliss to take pleasure in things with no substance? When the beautiful moon iself is shining, who would want to look at just a painted moon?
523. There is no satisfaction or elimination of suffering through the experience of unreal things, so experience that non-dual bliss and remain happily content established in to your own true nature.
524. Pass your time, noble one, in being aware of your true nature everywhere, thinking of yourself as non-dual, and enjoying the bliss inherent in yourself.
525. Imagining things about the unimaginable and indivisible nature of awareness is building castles in the sky, so transcending this, experience the surpreme peace of silence through your true nature composed of that non-dual bliss.
526. The ultimate tranquillity is the return to silence of the intellect, since the intellect is the cause of false assumptions, and in this peace the great souled man who knows God and who has become God experiences the infinite joy of non-dual bliss.
527. For the man who has recognised his own nature and who is enjoying the experience of inner bliss, there is nothing that gives him greater satisfaction than the peace that comes from having no desires.
528. A wise and silent ascetic lives as he pleases finding his joy in himself at all times whether walking, standing, sitting, lying down or whatever.
529. The great soul who has come to know the Truth and whose mental functions are not constrained has no concerns about such things as his aims in matters of locality, time, posture, direction and discipline etc. There can be no dependence on things like discipline when one knows oneself.
530. What discipline is required to recognise that "This is a jar"? All that is necessary is for the means of perception to be in good condition, and if they are, one recognises the object.
531. In the same way this true nature of ours is obvious if the means of perception are present. It does not require a special place or time or purification.
532. There are no qualifications necessary to know one's own name, and the same is true for the knower of God's knowledge that "I am God.
533. How can something else, without substance, unreal and trivial, illuminate that by whose great radiance the whole world is illuminated?
534. What can illuminate that Knower by whom the Vedas, and other scriptures as well as all creatures themselves are given meaning?
535. This light is within us, infinite in power, our true nature, immeasurable and the common experience of all. When a man free from bonds comes to know it, this knower of God stands out supreme among the supreme.
536. He is neither upset nor pleased by the senses, nor is he attached to or averse to them, but his sport is always within and his enjoyment is in himself, satisfied with the enjoyment of infinite bliss.
537. A child plays with a toy ignoring hunger and physical discomfort, and in the same way a man of realisation is happy and contented free from "me" and "mine".
538. Men of realisation live free from preoccupation, eating food begged without humiliation, drinking the water of streams, living freely and without constraint, sleeping in cemetery or forest, their clothing space itself, which needs no care such as washing and drying, the earth as their bed, following the paths of the scriptures, and their sport in the supreme nature of God.
539. He who knows himself, wears no distinguishing mark and is unattached to the senses, and treats his body as a vehicle, experiencing the various objects as they present themselves like a child dependent on the wishes of others.
540. He who is clothed in knowledge roams the earth freely, whether dressed in space itself, properly dressed, or perhaps dressed in skins, and whether in appearance a madman, a child or a ghost.
541. The wise man lives as the embodiment of dispassion even amid passions, he travels alone even in company, he is always satisfied with his own true nature and established in himself as the self of all.
542. The wise man who is always enjoying supreme bliss lives like this - sometimes appearing a fool, sometimes a clever man, sometimes regal, sometimes mad, sometimes gentle, sometimes venomous, sometimes respected, sometimes despised, and sometimes simply unnoticed.
543. Even when poor always contented, even without assistance always strong, always satisfied even without eating, without equal, but looking on everything with an equal eye.
544. This man is not acting even when acting, experiences the fruits of past actions but is not the reaper of the consequences, with a body and yet without a body, prescribed and yet present everywhere.
545. Thoughts of pleasant and unpleasant as well as thoughts of good and bad do not touch this knower of God who has no body and who is always at peace.
546. Pleasure and pain and good and bad exist for him who identifies himself with ideas of a physical body and so on. How can there be good or bad consequences for the wise man who has brokened his bonds and is one with Reality?
547. The sun appears to be swallowed up by the darkness in an eclipse and is mistakenly called swallowed up by people through misunderstanding of the nature of things.
548. In the same way the ignorant, see even the greatest knower of God, though free from the bonds of the body and so on, as having a body since they can see what is obviously still a body.
549. Such a man remains free of the body, and moves here and there as impelled by the winds of energy, like a snake that has cast its skin.
550. Just as a piece of wood is carried high and low by a stream, so the body is carried along by causality as the appropriate fruits of past actions present themselves.
551. The man free from identification with the body lives experiencing the causal effects of previously entertained desires, just like the man subject to samsara, but, being realised, he remains silently within himself as the witness there, empty of further mental imaginations - like the axle of a wheel.
552. He whose mind is intoxicated with the drink of the pure bliss of self-knowledge does not turn the senses towards their objects, nor does he turn them away from them, but remains as a simple spectator, and regards the results of actions without the least concern.
553. He who has given up choosing one goal from another, and who remains perfect in himself as the spectator of his own good fortune - he is the supreme knower of God.
554. Liberated forever here and now, having achieved his purpose, the perfect knower of God, being God himself by the destruction of all false indentifications, goes to the non-dual God.
555. Just as an actor, whatever his costume may or may not be, is still a man, so the best of men, the knower of God, is always God and nothing else.
556. Wherever the body may wither and fall like a tree leaf, that of the ascetic who has become God has already been cremated by the fire of the knowledge of Reality.
557. There are no considerations of place and time laid down with regard to relinquishing this mass of skin, flesh and filth for the wise man who is already forever established in God within himself as the perfect non-dual bliss of his own nature.
558. Liberation is not just getting rid of the body, nor of one's staff or bowl. Liberation is getting rid of all the knots of ignorance in the heart.
559. Whether a leaf falls into a gutter or a river, into a shrine or onto a crossroad, in what way is that good or bad for the tree?
560. The destruction of body, organs, vitality and intellect is like the destruction of a leaf, a flower or a fruit. It is not the destruction of oneself, but of something which is not the cause of happiness for one's true self. That remains like the tree.
561. The scriptures that teach the truth declare that the property of one's true nature is "a mass of intelligence" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.5.13), and they talk of the destruction of secondary additional attributes only.
562. The scripture declares of the true self that "This Self is truly imperishable" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.5.14), the indestructible reality in the midst of changing things subject to destruction.
563. In the same way that burnt stones, trees, grass, rice, straw, cloth and so on turn to earth, so what we see here in the form of body, organs, vitality, mind and so on when burned by the fire of knowledge take on the nature of God.
564. Just as darkness, though distinct from it, disappears in the light of the sun, so all that we can see disappears in God.
565. Just as when a jar is broken the space in it becomes manifest as space again, so the knower of God becomes the God in himself with the elimination of false identifications.
566. Like milk poured into milk, oil into oil and water into water, so the ascetic who knows himself becomes united with the One in himself.
567. The ascetic who has thus achieved the nature of God, perfectly free of the body and with the indivisible nature of Reality, does not come back again.
568. How could the brahmin come back again after becoming God when his external features of ignorance and so on have been burned by the recognition of his oneness with the Truth?
569. The Maya-produced alternatives of bondage and liberation do not really exist in one's true nature, just as the alternatives of there being a snake or not do not exist in the rope which is not affected by them.
570. Bondage and liberation can be referred to only in connection with the existence or absence of something covering what is really there, but there can be no covering of God as there is nothing else and no covering, since this would destroy the non-duality of God, and the scriptures do not admit duality.
571. Bondage and liberation are unreal. They are an effect of the intellect which the stupid identify with reality just like the covering of the sight caused by a cloud is applied to the sun. For this imperishable Reality is non-dual, unattached and consciousness.
572. The opinion that this covering exists or does not exist in the underlying reality is an attribute of the intellect and not of the eternal reality underneath.
573. So these alternatives of bondage and liberation are produced by Maya and not in one's true nature. How can there be the idea of them in the non-dual supreme Truth which is without parts, actionless, peaceful, indestructible, and without blemish, like space?
574. There is neither end nor beginning, no one in bondage and no aspirant, no one seeking liberation and no one free. (Amritabindu Upanishad 10). This is the supreme truth.
575. I have shown you today repeatedly, as my own son, this ultimate secret, the supreme crest of the scriptures and of the complete Vedanta, considering you one seeking liberation, free from the stains of this dark time, and with a mind free from sensuality.
576. On hearing these words of his guru the disciple prostrated himself before him and with his permission went away free from bondage.
577. The guru too with his mind immersed in the ocean of Truth and Bliss, and with his mind free of discriminations went on his way purifying the whole world.
578. In this way, in the form of a dialogue between teacher and pupil, the nature of one's true self has been taught for easy attainment of the joy of Realisation by those seeking liberation.
579. May those ascetics who have removed all defilements of mind by the designated methods, whose minds are at peace and free from the pleasures of the world, and who delight in the scriptures, reverence this teaching.
580. For those who are suffering in samsara from the heat of the threefold forms of pain, and wandering in delusion in a desert thirsting for water, may these words of Shankara which secure nirvana and excel all others, procure for them the ocean of nectar close by in the form of the non-dual God.