one of the most concise works of the First Sankaracharya in which he has
expounded the fundamentals of the advaitic philosophy in 68 pithy verses
pregnant with meaning. Chanting these
slokas and contemplating their meaning will definitely help the wayfarers on
the spiritual path.
prescribed and applicable only for those whose sins have been destroyed by
austerities, who have a calm mind, who are devoid of attachment and who desire
liberation from the cycle of births and deaths.
liberation. Just like food cannot be cooked without fire liberation cannot be
attained without knowledge.
from ahamkara) does not remove ignorance as it is not opposed to it. Knowledge
removes ignorance as light dispels darkness.
conditioned because of ignorance. Once
it is destroyed only the pure Self shines by its own light just as the Sun is
seen when the clouds disappear.
ignorance (of identifying oneself with the body-mind-intellect apparatus) is
rendered pure by knowledge arising out of constant practice of thinking ‘ I am
the pure Atman, not the senses, body,
mind or intellect’. After this, knowledge
itself subsides just as the cleaning-nut itself subsides after purifying the
water into which it is put.
dream. During the dream it appears real
but on waking up one realizes that it was unreal.
only so long as the non-dual Brahman, which is the substrate of everything, is
not known. The analogy given is of the shell which appears like silver. Once it is realized that only the shell is
there the illusion of silver disappears.
subsist and dissolve into the material cause which is only the Supreme Lord,
the substrate of everything, just like the bubbles on the surface of water
which rise from water, subsist on the surface of the water and finally dissolve
names and forms are projected in the eternal Vishnu ( the all-pervading
Brahman), the underlying existence-consciousness-self, like bangles and other
ornaments in gold. ( the different ornaments made of gold, having different
names and forms, are basically gold
only. Similary everything is all-pervading Brahman)
form of any object enclosing it. Similarly the Lord, the indwelling spirit in
all beings, appears to be different because of the differences in the bodies.
When the names and forms are destroyed what remains is the only Reality.
in adjuncts, differences of caste, name and ashrama are superimposed on
the Atman just as qualities such as taste, colour etc, are superimposed
on water (because of its contact with other substances).
gross elements and acquired as the fruit of past karmas, is said to be the seat
where pleasure and pain are experienced.
consisting of the five vital airs ( prana, apana, vyana, udana
and samana), mind, intellect and
the ten senses of perception and action, born of subtle elements is the
instrument for experiencing (pleasure and pain).
indefinable avidya is called the
causal adjunct. The atma should
be understood as different from the the three adjuncts of the causal, the subtle
and the gross.
with the five sheaths appears as if it takes on the form of the sheath with
which it is in contact just like pure white crystal takes the colours of blue
cloth etc with which it comes into contact.
should be recognized as different from the five sheaths by means of pounding
with reason, just as rice is obtained by
pounding paddy and removing the husk and bran.
everywhere. Just like a reflection is
obtained only on a polished clear surface, the self shines only in the
comprehended as different from the body, sense organs, mind, intellect and the prakriti
but as witness to their modes just as the King (who is different from his
ministers etc but is a witness to their actions)
the Self is engaged in action whereas only the sense organs are engaged in
actions. When the clouds are moving in
the sky the moon also appears moving though it is not so.
organs, the mind and the intellect act
in their respective spheres powered by the Consciousness which is
go about their jobs in the light of the Sun.
the senses are superimposed on the existence-consciousness-self, just as blue
colour etc are wrongly attributed to the sky.
water is superimposed on the reflection of the moon in the water similarly, out
of ignorance, the qualities and activities of the mind are also superimposed on
pleasure and pain operate only when the intellect is present. In sleep when the intellect is not present
attachment, desire etc are also not present.
It follows that these belong to the intellect and not to the self.
nature of the Sun, coolness the nature of water and heat the nature of fire,
the nature of atman is existence-consciousness-bliss, eternity and
existence-consciousness part of the Self and the modes of the intellect
combine, due to non-discrimination, giving rise to the cognition ‘I know’.
of the self and the intellect (being inert) does not have knowledge. The individual self is deluded into thinking
that ‘I am the doer’ and ‘I am the seer’ because of avidya or ignorance.
of rope for a snake creates fear, so also mistaking the atman for Jiva
creates fear. Knowing that ‘I am not
jiva’, ‘I am the paramatman’ one
the senses are illumined by the Atman only, just as a lamp illumines the pot
etc. But the Atman is not illumined by the intellect and the senses which are
there is no need for another knowledge since the self itself is of the nature
of knowledge. A lamp does not need another lamp in order to illumine itself.
the self by the Upanishadic statements of ‘not this’, ‘not this’, one should realize
the identity of the jivatma and the paramatma by meditating on
the mahavakyas of the Upanishads.
perceived through the sense organs
and are ephemeral like the bubbles
the body, I do not have birth, old age, decay, death etc. since I do not have any senses I have nothing
to do with the objects of the senses like sight, sound, taste, smell, touch
mind I do not have sorrow, attachment, enmity, fear etc. Sruthi says that ‘It is without the vital air
and without a mind and is pure’.
actionless, eternal, undetermined, unblemished, changeless, formless, eternally
free and pure.
everything, inside and outside. I am unchanging,
stable. I am always the same in all,
complete in myself, unattached, pure and unmoving.
eternal, pure, free, alone, undivided
bliss, one without a second, absolute-existence-consciousness and
and affirmation of the idea ‘I am Brahman’, will remove the projections
caused by Avidya just as
medicines remove illness.
place, unattached and with the senses under control, one should meditate on the
infinite non-dual Self with one-pointed mind.
world in the Self by the intellect (mind), the wise should always contemplate
the Self as the pure ether(aakaasha, space) .
mentally gives up attributes like form and colour and remains firmly
established in his real nature of plenary-consciousness-bliss
knower, knowledge and object of knowledge does not exist in the self. As it is of the nature of one
consciousness-bliss, it shines by its own light.
churning by meditation takes place in the arani of the Self, the fire of
knowledge that bursts out will destroy all the firewood of ignorance.
ignorance is dispelled by the knowledge of
attained, it seems to be unattained because of Avidya(nescience). When Avidya
is destroyed it appears as if the Self has been attained like the ornament
worn around the neck. ( the analogy is
of a person wearing the ornament who searches for it every where unaware that
it is around his neck but finally finds it around his own neck.)
individual self is caused in Brahman by delusion like the appearance of the form
of a man in a pillar. This delusion is removed when the essence of the
individual soul is perceived in Brahman.
of the experience of the nature of Truth demolishes the ignorance of the form
of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ just like the confusion regarding directions is demolished (when
the sun rises dispelling darkness).
wisdom sees everything in himself. With
the eyes of wisdom he sees the one self in all.
(Atma). There is nothing other
than the Atman. The man of wisdom sees all as the Self just like pots and other
earthenware are seen as clay only.
living wherein the wise one gives up the previous limiting adjuncts and attains
the nature of Existence-Consciousness etc like the worm becoming the wasp.
of delusion and having killed the demons of likes and dislikes, the Yogi revels
in the Self in perfect peace.
the ephemeral external pleasures and content with the supreme happiness of the
Self, the Yogi ever shines within, like
a lamp placed in a pot.
his speech and his mind (muni), though staying amidst limiting adjuncts, is not
tainted by them like
like the ignorant though he knows all. He moves about like air without being
the sage enters and merges with the undifferentiated all-pervading reality,
just like water becomes one with water, space becomes one with space and light becomes
one with light.
is to be gained, experiencing the happiness of which no other happiness matters
and knowing which nothing else is to be known, know that to be Brahman.
else is to be seen, becoming which there is nothing else to become and knowing
which there is nothing more to be known, know that to be brahman.
across, above and below, which is the non-dual existence-consciousness-bliss,
which is infinite and eternal, know that to be Brahman.
by the Upanishads in terms of ‘not this, not this’, which is immutable and which
is non-dual and of the nature of indivisible bliss, know that to be Brahman.
celestials become relatively blissful depending on a particle of bliss of that Brahman
whose nature is indivisible and infinite Bliss
with Brahman and empirical usage
is pervaded by consciousness. Thus the all-pervading Brahman is
in all like butter (ghee) in milk.
is not subtle, not gross, not short, not long, unborn, unchanging, without
form, quality, caste or name.
the Sun and other luminous bodies, which does not shine by the light of those
illuminated bodies, by which all this shine, know that to be Brahman.
outside of everything and illuminating the entire universe, Brahman shines like
the fire by which a ball of iron has been made red-hot. [ Though the ball of
iron appears rad and hot, what is really bright and hot is the fire which
imparts its properties to the iron.]
There is nothing other than Brahman. If anything other than Brahman
is manifest it is only an illusion as the mirage in the desert.
cannot be other than Brahman. Through true knowledge it is realised that
Brahman is the non-dual existence-consciousness-bliss
sees the self which is all-pervading and existence-consciousness. He who has eyes of ignorance does not see
just as the blind man does not see the sun that is shining.
knowledge kindled by hearing etc. the individual soul becomes free from all
impurities and shines by itself like (molten) gold.
knowledge, rises in the space of the heart
of ignorance. It pervades everything, it
supports all, it shines by itself and illumines everything.
He who, giving up all
actions and discarding directions, place,
time etc, takes to the holy waters of his own Self which is all-pervading,
which destroys cold etc, which is eternal happiness and which is untainted
becomes all-knowing, all-pervading and immortal.