Good News / Mystic Traditions|
by Adi Shankara
28.12.2007, changed 31.12.2007
THE MANIFEST AND THE HIDDEN SELF
BEGINNINGLESS is unwisdom, and all its works are too; but when wisdom is arisen, what belongs to unwisdom, although beginningless--
Like a dream on waking, perishes, root and all; though beginningless, it is not endless; it is as something that was not before, and now is, this is manifest.
It is thus seen that, though without a beginning, unwisdom comes to an end, just as something, which before was not, comes into being. Built up in the Self by its being bound by disguise of intellect--THE PUPIL SAID
Is this existence as the separate life, for there is no other than the Self, distinguished by its own nature, but the binding of the Self by the intellect is false, coming from unknowledge.
This binding is untied by perfect knowledge, not otherwise; the discerning of the oneness of the Eternal and the Self is held by the scripture to be perfect knowledge.
And this is accomplished by perfectly discerning between Self and not-self; thereafter discernment is to be gained between individual and universal Self.
Water may be endlessly muddy, but when the mud is gone, the water is clear. As it shines, so shines the Self also, when faults are gone away, it shines forth clear.
And when unreality ceases to exist in the individual self, it is clear that it returns towards the universal; hence there is to be a rejection of the self-assertion and other characteristics of the individual self.
Hence this higher Self is not what is called the intellectual veil, because that is changeful, helpless of itself, circumscribed, objective, liable to err; the non-eternal cannot be regarded as eternal.
The bliss-formed veil is a form containing the reflection of bliss--although it is tainted with darkness; it has the quality of pleasure, the attainment of well wished-for aims; it shines forth in the enjoyment of good works by a righteous man, of its own nature bliss-formed; gaining an excellent form, he enjoys bliss without effort.
The principal sphere of the bliss-formed veil is in dreamless sleep; in dreaming and waking it is in part manifest when blissful objects are beheld.
Nor is this bliss-formed veil the higher Self, for it wears a disguise, it is a form of objective nature; it is an effect caused by good acts, accumulated in this changeful form.
When the five veils are taken away, according to inference and scripture, what remains after they are taken away is the Witness, in a form born of awakening.
This is the Self, self-shining, distinguished from the five veils; this is the Witness in the three modes of perceiving, without change, without stain. The wise should know it as Being and Bliss, as his own Self.
When the five veils are thus set aside through their unreality, beyond the non-being of all I see nothing, Master; what then is to be known as anything by him who knows Self and not-self?
THE MASTER SAID:
Truth has been spoken by thee, wise one; thou art skilled in judgment. Self-assertion and all these changes,--in the Self they have no being. That whereby all is enjoyed, but which is itself not enjoyed, know that to be the Self, the Knower, through thy very subtle intellect.
Whatever is enjoyed by anyone, of that he is the witness; but of that which is not enjoyed by anyone, it cannot be said that anyone is the witness.
That is to be self-witness, where anything is enjoyed by itself; therefore the universal Self is witness of itself; no other lesser thing is witness of it.
In waking, dreaming, dreamlessness, that Self is clearly manifested, appearing through its universal form always as "I," as the "I" within, uniformly. This is "I" beholding intellect and the rest that partake of varied forms and changes. It is manifest through eternal blissful self-consciousness; know that as the Self here in the heart.
Looking at the reflection of the sun reflected in the water of a jar, he who is deluded thinks it is the sun, thus the reflected consciousness appearing under a disguise is thought by him who is hopelessly deluded to be "I."
Rejecting jar and water and the sun reflected there all together, the real sun is beheld. So the unchanging One which is reflected in the three modes, self-shining, is perceived by the wise.
Putting away in thought body and intellect as alike reflections of consciousness, discerning the seer, hid in the secret place, the Self, the partless awakening, the universal shining, distinguished alike from what exists and what does not exist; the eternal lord, all-present, very subtle, devoid of within and without, nothing but self; discerning this perfectly, in its own form, a man is sinless, passionless, deathless.
Sorrowless, altogether bliss, full of wisdom, fearing nothing at all from anything; there is no other path of freedom from the bondage of the world but knowledge of the reality of his Self, for him who would be free.
Knowledge that the Eternal is not divided from him is the cause of freedom from the world, whereby the Eternal, the secondless bliss, is gained by the awakened.
Therefore one should perfectly know that the Eternal and the Self are not divided; for the wise who has become the Eternal does not return again to birth and death.
The real, wisdom, the endless, the Eternal, pure, supreme, self-perfect, the one essence of eternal bliss, universal, undivided, unbroken--this he gains.
This is the real, supreme, secondless, for besides the Self no other is; there is nothing else at all in the condition of perfect awakening to the reality of the supreme being.
This all, that is perceived as the vari-form world, from unknowledge, this all is the Eternal, when the mind's confusion is cast away.
The pot made of clay is not separate from the clay, for all through it is in its own nature clay; the form of the pot is not separate; whence then the pot? It is mere name, built up of illusion.
By no one can the form of the pot be seen, separate from the clay; hence the pot is built of delusion, but the real thing is the clay, like the supreme Being.
All this is always an effect of the real Eternal; it is that alone, nor is there anything else but that. He who says there is, is not free from delusion, like one who talks in his sleep.
The Eternal verily is this all; thus says the excellent scripture of the Atharva. In accordance with it, all this is the Eternal only, nor is there any separate existence of the attribute apart from the source.
If this moving world were the real, then had the Self no freedom from limitation, divine authority no worth, the Master Self no truth; these three things the great-souled cannot allow.
The Master who knows the reality of things declared: I verily am not contained in these things, nor do these creatures stand in me. If the world be real, then it should be apprehended in dreamless sleep; it is not apprehended there, therefore it is unreal, dreamlike, false. Therefore the world is not separate from the higher Self; what is perceived as separate is false,--the natural potencies and the like; what real existence is there in the attribute? Its support shines forth as with attributes illusively.
Whatever is delusively perceived by one deluded, is the Eternal; the silver shining is only the pearl shell. The Eternal is perpetually conceived as formed; but what is attributed to the Eternal is a name only.
Therefore the supreme Eternal is Being, secondless, of the form of pure knowledge, stainless, peaceful, free from beginning or ending, changeless, its own-nature is unbroken bliss.
Every difference made by world-glamor set aside, eternal, lasting, partless, measureless, formless, unmanifest, nameless, unfading, a self-shining light that illuminates all that is.
Where the difference of knower, knowing, known is gone, endless, sure; absolute, partless, pure consciousness; the wise know this as the supreme reality.
That can neither be left nor taken, is no object of mind or speech; immeasurable, beginningless, endless, the perfect Eternal, the universal "I."
THAT THOU ART
The Eternal and the Self, indicated by the two words "that" and "thou," when clearly understood, according to the Scripture "THAT THOU ART," are one; their oneness is again ascertained.
This identity of theirs is in their essential, not their verbal meanings, for they are apparently of contradictory character; like the firefly and the sun, the sovereign and the serf, the well and the great waters, the atom and Mount Meru.
The contradiction between them is built up by their disguises, but this disguise is no real thing at all; the disguise of the Master Self is the world-glamor, the cause of the Celestial and other worlds; the disguise of the individual life is the group of five veils--hear this now:
These are the two disguises, of the Supreme and the individual life; when they are set aside together, there is no longer the Supreme nor the individual life. The king has his kingdom, the warrior his weapons; when these are put away there is neither warrior nor king.
According to the Scripture saying, "this is the instruction, the Self is not that, not that," the twofoldness that was built up sinks away of itself in the Eternal; let the truth of this scripture be grasped through awakening; the putting away of the two disguises must verily be accomplished.
It is not this, it is not this: because this is built up, it is not the real--like the serpent seen in the rope, or like a dream; thus putting away every visible thing by wise meditation, the oneness of the two--Self and Eternal--is then to be known.
Therefore the two are to be well observed in their essential unity. Neither their contradictory character nor their non-contradictory character is all; but the real and essential Being is to be reached, in order to gain the essence in which they are one and undivided.
When one says: "This man is Devadatta," the oneness is here stated by rejecting contradictory qualities. With the great word "THAT THOU ART," it is the same; what is contradictory between the two is set aside.
As being essentially pure consciousness, the oneness between the Real and the Self is known by the awakened; and by hundreds of great texts the oneness, the absence of separateness, between the Eternal and the Self is declared.
That is not the physical; it is the perfect, after the unreal is put aside; like the ether, not to be handled by thought. Hence this matter that is perceived is illusive, therefore set it aside; but what is grasped by its own selfhood--"that I am the Eternal"--know that with intelligence purified; know the Self as partless awakening.
Every pot and vessel has always clay as its cause, and its material is clay; just like this, this world is engendered by the Real, and has the Real as its Self, the Real is its material altogether. That Real than which there is none higher, THAT THOU ART, the restful, the stainless, secondless Eternal, the supreme.
THE MANIFEST AND THE HIDDEN SELF
As dream-built lands and times, objects and knowers of them, are all unreal, just so here in waking is this world; its cause is ignorance of the Self; in as much as all this world, body and organs, vital breath and personality are all unreal, in so much THOU ART THAT, the restful, the stainless, secondless Eternal, the supreme.
Far away from birth and conduct, family and tribe, quite free from name and form and quality and fault; beyond space and time and objects--this is the Eternal, THAT THOU ART; become it in the Self.
The supreme, that no word can reach, but that is reached by the eye of awakening, pure of stain, the pure reality of consciousness and mind together--this is the Eternal, THAT THOU ART; become it in the Self. Untouched by the six infirmities, reached in the heart of those that seek for union, reached not by the organs, whose being neither intellect nor reason knows--this is the Eternal, THAT THOU ART; become it in the Self.
Built of error is the world; in That it rests; That rests in itself, different from the existent and the nonexistent; partless, nor bound by causality, is the Eternal, THAT THOU ART; become it in the Self.
Birth and growth, decline and loss, sickness and death it is free from, and unfading; the cause of emanation, preservation, destruction, is the Eternal, THAT THOU ART; become it in the Self.
Where all difference is cast aside, all distinction is cast away, a waveless ocean, motionless; ever free, with undivided form--this is the Eternal, THAT THOU ART; become it in the Self.
Being one, though cause of many, the cause of others, with no cause itself; where cause and caused are merged in one, self-being, the Eternal, THAT THOU ART; become it in the Self.
Free from doubt and change, great, unchanging; where changing and unchanging are merged in one Supreme; eternal, unfading joy, unstained--this is the Eternal, THAT THOU ART; become it in the Self.
This shines forth manifold through error, through being the Self under name and form and quality and change; like gold itself unchanging ever--this is the Eternal, THAT THOU ART; become it in the Self.
This shines out unchanging, higher than the highest, the hidden one essence, whose character is selfhood, reality, consciousness, joy, endless unfading--this is the Eternal, THAT THOU ART; become it in the Self.
Let a man make it his own in the Self--like a word that is spoken, by reasoning from the known, by thought; this is as devoid of doubt as water in the hand, so certain will its reality become.
Recognizing this perfectly illumined one, whose reality is altogether pure, as one recognizes the leader of men in the assembled army, and resting on that always, standing firm in one's own Self, sink all this world that is born, into the Eternal.
In the soul, in the hidden place, marked neither as what is nor what is not, is the Eternal, true, supreme, secondless. He who through the Self dwells here in the secret place, for him there is no coming forth again to the world of form.
When the thing is well known even, this beginningless mode of thought, "I am the doer and the enjoyer," is very powerful; this mode of mind lasting strongly, is the cause of birth and rebirth. A looking backward toward the Self, a dwelling on it, is to be effortfully gained; freedom here on earth, say the saints, is the thinning away of that mode of thought.
That thought of 'I' and 'mine' in the flesh, the eye and the rest, that are not the Self--this transference from the real to the unreal is to be cast away by the wise man by steadfastness in his own Self.
[Editor's Note: This article is excerpted from the The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom, as published on The Sacred Text Archive.]