Tattva Bodha

Tattva Bodha

Vishnu Bapat

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Notes on Tattvabodha

तत्वबोधः Of Adi Shankaracharya

By Vishnu Rao Bapat

Write something worth reading or do something worth writing                          

-Benjamin Franklin 


After my retirement from pharmaceutical industry, I took to the study of Vedanta by signing up as a member of Chinmaya study Circle in Bangalore. We have taken up for study many texts like Gita, Upanishads, and prakarana granthas.  A number of good text books and translations are available on all these subjects. But there is an unmet need for some sort of free on line guide for reference by a novice. I started collecting my study material on Tattvabodha from different sources and put it down on my system. Gradually by the grace of Gurudev Chinmayananda I was inspired to prepare a formal “note” so that it can be shared with others.  

Original Shlokas are written in Sanskrit. Word by word meaning has been given and a purport of the shlokas is also given. The Commentary on the relevant parts of the shloka is added so that the student gets a through idea of individual Shlokas.

The users of this online note need to be able to read Sanskrit Shlokas to get its profound benefit. 

This is not an original piece of work but a collation of information gathered from different sources mentioned at the end of the book.

There is no copy-write for this work and therefore can be freely shared with seekers.

Hari Om

Vishnu Rao Bapat            





The scheme of Discussion



1. Eligibility for self-enquiry

1. Nature of reality

2. Four-fold spiritual practice

3. Discrimination

4. Dispassion

5. The Six Sadhanas

6. Control of Mind

7. Control of sense organs

8. Mental equipoise

9. Forbearance

10. Faith

11. Concentration

12. Desire for Liberation

13. Four-fold Spiritual practice

2. ātma vicāra

14. What is true knowledge

15. Who is Self?

16. What is Gross body?

17. What is subtle body?

18. Five organs of perception

19. The Five organs of action

20. What is causal body?

21. The Three states of existence

22. The waking state

23. The Dream state

24. The deep sleep state

25. The five sheaths

26. The food sheath

27. The vital air sheath

28. Mental sheath the emotional personality

29. Intellectual sheath, the rational personality

30. The blissful sheath

31. beyond the five sheaths

32. The nature of self

33. Existence

34. Consciousness

35. Bliss

36. Existence-consciousness- bliss

3. Analysis of the totality of creation

37. Twentyfour cosmic principles

38. Maya

39. Five fundamental Elements

40. Creation of individual subtle body from Sattva

41. Antahkarana from aggregate sattvika aspect.

42. Organs of action from Rajasa aspect

43. The process of grossification

4. Unity of microcosm and macrocosm

44. Unity of individual and cosmos

45. The Jiva

46. You are “That”

47. The meaning of “you” and “That”

48. Liberated in Life

49. Who is Jivanmukta?

50. Removal of ignorance

52. āgāmi karma

53. Sanchita Karma

54. Prarabdha Karma and how it is undone

55. How is Sanchita Karma undone?

56. How is āgāmi karma   undone?

57. Residuary karma phala of wise man

5. Benefit of the knowledge of essential identity

58. The Bliss of identity with Brahman

Overview of Tattvabodha 114


Swami Tejomayananda

Central Chinmaya Mission Trust

Swami Paramarthananda audiohttp://hinduonline.co/HinduReligion/Saints/ShankarasWorks/TatvaBodha.html

  1. Swami Sunirmalanada “Insights into Vedanta-Tattvabodha,” Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai
  2. Swami Tejomayananda “Tattvabodha”, Central Chinmaya Mission trust, Mumbai

Bare Shlokas 121

The scheme of Discussion

Tattvabodha text can be broadly classified into five portions. These are:

 ParticularsPara number
1.अधिकारी  Eligibility for self-enquiry Four-fold qualification10
2.आत्म विचार–Analysis of the individual or microcosm22
3.जीव जगत्-ईश्वर विचार  Analysis of the totality of creation or macrocosm65
4.जीवेश्वरयोः ऐक्यम् –Essential oneness of the individual and total creation81
5. ऐक्य ज्ञान फलम् -Benefit of the knowledge of essential identity106


 तत्त्वबोध (Tattvabodha) means knowledge or understanding of truth or knowledge of the self. Vedanta begins with the question what is the goal of life? The basic human goals are survival, food, shelter and security. Thereafter each of us has different goals in life; economic, social, religious, health, education, marriage, progeny etc. The purpose of all these goals is acquisition of wealth, health, prosperity, power and happiness. Happiness is the ultimate goal of all men and women. So, it is the purpose of life.

Animals also have a goal in life. Their goal is survival, food, sleep, sex and progeny. These are also human goals. Then how men differ from the animals? The difference is our intelligence, or buddhi. Intelligence is defined as the faculty of thought and reason and the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. A man without capacity to reason, acquire and apply knowledge is as good as an animal.

आहार निद्रा भय मैथुनं च । सामन्यमेतद् पशुभिर्नराणाम्  ।

बुद्धिर्हि तेषामधिको विशेशतः । बुद्ध्या हीनाः पशुभिः समानाः ॥ 

āhāra nidrā bhaya maithunaṁ ca | sāmanyamētad paśubhirnarāṇām।

buddhirhi tēṣāmadhikō viśēśataḥ | buddhyā hīnāḥ paśubhiḥ samānāḥ ||

Men and women have been working from beginning-less time in pursuit of the ultimate goal of happiness. All of us have tried to achieve one or more of the intermediary goals such as wealth, health, prosperity, and power and surely obtained and enjoyed happiness. We have observed that happiness has two features. One, it is dependent on some ‘tangibles’ like time, place, objects, circumstances, and people. Two, it is not available for ever and so it is fleeting in nature. 

Our scriptures have defined happiness or Ananda as our inherent nature, and so should not be sought from tangibles like outside objects and emotions. Four goals of man are mentioned; and these are Dharma (धर्म), Artha (अर्थ), Kama (काम), and Moksha (मोक्ष). The common goal of all of us is Dharma or righteous living. As we go to other three goals we cannot dispense with Dharma. This is the basic goal and should stay with us forever. Then man has to work for Artha or wealth (अर्थ), accomplishment of desires or Kama (काम), and finally the ultimate goal of Moksha (मोक्ष) or liberation. Buddha called this as Nirvana. Vedanta calls this as Brahmananda (ब्रह्मानन्द) or Brahman bliss. It is obtained by self-realization.

As one progresses in his spiritual pursuits, one realizes that the object- derived happiness is unfortunately evanescent and cannot be depended upon. Brahmananda stays with us forever.  It does not require any external tangibles for its accomplishment.  It is already built-in with us. We have only to unpack our head and heart to perceive it. It is like a man who had kept a 100-dollar bill in a magazine as a book-mark and later he totally forgot about it. He searched for it everywhere in vain. One day as he opened his magazine and found the 100-dollar bill. He exclaimed excitedly, “Hey! I got it”. It is the case with all of us. We have permanent happiness and peace built-in with us. Due to our ignorance we are not aware of it. Tattvabodha reveals it to us how to go to the mode of “Hey! I got it”. This is called prāptasya prāpti (प्राप्तस्य प्राप्ति), which means rediscovering what we already possess. 

Tattvabodha is said to be authored by Shankaracharya. This is a basic book of Vedanta (प्रकरण ग्रन्थ, prakaraṇa grantha) and helps to understand the higher texts namely Upanishads, Brahma- sutras and Bhagavad-Gita. These three texts are together called “Prasthana Trayi” (प्रस्थान त्रयी’ prasthāna trayī). Tattvabodha is written in prose form. It has 58 paragraphs. 



वासुदेवेन्द्रयोगीन्द्रम् नत्वा ज्ञानप्रदं गुरुम् । 

मुमूक्शूणाम् हितार्थाय तत्वबोधॊऽभिधीयते ॥

वासुदेवेन्द्र  योगीन्द्रम् –  Vasudevendra, the king amongst  the yogis– नत्वा –having saluted ज्ञानप्रदम् –  the bestower of knowledge गुरुम् – the Guru मुमूक्शूणाम् –for the seekers हितार्थाय – for the benefit  तत्वबोधः – Tattvabodha अभिधीयते –is expounded

Having saluted Vasudevendra, the Guru and the king of the yogis, who is the bestower of knowledge, Tattvabodha is expounded for the benefit of the seekers.

वासुदेवेन्द्र  – Vāsudēva refers to Lord Krishna who preached Gita to the world. He is the son of Vasudēva (वसुदेव). He is described here as the king Vāsudēva.

योगीन्द्रम् –the king of yogis, the perfect master who has attained yoga or union with self. 

नत्वा –having saluted. The author first salutes the Guru and proceeds with further discussion.

ज्ञानप्रदम् गुरुम् – the Guru who bestows knowledge. Here knowledge means spiritual knowledge. Guru is the master or teacher who removes darkness of ignorance and leads us to reality. गु=darkness रु=remover. Krishna is the universal Guru who expounded the knowledge of Gita. He removes darkness of ignorance. 

मुमूक्शूणाम् हितार्थाय – for the benefit of the seekers of truth

In the spiritual tradition of India, it is customary to make an object- statement of a book. In this shloka four points are mentioned. These are called अनुबन्ध चतुष्टय. These points are अधिकरी, विषय, प्रयोजन, and सम्बन्ध.

अधिकरी For whom the text is meant. In this case the text is written for the benefit of मुमूक्शूणाम्, the seekers. 

विषय the subject matter. The subject discussed in Tattvabodha is the essence of Reality or Tattva.  तत् – that त्व –ness. That refers to the spirit, or the essence of spirit is the subject matter. 

प्रयोजन –the utility or purpose of the book. The purpose of Tattvabodha is God realization. मुमूक्शूणाम् हितार्थाय for the benefit of the seekers of truth

सम्बन्ध – the relation of the text to the purpose. By the study of Tattvabodha and realization of truth, the seeker gets liberation from birth and death. He gets complete freedom.

1. Eligibility for self-enquiry

अधिकारी -Four-fold qualification 

1. Nature of reality

तत्वविवेकप्रकारम्   tattva viveka prakāram

. साधनचतुष्टयसम्पन्नाधिकारिणां मॊक्षसाधनभूतं तत्वविवेकप्रकारं वक्ष्यामः ।। १ ।। 

 साधनचतुष्टय-सम्पन्नाधिकारिणाम् –for those who are endowed with the four-fold qualifications  मोक्ष्साधनभूतम् – the means of liberation तत्वविवेक-प्रकारम् – the mode of enquiry into the nature of reality वक्ष्यामः –we shall expound.

We shall explain to those who are endowed with four-fold qualifications, the mode of enquiry into reality which is the means of liberation. 

साधनचतुष्टय-सम्पन्न-अधिकारिणाम् – for those who are endowed with the four-fold qualifications. What are these four qualifications? This is explained in the next paragraph.

मोक्षसाधनभूतम् – the means of liberation. The author is going to discuss here the means or tools for getting free from shackles of the world and thereby realizing God. 

तत्वविवेक-प्रकारम् – the mode of enquiry into the nature of reality. विवेक means the faculty of deciding the right from the wrong, discretion. तत्वविवेक refers to the faculty of mind of deciding atma and anatma vichara.

वक्ष्यामः –we shall expound.

2. Four-fold spiritual practice

साधनचतुष्टयम् किम् ?नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः । 

इहामुत्रार्थफलभॊगविरागः   शमादि षट्कसम्पत्तिः  

मुमुक्षुत्वं चेति ।। २. ।।

साधनचतुष्टयम् – four-fold qualifications or disciplines किम् –what, which are they  नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः – discretion between the permanent and impermanent इहम्-अमुत्र- फल–भोग-विरागः-dispassion towards enjoyment of fruits of action here (इहम्) and hereafter (अमुत्र) शमादि-षट्कसम्पत्तिः –six treasures like Shama etc.  मुमुक्षुत्वं – yearning for liberation च इति –and thus

What is the four-fold qualification? The capacity to discriminate between the permanent and impermanent, dispassion towards enjoyment of fruits of action either in this life or thereafter, the six treasures (inner wealth) beginning with ‘Shama’ and desire for liberation, is the four-fold qualification. 

4D’s: discrimination, Dispassion, Disciplines and Deliverance.

साधनचतुष्टयम् किम्? –Which are the four-fold qualifications? Sadhana means discipline. Chatushtaya means four–fold. The qualifications are four in number. This is a prerequisite for study of Tattvabodha. 

Now a question arises. Is it necessary to become eligible with the four qualifications for study of this book? What about a novice who wants to start anyway? The answer is an uninitiated person interested to learn wisdom can also study the book and gradually try to practice its principles. Unless he practices, the knowledge will remain as an academic interest. It will not benefit him unless he acquires the four-fold qualifications mentioned below: 

  • नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः – the discretion to differentiate the lasting and fleeting nature of things. (Discrimination)
  • इहामुत्रार्थफलभॊगविरागः  – dispassion towards enjoyment of fruits of action here and hereafter (Dispassion)
  • मुमुक्षुत्वम् – yearning or passionate desire for  liberation (deliverence)
  • शमादि-षट्कसम्पत्तिः –Six-fold disciplines, mental virtues. सम्पत्ति Sampatti means wealth, treasure.  Shatka means six-fold. The wealth of six inner disciplines or personal disciplines. These are शमः, दमः, उपरमः, तितीक्षा, श्रद्धा, and समाधानम्. Now let us study their meaning.
  • शमः Shama –control of mind
  • दमः Sense control or restraint of sense organs.
  • उपरमः Introspection –withdrawal from worldly pursuits to find quality time for spiritual progress.
  • तितीक्षा  : Forbearance – Endurance to bear difficulties in life
  • श्रद्धा : Trust –faith in scriptures and Guru. It is not a blind faith, but belief in what Guru teaches, being non-critical, open minded approach until full meaning is learnt.  It involves humility and absence of arrogance. 
  • समाधानम् : Concentration –Focussing capacity. 

The author has listed four disciplines as a prerequisite for the study of Tattvabodha. This includes विवेकः discrimination, विरागः dispassion, मुमुक्षुत्वम् desire for liberation and शमादि षट्कसम्पत्तिः the six-fold qualifications starting with shama.  Among these the first three namely discrimination, dispassion and desire for liberation are acquired by hard work and field practice, or in other words by karma yoga. The last one namely the six-fold qualifications come by Upasana yoga. So, these two disciplines of Karma Yoga and Upasana Yoga together give us the four-fold qualifications, or साधनचतुष्टयम्. With these Sadhanas, the devotee becomes eligible to receive knowledge of Brahman. 

3. Discrimination

नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः कः ? नित्यवस्त्वॆकं ब्रह्म तद्व्यतिरिक्तं सर्वमनित्यम् ।

अयमेव नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः ।।३. ।।

नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः – discrimination between the permanent and impermanent कः-which are they नित्यवस्तु – the eternal एकम् –alone ब्रह्म-the Reality तत् –व्यतिरिक्तम् – different from that सर्वम् –all अनित्यम् –are ephemeral अयम् – this एव -alone नित्य – अनित्य –वस्तु –विवेकः-discrimination between the permanent and impermanent 

What is meant by discrimination between the permanent and impermanent? The Reality alone is eternal; everything else is ephemeral. This conviction alone is the discrimination between permanent and impermanent. 

नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः – विवेक is the capacity of the intellect to distinguish and categorise one thing from another. This is the first qualification of four-fold discipline. Even animals have some sort of viveka. They can recognize their own species; they can separate edible and inedible objects, a friend from a foe. It is only in humans that this faculty is developed. There are many types of viveka of them नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेक only is the way to attain God.

अंश-अंशि विवेक –relationship between part and the whole

साधना-साध्य विवेक – discrimination between the means and the goal

श्रेय-प्रेय विवेक – discrimination between the good and pleasant

नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः or आत्मा-अनात्मा विवेक – discrimination between the eternal and ephemeral

We are concerned here with the last viveka viz. eternal and ephemeral nature of object. The world is in a state of flux, all the things are changing, the size and weight changes, and body turns old and the hairs grey, mood changes, moral values change and the relationship changes. The whole world of creation exists within the framework of time and space. There is a date of birth and date of death for the matter, circumstances and relationship. A thing which is not permanent cannot give us permanent security. So, we should not depend on it for support and security.  

The world can give us a lot of things like entertainment, education, opportunity for service, growth and spiritual Sadhana. But it cannot give permanent support and security. So, the viveka says that do not depend on the world for security. The only thing that is permanent and dependable is God or Brahman.

नित्यवस्तु एकम् ब्रह्म तद्व्यतिरिक्तम् सर्वम्  अनित्यम् – All the things are changing and it is only Brahman or God who is changeless. The wisdom of this viveka is called nitya-anitya vastu viveka. This is the first lesson we learn.

A river flows constantly. Its water changes every moment. But the river bed is the same all the time. Relatively here, water is anitya and river bed is nitya. 

अयम् एव नित्य अनित्य वस्तु विवेकः –This is the faculty of discriminating between fixed and fleeting objects. 

4. Dispassion

विरागः कः ? इहस्वर्गभोगेषु इच्छाराहित्यम् ।

विरागः -dispassion कः –what इहस्वर्गभोगेषु –in the enjoyments in this world and heaven इच्छाराहित्यम् –lack of desire

What is dispassion? The absence of desire for enjoyments (of the fruit of action) in this world and in heaven

विरागः कः – What is dispassion. It is absence of passion. It is also called वैराग्य. This is the second qualification of the four-fold discipline. As one learns that the world cannot give us permanent happiness and security, we should depend less and less on the world for our needs. This weaning away of the world is called viraga or vairagya.  This word has been understood wrongly. People think that going away to forest dejected with the enjoyments of worldly life is dispassion or renunciation. Dispassion does not mean secluded living away from society or despising it. As per definition given here, dispassion is absence of desire for enjoyment of fruits of action either in this world or the next.  Viraga is when a man realizes that the joy is not in the objects but in our attachment to it. Objects per se do not cause passion. Our attachment or desire to enjoy it causes joy or sorrow; likes and dislikes. One with dispassion does not like even the pleasures of heaven. Nachiketa declined all the pleasures of heaven offered to him by the lord of death.  Dispassion and discrimination support each other. 

Dispassion is a natural consequence of Discrimination.

5. The Six Sadhanas

शमादिसाधनसम्पत्तिः का ? 

शमो दमो उपरतिस्तितीक्षा श्र्द्धा समाधानं चेति ।।

शमः – control of mind ( shama) दमः –control of senses उपरति –withdrawal of the mind  तितीक्षा- forbearance श्रद्धा – faith समाधानम् –absorption of the mind च – and इति – thus

What is the inner wealth starting with Shama? They are the control on the mind, control of senses, and withdrawal of the mind, endurance, faith and absorption of the mind.

शमादिसाधनसम्पत्तिः का –What is the inner wealth consisting of control of the mind etc. This is called दैवीप्रक्रति in Gita 16: 01-03.

Six powerful disciplines prescribed for self-management are: Shama, (restraining the mind) dama (sense control) uparama, Titiksha, Shraddha (faith) and samadhanam (concentration). 

6. Control of Mind

शमः कः? मनोनिग्रहः 

शमः –Shama कः – what is this मनः  निग्रहः – Control of mind

What is Shama? It is control or mastery over the mind. Then the mind becomes tranquil.

The control over the mind is called Manonigraha. The mind is a continuous flow of thought. We get several thoughts in our mind, some of them are good and many of them are bad. The totality of all the thoughts makes us disturbed and restless. It changes our moods from elation to depression; from sublime to ridiculous. One who has such a mind loses focus on work because one more thought appears. So, he cannot undertake any serious sadhana like enquiry into the self. We may have control over people, situations and objects but we fail to control over own mind. This is what Arjuna says in Gita chapter 6:13, 

चञ्चलं हि मनः कृष्ण प्रमाथि बलवद्‌दृढम् । तस्याहं निग्रहं मन्ये वायोरिव सुदुष्करम् ॥६:३४॥

Krishna! The mind is unsteady, turbulent, tenacious and powerful. Therefore, I consider it as difficult to control as the wind.

Acharya Shankara gives two modules to control the mind. One is to exercise our will power to control and mind and second is to control the sense organs which obey the orders of the mind.

7. Control of sense organs

दमः कः? चक्षुरादिबाह्येन्द्रियनिग्रहः 

दमः – Dama कः – What is this चक्षुरादि –eyes etc. बाह्येन्द्रिय –निग्रहः – control of external senses

What is Dama? It is control or mastery over the external sense organs such as eyes. Then the sense organs obey the command of the mind and become tranquil.

चक्षुरादि बाह्येन्द्रिय निग्रहः –Control of the External organs like the eyes. There are five external organs called पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रिय or five sense organs. These are organs of ear, skin, eyes, tongue and nose, श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि. The senses are extrovert by nature. They are compared to wild horses. They continuously run towards the sense objects for entertainment. The eyes want to see pleasant things; ego-browsing etc. The ears die to hear self-praise, music, gossip and news. The nose cannot wait to enjoy the smell. And finally, the skin wants pleasure of softness, carnal pleasures. All these make the mind an abject slave to the sense organs. If the mind is restrained and in command the sense organs obey us. Mind should be the master but not a slave. The senses lead the mind astray like a strong leashed dog under the care of a weak person.

But it is sometimes possible that we may not be able restrain the sense organs but still can keep the sense organs under leash. For example, one may fail to control his temper and become angry but he may refrain from using harsh words or beating the other person. Saint Kabirdas says: if he minds does not obey, let it be, at least hold the senses.

मन चले तो जाने दो, तन को मत छोडो

The process of training the senses is compared to taming of the horses. It is called Dama. One must train the senses not to run amuck in the material world in spite of provocation. For these violent methods like self-punishment, and flogging should be avoided. A constant vigil and confession, learning from mistakes and surrender to God are the sadhanas. 

8. Mental equipoise 

उपरमः कः? स्वधर्मानुष्टानमेव 

उपरमः -Uparama कः –what is this? स्वधर्म–अनुष्टानम् – observance of one’s own dharma or natural duties  एव -only-

What is uparama or uparati? It is strict observance of one’s own dharma. (Duty)

रमा –is enjoying or revelling and उप means upon. So uparama means mental equipoise, the state of the mind that has stopped revelling upon the world of objects and emotions. In Shama and Dama the mind and sense organs are restrained but they are still amidst the world of objects. In Uparama they are automatically withdrawn from the objects. The best example to illustrate this is given in Gita. Just as the tortoise withdraws its head and limbs into the shell when in danger, a perfect man withdraws the mind and senses unto himself. A yogi practices this skill by several disciplines.  

Shri Shankara defines uparama as observance of one’s own duties. All of us have certain duties in life. A student’s duty is to go to school and study well. The parents’ duty is bringing up the children well. An employed man has to be loyal to his company and all of us have to be patriots of the nation. If we do our duty Willy Nally without loving it, or out of fear of persecution we are cheating ourselves.  Then the mind becomes restless.  Work does not become perfect. But if the duty is done with love, the mind becomes steady; single pointed and brings us joy to everyone. 

The highest form of uparama is when one remains in his ultimate and true nature (svadharma-स्वधर्म) which is the existence-consciousness-bliss (सत् चित् आनन्द). 

9. Forbearance

तितिक्षा का? शीतोष्णसुखदुःखादिसहिष्णुत्वम् 

What is Titiksha? It is the endurance of heat and cold; joy and sorrow; pleasure and pain etc. 

तितिक्षा –Titiksha का – What is this शीत-उष्ण–सुख-दुःख-आदि सहिष्णुत्वम् –endurance of heat, cold, joy, sorrow etc.

The word Titiksha means endurance, patience, forbearance. 

शीतोष्ण सुखदुःखादि सहिष्णुत्वम् – It is patiently forbearing the opposites like cold and heat; joy and sorrow. 

सहनम् सर्वदुखानाम् अप्रतिकारपूर्वकम् चिन्ताविलापरहितम् सा तितिक्षा  Viveka Chudamani -24 

Shankara says Titiksha is to bear with all misfortunes without whining and moaning, without any form of resistance. This is an important inner strength for the sadhaka. 

Life is a continuous stream of experiences at the physical level (heat, cold); emotional level (joy, sorrow); and intellectual level (praise, censure) that may give us a feeling of top of the world or a bottomless pit. It either gives us a great elevated mood or gloomy depressed mood. In such cases, since we are not able to take the things in its stride, we blame outside agencies like the stars, society, and people. A man who is trained in Titiksha accepts good and bad situations in a cheerful manner, finds out what went wrong and corrects it without blaming on others. He thanks God for giving him training. Swami Paramarthananda compares it to good set shock absorbers of the vehicle. 

Titiksha is training of the midbrain activities like control over various regulatory systems like hunger, thirst, temperature, sleep etc. He says; “this too shall pass”.

10. Faith

श्रद्धा कीद्रशी? गुरुवेदान्तवाक्यादिषु विश्वासः श्रद्धा 

श्रद्धा –Shraddha, faith कीद्रशी – what is this? गुरुवेदान्तवाक्यादिषु –in the words of Guru, and injunctions of Vedanta विश्वासः – belief  

What is Shraddha? It is faith in the teachings of Guru and Vedanta

Shraddha is the trust in the Guru and scriptures. It is not a blind faith which leads us to fanaticism. Faith needs an open-minded non critical approach giving the benefit of doubt to the Guru and Scriptures. It is freedom from intellectual arrogance.

Faith is required for us in all fields of life. I need faith in the transportation of my journey. I need faith in my family, my school and my teachers. I need faith that I will get up next morning from my bed. A doubting Thomas will never flourish. But these faiths are always relative to something that pre-exists. But faith in God, scriptures and Guru is not like that. It is unconditional faith. There are no relative factors. I just believe the injunctions of Vedas and Guru because of my conviction. I will not question them. But the scriptures themselves demand us to question their tenets and contemplate on them. So, the faith in scriptures does not lead us to fanaticism.  Belief or मान्यता is not based on intellectual enquiry. It is a blind belief and can make us fanatic and superstitious.  

As Tagore says faith is the bird that sings in joy when the dawn is still dark. The bird has not seen the sun, but it has faith that the sun will rise. As swami Chinmayananda once said. “I believe my dad as my father because my mother said so”. I do not question her since I have faith in her.

There is a real-life incident. A doctor was examining a patient in a nursing home. The patient who was terminally ill wailed, “Doctor what lies to me after my death?’. The doctor said, “Really I do not know, but I have faith in God and therefore I pray to him.” By that time, the doctor’s dog that had come to the hospital that day for the first time arrived at the door of the patient’s room. He knew his master was inside. He scratched the door and pushed himself in.  Then the doctor told to the patient, “Did you notice how my Brownie entered this room just because I am here?” He does not know what was inside. He has faith in me. So, he dared to come in. That is how I am. I have faith in God and do all my work so as to please Him.

11. Concentration

समाधानं किम्? चित्तैकाग्रता 

 समाधानम् –samadhana, concentration  किम् – What is this चित्त-एकाग्रता – single wontedness of the mind

What is samadhana? It is the single wontedness of the mind. It is the focusing capacity of mind.

Samadhana is the concentration of mind. Samadhana is the state of mind when one focuses on his goal. For this to happen, one channelizes the desultory mind towards his goal (शमः), controls the senses (दमः) withdraws from wild worldly pursuits (उपरमः), endures the pinpricks of life (तितीक्षा) and faithfully fallows the path indicated by the Guru and scriptures (श्रद्धा).

All the three qualifications of discrimination, dispassion, and the great six disciplines are prerequisites for Samadhana. It is an automatic outcome of these qualifications.

Swami Tejomayananda compares our journey to liberation to a journey to say Mumbai. We approach a travel agent (Guru), make enquires as to the best mode of transport (sadhana), book our ticket and board the vehicle on time to reach the destination. We control the expenses (sense organs and mind), so as to afford the ticket, cancel other programmes that clash with the journey (focus our energies-chittaikagrata), have faith in the travel agent and the vehicle (Shraddha), and endure all the travails of the travel (Titiksha) in order to reach the destination (Moksha). 

12. Desire for Liberation

मुमुक्षुत्वम् किम् ? मोक्षो मे भूयात् इति इछ्छा 

मुमुक्षुत्वम् –Mumukshutva किम् – what is this मोक्षः –liberation मे भूयात् –may it happen to me इति  इछ्छा –such a desire

What is Mumukshutva? “Let me attain liberation”, this intense desire is called Mumukshatva

मुमुक्षुत्वम् किम्  ? What is Mumukshutva? It is longing for liberation. This is the final requisite for a seeker. All the three qualifications of discrimination, dispassion, and the great six disciplines are not sufficient. He should personally have intense desire to attain liberation. 

A man who has been tossed about by the vagaries of life; material happiness, power, possession, property on the one hand; trials and tribulations on the other and has experienced the good and bad of the world, comes to the basic question, “What is the aim of my life”? At one point of life he decides, “Enough is enough. I want to end this mess completely. I want to free myself from this bondage of life.” 

Such a feeling is called Mumukshutva. ग्यता प्राप्ति

13. Four-fold Spiritual practice

 एतत् साधनचतुष्टयम् ।  ततस्तत्वविवेकाधिकारिणो भवन्ति ।।

एतत् – this साधनचतुष्टयम्-four-fold qualification ततः -thereafter तत्वविवेकस्य –of enquiry into the truth अधिकारिणः –fit  भवन्ति -become

This is the four-fold qualification. Thereafter the sadhaka becomes fit for enquiry into the truth.

एतत् साधनचतुष्टयम्  – this is the four-fold qualification. 

Let us have a quick recap as to what the author has said about desired four-fold qualifications to become eligible for the knowledge of the self.

The first paragraph of Tattvabodha started with the question what are the four disciplines of Sadhana साधनचतुष्टयम् किम्? Then the author set out to explain the four disciplines as: 

  1. नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः – discrimination between the permanent and impermanent
  2. विरागः dispassion. It is absence of attachment
  3. शमादि-षट्कसम्पत्तिः –six-fold wealth like Shama etc. शमो दमो उपरतिस्तितीक्षा श्र्द्धा and समाधानम्. This is not a single qualification but a bundle of six disciplines. 
  4. मुमुक्षुत्वम् –Intense desire for liberation

The above four-fold Sadhanas make साधनचतुष्टयम्.

We have so far discussed the subject of Sadhana chatushtaya Sampatti which has two parts:

1. Discrimination, dispassion and desire (विवेक, विराग, मुमुक्षुत्वम्). Acquired by Karma yoga 

2. Shamadi Sampatti (शमादि सम्पत्ति) is acquired by Upasana Yoga. 

The two disciplines of karma yoga and Upasana yoga together gives us a qualification or Adhikara (ज्ञानयोग्यता प्राप्ति). The mind of the seeker becomes clear, with a firm goal and clear picture of the road ahead. He obtains knowledge (तत्वज्ञान) which is the stepping stone of God realization.

ततः तत्वविवेकस्य अधिकारिणः भवन्ति – Then the seeker becomes eligible to receive the knowledge of the self. 

2. atma vicāra

2. आत्म विचार

Analysis of the individual or microcosm 

14. What is true knowledge

तत्वविवेकः कः?  । आत्मा सत्यं तदन्यत् सर्वं मिथ्येति ।

तत्वविवेकः- enquiry into the truth कः -what आत्मा –self सत्यम्-real तदन्यत्-other than that सर्वम्-all मिथ्या-is unreal इति-thus 

What is enquiry into the truth? It is the firm conviction that the self is real and everything else is unreal.

Here three technical words are introduced. These are आत्मा. सत्यम्, and मिथ्यम् 

आत्मा Brahman or the absolute truth; Self, spirit, soul

सत्यम्  or truth in normal language means that which confirms to reality or is factual, or a statement is accepted as truth by faith. Anything contrary to truth is false. 

In the terminology of Vedanta, satya or सत् or truth is something which is present without change in all the three periods of time; present, past and future. It is not dependent on any other phenomenon. If anything does not confirm to this pramana or standard it is considered as mithya or false. Satya is also called as Real.  Real has further been classified as sat and asat, (सत्-असत्); existent and non-existent. असत् is that which although appears like sat does not exist in all periods of time. Common example given is a barren woman. A woman exists and the child exists but the barren woman’s child does not exist. It is asat. 

Unreal or mithya (मिथ्यम्) is that which cannot be defined as real or सत्. It also cannot be defined as non-existent or असत्. If a thing exists and is experienced, but keeps on changing, it is called unreal. The world exists and is experienced, but it does not exist all the time and its experience are also not the same all the time. So, it is mithya. 

आत्मा सत्यम् – Self is real or satya.

तत् अन्यत् सर्वम् मिथ्यम् इति –all other things are unreal. Here the first viveka or discrimination is put to test. It is नित्य अनित्य विवेक or discrimination between eternal and ephemeral. 

There are two aspects to life; “I”, the experiencer of the world, and the world, the experienced object. The name, form, quality, and experience of every object of the world changes but “I”, the experiencer, remains the same. I am never absent but the world gets negated. So “I” am the real and everything else is unreal.

15. Who is Self?

आत्मा कः? स्थूलसूक्ष्मकारणशरीरात्व्यतिरिक्तः पंचकॊशातीतः सन् ।

अवस्स्थात्रयसाक्षी सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः सन् यस्तिस्ष्ट्ति स आत्मा 

आत्मा-self कः-what स्थूलसूक्ष्मकारणशरीरात्  व्यतिरिक्तः –different from the gross, subtle and casual bodies पंचकॊशातीतः– beyond the five sheaths सन्-indeed अवस्स्थात्रय-साक्षी – the witness of the three states of consciousness सच्चिदानन्द-स्वरूपः –of the nature of existence, consciousness and bliss (सत् चित् आनन्द स्वरूपः) सन्-indeed यः–who तिष्टति-remains सः–he आत्मा-the self 

What is self? That which is other than the gross, subtle and casual bodies, that which is beyond the five sheaths, that which is the witness of the three states of consciousness and is of the very nature of existence-consciousness-bliss is the self.

The teacher introduces several technical terms in this paragraph. So, it needs to be studied in detail. The new terms are: 

  • The three bodies: शरीरत्रय -gross (स्थूल), subtle or astral body (सूक्ष्म), and causal (कारण शरीर).
  • The five sheaths: पञ्चकोशः -Food sheath (अन्नमय), Vital air sheath (प्राणमय), Mental sheath (मनोमय), Intellectual sheath (विज्ञानमय) and the Bliss sheath (आनन्दमय)
  • The three states of consciousness अवस्थात्रय: Waking state (जाग्रत् अवस्था), the dream state (स्वप्न अवस्था() and deep- sleep state सुषुप्ति अवस्था 
  • Existence-Consciousness-Bliss: -सत् चित् आनन्द स्वरूपः 

आत्मा कः?  -What is self? When asked to introduce ourselves, we say I am the son/daughter of so and so. I belong to such a place. I am of such a nationality. I am the business owner; I weigh so many kilograms.  My skin and eye colour are such and such. If seen carefully what we are describing is our physical body, our possessions, our breed etc. These are indeed the conditionings or उपाधि. My physical structure, attributes etc do not make me. The conditionings superimpose their quality upon that which remains in its proximity. For example, a colourless crystal appears as blue when kept on a blue sheet. When the sheet is removed, the crystal appears ‘as its is’; colourless. The three bodies, five sheaths, and the three states of consciousness are the upadhi or conditionings of the self. “I” the knower or witness of the conditioning is different from the conditioning. 

स्थूलसूक्ष्मकारणशरीरात्  व्यतिरिक्तः –शरीरत्रयात् व्यतिरिक्तः – Atma is different from the three bodies. 

अतिरिकतः, व्यतीतः- These words mean beyond, transcending. My corporal physical body has two aspects; one, the material aspect and the other spiritual aspect. Atma is one who is beyond the material aspect. He is the spiritual aspect. 

Each one of us has not one but three bodies’ शरीरत्रय. The three bodies are gross or स्थूल subtle or सूक्ष्म, and causal or कारण शरिर. Gross body is the physical aspect of a person. This is perceptible to senses. It is nourished to the present size by food. The subtle body is not visible to us, but it is known to each of us. I know when I am hungry. Others may not be aware of it till I tell them or I show up physical signs. The causal body is also invisible. It is the seat of our all inherent tendencies (Vasanas). It is the cause of other two bodies.  

पंचकॊशातीतः –transcending the five sheaths. Atma is beyond the five sheaths. A man in temperate zone wears layers of cloth when he is out in the snow. When he comes back home, he removes them all. Similarly, the soul is wrapped in five layers. These are from outside: the food sheath (अन्नमय), Vital air sheath (प्राणमय), Mental sheath (मनोमय), Intellectual sheath (विज्ञानमय) and the Bliss sheath (आनन्दमय). 

The food sheath अन्नमय constitutes the gross body or स्थूल शरीर. The Vital air sheath (प्राणमय), mental sheath (मनोमय), and the Intellectual sheath (विज्ञानमय) together constitutes the subtle body or सूक्ष्म शरिर. The bliss sheath or आनन्दमय कोश forms causal body or कारण शरिर. 

What is the meaning of the soul or atma being beyond the five sheaths? “I am not the sheaths or its happiness and persecutions. I am distinct from the sheath. I am only a temporary resident. I am not identified with them. I am different.” 

अवस्स्थात्रय-साक्षी –A witness for the three states of consciousness. The three states are: Waking state जाग्रत् अवस्था, the dream sate स्वप्न अवस्था and deep- sleep state सुषुप्ति अवस्था. This is the total range of experience an individual goes through every day.

In जाग्रत् अवस्था or the waking state, we are aware of the world of objects, emotion and thought. The mind is fully functional and all its four faculties such as emotional aspect of experiencing happiness and grief; rational aspect such as thinking (gathering knowledge), decision making etc, ego, and memory aspects are available to us. The walking state is in the realm of gross body.

In स्वप्न अवस्था or dream state, we experience our individual dream world through our mind. Senses are not available for perception in dream state. Only the memory part of the mind or chitta (चित्त) is active and it replays all the experiences gathered during the waking state. Memory of the physical world as also the emotions like sorrow, happiness etc., registered in the mind are projected in the dream state.  However, no new experience is gained. The dream state is in the realm of subtle body.

In the third state of सुषुप्ति अवस्था or the deep sleep state, the mind and senses are zero functional. All four faculties of emotion, rational thinking, ego and memory are inactivated. There is not even thought of “I am sleeping”. Deep sleep state is in the realm of causal body.

The soul or “I” am” is available in all these three states of consciousness. 

अवस्स्थात्रय-साक्षी –The consciousness is a witness for the three states of existence; but it is not a part of what has been witnessed. The soul is independent of the body and is not a part, or product of the body. It is a separate identity residing in the body. It is just a witness to the activities of the body.

सच्चिदानन्द-स्वरूपः –The soul is the nature of existence-consciousness and bliss. On negating my identity as the three bodies, the five sheaths, and the three states of consciousness what remains is the pure self or the soul who is a bundle of सत् existence, चित् knowledge or consciousness, and bliss or आनन्द. सत् is the illuminating principle in all the three states. चित् is the knowledge principle that illuminates all the three states. Bliss or आनन्द is free from all conditioning and infinity in bliss. Consciousness is not a property of the body but different from the body.

यः तिष्टति सःआत्मा –Which remains free from the above conditionings is the self or आत्मा. 

शरीरत्रयम् śarīratrayam

16. What is Gross body?

स्थूलशरीरं किम्? 

पंचीक्रतपंचमहाभूतैः कृतम् सत्कर्मजन्यं 

सुखादुःखादिभॊगायतनं शरीरम्

अस्ति जायते वर्धते विपरिणमते अपक्षीयते विनश्यतीति 

षड्विकारवदेतत् स्थूलशरीरम् ।।

स्थूलशरीरम्- Gross body किम्-what पंचीक्रत-that have undergone the process of panchikarana पंचमहाभूतैः –by the five great elements क्रतम्- made of सत्कर्मजन्यम्- born of result of good actions in the past life सुख-दुःखादि- भोग आयतनम्- (resting place, abode) an instrument for the experience of joy, sorrow etc. शरीम्- the body (undergoes following transformations)अस्ति-exists जायते-is born वर्धते-grows विपरिणमते-matures अपक्षीयते -decays विनश्यति-and dies इति- thus षड्विकारवत्-with six modifications एतत्-this  स्थूलशरीरम्-gross body 

The gross body is that which is made up of five great elements that have undergone the process of panchikarana; an instrument for the experiences of happiness or misery etc, born out  of  past of good actions;  and subject to the six modifications namely–to exist, to take birth, to grow, to mature, to decay and to die.  

स्थूलशरीरम् किम् –What is gross body? Gross body is the physical body of man which has a definite shape, and can be perceived by the senses. Paramarthananda classifies the three bodies under six headings for the purpose of study. 

  • Material: It is made up of five gross elements that have undergone the process of grossification or panchikrata panchabhutas श्थूल पञ्च भूतानि. And so, the physical body is called भौतिक शरीर. The five great elements are space, air, fire, water and earth. When they undergo a process of grossification, (described later in this chapter) they form the five gross elements. By the permutation and combinations of the five great elements, is formed the entire gross world we perceive. Our body too is a part of this world and hence made up of these five great elements. 
  • Body parts: The body is divided into four distinguishable parts. The body आत्मा (body), शिर (head), पक्ष (sides), and पुच्छ (the hind part). 
  • Function: The body is an ayatana or receptacle for the enjoyment of happiness, grief etc.
  • Nature: Body is of changing nature. It undergoes modifications from birth to death. (षड्विकारThe gross body is called सविकल्प because it undergoes six modifications. 
  • Visibility: It being gross perceptible to the sense organs
  • Longevity: The physical body lives till the death of the person. श्रियमाण स्वभावम् शरीरम् that which undergoes death is sharira. 

एतत्  स्थूलशरीरम्  -this is gross body

पंचीक्रत पंचमहाभूतैः क्रतम् –made up of the five great elements which have undergone the process of grossification. The five great elements are अकाश or space, वायु or air, अग्नि or fire, अपः or water, and प्रथिवी or earth.  By a special process described in a later chapter in this book, the five great elements become five gross elements. The entire gross world is constituted by permutation and combination of the five gross elements.  The gross body being a part of the gross world is therefore made up of five gross elements.

सत्कर्मजन्यम्  क्रतम् –Born an account of good actions Punya Karma in the past births. This body is created for the enjoyment of the fruits of our past actions. So, it is called सत्कर्मजन्यम् or born of predominantly good actions. If too much bad actions are performed one does not get human life. God gives us the human birth to redeem ourselves

सुख-दुःखादि- भोग आयतनम् शरीम् –the body a receptacle for the experience of joy sorrow etc. Bhoga means enjoyment. Body is an instrument for the enjoyment of happiness (सुख) or misery (दुःख)  

षड्विकारवत् एतत् स्थूलशरीरम् – the body is endowed with  six changes or modifications namely to exist, to take birth, to grow, to mature, to decay, and to die. अस्ति जायते वर्धते विपरिणमते अपॆक्षीयते विनश्यतीति 

  • अस्ति-exists. The first condition is the presence of the fetus in mother’s womb. 
  • जायते-is born. This is the next modification Refer to words like जन्म पद्मजा
  • वर्धते-grows. Nourished by food, the body grows. 
  • विपरिणमते- transformation or matures. It reaches adolescence and lot of modifications like secondary sexual characters, of the body take place.  विपरिणाम  is transformation
  • अपक्षीयते -decays. Slowly the signs of ageing set in. The skin begins to sag, wrinkles appear, and the hair turns grey. Several diseases also show up. 
  • विनश्यति- dies. Ultimately the body dies. The body merges into is constitutional elements. This verb comes from the noun विनाशः. After death the five elements of the body merge into original mother five elements.

These above six changes of the body are called षड्विकारवत् एतत् स्थूलशरीरम्. वत् means endowed with; षड्विकार मय. These six properties of the body are not the property of atma. Atma is different from the body. Because of the six modifications, the body is called fleeting or not permanent श्रियमाण स्वभावम् शरीरम्.

The gross body is visible to me as well as to others.

17. What is subtle body?

सूक्ष्मशरीरम् किम्?

अपंचीक्रतपंचमहाभूतैः क्रतं सत्कर्मजन्यं 

सुखादुःखादिभॊग साधनं पंचज्ञानॆन्द्रियाणि पंचकर्मेन्द्रियाणि 

पंच प्राणादयः मनश्चैकं बुद्धिश्चैका एवं सप्तदशाकलाभिः सह 

यत्तिष्ठति तत्सूक्ष्मशरीरम् ।। 

सूक्ष्म शरीरम् किम् –What is subtle body? अपंचीक्रत-पंचमहाभूतैः –by the five subtle elements which have not undergone grossification क्रतम् –made of सत्कर्मजन्यम् – born of good actions in the past Punya karma सुख-दुःखादि-भॊगसाधनम्- an instrument for the experience of joy sorrow etc., पंचज्ञानॆन्द्रियाणि – the five organs of perception or knowledge पंचकर्मेन्द्रियाणि –the five organs of action पंच -प्राणादयः –the five pranas (प्राण, अपान, व्यान, उदान समान), मनः -च -एकम् –the mind बुद्धिः -च -एका –the intellect एवम् –thus सप्तदशाकलाभिः -सह –with seventeen constituents यत् – which  तिष्ठति – remains तत् –that सूक्ष्मशरीरम् –subtle body

What is subtle body? That which is composed of the five great elements which have not undergone grossification; five sense organs, five organs of action, five vital pranas, one mind and one intellect, thus totaling into seventeen numbers. The subtle body is born an account of its predominantly good actions in previous births as a platform for enjoyment of good and bad experiences in the present life. 

सूक्ष्मशरीरम् किम्- What is subtle body? The subtle body is the second body of man. It permeates the entire outer physical body. It has no definite shape and cannot be perceived by the senses. The subtle body enlivens the gross body. Like the gross body, the subtle body can also be considered in six headings.

  • Material: The subtle body is made up of five subtle five elements or panchabhutas which have not undergone the process of panchikarana or grossification. The five matters are the space, air, fire, water, and earth. But these elements are in their nascent forms or tanmatras. The entire subtle world is constituted from the permutation and combination of subtle elements. The subtle body being a part of the subtle world is therefore made of five subtle elements. Since the subtle body is also made of five elementary matters it is considered as भौतिक शरीर just like the gross body.
  • Body parts: The subtle body is composed of seventeen elements which are the instruments of transactions. Gross body is only an office but subtle body are the equipment. These seventeen elements are considered in this chapter later.
  • Function: The function of the subtle body is transaction of metabolic and physiological functions. In this all the seventeen elements are involved.
  • Nature: It pervades the whole physical body. It has two parts external and internal. Out of the seventeen elements except mind and intellect all others are external. So, they are called बाह्यकरण. The mind and intellect being internal are called अंतःकरण. 
  • Change: Like the gross body, the subtle one also has modifications. By age and disease, some functions of the body decrease.
  • Visibility: Some transactions are perceived by the senses but the transactions of the mind and intellect are known to oneself only. 
  • Longevity: Although the physical body dies, the subtle body continues to live. It gets into another physical body and continues its journey. The subtle body is terminated only at the time of pralaya or grand dissolution.

अपंचीक्रत-पंचमहाभूतैः क्रतम् – made of un-grossified elements. The subtle body is made up of five subtle elements or panchabhutas which have not gone under the process of panchikarana or grossification. The five material elements are the space, air, fire, water, and earth. But these elements are in their nascent forms or tanmatras. The entire subtle world is constituted from their permutation and combination. The subtle body being a part of the subtle world is therefore made of five subtle elements. The subtle body is also a physical body or भौतिक शरीर because it has the five matters.

सत्कर्मजन्यम् – Born as a result of predominantly good actions. If the good karmas are not done, the jiva does not get the birth of a man. Only meritorious karma can give a human birth.

सुख-दुःखादि-भॊगसाधनम् –instrument of experiences of happiness and grief. Gross body is an abode of pleasure and pain whereas the subtle body is an instrument of experience of pleasure and pain. It is the mind and intellect or the subtle body that experiences emotions like joy, sorrow, heat, cold, praise, censure etc. The physical body is inert matter and so cannot experience pleasure or pain. It is the mind that recognizes them. The book I hold or the chairs I sit are unaware of my action because it has no subtle body. I am aware of the gamut of emotions because I have a subtle body. Therefore, in the deep-sleep state, when the mind and intellect are put on hold, there is no experience of the world. 

एवम् सप्तदशाकलाभिः सह –The seventeen instruments of experience or components of the subtle body are the five sense organs, the five organs of action, the five pranas, the mind and intellect. The physical sense organs belong to the gross body. Their action belongs to subtle body. Physical body is an office but the subtle one is the equipment. Therefore, the organs as such are called ‘Golaka’ (गोलक). By itself the Golaka cannot perceive or cognize a stimulus. It is the subtle body which enlivens them.  

पंचज्ञानॆन्द्रियाणि – “श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षुः रसना घ्राणम् इति पञ्च ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि” 

The five organs of perception are; the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. We should note that the five external organs of perception are mere aperture or hardware. The subtle body is the software. Without it, the external organs cannot function. The subtle body is not created. It is anadi.The same subtle body takes on numerous physical bodies, until the self realizes the truth. So, what changes that appears at each birth is merely the outer covering or hardware. The same personality can take birth once as a human being, and another time as a tree- all due to sins and virtuous acts committed in life. “So, our actions are extremely important. Noble actions such as service to others, prayer, worship, meditation, selflessness lead to higher realms while ignoble actions pull us down. And this procession of birth and death goes on.” 

पंचकर्मेन्द्रियाणि – “वाक्पाणिपादपायूपस्थानीति पञ्चकर्मेन्द्रियाणि”  

वाक्- organ of speech. पाणि- hands पाद-feet  पायुः-excretory organs उपस्थम्-organs of reproduction.

पंच प्राणादयः – पञ्चवायवः the five pranas or vayus are: प्राण,अपान, व्यान, उदान, and  समान. The pranas are the physiological functions without which the body cannot survive. They supply energy to the gross and subtle bodes. 

प्राण वायु or respiratory system. By exhalation and inhalation of air it pumps in oxygen and pumps out carbon dioxide. 

अपान वायु – or excretory system. Any form of removal of waste is called apana. 

व्यान वायु – circulatory system. It circulates blood, oxygen and nutrition to all parts of the body.

समान वायु –digestive system. It makes complicated food into simple digestible food.

उदान वायु – retrovert  action. This is a reversal action normally resorted to at the time of death of the body. All the other four life giving systems gradually lose their action.  

मनःच एकम् –the mind or manas one in number.  The mind is the seat of emotions, and संकल्प -विकल्प (assertion and negation) or perceptions and the capacity of volition as also doubt.

बुद्धिःच एका –the intellect one in number; the faculty of rational judgement, reasoning, discretion, discrimination, analysis, and judgment. संकल्प विकल्पात्मिकम् मनः निश्चयात्मकम् बुद्धिः

The mind and buddhi are sometimes called by a single name अंतःह्करण or inner equipment. 

The ego (अहम्) and the faculty of memory (चित्त) are included respectively in manas and buddhi. Therefore, they are not mentioned separately. Thus, in all there are seventeen elements.

एवम् सप्तदशाकलाभिः सह यत् यः तिष्ठति तत् सूक्ष्मशरीरम् –  Thus that which comprises of these seventeen constituents is called subtle body. 

18. Five organs of perception

 पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि

श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि। 

श्रोत्रस्य दिग्देवता । त्वचो वायुः । चक्षुषः सूर्यः । रसनायाः वरुणः । 

घ्राणस्य अश्विनौ । इति ज्ञानेन्द्रियदेवताः ।

श्रोत्रस्य  विषयः शब्दग्रहणम् । त्वचो विषयः स्पर्शग्रहणम् । 

चक्षुशो विषयः रूपग्रहणम् । रसनाया विषयः रसग्रहणम्। 

घ्राणस्य विषयः गन्धग्रहणम् इति ।। 

पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि –the five organs of knowledge or sense organs. श्रोत्रं –ear त्वक् –skin चक्षु: eye रसना –tongue घ्राणम् –nose इति पंच –thus ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि –are five sense organs 

श्रोत्रस्य – of the ear दिग्देवता –god of space त्वचः –of the skin वायुः air चक्षुषः –of the eyes सूर्यः –the sun रसनायाः –of the tongue वरुणः –water घ्राणस्य –of the nose अश्विनौ –Ashwini kumara इति –thus ज्ञानेन्द्रियदेवताः –the presiding deities of sense organs 

श्रोत्रस्य –of the ear विषयः –field of experience शब्दग्रहणम् –perceiving the sound त्वचः –of the skin विषयः –field of experience स्पर्शग्रहणम् –cognition of the form चक्षुशः-of the eyes विषयः –field of experience रूपग्रहणम् –cognition of form रसनाया –of the tongue विषयः –field of experience रसग्रहणम् –cognition of taste घ्राणस्य –of the nose विषयः-field of experience गन्धग्रहणम् –is cognition of smell इति –thus.

The five organs of knowledge are the ear, skin, the eyes, the tongue, and the nose. The presiding deity of the organ of the ear is space, that of the skin is air; that of the eye is the sun; that of the tongue is water; and the presiding deity of the nose is Ashwinis. The function of the ear is sensing sounds; that of skin is feeling or touch; that of the eye is sensing the form; and the function of the nose is sensing smell. 

पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि – श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि –The five sense organs are the ear, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose. These sense organs link us to the sense objects. The sense objects for each of the sense organs are:  sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell. With all the five organs functioning properly, we get a clear picture of the outer world. These sense organs perceive only their own particular sense objects. There is no admixture of duties. The ears cannot see nor can the eyes hear. 

Five sense organs are: श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम्

Five sense objects are: शब्द, स्पर्श, रूप, रस गन्ध

श्रोत्रस्य दिक् देवता । त्वचो वायुः । चक्षुषः सूर्यः । रसनायाः वरुणः । घ्राणस्य अश्विनौ । इति ज्ञानेन्द्रियदेवताः ।  

Each of the senses has been assigned to a deity. His job is to see that the sense organ under him performs properly.  The deity for the ear is space. The sound travels in the medium of space. The deity for skin is air. So, air controls touch. Sun is the source of all light on the earth and seeing is possible only in the medium of light. The tongue needs to be always wet. When we see a food of our liking the mouth secretes water. Water is the deity of tongue. The two Ashwini Kumara guide the function of smell. 

श्रोत्रस्य  विषयः शब्दग्रहणम् । त्वचो विषयः स्पर्शग्रहणम् । चक्षुशो विषयः रूपग्रहणम् । रसनाया विषयः रसग्रहणम्। घ्राणस्य विषयः गन्धग्रहणम् इति ।।  

Each of the senses is specialized instruments. They perform only the function assigned to them. The nose cannot hear, and the ear cannot smell. The fields of experience for the sense organs are:  cognition of sound for the ear, touch for the skin, form for the eyes, taste for the tongue, and smell for the nose. 

Six ways of knowing

The senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell are the doorkeepers which bring knowledge of the outer world to the mind. There are five ways of knowing. The valid means of knowledge is called Pramana.  These are: 

  • प्रत्यक्ष प्रमाण  -Direct perception You get the knowledge by using the fivefold sense organs.
  • अनुमान प्रमाण  -Inference by previous experience. There is a smoke in the yonder hill. We infer by experience that there must be fire. Indirectly for this inference also senses are required
  • उपमान प्रमाण – Knowing by comparison. We know how the earth looks like. So, we infer how the Mars looks like.
  • अर्थापत्ति प्रमाण –Conjuncture or postulate from significant information. If your friend is not at home you imagine that he must be in the office
  • अनुपलभ्धि प्रमाण –Knowing by absence of a thing. 

The above five or पञ्च प्रमाण, for all practical purposes can be reduced into two– perception and inference. Now the question is which pramana should I use to gain the knowledge of self? We cannot use the five sense organs because being extroverted instruments they are capable of studying only objective world. None of these instruments is capable of studying the very subject behind these instruments. That is their inherent limitation. The eyes can perceive everything but they cannot see themselves. God is the subject but never subject to objectification; so, self-knowledge remains elusive to material senses.

If these standards or pramana are not going to be useful for the knowledge of self, how can we gain the knowledge of self? For this there is the evidence of Vedas. Vedas are the gift of God to mankind. This pramana is called शास्त्र प्रमाण or शब्द प्रमाण in Sanskrit. We learn about God by the testimony of Vedas. The Vedas recommend that God could be experienced by श्रवण मनन निधिध्यासन or hearing, reflection and contemplation or assimilation. 

19. The Five organs of action


वाक्पाणिपादपायूपस्थानीति पञ्चकर्मेन्द्रियाणि । 

वाचो देवता वह्निः । हस्तयॊःरिन्द्रः । पादयोर्विष्णुः ।

पायोंर्मुत्युः । उपस्थस्य प्रजापतिः  । इति कर्मेन्द्रियदेवताः । 

वाचो विषयः भाषणम् । पाण्योर्विषयः वस्तुग्रहणम् ।  

पादयोर्विषयः गमनम् । पायोर्विषयः मलत्यागः । 

उपस्थस्य विषय आनन्दः इति ।।

पञ्चकर्मेन्द्रियाणि –the five organs of action वाक्-पाणि-पाद-पायू-उपस्थानि -इति – speech, hands, legs, the anus, genitals thus पञ्चकर्मेन्द्रियाणि – the five organs of action वाचः of speech देवता –deity वह्निः –fire हस्तयॊः –of the hands इन्द्रः –Indra पादयोः –of legs र्विष्णुः –Vishnu पायोः of anus -म्रत्युः –death उपस्थस्य –of the genitals प्रजापतिः –Prajapati  ब्रह्मा इति –thus कर्मेन्द्रियदेवताः –presiding deities of organs of action 

वाचःविषयः –the function of the speech भाषणम् –is to speak पाण्योः –of the hands र्विषयः -वस्तुग्रहणम् –to grasp things पादयोःविषयः –the function of the legs गमनम् –movement पायोः – of the anus विषयः –function मलत्यागः –is elimination of waste उपस्थस्य विषयः –the function of the genitals आनन्दः इति –is pleasure

The five organs of action are: speech, hands, feet, anus and genitals. The presiding deities of these organs are: fire presides over speech, Indra presides over hands, Vishnu presides over feet, and death (Yama) presides over anus and Prajapati presides over genitals. 

The function of organ of speech is to speak, the function of the hand is to hold things, the function of the feet is movement, the function of anus is excretion and the function of genitals is to enjoy (procreation)

It is important to note that the organs of knowledge and action are discussed under subtle body but not the gross body. It is because these organs belong to the subtle body but not to gross body. 

Although these organs are located in the physical body their real driving force is in the subtle body. These ten organs have their contact office in the physical body. All the functions are controlled by the subtle body who is the boss. Swami Ramakrishna calls them as pillow covers. 

The organs of action are created by using rajas guna of the five great elements. How the organs of action function? The eye sees and knows some object. The nose smells it and the ears hear about it. The ego identifies itself with it. And the hands and les begin to adventure. The power to function comes from the Pranas or vital forces. The desire to function comes from the mind.”

How the individual subtle body is created?

“Unlike the gross body, the subtle body is created once and for all. At the beginning of this creation we get the subtle body, and it remains with us till we attain illumination. Its creation happens in this way:  We have already mentioned that the five fundamental elements are air, fire water, and earth. In their essentially unmixed pure state called तन्मात्र (that alone). These are formed from Maya or prakrati.  Prakrati constitutes of three qualities or gunas. These five tanmatras too are modifications of prakrati’s gunas. 

“Combining all the subtle bodies in the cosmos, we get the supreme subtle body. He is called Hiranyagarbha (हिरण्यगर्भ). He is the cosmic egg or the source of all gross physical and subtle universes. Because Hiranyagarbha is a collective subtle body, it has intellect. This supreme intelligence or a combination of all the intellects of all beings put together, must be enormous. Hence that supreme intelligence is called mahat (महत्). This cosmic intelligence or Hiranyagarbha becomes the source of the physical cosmos and our own individual physical body.

After discussing the gross and subtle bodies, Tattvabodha now takes up the third body namely causal body. Pancha prana, manas and buddhi are not discussed by the author.

Unique place of tongue

The tongue has a unique place because it is an organ or action (eating and speaking) and an organ of perception (tasting).  

20. What is causal body?

 कारण शरीरम् किम्? 

अनिर्वाच्यानाद्याविद्यारूपम् शरीरद्वयस्य कारणमात्रम् सत् स्वरूपाज्ञानं ।

निर्विकल्पकरूपं यदस्ति तत्कारणशरीरम् ।।

Causal body

कारणशरीरम् किम्? –  What is causal body? अनिर्वाच्य –inexplicable अनादि –beginning-less अविद्यारुपम् –in the form of ignorance शरीरद्वयस्य –of the two bodies कारणमात्रम् –the sole cause सत्-स्वरूपम्-अज्ञानम् –ignorance of one’s own true nature निर्विकल्पक –without modification रूपम् –form यत् –which अस्ति –is तत् –that कारणशरीरम् –is called causal body.

What is meant by causal body? That which is formed by inexplicable, beginning-less, ignorance, that which is the cause of other two bodies, that which is ignorant of its own nature, and that which does not undergo any modification is called the causal body. 

Six qualifications have been given. These are:

कारणशरीरम् किम्? –  What is causal body? Having already discussed the gross body and subtle body we now come to the final body called Causal body or Karana sharira. Like the gross body and subtle body, the causal body is also a sharira but not atma.  It can also be considered in seven headings:

  • Material: As we have seen gross body is composed of gross material and as such it is always being renewed and changing. But the internal body is of the finest or subtlest material, so fine that it will endure eons of age. It cannot be destroyed. 
  • Body parts: nil.
  • Function: The causal body is the ‘seed’ of the other two bodies’ namely subtle and gross body. These two bodies arise from the causal body. During Pralaya or dissolution, it serves as a store house for the other two bodies. Even during pralaya, the causal body is not destroyed.
  • Nature: It is the subtlest of the three bodies. It is the cause of other two bodies. It is without modification. Hence it is called निर्विकल्प स्वरूप. The gross body is called सविकल्प because it undergoes six modifications.
  • Visibility: Gross body is visible for everyone. Subtle body is visible only to oneself only. But the causal body is not visible to anyone. 
  • Longevity: Causal body has longest life. Gross body is destroyed at the end of the body. Subtle body is destroyed at the time of final dissolution or Pralaya. But the causal body is never destroyed. It can only merge with God after self-realization. 

अनिर्वाच्य अनादि अविद्यारुपम्  -inexplicable, beginning-less, and in the form of ignorance. The causal body has no shape, size or quality. It cannot be perceived by sense organ or by any instrumentation. So, it is called indescribable, inexplicable etc (अनिर्वाच्य). It has no beginning or end. Being a part of prakrati it was always there. So, it is called Anadi (अनादि). 

अविद्या means ignorance. In Vedanta it means mithya. Furniture is mithya but the wood is Satya. Wave is mithya and water is Satya. Mithya is also called ignorance. That which does not have independent existence is called Mithya. Satya has independent existence and available unchanged in all periods of time. Atma is satya all other things are mithya. Causal body is the nature of ignorance. The ignorance enveloping Brahman is called Maya.  It is the first stage of creation. In the individual level it is called causal body and at the cosmic level it is called Pratyagatman (प्रत्यगात्मन्). Ignorance has two powers; to envelope and to project. It envelopes Brahman and becomes causal body. It projects the subtle and gross bodies. It brings the idea in the causal body, “I am the doer”, “I’m the experiencer”.

शरीरद्वयस्य  कारणमात्रम्  -It is the cause of two bodies. Causal body is karana or cause of gross body and subtle body. Causal body is the cause and the two bodies subtle and gross are its effect or karya. So essentially, the two resultant bodies are same as the karana.

सत्-स्वरूपम्-अज्ञानम् –ignorance of one’s own true nature. I do not know my true nature which is सच्चिदानन्द स्वरूप (Existence-consciousness-bliss). I am mistaken that I am the doer and enjoyer. I know so much about the world but so little about who I am. 

निर्विकल्पक रूपम् –does not undergo any modification. निर्विकल्पः Vikalpa means division being of the nature beyond thought.  कल्प or कल्पना refers to thoughts. निर्विकल्पः is beyond thought, or without thoughts. Ignorance is homogenous. It has no duality as a knower and known. There are degrees of knowledge, but not in ignorance. It is beyond thought or without thought (निर्विकल्पक रूपम्).  

यत् अस्ति तत् कारणशरीरम् –that which exists is called causal body. Causal body is that which is other than the three conditions mentioned above.

Causal body is called the blissful sheath (आनन्दमय कॊश). It is blissful because Brahman which is of the nature of bliss is the only reality. It is also the deep-sleep state (सुशुप्ति).  

21. The Three states of existence

अवस्थात्रयम् किम् ? 

अवस्थात्रयम् किम् ? जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्त्यवस्थाः ।।

अवस्थात्रयम् –the three states of existence किम् –what जाग्रत्-the waking स्वप्न-the dream सुषुप्ति-and the sleep अवस्थाः – states 

What are the three sates of consciousness? They are the waking, dream and deep sleep planes.

After negating the three bodies, the gross, subtle, and the causal as anatma Shri Shankara now takes up another subject; the three states of awareness or experience. Which are the three states of existence? All of us have to pass through three states of existence every day; waking, dream and sleep. In our daily transactions, we get variegated experiences from the object, emotion and thought (OET) at three levels. We experience the physical world as, sound, touch, form, taste, and smell (शब्द, स्पर्श, रूप रस and गन्ध). At the emotional level we get experiences of desire, anger, love, and compassion. At the intellectual level, we experience ideals, concepts, imagination etc. We also experience the absence of these experiences. The experiences derived from OET are divided into three states of consciousness namely, waking, dream and deep sleep. 

अवस्था  means  state of existence or experience. स्थ meaning ‘to be’ is the root of this noun. It means the mind which remains the same at any given time.

22. The waking state

जाग्रदवस्था का? 

जाग्रदवस्था का? श्रोत्रादिज्ञानेन्दियैः शब्दादि 

विषयैश्च ज्ञायते इति सा जाग्रदवस्था । 

स्थूलशरीराभिमानी आत्मा विश्व इत्युच्यते।।

जाग्रदवस्था –the waking state का –What? श्रोत्रादि-the ear and otherज्ञानेन्दियैः –with the organs of perception शन्दादि –sound and other विषयैः – objects of enjoyment च –and ज्ञायते –are perceives इति –thus सा -that जाग्रदवस्था –waking plane स्थूलशरीर- the gross body अभिमानी – identified with आत्मा –the self विश्व –Vishwa, complete or all-inclusive  इति –thus उच्यते –is called

What is waking state? The state of awareness in which the organs of perception like hearing cognize their respective objects like sound is called the waking state. The self, identified with the gross physical body, is called Vishwa.

जाग्रदवस्था का – the walking state. This is the most important state of life. Swami Paramarthananda considers the three states of life in three stages for convenience of understanding. These are mind, nature and medium. 

1. The mind: In the waking state, the internal sense or the mind (अंतःकरण) is fully functional. All the four faculties of the mind such as emotion and rational thinking, ego and memory are available. Emotion includes love, happiness, hatred etc. Rational thinking is judgment, discretion, discrimination, gathering fresh 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 which have a form; taste, smell, sound and touch (रूप, रस, गन्ध, शब्द, स्पर्श) and registered in mind. 

2. Nature: In walking stage, we experience the external world of names and objects. The objective world is available for everyone to experience. It is concrete, tangible matter. 

3. The medium: The waking state is sense organ-based experience. The sense organs have two locations; one in the physical body and the other in the subtle body. The external sense organ is just a physical location or a cavity, technically called a fossa (plural fossae). In Sanskrit it is called a Golaka (गॊलक). The real apparatus or illuminating factor of the organ is located in the subtle body. In the waking state I identify with the gross body and become doer and enjoyer. In the dream state I identify with the subtle body and become only the enjoyer. 

Jagrat Avastha is also called sthula sharira, Annamaya Kosha, of Vishwa. 

श्रोत्रादि ज्ञानेन्दियैः – The sense organs like ear perceive  the sense object like the sound etc. The waking state offers a very real experience of solid external world by sense perceptions. A person in waking stage identifies with all the three states of consciousness. He is aware of his gross body, the internal senses like mind, and his causal body. श्रोत्रादि –sense organs like ear. Other sense organs are skin, eye, tongue, and nose, the five sense objects. श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि। 

शन्दादि विषयैः- The objects of experience are  शब्द स्पर्श रूप रस and गन्ध. The sense objects are perceived by the sense organs. 

Krishna calls the sense organs and sense objects as मात्रा स्पर्श 

च ज्ञायते इति जाग्रदवस्था – In the waking state or jagrat avastha the sense objects are perceived by the sense organs. 

स्थूलशरीर अभिमानी आत्मा विश्व इति उच्यते – Atman identified with the gross body is called स्थूलशरीर अभिमानी, the identifier with the gross body. Our identification with gross body is the cause of walking state. The moment this identification ceases the walking state also ceases. 

Just as we have three states of body, the gross subtle and causal bodies at the individual level, we have also cosmic gross, subtle and causal bodies. 

23. The Dream state

स्वप्नावस्था केति चेत्

स्वप्नावस्था केति चेत्? जाग्रदवस्थायां यद्

द्रष्टं यत् श्रुतं तज्जनितवासनया निद्रासमये यः 

प्रपञ्चः प्रतीयते सा स्वप्नावस्था ।  

सूक्ष्म्शरीराभिमानी आत्मा तैजसः इति उच्यते ।।

स्वप्नावस्था –the dream state का -इति -चेत् –if asked what it is जाग्रदवस्थायाम् –in the waking state यद् –which द्रष्टम् –seen यद् –which श्रुतम् –heard तत्-जनित-वासनया –by the impressions born from that निद्रासमये –at the time of the sleep यः –which प्रपञ्चः –world प्रतीयते is experienced -सा –that स्वप्न-अवस्था –dream state सूक्ष्म्शरीर-अभिमानी –identified with the subtle body आत्मा –the self तैजसः –Taijasa इति -उच्यते –is called

What is dream state?

All that is heard or seen in the waking state become 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. 

स्वप्नावस्था का इति चेत् – For the question “what is dream state”, the answer is that experiences of the waking state become the material for dream experience. As Shankara says, the dream is a product of the impressions that is gathered during waking state. 

जाग्रदवस्थायाम् यद् द्रष्टम् यद् श्रुतम् तत्-जनित-वासनया निद्रासमये यः प्रपञ्चः प्रतीयते सा स्वप्न-अवस्था  -Dream is the product of impressions that is projected in sleep of what is seen and heard by the senses during walking state. Here only two senses of sight and sound are indicted. By implication we have to add other senses of touch, taste and smell. 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. There is only the notion of enjoyer. (भोक्र्त्रत्वम्) but there is no choice whether to enjoy or to suffer. 

निद्रासमये during sleep. We have withdrawn our identification from gross body. If we are awake, we cannot go to sleep. 

सूक्ष्म्शरीर अभिमानी आत्मा तैजसः इति उच्यते – Self or Atman  identified with the subtle body is called Taijasa. 

24. The deep sleep state

सुषुप्तावस्था का? 

अहं किमपि न जानामि 

सुखेन मया निद्राऽनुभूयत इति सुषुप्तावस्था । 

कारणशरीराभिमानी आत्मा प्राज्ञ इत्युच्यते ।।

अथ –then सुषुप्तावस्था –deep sleep state का – what is it अहम् –I किमपि –anything न -जानामि –do not know सुखेन –happily मया –by me निद्रा –sleep अनुभूयते –is experienced इति –thus सुषुप्तावस्था –is the deep sleep state कारणशरीर-अभिमानी –identified with the causal body आत्मा –self प्राज्ञः –prajna  इति –thus उच्यते –is called  

What is deep sleep state? ‘I do not know anything; I slept happily’; to think like this is called the deep sleep state. The self-identified with the causal body is called prajna. 

अथ सुषुप्तावस्था का  -what is deep sleep state? It is the third state of awareness. After studying जाग्रत् and स्वप्न अवस्था we come to the third state of awareness called सुषुप्ति अवस्था.

अहम् किमपि न जानामि सुखेन मया निद्रा अनुभूयते 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. 

कारणशरीर-अभिमानी आत्मा प्राज्ञः इति उच्यते  – The self-identified with the causal body is called prajna. 

 Swami Paramarthananda considers the three states of life in three stages for convenience of understanding. These are mind, nature and medium. 

  • Mind:  As we have already studied, in the waking state the three aspects of mind namely, emotional, rational and memory are fully functioning. Hence the mind is considered as fully functional or पूर्ण विकास. In dream state, the mind is said to be half functional अर्ध विकास because the emotional and rational aspects are inactivated. Only the memory aspect is available for the dreamer. The mind cannot gather experiences from the objects. Whatever memory has been stored is projected as dream. In deep sleep state the mind is said to be non-functional or zero-functional or अविकास. 
  • Nature:  In deep sleep state there is no external world because the sense organs are not functioning. There is no internal world because there is no memory. Therefore, it is neither external concrete objective world nor internal abstract world. It is therefore called अज्ञान अनुभव or experience of ignorance. It is the state of total blackout.  
  • Medium: Since there are no sense organs, the gross body is not available, since there is no mind and memory, the dream world or subtle body is not available. Therefore, what is available for the deep sleeper is only the causal body. These two bodies are in a state of abeyance and will be restored as soon as he awakes from deep sleep state.  

To summarize, the waker is associated with जाग्रत् अवस्था.  He is then called विश्व meaning fully awake. The dreamer in स्वप्ना अवस्था is called तैजस meaning internally illuminated person and the deep-sleeper with सुशुप्ति अवस्था is called प्राज्ञः meaning blissfully ignorant person. प्रकाशेन अज्ञानः प्रज्ञा इति उच्यते. 

25. The five sheaths

पंचकोशाः के?

अन्नमयः प्राणमयः मनोमयः विज्ञानमयः आनन्दमयश्चेति ।

पंचकोशाः- the five sheaths के?-which are they अन्नमयः –food sheath मयः made up of प्राणमयः –vital air sheath or life force मनोमयः –mental sheath विज्ञानमयः –intellectual sheathआनन्दमयः – bliss sheath च –and इति -thus?

What are the five sheaths? They are the food sheath, Vital Air sheath, mental sheath, and intellectual sheath and Bliss sheath. 

पंचकोशाः के? –Which are the five sheaths? In the previous chapter we studied the three bodies, gross, subtle and causal. Now looking at a different angle, the same body has been classified as five sheaths. In reply to the question who is atma, the answer given was आत्मा स्थूलसूक्ष्मकारणशरीरात्   व्यतिरिक्तः –the self is different from the gross subtle and casual bodies, and पंचकॊशातीतः– beyond the five sheaths. The author now explains what are five Koshas or sheaths of the body so that we can understand that Atman is different from, not a part of the five sheaths as well.  The gross body is termed as Annamaya Kosha; and Karana sharira is termed as Bliss sheath. The middle layer or Sukshma sharira is grouped into the remaining three sheaths of Pranamaya, manomaya and vijnyanamaya Kosha. 

Kosha means an outer covering or a sheath. The scabbard of a sword is called Kosha. Kosha means one which envelope like a sheath, कोशवत् आच्छादयति तस्मात् कोशः. The scabbard is different from the sword. Similarly, the Atman is different from the Koshas. 

Pancha kosha are not different from the three bodies of gross, subtle and casual. They are looked into a different angle of Kosha. The five Koshas are anatma. 

अन्नमयः प्राणमयः मनोमयः विज्ञानमयः आनन्दमयः च इति –The five sheaths are, the food sheath, vital air sheath, mental sheath, intellectual sheath and bliss sheath. 

  • अन्नमयः कॊशः –the physical body or the gross body
  • प्राणमयः कॊशः –Vital Air sheath , or energy sheath or physiological system
  • मनोमय कॊशः –the mental sheath or psychological function
  • विज्ञानमय कॊशः –intellectual sheath or knowing personality
  • आनन्दमय कॊशः – the bliss layer or causal body

26. The food sheath

अन्नमयः कः? 

अन्नरसेनैव भूत्वा अन्नरसेनैव व्रद्द्धिं प्राप्य अन्नरूपप्रथिव्यां 

यद्विलीयते तदन्नमयः कॊशः स्थूलशरीरम् ।।

अन्नमयः –Annamaya कः –what अन्नरसेन एव –by the essence of the food alone भूत्वा –coming into being अन्नरसेन –by the essence of food एव – alone व्रद्द्धिं –growth प्राप्य –having attained अन्नरूपप्रथिव्याम् –into the earth which is of the nature of food यत् –which विलीयते –merges तत् –that अन्नमयः –Annamaya कॊशः –sheath स्थूलशरीरम् –gross body

What is food sheath? That which is born from the essence of food, grows by the essence of food that which finally merges into earth, which itself is of the nature of food is called food sheath or the gross body. 

अन्नमयः कॊशः कः –What is Annamaya Kosha? The gross body is called Annamaya Kosha. It has a head, limbs, trunk and sides or arms. It is the physical body. It is called Annamaya or the food sheath because it is born out of food and grows by food (अन्नम् सृष्टि कारणम् स्थिति कारणम् अन्नमेव लय कारणम्). मय means modification or विकार. 

The vivekachudamani (87-91) says: skin, flesh, blood, nerves and tendons, fat, marrow, bones and waste—this is what the physical sheath is made up of. 

Swami Tejomayananda writes: “The word ‘maya’ in Annamaya means modifications. The body is the result of modification of food and hence called Annamaya. The food eaten is digested; its very essence becomes sperm in man and ovum in woman. By their combination fetus is produced. It grows by the food eaten by the mother. At birth the child is nourished by the mother’s milk and later by food. Finally, we die to merge into earth which is again a source for growth of food. In other words, the earth itself becomes the food we eat and therefore from earth we are born and go back to earth. Or one can say, that we are born from food and go back to become food” 

Taittiriya Upanishad says this beautifully. Food is that which is eaten by beings, and which eats beings. We eat food and food in turn eats us. The body gets eaten by worms and bacteria when we are alive and after we die.

अन्नाद् भूतानि जायन्ते । जातान्यन्नेन वर्धन्ते । 

अद्यतेऽत्ति च भूतानि । तस्मादन्नं तदुच्यत इति । ॥ 2: 01॥

27. The vital air sheath

प्राणमयः कः? 

प्राणमयः कः ?

प्राणाद्याः पञ्चवायवः वागीन्द्रियपञ्चकं प्राणमयः कोश: ।।

प्राणमयः –Vital air (sheath) कः –what प्राणाद्याः –prana etc. पञ्चवायवः –five air modifications वागीदि-इन्द्रिय-पञ्चकम् –the five organs of action like speech etc., प्राणमयः –Pranamaya कोषः –Kosha

What is vital air sheath? The five physiological functions like prana etc. and the five organs of action like speech etc. together form the vital air sheath.

प्राणमयः कः  What is the vital air sheath? The vital air sheath pervades the food sheath. It is subtler than the food sheath. The food sheath represents the physical body; and vital air sheath represents the subtle body. The subtle body has three Koshas namely, Pranamaya, manomaya and vijnyanamaya (vital air, mental and intellectual sheaths). At the time of death, the physical body remains here but the subtle body takes off along with the five pranas and subtle part of the organs of action.

प्राणाद्याः पञ्चवायवः – The life giving energy  of prana is a single entity flowing throughout the body but they are given five different names according to their functions. Brahma sutra says: even though they are discussed separately, they are not to be confused as separate airs. They are one life giving energy, flowing all through the body but also run the cosmos. न वायु क्रिये प्रथगुपदेशात् 

  • प्राण –breathing consisting of inhalation and exhalation. This brings in oxygen to the body and removes carbon dioxide from the body.     
  • अपान –The evacuation and rejection of all waste products from the body is taken care of by apana.    
  • व्यान –the circulation of the blood and distribution of nourishment to every part of the body is the duty of vyana
  • उदान –the reverse process is done by udana. Vomiting, burping, shredding of tears, and sneezing are the functions of udana. It is also responsible for departure of the soul from the gross body. 
  • समान –digestion and assimilation.

वागीदि-इन्द्रिय-पञ्चकम् –the five organs of action starting with speech. This subject is already discussed earlier. The five organs of action are: वाक्-पाणि-पाद-पायू-उपस्थानि -इति पञ्चकर्मेन्द्रियाणि. The organs of speech, hand, foot, excretion and generation are the five organs of action. 

The second sheath of Pranamaya kosha is more important than the first sheath of Annamaya kosha because it connects the subtle body to the gross body and energises both. When the pranas function efficiently the body remains healthy, mind alert and body active. 

It is the prana that takes the soul out of the body at the time of death. “According to Brahma sutras, the subtle organ of speech merges with the mind at the time of death. The mind merges with prana. Prana then merges with individual soul. Then the departure from the body takes place.

There is an interesting story in Prashna Upanishad to illustrate the importance of Prana. Once there was a secret discussion among the several parts of the body like speech, hearing, mind, sight and others. Each one was claiming itself as great and independent. Prana the life force of energy, who was listening to all this wanted to show them who the boss was. So, he began to move upwards. In the process, all other organs were pulled out and helplessly began to fallow the prana. They realized who was more important and begged of Prana not to leave the body. 

28. Mental sheath the emotional personality

मनॊमयः कॊषः कः? 

मनॊमयः कॊषः कः? मनश्च ज्ञानेन्द्रियपञ्चकं मिलित्वा यॊ भवति स मनोमय कॊशः ।।

मनॊमयः कॊषः –mental sheath कः –what मनः – mind च –and ज्ञानेन्द्रियपञ्चकम् –the five organs of perception मिलित्वा –together यः –which भवति –becomes सः –that मनोमयः कॊशः –the mental sheath

What is mental sheath? The mind and the five organs of knowledge together form the mental sheath.

मनः च ज्ञानेन्द्रियपञ्चकम् मिलित्वा यः भवति सः मनोमयः कॊशः – That which is formed by the combination of the mind and the five sense organs is called manomaya kosha. 

  • The mind includes chitta and ahankara.
  • The five organs of perception are already discussed. They are:

श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि। The ear, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose. 

We have already seen that the Annamaya kosha represents the physical body. Pranamaya kosha which lies inner to it represents physiological personality or क्रिया शक्ति the power of execution. Inner to it lays the manomaya or mind sheath or the psychological personality. It is called इछ्छा शक्ति because any activity is conceived in the mind. 

The mind has been defined as संकल्प विकल्पात्मकम् or of deciding and doubting nature. This is the function of the mind. It has to be curious about objects and seek knowledge of them constantly. With the help of intellect and memory it gets a complete experience of the object. 

29. Intellectual sheath, the rational personality

विज्ञानमयः कः? 

विज्ञानमयः कः? बुद्धिश्च ज्ञानेन्द्रियपञ्चम्कम् मिलित्वा यॊ भवति सः विज्ञानमयः कॊशः ।।

विज्ञानमयः – Intellectual sheath कः – what is it. बुद्धिः –the intellect च- and ज्ञानेन्द्रिय-the organs of perception पञ्चम्कम् –which are five in number मिलित्वा –by their combination यः –whatever भवति –happens सः –that विज्ञानमयः –is the intellectual कॊशः –sheath

What is intellectual sheath? That which happens when the intellect and the five organs of knowledge come together is called intellect sheath.

बुद्धिः च –Buddhi refers to the faculty of rational  thinking of mind, whereas  the emotional aspect is called Manas, and the memory aspect is called Chitta. 

ज्ञानेन्द्रियपञ्चम्कम् मिलित्वा –Buddhi in combination of the five organs of knowledge is called manomaya kosha. The five organs of knowledge are already explained. They are: 

श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि, the ear, the skin, the eyes tongue and nose.

Now a question arises. ज्ञानेन्द्रियपञ्चम्कम् the five organs of knowledge are said to be combined with मनः the mind  as well as  बुद्धिः the intellect. How can the same five organs combine with two faculties? The mind is only one integral organ but has three names depending on its functions.  When it feels it is called mind, when it thinks it is called buddhi or intellect and when it remembers it is called memory or chitta. Hence Manaha, buddhi, chitta, and ahankara are not names of separate organs but one and the same organ. This is the functional division of Sukshma sharira. 

We have already seen that the Annamaya kosha represents the physical body. Pranamaya kosha which lies inner to it represents physiological personality or क्रिया शक्ति the power of execution. Inner to it lays the manomaya or mind sheath or the psychological personality. It corresponds to emotions or इछ्छा शक्ति because any activity is first conceived in the mind. The Vijnyanamaya kosha or intellect sheath is subtler than mind sheath and pervades the farmer three sheaths.  It is the cognitive personality or knowing personality. So, it is called jnyana Shakti ज्ञानशक्ति.  It means cognitive personality or judging and discretion part. 

In other words, Vijnyanamaya kosha knows (जानाति), manomaya kosha desires (इछ्छतेand Pranamaya kosha acts (यतते). When I think rationally and decide “I am the doer”, “I am finite” it is the work of intellect. The intellect also makes judgement between right and wrong, real and unreal. To innovates, to creates, to discover, to visualize and to imagine are the intellectual abilities. It is jnyana Shakti ज्ञानशक्ति.  When I think emotionally, it is the function of the mind.  To do or not to do, shall I read or not etc are the activities of mind. The mind perceives the objects of the world through the senses. If the mind does not back up the sense organs no stimuli are received and sense organs cannot function. The mind directs the organs of action to respond to the world. 

30. The blissful sheath

आनन्दमयः कः? 

एवमॆव कारणशरीरभूताविद्यास्थमलिनसत्वं 

प्रियादिव्रत्तिसहितं सत् आनन्दमयः कोशः । 

एतत्कॊशपंचकम् ।।

आनन्दमयः –the bliss sheath कः –what it is एवम् –in this way एव –alone कारणशरीरभूत-that which is in the form of causal body अविद्यास्थ-मलिनसत्वम् –impure sattva born of  ignorance प्रियादि-व्रत्तिसहितम् – सत् –having the modifications of dear etc. आनन्दमयः कोशः –is called  Blissful sheath ऎतत्  -this कोशपञ्च्कम् – the five sheaths

What is the blissful sheath? Established in ignorance, which is in the form of causal body, of impure nature, united with the thoughts like priya etc. is called the blissful sheath. 

कारणशरीरभूतम् -that which is in the form of causal body. The causal body or karana sharira is the subtlest and the most pervasive of the three sheaths. 

Swami Shivananda writes: “As soon as one gets knowledge of the Self, avidya terminates. Brahman appears as the world on account of avidya, just as the rope appears as snake in the dusk. If we bring a lamp, the snake disappears, but the rope alone remains. Even so, when we get knowledge of Brahman, the appearance of the world will vanish. Avidya is not negative, but is positive. It is absence of Knowledge. It is erroneous knowledge. Avidya or Ajnana which constitutes the causal body is the cause for the two bodies, gross and subtle”.

अविद्यास्थ-मलिनसत्वम् –The karana sharira is in the nature of impure sattva born of  ignorance. What is this impurity? It is the sattva mixed with rajas. An envelope of pure sattva without rajas covers the Brahman. This envelope is called Maya. It is nothing but ignorance. Impure sattva or malina sattva shrouds the self at the body level.  Then it is called avidya. So, the veil is called maya at the level of Ishwara or Brahman. It is called avidya at the level of jiva. 

प्रियादि व्रत्तिसहितम्  सत् –having the modifications of dear etc. The blissful sheath or Anandamaya kosha has three degrees of Ananda. They are priya, moda and pramoda. Priya is the love or Happiness one experiences on beholding a desired object (इष्ट दर्शनजम् सुखम्). Moda or the next gradation of happiness is experienced by the acquisition and possession of the desired sense object (इष्ट ग्रहणजम् सुखम्). Pramoda is the next gradation of happiness or the happiest state. It is obtained by possession and enjoyment of desired object (इष्ट अनुभवजम् सुखम्). 

आनन्दमयः कोशः This is the bliss sheath.

ऎतत्  कोशपञ्च्कम् – This is about the five sheaths. The five sheaths discussed here are, the food sheath, vital air sheath, mind sheath, intellect sheath, and blissful sheath.

31. beyond the five sheaths


३१. मदीयम् शरीरं मदीयाः प्राणाः मदीयं मनश्च मदीया बिद्धिर्मदीयं 

अज्ञानमिति स्वेनैव ज्ञायते तद्यथा मदीयत्वॆन ज्ञातं 

कटककुण्डलग्रहादिकं स्वस्माद्भिन्नं तथा पञ्चकोशादिकं       

स्वस्माद्भिन्नं मदीयत्वेन ज्ञातमात्मा न भवति ।।

मदीयम् –my शरीरम् –body मदीयाः –my प्राणाः –pranas मदीयम् –my मनः –mind च –and मदीया –my बिद्धिः –intellect मदीयम् –my अज्ञानम् –ignorance इति –thus स्वेन –by oneself एव –alone ज्ञायते –understood तद्यथा –just as (that which is) मदीयत्वॆन –known as mine ज्ञातम् –understood. कटक-कुण्डल-ग्रहादिकम् – bangles, earring, house etc. स्वस्मात् –from myself भिन्नम् –different तथा –so also पञ्चकोशादिकम् –the five sheaths etc. स्वस्मात् –from myself भिन्नम् –different मदीयत्वेन –as mine ज्ञातम् –known आत्मा –self न भवति –is not

Even if one has a feeling that the bangles, ear-studs, and the house etc., are one’s own property, they do not become the self. Similarly, if one has the idea that this is my body, my vital breath, my mind, my intellect, and my knowledge my ignorance and so forth, they too do not become the self but remain different. 

The author has so far discussed the following points of self-identification: 

  • साधनचतुष्टयम् –Four-fold qualifications
  • शरीरत्रयम् –Three-fold body. स्थूलशरीरम् सूक्ष्मशरीरम् कारणशरीरम्
  • आवस्था त्रयम् –Three-fold states of experience जाग्रत्, स्वप्न, and सुषुप्ति अवस्थाः  
  • पंचकोशाः  Five –fold personality of an individual: अन्नमयः कॊश –the gross body प्राणमय कॊश –the vital sheath, मनॊमय कॊष –the mental sheath, विज्ञानमय कॊष –the intellectual sheath, आनन्दमय कॊष –the blissful sheath

The three-fold body and five-fold personality of an individual refer to the same subject but looked at from different angles. The self is enveloped by five sheaths. These five sheaths and their modifications of three states of consciousness have enveloped the infinite atman like the peels of an onion tuber as Swami Ramakrishna’s famous example goes. These shrouds on the atman cause all the trouble. 

When the wise man realizes that these false points of identification indeed are exterior to me and they do not belong to me; thus, he negates them as anatma. In this paragraph the author makes a positive assertion that “I am the atman; but not the points of identification”.

One identifies with the body, Pranas, mind, or intellect due to ignorance of my own true nature. I come to think that I am the mind, intellect, and body. So, the egotism of “I” and “mine” arises.  Blinded by the egotism an individual think that he is an independent agent with regard to the actions and their fruit. He thinks, “I am the doer of action; I am the enjoyer of its fruit”. The fact is it is the prakrati who is the doer and enjoyer. 

In this verse the author gives a good example. Just as my possessions like ornaments and house do not make my personality; so also, my five sheaths, my mind and intellect do not make me. I am different from my possessions. I am the pure consciousness. 

Once this ignorance is removed by the enlightenment that “I am of the nature of Existence-consciousness-Bliss” there is no more identification with the body. 

32. The nature of self

आत्मा तर्हि कः?   

आत्मा तर्हि कः? सच्चिदानन्द स्वरूपः ।

आत्मा –self, Atman तर्हि –then कः –what सत्- existence true reality (being) चित्-consciousness आनन्द –bliss स्वरूपः – of the nature 

Then what is Self? It is of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss.

सत्- existence (being), कालत्रये अधितिष्टति इति सत् that which prevails in all three periods of time. Anything that is changing or modifying can never be called existence. Sat is changeless principle and everything that changes is called asat (सत्- असत्). Atma never changes (अविकार) but anatma is ever-changing (विकार). Atma does not have birth or death, eternal or Anadi. Atma is not bound by time and space.  So, he is called अनन्त. It is all pervading. 

चित्-consciousness or chaitanya is ज्ञानस्वरूपः. Awareness is not a quality of body or matter. It is a separate entity. It is the nature of chit. Chit is called witness because it is the eternal awareness. A changing thing cannot be an eternal witness. It is also not a property of the body. It is not bound by time and space. It is all pervading.  

आनन्द –bliss सुख स्वरूपः dukha or grief is borne out of change. Since atma is changeless he is of the nature of eternal happiness or Ananda. Just as grief is indication of limitation, Ananda is indication of a state of beyond limitations. It is called पूर्णत्व.

Consciousness is studied by the students of Vedanta at two levels. At the level of individual body, it is called self or Atma or Atman. At the level of the all-pervading nature or total cosmos it is called Brahman, Chaitganya or the spirit, consciousness. 

Atman is the nature of existence, consciousness and bliss. This is the best possible definition of atman. Swami Sunirmalanada says in his book, “Insights into Vedanta”, that this definition is not used in any of the major Upanishads.  It is used for the first time in Tejobindu Upanishad (तेजोबिन्दु उपनिषद्). 

Since the infinite Atman cannot be defined by finite words or perceived by sense organs, Vedas have used negative teaching modalities to describe Atman as a pointer. Here are some examples.

  1. Tattvabodha defines Atman as 

स्थूलसूक्ष्मकारणशरीरात्व्यतिरिक्तः पंचकॊशातीतः सन् ।

अवस्स्थात्रयसाक्षी सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः सन् यस्तिस्ष्ट्ति स आत्मा  (Para 15)

Atman is that which is other than the gross, subtle and casual bodies, that which is beyond the five sheaths, and which is the witness of the three states of consciousness and of the very nature of existence-consciousness-bliss.  

Searching Atman is like playing a game of blind man’s Bluff where one player is blindfolded and as another player guides his index at other play-mates and says, “Hey common, identify this guy, except this guy, this one and this one” Tattvabodha has used the same modality to assert that Atman is the one except the three-fold body, five-fold Koshas and three states of experience. He is the unchanging eternal witness in all three states of consciousness. He is of the very nature of existence-consciousness-bliss. He lends consciousness to the three bodies.  As swami Chinmayananda says, just as electricity lends light to the bulb and heat to the microwave, Atman lends consciousness to the otherwise insentient bodies. All the plants and animals are alive because of the presence of Atman. 

  1. Taittiriya Upanishad describes atman as

 सत्यम् ज्ञानम् अनन्तम् ब्रह्म – Truth (reality), knowledge and infinity is Brahman.

  1. Kena Upanishad describes atman as: 

श्रोत्रस्य श्रोत्रं मनो यद् वाचो ह वाचं स उ प्राणस्य प्राणाः ।

चक्षुषष्च्क्षुरतिमुच्य धीराः प्रेत्यास्माल्लोकादम्रुता भवन्ति ।। Ch. 1: 02।।

“Atman is the ear of the ear, mind of the mind, speech of the speech, soul of the soul. Neither the eyes, nor the speech, nor the mind can reach the self. It is different from all that we know and do not know. This is what we have heard. That which can never be seen, heard or cognized, and enlivens the eyes, ears, mind, or prana respectively and that which makes these organs function by its mere presence.”  

Swami Paramarthananda gives a long list of features of atman. These are:

  1. आत्मा चैतन्य स्वरूपः Atman is of the nature of consciousness. We have seen above that the sharira trayam is of material in nature and therefore insentient. Atman is not material in nature. He is the nature of pure consciousness.
  2. आत्मा स्वतन्त्रः Atman is independent. It is independent because it does not depend on matter for its existence and production.
  3. आत्मा निर्गुणः Atman does not have any attributes which are the characteristics of matter. The attributes belong to the matter. Shabda, sparsha, roopa rasa and gandha are products of their basic elements; Akasha, vayus, Agni, aapah, and prithivi. Atman is free from these attributes. He is therefore attribute- less or free from guna.
  4. आत्मा नित्यः Atman is ever-existent. Atman does not depend upon the matter or the three bodies for its existence and production. So, if when the matter perishes, the atman survives. Just like the electricity is present in the system even though the filament in the bulb has blown out and the bulb does not emit light.
  5. आत्मा सर्वगतः Atman is all-pervading. 
  6. आत्मा एकः Atma is one. आत्मा अद्वैतः अद्वयः Atma is one conscious principle, non-dual in nature although there are several individual bodies. 

33. Existence

सत् किम्? 

सत् किम् कालत्रयेपि तिष्ट्तीति सत् ।।

सत् –Existence or Being किम् -what कालत्रये –in three periods of time (past, present and future) अपि –also तिष्ट्ति- remains इति –thus सत् –Existence or being.

What is existence or Being? That which remains unchanged in the three periods of time (past, present and future) is called sat.

सत् –Existence or being. Everything exists because of the existence principle which is the substratum of entire universe. Brahman is that existence principle.

कालत्रये अपि –in three periods of time (past, present and future)also. We have three periods of time in relation to the present. The concept of three periods is relative. It is in the minds of living beings only. Atman is present in the past, present and future. He is beyond time and space. Self was never born, and shall never die. It is always there. 

Bhagavad Gita Ch. 17:26 describes sat as below: 

सद्भावे साधुभावे च सदित्येतत्प्रयुज्यते ।

प्रशस्ते कर्मणि तथा सच्छब्दः पार्थ युज्यते ॥१७:२६॥

Arjuna! The word Sat is employed in the sense of truth and auspiciousness. And the word sat is also used in the sense of a praiseworthy act.

Saguna or sat Guna (सद्गुण) means good quality.  

34. Consciousness 

चित् किम्? 

चित् किम्? ज्ञानस्वरूपः ।

चित् –consciousness किम् –what ज्ञान-स्वरूपः –nature of knowledge

What is consciousness? It is the nature of absolute knowledge.

The nature of Brahman cannot be defined. However, Vedanta gives some pointers for us to know the nature of Brahman. In the first place it was described as सत्, existence or being. I say the book exists on the table. Existence is independent of the book. Even if the book is burnt, the existence survives. The second character is चित् consciousness. I understand this is a book, I know that I understand or that I do not understand. I know I am hungry. What makes me to know this? It is my consciousness. It is the opposite of inertia. Consciousness is again independent of the object. Even if the object is not there, consciousness survives. It is the consciousness factor that illumines the mind to know the presence or absence of certain things and emotions. This factor is called “I” or self or soul at the body level and the spirit at cosmic level.

35. Bliss

आनन्दः कः? 

आनन्दः कः? सुखस्वरूपः ।। 

आनन्दः –Bliss कः what –सुखस्वरूपः –of the nature of happiness

What is bliss? It is of the nature of absolute happiness

After explaining the nature of Brahman as सत्, existence or being and चित् or consciousness, Acharya Shankara explains the third factor आनन्दः Bliss. In bliss there is no agony and grief. It is total Ananda. Swami Ramakrishna said, “There are three types of Ananda or joy; the joy of worldly enjoyment, the joy of worship, and the joy of Brahman. The joy of worldly enjoyment is fleeting in nature and always beset with agony. In the joy of worship, a bhakta or devotee lays more stress on Ananda or love aspect of Brahman.  In the Joy of Brahman, A jnyani lays great stress on the aspect of चित् or knowledge.  Both of them have no dispute about the सत्, or existence aspect. 

Bliss is everywhere

Brahman is bliss. Since Brahman is all-pervasive there is bliss everywhere. Everything is bliss. Bliss is our own nature too. Bliss is the nature of cosmos. The supreme bliss fully exists in all, from Brahma down to a blade of grass. We are also that undivided Brahman. “मधुवाता ऋतायते मधिक्षरन्ति सिन्धवः” the air spreads sweetness, the waters exude sweetness, everything is sweetness says Rig-Veda.  

Vedas declare that everything is Ananda or bliss. Buddha remarked that everything is dukha or sorrow. This is the basic difference between the two paths. 

Bible looks at Sachidananda from a different angle.   If you see the absolute as relative, then we see Sachidananda as trinity—father, son and Holy Ghost. Sat is the creating principle, chit the guiding principle, Ananda, the realizing principle which joins us again to the one. (Complete works of Ramakrishna)

36. Existence-consciousness- bliss


एवं सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपं स्वात्मानं विजानीयात् ।।

एवम् –thus सत्-चित्-आनन्द-स्वरूपम् –the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss  स्वात्मानम् –of oneself विजानीयात्-should be known.

Thus, one should know oneself to be of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.

A rose has a fragrant flavor, red color and soft feel. All these qualities are found in the same rose flower.

The self is of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss. These three qualities are not attributing but aspect of one self. A quality belongs to a substance, and substance has a name and form. A substance is a material and insentient. The self is beyond all names, forms and qualities. It is not a material. It is self-effulgent, non-pulsating principle. The qualities of existence- consciousness-bliss are not separate but one unit. That is why a hyphen is added in between these three words to show that they are one. 

3. creation of Jagat or universe 

3. जीव-जगत्-ईश्वर विचार, स्रष्टि विचार

In the previous section of Atma Vichara we studied that Jiva is separate from the body which is made up of three states of body, five sheaths, and three states of existence. His real identity is truth-consciousness-bliss. This topic is called Vyashti (व्यष्टि) or microcosm. Here is the verse (15th sentence)

आत्मा कः? स्थूलसूक्ष्मकारणशरीरात्व्यतिरिक्तः पंचकॊशातीतः सन् ।

अवस्स्थात्रयसाक्षी सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः सन् यस्तिस्ष्ट्ति स आत्मा ।

The next topic of study is Samashti (समष्टि) or macrocosm. This includes the creation as well as the individual. Who created the world or jagat?  There should be a cause. We call that as Ishwara.

37. Twenty-four cosmic principles


अथ चतुर्विंशतितत्वोत्पत्तिप्रकारं वक्ष्यामः ।।

अथ –now चतुर्विंशति-तत्व-उत्पत्ति-प्रकारम् –evolution of twenty-four factors . प्रकारम्- means method of origination. वक्ष्यामः –we shall explain 

We shall now explain the evolution of twenty-four factors

अथ –now, indicates a change of topic. 

चतुर्विंशति-तत्व-उत्पत्ति-प्रकारम् –evolution of twenty-four factors. The word तत्व normally means reality. The word also means essence or factors. Twenty-four factors responsible for evolution of universe are now going to be explained. 

प्रकारम्- means method of origination. The author is going to discuss the method of creation or origination of cosmos. 

The 24-factors that constitute the world are: five great elements (पञ्महाभूत), five organs of perception (पंचज्ञानॆन्द्रियाणि), five organs of action (पंचकर्मेन्द्रियाणि), five pranas (पंच प्राणाः), and the four thought modifications (मनस्, बुद्धि, चित्त, and अहंकार). 

Earlier, the subtle body was explained as constituted of seventeen factors.  

अपंचीक्रतपंचमहाभूतैः क्रतं सत्कर्मजन्यं, सुखादुःखादिभॊग साधनं पंचज्ञानॆन्द्रियाणि पंचकर्मेन्द्रियाणि, पंच प्राणादयः, मनश्चैकं बुद्धिश्चैका एवं सप्तदशाकलाभिः सह 

यत्तिष्ठति तत्सूक्ष्मशरीरम् ।। 

Now seven more factors are added which go into making of the universe. These are: five great elements (पञ्च महाभूत), and the balance two thought modifications namely chitta and ahankara (, चित्त, and अहंकार). 

38. Maya 


ब्रह्माश्रया सत्वरजस्तमोगुणात्मिका माया अस्ति ।।

ब्रह्माश्रया –dependent on Brahman सत्व-रज- तमोगुणात्मिका –which is of the nature of the qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas माया –maya अस्ति –exists

Maya which is of the nature of the three qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas exists by the support of Brahman.

ब्रह्माश्रया –That which has Brahman as support. Maya cannot exist without support of Brahman. The truth is called Brahman. That which is ‘big’ is Brahman (ब्रहत्तमत्वात् ब्रह्म). ‘Big’ is an adjective that generally qualifies a noun. The adjective is limited by the noun it qualifies. Suppose we say a big elephant; the bigness is limited by the size of the elephant. When we say Brahman is big, there is no restricting factor. The ‘bigness’ has no limit. It is infinite. 

माया  अस्ति –Maya exists. Maya is of the nature of ignorance. Brahman with maya is called Ishwara. In Hindu tradition Ishwara is worshipped as Shakti or divine mother. Maya is also called prakrati. It is the seed of entire creation of the individual and cosmos. It contains karana Sharira of all bodes and universe.  

अनिर्वाच्य अनादि अविद्यारुपम्  -inexplicable, beginingl-ess, and in the form of ignorance. Maya shares with Brahman first two qualities. Brahman is the nature of truth and consciousness whereas Maya is the nature of avidya or ignorance. The words अविद्या and मिथ्या are synonyms of ignorance. Furniture is mithya but the wood is Satya. Wave is mithya and water is Satya. That which does not have independent existence is called Mithya. Satya has independent existence and available to us unchanged in all periods of time. Brahman is satya all other things are mithya. 

Maya or ignorance has two qualities; it veils and projects. Maya is of the nature of ignorance and veils the truth. The veiling power is called आवरण शक्तिIt is the nature of ignorance.  The projecting power is called विक्षेप शक्तिThis is the creative power that projects the entire world of names and forms. 

From the stand point of truth there is no world. Yet we experience it. It is maya. From the stand point of the world, truth alone exists. This is due to maya. In darkness a rope is mistaken for a snake.  The rope cannot create the snake, yet we experience the snake. As far as the rope is concerned, there was never a snake, and there can never be a snake on it. 

सत्व-रज- तमः गुणात्मिका-  Maya is of the nature of the qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas. These qualities are of the nature of knowledge, activity and inertia. These three qualities pervade the entire creation. By their permutation and combination, an infinite variety of names and forms are created. 

While Brahman and Maya or Prakrati are both begininless they have some differences too. 

1. Non-material consciousness Material principle
2.Nirguna or without attributes or propertySaguna, being matter has all its properties
3. Beyond time and spaceWithin the ambit of time and space
4.Nirvikalpa. Consciousness is one and universal. Not subject to divisionSavikalpa. Subject to division or modifications.
5. IndependentDependent on Brahman

39. Five fundamental Elements

पञ्चभूत अभिव्यक्तिः The process of Cosmic creation

ततः आकाश: सम्भूतः । आकाशाद्वायुः । 

वायोस्तेजः ।  तेजस् आपः । अद्भ्यः प्रथिवी ।।

ततः –from that आकाश:- space सम्भूतः –was born आकाशात् –from the space वायुः –air was born वायोः –from air तेजः –fire was born तेजसः –from the fire आपः –water was born अद्भ्यः –from water प्रथिवी –the earth came forth.

From that (Maya) springs space; from space comes air, from air comes fire; from fire emerges water; and from water comes forth the earth.

Out of 24 elements of evolution, five fundamental elements are discussed in this paragraph. These are technically called Tanmatras (तन्मात्र). The five elements of space, air, fire and water, that we can perceive are gross elements. The tanmatras mentioned here are the precursors of the five gross elements technically called Apanchikrata or non-grossified elements. 

In this chapter, the author discusses the subject of creation (स्रष्टि). It has been debated extensively whether the cosmos can indeed be created. Our scriptures point out that nothing can be created or destroyed in the universe. Only its form can be changed. This principle confirms to the modern law of conservation of matter. Then how the universe comes about? 

To explain this, Swami Paramarthananda says that we must know three basic principles of vedantic cosmology. 

1. The first is principle of energy and matter

God or Brahman is the energy or spirit and maya or prakrati is the matter. They are together is called Ishwara or the Lord. The word Brahman is used in respect of macrocosmic   consciousness or aggregate of all soul of all beings and things (समष्टि). The word Atman or soul is used when we speak of individual being or microcosm (व्यष्टि). Brahman is consciousness or the truth. So is also the soul. The difference between them arises due to their conditioning which we are going to study later. 

The Matter or prakrati is inert in nature and is dependent on the presence of energy for its activities and become dynamic. The principle of energy is Brahman. Matter is called Maya. It has two aspects; the veiling power or आवरण शक्ति and the projecting power or विक्षेप शक्तिThe latter is the creative power that projects the entire world of names and forms. 

2. The second principle is that everything in the world pre-existed in a potential or un-manifest form. 

It becomes manifest by evolution. Nothing is created or nothing is destroyed. This manifestation happens in three stages. They are:

  • Causal universe. This is beginning-less. This is the primal or potential form.
  • Subtle universe has a beginning and end. This is first stage of evolution.
  • Gross universe has a beginning and end. This is the current stage of evolution.

What is the difference between the subtle and gross object? This can be explained by an example. Our body is gross and the mind is subtle. Both are matter or modification of Maya. The mind being subtle is not perceivable by others except me. Subtle element is not tangible.  Body being gross can be perceived with the sense objects. Causal body is like a seed of the tree. Every seed is but a subtle miniature of tree. Another example is the essence of butter present in milk. 

3. The third principle is that of dissolution or involution. In this stage, the gross becomes subtle and latter folds up as causal universe or Maya. The manifest condition becomes un-manifest condition. As Krishna says in Gita,

अव्यक्तादीनि भूतानि व्यक्तमध्यनि भारत

अव्यक्त निधनान्येव तत्र का परिवेदन

Now coming back to the text, in this paragraph under discussion, the author gives a blue print of cosmic creation. The following is the sequence.

  • ततः आकाश: सम्भूतः –From the Maya was born space. It has the quality of sound. It transmits sound.
  • आकाशात् वायुः – From the space emerged air. It is less pervasive. It has qualities of sound and touch. It can be heard and felt. 
  • वायोः तेजः – from the air evolved fire. It is grosser than air. It has quality of sound, touch, color including form. In Sanskrit, the word रूप or shape is used for the qualities of color and form. Fire can be heard, touched and seen.
  • तेजसः आपः –from the fire became water. It is less pervasive than the above three. It has the quality of sound, touch, color (form) and taste. So, it can be heard, touched, seen and tasted.
  • अद्भ्यः प्रथिवी –from water emerged earth. It is the grossest and least pervasive. It has the qualities of sound, touch, form (color) taste and smell. So, it can be heard, touched, seen, tasted and smelt.

“The process of creation is from subtle to gross. The subtleness of an element is measured by its pervasiveness and the number of perceivable qualities it has got.  The more pervasiveness the object, the more subtle it is; subtlest object has zero quality. Truth is the subtlest. It is all pervasive and beyond cognition from any instrument of knowledge. It has no attributes.” 

Swami Paramarthananda gives an interesting point about the three states of matter namely water, solid and gas. In chemistry the fourth state of matter is recognized. It is called plasma state. It is distinct from the solid, liquid or gas and it is present in stars and fusion reactor.  A gas becomes plasma when it is heated until the atoms lose all their electrons, leaving a highly electrified collection of nuclei and free electrons.  Vedanta goes beyond the four states and says that there is another state of matter called Akasha or space. These five elements are evolved from matter or maya. Since maya is the material cause of the five elements the three qualities of maya pervade the five elements. 

Which are the three qualities of maya? It is discussed in the next section. 

सूक्ष्म प्रपञ्च् सूक्ष्म शरीर स्रष्टि Evolution of subtle universe and subtle body

40. Creation of subtle body 

एतेषां पञ्चतत्वानां  मध्ये आकाशस्य सात्विकांशात् 

श्रोत्रेन्दियम् सम्भूतम् । 

वायॊः सत्विकांशाव्त्वगीन्द्रियं सम्भूतम् ।

अग्नेः सात्विकांशाच्चक्षुरिन्द्रियम् सम्भूतम् । 

जलस्य सात्विकांशात् रससेनेन्द्रियं सम्भूतम् । 

प्रथिव्याः सात्विकांशात् घ्राणेन्द्रियं सम्भूतम् ।।

एतेषां –of these पञ्चतत्वानाम् -मध्ये –of the five elements आकाशस्य –of space सात्विकांशात् –from the sattva aspect श्रोत्रेन्दियम् –organ of hearing सम्भूतम् –was evolved  वायॊः –of the air सत्विकांशात् from the sattva aspect -त्वगिन्द्रियम् –organ of touch सम्भूतम् –was evolved अग्नेः –of fire सात्विकांशात् –from the sattva aspect चक्षुरिन्द्रियम् –the organ of sight सम्भूतम् –was evolved  जलस्य –of water सात्विकांशात् –from the sattva aspect रसनेन्द्रियम् –the organ of taste सम्भूतम् –was evolved प्रथिव्याः –of the earth सात्विकांशात् –from the sattva aspect घ्राणेन्द्रियम् –organ of smell सम्भूतम् –was evolved

From these five great elements, out of the sattvika aspect of the space, the organ of hearing evolved. From the sattvika aspect of the air, the organ of touch evolved. From the sattvika aspect of the fire, the organ of sight evolved. From the sattvika aspect of water, evolved the organ of taste. From the sattvika aspect of the earth, evolved the organ of smell. 

In the previous paragraph, the author explained how the five pure, fundamental, un-alloyed elements (पञ्चतन्मात्रा) were evolved. Now in this chapter, the creation of subtle body is explained. We have already studied that the subtle body or Sukshma sharira includes five organs of perception, five organs of action, five pranas, manas and buddhi. Here is text:

अपंचीक्रतपंचमहाभूतैः क्रतं सत्कर्मजन्यं सुखादुःखादिभॊग साधनं पंचज्ञानॆन्द्रियाणि पंचकर्मेन्द्रियाणि 

पंच प्राणादयः मनश्चैकं बुद्धिश्चैका एवं सप्तदशाकलाभिः सह यत्तिष्ठति तत्सूक्ष्मशरीरम् ।। 17।।

Aggregate of this was called सप्तदशकला or seventeen entities. We were also told that the five non-grossified tanmatras were involved in the production of subtle body. 

The five organs of knowledge (पञ्च ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि) are श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम्. These are associated with our knowing faculty. Each of the five subtle elements (तन्मात्रा) has three qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas. Each of these five tanmatras and their gunas is responsible for the evolution of an organ. 

The organs of knowledge evolved from the sattvika guna of the subtle elements. 

आकाशस्य सात्विकांशात् श्रोत्रेन्दियम् सम्भूतम् – From the Sattva guna component of Space developed ears (श्रोत्रं)

वायॊः सत्विकांशात्  त्वगिन्द्रियम्  सम्भूतम् — From the Sattva guna component of Air developed the f skin (त्वक्)

अग्नेः सात्विकांशात् चक्षुरिन्द्रियम्  सम्भूतम् – From the Sattva guna component of Fire developed Eye (चक्षु)

जलस्य सात्विकांशात् रसनेन्द्रियम् सम्भूतम् – From the Sattva guna component of Water developed Tongue (रसना)

प्रथिव्याः सात्विकांशात् घ्राणेन्द्रियम् सम्भूतम्  – From the Sattva guna component of Earth the generated  Nose (घ्राणम्)

 This is how the sattvika aspect of the subtle elements or तन्मात्रs creates the subtle sense organs of knowledge. The main characteristic of sattva guna is knowledge. Each of the five organs of knowledge has specialized cognizing qualities. 

We have so far studied the formation of five cosmic elements and five sense organs. We must remember that the sense organs are in the subtle body but not in the gross body. The gross sense organs are just apertures or गॊलक. These sense organs bring information from the external world. 

Evolution of organs of Perception from Un-grossified Sattva Elements
Sattva Element ofSense ObjectOrgan ofPerceptionFunction
Space आकाशःSoundEarsHearing
Air वायुःTouchSkinFeeling
Fire तेजःFormEyeSight
Water आपःTasteTongueTasting
Earth प्रथिवी Smell NoseSmelling 
Total of five basic elements तन्मात्रMind, Intellect, ego and memory मनः बुद्धि अहंकार चित्त

   41. Antahkarana from aggregate sattvika aspect

एतॆषां पञ्चतत्वानां  समष्टिसात्विकांशात् मनोबुध्य्हंकार-

र्चित्तान्तः करणानि सम्भूतानि ।

संकल्पविकल्पात्मकं मनः । निश्चयत्मिका बुद्धिः ।  

अहंकर्ता अहंकारः । चिन्तनकर्तु चित्तम् ।

मनसो देवता चन्द्रमाः । बुद्धेर्बम्हा । अहंकारस्य रुद्रः । 

चित्तस्य वासुदेवः ।।

एतॆषाम् –of these पज्चतत्वानाम् –five elements  समष्टि-सात्विक-अंशात् –from their combined sattva quality   मनःबुद्धिः -अहंकारः चित्त – the mind, intellect, ego and memory अंतःकरणानि –the inner instruments; सम्भूतानि –are born. संकल्प-कल्पात्मकम् –wavering nature or indecision, proposing and disposing nature  मनः –is the mind निश्चयत्मिका –of the nature of decision बुद्धिः –is intellect अहंकर्ता –the notion of doer-ship अहंकारः –is ego चिन्तनकर्तु –thinking faculty चित्तम् –memory मनसः –of the mind देवता –presiding deity चन्द्रमाः – the moon बुद्धेः –of the intellect र्बम्हा –Brahma  अहंकारस्य –of the ego रुद्रः –Rudra  चित्तस्य of memory -वासुदेवः –Vasudeva

From the combined sattvika quality of these five elements, the inner sense equipment of mind, intellect, ego and memory are formed. The mind is of the nature of indecision. The intellect is of the nature of decision. The ego has the notion of doer-ship. Memory is of the nature of thinking or recollection. 

The presiding deity of the mind is moon; of the intellect Brahma; of the ego Rudra; and of memory, Vasudeva. 

We have learnt that from the sattva quality of the five subtle elements or तन्मात्रा emerged the five sense organs. Now in this paragraph the author discusses in this paragraph the evolution of the interior sense organs (अंतःकरण). 

एतॆषाम्  पज्चतत्वानाम्  समष्टि-सात्विक-अंशात् –From the aggregate sattva quality of these five subtle elements

मनःबुद्धिः -अहंकारः- चित्त अंतःकरणानि –सम्भूतानि – the inner instruments of the mind, intellect, ego and memory are born. 

संकल्प-विकल्पात्मकम् –of wavering nature or indecision;  proposing and disposing nature is मनः –is the mind

निश्चयत्मिका बुद्धिः  –of the nature of decision is the intellect

चिन्तनकर्तु  चित्तम् thinking faculty is memory

The equipment of antahkarana although a single unit, has been divided into four divisions depending upon its function. These are:

  • मनः –Mind. What is mind? It is a continuous flow of thought modifications (चित्तव्रत्ति). Mind is described as संकल्प-विकल्पात्मकम् –wavering nature or vacillation. The thought is in a state of flux. Supposing I want to go to a movie, the mind wavers, “should I go today or tomorrow”. “Will I be able to reach in time; will I get a ticket” etc. 
  • बुद्धि – or the intellect. This is said to be निश्चयत्मिका बुद्धिः –of the nature of decision. This is reasoning, discretion, decision and volition (conscious choice). An intellect dominated person is called a rationalist. In the above example, the intellect says, “I am free today. Let me start early so that I get a ticket. Or it says; let me book an e-ticket.”
  • अहंकार –or the ego. In the common parlance, ego means an excessively high opinion of oneself or conceit, pride. But in Vedanta, ego has a different meaning. It is the creator of the sense of “I”. Ahankara creates self-identity and notion of doer- ship and ownership. We say “I built the three storied houses; you know how much I have spent? Etc. The mind, intellect and memory keep on changing. But the ego is there with every thought. The mind intellect and memory are different in different people but the ego is the same. It connects the pure self to the three bodies, five sheaths, and the three states of thought. 
  • चित्तम् –or the memory चिन्तनकर्तु  चित्तम् thinking faculty –memory. It is of the nature of reflection and recollection. All experiences are stored in the mind and can be recollected from its data bank.  

The Deities

मनसः  देवता चन्द्रमाः, बुद्धेः र्बम्हा,  अहंकारस्य रुद्रः, चित्तस्य -वासुदेवः –the presiding deity  of the mind is the moon;  of the intellect is Brahma; of the ego Rudra;  of memory is Vasudeva. 

“Each of the five sense organs of action and perception which go by the general name   external organs or बाहिर्करण and the four internal senses or अंतःकरण has also a deity ruling over them. Since the time of Vedas, the concept of deity has been there. They adored and prayed hundreds of deities. However, they knew that these godheads are mere representative of the one supreme. In Brahadaranyaka Upanishad (ब्रहदारण्यक उपनिशद्) 3.9 there is a mention of the number of deities. A sage by name Vidagdha Shakalya विदग्ध शाकल्य asks his guru Yagnyavalka याग्न्यवल्क as to how many gods are there. For this the guru replies as 3,333. Upon repeated questioning he goes on reducing the count and at last it comes to one only. The meaning of this exercise shows that there is only one reality, the supreme Brahman. All are his functional representations. 

What are these Gods? They mean certain states or certain offices. For instance, Indra, the king of heaven means certain office. A highly merited soul from the mortal world fills up this office and rules over heaven. He has to come back to the world after his merits are exhausted. Then another meritorious soul takes over. 

42. Organs of action from Rajasa aspect

एतेषां राजसांशात्

एतेषां पंन्चतत्त्वानां मध्ये आकाशस्य राजसांशात् वागीन्द्रियं 

सम्भभूतम् । वायॊः राजसांशात् पाणीन्द्रियं सम्भभूतम् । वह्नॆः 

राजसांशात्  पादेन्द्रियम् सम्भभूतम् । जलस्य राजसांशात् 

उपस्थेन्द्रियं सम्भभूतम् । प्रथिव्याः राजसांशात्  गुदेन्द्रियं सम्भभूतम् । 

एतेषाम् समष्टि राजसांशात् पञ्चप्राणाः सम्भूताः ।।

एतेषाम् –of these पञ्चतत्वानाम् मध्ये –of the five subtle elements मध्ये – among आकाशस्य राजसांशात् –from the Rajasik aspect of space वागीन्द्रियं –the organ of speech सम्भभूतम् -generated  वायॊः –of subtle air राजसांशात् –from Rajasik aspect पाणीन्द्रियं –organ of grasping evolved. सम्भूतम् –evolved वह्नॆः –of fire राजसांशात् –from Rajasik aspect पादेन्द्रियम् – the organ of locomotion सम्भूतम् –evolved जलस्य –of water राजसांशात् –Rajasik aspect उपस्थेन्द्रियम् – genital organ सम्भूतम् –evolved प्रथिव्याः –of earth राजसांशात् –from Rajasik aspect गुदेन्द्रियम् –the organ of anus  सम्भूतम् –evolved एतेषाम् –of these समष्टि-राजसांशात् –total Rajasik aspect पञ्चप्राणाः –the five pranas  सम्भूतम् -evolved

Of these five elements, from the rajas aspect of the space, the organ of speech (mouth) is formed; from the rajas aspect of the air, the organ of grasping (hand) evolved; from the rajas aspect of fire, the organ of movement (leg); from the rajas aspect of water, the genital organs evolved; from the rajas aspect of the earth, anus, the organ of excretion evolved. From the total rajas aspect of these five elements, the five vital airs or pranas evolved (vital force).

So far, we have seen how in the first place the five fundamental subtle elements तन्मात्रा emerged. Each of these five elements has the three basic properties of maya namely; Sattviaka, Rajasika and Tamasika Gunas. From the sattvika aspect of these elements came forth the five sense organs (पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि) and the Antahkarana (अंतःकरण) consisting of the mind, Intellect, memory and ego. In this paragraph the author explains what happens to the Rajasik aspect of these five tanmatras, the organs of action evolved. The quality of rajas is dynamism or activity. The five organs of action as the name indicates are activity- prone. वाक्पाणिपादपायूपस्थानीति पञ्चकर्मेन्द्रियाणि. 

आकाशस्य  राजसांशात्  वागीन्द्रियम्  सम्भूतम् –From the rajasa aspect of the space the organ of speech or mouth evolved. वाक्

वायॊः राजसांशात् पाणीन्द्रियं सम्भभूतम् –From the rajasa aspect of air the hand the organ of grasping emerged. पाणि

वह्नॆः   राजसांशात्  पादेन्द्रियम्  सम्भूतम् – From the rajasa aspect of fire the leg, the organ of movement  emerged. पाद

जलस्य  राजसांशात्  उपस्थेन्द्रियम् सम्भूतम् – From the rajasa aspect of water genitals, the organ of procreation evolved. उपस्थ

प्रथिव्याः  राजसांशात्   गुदेन्द्रियम  सम्भूतम् – From the rajasa aspect of earth the anus, the organ of excretion evolved. पायुः

एतेषाम्  समष्टि राजसांशात्  पञ्चप्राणाः सम्भूतम् –From the total rajasa aspect of these five elements the five vital airs or pranas formed ( पञ्चप्राण). The vital force is the backend support for the five organs of perception and action. Just as mind is born out from the aggregate sattva elements, prana is born out of aggregate rajasa guna of the five tanmatras. The individual senses are born out of the individual elements. 

With these all 19 organs of subtle body are explained. Next topic is gross sharira.

Evolution of organs action from un-grossified Rajasa Elements
RajasaElementSense ObjectOrgan ofActionFunction
Total of five basicElementsFive vital airs पञ्चप्राणाः

43. The process of grossification

पञ्चीकरणम् कथम् इति चेत्?

एतेषां पञ्चतत्वानां मध्ये तामशांसात् पञ्चीक्रतपञ्चतत्वानि भवन्ति । 

फंचीकरणम् कथम् इति चेत् ।एतेषां पञ्चमहाभुतानां

तामसांशस्वरूपम् एकमेकं भूतं द्विधा विभज्य एकमेकमर्धं प्रथक् 

तूष्णीं व्यवस्थाप्य अपरमपरमर्धं चतुर्धा विभज्य स्वार्धमन्येषु अर्धेषु 

स्वभागचतुष्टयसंयॊजनं कार्यम् । तदा पंचीकरणं भवति ।।

एतॆभ्यः पंचीक्रतपंचमहाभूतेभ्यः स्थूलशरीरं भवति ।।  

एतेषाम् –of these पञ्चतत्वानाम् -मध्ये –of five basic elements तामस् अंशात् –from the tamas aspect पञ्चीक्रतपञ्चतत्वानि –grossified five elements भवन्ति –are formed 

फंचीकरण –panchikarana grossification  कथम् –how takes place  इति चेत् –if asked एतेषाम् – of these पञ्चमहाभुतानाम् –of the five basic elements तामसांशस्वरूपम् –from the tamas aspect एकमेकम् भूतम् –each element द्विधा -विभज्य –divides into two equal parts एकमेकम्-अर्धम् –half of each प्रथक् –separate तूष्णीं-व्यवस्थाप्य –remaining intact अपरम्- अपरम् -अर्धम् –other half of each चतुर्धा -विभज्य –dividing into four equal parts स्वार्धम्-to the intact half of its own अन्येषु-अर्धेषु-स्वभागचतुष्टय –one forth portion of (Divided) half of the others (for instance individual one eighth portion); संयॊजनम् -कार्यम् –gets joined तदा –then पंचीकरणम् –panchikarana भवति –happens एतॆभ्यः –from these grossified elements पंचीक्रतपञ्चमहाभूतेभ्यः –the grossified five elements स्थूलशरीरम् –the gross body as well as sthula स्थूल प्रपञ्च (gross universe also)  भवति –is formed.  

From the tamas aspect of these five subtle elements the grossified five elements are bone. This is called panchikarana. If it were to be asked how this panchikarana takes place, it is as follows: The tamas aspect of each of these five subtle elements divides into two equal parts. One half of each remains intact. The other half of each element divides into four equal parts. To the intact half of one element, one eighth portion from each of the other four elements gets joined. This way Panchikarana is complete. From these five grossified elements, the gross body is formed.  

Below is the Panchikarana chart used by Swami Chinmayananda.

C:\Users\Dell\Desktop\ScreenHunter_03 Mar. 25 21.29.jpg

फंचीकरणम् कथम् इति चेत् –If it were to be asked as to how the process of grossification takes place, it is like this.

एतेषां पञ्चमहाभुतानां तामस् अंश स्वरूपम्–the tamasa aspect of the five subtle elements एकमेकं भूतं द्विधा विभज्य- each element having divided into two equal parts 

एकमेकमर्धं प्रथक् तूष्णीं व्यवस्थाप्य –half of each separately remaining intact

अपरम् अपरम् अर्धम् चतुर्धा विभज्य –other half of each dividing into four equal parts

स्वार्धम्-to the intact half of its own अन्येषु-अर्धेषु-स्वभागचतुष्टय –one forth portion of (Divided) half of the others (for instance individual one eighth portion) The gross elements are an admixture of all the five elements. For example, earth has 50% earth part, and 12.5% of other four elements.

संयॊजनम् -कार्यम् –gets joined

 तदा पंचीकरणं भवति –This completes grossification. 

एतॆभ्यः –from these पंचीक्रतपञ्चमहाभूतेभ्यः –the grossified five elements स्थूलशरीरम् –the gross body भवति –is formed. This is the way the cosmic subtle becomes the cosmic gross. 

Quick Recapitulation

We have seen that in the beginning only reality of the nature of existence, consciousness and bliss was there. It is also associated with Maya.  Maya is of the nature of three qualities of sattva, Rajas and Tamas. 

In the stage one, from the sattva guna generated the five unalloyed pure basic elements of space, air, fire, water and earth. These are called subtle elements सूक्ष्म भूतानि. This is the precursor of subtle cosmos and subtle body consisting of five senses of knowledge, and the antahkarana including the mind, intellect, memory and ego. 

In the stage two from the rajasa aspect of the five fundamental elements evolved the five organs of action and prana. 

In the third stage from the tamasa aspect of these five subtle elements emerged the five gross elements of space, air, fire, water and earth; each of the latter ones are grosser than the earlier ones.   This is the third stage of creation where the gross visible and tangible universe is created. 

The big bang theory also explains the creation of universe. It accepts that there was nothing before creation and space and was created first. 

From these five gross elements the entire universe including all our physical bodies is created. This is called gross creation or manifestation स्थूल स्रष्टि, स्थूल or अभिव्यक्ति.

In short maya is causal universe. From that comes subtle universe and subtle body सूक्ष्म अभिव्यक्ति. Out of this comes gross universe and gross body स्थूल अभिव्यक्ति.

Swami Paramarthananda compares the creation to preparation of fruit salad. Subtle universe is like eating grapes, banana, and mango etc. separately. Grossification means eating all of them together mixed in a particular pattern.

The gross universe is not infinite. It also undergoes modifications and after deluge folds up itself in reverse order of its formation till ultimately nothing remains. This is also what the big bang theory says.

4. Unity of microcosm and macrocosm

4.  जीवेश्वरयोः ऐक्यम् 

44. Unity of individual and cosmos

एवं पिण्डब्रह्माण्डयॊरैक्यं संभूतम् ।।

एवम् –in this way पिण्ड-ब्रह्माण्डयॊः –of the microcosm and macrocosm ऐक्यम् –union संभूतम् –takes place  

Thus, there is identity (Oneness) between the microcosm and macrocosm

The individual subtle body is made from the total subtle body. For instance, the individual mind is part of the total mind. Similarly, the individual gross body is made from the total gross body. Therefore, the individual gross body (पिण्ड) is part of the total gross body (ब्रह्माण्ड). However, the original cause of the gross and subtle body is the truth. It is the pure self.  Therefore, in its essence there is identity between the total and individual. 

Individual physical body and the total cosmos are made out of same material of un-grossified and grossified five elements. 

We have discussed the creation of body and universe. With this the subject of creation is over. 

45. The Jiva

जीव ईश्वर प्रकरणम्

स्थूलशरीराभिमानि जीवनामकं ब्रह्मप्रतिबिम्बं भवति ।  

स एव जीवः प्रक्रत्या स्वस्मात् ईश्वरं भिन्नत्वेन जानाति ।  

अविद्योपाधिः सन् आत्मा जीवः इति उच्यते ।  

मायॊपधिः सन् ईश्वरः इत्युच्यते ।  

ऎवमुपाधिभेदात् जीवॆश्वरयॊर्भेदद्रष्टिः यावत्पर्यन्तं तिष्टति 

तावत्पर्यन्तं जन्ममरणदिरूपसंसारॊ न निवर्तते ।  

तस्मात्कारणात् न जीवॆश्वरयॊर्भेदबुद्धिः स्वीकार्या ।।

स्थूलशरीर-अभिमानि –that which identifies with gross body जीव नामकम् – called the jiva ब्रह्मप्रतिबिम्बम् –the reflection or image of Brahman भवति –is there सः-he एव –alone जीवः –individual  प्रक्रत्या –by nature स्वस्मात् – from himself  ईश्वरम्- the lord  भिन्नत्वेन- as different जानाति –knows अविद्या – by ignorance उपाधिः सन् –conditioned by आत्मा –the self जीवः – the individual इति – उच्यते –is called  मायॊपधिः – सन् –conditioned by maya ईश्वरः –the lord  इति – उच्यते-is called ऎवम् –in this way उपाधिभेदात् –by difference in conditioning जीव ईश्वरयोः भेद -द्रष्टिः-vision of difference between individual and lord (Jiva and Ishwara) यावत्-पर्यन्तम् –as long as तिष्टति –remains तावत् पर्यन्तम् – till that time जन्म मरण आदि रूप संसारः –samsara which is the nature of birth and death  न निवर्तते –is not removed  तस्मात्-कारणात् –for that reasons जीव ईष्वरयोः- the individual and lord  or Jiva and Ishwara भेदबुद्धिः –difference  न स्वीकार्या – should not be accepted.

That which identifies with the gross physical body and is named Jiva is indeed the image or reflection of Brahman. The jiva considers him to be essentially different from the Lord or Ishwara. The self (atma) conditioned by ignorance (avidya) is called jiva. The self when conditioned by maya is called the Lord or Ishwara. So, the difference between jiva and Ishwara is due to their conditioning. As long as the notion that the individual (jiva) and the lord are essentially different remains, there is no redemption from the samsara which is in the form of births and deaths. Therefore, one should never differentiate between jiva and Ishwara.    

सःएव जीवः  – He is called Jiva.  

स्थूलशरीर-अभिमानि – He is a fan of gross body. That means he identifies himself with the gross body. Then what is he really? He is ब्रह्म प्रतिबिम्बम् the reflection or image of Brahman. He is called by name jiva जीव नामकम्. Although he is made in the true image of Brahman or atma (आत्मा), since he identifies with the gross body, he is called Jiva.    

जीवः प्रक्रत्या ईश्वरम् स्वस्मात् भिन्नत्वेन जानाति The jiva by nature considers the Lord (Ishwara) to be essentially different from himself. 

अविद्या उपाधिः सन् आत्मा जीवः इति – उच्यते –An account of the conditioning (उपाधिः) called ignorance The atma आत्मा (synonyms are: truth, Brahman, consciousness, chaitanya) is called  jiva or individual.  

माया उपधि सन् आत्मा ईश्वरः इति उच्यते – An account of his  conditioning by  maya atma (आत्मा) is called Ishwara or the Lord 

ऎवम् उपाधिभेदात् जीव ईश्वरयोः भेद –द्रष्टिः –Like this there is  vision of  distinction between Jiva and Ishwara an account of their conditioning (उपाधिभेदात्). 

यावत्-पर्यन्तम् भेद –द्रष्टिःतिष्टति –As long as this faulted vision of separateness remains

तावत् पर्यन्तम् जन्म मरण आदिरूप संसारः न निवर्तते – till that time one does not have redemption from the samsara or the cycle of birth and death. That means one cannot get God realization. Till we change our vision of difference (भेद –द्रष्टिः) between jiva and Ishwara we have no chance of realization.  

तस्मात् कारणात् जीव ईष्वरयोः भेदबुद्धिः  न स्वीकार्या – In view of what is said above, one should never entertain the  idea of difference between Jiva and Ishwara. 


Reality (Brahman, ātmā) is infinite.  As creator, sustained and destroyer of world he is all-powerful (Sarvaśaktimān), all-knowing (sarvajña), and all-pervading (sarvavyāpi). The reality enveloped by maya is called Ishwara or the reality and enveloped by avidya is called Jiva or individual. So, the difference between Ishwara and Jiva are in the nature of upādhi. Both of them are indeed reflections or image (प्रतिबिम्ब) of Brahman or ātmā. 

Ishwara lives in the medium of maya. But he does not forget his true nature and keeps maya under his control. He restrains the qualities of rajas and tamas but still he is bound by the quality pure sattva. Since he has kept maya in leash he is called mayāpati. He does not identify with any physical body. So, he is not affected by his Punya and papa karmas.  So, when we take refuge in him, we also become free from maya and avidya.

On the other hand, Jiva who also lives in the medium of maya becomes tainted by the maya. This is called avidya. That is why we say that jiva has the upadhi of avidya.  Avidya being predominantly tamasik binds the individual. He identifies with the finite gross body and subtle body. Although he is supreme infinite he lives as a finite creature. He arrogates to himself the authorship and rewards of his action. 

The difference between jiva and Ishwara is from the stand point of their upadhi. If upadhi is removed what remains is Brahma chaitanya in jiva as well Ishwara. Nomenclature differs because of their medium through which they function. As long as one entertains the upadhi bheda there is no redemption. 

Enquiry into the statement, ‘That Thou Art”

46. You are “That”

तत् त्वम् असि

ननु साहंकारस्य किंचिज्ञ्यस्य जीवस्य निराहंकारस्य सर्वज्ञस्य 

ईश्वरस्य तत्वमसीत महावाक्यात् कथमभेदबुद्धिः स्यादुभयॊः 

विरुद्धधर्माक्रान्तत्वात् ।।

ननु –but साहंकारस्य –of one with ego किंचित् ज्ञानस्य –with limited knowledge जीवस्य – of the individual and निराहंकारस्य –of one without ego सर्वज्ञस्य –all knowing omniscient  ईश्वरस्य –who is the lord तत् –that  त्वम् –you असि –are इति  महावाक्यात् –the greatest statement कथम् –how अभेदबुद्धिः –vision of non-difference  स्यात् –is possible उभयोः – the two are विरुद्ध धर्म आक्रन्तत्वात्– endowed with opposite natures इति चेत् – if it is said so, the answer is न ‘No”. 

But the individual is endowed with ego and his knowledge is limited; whereas the lord is without ego and omniscient. Then how can there be unity between them as stated in the great statement, “That Thou Art”? These two are possessed of contradictory characteristics.

ननु साहंकारस्य किंचित् ज्ञानस्य जीवस्य  – but the jiva or individual is endowed with ego and his knowledge is limited (alpajña).  Ego is identification with individual body, “I notion”. निराहंकारस्य सर्वज्ञस्य ईश्वरस्य –the Lord is devoid of ego and is all knowing (omniscient). He has no identification with any single body; no individuality. He is described as the creator, abiding everywhere, and of super strength (सर्वस्रुष्टिकर्ता, सर्वव्यापि, शक्तिमान्). 

तत् त्वम् असि इति  महावाक्यात् –How can there be identity as stated in the mahavakya of Upanishads, “thou are that”

कथम् अभेदबुद्धिः स्यात् –how can be there be vision of dissimilarity between them?

उभयोः विरुद्ध धर्म आक्रन्तत्वात्  -the two being of opposite nature.

The previous sentence ended with an advice जीव ईश्वरयोः अभेदबुद्धिः न स्वीकार्या one should never differentiate between jiva and Ishwara. Now a question arises. How the individual and the great Lord could be the same? Swami Paramarthananda lists several differences between them. Here is a tabular form.

Ātmā (आत्मा)Java (जीव)
Nature of consciousness (caitanya svarūpaḥ) Lender of consciousness to the bodyInert or insentient (jaḍa svarūpaḥ) It is a barrower of consciousness but never a lender.
Independent (ātmā svataṁtraḥ)Dependent
Atma is attributeless. (nirguṇa)  attribute and qualities are hallmark of matter. The five elements of sky, air, fire, water, and earth have qualities of Shabda, Sparsha, Roopa, Rasa and Gandha. Jiva is saguṇa    
Atma is ever existent and beyond time (ātmā nityaḥ kāla atītaḥ). He has no beginning or end (anādi), all pervading (ātmā sarvagataḥ)Jiva has a shelf life, he is limited
Atma is one even though bodies are many. ātmā ēkaḥ –Jiva are many, as many as the individual bodies

महावाक्य –A great sentence. All sentences convey a direct or implied meaning. A great sentence or mahavakya is pithy in nature and conveys a meaning of immense philosophical importance showing the way to liberation.  There are four mahavakyas attached the four Vedas. Out of these, Tattvabodha has taken up the most popular one “That thou art,” tat tvam asi. The four mahavakya are:

  • प्रज्ञानम् ब्रह्म –“Consciousness is Brahman”, Aitreya Upanishad   Rig Veda. This is called swarupa vakya or that explains the nature of Brahman or the self.
  • अयम् आत्मा ब्रह्म –  “I am this self”  Mandukya Upanishad   Atharva Veda. 
  • तत् त्वम् असि – “Thou art that” Chandogya Upanishad Sama Veda . This is an upadesha vakya. 
  • अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि – “I am Brahman”, “I am divine”  Brahadaranyaka Upanishad Yajur Veda. This is an anusandhana vakya 

Of all these four mahavakyas तत् त्वम् असि – “You are that” is famous. It was told by a teacher to his child student Shwetaketu and the child became illuminated. We are now going to analyze the meaning of each of the three words of this mahavakya.

47. The meaning of “you” and “That” 

त्वम् पद, तत् पद वाच्च्यार्थः,लक्ष्यार्थः 

इति चेन्न ।स्थूलसूक्ष्मशरीराभिमानी त्वम्पदवाच्यार्थः 

उपाधिविनिमुक्त्ं समाधिदशासम्पन्नं शुद्धं चैतन्यं त्वम्पद लक्ष्यार्थः ।  

एवं सर्वज्ञात्त्वादि विशिष्ट ईश्वरः तत्पद वाच्यार्थः ।  

उपाधिशून्यं शुद्धचैतन्यं तत्पद लक्ष्यार्थः ।  

एवं च जॆवॆश्वरयॊः चैतन्यरूपेणाऽभेदे बाधकाभावः । ।    

इति चेत् –if asked thus न No. स्थूल-सूक्ष्म-शरीर-अभिमानी – one identified with gross, subtle and causal bodies त्वम् पद वाच्च्यार्थः–is the literal meaning of the word ‘thou ’उपाधि विनिमुक्तम् –free from all conditionings समाधि-दशासम्पन्नम् –in the state of deep meditation शुद्धम्  -pure चैतन्यम् –consciousness त्वंपद -लक्ष्यार्थः –is the implied meaning of the word ‘thou’  ऎवम् –in the same way  सर्वज्ञात्त्वादि-विशिष्टः –one endowed with omniscience etc.,  ईश्वरः –the lord त्वम् पद वाच्च्यार्थः-is the literal meaning of the word ‘that’ उपाधिशून्यम्  -free from all conditionings शुद्धचैतन्यम् –pure consciousness तत् पद लक्ष्यार्थः- that is the implied meaning of the word ‘that’एवम् –thus च –and  जीव ईश्वरयोः-of the individual and the lord चैतन्यरूपेण –from the standpoint of awareness अभेदे बाधक-अभावः –there is no objection to their oneness.

If there is such a doubt it is not so. The literal meaning of the word ‘thou’ is the jiva or individual identified with gross and subtle bodies. But the implied meaning of the word “thou” is pure consciousness which is free from all attributes and which is appreciated in a state of deep meditation. 

Similarly, the literal meaning of the word ‘that’ is the lord who is endowed with omniscience but its implied meaning is the pure consciousness free from all conditions. Thus, there is no contradiction between the Jiva and the lord from the standpoint of consciousness. 

From the stand point of the body and reflecting medium jiva and Ishwara are totally different (उपाधि द्रष्ट्या भेदःअस्ति).  From the stand point of chaitanya or consciousness there is no difference. Although we have a single sun, his reflected light in a clear mirror and a tainted mirror are different. 

Before we proceed to understand the purport of this paragraph, it will be beneficial to explain the meanings of tat, idam, vācyārtha, and śabdārtha (तत्, इदम्, वाच्यर्थः, and शब्दार्थः)

Tat or ‘that’ refers to Brahman the supreme consciousness. He is called ‘tat’ because he cannot be perceived by sense organs, beyond description and all pervading. 

Idam or ‘this’ refers to all sensory perceived objects up to the level of mind (including buddhi, chitta and ahankara).

वाच्यर्थः, refers to actual meaning conveyed by the sentence and  शब्दार्थः refers to the implied meaning conveyed by the sentence. 

Most of the sentences in our daily transactions have a directly expressed or conveyed meaning or वाच्यार्थ. “Gopal, go home. This is a direct sentence which has no implied meaning. But some sentences have an indirectly expressed or implied or intended meaning or लक्ष्यार्थ.   For example, when we say “Gopal is a lion” we do not mean that Gopal is indeed a lion, but he is as brave as a lion. 

The mahavakya says “thou art that” or you are that or “You are the Lord”. The literal meaning of “thou” is the individual identified with three bodies (शरीर त्रयम्), three states (अवस्थात्रय), and five sheaths (पञ्चकॊश). Here instead of literal meaning of ‘thou’ what is intended in this sentence is that you, the self, free from all the above conditionings (उपाधि)” are the Lord. 

Similarly, literal meaning the word, ‘that’ refers to the Lord who is omnipresent. But the intended meaning is that your consciousness is the same as existence- consciousness-bliss. Thus, there is no difference between तत् and त्वम्. 

स्थूल-सूक्ष्म-शरीर-अभिमानी  त्वम् पद वाच्च्यार्थः उपाधि विनिमुक्तम् – The literal meaning of the word “thou” is the jiva or individual who is identified with gross and subtle bodies. 

समाधि-दशासम्पन्नम् शुद्धम्  चैतन्यम् सर्वज्ञात्त्वादि-विशिष्टः  ईश्वरः त्वंपद -लक्ष्यार्थः –The implied meaning of the word “thou” is pure consciousness which is free from all conditionings and fully realized in a state of deep meditation. Samadhi is self-knowledge. दश means condition. At the state of self-knowledge, I do not identify with upadhi. सम्पन्नम् is accomplished. शुद्धम्  चैतन्यम् means consciousness devoid of all conditionings. 

उपाधिशून्यम्  शुद्धचैतन्यम् तत् पद लक्ष्यार्थः-Pure consciousness devoid of conditionings. The Lord has no conditioning of gross, subtle or causal bodies. 

एवम् जीव ईश्वरयोःचैतन्यरूपेण अभेदे बाधक-अभावः – Thus there is no difference between jiva and lord from the point of consciousness.  अभेदे identity from the standpoint of pure awareness बाधक-अभावः freedom from defect or objection. 

There is a story that once Mother Sita asked Hanuman “What is your relation with Rama”, the reply given by Hanuman, explains the meaning of this paragraph.  

“In body consciousness Rama is the Lord I am his slave; In Brahma consciousness I am Rama’. There is no Hanuman”  

48. Liberated in Life

जीवन्मुक्तः The man of realization

एवं च वेदान्तवाक्यै: सद्गुरूपदेशेन च सर्वेष्वपि भूतेषु एषां 

ब्रह्मबुद्धिरुत्पन्ना ते जीवन्मुक्ताः इत्यर्थ: । ।    

एवम् –thus च –and वेदान्तवाक्यैः: -by the words of Vedanta सद्गुरु-उपदेशेन –by the teaching of the Sadguru च –and  सर्वेषु -अपि भूतेषु –in all beings एषाम् –whose ब्रह्मबुद्धिः –vision of truth उत्पन्ना –is born ते –they जीवन्मुक्ताः –liberated while living इत्यर्थः:-is meant

Thus, by the words of Vedanta and teachings of a supreme teacher, those who have developed an understanding of Brahman in all the living beings, are called ‘liberated in life’.

एवम् च वेदान्तवाक्यैः: सद्गुरु-उपदेशेन –Thus by the realization of identity between jiva and Ishwara gained from the Vedanta and the teachings of a Sadguru. There two methods for a yogi to gain the supreme knowledge of liberation. 

  • एवम् च वेदान्तवाक्यैः – The realization comes from two sources. The texts of Vedanta and teachings of a Sadguru. The words of Vedanta reveal our true nature by subtle and indicative methods; not even the Vedas but Vedanta. Other books are also not useful.  Here the words वेदान्तवाक्य should not be taken too literally. Supposing a yogi has met all other qualifications but he has never studied Vedanta and Upanishad but has studied theological books from other religions. Can he become a realized person? The answer is yes, he will. What is important is that the yogi should have jnyana of universal presence of Brahman in all living beings.
  • सद्गुरु-उपदेशेन –Can I study Vedanta myself? “Of the greatest gifts of God three have been considered supreme—the human birth, desire for liberation and a perfect guru (Sadguru). सत्- the teacher of atma or Vedanta. Sat also means good. So, another meaning is a good guru. A perfect Guru is a teacher who is knower of the Vedas (श्रोत्रिय), well established in truth (ब्रह्मनिष्ठा), sinless (अवर्जिन), and without desires (अकाम हत). 

A sadhaka, who has intense desire for realization will be rewarded with a Sadguru. The teaching of a teacher is called Upadesha.  The language used in Vedanta is mystical. So, the teacher adopts a method best suited for the disciple. There are instances where mere teaching of a mahavakya led the student to realization. In Taittiriya Upanishad there is an interesting anecdote when the teacher Bhragu guides his disciple Varuna to come out of the five sheaths of the body. The disciple contemplated on this upadesha and ultimately realized that the self is not any of these sheaths, but a different entity who is pure chaitanya.   

सर्वेषु -अपि भूतेषु एषाम् ब्रह्मबुद्धिः उत्पन्ना  -The disciple realizes presence of Brahman in all beings. A piece of gold will realize its own form whether it sees a ring, a chain or a necklace. Similarly, a person who has a vision that ‘I am Brahman’ indeed sees Brahman everywhere (सर्वात्मभाव, सर्वम् विष्णूमयम् जगत्). He sees the same Brahman in a lowly insect to a realized person. His vision of diversity such as man, animal, tree, mud or gold gradually melts away. He sees nothing but Brahman everywhere and in everything.  Such a person realizes the vedantik aphorisms such as “self in me is self in all (मदात्मा सर्वभूतात्मा), all that is there is truth alone (सर्वम् खलु इदम् ब्रह्म), “I am the infinite Reality” (अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि).  

ते जीवन्मुक्ताः इत्यर्थः – Such a yogi is indeed liberated in life. He is released from the wheel of death and birth. He becomes one with God. He becomes immortal while living and attains Brahman even in this body. He becomes free from limitations of body, mind, name and form. This is the freedom not after death, but while living right now. This is फलम् of अभेद बुद्धिः

49. Who is Jivanmukta?

जीवन्मुक्तः कः?

ननु जीवन्मुक्तः कः?यथादेहॊऽहं पुरुषॊऽहं ब्राह्मणोऽह्ं शूद्रोऽहमस्मीति 

द्ढनिश्च्ययस्तथा  नाहं ब्राह्मणः न शूद्रः न पुरुषः किन्तु असंगः 

सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः प्रकाशरूपः सर्वान्तर्य़ामी चिदाकाशरूपॊस्मीति 

द्रढ्निश्चयः अपरॊक्षज्ञानवान् जीवन्मुक्तः । ।   

ननु –then जीवन्मुक्तः –one liberated while living कः-who यथा –just as देहः –body अहम् –I am पुरुषः –a man अहम् –I am ब्राह्मणः – Brahmin शूद्रः –  Shudra अहम् –I am  अस्मि I am -इति – thus द्र्ढनिश्चयः- firm determination  तथा -similarly न अहम् ब्राह्मणः – I am not a Brahmin न शूद्रः –nor a Shudra न पुरुषः –nor a man किन्तु –but असंगः – unattached  सच्चिदानन्द स्वरूपः – of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss प्रकाशरूपः –effulgent सर्वान्तर्य़ामी –indweller of all चिदाकाशरूपः अस्मि –I am the formless awareness इति – thus द्रढ्निश्चयः –firm determination अपरॊक्ष ज्ञानवान्  -one with direct intuitive knowledge, transcendental knowledge जीवन्मुक्तः –is the one liberated while living.

Now who is one liberated during life? Just as one has a firm conviction and knowledge   that ‘I am the body’, ‘I am a man’, ‘I am a Brahmin’, ‘I am a Shudra’, etc;  so also he has a firm conviction born of intuitive knowledge that ‘I am not a Brahmin’; ‘I am not a Shudra, ‘I am not a man’ etc; but ‘I am the unattached one, of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss, I am effulgent; the in dweller of all, and the formless awareness’, is indeed the one liberated in life.

ननु जीवन्मुक्तः कः –Then who is the one liberated while living? जीवन् -life मुक्ति freedom. Swami Sunirmalanada says, Shri Ramanuja posed a question that how someone still living can be liberated from life? He did not believe that such liberation is possible. 

यथा देहः अहम् पुरुषः अहम् ब्राह्मणः शूद्रः अहम् अस्मि इति द्र्ढनिश्चयः –Just as we have firm conviction that I am the body, I am a Brahmin, a Shudra, a man or woman for which I need not possess any proof because it comes natural to me. 

तथा न अहम् ब्राह्मणः न शूद्रः न पुरुषः अहम् अस्मि इति द्र्ढनिश्चयः -Similarly the same person after realization gets a firm intuitive knowledge that “I am not a Brahmin, not a Shudra, not a man or woman”.  There is a transformation in his conviction after realization. He comes to know “I am separate from these identifications. I am chaitanya or infinite consciousness” 

किन्तु असंगः सत् चित् आनन्द स्वरूपः प्रकाशरूपः सर्वान्तर्य़ामी चिदाकाशरूपः अस्मि But I am unattached, free from all associations  and of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss, effulgent, the in-dweller of all and the formless awareness.  

असंगः –unattached. What is the attachment? We are attached to our three states of existence (जाग्रत्, स्वप्न, and सुषुप्ति), the five sheaths (अन्नमय, प्राणमय, मनोमय, विज्ञानमय, and आनन्दमय) and the three personalities of gross body, subtle body and causal body (स्थूलशरीर, सूक्ष्मशरीर, and कारणशरीर). 

सत् चित् आनन्द स्वरूपः –of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss.

सत् means absolute being, sat describes the essence that is pure and timeless and that never changes.

चित् means consciousness,  to be conscious of, awareness

आनन्द is true bliss, which includes infinite happiness, joy, free from grief.

प्रकाशरूपः –self-effulgent , shining, self-illuminated. The self is the knowledge principle that illuminates all our thought, the driving force of all physiological functions of the body; indeed, the enlivening principle of the otherwise insentient body. It is the original light but not a reflected light.

सर्वान्तर्य़ामी –indweller of all,  In and through everything. The liberated one knows that the self in him is the same self in all. All the self-ensconced in different bodies is the same as Brahman. So, the yogi does not make any difference between the beings. Do we treat our parts of the body in biased condition? 

चिदाकाशरूपः अस्मि –I am the formless awareness. चिदाकाश means mental space (चित् आकाश). Yoga Vasishtha (योग वासिष्ट) speaks of three types of Akasha. 

  • भूताकाश –dealing with the gross matter. “It is the space outside in the world where the objects and the senses meet”. 
  • चित्ताकाश – dealing with the mental concept. “It is the field of the mind which provokes a deeper enquiry because there is still in its duality of the ‘seer’ (द्र्ग्) and the ‘seen’ (द्रश्य)”.     
  • चिदाकाश –dealing with Atman. “This duality ceases to exist in Chidakasha which is a field of pure consciousness viewed by the mind non-casually.  Teachers of transcendental meditation speak of Chidakasha as the space behind the forehead which is the seat of visualization that links the man with consciousness, sub-consciousness and super-consciousness. It is the seat of meditation of personal God (इष्ट देवता). It helps to gain insight into the connection between the two confronting worlds the higher that is beyond all objects and thoughts and the lower which is the material world of senses.” The knower, knowledge and the instrument of knowledge become one. 

इति द्रढ्निश्चयः अपरॊक्ष ज्ञानवान्  –a man with intuitive knowledge as above and a firm conviction of his opinion.

अपरॊक्ष ज्ञान means not visible or perceptible to the eye or to any instruments. It refers to the direct intuitive knowledge.  It is a subjective knowledge not objective. According to Indian philosophy there are three kinds of knowledge.

  • प्रत्यक्ष  empirical or direct knowledge. It is a sense organ perceived knowledge. It is known directly or by instrumentation or by the sense organs. It is the study of science, arts and all faculties of the knowledge taught in the universities. आकाश प्रति. It is knowledge about something nearby. 
  • परॊक्ष Conventional or indirect knowledge. The object does not fall within the realm of sense organs. The knowledge is gained by inference. By seeing smoke, we assume there is a fire परः आकाश is परॊक्ष.   परः means beyond. It is that which is gained from hearing from others or by reading. It is the knowledge that is far away or not within the reach of sense organs. Direct knowledge can become indirect knowledge and vice versa. For example, I had heard about Taj Mahal but when I see it in person, it becomes a direct knowledge. 
  • अपरॊक्ष Transcendental or intuitive or immediate knowledge.  It is neither direct nor indirect. It is not about an object either near or far away. It is the knowledge about my own self, “who am I”. The senses or any supportive instruments are not good to know about it. Words cannot describe it. It is not an intellectual concept. It is an experience gained by several Sadhanas and disciplines indicated in the scriptures; the experience that “I am infinite self, truth, nature of existence-consciousness-bliss. It is the knowledge of अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि. With this one becomes freed from all bondages of karma.   

जीवन्मुक्तः –is a person liberated while living. This knowledge stays with him forever. Even at the time of death of his body, he knows that he is immortal self. He may even appear to be very ordinary or like a child or insane, but his mind is quite opposite of the ordinary man. The liberated person all the time experiences Brahman and knows that the world is unreal. 

The gist of this paragraph is that a realized person does not identify with his body or its status. He is ever connected to Brahman.

50. Removal of ignorance

ब्रह्मैवहमस्मीत्यपरोक्षज्ञानेन निखिलकर्मबन्ध विनिर्मुक्त स्यात् ।।    

ब्रह्म-एव-अहम- अस्मि -–I am Brahman itself इति अपरोक्षज्ञानेन –by intuitive or transcendental knowledge alone निखिल कर्मबन्ध –all bondages of karma विनिर्मुक्तः स्यात् –becomes free

By the intuitive knowledge that ‘I am Brahman’ one becomes freed from all bondages of karma.

In the previous paragraph the definition of a man liberated in life was given. Now the author explains what is the benefit of such a transcendental liberation? He says the yogi becomes freed from all karmic bondages. He has amnesty from karmas, his jiva lives in sync with Ishwara.  He has no personal identification with his present body, or its activities and results; he just lives in the body till his prarabdha becomes zero.

The knowledge of Brahman does not endow us with some special powers or rewards. It does not create anything new. It only removes the ignorance of the self. The yogi does not stop from performing any of his duties. The only difference is that he does all the activities but with no sense of attachment or self-interest. All he does is for public good. So, no vasanas are accumulated. 

ब्रह्म-एव-अहम- अस्मि -–I am Brahman itself

इति अपरोक्षज्ञानेन – by indirect knowledge or transcendental knowledge. This is a subjective knowledge

निखिल कर्मबन्ध विनिर्मुक्तः स्यात् –The yogi becomes free from all karmic bondages. Here liberation is studied from the angle of nullification of karmas. No karma balance is equivalent to no rebirth.

51. What are the types of actions?

 ५१. कर्माणि कतिविधानि सन्तीति चेत् आगामिसञ्चित । 

 प्रारभ्धभेदेन त्रिविधानि सन्ति । ।   

 कर्माणि –actions कतिविधानि –how many types सन्ति –are there इति-चेत् –if asked thus आगामि -agami सञ्चित -sanchita प्रारभ्ध -prarabdha  भेदेन -divided into  त्रिविधानि –सन्ति –  are of three types. 

If one asks, “How many types of karmas are there; the answer is there are three kinds of karmas viz. Agami, sanchita, and prarabdha.

What is karma कर्म?

In Sanskrit any activity or कार्य is called karma. It is an object and the doer of activity or the subject is called कर्ता. The word karma should be distinguished from a similar sounding word Kriya (क्रिया) which also means an activity.  Kriya is an activity with self-effort. While karma is an execution of an action by the body and mind either by self-volition or by forces.  Karma comes from the root क्र् (Kr) means to do, to make, to perform to accomplish. Karma refers to all actions done by the body and mind. 

According to Vedantic law of cause and effect, every effect must have a cause. Good deed and good intent contribute to a good karma and present and future happiness while bad deed and bad intent contribute to bad karma and suffering in the present or future.

Sometimes the word karma is also loosely used as fruits of action although the correct word should be karmaphala (कर्मफल).  

Karmaphala or fruit of action are of two types.

  1. द्रिष्ट् फल –Visible result. 
  2. अद्रिष्ट फल –invisible result. 

If the deed is of good intent and motive the result would be of good visible or invisible nature. For example, if I give money for a charitable cause the visible action is the help caused to the recipient and the invisible action is my good karma. Similarly, if I cheat someone the visible action is an increase in my bank balance and the invisible action is my accumulated sin. A meritorious deed is called Punya (पुण्य) and a sinful deed is called papa (पाप). 

कर्माणि कतिविधानि  सन्ति – How many types of karmas are there. Karmas are of three types

  1. आगामि – the coming one.  It is the karmaphala that arises out of our present life activities. Its consequences will be experienced by us in the coming lives. It is usually added to the account head of our sanchita karma. Agami karma is responsible for our next births. Agami is also called Kriyamana (क्रियमाण), the acts being done in the present life.
  2. सञ्चित –the accumulated one. It is the sum total of accumulated karmas of previous lives. It is the burden of our pasts which is maintained in our current account and which needs to be exhausted at some stage of our existence. Sanchita karma will not so much affect us in the present life because the vasanas fructify at staggered periods. 
  3. प्रारभ्ध  -the fructified one. It is that part of our sanchita karma which is activated and influence the course of our present life. Our prarabdha karma is responsible for our getting human or animal body, our parentage and social position.  Depending upon the nature and intent of our actions we are either depleting or adding to our karmic burden. If something untoward happens to us despite our good intentions and effort; it is due to the prarabdha or consequences of some actions done in previous lives. There is nothing much we can do about it except seeking divine intervention.  

52. āgāmi karma   

आगामि कर्म   

ज्ञानॊत्पत्यनन्तरं ज्ञानिदेहक्रतं पुण्यपापरूपं कर्म ।  यदस्ति तदगामित्यभिधीयते   ।।  

ज्ञानॊत्पत्यनन्तरम् –after the dawn of knowledge ज्ञानिदेहक्रतम्  -done by the body of the realized soul पुण्यपापरूपम्  -of the nature of merit and demerit , good or evil कर्म –action यत् – whatever  अस्ति –are there तद् –that आगामि –agami इति –thus  अभिदीयते –is called.   

The results of actions in the form of sin or virtue done by the body of a realized person after the awakening of self-knowledge, is known as agami karma.

पुण्यपापरूपम् कर्म` -meritorious and sinful deeds. 

आगामि – It is the karma that arises out of our present life activities. Its consequences will be experienced by us in the coming lives. It is usually added to the account head of our sanchita karma. What you sow today, is what you reap tomorrow. The results of our present good or bad actions may fructify immediately or later in our life or in next births. 

“Animals too are identified with their body but perform actions without a sense of doer-ship. They have no choice of actions. Their actions are programmed according to their instincts”. However, a man has a choice of action. He may do or elect not to do an action. In both cases he identifies with his body and so becomes a doer. A jnyani or wise man for instance may also do or elect not do an action, but he has no identity with his body or doer-ship of action. So, his actions do not add up to his vasana stock. All actions have reactions. Good or meritorious actions produce Punya and bad or sinful actions produce demerit or papa. 

53. Sanchita Karma

संचित कर्म किम्?

अनन्तकॊटिजन्मनां बीजभूतं सत् यत्कर्मजातं पूर्वार्जितं तिष्ठ्ति ।  

तत्सञ्चितं ज्ञेयम् । ।  

संचित – sanchita कर्म – karma किम् –what is it अनन्तकॊटिजन्मनाम् –of the infinite number of births  बीजभूतम् –in the seed form सत् – being यत् – which कर्मजातम् –results of action पूर्व –in the past अर्जितम्–accumulated   तिष्ठ्ति –remains तत् –that सञ्चितम् –sanchita accumulated ज्ञेयम् –should be understood

What is sanchita karma? The result of actions performed in past births which are in seed form causing endless crores (10 million) of birth is called sanchita karma. 

सञ्चित – It is the sum total of good and bad actions accumulated from our previous lives. It is the burden of our pasts which is maintained in our current account and which needs to be exhausted at some stage of our existence. Sanchita karma will not so much affect us in the present life because all the vasanas do not fructify at the same time but do so at staggered periods. 

अनन्तकॊटि जन्मनाम् कर्मजातम् – result of the actions done in our innumerable births in the past. We may have taken birth in different species before we got the human form now.  We can never say how long it would take for a Punya or papa action to fructify. It remains as sanchita karma. The karmaphala produced from the karmas of tens and thousands of past janmas is called sanchita. 

बीजभूतम् यत् तिष्ठ्ति – The results of our actions are stored in seed form.  The seeds of a mango, papaya or a coconut tree planted on the same day would germinate and grow into adult trees at different periods in future. Similarly, our actions fructify at staggered periods. It remains as sanchita karma.

54. Prarabdha Karma and how it is undone

प्रारब्धं कर्म किमिति चेत् । 

इदं शरीरमुत्पाद्य इह लॊके एवं सुखदुःखादिप्रदं यत्कर्म तत्प्रारब्धं 

भॊगेन नष्टं भवति प्रारब्धकर्मणां भॊगादेव क्षय इति ।।    

प्रारब्धंम् – Prarabdha कर्म –karma, one which has already started maturing किम् – what इति चेत् – if asked   इदम् –this शरीरम्- body उत्पाद्य –being the cause of this  birth इह –this लॊके –world एव –only सुखदुःखादि –happiness, misery etc., यत् प्रदम् –which gives कर्म –actions तत् –that प्रारब्धम् –is called Prarabdha भॊगेन –by experiencing नष्टम् भवति –becomes destroyed  प्रारब्धकर्मणाम् –of Prarabdha karmas  भोगात् -एव –by experiencing only क्षय – exhaustion इति –thus 

If it is asked what prarabdha karma is, the answer is; that which gives birth to the body in this world, and makes us experience happiness and misery is called prarabdha karma. Such fruits of action are eliminated only by experiencing them. This is because their wearing out is possible only by experiencing them.

इदम् शरीरम् उत्पाद्य –having produced this body. From the sanchita karma storehouse, some actions fructify and give rise to this body. Obviously good actions only would give us human body otherwise we would be in the body of some insects or beasts. Bad actions can also cause human body but with some defects so that the individual can suffer them out. बह्मै

इह लॊके एवं सुख दुःख आदि प्रदं –in the form of happiness or misery in this world. Sukha means happiness and dukha means grief.  Adi means etc, the meaning is that, it may produce mixed results. 

The author having completed the subject of three types of karmas, now takes up a new subject as to how the karma phala could be extinguished.

भॊगेन नष्टम् भवति –A new subject of how the karmaphalas are worn out.  A wise man’s prarabdha karma is attenuated only by suffering them out in his life.  Prarabdha karma is destroyed only by experiencing them but cannot be destroyed with self-knowledge. No amount of good work, gaining of knowledge, or non-identification with the body or working for the pleasure of God would destroy the fruits of actions that have already set into motion. It is like a bullet fired from the barrel of a gun that is impossible to stop. Similarly, those actions which have started giving fruit cannot be destroyed. Even a jnyani has to bear with it and experience it. That is why we see many realized yogis suffered from deadly disease like cancer but they all experienced them till the body drops off. Swami Chinmayananda says,” What I get is His gift to me, what I do with what I get is my gift to Him” Since we have no choice but to suffer out the prarabdha karma the wise man undergoes trials and tribulations without whining. He says, O God thy will be done.

प्रारब्धकर्मणां भॊगादेव क्षयः  Prarabdha karma is exhausted only through experience of Sukha and Dukha. 

55. How is Sanchita Karma undone?

सञ्चितम् -कर्म 

सञ्चितम् कर्म ब्रह्मैवाहमिति निश्चयात्मक ज्ञानेन नश्यति ।।

सञ्चितम् – sanchita कर्म – karma ब्रह्म-एव-अहम्– I am the truth (Brahman) इति –thus निश्चयात्मक -ज्ञानेन –by the firm knowledge नश्यति – is destroyed

Sanchita karma is destroyed by the firm knowledge, ‘I am Brahman’.

Sanchita karma is the sum total of good and bad actions accumulated from our previous lives. It has not started yielding any result. 

ब्रह्म-एव-अहम्  इति–निश्चयात्मक-ज्ञानेन  नश्यति – Sanchita karma is destroyed by the decisive understanding that, ‘I am Brahman’ In other words our identity with the three bodies, five sheaths, and three states of consciousness is eliminated. The yogi realizes by intuitive knowledge that “I am indeed Brahman’ and sees Brahman everywhere at all times (सर्वेष्वपि भूतेषु ब्रह्मबुद्धिरुत्पन्ना).  He has a perfect knowledge of unity of Jiva and Ishwara. In simple words the sanchita karma is destroyed by enlightenment because knowledge burns all the products of ignorance. In case of jnyani the jiva abhimana or identification with 3 sharira and Jiva bhava has gone and Brahma bhava has appeared. 

Just as all the pending police and court cases become null and void when the criminal dies, when the yogi loses body consciousness and realizes Brahman, all his accumulated karmas or sanchita karma get destroyed. Vedanta books give the example of a roasted seed which cannot sprout. 

Why there is no rebirth for a jnyani

At death of an ignorant man the gross body disintegrates and merges with the gross elements. The subtle body and the causal body pulled by the jiva takes a new body according to his sanchita and prarabdha karmas.

In the case of a jnyani, the gross body disintegrates and merges with the gross elements. The subtle body also merges with its five subtle elements as there is no pulling force of the jiva because his ignorance is destroyed by the knowledge of the self. Jiva has rediscovered his true nature as Ishwara. So, there is no more birth for him. The space appears to be conditioned by a pot. If the pot breaks, the pot space appears to be merged with the total space. Really speaking there is no merging. Space was always one and all-pervading, even when the pot existed. Similarly, the self is one and the conditioning of the self was due to avidya and maya. 

56. How is āgāmi karma   undone?

आगामि कर्म 

आगामि कर्म अपि ज्ञानेन नश्यति किंच आगामिकर्मणां ।

नलिनीदलगतजलवत् ज्ञानिनां सम्बन्धॊ नास्ति ।।

आगामि कर्मणाम् –Agami Karma अपि –also ज्ञानेन –by knowledge नश्यति –is destroyed किञ्च –also नलिनीदलगत -जलवत् –like the water on the lotus leaf  ज्ञानिनाम् –for the wise man सम्बन्धः –relation न अस्ति –not there.

Agami karma is also destroyed by knowledge of self and the wise man is not affected by it just a lotus leaf is not affected by the water on it. 

किञ्च आगामि कर्मणाम् अपि ज्ञानेन नश्यति –The agami karmas also is destroyed by knowledge. 

We have seen that sanchita karma or the sum total of good and bad actions of our previous life is destroyed by knowledge and the wise man is not reborn. Prarabdha karma too although yields result during his life does not affect him because he has no identification with the body. It just wears away as he suffers them out.

Now question arises what about the Agami karma or actions done by him in the present life? The answer is since the very notion of identity with the body and attachment to work as “I am the doer, I am the enjoyer” dies, there remains none to enjoy or suffer result of the agami actions. When the criminal dies all the prosecution case against him also ceases because no sentence could be passed on a person who is no more.   

नलिनीदलगत जलवत् ज्ञानिनाम् सम्बन्धः  न अस्ति –the wise is untouched by his actions like water on a lotus leaf. Water on a lotus leaf does not wet the leaf or destroy it. It remains as a shining droplet. Similarly, the wise man is untouched by the actions during his life. He just remains aloof, unattached and non-aligned. 

Once, Buddha was insulted when he was begging for alms.  His disciple got angry and asked Buddha, “Sir, and May I give him a piece of my mind?” Buddha said, “If you have taken anything from him you have to return it. You have not taken anything and so there is no need to give back anything”. 

57. Residuary karma phala of wise man

किञ्च ये ज्ञानिनं स्तुवन्ति भजन्ति अर्चयन्ति तान्प्रति ज्ञानिक्रतं 

आगामि पुण्यं गछति  ।

ये ज्ञानिनं निन्दन्ति द्विषन्ति दुःखप्रदानं कुर्वन्ति तान्प्रति 

ज्ञानिकृतम् सर्वमागामि क्रियमाणं यद्वाच्यं कर्म पापात्मकं तद्गछति । 

सुर्हदः पुण्यक्रत्यं दुह्रदः पापक्रत्यं ग्रह्णन्ति इति ।।    

किञ्च –also ये –those ज्ञानिनम् –the wise man स्तुवन्ति –praise भजन्ति –serve अर्चयन्ति –adore तान् प्रति –towards them ज्ञानिकृतम् -done by the wise man आगामि –future पुण्यम् –the results of good  action-  गच्छति – goes ये – who ज्ञानिनम् –the wise man निन्दन्ति –criticize द्विषन्ति –hate दुःखप्रदानम् -कुर्वन्ति –cause pain तान् प्रति – towards them ज्ञानिक्रतम् – done by the wise man सर्व –entire आगामि –future क्रियमाणम् –actions due for fruitification that means agami karma  यत् –which अवाच्यम् –non- mentionable, which cannot be uttered  कर्म –actions पापात्मकम् –sinful तद् –that गच्चति -go सुर्हदः –friends पुण्यक्रत्यम् –meritorious दुह्रदः –the enemies पापक्रत्यम् –sinful ग्रह्णन्ति –take इति -thus  

The fruits of stored and unutilized good actions done by the wise man go to those who praise, adore and worship the persons of knowledge. And the fruits of all stored and un-utilized sinful actions and non-mentionable actions go to those who criticize, hate or cause pain to the wise man. 

 What happens to unclaimed Punya and papa of a jnyani?

The wise man has made all preparations for his exit from the world. He has taken care of his sanchita and agami karmas by extinguishing them with the fire of knowledge. What about the balance of karmas left out if any? If they are not destroyed or apportioned, the wise man will have to take birth again. The author says here what happens to such residue karmas. 

ये ज्ञानिनम् स्तुवन्ति भजन्ति अर्चयन्ति तान् प्रति ज्ञानिक्रतम् आगामि पुण्यम् गच्छति – 

Agami karma fruits of the good deeds done by the wise man go to them who worship him and take care of him

ये ज्ञानिनम् निन्दन्ति  द्विषन्ति दुःखप्रदानम् कुर्वन्ति तान् प्रति ज्ञानिक्रतम्  सर्व आगामि क्रियमाणम् यत् अवाच्यम् कर्म पापात्मकम् तद् गच्चति – Agami karma fruits of the bad and unmentionable  deeds done by the wise man go to them who criticise, hate or persecute him.

सुर्हदः पुण्यक्रत्यम् दुह्रदः पापक्रत्यम् ग्रह्णन्ति इति – In short, his friends are gifted with the fruits of his meritorious deeds and foes with sinful deeds. 

Can karmaphala or the fruits of action be transferred from one person to another? If so, it is against the law of karma which says that each one is responsible for his actions. We must remember that agami karma expressed itself into fruits mostly in the next birth. In the case of the wise since he has disassociated with his body and doer-ship the fruits of his action should go somewhere. Moreover, the haters and critics of the wise man should receive punishment for their sin and his friends should receive appreciation for their good actions. For this reason, the karmaphala is transferred.

ऐक्य ज्ञान फलम् 

5. Benefit of the knowledge of essential identity 

58. The Bliss of identity with Brahman

ब्रह्मानन्द फलम्

तथा चात्मवित्संसारं तीर्त्वा ब्रह्मानन्दमिहैव प्राप्नोति 

तरति शोकं आत्मवित्’इति श्रुतेः । 

तनुं त्यजतु वा काश्यां श्वपचस्य ग्रहेऽथवा । 

ज्ञानसम्प्राप्तिसमये मुक्तोऽसौ विगताशयः  इति स्मृतेःश्च ।    

तथा –thus च –and आत्मवित् –the knower of the self, wise man संसारम् –the samsara  of prarabdha,  sanchita and agami karma bondage  तीर्त्वा –having crossed  ब्रह्मानन्दम्-the supreme bliss,  infinite Ananda इह –here एव alone प्राप्नोति – gains तरति –crosses शोकम् –sorrow  इति –thus श्रुतेः –the Shruti says तनुम् –body त्यजतु –may it be discarded वा –or काश्याम् –in Kashi श्वपचस्य –of a dog eater’s  ग्रहे -houseअथवा –or ज्ञानसम्प्राप्तिसमये –at the time of attaining knowledge मुक्तः –liberated असौ –he विगताशयः –free from results of action इति –thus स्मृतेः –Smruti  as well    

Thus, the knower of the self attains the bliss of Brahman, having crossed this miserable worldliness in this life itself. The Shruti affirms that, the knower of the self transcends sorrow. It is immaterial if the realized man casts off his body either in holy Kashi or in the house of a dog-eater since he has destroyed all desires of action. 

तथा च आत्मवित्  संसारम् तीर्त्वा ब्रह्मानन्दम् इह एव प्राप्नोति  -Thus the knower of the self-crosses over the miserable samsara and attains absolute bliss in this very life. संसार is the world of objects or the earth. Samsara means ever changing, unstable. संसरति इति सम्सारम्. Entire realm or time, space and objects are called samsara. The life in the world is full of trials and tribulations, agony and felony, short-lived happiness, our endeavour to acquire it and efforts to hold it. These are all limitations. But God is supreme bliss where there is no tinge of limitation, fear and grief. He is infinite. He is supreme bliss Brahmananda. 

इह एव प्राप्नोति  – This infinite unlimited bliss is not a promise of haven. The Acharya says the bliss would be available right now in this world. This is called Jivanmukti. 

आत्मवित् शोकम् तरति  इति श्रुतेः –The Vedas declare that the knower of Brahman transcends all grief. Brahmadanda has no tinge of grief. In that case a question arises, does a knower of table become table; certainly No. Knower of Brahman is one who has subjectively realized the nature of Brahman. Brahman is not an object to be known. It is the very subject of the seeker.

आत्मवित्  तनुम्  त्यजतु काश्याम् वा श्वपचस्य ग्रहे – Let the knower of Brahman cast off his body either in the holy city of Kashi or in the house of a dog eater, it makes no difference for him  because he is already liberated at the time of his death. Does a man who casts off his body in the city of Kashi automatically become Brahman? Or does a man who dies in the home of a low cast become a sinner? These statements are exaggerations and have no support from Vedanta which is a universal scripture.

आत्मवित् आत्मैव भवति, ब्रह्मवित् ब्रह्मैव भवति, the knower of Brahman or truth becomes Brahman or truth himself. Extending this argument, can we say the knower of a tree becomes the tree? This is not possible. The knower of an object does not become the object. In the first place Brahman is not an object but he is the very subject of study. Secondly there is no becoming Brahman. When the blinding ignorance is removed, the wise man realizes that he is of the very nature of supreme bliss and it is therefore said he becomes Brahman. 

असौ ज्ञानसम्प्राप्तिसमये मुक्तः, विगताशयः इति स्म्रतेः – even at the time of getting knowledge he has become liberated and what to talk of after death? The place of death cannot affect him because he is free from all desires. 

A wise man is already liberated when he is enlightened. He becomes free from all attachments say Smruti.

     ।। इति तत्वबोधप्रकरणं समाप्तम् ।।

Thus, ends the prakarana called Tattvabodha

Overview of Tattvabodha

Based on an online audio lecture of Swami Paramarthananda

Tattvabodha text can be broadly classified into five portions. These are:

1. अधिकारी – Eligibility for self-enquiry Four-fold qualification

2. जीव or आत्म विचार–Analysis of the individual or microcosm

3. ईश्वर विचार–Analysis of the totality of creation or macrocosm

4. जीवेश्वरयोः ऐक्यम् –Essential identity of the individual and total creation

5. ऐक्य ज्ञान फलम् Benefit of the knowledge of essential identity

A.  Eligibility or qualifications for self-enquiry. अधिकरी

Four Sadhanas are mentioned sādhanacatuṣṭayam (साधनचतुष्टयम्). These are: 4D’s

  1. Discrimination – nityānityavastuvivēkaḥ (नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः)
  2. Dispassion- ihāmutrārthaphalabhogavirāgaḥ  (इहामुत्रार्थफलभॊगविरागः)
  3. Desire for the higher mumukṣutvam (मुमुक्षुत्वम्)
  4. Disciplines -śamādi-ṣaṭkasampattiḥ  (शमादि-षट्कसम्पत्तिः)

1. Nityānityavastuvivēka: Discrimination is between the real and apparent goals of life. There is no doubt that the goal of life is enduring happiness. But a vedantin realizes that real happiness does not come from any objects; they are themselves fleeting in nature and therefore the happiness generated by them is also limited and fleeting in nature. By proper application of mind, a seeker is able to pick up the real spiritual happiness from his two options, material and spiritual. This capacity to differentiate from real and fake goal is called Discrimination or viveka (विवेक).  

2. Ihāmutrārthaphalabhogavirāga:  Dispassion is detachment or disinterest. What the seeker does with the apparent or fake goals of life is to downgrade their status in his life.  That means he does not give them so much importance. He uses the fake goals as a sadhana or a means to achieve his final goal that is realization of God. 

3. Mumukutvam: Desire is a burning urge or passion for accomplishment of the goal of realization of God. When we have realized by study of scriptures and lectures by Guru that the material goals are nothing but fake, we gradually re-orient our attitude to life and nourish the desire for realization. Thus, the desire becomes burning.   

4. śamādi-akasampatti: Discipline is attuning of our body, senses, mind and intellect towards our goal. All the organs become spiritual friendly. 

With genuine practice of these four Sadhanas one becomes eligible to study the subject of self-enquiry. One can indeed read and understand the entire book but it becomes only an academic knowledge but not a self-transforming knowledge. Therefore, eligibility is emphasized.

Tattvabodha mentions the steps of eligibility but not the method of obtaining eligibility. It has to be supplied by us. Out of the four eligibility factors the first three viz. discrimination, dispassion, and desire are accomplished through karma yoga. The fourth one namely disciplines śamādi-ṣaṭkasampattiḥ (शमादि-षट्कसम्पत्तिः) comes from jnyana yoga. 

The first three steps are religious way of life and the last one is spiritual way of life. Religion gives me qualification and spirituality give me wisdom.

Bjīva or ātma vicāra (जीव or आत्म विचार)

Analysis of the individual or microcosm vyaṣṭi vicāra; piṇḍāḍa vicāra (व्यष्टि विचार; पिण्डाड विचार)

Every individual has broadly two personalities

  • Material part anātma aṁśa (अनात्म अंश)
  • Spiritual part ātmā aṁśa (आत्मा अंश) 

The material part of the individual is made up of matter. For convenience of study the material body is divided into three separate entities. These are:

Material Part anātma aṁś

The three bodies: Based on finesse of matter sthūlaśarīram (स्थूलशरीरम्) – Gross body, sūkṣmaśarīram (सूक्ष्मशरीरम्) – the subtle body and kāraṇaśarīram (कारणशरीरम्) – the causal body. Evolution of the individual started with the un-manifest or potential form of the body which is also called causal body or maya. The un-grossified five elements become grossified elements. 

The universe evolved by the permutation and combination of five elements in combination the gunas.  As the process of evolution unfolds, it becomes the subtle body and finally the gross body.

  • (पंचकोशाः) panchakoshas based on functions. There are five Koshas or sheaths. Annamaya kośa (अन्नमय कॊश) –the gross body प्राणमय कॊश (prāṇamaya kośa) –the vital sheath, मनॊमय कॊष (manomaya koṣa) –the mental sheath, vijñānamaya koṣa विज्ञानमय कॊष the intellectual sheath, and ānandamaya koṣa आनन्दमय कॊष –the blissful sheath
  • अवस्थात्रयम् (avasthātrayam)  –the three states of existence: जाग्रत्, jāgrat the waking स्वप्न- svapna the dream सुषुप्ति suṣupti- the sleep अवस्थाः avasthāḥ – states 

Spiritual Part ātmā aṁśa

The consciousness principle (आत्म अंश or चैतन्य तत्त्व) is the spiritual part of the individual. It is non- material, distinct from the material part (अनात्म अंश). The consciousness principle is not a part, product or property of the material body. It is called Atma or Brahman. Just as electricity is not a part, product or property of the bulb, but the very source of energy, atma is also not a part of the body but the very source of universe.

Cईश्वर विचार–Analysis of the totality of creation or macrocosm- This is also called ब्रह्माण्ड, समष्टि विचार. The universe being matter can neither be created nor destroyed. This is called principle of indestructibility of matter. We can only change its form. We can see the universe and transact with it. It was not so before evolution. It was available in a dormant, un-manifest or potential form (अव्यक्त avyakta). This is the causal universe or maya. The casual universe evolves into subtle universe. It is as subtle as not be available for perception and transaction. 

From the subtle universe evolves the totally manifest universe which we have today. It is visible, perceptible and transactable (व्यक्त vyakta).

Along with the subtle universe and gross universe also developed subtle body and gross body from the causal body. So, there is no creation. It is only evolution from un-manifest to manifest condition.  In Sanskrit it is called अविर्भाव. 

At the time of devolution, the gross universe becomes subtle and later into causal body and merges with maya or un-manifest nature.  It is Just like our walking up and going to deep sleep every day. 

D. जीवेश्वरयोः ऐक्यम् –Essential identity of the individual and total creation 

This is also called पिण्ड ब्रह्माण्डयॊः ऐक्यम् Unity of microcosm and macrocosm. 

We have so far studied the nature of the individual or microcosm as well as the nature of the universe or macrocosm. Both these are material in nature and are evolved from the causal body, to subtle body and gross body.  Being made up of matter they are insentient. These two are the anatma amsha (अनात्म अंश) or inert principle. Consciousness is the energy principle (आत्म अंश, or चैतन्य तत्त्व). We know the bulb or its filament cannot give us the light. It needs electricity behind it so that the bulb can glow. Similarly, consciousness is the illuminating principle which is capable of making the matter to evolve and to function (स्रुष्टि स्थिति sruṣṭi sthiti). The consciousness principle is not a part, product or property of the material body. 

The consciousness operates through the media of individual body or total universe and gets distorted and acquires the attributes of the medium.  The medium is called उपाधि or conditioning. The reflected consciousness in the individual or micro is called Jiva (जीव) and the reflected consciousness in the total is called ईश्वर or the Lord. Jiva is more distorted than Ishwara due to the texture of its reflecting medium. Jiva has got inferior attributes but the Lord has superior attributes. Jiva is helpless अनाथ, दीन, but the Lord is the helper अनाथ- नाथ and दीनबन्धु). Micro or reflected consciousness is the servant दास whereas the macro or original consciousness is Lord or the master स्वामी. 

It has to be emphasized again that the original consciousness has neither an inferior or superior attribute. It is neither the cause nor the effect. 

Suppose I stand before a concave mirror, my image looks elongated and before a convex mirror the same image looks flat. The distortion in the mirror is not my attribute but the result of the medium. Similarly, the original consciousness has no distortion. We are transacting with the individual body and total universe. Both of them are a mixture of mater and consciousness. Our goal is to reach the supreme or consciousness. Now a question arises. How to identify the consciousness? It cannot be separated from either the individual jiva body or from the universe or the Lord, just as we cannot separate space from an object. The space is all-pervading and ensconces the object from inside as well as outside.  Similarly, the consciousness envelops the individual and the total universe from inside as well as outside. It is pervading everywhere. So, separation has to be made in terms of understanding or wisdom. The method advocated in Vedanta is to separate the micro medium and macro medium and forget the distortions as incidental and own up the distortion-free original consciousness. 

This is called jiva Ishwara aikyam or pinda brahmanda aikyam. 

E. ऐक्य ज्ञान फलम् Benefit of the knowledge of essential identity 

By an analysis of the individual body and the total universe, we have seen that both of them are constituted of causal body subtle body and gross body. The individual is nothing but a miniscule of the total. Both of these are insentient and become dynamic only in the presence of a third independent entity called consciousness or truth. It is called as atma at the level of the body and Brahman at the level of the universe. The individual and universe are the reflected consciousness, reflection happening in the media of the matter. So, the original consciousness is essentially one and a person who realizes that “I am the original consciousness having a temporary shelter in the body. I am different from the body and the transactions of the body and universe do not belong to me”. This knowledge is called jnyana or wisdom. 

The process of acquiring the wisdom is called jnyana yoga (ज्ञान योग). In Gita we have studied that there are two prerequisites before one becomes eligible for acquiring knowledge. These are कर्म योग, and भक्ति योग or उपासन योग. Without eligibility wisdom cannot come and without wisdom eligibility is useless. 

Eligibility is acquired by the fallowing steps:

  • श्रवण: Receiving wisdom. Systematic and consistent study of scriptures under the guidance of a competent Guru.  The student gets a lot of inputs and the intellect starts questioning certain hypothesis which is discussed with the teacher. 
  • मनन : converting knowledge into conviction. In this process certain doubts and objections in the mind of the student are removed.  An account of manana the knowledge becomes clearer. All doubts are answered and the intellect does not raise any more objections. The student gets thoroughly convinced that he is not the reflected consciousness but the original absolute consciousness. This fact becomes his conviction.  He walks the talk. 
  • निधिध्यासन : Assimilation of wisdom. Re- conditioning or re -orienting our attitude. It is a process of repeated hearing, reading of scriptures, discussion with the teacher and colleagues. The student assimilates the wisdom and gives up his old worldly habit of living like a reflected consciousness. In other words, it is the de-conditioning of the mind and re-orienting himself to his new found knowledge. It is called niṣṭhā (निष्ठा). Convert conviction into Nishtha.  So nidhidhyasana is the final stage of transformation of the seeker from “I or jiva “consciousness to Brahman “Consciousness”. 

The following are the steps studied by us; study, reflect, and assimilation and transformation into Mukti. In the first place the knowledge is converted into conviction. Conviction becomes niṣṭhā (निष्ठा). From niṣṭhā he has to transform himself to jivanmukti. प्रज्ञा has to transform into  स्थितप्रज्ञा.  Consciousness is a formless spirit. He has to cast off his ideas of God as having attributes and form. Thus, transcending the form is called transform. It is also called jivanmukti. His sanchita karma is burnt up by the flame of knowledge. Agami Karma is avoided. And Prarabdha karma is exhausted without adverse reaction. Once the three karmas are extinguished the body falls and the person is never born again.  

With the benefits of jivanmukti all the Punya papa karma is burnt. There is no rebirth. 


1. Swami Paramarthananda audio


2. Swami Sunirmalanada “Insights into Vedanta-Tattvabodha,” Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai

3. Swami Tejomayananda “Tattvabodha”, Central Chinmaya Mission trust, Mumbai

Not referred url:

1. http://svbf.org/wp-content/uploads/

2. http://svbf.org/wp-content/uploads/tattvabodha/1_Tattvabodha_Intro.pdf

http://svbf.org/wp-3. content/uploads/tattvabodha/2_Tattvabodha_SadhanaChatushtayam.pdf

4.  http://svbf.org/wp-content/uploads/tattvabodha/3_Tattvabodha_ShariraTrayam.pdf

5. http://svbf.org/wp-content/uploads/tattvabodha/4_Tattvabodha_AvastaTrayam-. PanchaKosha.pdf

6.  http://svbf.org/wp-content/uploads/tattvabodha/5_Tattvbodha_Atman_Srushtivichara.pdf

7. http://svbf.org/wp-content/uploads/tattvabodha/2_Tattvabodha_SadhanaChatushtayam.pdf




Bare Shlokas


वासुदेवेन्द्रयोगीन्द्रम् नत्वा ज्ञानप्रदं गुरुम् । मुमूक्शूणाम् हितार्थाय तत्वबोधॊऽभिधीयते ॥  

. साधनचतुष्टयसम्पन्नाधिकारिणां मॊक्षसाधनभूतं तत्वविवेकप्रकारं वक्ष्यामः ।। 1 ।। 

1. साधनचतुष्टयम् किम्

२. साधनचतुष्टयम् किम् ? नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः ।  इहामुत्रार्थफलभॊगविरागः   शमादि षट्कसम्पत्तिः  मुमुक्षुत्वं चेति ।। 2 ।।

३. नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः कः ? नित्यवस्त्वॆकं ब्रह्म तद्व्यतिरिक्तं सर्वमनित्यम् ।अयमेव नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः ।। 3 ।।

४. विरागः कः ? इहस्वर्गभोगेषु इच्छाराहित्यम् ।। 4 ।।

५. शमादिसाधनसम्पत्तिः का ? शमो दमो उपरतिस्तितीक्षा श्र्द्धा समाधानं चेति ।। 5 ।।

६. शमः कः? मनोनिग्रहः ।। 6 ।।

७. दमः कः? चक्षुरादिबाह्येन्द्रियनिग्रहः ।। 7 ।।

८. उपरमः कः? स्वधर्मानुष्टानमेव ।। 8 ।।

९. तितिक्षा का? शीतोष्णसुखदुःखादिसहिष्णुत्वम् ।।9  ।।

१०. श्रद्धा कीद्रशी? गुरुवेदान्तवाक्यादिषु विश्वासः श्रद्धा ।।10  ।।

११. समाधानं किम्? चित्तैकाग्रता ।। 11 ।।

१२. मुमुक्षुत्वम् किम् ? मोक्षो मे भूयात् इति इछ्छा ।। 12 ।।

१३. एतत् साधनचतुष्टयम् ।  ततस्तत्वविवेकाधिकारिणो भवन्ति ।। 13 ।।

2. तत्वविवेकः कः?  

१४. तत्वविवेकः कः?  । आत्मा सत्यं तदन्यत् सर्वं मिथ्येति  ।। 14 ।।

१५. आत्मा कः? 

स्थूलसूक्ष्मकारणशरीरात्व्यतिरिक्तः पंचकॊशातीतः सन् ।अवस्स्थात्रयसाक्षी सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः सन् यस्तिस्ष्ट्ति स आत्मा ।। 15 ।।

3. शरीर त्रयम्

१६. स्थूलशरीरं किम्? पंचीक्रतपंचमहाभूतैः क्रतं सत्कर्मजन्यं सुखादुःखादिभॊगायतनं शरीरम्

अस्ति जायते वर्धते विपरिणमते अपक्षीयते विनश्यतीति षड्विकारवदेतत् स्थूलशरीरम् ।।16।।

१७.  सूक्ष्मशरीरम् किम्?

अपंचीक्रतपंचमहाभूतैः क्रत सत्कर्मजन्यं सुखादुःखादिभॊग साधनं पंचज्ञानॆन्द्रियाणि पंचकर्मेन्द्रियाणि 

पंच प्राणादयः मनश्चैकम् बुद्धिश्चैका एवं सप्तदशाकलाभिः सह  यत्तिष्ठति तत्सूक्ष्मशरीरम् ।। 17  ।। 

१८. पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि 

श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि। श्रोत्रस्य दिग्देवता । त्वचो वायुः । चक्षुषः सूर्यः । रसनायाः वरुणः । घ्राणस्य अश्विनौ । इति ज्ञानेन्द्रियदेवताः । श्रोत्रस्य  विषयः शब्दग्रहणम् । त्वचो विषयः स्पर्शग्रहणम् । चक्षुशो विषयः रूपग्रहणम् । रसनाया विषयः रसग्रहणम्। घ्राणस्य विषयः गन्धग्रहणम् इति ।।  18 ।।

१९. पञ्चकर्मेन्द्रियाणि 

वाक्पाणिपादपायूपस्थानीति पञ्चकर्मेन्द्रियाणि । वाचो देवता वह्निः । हस्तयॊःरिन्द्रः । पादयोर्विष्णुः । पायोंर्मुत्युः । उपस्थस्य प्रजापतिः  । इति कर्मेन्द्रियदेवताः । वाचो विषयः भाषणम् । पाण्योर्विषयः वस्तुग्रहणम् ।  पादयोर्विषयः गमनम् । पायोर्विषयः मलत्यागः । उपस्थस्य विषय आनन्दः इति ।। 19  ।।

२०. कारण शरीरम् किम्? 

अनिर्वाच्यानाद्यविद्यारुपं  शरीरद्वयस्य कारणमात्रम् सत् स्वरूपाज्ञानं ।निर्विकल्पकरूपं यदस्ति तत्कारणशरीरम् ।। 20  ।।

5. अवस्थात्रयम्

२१. अवस्थात्रयम् किम् ?  जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्त्यवस्थाः ।। 21  ।।

२२. जाग्रदवस्था का? श्रोत्रादिज्ञानेन्दियाणि शन्दादि विषयैश्च ज्ञायते इति या जाग्रदवस्था । 

स्थूलशरीराभिमानी आत्मा विश्व इत्य्च्यते ।। 22  ।।

२३. स्वप्नावस्था केति चेत्? जाग्रदवस्थायां यद् द्रष्टं यत् श्रुतं तज्जनितवासनया निद्रासमये यः प्रपञ्चः प्रतीयते सा स्वप्नावस्था ।  सूक्ष्म्शरीराभिमानी आत्मा तैजसः इति उच्यते ।।23  ।।

२४. अथ सुषुप्तावस्था का? अहं किमपि न जानामि सुखेन मया निद्राऽनुभूयत इति सुषुप्तावस्था 

कारणशरीराभिमानी आत्मा प्राज्ञ इत्युच्यते ।। 24  ।।

6. पंचकोशाः

२५. पंचकोशाः के? अन्नमयः प्राणमयः मनोमयः विज्ञानमयः आनन्दमयश्चेति ।। 25  ।।

२६. अन्नमयः कः? अन्नरसेनैव भूत्वा अन्नरसेनैव व्रद्द्धिं प्राप्य अन्नरूपप्रथिव्यां 

यद्विलीयते तदन्नमयः कॊशः स्थूलशरीरम् ।। 26  ।।

२७. प्राणमयः कः? प्राणाद्याः पञ्चवायवः वागीन्द्रियपञ्चकंप्राणमयः कोश: ।। 27  ।।

२८. मनॊमयः कॊषः कः? मनश्च ज्ञानेन्द्रियपञ्चकं मिलित्वा भवति स मनोमय कॊशः ।। 28  ।।

२९. विज्ञानमयः कः? बुद्धिश्च ज्ञानेन्द्रियपञ्चम्कम् मिलित्वा भवति सः विज्ञानमयः कॊशः ।। 29   ।।

३०. आनन्दमयः कः? एवमॆव कारणशरीरभूताविद्यास्थमलिनसत्वं प्रियादिव्रत्तिसहितं सत् आनन्दमयः कोशः । एतत्कॊशपंचकम् ।। 30  ।।

३१. मदीयम् शरीरं मदीयाः प्राणाः मदीयं मनश्च मदीया बिद्धिर्मदीयं अज्ञानमिति स्वेनैव ज्ञायते तद्यथा मदीयत्वॆन ज्ञातं कटककुण्डलग्रहादिकं स्वस्माद्भिन्नं तथा पञ्चकोषादिकं स्वस्माद्भिन्नं मदीयत्वेन ज्ञातमात्मा न भवति ।। 31  ।।

7. आत्म विचारः

३२. आत्मा तर्हि कः? सच्चिदानन्द स्वरूपः ।।32 ।।

३३. सत्किम्? कालत्रयेपि तिष्ट्तीति सत् ।।33  ।।

३४. चित् किम्? ज्ञानस्वरूपः ।। 34  ।।

३५. आनन्दः कः? सुखस्वरूपः ।। 35  ।।

३६. एवं सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपं स्वात्मानं विजानीयात् ।। 36  ।।

8. जगत् उत्पत्ति प्रकारम्

३७. अथ चतुर्विंशतितत्वोत्पत्तिप्रकारं वक्ष्यामः ।। 37  ।।

३८. ब्रह्माश्रया सत्वरजस्तमोगुणात्मिका माया अस्ति ।। 38  ।।

9. पञ्चभूत अभिव्यक्तिः

३९. ततः आकाश: सम्भूतः । आकाशाद्वायुः । वायोस्तेजः। तेजस् आपः। अद्भ्यः प्रथिवी ।। 39  ।।

10. गुणत्रय विभागः 

४०. एतेषां पञ्चतत्वानां मध्ये आकाशस्य सात्विकांशात् श्रोत्रेन्दियम् सम्भूतम् । वायॊः सत्विकांशाव्त्वगीन्द्रियं सम्भूतम् ।अग्नेः सात्विकांशाच्चक्षुरिन्द्रियम् सम्भूतम् । जलस्य सात्विकांशाद्रसेनेन्द्रियं सम्भूतम् । प्रथिव्यां सात्विकांशात् घ्राणेन्द्रियं सम्भूतम् ।। 40  ।।

४१. एतॆषां पञ्चतत्वानां  समष्टिसात्विकांशात् मनोबुध्य्हंकार-र्चित्तान्तः करणानि सम्भूतानि ।

संकल्पविकल्पात्मकं मनः । निश्चयत्मिका बुद्धिः ।  अहंकर्ता अहंकारः । चिन्तनकर्तु चित्तम् ।

मनसो देवता चन्द्रमाः । बुद्धेर्बम्हा । अहंकारस्य रुद्रः । चित्तस्य वासुदेवः ।। 41  ।।

४२. एतेषां पंन्चतत्त्वानां मध्ये आकाशस्य राजसांशात् वागीन्द्रियं सम्भभूतम् । वायॊः राजसांशात् पाणीन्द्रियं सम्भभूतम् । वह्नॆः राजसांशात्  पादेन्द्रियम् सम्भभूतम् । जलस्य राजसांशात् उपस्थेन्द्रियं सम्भभूतम् । प्रथिव्याः राजसांशात्  गुदेन्द्रियं सम्भभूतम् । एतेषाम् समष्टि राजसांशात्पंचप्राणाः सम्भभूताः ।। 42  ।।

४३. एतेषां पञ्चतत्वानां मध्ये तामशांसात् पञ्चीक्रतपञ्चतत्वानि भवन्ति । फंचीकरणम् कथम् इति चेत् ।एतेषां पंचभूतानां तामसांशस्वरूपम् एकमेकं भूतं द्विधा विभज्य एकमेकमर्धं प्रथक् तूष्णीं व्यवस्थाप्य अपरमपरमर्धं चतुर्धा विभज्य स्वार्धमन्येषु अर्धेषु स्वभागचतुष्टयसंयॊजनं कार्यम् । तदा पंचीकरणं भवति ।।एतॆभ्यः पंचीक्रतपंचमहाभूतेभ्यः स्थूलशरीरं भवति ।। 43  ।।

11. पिण्ड ब्रह्माण्डयॊः ऐक्यम् 

४४. एवं पिण्डब्रह्माण्डयॊरैक्यं संभूतम् ।। 44  ।।

४५. स्थूलशरीराभिमानि जीवनामकं स्थूलशरीराभिमानि जीवनामकं ब्रह्मप्रतिबिम्बं भवति ।  स एव जीवः प्रक्रत्या स्वस्मात् ईश्वरं भिन्नत्वेन जानाति ।  अविद्या उपाधिः सन् आत्मा जीवः इति उच्यते ।  मायॊपधिः सन् ईश्वरः इत्युच्यते ।  ऎवमुपाधिभेदात् जीवॆश्वरयॊर्भेदद्रष्टिः यावत्पर्यन्तं तिष्टति  तावत्पर्यन्तं जन्ममरणदिरूपसंसारॊ न निवर्तते ।  तस्मात्कारणात् न वॆश्वरयॊर्भेदबुद्धिः स्वीकार्या ।। 45 ।।

12 तत्वमसि विचारम् 

४६. ननु साहंकारस्य किंचिज्ञ्यस्य जीवस्य निराहंकारस्य सर्वज्ञस्य ईश्वरस्य तत्वमसीत महावाक्यात् कथमभेदबुद्धिः स्यादुभयॊः विरुद्धधर्माक्रान्तत्वात् ।। 46  ।।

४७. इति चेन्न । स्थूलसूक्ष्मशरीराभिमानी त्वम्पदवाच्यार्थः उपाधिविनिमुक्त्ं समाधिशासम्पन्नं शुद्धं चैतन्यं त्वंपदं लक्ष्यार्थः ।  एवं सर्वज्ञात्त्वादि विशिष्ट ईश्वरः तत्पद वाच्यार्थः।  उपाधिशून्यं शुद्धचैतन्यं तत्पद लक्ष्यार्थः।  एवं च जॆवॆश्वरयॊः चैतन्यरूपेणाऽभेदे बाधकाभावः।। 47  ।।

13. जीवन्मुक्तः

४८. एवं च वेदान्तवाक्यै: सद्गुरूपदेशेन च सर्वेष्वपि भूतेषु एषां ब्रह्मबुद्धिरुत्पन्ना ते जीवन्मुक्ताः इत्यर्थ: ।। 48  ।।

४९. ननु जीवन्मुक्तः कः? यथादेहॊऽहं पुरुषॊऽहं ब्राह्मणोऽह्ं शूद्रोऽहमस्मीति द्ढनिश्च्ययस्तथा  नाहं ब्राह्मणः न शूद्रः न पुरुषः किन्तु असंगः सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः प्रकाशरूपः सर्वान्तर्य़ामी चिदाकाशरूपॊस्मीति द्रढ्निश्चयः अपरॊक्षज्ञानवान् जीवन्मुक्तः ।। 49  ।।

५०. ब्रह्मैवाहमस्मीत्यपरोक्षज्ञानेन निखिलकर्मबन्ध विनिर्मुक्त स्यात् ।। 50 ।।  

14. कर्म – कर्मफलम्

५१. कर्माणि कतिविधानि सन्तीति चेत् आगामिसञ्चित प्रारभ्धभेदेन त्रिविधानि सन्ति ।। 51 ।।

५२  ज्ञानॊत्पत्यनन्तरं ज्ञानिदेहक्रतं पुण्यपापरूपं कर्म यदस्ति तदगामित्यभिधीयते ।। 52  ।।

५३ संचित कर्म किम्? अनन्तकॊटिजन्मनां बीजभूतं सत् यत्कर्मजातं पूर्वार्जितं तिष्ठ्ति 

तत्सञ्चित ज्ञेयम् ।। 53  ।।

५४. प्रारब्धं कर्म किमिति चेत् । इदं शरीरमुत्पाद्य इह लॊके एवं सुखदुःखादिप्रदं यत्कर्म तत्प्रारब्धं 

भॊगेन नष्टं भवति प्रारब्धकर्मणां भॊगादेव क्षय इति ।। 54  ।।

५५. सञ्चितम् कर्म ब्रह्मैवाहमिति -निष्चयात्मक ज्ञानेन नश्यति ।। 55  ।।

५६ आगामि कर्म अपि ज्ञानेन नश्यति किंच आगामिकर्मणाम् नलिनीदलगतजलवत् ज्ञानिनां सम्बन्धॊ नास्ति ।। 56।।

५७. किञ्च ये ज्ञानिनं स्तुवन्ति भजन्ति अर्चयन्ति तान्प्रति ज्ञानिक्रतं आगामि पुण्यं गच्छति ।

ये ज्ञानिनं निन्दन्ति द्विषन्ति दुःखप्रदानं कुर्वन्ति तान्प्रति ज्ञानिक्रतं सर्वगामि क्रियमाणं यद्वाच्यं कर्म पापात्मकं तद्गछति।  सुर्हदः पुण्यक्रत्यं दुह्रदः पापक्रत्यं ग्रह्णन्ति इति ।। 57 ।। 

15. ब्रह्मानन्द फलम् 

५८. तथा च आत्मवित्संसारं तीत्वा ब्रह्मानन्दमिहैव प्राप्नोति।  तरति शोकं आत्मवित्’ इति श्रुतेः । तनुं त्यजतु वा काश्यां श्वपचस्य ग्रहेऽथवा । ज्ञानसम्प्राप्तिसमये मुक्तोऽसौ विगताशयः  इति स्म्रतेश्च ।। 58  ।।

।। इति तत्वबोधप्रकरणम् समाप्तम् ।। 


  1. Swami Paramarthananda audio http://hinduonline.co/HinduReligion/Saints/ShankarasWorks/TatvaBodha.html
  2. Swami Sunirmalanada “Insights into Vedanta-Tattvabodha,” Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai
  3. Swami Tejomayananda “Tattvabodha”, Central Chinmaya Mission trust, Mumbai