Friday, 31 October 2014

Vivekachudamani / Crest Jewel of Discrimination, Sankara 5

Question – what is consciousness, perceiver and perceived, pot and clay, reality and existence, the universe not different from the absolute, non-duality, slaying of residual impressions, establishing mind in Self, destroying false self, giving up attachment, egoism (214-360)
Meditation, detachment (361-389)
The Self, the mature of supreme reality, realization of bliss (390-424)
Liberation, merging in the absolute while in body (425-453)

Accumulation of past actions (454-479)
Student becomes established in supreme absolute (480-581) 

As the wise man looks at the sun itself and not the jar, the water or the reflection; so also the wise man looks towards the self-illumined \Atman through which the three (\upaadhis) are manifested. (221)

Therefore there is no real existence of the universe, distinct from the supreme \Atman; its distinct perception is as unreal as that of the serpent in the rope. What reality can there be in that which is merely manifest through ignorance?(237)

The wise know that as the supreme truth which is absolute consciousness, in which are united the knower, the known and the knowledge, infinite and unchangeable. (241)

The ascetic possessed of \shama, dama, supreme uparati, and \kshhaanti (endurance), and devoted to \samaadhi, perceives the state of the Logos and through that completely burns down all vikalpa (error) produced by \avidyaa and dwells in bliss in Brahman free from vikalpa and action. (356)

Know meditation to be a hundred times (superior) to listening, assimilation to be a hundred thousand times (superior) to meditation, and \nirvikalpa-samaadhi to be infinitely (superior) to assimilation. (365)

For him who is possessed of excessive dispassion there is \samaadhi, for him in \samaadhi there is unwavering spiritual perception. For him who has perceived the essential reality there is liberation, and for the liberated \Atman there is realization of eternal bliss. (375)

Verily all this universe, known through mind and speech, is the spirit; verily nothing is except the spirit which lies on the other side of \prakriti. Are the various kinds of earthen vessels different from the earth? The embodied ego, deluded by the wine of \maayaa, speaks of "I" and "you". (392)

He who is perfectly at rest (in this wisdom) is said to be firm in wisdom. He who is firm in wisdom, whose bliss is uninterrupted and by whom the objective universe is well nigh forgotten, is regarded as \jiivanmukta.(429)

The weariness produced by the burning heat of changing existence being removed by drinking the sweet moonlight of thy glance, I attained, in a moment, the imperishable abode of \Atman whose glory and bliss are indestructible.(488)

Neither the relinquishment of of the body, nor of the staff, nor of the water-pot is \mokshha; but \mokshha is the happiness untying the knot of ignorance in the heart.(559)

He neither applies his senses to objects nor removes them therefrom, but remains a mere spectator. He whose mind is intoxicated with excessive draughts of bliss does not pay even the slightest attention to Karmic effect.(553)

Part 6

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Vivekachudamani / Crest Jewel of Discrimination, Sankara 4

This part starts a question and answer phase that deals with the discrimination between the real and the unreal - there's a general statement that faith, devotion, meditation, and action are the basic practices of the path:

"It is directly pointed out by the sayings of the Scriptures that \shraddhaa, bhakti, \dhyaana and Yoga, are the causes which bring about emancipation. Whoever abides by these, attains emancipation from the bondage of incarnated existence." (48)

Here's a basic summary of Advaita Vedanta, in a nutshell:

"By reason of ignorance a connection between you who are \Paramaatman and that which is not \Atman is brought about and hence this wheel of embodied existence. By the fire of wisdom arising from this discrimination the growth of ignorance is burnt up to its very roots." (49)

The practical nature of the path and the importance of self-reliance is indicated:

"The nature of the one reality must be known by one's own clear spiritual perception and not through a pandit (learned man); the form of the moon must be known through one's own eye, how can it be known through (the medium of) others?" (56)


"If the supreme truth remains unknown, the study of scriptures is fruitless, even if the supreme truth is known the study of the scriptures is useless (the study of the letter alone is useless, the spirit must be sought out by intuition)." (61)

Hidden treasure does not come out at (utterance of) the simple word "out", but there must be trustworthy information, digging and removal of stones; similarly, the pure truth, itself transcending the operation of \maayaa (\maayaa here meaning the force of evolution) is not obtained without the instruction of the knowers of the supreme, together with reflection, meditation, and so forth, and not by illogical inferences. (67)

The chief cause of liberation of the mind is said to be complete detachment of the mind from transitory objects; after that (the acquirement of) \shama, dama, \titikshhaa, and a thorough renunciation of all Karma (religious and other acts of the attainment of any personal desire). (71)

He who is free from the great bondage of desires, so difficult to avoid, is alone capable of liberation; not another, even though versed in the six systems of philosophy. (79)

Those only sentimentally desirous of liberation and only apparently free from passion, seeking to cross the ocean of conditioned existence, are seized by the shark of desire, being caught by the neck, forcibly dragged into the middle and drowned. (81)

He only who slays the shark of desire with the sword of supreme dispassion, reaches without obstacles the other side of the ocean of conditioned existence. (82)

If the desire for liberation exists in thee, sensuous objects must be left at a great distance as if they were poison, thou must constantly and fervently seek contentment as if it were ambrosia, also kindness, forgiveness, sincerity, tranquility and self-control. (84)

Part 5

Friday, 24 October 2014

Vivekachudamani / Crest Jewel of Discrimination, Sankara 3

The next section describes the Advaita psychological concepts of the subtle bodies and the phases of consciousness, which are summarized in the charts below, with the corresponding theosophical model, from the SD:
Hindu Vedanta
Taraka Raja Yoga
1- Sthula Sharira
Annamaya kosa
(food sheath)
(Gross Vehicle)
2- Prana
Pranamaya kosa
(vital sheath)
3- Linga Sharira
4- Kama Rupa
Manomaya kosa
(mental sheath)
(Subtle Vehicle)
5 – Manas
 a- Volitions, feelings
Vijnamaya kosa
(intellectual sheath)
Anandamaya kosa
(Causal Vehicle)

 1) Jagrat: The waking state.
 2) Svapna: The dream state.
 3) Sushupti: The state of dreamless sleep.
 4) Turiya: spiritual consciousness on interior planes.
Then the next part deals with  the twenty-four Tattvas or Principles of the manifestation of Mula Prakriti:
The five Tanmatras or rudimentary principles of the elements: 1-Sabda (sound), 2-Sparsa (touch), 3-Rupa (form or colour), 4-Rasa (taste), 5-Gandha (smell).
The five Jnana-Indriyas or organs of perception: 1-Srotra (ear), 2-Tvak (skin), 3-Chakshus (eye), 4-Jihva (tongue), 5-Ghrana (nose).
The five Karma-Indriyas or organs of action: 1-Vak (speech), 2-Pani (hand), 3-Pada (foot), 4-Upastha(genital),5-Payu(anus).
The five Pranas or vital forces: 1-Prana, 2-Apana, 3-Vyana, 4-Udana, 5-Samana.
The fourfold Antahkarana or the internal organs: 1-Manas (mind), 2-Buddhi (intellect), 3-Chitta (memory or subconscious), 4-Ahamkara (ego­ism).
These elements can be found in a more succint form in the Atma Bodha:
Part 4

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Vivekachudamani / Crest Jewel of Discrimination, Sankara 2

The first five verses deal with taking advantage of spiritual opportunities relating to one's condition of birth. Verses 6-15 deal with the need for self-reliance and the relative importance of performing actions and rituals.

"The attainment of the object principally depends upon the qualification of him who desires to attain; all artifices and the contingencies arising from circumstances of time and place are merely accessories." 14

The next verses deal with the Four-fold prerequisites (Sadhana Catustaya), an important early theosophical tenet:

1- Discrimination between the eternal and non-eternal (Viveka)
2- Detachment from the enjoyment of the fruits of action (Vairaga)
3- The virtues (Samadi Guna)
     a- Peace Tranquility(Sama)
     b- Self-Control (Dama) 
     c- Self-Withdrawal (Uparatti) 
     d- Forebearance (Titiksha) 
     e- Faith (Sraddha) 
     f- One-pointedness (Samadhana)
4- Intense Longing for Liberation (Mumuksutva)

"In one in whom absence of desire and aspiration for emancipation are prominent, \shama and the other qualifications will be productive of great results". 30

The next part deals with the notion of certain helpful individuals who are present in this business of spiritual progress...

"The great and peaceful ones live regenerating the world like the coming of spring, and after having themselves crossed the ocean of embodied existence, help those who try to do the same thing, without personal motives." (39)

Part 3

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Vivekachudamani / Crest Jewel of Discrimination, Sankara 1

Sankara's Vivekachudamani or Crown Jewel of Wisdom, a world spiritual classic of which the Theosophical Society helped popularize in English:

There's a very good recent translation by: John Grimes The Vivekacudamani of Sankaracarya Bhagatpada Ashgate, England 2004:

Here's a quick, sketchy summary of the whole work - the whole work framed as a dialogue between teacher and student.
1- Basic aspects of the path of liberation (1-32)
2- Seeking a teacher (33-73)
3- Discrimination of body (3 bodies) (74-111)
4- Five sheaths, three gunas (112-132)
5- The nature of the Self, discrimination between real and unreal, ignorance and knowledge, superimposition of the mind (113-193)
6- Question from student – the nature of delusion (194-213)
7- Question – what is consciousness, perceiver and perceived, pot and clay, reality and existence, the universe not different from the absolute, non-duality, slaying of residual impressions, establishing mind in Self, destroying false self, giving up attachment, egoism (214-360)
8- Meditation, detachment (361-389)
9- The Self, the mature of supreme reality, realization of bliss (390-424)
10- Liberation, merging in the absolute while in body (425-453)
11- Accumulation of past actions (454-479)
12- Student becomes established in supreme absolute (480-581)

Below is a translation by Mohini Chatterji:

"Among sentient creatures birth as a man is difficult of attainment, among human beings manhood, among men to be a Brahmana, among Brahmanas desire to follow the path of Vedic Dharma, and among those, learning. But the spiritual knowledge which discriminates between spirit and non-spirit, the practical realization of the merging of oneself in Brahmatman and final emancipation from the bonds of matter are unattainable except by the good karma of hundreds of crores of incarnations. These three, so difficult of attainment, are acquired only by the kindness of the Devas (Gods), humanity, desire for emancipation, and the guidance of (spiritually) Great Men." (Verse 2)

Grimes gives a more liberal translation to Brahmana, rendering it as 'having a strong constitution'.

Part 2

Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Secret Doctrine - The Introduction Section

The intro section of the Secret Doctrine is written in a kind of classic romantic era occult literary style (quite readable, compared to the complex, difficult writing of the main text), designed to pique one's curiosity; full of picturesque, exotic, mysterious hints, allusions, and revelations; I thought it would be useful to compile an informal listing:
1- The Wisdom-Religion is the inheritance of all nations. (18)
2- A Hungarian, Egyptian, and a Hindu initiate taught H.S. Olcott and two Europeans in America. (19)
3-The Saptaparna Cave  was a Buddhist place of initiation.(20)
4- Sakyamuni's esoteric teachings were the same as esoteric Hindu teachings. (21)
5- The SD is a reaction to a wave of sexual symbolic religious studies. (22)
6- The Book of Dzyan is unknown to Europeans. (22)
7- "The members of several esoteric schools — the seat of which is beyond the Himalayas, and whose ramifications may be found in China, Japan, India, Tibet, and even in Syria, besides South America — claim to have in their possession the sum total of sacred and philosophical works in MSS. and type: all the works, in fact, that have ever been written, in whatever language or characters, since the art of writing began; from the ideographic hieroglyphs down to the alphabet of Cadmus and the Devanagari." (23)
8- With the destruction of the Alexandrian library, adepts have gathered, preserved and hidden away esoteric works, this occurring in India during the time of Akbar. (24)
9- There exist several underground hidden libraries in Tibet.
10- There are lost ruins of ancient cities in Central Asia (Tarim Basin). (24, 32)
11- There are many references to lost texts in Asian literature that may not be really lost, such as the 930 works of Lao-Tsu, commentaries on the Brahmanas, and 76 000 Buddhist tracts (25-28)
12- All the world's religions stem from a primeval revelation.(30)
13- Dayanand Sarasvati knows of a secret gupta cave that contains esoteric texts (Okhee Math). (30)
14- The remains of a hundred extinct nations can be found near the oasis of Cherchen.(33)
15- The Secret Doctrine was the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world. (34)
16- J.W. Keely has discovered a powerful force akin to Bulwer-Lytton's Vril. (35)
17- The septenary esoteric division of principles contains potential for discovering powerful natural forces, especially with the higher planes. (35)
18- The St-Petersburg imperial library contains documents retrieved by Russian Masonic mystics  from Tibet.  (36)
19- These primordial tenets are given out for the first time, although initiates such as J.-M. Ragon have given out partial fragments. (36)
20- " For in the twentieth century of our era scholars will begin to recognize that the Secret Doctrine has neither been invented nor exaggerated, but, on the contrary, simply outlined; and finally, that its teachings antedate the Vedas". (37)
21- "But it will take centuries before much more is given from it." (38)
22- " In Century the Twentieth some disciple more informed, and far better fitted, may be sent by the Masters of Wisdom to give final and irrefutable proofs that there exists a Science called Gupta-Vidya; and that, like the once-mysterious sources of the Nile, the source of all religions and philosophies now known to the world has been for many ages forgotten and lost to men, but is at last found." (38)
23- There exist an old book written in Senzar, an universal language, dictated by divine beings at the beginning of the 5th race. (43)
24- There is a book, about 5000 years old, which consist of prophecies during the age of Kali Yuga. Volume two is nearly ready, being in preparation since the time of Sankara. (44)
25- "This period, beginning with Buddha and Pythagoras at the one end and the Neo-Platonists and Gnostics at the other, is the only focus left in History wherein converge for the last time the bright rays of light streaming from the aeons of time gone by, unobscured by the hand of bigotry and fanaticism." (45)