Amrita Bindu Upanishad

Amrita Bindu Upanishad

Vishnu Bapat

Write something worth reading

Or do something worth writing

-Benjamin Franklin

॥ अम्रुतबिन्दु उपनिशद् ||

Amrita Bindu Upanishad

Scheme of discussion

 Particulars Verses
1.Free the mind of desires  1-3
2.Contemplation of Brahman verses4-6
3.Technique of Meditation7
4.Nature of Brahman8-11
5.Unity of Jiva and Ishwara12-15
6.How to reach God without attributes .16-17
7Role of scriptures18-19


शान्ति मन्त्र


ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः शृणुयाम देवाः भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः।

स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवांसस्तनूभिर्व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः।

स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः।

स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्योऽरिष्टनेमिः स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु।

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः।

॥ हरिः ॐ ॥  

om bhadraṁ karṇebhiḥ śṛṇuyāma devāḥ bhadraṁ paśyemākṣabhiryajatrāḥ 

sthirairaṅgaistuṣṭuvāṁsastanūbhirvyaśema devahitaṁ yadāyuḥ |svasti na indro vṛddhaśravāḥ svasti naḥ pūṣā viśvavedāḥ |svasti nastārkṣyo’riṣṭanemiḥ svasti no bṛhaspatirdadhātu |

om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ |

॥  hariḥ om ||

ॐ भद्रम् कर्णेभिः शृणुयाम देवाः भद्रम् पश्येम अक्षभिः यजत्राः स्थिरैः अङ्गैः  तुष्टुवाङ् सः तनूभिः र्व्यशेम देवहितम् यदायुः स्वस्ति नः इन्द्रः वृद्धश्रवाः स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः स्वस्ति नः तार्क्ष्य:  अरिष्टनेमिः स्वस्ति नः बृहस्पति दधातु

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः 

ōm̐ bhadram karṇēbhiḥ śr̥ṇuyāma dēvāḥ bhadram paśyēma akṣabhiḥ yajatrāḥ sthiraiḥ aṅgaiḥ  tuṣṭuvāṅ saḥ tanūbhiḥ rvyaśēma dēvahitam yadāyuḥ svasti naḥ indraḥ vr̥ddhaśravāḥ svasti naḥ pūṣā viśvavēdāḥ svasti naḥ tārkṣya:  ariṣṭanēmiḥ svasti naḥ br̥haspati dadhātu ōm̐ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ 

ॐ – Om symbol of supremeभद्रम्- auspicious कर्णेभिः- with ears शृणुयाम- may we hear देवाः- cosmic deities भद्रम्- auspicious पश्येम- may we see अक्षभिः- by our eyes यजत्राः- Oh worshipful ones स्थिरैः- strong  अङ्गैः- limbs  तुष्टुवाङ् सः – may we enjoy  तनूभिः- by the body र्व्यशेम- may we live offering praise देवहितम्- for the benefit of the God/deities यदायुः- for the span of life स्वस्ति– auspiciousness, welfare, safety नः- to us इन्द्रः-Indra वृद्धश्रवाः-ancient and famous श्रव is glory स्वस्ति- bless, well being नः-us पूषा-O sun सर्व पॊशण कर्ता  विश्ववेदाः-one who understands the world स्वस्ति-bless, well being नः-us तार्क्ष्य:- Lord of swift motion (Garuda) अरिष्टनेमिः-remover of obstacles स्वस्ति – bless, well being नः-to us ब्रहस्पतिः -the teacher of Gods, literally the great Lord दधातु-let them give us ॐ – Om or Brahman शान्तिः- peace शान्तिः- peace शान्तिः– peace 

Let us hear good things through our ears, see good things through our eyes, and may we enjoy our life allotted to us with strong bodies ,  offering praise to the Gods. May the God Indra, the ancient and famous bless us!  May the Sun who understands the world bless us!  

May Garuda the lord of swift motion and remover of obstacles bless us! May Brahaspati, the protector of spiritual wealth bless us! Let there be peace, peace, peace! 

This is Shanti mantra of Atharva Veda.

तनूभिः- This is plural meaning by our bodies, 3 bodies gross, subtle and causative. It may also means by the bodies of all of us. 

सु अस्ति su asti- su is good the highest supreme सर्व पॊशण कर्ता

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः –

This mantra reminds us of the pictorial maxim of three wise monkeys of Japan, who advocated see, no evil, do no evil and hear no evil. Mahatma Gandhi kept with him a small replica of this picture. 


The title of the Upanishad is Amrita bindu. Amrita means immortal. Mortality is the signature of matter. They are perishable at different dates.  Immortality spoken here is not for the body but for the atman. The word Bindu has three meanings, one, a point, two a nada or reverberation of the word Om and the third meaning of bindu is a drop which grants immortality like ambrosia of Greek literature. But here the emphasis in the Upanishad is on the mind rather than a physical liquid of amrita. This Upanishad emphasizes the practice of vocal recitation of Om syllable and becoming aware of the non-vocal silence, gradually dropping the vocal sound.    

Upanishads are the conclusive thoughts of Vedas. Upanishads are usually classified into two Major and minor. Major and minor do not refer to their contents. Major are ones for which the acharyas have written commentaries. They are ten in number. Others are minor not commented upon by the Acharyas. Upanishads are in the form of discussion between students and a teacher. 

Verse 1

Free the mind of desires ………………………………….. Verses 1 to 3

मनो हि द्विविधं प्रोक्तं शुद्धं चाशुद्धमेव च।

अशुद्धं कामसंकल्पं शुद्धं कामविवर्जितम्‌॥ १॥

manō hi dvividhaṁ prōktaṁ śuddhaṁ cāśuddhamēva ca|

aśuddhaṁ kāmasaṁkalpaṁ śuddhaṁ kāmavivarjitam–|| 1||

मन: हि द्विविधम् प्रोक्तम् शुद्धम् च अशुद्धम् एव च अशुद्धम् कामसंकल्पम् शुद्धम् कामविवर्जितम्‌  

mana: hi dvividham prōktam śuddham ca aśuddham ēva ca aśuddham kāmasaṁkalpam śuddham kāmavivarjitam–  

मनः -mind हि- indeed द्विविधम्-two types प्रोक्तम्-is said to be two kinds or aspects शुद्धम्-pure च-and  अशुद्धम्-impure एव-only च-and अशुद्धम् मनः -the impure mind  कामसंकल्पम्-is possessed of desires and  शुद्धम् मनः-  pure mind कामविवर्जितम्‌- is free from desires.  

The mind is said to be of two kinds: pure and impure. Impure mind is possessed of thoughts and desires where as pure mind is devoid of thoughts and desires.  

What is mind or manas? It is a continuous flow of thoughts about objects and events. It comes from the root ‘man’—to think. मनुते इति मनः manutē iti manaḥ

Tattva bodha defines the mind as of wavering nature or proposing and disposing thoughts. संकल्प-विकल्पात्मकम् मनः  (saṁkalpa-vikalpātmakam manaḥ)

The objects cannot be separated from mind and the mind cannot be freed from the objects. They are interdependent. The objects and events cause attachment.  Hamsa Gita says a realized person goes beyond the realm of both these conditioning of the mind.

मन: हि द्विविधम् प्रोक्तम् शुद्धम् च अशुद्धम् एव च mana: hi dvividham prōktam śuddham ca aśuddham ēva ca – The mind is described as two types, pure and impure

अशुद्धम् कामसंकल्पम् aśuddham kāmasaṁkalpam – Impure mind is possessed of desire; as the thoughts, so the mind.  If the thoughts are pure, noble, and dharmik, the mind becomes pure. If the thoughts are with stress, agitation, violence, dejection and negative   attitude, the mind becomes impure. Impure mind manifests rajas and tamas. It shows restlessness. Desire is signature of incompleteness. Kalpana means forming, imaging, designing; sankalpa means rooted or based on some idea. Therefore kāmasaṁkalpam refers to desire based activity.

शुद्धम् कामविवर्जितम्‌ śuddham kāmavivarjitam  –  The pure mind is free from desires. So desire is the fulcrum on which rests the purity of mind. “A pure mind is contented, cheerful, peaceful and happy. It is steady, attentive and calm. An impure mind like a river in spate is constantly agitated, restless, stormy, distracted and vile”. (Swami Tejomayananda). Pure mind manifests sattva.

Pure mind is free from desires and sankalpa. It entertains no wish for any acquisition like power, prosperity, and pleasure. So it remains free from stress and remains focused on God.

There is a storey of a king and beggar. A king returned to his palace after his hunting expedition. He saw a beggar at the gates of the palace. He asked him, “What do you want?” The beggar said can you really fulfill my desire. The king got offended and said, “Is there anything that I cannot grant to you”? “In that case, the beggar continued ‘Fill this bowl with something”. The king ordered to fill up the bowl with gold coins. What a surprise!  The moment it was poured into the bowl it disappeared. The bowl became empty. More and more was brought in, and all that disappeared. The staff of the palace and the people of the town gathered around to see the miracle. The king’s prestige was at stake. He did not mind losing all his possessions. The begging bowl seemed to have a bottomless pit. It was evening by this time and the king was exhausted and stood defeated. He fell at the feet of the beggar and accepted the defeat. He asked him; please tell me what this bowl is made of. The beggar laughed and said “it is made of desire of human mind”. 

This understanding transforms our life. Go into one desire, understand its mechanism. First there is so much fun and excitement in acquiring it. There is a great kick. You celebrate your success. Then what happens? When one desire is achieved there is another one to be accomplished. Your mind has dematerialized. The car is standing in the drive. You are living in your haveli (castle). There is money in your bank account. Your desires are acquired. Then what? There is no excitement. The pleasures start giving a diminishing return. Excitement disappears. Again there is emptiness before you to eat you up. Then you create another desire, another project; that is how one remains a beggar. The day you understand that desire brings your fall, then comes the turning point in your life. The journey is inwards. Move inwards, come back home. 

Verse 2

मन एव मनुष्याणां कारणं बन्धमोक्षयोः।

बन्धाय विषयासक्तं मुक्तं निर्विषयं स्मृतम्‌॥ २॥

mana eva manuṣyāṇāṁ kāraṇaṁ bandhamokṣayoḥ |

bandhāya piṣyāsaktaṁ muktaṁ nirviṣayaṁ smṛtam || 2||

मनः एव मनुष्याणाम् कारणम् बन्धमोक्षयोः बन्धाय विषयासक्तम् मुक्तम्  निर्विषयम् स्मृतम्‌   

mana ēva manuṣyāṇāṁ kāraṇaṁ bandhamōkṣayōḥ| 

bandhāya viṣayāsaktaṁ muktaṁ nirviṣayaṁ smrtam–|| 2||

मनः-the mind  एव-only मनुष्याणाम्-for human beings कारणम्-cause बन्धमोक्षयोः-of bondage and liberation  बन्धाय-for bondage विषयासक्तम्- attachment to sense objects मुक्तम्- free from bondage is the one निर्विषयम्-  devoid of desires to sense objects स्मृतम्‌-  is understood.  

Mind alone is the cause of people’s bondage and liberation. When the mind is attached to objects it causes bondage and when free from objects it causes liberation.  

मनः एव मनुष्याणाम् कारणम् बन्धमोक्षयोः  mana ēva manuṣyāṇāṁ kāraṇaṁ bandhamōkṣayōḥ| – Mind is the cause of bondage and liberation. Happiness or melancholy is experienced in the mind or antahkarana irrespective of its cause. Similarly bondage or liberation is also experienced in the mind. So mind is the seat of bondage or liberation. Since mind has shuddha and ashudda aspects, it becomes cause for happiness as well as unhappiness. We have seen in the first verse that mind attached to desire (kāma sankalpam) is impure. Mind free from desire is pure. Mind can be both lock and the key i.e., Bondage or liberation

बन्धाय विषयासक्तम् मुक्तम्  निर्विषयम् स्मृतम्‌  bandhāya viṣayāsaktaṁ muktaṁ nirviṣayaṁ smrtam – How does the mind get bound to objects? Mind attached to the objects (kāma sankalpam) becomes cause for bondage. First it gets a sankalpa or intention to do a work. With fulfilment of desire (kāma) next comes moha (infatuation, folly, delusion). That there is joy in the objects is called moha. When kama (desire) is unfulfilled one gets krodha or anger.  Then comes mada or pride or arrogance. If moha is not fulfilled it becocmes मात्सर्य  mātsarya or jeoulousy. So the starting point is sankapla or inention. Each of the points is vishayasakti or attachment to joy derived from sense objects. Vishaya means sense object. Attachment to the objects makes us dependent on them. We try to posses them. Then we are afraid of losing them. We become jealous if some one else owns the same or a better model of it. There are five senses or indriyas.  Indriya means an organ of sense. There are five sense objects. These are śabda sparśa rūpa rasa and gandha (शब्द स्पर्श रूप रस गन्ध). Shabda or sound is the object for for the ear (shurti Vishaya); Sparsha or tangibility for the skin, Rupa or color for the eye, rasa or savor for the tongue, and gandha or odor for the nose.  

The object (Vishaya) may be a physical object, a person, place, thing or quality. It could also be abstracts like pleasure, emotion, ideology, concept or opinion. Then how to get rid of this attachment to sense objects? Ashtavakra Gita says, “मुक्तिम् इच्चसि चेत् तात विषयान् विषवत् त्यजेत्” muktim iccasi cēt tāta viṣayān viṣavat tyajēt” My dear, Reject the sense objects (viṣayān) just as you would reject (tyajēt) poison (viṣavat). For example, if you want to kick the butt you have to have will power(sankalpam) not to touch cigarette.  

A mind which is free from all objects of attachment is said to be pure one. It does not entertain the idea that happiness is in the object.

There is a storey of a young woman. She lost her husband in an untimely accident. After attending the funeral she came back home and wanted to rest because she was distressed and disturbed. In the meanwhile she decided to check her mails for any condolences. The first one was from her husband which said, “My dear, I have reached this place safely. They have made all arrangements for me.  I have a beautiful air-conditioned room overlooking the sea. Food and services are good. I very much miss you. I shall meet you here tomorrow morning”. Reading this, the wife became more agitated and did not get a wink of sleep. Early in the morning she spoke about this incident to her best friend who arrived at her house and checked the mail. Yes what she said was correct. E mail ID was correct but the name of sender was different! Both of them decided to check with the sender what did he mean. The sender profusely apologized with them and said that he had typed wrong mail ID. 

Now look at the change of situations. Earlier she was distressed but now she is relieved. What made the change? Her mind! So mind is the cause of happiness and sadness. (mana ēva manuṣyāṇāṁ kāraṇaṁ bandhamōkṣayōḥ; mind alone is the cause of people’s bondage and liberation. When the mind is attached to objects it causes bondage and when free from objects it causes liberation).  

Verse 3

यतो निर्विष्यस्यास्य मनसो मुक्तिरिष्यते।

अतो निर्विषयं नित्यं मनः कार्यं मुमुक्षुणा॥ ३॥

yato nirviṣyasyāsya manaso muktiriṣyate |

ato nirviṣayaṁ nityaṁ manaḥ kāryaṁ mumukṣuṇā || 3||

यतः निर्विष्यस्यस्य अस्य मनसः मुक्तिः इष्यते अतः निर्विषयम् नित्यम् मनः कार्यम् मुमुक्षुणा  

yataḥ nirviṣyasyasya asya manasaḥ muktiḥ iṣyatē ataḥ nirviṣayam nityam manaḥ kāryam mumukṣuṇā  

यतः- since निर्विष्यस्यस्य अस्य-of the one free from sense objects मनसः-mind मुक्तिः-freedom      इष्यते-enters अतः-therefore निर्विषयम्-freedom from desires of sense objects नित्यम्-always मनः-the mind कार्यम्-is to be practiced मुमुक्षुणा-by the seekers of liberation   

When the mind is free from objects it becomes liberated. Therefore a seeker of liberation should always strive to free his mind from objects.  

 यतः निर्विष्यस्यस्य अस्य मनसः मुक्तिः इष्यते yataḥ nirviṣyasyasya asya manasaḥ muktiḥ iṣyatē – when the mind is free from attachment to objects it gets free. Freedom from attachment automatically entails freedom from संकल्प saṁkalpa काम kāma क्रोध krōdha मोह mōha मद mada and मात्सर्य mātsarya. The key for freedom is to desist from desires. Such a mind becomes pure and sattvik, the cycle of consequences that follow from desire kāma to mātsarya is avoided. A treatment becomes successful when the cause is avoided. 

Such a mind becomes fertile ground to practice all the sadhanas of discrimination, dispassion, desire for liberation and the six fold disciplines of शमः control of mind, दमः control of sense organs, उपरमः – introspection, तितीक्षा –forbearance, श्रद्धा- faith, and समाधानम् concentration. (śamaḥ, damaḥ uparamaḥ titīkṣā  śraddhā samādhānam) 

अतः निर्विषयम् नित्यम् मनः कार्यम् मुमुक्षुणा ataḥ nirviṣayam nityam manaḥ kāryam mumukṣuṇā  

Therefore a seeker of liberation should always strive to free his mind from attachment sense objects.  In simple words, one should detach from the finite objects of the world and attach himself to the infinite truth.

Verse 4

Contemplation of Brahman ……………………………….Verses 4 to 6

निरस्तनिषयासङ्गं संनिरुद्धं मनो हृदि।

यदाऽऽयात्यात्मनो भावं तदा तत्परमं पदम्‌॥ ४॥

nirastaniṣayāsaṅgaṁ saṁniruddhaṁ mano hṛdi |

yadā”yātyātmano bhāvaṁ tadā tatparamaṁ padam || 4||

निरस्त निषयासङ्गं संनिरुद्धम् मनः हृदि यदा आयति आत्मनः भावम् तदा तत् परमम् पदम्‌   

nirasta niṣayāsaṅgaṁ saṁniruddham manaḥ hrdi yadā āyati ātmanaḥ bhāvam tadā tat paramam padam   

निरस्त- having renounced  निषयासङ्गं- attachment to sense objects संनिरुद्धम्-well restrained मनः-mind  हृदि-in the heart  यदा- when आयति-he obtains आत्मनः-his own (self) भावम्-nature, state तदा-then तत् -it attains  ‘that’ परमम्-supreme पदम्‌-abode    

 When the mind having renounced attachment to sense objects abides in the heart; it attains its own nature of self, the supreme goal. 

निरस्त निषयासङ्गं संनिरुद्धम् मनः हृदि nirasta niayāsaga saniruddham mana hrdi – having given up attraction to objects, and the mind being well controlled in the heart. As we have said earlier, sankalpa or will power brings in its wake a host of emotions such as काम क्रोध, लोभ मोह मद and मात्सर्य (kāma krōdha, lōbha mōha mada mātsarya). All these are generated by sankalpa and therefore it becomes clear that desire or sankalpa has to be totally blocked. Otherwise the mind cannot sync with the thought of Aham Brahma asmi. 

यदा आयति आत्मनः भावम् yadā āyati ātmana bhāvam  Then it attains its true nature (ātmanaḥ bhāvam) or the essence of Aham Brahma asmi. For attaining the supreme consciousness effortlessly, we need to put in effort. Effortless thought of I am Brahman is my true nature. We go to sleep first with some effort then without any effort we put our thoughts to an end. This results into sleep. Similarly in the seat of meditation, the seeker puts in effort by disciplining the mind and body and effortlessly enters the stage of identity with supreme consciousness.

तदा तत् परमम् पदम्‌  tadā tat paramam padam–then comes effortlessly that supreme state. When this happens (tadā) meaning when we are able to identify with our true nature of atman, the supreme state is reached. This state of completeness is free from any form of limitations. Such a person goes beyond the limitations of देश, काल वस्तु (dēśa, kāla vastu), space, time and object.

Verse 5

तावदेव निरोद्धव्यं यावत्  ह्रुदि  गतं क्षयम्‌।

एतज्ज्ञानं च ध्यानं च शेषो न्यायश्च विस्तरः॥ ५॥

tāvadēva nirōddhavyaṁ yāvat  hrudi gataṁ kṣayam–|

ētajjñānaṁ ca dhyānaṁ ca śēṣō nyāyaśca vistaraḥ|| 5||

तावत् एव निरोद्धव्यम् यावत् ह्रुदि  गतम् क्षयम्‌ एतत्  ज्ञानम् च  ध्यानम् च शेषः न्यायः च  विस्तरः 

tāvat ēva nirōddhavyam yāvat hrudi  gatam kṣayam– ētat  jñānam ca  dhyānam ca śēṣaḥ nyāyaḥ ca  vistaraḥ 

तावत्-so long as एव- only निरोद्धव्यम्- should be restrained यावत्- thus long ह्रुदि-  in the heart-  गतम् क्षयम्‌- gets dissolved एतत्- this ज्ञानम्- knowledge च- and  ध्यानम्- meditation च- also शेषः- the rest न्यायः- logic च- and  विस्तरः- elaboration  

The mind should be restrained till it resolves in the heart. This is the wisdom and meditation. The rest is mere logic and verbal elaboration. 

तावत् एव निरोद्धव्यम् tāvat ēva nirōddhavyam –  

 The mind has to be controlled till it gets dissolved in the core of the personality or in the heart that means it becomes subtle.  As long as the mind does not dissolve into reality, or it maintains its separate identity, you must put in efforts. The following are the obstacles in our endeavor to restrain the mind. These are four in number.

1. लय, laya: going to sleep. 

2. विक्षेप vikṣēpa: distraction by the objects of attachment 

3. कषाय kaṣāya: dirt in the form of vasanas. 

4. रसास्वाद rasāsvāda enjoying the quititude.  

यावत् ह्रदि गतम् क्षयम्‌ yāvat hrudi  gatam kayam – till the mind dissolves into the heart or the core of your personality. In practical terms what is the meaning of mind dissolving into the heart? This has been explained well in Bhagavad Gita chapter 4 Verse 27 as आत्म संयम योग ātma saṁyama yōga -the yoga of self restraint; the path of discrimination; the method of controlling the ego by better understanding (discrimination) of divine reality. This boils down to the question “Who I am” At first we ask “Who walks” when my body walks. “Who is that is eating”, “Who really is breathing” “Who thinks”, and “Who is asking these questions”And finally again “Who am I”?

This is the approach of jnana yajnya (the path of discrimination) is the one that everyone should include in his sadhana (spiritual Practice). Watch you eating, walking, breathing, conversing, and thinking. Stand mentally aside from your own body and mind. Become the silent observer of your own self. Gradually you will feel inwardly detached, and you will accept that you are another reality entirely; the divine soul.

एतत्  ज्ञानम् च  ध्यानम् च शेषः न्यायः च  विस्तरः  This (what has been explained right now) is knowledge and meditation;  the rest is mere logic and verbal elaboration. This is culmination or fulfillment of jnyana and dhyana. 

Verse 6  

नैव चिन्त्यं न चाचिन्त्यं न चिन्त्यं चिन्त्यमेव तत् ।

पक्षपातविनिर्मुक्तं ब्रह्म संपद्यते तदा॥ ६॥

naiva cintyaṁ na cācintyaṁ na cintyaṁ cintyameva tat|

pakṣapātavinirmuktaṁ brahma saṁpadyate tadā || 6||

न एव चिन्त्यम् न च अचिन्त्यम् न चिन्त्यम् चिन्त्यम् एव तत् पक्षपातविनिर्मुक्तम् ब्रह्म संपद्यते तदा  

na ēva cintyam na ca acintyam na cintyam cintyam ēva tat pakṣapātavinirmuktam brahma saṁpadyatē tadā  

न- not एव- indeed  चिन्त्यम्-conceivable for enquiry   न- not च- really अचिन्त्यम्- inconceivable न- not चिन्त्यम्-conceived as an object of enquiry चिन्त्यम् एव- however it should be enquired into without any property or guna तत्- that पक्षपातविनिर्मुक्तम्- devoid of any partiality ब्रह्म- Brahman संपद्यते- attains तदा- then   

It (Brahman) is not conceivable, nor is it inconceivable. Still it should be enquired into as a subject of enquiry without any attributes. Then Brahman free from all concepts or partiality, can be attained (-translation by Chidatmananda) 

न एव चिन्त्यम् na ēva cintyam  Self is not conceivable. Self is not conceivable by the mind because the mind is finite and has limitations. Brahman is infinite and is not available to the realm of mind. It is beyond the mind; beyond Ignorance of the self

न च अचिन्त्यम्- He is neither inconceivable. 

न चिन्त्यम् na cintyam  self should not be thought of as an object

चिन्त्यम् एव तत्  cintyam ēva tat – still it should be enquired into as the subject. H2O is not the property of water. It is water. Fluidity is property of water. That is difference between you have existence. You are existence. The mind expresses as ‘I am the body, I am born, I have death etc.’ Contemplation of the self as ‘I am the infinite self’ removes the thought of finititude.

The self is an object or subject?

The mind which contemplates on the self tries to objectify the self. It has been trained to understand the gross world of objects which have names, and physical and chemical properties. The mind also objectifies the subtle world of concepts and emotions. So there is no wonder it tries to understand Brahman also as an object. When the Rrushi says न एव चिन्त्यम्  Self is not conceivable, he means it is not conceivable as an object. The torch light cannot illumine the the battery. 

न च अचिन्त्यम् na ca acintyam  self is not inconceivable 

Still it is possible to realize Brahman only through the mind. Kathopanishad says मनसा एव आप्तव्यम् – it can be realized only through the mind. It cannot be thought of an object. It has to be thought of as the very subject.  

पक्षपातविनिर्मुक्तम् ब्रह्म संपद्यते तदा pakṣapātavinirmuktam brahma saṁpadyatē tadā  

  One attains Brahman who is free from partiality.  It should be contemplated as the subject or reality. Then one attains Brahman, the self which is free from all concepts or partial thoughts. The wings of the bird are called Paksha.  So the bird is called pakshi a winged animal.  Pāta is falling. If you clip one of the wings it cannot fly properly.  It will get a lopsided flight. Pakshapata therefore means taking a lopsided or biased view.  Biased view of Brahman is that he has specifications or attributes. As the Rrushi says in the first mantra an impure mind has lopsided thinking and a pure mind thinks of the perfect.

Verse 7

Technique of Meditation…………………………………….Verse 7

स्वरेण संधयेद्योगमस्वरं भावयेत्परम्‌।

अस्वरेणानुभावेन नाभावो भाव इष्यते॥ ७॥

svareṇa saṁdhayedyogamasvaraṁ bhāvayetparam |

asvareṇānubhāvena nābhāvo bhāva iṣyate || 7||

स्वरेण संधयेत् योगम् अस्वरम्  भावयेत् परम्  अस्वरेण अनुभावेन भावः वा अभावः इष्यते   

svarēṇa saṁdhayēt yōgam asvaram  bhāvayēt param  asvarēṇa anubhāvēna bhāvaḥ vā abhāvaḥ iṣyatē   

स्वरेण- by vocal recitation of the sound of ॐ (Om), योगम् संधयेत्-  the union must be established अस्वरम्- one without sound non –vocal silence भावयेत्- meditation should be practiced परम्- supreme अस्वरेण- beyond sound, without sound अनुभावेन- by practice of meditation भावः- existence वा- or अभावः- non-existence of Brahman इष्यते- becomes clear.  

(Initially) the union with the higher should be established with sound or vocal recitation of Om. Thereafter, one should meditate upon the supreme (transcendent Brahman) without vocal recitation or silence. By meditating on that which is beyond sound, the non-existence (illusory appearance of world) becomes reality.

स्वरेण संधयेत् योगम्  svarēṇa sadhayēt yōgam – union with the self should be established with sound. The Rrushi here is speaking about the practice of omkara Upasana or meditation upon Omkara.  सन्धयेत्- अनुसंधानम् कुर्यात् (sandhayēt : anusaṁdhānam kuryāt) meditation or Upasana has to be practiced by repeating the syllable of  ॐ ॐ ॐ  ॐ.. .. .. .. ..

In the seat of meditation the body and mind are kept still and the syllable Om is chanted slowly and steadily. Om has three swaras or matra namely अ उ and म (‘a’, ‘u’, and ‘m’).  Each of them represents different levels of consciousness of gross universe, subtle and casual universe. These are also representatives of waking, dream and deep- sleep states. In technical language they are called Vishwa, Tejasa and Prajna. When the Rrushi says that union of the self should be established with swaras or sound, what he means is that with the support (alambana) of the sound one should visualize Brahman. The symbol of Om is the visual support and the sound is audio support for a seeker.  

अस्वरम्  भावयेत् परम्  asvaram  bhāvayēt param   By the experience of aswara or non vocal silence, the higher Nirguna Ishwara (infinite Lord without attributes) should be experienced. In the second stage one should drop the alambana or support of sound and meditate on Brahman. The vowels a’, ‘u’, and ‘m’ are called matra and the silence in between the chanting of Om is called amatra. The silence of amatra is meditated as the transcendent supreme Brahman without form; the absolute truth. Thus Om is both the means and goal of meditation. Aswara is Ishwara. 

अस्वरेण अनुभावेन asvarēṇa anubhāvēna  One should meditate on supreme which is beyond sound. After the turn of the vowels a’, ‘u’, and ‘m’ in the field of mind, comes the turn of silence or aswara.  This fourth level of the mantra is the absolute reality which permeates each of the other three layers. It is experienced in a shallow way at first and only deepens with continued practice of meditation. 

भावः वा अभावः इष्यते  bhāva vā abhāva iyatē     भावः इष्यते  वा अभावः इष्यते   (bhāvaḥ iṣyatē vā abhāvaḥ iṣyatē)  presence or absence becomes evident.  Bhava is presence or existence. In the beginning for an uninitiated, world alone appears as real; and the truth or self appears as non-existent or unreal. As he continues his sadhana and enquiry he accepts that there is an element of changeless phenomenon among the ever changing world. As he continues meditation, the thoughts and words appear more illusionary and truth or self becomes more real. This view is gradually consolidated and eventually on realization of self or truth, the world becomes nonexistent. अहम् व्रुत्ति aham vrutti the thought of “I”, ceases to exist. The division of real and unreal disappears. The truth or self alone remains as existent भावः वा अभावः इष्यते (anubhāvēna bhāvaḥ vā abhāvaḥ iṣyatē). In the next verse the Rrushi uses the phrase तत् ब्रह्म अहम् इति ज्ञात्वा ब्रह्म संपद्यते ध्रुवम्‌ (tat brahma aham iti jñātvā brahma saṁpadyatē dhruvam). So Bhava in this context refers to “Tad Brhama” the absolute Brahman, or अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि aham brahmāsmi. 

Brahman is a siddha vastu or ever existent. Everyone is made in the image of Brahman. Due to our identification with BMI we do not realize our great heritage. The sadhanas and meditation will remove the dirt from the mind when Brahman glows as Aham.  

Verse 8

Nature of Brahman ……………………………………………Verses 8-11

तदेव निष्कलं ब्रह्म निर्विकल्पं निरञ्जनम्‌।

तदब्रह्मामिति ज्ञात्वा ब्रह्म संपद्यते ध्रुवम्‌॥ ८॥

tadēva niṣkalaṁ brahma nirvikalpaṁ nirañjanam–|

tadabrahmāmiti jñātvā brahma saṁpadyatē dhruvam–|| 8||

तत् एव  निष्कलम्  ब्रह्म निर्विकल्पम् निरञ्जनम्‌  तत्  ब्रह्म  अहम् इति ज्ञात्वा ब्रह्म संपद्यते ध्रुवम्‌  

tat ēva  niṣkalam  brahma nirvikalpam nirañjanam  tat  brahma aham iti jñātvā brahma saṁpadyatē dhruvam–  

तत्- that एव- alone  निष्कलम्- part less ब्रह्म- Brahman निर्विकल्पम्- without thoughts, or concepts निरञ्जनम्‌- taintless तत्- that  ब्रह्म- Brahman अहम्- I am इति-thus ज्ञात्वा- knowing this, the wise one ब्रह्म- Brahman संपद्यते- attains ध्रुवम्‌- certainly    

That indeed is Brahman, which is part- less, beyond concepts, and untainted. On knowing that “I am that Brahman, Brahman is certainly attained” 

तत् एव  निष्कलम्  ब्रह्म tat ēva  niṣkalam  brahma –Brahman alone is part-less or division-less. पक्षपातविनिर्मुक्तम् (pakṣapātavinirmuktam) –devoid of partiality and 

अस्वरम् – beyond the swara or sound  (asvaram).  The Rrushi wants to negate that the gross body which has divisions like head, trunk and limbs is not Brahman. Truth or consciousness is part- less (niṣkalam); the body which has gross and subtle aspects cannot be the truth. 

निर्विकल्पम्  nirvikalpam–not admitting a doubt, not wavering; free from change or difference. Brahman is free from thought and gives no room for arousal of any doubt; not wavering. Vikalpa is thought. Nirvikalpa is free from thoughts. The individual and total subtle body is made up of thoughts. The truth or consciousness is without thoughts (Nirvikalpa). Here Rrushi wants to negate the total and individual subtle body. The subtle body is negated by the statement nirvikalpam without Vikalpa or thought. The subtle body includes mind, buddhi, and ahankara, together it is called antahkarana. 

निरञ्जनम्‌ nirañjanam- The third qualification is Niranjanam or free from dirt or contamination. When we say that water is dirty, my coat is dirty we refer to the external stain or contamination. Brahman alone is free from dirt. He is not soiled, polluted, or tainted. He is immaculate. Here the Rrushi implies the dirt or vasanas or impressions of the causal body which are carried over to many births. The gross body and subtle body is the product of causal body or Karana sharira.  शरीरद्वयस्य  कारणमात्रम्  -It is the cause of two bodies. 

The objective of the Rrushi is to show that Brahman is not the individual or total gross body, subtle body or casual body.

Truth is subtler than the subtlest. Subtle ways are used to indicate the truth. One such way is the method of negation (neti neti). All that is not the truth is negated and what remains thereafter is realized as Brahman – -Swami Tejomayananda. So here the Rrushi demonstrates that the truth is not the gross, subtle or casual body or the total cosmos. What remains is the changeless substratum of the phenomenon which is but truth. 

तत्  ब्रह्म  अहम् इति ज्ञात्वा – tat  brahma  aham iti jñātvā– By realizing that the substratum that remains is  Brahman  one attains Brahman-hood. By realizing that truth is not the gross, subtle and casual bodies which are all subject to change and modification, what remains is the changeless substratum. The seeker realizes that “I am that changeless Brahman’. Intellectual knowledge (paroksha jnana) that I am that Brahman who is the substratum of the three bodies of physical, subtle and causal nature is not sufficient to make me Brahman. If I know that Mr. Nair is a billion-Nair or million-Nair, it does not make me billionaire too. So what the Rrushi says that I have to experience the feeling that I am Brahman. It is the direct knowledge Pratyaksha jnyana.  

ब्रह्म सम्पद्यते ध्रुवम् – brahma sapadyatē dhruvam–  

dhruvam – firmly, constantly, certainly, surely. Sampadyate – is gained. Here the gain is the gain of that which is already gained – but it is not known due to the ignorance. Like a person who is searching for the spectacles that already present on his eyes. Certain gains are separated in time – 2 years from now, and some are separated in space – 5 miles from here. Tat brahma – is neither separated by time nor space

Verse 9

निर्विकल्पमनन्तं च हेतुद्याष्टान्तवर्जितम्‌।

अप्रमेयमनादिं च यज्ञात्वा मुच्यते बुधः॥ ९॥

nirvikalpamanantaṁ ca hētudyāṣṭāntavarjitam–|

apramēyamanādiṁ ca yajñātvā mucyatē budhaḥ|| 9||

निर्विकल्पम् अनन्तम् च हेतुद्याष्टान्त वर्जितम्‌  अप्रमेयम् अनादिम् च यत् ज्ञात्वा मुच्यते बुधः  

nirvikalpam anantam ca hētudyāṣṭānta-varjitam  apramēyam anādim ca yat jñātvā mucyatē budhaḥ  

निर्विकल्पम्- devoid of division अनन्तम्-endless, limitless च-and  हेतुद्र्ष्टान्त वर्जितम्‌- beyond reason and analogy  अप्रमेयम्- immeasurable  अनादिम् – without beginningच-and यत्-that which ज्ञात्वा-having known मुच्यते-is liberated  बुधः-the wise man   

 A wise man becomes free (that is liberated) when he knows that (realizes that) Brahman is devoid of division, endless, beyond reason and analogy, immeasurable, and without beginning and end.  

निर्विकल्पम् अनन्तम् च हेतुद्याष्टान्त-वर्जितम्‌  nirvikalpam anantam ca hētudrṣṭānta –varjitam –Brahman is free from differences, infinite and beyond logic and comparison.

निर्विकल्पम् nirvikalpam -Brahman is free from differences,. The human body for example has several parts like the head, trunk and shoulder. Internally there are many parts like heart, kidney blood vessels and nerves. Brahman is a single seamless, formless entity and therefore has no parts. Brahman is nirvikalpam free from differences.

अनन्तम् anantam no end or boundary, so infinite. A finite object is limited by time, place and space. It is limited by time because it has a date of birth and expiry. My body is here on earth after my birth. It was not there before my birth and will not be here after my death. So it is conditioned by time. But Brahman is present in all the three periods of time. The finite is conditioned by a place. If I go to Mumbai I am not in Bangalore. But Brahman is omnipresent. Brahman is everywhere. He is in Mumbai as well as Bangalore at the same time. The finite is also limited by space because every object occupies a particular space and another object cannot occupy it at the same time. Truth or Brahman is subtler than space and therefore not limited by space. Therefore truth is not conditioned by differences, boundary, time and space (nirvikalpam, anantam)

हेतु वर्जितम्  hētu varjitam – causeless. Consciousness is causeless and limitless. Another meaning of hētu is expounded by logicians (नैयायिक naiyāyika or followers of nyaya system of investigation). 

पर्वतो वन्हिमान् धूमत्वात-“parvatō vanhimān dhūmatvāt due to the presence of smoke, I conclude that the mountain is on fire. Smoke is the’ hetu’ or evidence of fire. Hetu means inference. Consciousness is beyond evidence and inference.

दृष्टान्त वर्जितम्  dr̥ṣṭānta varjitam  Consciousness is beyond logic and comparison. It is free of all examples. It was once asked “How was the battle between Rama and Ravana? The answer given was the battle between Rama and Ravana was like the battle between Rama and Ravana.   (रामरावणयोः  युद्धम् रामरावणयोः  युद्धम् इव rāmarāvaayōḥ  yuddham rāmarāvaayōḥ  ryuddham  iva )  It is beyond comparison.

अप्रमेयम् अनादिम् च apramēyam anādim ca –Truth is immeasurable or aprameya. A finite object has a definite configuration and can be measured or its qualities defined. But truth or consciousness has no attributes. It is the very subject which illumines the mind and instruments. So it is immeasurable. Truth is described as anadi because it has no beginning. It pre-existed. In verse 6 it is described as न एव चिन्त्यम् न च अचिन्त्यम् (na ēva cintyam na ca  acintyam) it is neither conceivable nor inconceivable. 

यत् ज्ञात्वा मुच्यते बुधः yat jñātvā mucyatē budhaḥ  -knowing this Brahman, the wise one becomes free. When the ego ends the karmas cease. So jnyani is not responsible for his action. He gets freedom from the sense of bondage.

Verse 10

न निरोधो न चोत्पत्तिर्न बद्धो न च साधकः।

न मुमुक्षुर्न वै मुक्त इत्येषा परमार्थता॥ १०॥

na nirodho na cotpattirna baddho na ca sādhakaḥ |

na mumukṣurna vai mukta ityeṣā paramārthatā || 10||

न निरोधः न च चो उत्पत्तिः न  बद्धः न च साधकः न मुमुक्षुः न वै मुक्तः इति ऎषा परमार्थता  

na nirōdhaḥ na ca cō utpattiḥ na  baddhaḥ na ca sādhakaḥ na mumukṣuḥ na vai muktaḥ iti eṣā paramārthatā  

न- not निरोधः- dissolution न- not च- and उत्पत्तिः- creation न- not  बद्धः- bound न- not च- and साधकः- a spiritual Practitioner न- not मुमुक्षुः- seeker of liberation न- not वै- indeed मुक्तः- liberated one इति- thus ऎषा- this is परमार्थता- supreme truth   

The state of supreme truth is one where, there is no dissolution or creation; nor bondage, or engagement in spiritual practices; there is neither a seeker of liberation nor a liberated one! This is the supreme truth. 

This verse explains the benefit of getting Brahman knowledge.

न निरोधः न च चो उत्पत्तिः न  बद्धः न च साधकः na nirōdhaḥ na ca cō utpattiḥ na  baddhaḥ na ca sādhakaḥ – When the seeker gains direct knowledge of the supreme, he finds no distinctions between jagat and ishwara (creation and creator), or between a man in bondage or liberation. He does not recognize anything other than Brahman. For him there is no creation or dissolution of the world, there is no one who is in bondage of ignorance or in total liberation. 

न मुमुक्षुः न वै मुक्तः इति ऎषा परमार्थता – na mumukṣuḥ na vai muktaḥ iti eṣā paramārthatā  -again he makes no distinction between a seeker or a realized man. This is the supreme truth.  

In my dream, I was jogging on a walking trail in a forest when a lion attacked me. I tried to fend him off with all might but I was overpowered. I shouted for help. Then I woke up. I found there is no forest, no lion and no one shouted. It was just a dream. The reality that existed in my dream state indeed never existed. It is all a product of my mind. Similarly, for a person who has realized the absolute experience, the activities of the waking state appear as dream and looks like non-existent. He is the person who has freed himself from the bondage of karmas. Krishna says: eṣā brāhmīsthitiḥ pārtha (ऎषा ब्राह्मीस्थितिः पार्थ)

dukhēṣvanudvignamanāḥ sukhēṣu vigataspr̥ha |vītarāgabhayakrōdha  sthitadhīrmunirucyatē ||Bh. Gita. 56 ||

दुखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः| वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते || ५६ ||

Such a mystic is experiencing an apparent world. “Pleasures do not delight him, pains do not distress. There is no feeling of like or dislike which is products of his mind.  Although externally engaged in worldly actions, he has no particular attachment in his mind for any object whatsoever. All his activities are free from desire and attachment. He has neither love for any object, nor hatred for it. He moves amongst worldly things, but not as one who is in need of them. and so he has nothing to do with them. Having nothing to do, he does everything that falls to his lot. Yet he keeps himself so free that he may give up any action, at any time; without the least affectation. –Bhagavad Gita 

Verse 11

एक एवाऽऽत्मा मन्तव्यः जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्तिषु।

स्थानत्रयव्यतीतस्य पुनर्जन्म न विद्यते॥ ११॥

eka evā”tmā mantavyaḥ jāgratsvapnasuṣuptiṣu |

sthānatrayavyatītasya punarjanma na vidyate || 11||

ēka ēva ātmā mantavyaḥ jāgrat svapna suṣuptiṣu sthānatrayavyatītasya punarjanmaḥ na vidyatē  

एक एव आत्मा मन्तव्यः जाग्रत् स्वप्न सुषुप्तिषु स्थानत्रयव्यतीतस्य पुनर्जन्मः न विद्यते  

एक– oneएव- alone आत्मा- self मन्तव्यः- should be known जाग्रत्-  स्वप्न- सुषुप्तिषु- in waking, dream and deep-sleep states स्थानत्रयव्यतीतस्य- of the one who is beyond the three states पुनर्जन्मः-rebirth न- not विद्यते- obtains   

The self should be known as one and the same in waking, dream and sleep states. For the one who has transcended these states, there is no rebirth 

एक एव आत्मा  मन्तव्यः जाग्रत् स्वप्न सुषुप्तिषु ēka ēva ātmā mantavyaḥ jāgrat svapna suṣuptiṣu – one should realize that there is only one self in all the three states of consciousness viz. waking state, dream state and deep-sleep state; each of us passes through these three states of consciousness every day. We have different experiences in these states. Is the dreamer the same as the waker? Or the waker is the same as the one in deep-sleep? 

What is Waking State?

Tattva bodha gives a good definition.  It is the state of awareness in which the organs of perception like hearing cognize their respective objects like sound. The self, identified with the gross physical body, is called Vishwa. Here is the shloka, paragraph 22.  

जाग्रदवस्था का? श्रोत्रादिज्ञानेन्दियैः शन्दादि विषयैश्च ज्ञायते इति सा जाग्रदवस्था । 

स्थूलशरीराभिमानी आत्मा विश्व इत्युच्यते।।

The five sense organs of ear, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose (श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु:रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि) cognize their respective sense objects of sound, touch, color, taste, and smell (शब्द स्पर्श रूप रस and गन्ध śabda sparśa rūpa rasa and gandha).

In the waking state the mind (अंतःकरण) is fully functional. The mind has four faculties of action like emotion, rational thinking, ego and memory. In the waking state all the faculties if mind are functional.  Emotion includes love, happiness, hatred etc. Rational thinking is judgment, discretion, discrimination, gathering information etc. Ego is the self arrogating principle of “I”, projected by the mind instead of the real self.  Memory is formed when the mind gathers experience from the objects. In the waking state I identify with the gross body and become the doer and enjoyer (कर्ता and भोक्ता bhōktā). In waking state I am responsible for my actions and their enjoyments. I also experience ignorance in waking state and I have the option of removing it. I can add to my merit and demerits (papa, punya). Dharma, artha, Kama and moksha are perused only in waking state. It is an important part of my life. 

What is dream state?

जाग्रदवस्थायां यद् द्रष्टं यत् श्रुतं तज्जनितवासनया निद्रासमये यः प्रपञ्चः प्रतीयते सा स्वप्नावस्था ।  

सूक्ष्म्शरीराभिमानी आत्मा तैजसः इति उच्यते ।।

“All that is heard or seen in the waking state becomes a mental impression. The consequential world that is projected during sleep is called dream state. The self that identifies itself with the subtle body is called Taijasa”. –Tattva bodha

Dream is created by the mind. It projects its experiences during sleep. Mind is a part of the subtle body. The dreamer has a separate identity from the waker. The buddhi or intellect has no play in dream. There is no notion of doer- ship and hence no merit or demerit for the actions and enjoyment done in dream. The dreamer can only be an enjoyer (भोक्ता Bhōktā) but not a doer or कर्ता karta, but there is no choice whether to enjoy or to suffer. 

In the dream state out of the four faculties of the mind such as emotion, rational thinking, ego and memory only memory is available for the dreamer. He cannot have any new experience because sense organs are not available. The mind only projects the experiences already gained. There is no doer or enjoyer.

What is deep-sleep state?

अहम् किमपि न जानामि सुखेन मया निद्रा अनुभूयता इति सुषुप्तावस्था  – ’I do not know anything; I slept happily’; to think like this is called the deep sleep state. In Jagrat or walking state of अहम् जानामि, that means I know what I experience.  I know the object of a particular sense organ. In deep sleep state there is no external world because the sense organs are not available. There is no internal world because there is no memory. Since there is  no sense organs, gross body is not available. What is available to the deep sleeper is only the causal body. Gross body and subtle bodies are in a state of abeyance. 

स्थानत्रयव्यतीतस्य पुनर्जन्मः न विद्यते  sthānatrayavyatītasya punarjanmaḥ na vidyatē –there is no rebirth for one who goes beyond three states of consciousness. 

If we enquire who was present in the three states of waking, dreaming and deep-sleep states, we realize that “I” was present in these states. Who experiences the life as a kid, a child, as an adult or an old man? It is again “I”. I know I am a living, I am a man or a woman, I am mad or I am glad. I know I have a skill or do not have a skill. When we enquire into the origin of “I thought”, (मनोव्रुत्ति), it falls flat and the infinite truth or self that supports and illumines the “I thought” is realized (Tejomayananda). It is the self that is witness for the three states of existence, and makes us conscious of the states. 

पुनर्जन्मः न विद्यते  punarjanmaḥ na vidyatē There is no rebirth. The “I thought” or jivatma (soul) aham vr̥tti   अहम् वृत्ति identifies with the gross and subtle body and thinks that he is the doer or an enjoyer. In every birth he identifies himself with different bodies and is born again and again either as a human or some other species. On the other hand truth or the spirit (self) is birth- less. The water of the ocean is not born but the waves rise again and again. We on earth experience the majestic phenomenon or sun rise and sun set every day but from the stand point of sun there is no rising and setting. Similarly for the self there is no birth or death. 

iti eṣā paramārthatā  (इति ऎषा परमार्थता). This is the supreme truth.  

Verse 12

Unity of Jiva and Ishwara …………………………………..Verses 12 to 15

एक एव हि भूतात्मा भूते भूते व्यवस्थितः।

एकधा बहुधा चैव दृष्यते जलचन्द्रवत्‌॥ १२॥6

eka eva hi bhūtātmā bhūte bhūte vyavasthitaḥ |

ekadhā bahudhā caiva dṛṣyate jalacandravat || 12||

एक एव हि भूतात्मा भूते भूते व्यवस्थितः एकधा बहुधा च एव दृष्यते जलचन्द्रवत्‌  

ēka ēva hi bhūtātmā bhūtē bhūtē vyavasthitaḥ ēkadhā bahudhā ca ēva  dr̥ṣyatē jalacandravat–   

 एक- one एव- alone हि- indeed भूतात्मा- self in all beings भूते भूते- in every being व्यवस्थितः- resident एकधा- although one fold बहुधा- appears as many fold च- and  एव- indeed  दृष्यते- is seen जलचन्द्रवत्‌- like moon reflected in water   

The self in all beings is the one and same (the universal spirit), but residing in all beings it appears as many, like the single moon reflected in different waters. 

एक एव हि भूतात्मा भूते भूते व्यवस्थितः ēka ēva hi bhūtātmā bhūtē bhūtē vyavasthitaḥ –the self in all beings is only one and the same although he is found in different beings. It is incorrect to say that here are as many self as there are beings. The bhutatma or self is the same in all. Then why does he appear as so many. 

एकधा बहुधा च एव दृष्यते जलचन्द्रवत्‌  ēkadhā bahudhā ca ēva  dr̥ṣyatē jalacandravat–

If the atman is same in all beings why does he appear as so many? The Rrushi says; just as the reflection of the single moon appears in so many water bodies, Paramatma also appear as so many jivatma. There are many water bodies like lake, pond, well, ocean etc. Some water may be turbid and some are crystal clear.  The reflection in them also differs. In this verse reflection is compared to jivatma and the moon compared to Paramatma. 

Consciousness is one and it is same in all beings. But when reflected on different BMI (beings), appears as many. Only consciousness is real and but when identified with Body, Mind and Intellect (BMI) it becomes unreal. Reflections (pratibimba) can be many but original (Bimba) is only one. 

Verse 13

घटसंवृतमाकाशं नीयमाने घटे यथा।

घटो नीयेत नाऽकाशः तथा जिवो नभोपमः॥ १३॥

ghaṭasaṁvṛtamākāśaṁ nīyamānē ghaṭe yathā |

ghaṭo nīyeta nā’kāśaḥ tathā jivō nabhopamaḥ || 13||

घटः संवृतम्  आकाशम्  नीयमाने  घटे यथा घटः नीयेत न  आकाशः तथा  जीवः  नभोपमः 

ghaṭah saṁvr̥tam ākāśam nīyamānē  ghaṭē yathā  ghaṭaḥ nīyēta na ākāśaḥ tathā  jjīvaḥ nabhōpamaḥ  

 घटः- the pot संवृतम्- covered by आकाशम्- the space नीयमाने- on movement घटे- of the pot यथा- just as घटः- the pot नीयेत- is moved न-not आकाशः- the space तथा-similarly जीवः – jiva, the soul, नभोपमः- is compared to the space 

A pot which is being moved changes places but not the space enclosed by it. Similarly jiva is compared to space. 

घटः संवृतम्  आकाशम् – ghaṭah saṁvr̥tam ākāśam – Just as a pot which is surrounded by space (inside and outside)

यथा घटे नीयमाने (सति)- yathā ghaṭē nīyamānē (sati) –if the pot is being led  from one place to another, does the space inside the pot also gets moved? The space is not moving but it allows the pot to move. अवकाश प्रदाता आकाशः (avakāśa pradātā ākāśaḥ):- that accommodates everything within it is ākāśaḥ. The non-moving space allows all moving and non-moving objects within it. 

घटः नीयेत न  आकाशः – ghaṭaḥ nīyēta na ākāśaḥ – the pot indeed is moved but not the space. What moves is the pot but not the space. The pot is compared to BMI, the body, Mind -complex. The pot goes to different places not to different spaces. There is only one space. 

तथा  जीवः  नभोपमः-  tathā  jjīvaḥ nabhōpamaḥ –  Similarly the jiva is compared to space. What the Rrushi means is that like a pot the body moves from one place to another completing its cycles of birth and deaths. But there is only one single Brahman. Like the single space he is found in all bodies. In the previous verse the Rrushi said “The self in all beings is the one and same (the universal spirit), but residing in all beings it appears as many, like the single moon reflected in different waters.” 

Verse 14

घटवद्विविधाकारं भिद्यमानं पुनः पुनः।

तत् भग्नम् न च जानाति स जानाति च नित्यशः॥ १४॥

ghaṭavadvividhākāraṁ bhidyamānaṁ punaḥ punaḥ |

tat bhagnam  na ca jānāti sa jānāti ca nityaśaḥ || 14||

घटवत्  विविध आकारम् भिद्यमाम् पुनः पुनः तत् भग्नम् न च जानाति सः जानाति च नित्यशः 

ghaṭavat vividha ākāram bhidyamām punaḥ punaḥ tat bhagnam  na ca jānāti sa jānāti ca nityaśaḥ

घटवत्  – like pot विविध- various आकारम्- shapes भिद्यमाम्- are broken पुनः पुनः- again and again तत्- their भग्नम्- destruction न- not च- and जानाति- knows सः He जानाति- knows च- and नित्यशः- always 

Various objects like pot are broken in the space again and again. But the space in the pot is not aware of it. But He the self is perfectly aware of it.

घटवत्  विविध आकारम् भिद्यमाम् पुनः पुनः – ghaṭavat vividha ākāram bhidyamām punaḥ –

Like the pot, the various individual beings are continuously broken (die) and take different forms (rebirth) again and again. When a pot is broken it joins with the clay and in the hands of the potter takes various shapes of jug, mug, pitcher etc. Similarly when the human body meets its end, it is reborn in the form of another human body or a cockroach, tiger etc. punarapi jananam punarapi maraṇam punarapi janani jaṭharē śayanam (one has to die again and again and take birth in the womb of mother). Pot alone is broken again and again but not the space enclosed by it. Similarly the body is destroyed again and again but not the self. 

The self is immutable and infinite. 

तत् भग्नम् न च जानाति सः जानाति च नित्यशः – tat bhagnam  na ca jānāti sa jānāti ca nityaśaḥ

Swamini Svatmavidyananda says, “The pot does not know the breaking of the pot. Only the potter knows what his pot was. He puts back the pot onto his wheels to make new ones

सः जानाति च नित्यशः sa jānāti ca nityaśaḥ- 

The swamini continues, “The history of all the pots – the potter only knows. The pot continues to be ignorant. Body is matter or the material. Potter is Ishwara. The five elements are non-separate manifestation of Ishwara. They are non-separate from the maker. Unlike the potter who is separate from the pot, Ishwara is rebranding himself as jiva”. 

Lord Krishna says in Gita 4:05: 

बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि जन्मानि तव चार्जुन | तान्यहं वेद सर्वाणि न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप ||4:05||

bahūni mē vyatītāni janmāni tava cārjuna |tānyaha vēda sarvāṇi na tva vēttha parantapa ||4:5||

Many births of mine as well as yours have passed, O Arjuna; I know them all but you know them not, O Paramtapa (scorcher of foes)

Although the soul and spirit are the same, Jiva or soul is victimized by maya (māyādāsa मायादास) whereas the spirit or the Lord is the Master of his Maya (māyāpati मायापति).

It is like a chauffeur and owner of a vehicle. The owner of the vehicle is the Lord of it. He uses his vehicle for his own purpose and when the destination is reached he walks out of the vehicle and enjoys his own independent activities. Whereas the driver has to take care of the vehicle and mend it. 

Verse 15

शब्दमायावृतो नैव तमसा याति पुष्करे।

भिन्ने तमसि चैकत्वमेक एवानुपश्यति॥ १५॥

śabdamāyāvṛto naiva tamasā yāti puṣkare |

bhinnē  tamasi caikatvameka evānupaśyati || 15||

śabdamāyāvr̥taḥ na ēva  tamasā yāti puṣkarē  bhinnē tamasi ca ēkatvam ēka ēva anupaśyati   

शब्दमायावृतः न एव  तमसा याति पुष्करे  भिन्ने तमसि च एकत्वम् एक एव अनुपश्यति   

शब्दमायावृतः- covered by the delusive power of words (sound) refers to ignorance न एव- not at all तमसा- by or due to darkness याति- knows पुष्करे- in the space भिन्ने- on destruction तमसि- of ignorance च- and एकत्वम्- unity एक- one एव- alone अनुपश्यति- he sees    

Due to the darkness (ignorance) caused by the illusion of the word one does not recognize the space (the self). On the destruction of darkness (ignorance) one sees one alone (meaning self) as the unity.

शब्दमायावृतः न एव  तमसा याति पुष्करे śabdamāyāvr̥taḥ na ēva  tamasā yāti puṣkarē : 

veiled by the darkness of ignorance created by the sound, one does not know the space.

शब्दमायावृतः- śabdamāyāvr̥taḥ -the word  śabda has two meanings; a word and the sound. Śabdamāyā or illusion is a mere word having no corresponding inner reality. It is the cause of whole universe we perceive. A person who is blinded by this maya or illusion is deprived of the knowledge that he is the infinite bliss. He sees himself as a limited being although he is really identical with Brahman. Māyā or delusion causes two types of ignorance, one by its veiling power (āvaraṇa śakti) the other by projecting power (vikṣēpa śakti). The veiling power is also called as avidyā.  The veiling power veils the self and blinds us to realize the truth. The projecting power creates a false identity with the body and its actions. It makes one to believe that the world is real. These two powers of māyā blinds us to see the space or truth (puṣkarē)

भिन्ने तमसि च एकत्वम् एक एव अनुपश्यति   bhinnē tamasi ca ēkatvam ēka ēva anupaśyati – on the destruction of darkness (ignorance) one sees the one alone  as  a single unity. One gets to know the subject if his ignorance is removed. I did not know how to operate a computer. When I learnt it, my ignorance is removed and knowledge is obtained; when knowledge enters ignorance exits. When I light a candle darkness is removed. I get Brahma vidya by subjectively understanding the nature of self on the one hand; and removal of darkness or avidyā on the other hand. The first line of this verse showed that darkness is caused by māyā by its two latent powers of veiling or āvaraṇa śakti and projecting power the vikṣēpa śakti. The veiling power blinds us to see the space or Brahman and the projecting power convinces us that I am the doer and enjoyer. It shows that the world is real.  bhinnē tamasi when this darkness is destroyed I see ēkatvam oneness or universal person is seen.

Verse 16

How to come out of Maya …………………………………Verses 16 to 17

शब्दाक्षरं परं ब्रह्म तस्मिन्क्षीणे यदक्षरम्‌।

तद्विद्वानक्षरं ध्यायेच्द्यदीच्छेछान्तिमात्मनः॥ १६॥

śabdākṣaraṁ paraṁ brahma tasminkṣīṇe yadakṣaram |

tadvidvānakṣaraṁ dhyāyecdyadīcchechāntimātmanaḥ || 16||

śabdaḥ akṣaram param brahma tasmin   kṣīṇē yat  akṣaram–  tat vidvān akṣaram dhyāyēt yadi icchēt  śāntim ātmanaḥ 

शब्दः अक्षरम् परम् ब्रह्म तस्मिन्   क्षीणे यत्  अक्षरम्‌  तत् विद्वान् अक्षरम् ध्यायेत् यदि इच्छेत्  शान्तिम् आत्मनः 

शब्दः- sound (Om) अक्षरम्- syllable, alphabet परम् ब्रह्म- supreme Brahman तस्मिन्- in that (sound)  क्षीणे- when It is faded  यत्- that which अक्षरम्‌- imperishable (is revealed) तत्- that विद्वान्- wise one अक्षरम्- imperishable (Brahman) ध्यायेत्- should contemplate यदि- in case इच्छेत्- he desires  शान्तिम्- peace आत्मनः-of self  

At first the symbol Om is meditated as Brahman. Gradually as the symbol and sound become faded the imperishable Brahman is revealed. If one desires peace of the soul, one should meditate on that imperishable. 

अक्षरम् akṣaram –In this verse the word akṣaram is used three times. Kṣara means that which perishes, melts away. Akṣaram refers to that which is imperishable, permanent. In Sanskrit the alphabet is called akṣara mālā, a garland of imperishable characters. The alphabets make many words and sentences. Entire book is an agglomeration of alphabets. The ideas and theories of the book may change but alphabet remains the same. So it is called imperishable or akṣaram. Similarly Brahman is described as imperishable akṣara because he is the substratum of the plurality of the world. The world of creation may be destroyed but not akshara. In New Delhi there is a huge temple complex of Akshara Dham.  

In Bhagavadgita Chapter 15:16, the Lord says, kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni kūṭasthō:’kṣara ucyatē “all beings are perishable and only Brahman or kutastha is imperishable”. 

शब्दः अक्षरम् परम् ब्रह्म śabdaḥ akṣaram param brahma– This phrase appears in the first line of the verse. śabdaḥ akṣaram refers to the single syllable akshara (character, alphabet) of Om. Om symbolizes para Brahman or supreme Brahman. Om has three matras or component parts viz.  ‘a’, ‘ū’ and ‘m’ (अ ऊ म). These three denote the three upādhī (conditionings) of the self. 

During meditation, the practitioner takes a deep breath and as he breathes out steadily utters the sound of ‘a’ (as in but), he then moves over to the next sound of ‘ū’ (as in put) and lastly as he closes the lips he emits a continuous droning sound of the last character of  ‘m’.

The first character ‘a’ represents the physical body of the individual and cosmos.  This is the level of consciousness in which the subject and object exist as separate entities. The second character ‘ū’ represents the individual and total subtle body. Here the subject and object are intertwined. This is the level of dream consciousness. The third character ‘m’ is the realm of deep-sleep or dreamless sleep. Here there is no subject or object. All are one and there is nothing but impure consciousness. In turyak state achieved by continuous meditation there is pure consciousness; unseen, pristine. This is the indestructible, blissful transcendent Brahman, the one with himself. This is represented by silence. Therefore a wise man should meditate continuously on Om, the Shabda Brahma followed by silence. In the next shloka the Rrushi calls śabdaḥ akṣaram param brahma merely as śabda brahma

तस्मिन्   क्षीणे यत्  अक्षरम्‌  tasmin  kṣīṇē yat  akṣaram- when that fades away and the imperishable appears. ‘That fades’ indicates the sound of ‘m.’.  After chanting three matras of ‘a’, ‘ū’ and ‘m’ (अ ऊ म) there is a silence before the next round of ‘a’, is repeated. So the character ‘m’ of the previous round gradually fades and the next sound of a’ rises.  The Rrushi says that this period of silence represents the imperishable Brahman. As the seeker progresses in his sadhana of contemplation and self-enquiry, he realizes that there is a substratum of imperishable nature amongst all changes. 

तत् विद्वान् अक्षरम् ध्यायेत् यदि इच्छेत्  शान्तिम् आत्मनः tat vidvān akṣaram dhyāyēt yadi icchēt  śāntim ātmanaḥ 

The wise person should meditate on that imperishable reality if he desires peace of his soul. So one begins with a God of symbol and shapes (saguṇa brahma) and ultimately ends up into the truth of God as nirguṇa brahma, without names, forms, free from all words and sounds.

What is the outcome this method of contemplation? The sadhaka realizes himself that this state of akshara is partless, beyond concepts, and untainted. Onknowing that “I am that Brahman, the Brahman is certainly attained (Verse 8). Here is the text:

तदेव निष्कलं ब्रह्म निर्विकल्पं निरञ्जनम्‌। तदब्रह्मामिति ज्ञात्वा ब्रह्म संपद्यते ध्रुवम्‌॥ ८॥

tadēva niṣkalaṁ brahma nirvikalpaṁ nirañjanam tadabrahmāmiti jñātvā brahma saṁpadyatē dhruvam–|| 8||

That indeed is Brahman, which is part- less, beyond concepts, and untainted. On knowing that “I am that Brahman, Brahman is certainly attained”

“When he knows that (realizes that) Brahman is devoid of division, endless, beyond reason and analogy, immeasurable, and without beginning and end”.  

He also realizes that the self in all is the same (the universal spirit), but residing in all beings it appears as many, like the single moon reflected in different waters.

एक एव हि भूतात्मा भूते भूते व्यवस्थितः। eka eva hi bhūtātmā bhūte bhūte vyavasthitaḥ |

Verse 17

द्वे विद्ये वेदितव्ये तु शब्दब्रह्म परं च यत्‌।

शब्दब्रह्माणि निष्णातः परं ब्रह्माधिगच्छति॥ १७॥

dve vidye veditavye tu śabdabrahma paraṁ ca yat |

śabdabrahmāṇi niṣṇātaḥ paraṁ brahmādhigacchati || 17||

dvē vidyē vēditavyē tu śabdabrahma param ca yat– śabdabrahmāṇi niṣṇātaḥ param brahma adhigacchati 

द्वे विद्ये वेदितव्ये तु शब्दब्रह्म परम् च यत्‌ शब्दब्रह्माणि निष्णातः परम् ब्रह्म अधिगच्छति 

द्वे- two kinds of विद्ये- knowledge वेदितव्ये- should be known  तु- indeed शब्दब्रह्म- word-Brahman (Om) शब्दः अक्षरम्  परम् ब्रह्म –supreme Brahman  च- and यत्‌- that which is शब्दब्रह्माणि-  in word -Brahman निष्णातः- adept परम्- supreme ब्रह्म- Brahman अधिगच्छति- attains  

Two kinds of learning ought to be understood; the word-Brahman and the supreme Brahman.  Having mastered the word- Brahman one attains the highest reality of Supreme Brahman.

द्वे विद्ये वेदितव्ये तु शब्दब्रह्म परम् च यत्‌- dvē vidyē vēditavyē tu śabdabrahma param ca yat 

Two kinds of knowledge are to be known, the word-Brahman (śabdabrahma, Om) and Para Brahman. The nomenclature given for this knowledge in the verse 16 was śabdākṣara for Word-Brahman and akṣaram for para Brahman. In Bhagavad Gita the Lord uses the words para vidya and apara vidya. Apara vidya or Shabda Brahma includes all the secular studies like science, economics, and politics, scriptural knowledge of Vedas, vedangas, and the meditation upon Om (saguna Brahman, God with attributes). Para vidya is the knowledge by which the imperishable truth is realized. So both these studies should be learnt.

शब्दब्रह्माणि निष्णातः परम् ब्रह्म अधिगच्छति –– śabdabrahmāṇi niṣṇātaḥ param brahma adhigacchati 

 One who is skilled in śabdabrahma meditation (ॐ meditation) ultimately reaches the para Brahman. That means one starts with meditation on Om or a saguna Brahman and ultimately reaches the realm of nirguna Brahman. 

Verse 18

Role of scriptures ………………………………………………Verses 18 to 19

ग्रन्थमभ्यस्य मेधावी ज्ञानवीज्ञानतत्परः।

पलालमिव धान्यार्यी त्यजेत् ग्रन्थमशेषतः  ॥ १८॥

granthamabhyasya mēdhāvī jñānavījñānatatparaḥ|

palālamiva dhānyāryī tyajēt granthamaśēṣataḥ  || 18||

grantham abhyasya mēdhāvī jñāna-vījñāna-tatparaḥ palālam iva dhānyāryī tyajēt granthamm aśēṣataḥ 

ग्रन्थम् अभ्यस्य मेधावी ज्ञान-वीज्ञान-तत्परः पलालम् इव धान्यार्यी त्यजेत् ग्रन्थम्म् अशेषतः 

ग्रन्थम् – scriptures अभ्यस्य- having studied मेधावी- an intelligent student ज्ञान-वीज्ञान-तत्परः- intent on acquiring knowledge and wisdom पलालम्- husk इव- just like धान्यार्यी- one who seeks rice त्यजेत्- should give up ग्रन्थम्म्- scriptures इव –like अशेषतः- altogether  

After studying the scriptures, a wise person intent on gaining knowledge and liberation should totally discard the scriptures altogether just like a man who extracts rice grain discards the husk (of paddy). 

ग्रन्थम् अभ्यस्य- grantham abhyasya having studied the scriptures and understood properly

मेधावी – mēdhāvī  a wise one, a seeker of Brahman

ज्ञान-वीज्ञान-तत्परः jñāna-vījñāna-tatparaḥ- indicates well assimilated atma jnyana; one who knows the theory and its practice. He is a sadhaka who practices what he has learnt. तत्परः tatparaḥ is one committed to tat, and realized his goal of tat. He has owned up Brahman. 

पलालम् इव धान्यार्यी – palālam iva dhānyāryī  palālam means the husk or outer hard covering of rice. In the process of manufacturing rice grains, paddy is first pounded and the internal rice grain is collected by throwing away the winnowed hulls. 

त्यजेत् ग्रन्थम्म् अशेषतः tyajēt granthamm aśēṣataḥ-  Similarly the Rrushi says the sadhaka (seeker) should also give up the scriptures totally once he has realized God, just as one throws away the husk and retains  only rice.  Now a question arises. Should we discard the books of knowledge after realizing the truth? Shankara urges to study the Vedas every day (vēdōnityamadhīyatām). In taittiriya Upanishad it is said never give up daily studies and their propagation (svādhyāya pravacanābhyām na pramaditavyam). 

Swami Tejomayananda says that one should make a distinction between means and goal. Study of scriptures is necessary as a means to gain knowledge and realize the truth. Once truth has been realized (jñāna-vījñāna-tatparaḥ), the seeker becomes full and complete and there is nothing for him to gain or lose. So what is the use of scriptures? 

Once a Christian father came across an old and hungry beggar; her dress was patched up; and her hairs were unkempt. She had poor vision. She begged the saint to give her some money to buy bread.  The blind beggar could not realize that the saint too was also in rags; and had no money with him. So he gave away his only copy of Bible so that she could sell it and buy some bread. He later asked for mercy of God for having given away his only copy of Bible. God appeared in his dream and said, “Why do you worry my son, when you have me in your heart what is the use of Bible?” The Rrushi says the books are to be thrown away “grantham abhyasya” after studying and assimilating the scriptures. Swami Chimayananda used to say throw away pole after you have crossed over the bar in pole-vault. What is the use of the boat after you have crossed the river?

Vedanta is not a dogmatic doctrine. Bhagavad Gita ‘says traiguṇya viśayā vēdāḥ nistraiguṇyō bhavārjuna” Arjuna the rituals of Vedas are only for worldly use, so give up them and pray to me without any attachment” .  

Verse 19

गवामनेकवर्णानां क्षीरस्याप्येकवर्णता।

क्षीरवत्पष्यते ज्ञानं लिङ्गिनस्तु गवां यथा॥ १९॥

gavāmanēkavarṇānāṁ kṣīrasyāpyēkavarṇatā|

kṣīravatpaṣyatē jñānaṁ liṅginastu gavāṁ yathā|| 19||

gavām anēkavarṇānām kṣīrasya api ēkavarṇatā kṣīravat paṣyatē jñānam  liṅginaḥ tu gavām yathā  

गवाम् अनेकवर्णानाम् क्षीरस्य अपि एकवर्णता क्षीरवत् पष्यते ज्ञानम्  लिङ्गिनः तु गवाम् यथा  

गवाम्- cows अनेकवर्णानाम्- are of many colors क्षीरस्य- of the milk  अपि-while एकवर्णता- one color क्षीरवत्- like milk पष्यते- considers ज्ञानम्- the knowledge लिङ्गिनः- many branched scriptures तु- indeed  गवाम्- cows यथा- like   

Although cows are of different colors milk is always of the same white color. The wise one sees the knowledge (jnyana) like milk and scriptures like cows. 

गवाम् अनेकवर्णानाम् क्षीरस्य अपि एकवर्णता gavām anēkavarṇānām kṣīrasya api ēkavarṇatā

The cows are of different colors and sizes but the milk yielded them are of the same color.  Over 8000 breeds of cattle are recognized. They are mainly used for dairy or meat.  What is the color of the milk? All of them give white milk. Here the breeds of cattle are compared to many branched scriptures and the knowledge is compared to milk. The scriptures are many, their statements apparently are contradictory but the goal and knowledge is the same. 

क्षीरवत् पष्यते ज्ञानम्  लिङ्गिनः तु गवाम् यथा  kṣīravat paṣyatē jñānam  liṅginaḥ tu gavām yathā  – 

लिङ्गते अनेन इति लिङ्गिनः liṅgatē anēna iti liṅginaḥ one that indicates, marks or points out is called  liṅginaḥ. Here it refers to the scriptures which tell us diverse methods of reaching God. The Vedas, Upanishads, Bible, Koran, Granth Saheb etc. The goal of all of them is to reach God. They are like cows of different colors and the knowledge given by them is like milk which is the same in all cows. 

Verse 20

Synopsis …………………………………………………………….Verses 20 & 21

घ्रुतमिव  पयसि निगूढं भूते भूते च वसति विज्ञानम्‌ 

सततं मन्थयितव्यं मनसा मन्थानभूतेन ॥ २०॥

ghrutam iva payasi nigūḍham bhūtē bhūtē ca vasati vijñānam– satatam manasā manthayitavyam manasā manthānabhūtēna 

घ्रुतम् इव पयसि निगूढम् भूते भूते च वसति विज्ञानम्‌ सततम् मनसि मन्थयितव्म् मनसा मन्थानभूतेन 

https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.Md392795930d06672faab7678f266d68bo0&w=132&h=100&c=7&rs=1&qlt=90&pid=3.1&rm=2धृतम्- butter इव- just like  पयसि- in milk निगूढम्-hidden भूते भूते-in every being च-and वसति- resides विज्ञानम्‌- awareness सततम्- always मन्थयितव्म्-should be churned मन्थानभूतेन- by the churning rod 

Like butter concealed in milk, consciousness dwells in every being. It should be constantly churned with the churning rod of the mind.

घ्रुतम् इव पयसि निगूढम् – ghrutam iva payasi nigūḍham: Ghee is present in the milk but it is not recognizable. It is hidden. First we have to make curds and churn it with a churning rod so that a lump of butter rises up. Where was this butter? It was in the milk and cream. It rose up only after the process of churning.  

भूते भूते च वसति विज्ञानम्‌- bhūtē bhūtē ca vasati vijñānam: consciousness is hidden in every being like butter in the milk. A rock does not have the means to express the chit because it does not have a subtle body. The five elements and all the matter are also sat-chit-ananda. They do not have subtle body and therefore a free will. Only humans have.

सततम् मनसि मन्थयितव्यम्  satatam manasi manthayitavyam

Consciousness which is hidden in every being becomes detectable only by manana, and manthana (contemplation and churning of mind). Just as the churning stick moves all over the milk to get butter, the mind moves in the milk of Upanishad. The hidden butter is discovered; but it is not a new creaton, it was already there in the milk. One has discovered it. 

मनसा मन्थानभूतेन- manasā – manthānabhūtēna- This fact has to be constantly churned out internally in the mind (manasā ). It has to be churned by the mind which should be converted into a churning rod (manthānabhūtēna).  

Verse 21

ज्ञाननेत्रं समादाय उद्धरेत् वह्निवत्परम्।

निष्कलं निश्चलं शान्तं तद्ब्रह्माहमिति स्मृतम्‌॥ २१॥

jñānanētraṁ samādāya uddharēt vahnivatparam –|

niṣkalaṁ niścalaṁ śāntaṁ tadbrahmāhamiti smrtam–|| 21||

jñānanētram samādāya ca uddharēt vahnivat  param niṣkalam niścalam śāntam tat bahma aham iti smr̥tam–  

ज्ञाननेत्रम् समादाय च उद्धरेत् वह्निवत्  परम् निष्कलम् निश्चलम् शान्तम् तत् बह्म अहम् इति स्मृतम्‌  

ज्ञाननेत्रम्- rope of knowledge समादाय- holding च- and उद्धरेत्-one should bring out वह्निवत्-like fire परम्-the supreme Brahman निष्कलम्-part less निश्चलम्-unchanging शान्तम्-peaceful तत्-that बह्म-Brahman अहम्-I am इति-thus स्मृतम्‌-should be remembered   

One should raise the supreme Brahman by churning the mind just as the homa fire is raised from the Arani by churning rope of knowledge. “I am that Brahman which is immutable, peaceful and without parts”, thus it is thought of. 

ज्ञाननेत्रम् jñānanētram – the literal meaning is knowledge-eye. It implies two meanings. The knowledge in the form of eyes of a jnyani or a seeker and the rope or a string tied over the grooves of अरणि araṇi, an ancient contraption for kindling fire by churning two wooden cups.  What the eyes of a wise man see? It is identifies with Brahman. 

समादाय samādāya –having assimilated, having understood the fire is not external to the Arani but churning brings  out what is already there.

च उद्धरेत्  uddharēt –let one raise 

वह्निवत्  परम् vahnivat  param- the fire is compared to the supreme Brahman. Just as the fire is kindled by churning the Arani, the supreme Brahman who is intrinsic to all beings is brought in the mind by churning the knowledge. This is the second meaning of jñānanētram

निष्कलम् निश्चलम् niṣkalam niścalam –part- less, unmoving or immutable

शान्तम् śāntam-peaceful, tranquil

तत् बह्म अहम् इति स्मृतम्‌ –  tat bahma aham iti smr̥tam–  I am that Brahman who is part-less, immutable and tranquil. One has to bring this thought in the mind and identify with it.

Verse 22

Conclusion …………………………………………………………Verses 22

सर्वभूताधिवासं यद्भूतेषु च वसत्यपि।

सर्वानुग्राहकत्वेन तद्स्म्यहं वासुदेवः

तद्स्म्यहं वासुदेवःइति ॥ २२॥

sarvabhūtādhivāsaṁ yadbhūteṣu ca vasatyapi |

sarvānugrāhakatvena tadsmyahaṁ vāsudevaḥ 

tadsmyahaṁ vāsudevaḥ iti || 22||

sarvabhūta adhivāsam yat bhūtēṣu ca vasati ca api sarva anugrāhakatvēna tat asmi aham vāsudēvaḥ tat asmi aham vāsudēvaḥ iti || 22||

सर्वभूत अधिवासम् यत् भूतेषु च वसति च अपि सर्व अनुग्राहकत्वेन तत् अस्मि अहम् वासुदेवः

तत् अस्मि अहम् वासुदेवः इति 

सर्वभूत- all beings अधिवासम्- abode यत्- that which भूतेषु- in all beings च- and वसति- lives च अपि- also सर्व- all अनुग्राहकत्वेन- (source of all) blessings तत्- that अस्मि अहम्- I am वासुदेवः- resident in all तत्- that अस्मि अहम्- I am वासुदेवः- resident in all इति- thus  

I am that Vasudeva in whom all beings reside, and who resides in all beings as the source of all blessings.

This verse is the reward of studying this Upanishad or phala śruti (फल श्रुति).  

सर्वभूत अधिवासम् यत् sarvabhūta adhivāsam yat –That which is the source of all existence. Where do all living and non-living beings exist? Where did they exist? And where would they exist in future? Everything exists in space and in three periods of time. Then where the space and time reside? The answer is ‘the principle of existence’. Without existence, nothing would exist. Existence alone is the true abode of all. Even if all the beings and materials that existed perish, the principle of existence survives.  So existence is the adhivāsam or the source of all. 

भूतेषु च वसति च अपि bhūtēṣu ca vasati ca api –Then where does the principle of existence reside? Sarva bhūtēṣu lives in all beings; just as all the things exist in space and space exists in all beings

सर्व अनुग्राहकत्वेन sarva anugrāhakatvēna – We are indeed blessed by the existence. Viveka Chudamani (विवेक चुडामणि vivēka cuḍāmaṇi) says:


दुर्लभम् त्रयमेवैतत् देवानुग्रह हेतुकम् |

मनुष्यत्वम् मुमुक्षत्वम् महापुरुषसंश्रयः ||

durlabham trayamēvaitat dēvānugraha hētukam |

manuṣyatvam mumukṣatvam mahāpuruṣasaṁśrayaḥ ||

The human body, desire to realization, and a Guru are the three blessings from vāsudēvaḥ. He exists in us and shows the way to realize that ‘I am that Brahman’

तत् अस्मि अहम् वासुदेवः तत् अस्मि अहम् वासुदेवः इति tat asmi aham vāsudēvaḥ tat asmi aham vāsudēvaḥ iti- I am that vāsudēvaḥ, I am that vāsudēvaḥ. There comes about a transformation. The seeker discards his identity with the body, mind complex and the world of objects and emotions. He realizes the truth that he is none other than existence and consciousness (sat cit सत् चित्)

Bhagavad Gita chapter 7:19 says,

बहूनां जन्मनामन्ते ज्ञानवान्मां प्रपद्यते। वासुदेवः सर्वमिति स महात्मा सुदुर्लभः ॥७- १९॥

bahūnāṁ janmanāmantē jñānavānmāṁ prapadyatē| vāsudēvaḥ sarvamiti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ ||7- 19||

As a culmination of sadhanas of many births, one reaches out to me as vāsudēvaḥ. Swami Tejomayananda writes, “Anything other than existence is non-existence. Anything other than consciousness (knowledge) is inert. Existence being eternal and non-changing can never be inert. And consciousness being the knower cannot ever be non-existent. Therefore existence (vasu वसु) alone is consciousness (dēvaḥ) and I am the nature of that existence and consciousness. 

शान्ति मन्त्र

ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः शृणुयाम देवाः भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः।

स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवांसस्तनूभिर्व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः।

स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः।

स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्योऽरिष्टनेमिः स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु।

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः।

om bhadraṁ karṇebhiḥ śṛṇuyāma devāḥ bhadraṁ paśyemākṣabhiryajatrāḥ |

sthirairaṅgaistuṣṭuvāṁsastanūbhirvyaśema devahitaṁ yadāyuḥ |

svasti na indro vṛddhaśravāḥ svasti naḥ pūṣā viśvavedāḥ |

svasti nastārkṣyo’riṣṭanemiḥ svasti no bṛhaspatirdadhātu |

om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ |

॥ इत्यथर्ववेदेऽमृत्बिन्दूपनिषत्समाप्ता॥

|| ityatharvavede’mṛtbindūpaniṣatsamāptā ||


Overview of Amrita Bindu Upanishad

Amrita Bindu Upanishad is a part of five Bindu Upanishads, all dedicated to practice of Yoga and dhyana (meditation) of Om to realize Atman.  It has twenty two verses. The Upanishad can be considered in nine sections. 

  1. Free the mind of all desires

Verse 1 to 3. The mind is two-fold in nature -pure and impure. Impure mind is possessed of sankalpa or desire. Pure mind is free from desire. Impure mind causes bondage and pure mind sets oneself free from bondage. Bondage is caused by desire and attachment to objects. The mind devoid of desire is liberated. So a seeker should strive to free his mind of all desires to objects, emotion and thought. 

  1. Contemplation of Brahman

Verse 4 to 7. In the next section is explained the method of contemplation of the truth after freeing the mind from all desires. In the 4th and 5th verses, the Rrushi says that when the mind is completely set free from desire and attachment to sense objects it abides in the heart; it discovers its own true supreme nature. This is all indeed the knowledge and contemplation (ētat  jñānam ca  dhyānam ca). The 6th verse is an important guide to a seeker of pure mind. At the first sight it looks like a puzzle.  Here is the verse. 

naiva cintya na cācintya na cintya cintyameva tat|

pakapātavinirmukta brahma sapadyate tadā || 6||

 Neither to be thought of, nor to be thought of, not to be thought of, however it should be thought of 

Truth should not be thought of by the mind as an object of enquiry because it is beyond its realm. But it is not inconceivable as the very subject of enquiry. So it should be enquired into by the mind as the very subject. Truth is not the property of Brahman. It is the nature of Brahman, just as fluidity is the nature of water. This is the difference between you have existence and you are existence. 

  1. Technique of Meditation

Verse 7 deals with the technique of meditation of Om.  The Rrushi says svarēṇa saṁdhayēt yōgam with vocal recitation of three matras (notes) of Om namely, अ उ and म (‘a’, ‘u’, and ‘m’) union with Brahman must be established. That means in the beginning the seeker meditates on God with form and attributes and for this he takes the support (alambana) of sound of Om. The symbol of Om is therefore the visual support and the sound of Om is audio support for a seeker.  Next the Rrushi says, asvaram bhāvayēt param, one should meditate upon the supreme without vocal recitation meaning silence. The practitioner should experience the higher Nirguna Ishwara by non-recitation or silence. He drops the support (alambana) of the graphic picture or or sound of Om and focuses on the silence in between the chanting of two cycles of Om.  So Om is the means and goal of attaining Ishwara. bhāvaḥ vā abhāvaḥ iṣyatē:   the presence or absence of God becomes clear.  Bhava is presence or existence. In the beginning the world appears as real for all of us and as the seeker progresses he sees the changeless substratum among all changing phenomenon of the world. Eventually on realization of truth the presence or absence of world becomes evident.  The division of real and unreal disappears; truth alone remains. At that supreme state of God-consciousness he does not see any creation or dissolution; he does not see a seeker or a liberated one. He sees nothing but Brahman. He sees himself as Brahman. (Verse 10)

  1. The nature of Brahman

In the next section Verses 8 to 10 the Rrushi explains Brahma swarupa; he uses the words tad Brahma. He gives certain tangibles which help us to recognize Brahman. pakapātavinirmuktam– devoid of bias and asvaram– beyond the swara or sound. When the seeker drops the three swaras of, अ उ and म (‘a’, ‘u’, and ‘m’) he drops his attachment to gross, subtle and causal body identity. He also drops the states of consciousness of waker, dreamer and deep-sleeper. He goes much beyond and recognizes Brahman as the truth.

Nikalam:  part-less or division-less. The gross body is negated by the statement part- less. 

Nirvikalpam: without thoughts or concepts. Vikalpa is thought. Nirvikalpa is free from thoughts. This word negates the subtle body because there is no thought in Brahman. The individual and total subtle body is made up of thoughts. The subtle body includes mind, buddhi, and ahankara. Together it is called antahkarana. The truth or consciousness is without thoughts. 

Nirañjanam: taintless. The causal body or Karana sharira is negated by the statement Niranjanam or free from dirt or taint. The dirt or taint is not a part or property of Brahman. It is the property of causal body and the taint referred to vasana or impressions which are carried over to many births.  At that supreme state of God-consciousness he does not see any creation or dissolution; he does not see a seeker or a liberated one. He sees nothing but Brahman. He sees himself as Brahman. 

  1. Unity of Jiva and Brahma

Verses 11 to 15 (4 numbers)

In the next section the Rrushi discusses the central theme of all Upanishads namely भिन्ने तमसि च एकत्वम् एक एव अनुपश्यति (bhinnē tamasi ca ēkatvam ēka ēva anupaśyati), one sees that self and Brahman are the same when he maya or ignorance is removed. This is Jiva Ishwara Aikya or unity of soul and spirit. Verse 12 says, the self in all beings is one and the same but appears as many like the single moon shining in different waters.  The Rrushi gives another example in verse 13, of a pot which is being moved. The pot moves in the space but the space in the pot is not moved. Similarly the body moves from one birth to another but Brahman like the space remains un-moved. In verse 14 he says Just as different shapes of pots tend to make and break the individual also takes repeated births and deaths. The space in the pot is not aware of this fact. However the self in the individual is aware of this fact. He is immutable and a witness to all the happenings. What prevents one from recognizing that the soul and spirit are the same? It is due to śabdamāyā (शब्दमाया) delusion caused by māyā. Illusion or Maya causes two types of ignorance one by its veiling power (āvaraṇa śakti) the other by projecting power (vikṣēpa śakti). The veiling power is also called as avidyā.  The veiling power veils the self and blinds us to believe the world as real. The projecting power creates a false identity with the body and its actions. So if māyā is demolished one can see unity of jiva and Brahma (bhinnē tamasi ca ēkatvam ēka ēva anupaśyati Verse 15. 

  1. How to come out of the vice like grip of māyā?

Verses 16 to 17 (2 numbers)

This includes an elaborate practice of contemplation on Saguna Ishwara and gradually dropping all the attributes of Ishwara and focusing on only the substratum of imperishable nature of truth. The Rrushi gives the example of Om meditation where the three matras of ‘a’, ‘ū’ and ‘m’ (अ ऊ म) are chanted as a symbol of Supreme Brahman (śabdaḥ akṣaram, śabdabrahma). As the seeker progresses in his sadhana of contemplation and self-enquiry, he realizes that there is a substratum of imperishable nature amongst all changes.  As he progresses he focuses on the period of non vocal silence before he repeats the next syllable of Om.  This represents the imperishable Brahman. 

  1. The role of scriptures

Verse 18-19 (2 numbers)

After studying the scriptures, a wise person intent on gaining knowledge and liberation should totally discard the scriptures altogether just like a man who extracts rice grain from the paddy and discards the husk.  The idea is after getting the knowledge it has to be put into practice instead of reading it over and over again. The knowledge should not become an intellectual ornament. In verse 19, the Rrushi compares the scriptures to cows and the knowledge to milk. The cows come in many color, sizes and breeds. Similarly the scriptures are many and they recommend different ways of approach to God. But the knowledge of God is the same in all.

  1. Synopsis

Verse 20 to 21 (2 numbers)

Just as latent invisible butter is present in milk, every living and non living being have inherent sat-chit-ananda (satchitananda). It becomes apparent by internally churning the mind meaning by contemplation. Just as the yajnya fire is kindled by churning of Arani, the mind should be churned to bring out the truth.

  1. Conclusion

 Verse 22

As a culmination of meditation as explained above, there is a transformation in the Sadhaka. He discards all his identity with the world and his body. He realizes that he is none other than the existence and consciousness. I am that Vasudeva in whom all beings reside and who resides in all beings as the source of all blessings. 


1. https://nivedita2015.wordpress.com/category/gyan-swamini-svatmavidyananda/ Swami Tejomayananda Chinmaya Mission Trust 2014 

2. Swami Chidatmananda of Chinmaya Mission Thiruvananthapuram discourses in Bangalore in March https://ia802708.us.archive.org/25/items/amritabindukaiva00mahauoft/amritabindukaiva00mahauoft.pdf A. Mahadeva Sastry Government Oriental Library, Mysore