61. Though it is known to every one that space exists both before and after a particular pot is made, still it is wrongly thought by all that the space inside the pot comes into existence only when the pot is made, that the space inside is destroyed when the pot is destroyed, that when the pot is moved from one place to another the space inside also moves along with it and that space takes on the shape and size of the pot. Similarly, though the Self exists always and is all-pervasive, people wrongly think that it comes into existence when the universe comes into existence, that it ceases to exist when the universe is dissolved, and so on.
62. A ball of jaggery is sweetness itself in every particle of it. A slab of camphor is full of fragrance in every bit. Similarly, this wide world, attractive with trees, mountains, towns, gardens and temples, which has no reality of its own, is seen as existing and sentient only because of being pervaded by the substratum, the Self, which alone is Existence and pure Consciousness (just as jaggery is sweetness itself and camphor fragrance).
Any eatable tastes sweet only if it contains jaggery (or sugar). Camphor gives fragrance to things coming into contact with it. So also, it is only because of the Self (Brahman) that everything in this world exists and all living beings acquire sentiency.
63. When a drum is beaten or an instrument like veena is played, one is not able to grasp the particular notes by themselves, but one knows the particular notes only in the background of the general note. Similarly, this universe, which is a modification of Maya, is never experienced separately, but only appears along with Brahman or pure consciousness. This universe is only an appearance and has no reality even when it is experienced. When, on the dawn of knowledge, it is realized that this Brahman is the indwelling self and that it is the only reality, it will be known that nothing other than Brahman is real.
This verse is based on Br. Up. 2.4.7,8 & 9. The particular notes of a drum, veena or conch have no separate existence apart from the general note of those instruments; the particular notes are included in, or are modifications of, the general note. One cannot appreciate the symphony produced by, say, a veena, by merely hearing one note, unless one first knows that it emanates from a veena and then connects all the notes in a harmonious symphony. A particular item cannot be known without knowing the general species to which it belongs. A particular tree in a forest cannot be seen without seeing the forest as a whole. Similarly, whatever is perceived in the waking and dream states has no existence apart from Consciousness or Brahman, which pervades everything and so the nature of this world can be really known only when its cause, Brahman is known.
64. A person who has attained right knowledge (from the scriptures and his Guru) and directly realized that his indwelling self is the one pure immutable consciousness, the Lord of the whole universe, who is all-pervading like space and who is the indwelling self of all beings and that the entire universe has no reality apart from Brahman and is a mere appearance and has thereby become free from all desire in this life itself should remain ever established in the contemplation of his identity with the pure, non-dual Brahman.
65. Indra, the being or enjoyer, who is in the right eye and his wife Indrani, who represents matter or the objects of enjoyment and is in the left eye, according to the Br. Up,4.2.2 & 4.2.3, are together in the space within the heart in the dream state. At the end of their enjoyment there the state of deep sleep (sushupti) ensues. This state is known in the Upanishads as 'Anandamayakosa'. In this state the Jiva experiences supreme bliss, which is beyond description. There is no experience of any object then. A person who is in deep sleep and enjoying bliss should not be woken up suddenly. If he is woken up, the Br. Up says that his sense organs may not go back to their respective seats in the body and this will cause great misery to him.
This verse is based on Br. Up. 4.2.2, 4.2.3 and 4.3.14.
The upanishad says that the Self is pointedly manifest in the right eye in the waking state. It is named Indha, which means radiant, but he is indirectly called Indra, because the gods have a fondness for indirect names. At the end of the dream state, the state of deep sleep occurs.
66. In deep sleep all living beings merge in Brahman and enjoy bliss. That same supreme bliss can be enjoyed always (and not only in deep sleep) if a person realizes his identity with Brahman who is the protector of all the sense organs and the benefactor of all beings, both within (the body) and without. This being so, he who is always engaged only in external activities for the sake of earning a livelihood and commits sinful deeds, ever intent only on enjoying pleasures through his organs of touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste, will reap only grief and delusion.
This verse is based on a mantra in the Rigveda.
All living beings merge in Brahman in deep sleep- sushupti- see Chandogya Up. 6.8.1. But on waking up they are as they were before, limited, miserable beings. The only way to attain permanent happiness is by the realization of one's real nature.
67. The Jivatma exerts himself in different ways to get sense pleasures in the waking state. When, in the end, his organs are all totally fatigued, he forgets the happiness that he has so attained and goes to sleep in his own real nature for rest. It is clear from this that the bliss of one's own real nature, which is got much more easily and which does not come through the sense organs is far superior to all the happiness acquired through the exertion of the various organs, which ultimately becomes insipid.
However great may be the happiness enjoyed during the waking state, every being desires the happiness that comes in sleep. Unlike sense pleasures, this happiness is attained without any effort and is available to all, irrespective of age, wealth and other considerations. This shows that the bliss of the Self, which is what is enjoyed in sleep, is superior to all other happiness.
68. A bird generates wind by flapping its wings and by the help of that wind it soars high up in the sky. There it spreads out its wings and flies (towards its nest), propelled by the strong wind. Thereby it rids itself of fatigue. Similarly the human being, being distressed and tormented in mind by evil thoughts, fancies and desires for objects of sense, spreads out his hands and feet and sleeps for a long time in order to become free from fatigue.
This verse is based on Br.Up. 4.3.19 which says: - As a hawk or falcon flying in the sky becomes tired and, spreading out its wings, flies towards its nest, so does this infinite being hasten to the state where, falling asleep, it seeks no object of sense and sees no dream.
In deep sleep the individual self becomes united with the supreme Self and enjoys bliss. It is then free from all desires and gets complete rest. The waking state and the dream state are similar in that in both of them what is not real is experienced and the reality, Brahman, is not known.
69. A lustful person, on returning home from a long stay in another place, and taking his wife in a tight embrace, feels absolutely happy and does not know anything outside, such as 'This is something other than myself' or anything inside, such as, 'I am so and so, happy or miserable'. Similarly, the Jivatma, which becomes one with Brahman or Paramatma in the state of deep sleep, enjoys bliss and remains untouched by all worldly activities and the results thereof in the form of merit and sin and is free from grief, delusion and fear. In that state the Jiva forgets this world which is characterized by differences and similarities and relationships of all kinds.
The example given here is taken from Br. Up. 4.3.21.
Sri Sankara says in his Bhashya on this:-
As a man, when fully embraced by his beloved wife, both desiring each other's company, does not know anything at all, either external, such as 'This is something other than myself', or internal, such as 'I am this, or I am happy or unhappy', but he knows everything external and internal when he is not embraced by her and is separated, so also, this infinite being, the individual self, who is separated from the supreme Self (in the waking and dream states) because of having entered the body and organs, like the reflection of the moon in water, becomes fully embraced by, or unified with, the supreme Self in deep sleep and does not know anything external or internal, such as 'I am this, or I am happy or unhappy'.
Ch. Up. 6.8.1.Sri Sankara's Bhashya says: -
When a person is in deep sleep, he becomes identified with Existence (Brahman). Having discarded his nature as an individual soul he attains his own self, his own nature, which is the ultimate Reality.
Br.up.4.3.22. Bhashya - "In this state a father is no father, a mother is no mother, worlds are no worlds, the gods are no gods, the Vedas are no Vedas. In this state a thief is no thief, the killer of a noble Brahmana is no killer, and so on".
The form of the self that is directly perceived in the state of deep sleep is free from ignorance, desire and action. The sruti says that in this state a father is no father. His fatherhood towards a son is on account of the action of begetting. Since he is dissociated from all action in the state of deep sleep he is not a father then. Similarly, the son ceases to be a son in the state of deep sleep. All other relationships also cease to apply in this state.
70. The dissolution of all objects, both subtle and gross, dormancy of all the organs and the mind, experience of happiness - these three are common to the states of Jivanmukti (liberation-in-life) and sushupti or deep sleep. But there is a difference between these two states. One who is asleep comes back to the waking state because of the effects of his past karma, but one who has become liberated by the attainment of Self-knowledge does not go back to the state of bondage because all his past karma and their effects (other than Prarabdhakarma) have been destroyed by knowledge. (Though he continues in the body till the exhaustion of Prarabdhakarma, there is no bondage for him).
The 'dissolution of all objects' in the state of Jivanmukti means only the realization that they have no reality and consequently remaining unaffected by them. In deep sleep also, though the objects are still there, the sleeper is not affected by them. There is similarity in this respect.
The next verse is based on Br. Up. 4.3.32 & 33.
71. Suppose there is a king who is endowed with all accomplishments and prosperity - is in the prime of life, is good, learned, strongly built and most energetic and is the ruler of the whole world full of wealth. The happiness he enjoys can be taken as one unit of happiness. A hundred times this is the happiness of the manes who have won that world by the performance of the prescribed rites. Hundred times that is the happiness of the celestial minstrels. Hundred times that again is the happiness of those who become gods through the performance of the rites prescribed in the Vedas. Hundred times that is the happiness of the gods by birth. Hundred times that is the happiness of Prajapati. Hundred times that is the happiness of Hiranyagarbha. All these joys, which are all derived from sense objects and are limited, form only particles of the bliss of Brahman which is infinite and which alone really exists.
It is actually the bliss of the Self (or Brahman) that manifests as the happiness derived from sense objects. How this is so will be explained in verses 73 and 74.
72. In which bliss of Brahman, the joys of human beings, of the manes, of those who are born in heaven as gods and of those who become gods by the performance of Vedic rituals are all included, on attaining which all desires of all beings are fulfilled and which is the state of liberation because of the dissolution of all the worlds, O supreme Being in the form of the moon, make me eternal and immortal in that Brahman which is pure concentrated bliss. Pour down a torrent of nectar for the Jiva, the lord of the sense organs who is in the Ajna chakra between the two eyebrows - so the Vedas say.
This verse is based on a Rigveda mantra. Though this mantra is in the karma kanda of the Veda, it says, like the upanishads, that all joys of all beings are nothing but the bliss of Brahman.
73. The Self is changeless and is of the nature of supreme bliss. The non-Self or Maya is just the opposite, ever agitated and miserable. The mind, which is the limiting adjunct of the Self, takes on the steadiness and bliss of the Self or the agitation and misery of Maya, depending on the circumstance. When the mind is seized by desire for some object, it remains agitated and the agitation gives rise to misery. When the desired object is attained, the mind becomes calm and steady and then the bliss of the self is experienced. The happiness that comes from sense-objects in this manner continues only as long as the mind remains calm and steady, that is, until the mind is again agitated by some other desire.
When the mind is calm, it reflects the bliss of the Self clearly, just as the moon is reflected clearly in a pond in which the water is calm and clear. Thus the happiness experienced on the fulfillment of any desire is only the reflection of the bliss of the Self in the mind. The happiness is really due to the mind becoming temporarily calm, but it is wrongly attributed by us to the attainment of the object of desire. This happiness continues only as long as another desire does not arise and cause fresh agitation of the mind.
74. The happiness arising from physical union lasts only as long as the mind is absorbed in it, that is, only for a very short period. The happiness enjoyed in the state of deep sleep lasts as long as the deep sleep continues. The happiness in the state of liberation (Jivanmukti) is permanent, because the mind of a Jivanmukta is always calm. It therefore follows that happiness and calmness of mind always go together. From this it is clear that any happiness experienced at any time is only a particle, or a manifestation, of the eternal bliss of the Self and that this happiness manifests itself only when the mind is calm.
75. The mind, becoming fatigued by the activities in the outside world during the waking state, withdraws from all activities and desires to become united with the Self. At this stage the dream state occurs, in which the mind projects various objects, on the strength of the impressions accumulated during the waking state. Then, becoming inclined solely towards the attainment of the Self, it gives up completely all the experiences of the dream state and, becoming quiescent, it gets absolute rest in the Self.
The Jiva goes from the waking state to the dream state and then to the state of deep sleep. The return to the waking state is also through the dream state (see Br, Up. 4.3.15).
The next verse puts forward a possible objection:-
76. During a dream, when the physical body is lying motionless, how can there be the experience of joy, sorrow, etc, by that body? If it is said that a new body which is capable of activity and experience of joys and sorrows comes into existence in the dream, such a contention is not acceptable because the materials for forming a new body are not available there. If, to get over this difficulty, it is claimed that a new body is conjured up by the mind, then the question arises, how is it that the generative fluid discharged as a result of the union with a woman in dream by such a conjured up body, is found on the physical body that has been lying motionless during the dream and is different from the dream body?
This objection is answered in the next verse.
77. When a person sees something frightening in a dream, such as a wild animal or an armed robber about to attack him, he cries out aloud. Sometimes a person talks or laughs in sleep because of some dream. The crying, talking and laughing are done obviously by the physical body. It is clear from this that the individual does not sever connection with the physical body during dream, even though it lies motionless. In the dream the dreamer sees himself as having a body and experiencing and doing various things. All the objects experienced by him in dream are the creations of his own mind, and these are created out of the impressions left by the objects experienced during the waking state.
Vivekachudamani (V.C.) Verse 100 - The dream state is the special state of the subtle body. In this state the buddhi shines by taking the role of the agent, with the vaasanaas (impressions) derived from the waking state. In this state the sense-organs are dormant. Under the influence of ignorance, desire and past action, the mind, possessed of the impressions of the waking state, creates objects.
Br. Up.4.3.10 says - There are no chariots, nor animals to be yoked to them, nor roads there, but the Jiva creates them in this state. There are no joys, delights or raptures in it, but the Jiva creates them.
In dream it is the mind that becomes modified in the form of impressions of external objects, under the stimulation of one's past actions. These actions become possible because of the self-effulgent Atma. The Atma is therefore spoken of as creating the dream objects, though the Atma merely illumines the objects created by the mind.
78. The dream state, which is between the states of waking and deep sleep, is known to all by experience. It is known as the second state. In that state the Jiva withdraws all the sense organs into himself and remains as self-effulgent. The self, the witness of all that is experienced in dream, illumines, by its own light, all that is seen in the dream, which are all created by past impressions. In the dream he sees objects desired by him and goes to desired places, while the physical body lies motionless on the bed.
In the waking state the individual experiences sense-objects through the sense organs such as the eye, ear, etc. In this state also it is only by the light of the Self that the organs are able to perceive objects, but since the organs are also functioning in that state it is difficult for us to realize that it is the light of consciousness of the Self that makes all experiences possible. In dream the sense organs merge in the mind. The mind itself becomes modified as the objects seen in dream. In this state, since there is only the light of the Self, it becomes clear to us that it is only by the light of the Self that everything is experienced. This is why it is stated in this verse that the Self sees everything by its own light. This verse is based on Br. Up. 4.3.9.
The statement in this verse that the Jiva sees desired objects and goes to desired places in dream is meant only to show that those objects and places are mere creations of his own mind and are not real. The implication is that the unpleasant objects and places seen in dream are also equally unreal. In his Bhashya on Br. Up. 4.3.15 Sri Sankara says that the Jiva sees the results of both good and evil, namely, pleasure and pain in dream. Everything seen in dream appears to be real only as long as the dream lasts. Similarly, everything experienced in the waking state is real only till the person wakes up from the sleep of Avidya. Sri Gaudapada says in Mandukya Karika, I.16 - "When the individual, sleeping under the influence of beginningless Maya, is awakened, then he realizes the non-dual (Self) which is beyond birth, sleep and dream". Then he realizes that the things seen in the waking state also have no reality.
79. The Jivatma protects, by means of the vital force, the body which lies as if lifeless on the bed in the dream state, so that it may not become fit only to be eaten by dogs and other animals. The Pranas perform merely the function of breathing in this state. By the power of the vasanas in the mind the Jivatma creates horses, chariots, rivers, ponds, many places of enjoyment, friends, women, sons, well-wishers and servants.
This verse is based on the following mantras of the Br. Up: -
4.3.12- "The effulgent, infinite Being who is immortal and moves alone, protects the worthless nest (the body) with the help of the Pranas and roams about outside it". Though the Jivatma continues to be in the body during dream, it is said to be roaming outside the body because it appears to go to various places during dream.
4.3.10- "In that state there are neither chariots nor animals to be yoked to them, nor roads, but he creates chariots, animals and roads. There are no pleasures, joys or delights, but he creates them. There are no ponds, tanks or rivers, but he creates ponds, tanks and rivers. For he is the doer".
80. In dream the Jiva creates elephants, tigers, thieves, enemies, snakes, monkeys, etc. He sports with women, laughs, enjoys, eats tasty food; or thinks he has become an outcaste and shrinks away in shame from his relations and friends. He runs away, frightened by the sight of tigers and other wild animals and cries out aloud as if he has fallen into the grip of a wild animal.
This verse is based on Br. Up. 4.3.13 which says: - "In dream the effulgent being attains lower and higher states, creates innumerable forms. He sees himself as enjoying the company of women, or laughing, or even seeing frightful sights".
The object of this and the previous verse is to show that what is seen in dream is not real. One may wonder why it is necessary to point out what is known to everyone. There is a reason for this. According to Advaita Vedanta the waking state is similar to the dream state. In both the states the Reality, Brahman, is not known and things which have no reality are experienced and taken to be real. The things seen in dream are found to be false on waking up from sleep. The objects experienced in the waking state are accepted as real only until nescience is removed by Self-knowledge. The establishment of the unreality of dream experiences is the prelude to establishing that the same is the case with the waking state also.
Though the waking and dream states are similar, there is an important difference between them. The difference is pointed out by Sri Sankara in his commentary on Brahma sutra 2.2.29. Sri Sankara rejects the contention of the Buddhists that, just as non-existent objects are experienced in dream, non-existent objects may be experienced in the waking state also. He points out that there is a difference between the dream state and the waking state. The difference consists in the perceptions in dream being sublated immediately afterwards, while those in the waking state are not. To a man who has woken up from sleep the objects perceived in dream never had any existence at all, for he says "I falsely imagined that I was in the company of great men. In fact, I never came in contact with great men; this delusion arose because my mind was overpowered by sleep". But an object seen in the waking state, such as a pillar, is not thus sublated under any condition (until the dawn of Self-knowledge). Moreover, dream vision is a kind of remembrance, whereas the visions of the waking state are forms of perception. The difference between remembrance and perception, consisting in the absence and presence of objects, is well known.
81. When the nacre in front is not known to be such, it is mistaken for silver. The sun's rays falling on sand create the illusion of water. A rope is mistaken for a snake in dim light. These appearances last only for a short time, till the substratum is known. The appearance of silver causes joy and the appearance of the snake gives rise to fear, but all these appearances are clearly false. The silver, water and snake are created only when they are seen. Similarly, the multifarious names and forms which we see appear only because the substratum, the Self, is not known. They also cause such emotions as joy, sorrow and fear. They are created only when they are perceived. They have no real existence apart from the substratum, the Self.
The principle propounded in this verse is known as 'drishti-srishti-vaada' according to which all things are, during the period they are cognized by a person, created by him through his nescience. This is also known as 'ekajivavaada' the 'Theory of Single Jiva'. Sri Madhusudana Sarasvati says in his work 'Siddhantabindu', which is a commentary on Sri Sankara's 'Dasasloki', that this is the pre-eminent Vedantic view. According to this view, the Jiva is the cause of the world by the power of nescience. All objects of perception last only as long as they are perceived. There is only one Jiva. Only when this Jiva attains liberation all Jivas become liberated. The statements about Suka and others having attained liberation is only eulogy or 'Arthavada'.
In this context Sri Sankara's Bhashya on the following verses from Mandukya Karika are relevant:-
II.6. The different things perceived in the waking state are unreal, for the additional reason that they do not exist in the beginning and at the end. A thing, such as a mirage, does not exist in the beginning and at the end; that does not exist even in the middle.
IV. 65-66. The creatures visible to a waking man are non-different from his consciousness, because they are perceived through his consciousness, just like the creatures perceived by the consciousness of a dreamer. And that consciousness, as engaged in the perception of creatures, is non-different from the experiencer, since it is perceived by the experiencer, like the consciousness in the dream state.
IV. 71. It has been said that the birth, death, etc, of creatures within the range of empirical existence are like those of the creatures in dream and that the highest truth is that no creature undergoes birth.
The allegation made by some, that Advaita is only Buddhism in another garb, is refuted by Sri Gaudapada himself in Karika IV.99 where he says, "This view was not expressed by Buddha". This is further explained by Sri Sankara thus: "That the nature of the supreme Reality is free from the differences of knowledge, known and knower and is without a second was not expressed by Buddha; though a near-approach to non-dualism was implied in his negation of external objects and his imagination of everything as mere consciousness. But this non-duality, the essence of the ultimate Reality, is to be known only from the Upanishads".
82. Since I am the substratum for the superimposition of the universe by Maya, this entire universe is brought forth by me. Therefore all these creatures are in me, but I am not in them. Though (illusory) silver appears on nacre, there is no trace of nacre in silver. (The superimposed object appears on the substratum, but we cannot say that the substratum is contained in the superimposed object). But, in reality, these creatures do not dwell in me (because they have no real existence and are only the creation of Maya). So said Lord Krishna, the Guru of the universe. Therefore all the things perceived are only like objects conjured up by magic and so unreal.
This verse is based on Bhagavadgita, 9.4 & 5.
Gita, 9.4: - Here, as everywhere in the Gita, Lord Krishna speaks as Brahman, the Self of all. All creatures are superimposed on Brahman by Maya. They appear to be real only because of the substratum, Brahman, who is the only reality in the absolute sense. It can therefore be said that all beings exist in Brahman. Since Brahman is the self of all beings, it may be thought that Brahman dwells in them. This is denied by the statement, "But I am not contained in them". Brahman, who alone is real, cannot be contained in the world which has only empirical reality. Taking the example of the rope-snake to clarify this point, it can be said that the illusory snake exists in the rope. In fact the snake exists, or appears to exist, only because there is a rope there. But, although it is the rope that appears as the snake, it cannot be said that the rope is contained in the snake, because the snake has no existence at all, while the rope does exist (as an empirical reality). The snake has only illusory or praatibhaasika reality. Similarly, Brahman who is the absolute reality, cannot be contained in the world or in created beings which are not real from the absolute point of view.
Gita, 9.5: - Here the Lord declares that the beings do not exist in him. This appears to be a blatant contradiction of what was said in the preceding verse, namely, that all beings exist in Brahman. This apparent contradiction is due to the fact that the two statements are made from two different standpoints. The statement that all beings exist in Brahman is made from the empirical standpoint, according to which the world and all beings are real. But if we speak from the standpoint of absolute truth, since the world is only a product of Maya and has no existence at all, it would be correct to say that the world does not exist in Brahman. Brahman is, in reality, not at all connected with the things created by Maya, just as the dreamer is not, in reality, connected with the things seen in dream.
83. The ignorant, deluded man, not realizing that his own past Karma is the cause of his joys and sorrows, wrongly believes that his friends are the source of his joys and his enemies the source of his sorrows. To remove this wrong notion, the sages Yajnavalkya and Artabhaga declared in the palace of King Janaka that a person's Karma alone is the cause of his joys and sorrows and of repeated births. They praised the power of Karma. Lord Krishna, the great ornament of the Yadava race, has said in the Gita that no one can remain inactive even for a moment.
This verse is based on Br. Up. 3.2.13 and Gita 3.5.
84. For cutting a tree, an axe is the instrument, but it has to be lifted up by a human hand and brought down with force on the tree, which means that it is the action of a sentient being that cuts the tree. Food no doubt satisfies hunger, but only if it is put into the mouth and swallowed by the eater. Similarly, though the accumulated result of good and bad actions of past lives is the cause of a person experiencing joys and sorrows, the actions themselves are not capable of giving the results, since they are insentient and come to an end as soon as they are completed. It is the Lord, who is the indwelling Self and inner controller of all, who dispenses the results of past actions.
Reference may be made here to Brahma sutra 3.2.38. There the view of the Mimamsakas that Karma itself gives its fruits and that it is not necessary to postulate a God for this purpose is refuted. Only a sentient being can perform any action. Karma which is insentient cannot.
85. Various obligatory rites as well as optional rites for the fulfillment of specific desires are laid down for the different castes and stages of life by the Smritis (Dharma Sastras). The Vedas (and the Gita) declare that if these rites are performed as an offering to Brahman (without desire for the fruit), they confer very attractive results in the form of purity of mind, which is the essential pre-requisite for the attainment of Self-realization. Just as an individual can be pleased by the offer of something which pleases his organs of sense and action and a tree is nourished by pouring water at the root, the supreme Lord is pleased along with all the various deities by the offering of all actions to the Lord.
In the first example above, it is shown that by pleasing a part, the whole is pleased. In the second example all the parts, such as the branches, leaves and fruits are pleased by pleasing the whole. From these two examples the following conclusions are reached:- (1) by propitiating the supreme Lord, all the deities such as Indra, Varuna, etc are propitiated and (2) the worship of any such deity is actually the worship of the supreme Lord and it is He who confers the result through that deity, as the Lord says in Gita, 7.21, 22 and 9.23.
In Br. Up. 4.4.22 it is said - The seekers of Brahman wish to realize Brahman through the study of the Vedas, performance of sacrifices, charity and austerity. This is what has been elaborated as Karmayoga in the Gita. Sri Sankara says in his Introduction to the Gita - "That Dharma, characterized by action and laid down for the various castes and stages of life, though meant for attaining various results such as prosperity in this world and enjoyment in higher worlds after death, yet, when performed as an offering to God and without craving for the fruit, results in purification of the mind. And the purified mind is the cause even for liberation, by becoming the means for the attainment of fitness for rise of knowledge".
86. A person who has acquired considerable punya (religious merit) by studying the Vedas and performing the rites laid down, but dies without knowing the Self (even mediately), will have all his merit exhausted after a brief period of enjoyment in heaven. He will then be born again on the earth and will become subject to suffering. But a person who has acquired mediate (paroksha) knowledge of the Self and is striving for realization will enjoy great happiness in the higher worlds for a long time even if he has not become free from desires and dies before actual direct realization of the Self. And a person who has become totally free from desires attains supreme bliss on actually realizing the Self. One should therefore meditate on the Self alone and strive for direct realization.
This verse is based on Br. Up. 1.4.15 - If one departs from this world without realizing the Self, the Self will not protect him, just as the Vedas, if not studied, or any other work, not performed, do not help. Even if such a person has acquired plenty of merit in the world, that merit will certainly be exhausted. One should therefore meditate only on the Self. The merit earned by good deeds by one who meditates on the Self is never exhausted.
Gita, ch.6.40 to 45 say that a person who strives to realize the Self, but dies before actual realization will enjoy for long years in higher worlds and will ultimately get liberation after being born on the earth again.
87. It is not by the light of the sun or moon or fire alone that objects become visible to us. The light of the sun, moon or fire cannot by itself make even the sun, moon or fire perceptible to us. These luminaries are seen by us only when the Self or Consciousness functions through the eyes. (We cannot see the sun even in daytime if we close our eyes. We do not see the moon or fire when we are asleep). It therefore follows that it is only by the light of the Self that even the sun, moon and fire are seen. The eyes, ears and other sense organs are able to see, hear, etc, only by the light of the Self. Thus the Self is the only light for all.
This is based on Br. Up. 4.3.6 which says - 'When the sun and moon have both set, the fire has gone out and speech has stopped, it is through the light of the Self (Atma) that a person sits, goes out, works and returns'.
Even the sun, moon and fire shine only because of the Atma which is in them as the Internal Ruler. Br. Up. 3.7.9 says - 'He who inhabits the sun, who is within it, whom the sun does not know, whose body is the sun and who controls the sun from within, is the Internal Ruler, your immortal Self'. There are similar statements about the moon, fire, etc.
88. The Jiva (individual) drinks water and eats food with the help of the Prana or vital force. This Prana has five different names according to the five functions performed by it. These are, Prana, Apana, Vyana, Samana and Udana. The digestive fire in the stomach, known as Vaisvanara, strengthened by Prana (in its aspect known as Samana) digests the food slowly or quickly. Vyana distributes the essence of the digested food to all the organs. The foul-smelling waste matter is thrown out of the body by Apana.
Though the various aspects of Prana are said to be performing these functions, it is really the Atma which gives them the power to do so. See Gita, ch.15.14 - "Taking the form of Vaisvanara and dwelling in the bodies of all creatures, I, in association with Prana and Apana, digest the four kinds of food (those masticated, those swallowed, those sucked and those licked)".
The functions of the five divisions of Prana are explained in Prasnopanishad, III.
89. Prana, the vital force, which is the ruler of all the organs and gives them the power to perform their activities, has five different names, namely, Prana, Apana, Vyana, Samana and Udana, according to the five different activities performed. This Prana, which is well established in each body is able to perform all these activities only because of the presence of Brahman or the Self who is pure consciousness. This Brahman is therefore called the Prana of Prana, in the sense that it is what enables the Prana to perform its activities. It is also the eye of the eye, because it is only because of the presence of the Self that the eye is able to see. Similarly all the other organs of sense and action get the power to perform their respective activities only because of the presence of the Self. At the same time, the Self is a mere witness of the activities of all the organs. It does not itself either act or make the organs act, because it is actionless. I am this Self (and not the mind, organs or physical body).
Though Prana is the 'kriyasakti' or the activating power, it is by itself insentient and gets sentiency only from the Self. Kathopanishad, 2.2.5 says - No mortal being lives by Prana or Apana; but all live by something else on which these two depend. (This something else is the Self).
Kenopanishad, 1.2 says - He (the Self) is the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind, the speech of speech, the Prana of Prana, the eye of the eye; therefore wise men, after giving up identification with the senses and renouncing the notions of 'I' and 'mine', become immortal.
90. It is by the light of that one and only pure consciousness (Brahman) that the earth, water, air, sun, moon and everything else, each of which has its own form, ways and characteristics, shines. They all owe their existence to that Brahman. Can even innumerable flashes of lightning, fires or clusters of stars illumine that supreme ruler of all, who is not born when bodies are born during creation or even at the beginning of a new cycle of creation, who is immortal, is eternal, is calm because of being untouched by any attachments, aversions and the like, is beyond the limitations of time, space and objects, is omniscient and self-effulgent?
This is based on Mundakopanishad, 2.2.10 - The sun does not illumine it, nor the moon, or the stars; nor do flashes of lightning illumine it, what to say of fire? Everything shines in consequence of that alone.
In Br. su. 2.3.16 it is held - "The mention of both birth and death of the Jiva applies in the primary sense only to the bodies (of the embodied beings who are born and die during the existence of the universe)". In 2.3.17 it is held that even at the beginning of a new cycle of creation after a Pralaya, when the elements such as space, air, etc are born from Brahman, the Jiva is not born, because the Jiva, being the same as Brahman, is eternal.
91. If to any person, whoever he may be, the realization "I am Brahman" has arisen as a direct experience as a result of the nectar-like glance full of matchless compassion of a Sadguru who is a realized soul, then such a person is a Jivanmukta for whom all doubts have ceased to exist and whose mind is free from all delusion. (He continues to live in the body till his Prarabdhakarma is exhausted). Then, when his limiting adjunct (Upadhi) in the form of the body-mind complex ceases to exist (on the fall of the body), he attains the supreme, eternal, sole abode of bliss, Brahman and becomes a Videhamukta.
See Mundakopanishad, 2.2.8 - When that Self is realized, the knot of the heart is cut asunder, all doubts are resolved and all karma (except Prarabdha) are destroyed.
92. I am not the body, nor the organs of sense and action, nor the extremely fickle, perishable mind, nor even the intellect, nor the vital force; how can I be this mass of absolutely inert objects? I am not the ego; I am far from identifying myself with my wife, house, son, relations, field, wealth, etc. I am the mere uninvolved witness of all these, the pure consciousness, the innermost Self which is the substratum of the entire universe and is most auspicious (free from all contact with the effects of Maya).
The Jivanmukta is free from identification with the body, mind, intellect, organs, prana or even the ego, much more so with wife, son, possessions, etc. The ordinary unenlightened person identifies himself with all these and attributes all their joys and sorrows to himself.
93. All the things in this world which are of different colours such as blue, yellow, etc (and of different forms) are objects seen by the eye. The forms and colours are of many kinds, but the eye that sees them is of one kind only. The eye is thus the seer and the objects are the seen. But the eye itself becomes a seen object for the mind which sees (knows) the eye. The mind with all its modifications in the form of various objects becomes an object of perception for the Self which is the witness of all and is ever the seer. The Self never becomes an object of perception. It is ever the subject.
The Jivanmukta is one who has realized that he is this Self.
94. Because of ignorance of the fact that the object in front is a rope, it appears as a snake. Similarly, because of ignorance of one's real nature, the Self appears as a very miserable Jiva (limited individual). When the delusion that it is a snake is removed by the words of a well-wisher (who asserts that it is only a rope), it is found to be only a known rope. So also, I realize from the words of my Guru that I am not a Jiva at all, but the immutable witness of all, who is bliss itself.
95. (This is in the form of a dialogue between the Guru and his disciple).
Guru: Tell me, what is the light for you in this world?
Disciple: During the daytime it is the light of the sun. At night it is the light of the moon and lamps.
Guru: What is it that enables you to see the sun, moon, lamps, etc?
Disciple: It is the eye.
Guru: When your eye is closed, what is the light for you?
Disciple: It is the intellect, which is very bright and capable of knowing everything.
Guru: What illumines the intellect (and gives it the capacity to know)?
Disciple: I myself.
Guru: Therefore you are that Self who illumines all.
Disciple: O Guru, I myself am that supreme light (Brahman).
This verse is based on Br. Up. 4.3.2 to 4.3.6. It was pointed out in verse 89 that all the organs function only because of the Self. In verse 90 it was said that the sun, moon, etc, shine only because of the presence of Brahman. In the present verse the same truths are brought out step by step. Even when the sun, moon or lamp is present, it is only the light of the Self that illumines everything, but this is not realized. The sun, moon, eye and the intellect are able to illumine all things only because of the Self. Ultimately, the only light is the Self or Brahman. The Jiva is in reality this Brahman.
96. The Jivanmukta continues to live on this earth until his Prarabdhakarma is exhausted. But, during this period, he does not at all identify himself with his body-mind complex. He is not affected by the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, honour and dishonour, success and failure and the like. He is ever pure, free from the conceit of 'I' and 'mine', ever contented, with his mind firmly fixed in contemplation of the Self, the very incarnation of the supreme bliss of Brahman, and is totally free from delusion. He performs all his daily activities happily, in an indescribable manner, his mind being always free from attachment.
97. When the incomparable, purifying realization of his identity with Brahman, which is of the nature of pure consciousness itself, arises firmly in the mind of any person, the idea of difference between the Jivatma and Brahman, which he harboured till then, gets destroyed immediately. By that realization Maya, which is the cause of transmigration, is also destroyed for him. Thereafter, even if Maya exists (for others), it cannot cause any bondage for him because of the strength of his realization of his real nature as identical with Brahman.
98. After sucking the juice of a fruit such as a mango, a man throws away the rest of the fruit, even though it is still very fragrant. Similarly, the Jivanmukta, who has realized, through the scriptures, that this universe has no ultimate reality, ceases to look upon it as real and becomes fully absorbed in Brahman which is Existence, Pure Consciousness, non-dual, immortal and Bliss itself. Having become self-effulgent (because of the realization of identity with the self-effulgent Brahman) and absolutely calm in mind and having realized, with a discriminating mind, that this entire universe is insubstantial, he gives up all attachment to the world.
99. When that Brahman, which is pure consciousness itself, which is untainted by the three gunas, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, which is indicated by the words 'That thou art' and other Mahavakyas, which is immutable, which does not come within the scope of the injunctions of the Vedas and which cannot even be conceived of by the mind, which is the indwelling self of all, the supreme Lord and ruler of all, is realized by a person as his own self, then, immediately, all the accumulated results of his past action (karma) are destroyed. The knot of the heart, by which the Atma and the body-mind complex are bound together, is cut asunder. All his doubts, which are the cause of his repeated births and deaths, are resolved.
This verse is based on Mundakopanishad, 2.2.8 - When that Self, which is both high, as the cause and low as the effect, is realized as "I am this", then the knot of the heart is cut, all doubts are dispelled and all accumulated karma is destroyed.
100. The wise man should understand that the tree of transmigration has his past karma as the root, desire, anger, etc as branches, delusion, pride, joy, grief, etc as its many leaves, gives only repeated birth and death as the fruits, has sons, animals, wife, daughters, etc as the birds living in it and is very vast in size. Knowing the real nature of this tree at its beginning, middle and end, namely that it is perishable, he should cut it down with the sword of detachment. He should always concentrate his mind in meditation on Lord Vasudeva, the indweller of all beings.
This verse summarises ch.15 of the Bhagavadgita.
101. This entire universe was born from me, it is sustained by me and it finally merges in me. I am that Brahman, by the mere remembrance of whom all auspicious acts such as sacrifices, even when deficiently performed, attain completeness and yield the desired results. I most happily prostrate before that changeless supreme Lord.
This is the experience of the Jivanmukta. Having realized his identity with Brahman, he sees the whole universe as superimposed on him. This verse is similar to Kaivalyopanishad, 19.