The Apastamba Law-book

The ancient law-books dealt with domestic, social and religious life, including directions for the ruler. Civil and criminal law naturally were a considerable part, but crimes were also offences against the moral law, and there were elaborate instructions for expiation of sins in general, as well as general directions for purification of conduct. There are six major law-books extant today, and over thirty less important ones; others are known from the fact that they are quoted in later works. The Apastamba Law-book is thought to be the oldest of them all, dating from 600-300 B.C. in its present form. In this earliest text there is not much about the formal rituals which developed later, and more stress is laid on right personal behaviour. This law-book emphasizes faith as the guiding principle of all religious action; it condemns such motives as name and fame, even saying that where these exist, the …

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Apastamba Shankaras commentary quotes

Quotations in Sankara’s Commentary The relative frequency of the quotations from the Upanishads is close to that found in other commentaries of Sankara which are well authenticated. The citations from non-Upanishadic authority are all found in his other commentaries; the numbers here, though small, show Sankara’s usual reliance on the Gita and the Mokshadharma section of the Mahābharata epic, and the Law-books of Manu and Apastamba. As the basic text is a section of the Apastamba itself, it is natural that there should be here a number of citations of other parts of that book.  

Practise the yogas of the Self

7  The Chapter of the Self of the Āpastamba Law-book, with the Commentary of Śaṇkara 1 Let a man practise in the approved way the yogas of the Self, which make the mind steady Om. Now we begin a concise commentary on the Chapter of the Self, which begins ‘Let a man practise in the approved way the yogas of the Self’ (adhyātmika-yogās). Why, one may ask, is it brought forward here in a section (of the Law-book) which deals with atonement for sins? The answer is, that both (yoga and atonement) lead to destruction of karma. Atonements lead to the destruction of undesirable karma; and to one who sees rightly (vivekin), all karma, (even that) prescribed for the various castes and stages of life, is undesirable, because it leads to taking on a body. Knowledge of Self (ātma-jñāna) leads to destruction of karma because it does away with the …

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There is nothing higher than attainment of the Self

2 There is nothing higher than attainment of the Self than attainment of the Self than perception of the true nature of the supreme Self. there is nothing higher, no other attainment higher. So in the discussion in the Bṛihādaraṇyaka Upanishad it is said, ‘That indeed is dearer than the son’ (1.4.8) or than anything else. 3 For that end we quote some verses which bring about attainment of Self Though the doshas, anger and the rest, which act as obstacles to attainment of Self, are indeed shaken off by freedom from anger and the other yogas, yet they are not quite extinct. For the root sprouts again, since Ignorance (ajnana) which is the seed of all the doshas, has not been extinguished. And in that case, their seed not being annihilated, anger and the rest though extinguished for the time will spring up again and there will be no …

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The unmoving abiding in the moving

4 Each and every living being is the city belonging to the one lying at rest in the cave, indestructible, taintless, the unmoving abiding in the moving. Those who practise realization of it, they are immortal. the city the city of the body. living being one that has life. Each and every living being, from the first-born god down to a tuft of grass, is as it were the city. And a city is the place to find its king. To whom does the city belong? To the Self, at rest in the cave. Just as the king is to be seen, surrounded by ministers and others, in his city, so in the bodies is the Self found, associated with buddhi and other faculties. And he sees experiences presented to him by buddhi and the others. He is said to be the one lying at rest in the cave because …

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Let the seer devote himself to that which lies in the cave

5 This indeed which here in this world and here in that world is called the object— Having shaken himself free from it, let the seer devote himself to that which lies in the cave. This which is directly experienced by perception: pleasures of women, food, drink and so on. The particle id (indeed) has the (distributive) force of ‘anything’ – this which is perceived whatever it may be. here means in this world. the object the exceptional neuter form in the Sanskrit of the word may be taken either from attraction to the earlier (neuter) word ‘this’, or as a mere shift of gender, or as some Vedic usage, or it may be that the word is capable of both genders. The word id (indeed) and the word iha (here) are each repeated, and this must have significance. The second iḍ is thus to be taken in the sense …

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The all pervading Lord a mass of splendour

6 (Pupil) ‘Not in the self have I attained it. Now in other things will I seek that place of the good, by detachment.’ (Teacher) ‘Devote yourself to your welfare, not to your harm. (It is) great, a mass of splendour, all- pervading, the Lord.’ in the self The form ‘atmart is a (Vedic) locative. ‘In the self’ means that the interior self within is the supreme Self, and everything is to be practised as here. If it were practised as elsewhere than the body, it would be conceived as not the self. Therefore it is in one’s self, in this aggregate of body and senses and mind, having shaken off attachment to outer things, that one should practise realization of that which lies in the cave, the reality of Self. Does the sage mean that realization of it is not to be practised in other things? At the beginning, …

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He is all, the highest goal, he is in the centre

7 He who is constant in all beings, wise, immortal, firm, without limbs, without sound, without body, without touch, great, pure— He is all, the highest goal, he is in the centre, he divides, he is the city. The injunction to devote oneself to the Self now being described is to be carried over to this verse as well. He who is constant undecaying in all beings from the first-born god down, who are passing, wise intelligent in the sense of omniscient. And thereby immortal for what is passing and limited in knowledge is found to be mortal, but this which is the opposite of those is immortal. firm unwavering, of inherently unshaken being; without limbs the meaning is, without a physical body, for it is in a physical body that head and other limbs exist; without body that is, without a subtle body (liñga-śarlra); without sound there is no …

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See that which is hard to see

8 The yogi who practises realization of that in everything, and always holds to firmness in that, Will see that which is hard to see and subtle, and rejoice in heaven. So the view of one’s Self-nature as adapting to its conditioning adjuncts (upādhi), is what is called Ignorance (avidyā). Having removed that by means of Knowledge (vidyā), the view which arises from (studying) the holy texts, let him practise realization of the Self as thus described. Always, in every moment. Moreover, it is not simply practising realization – (there must be) firmness, a binding to it, a steady consciousness of the delight (rasa) of oneness of the Self, which (consciousness) is of the nature of turning away from quest for external things, and renunciation (saṃnyāsa) of everything. For that is the binding of the Knower to Brahman. Thus bound to Brahman, he does not turn again to the world …

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Seeing everything in the Self

9 The seer meditating, seeing everything in the Self, will not be deluded, And whoever sees the Self alone in everything, He is Brahman, glorious in the highest heaven. The word atman is (an abbreviated locative) – ‘in the Self’. Moreover, seeing, perceiving, everything, every thing. The meaning is that he is seeing only the Self-nature of every thing, and in everything the Self supreme. he will not be deluded he does not come to be deluded, for there is no falling into delusion for one who sees the unity of the Self, as witness the Vedic verse, ‘There what delusion . . .’ (Isa 7). What exactly is this vision of Self which destroys delusion? The verse says, meditating, with his senses withdrawn, being a seer (kavi), a wise man (medhāvin) in meditation (dhyāna). Delusion (moha) does not disappear simply by a view (darsana) arising (merely) out of words. …

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Subtle, finer than a lotus-fibre, he stands covering all

10 Subtle, finer than a lotus-fibre, he stands covering all; Greater than the earth, firm, he stands supporting all. He is other than the sense-knowledge of this world. The world is not different from him, who is ever standing as the supreme, who is to be known, who himself divides into many. From him the bodies all come forth, he is the root, eternal, he is constant. And subtle all-knowing. finer than a lotus-fibre more fine than the filament of a lotus. Who is this? It is that one who is the Self referred to, covering, having pervaded, all the world. And then, greater, more expanded, more solid, than the earth, for he forms the Self of everything. Firm constant, supporting having made the foundation for all, for everything, he stands he exists. From the indication in the Vedic verse, ‘By whom the sky is mighty and the earth firm’ …

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Yoga is the basis for destruction of the doshas here in this life

11 Yoga is the basis for destruction of the doshas here in this life; Having thrown off these which torment beings, the wise one (pandita) attains Peace. destruction annihilation, of the doshas anger and the rest. The yogas are freedom from anger and the others (of sutra 14). They are the root, the basis (of practice). For before the yogas, the opposing doshas become weak and can be thrown off. here in this life the doshas drive towards remaining (imprisoned) in a body, the point being that life itself is caused by actions (karma) which themselves arise from doshas. Objection It may be asked, how are those who want freedom to put forth the tremendous efforts in the yogas of angerlessness, etc. which are opposed (to the doshas, the cause of life itself)? Yogas and doshas are mutually exclusive, like movement and rest, and why should it be only the …

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Doshas which torment beings

12 Now we exemplify the doshas which torment beings: 13 Anger, thrill, irritation, greed, delusion, self¬display, spite, false speech, over-eating, back¬biting, jealousy, lust and hate, loss of self¬possession, absence of yoga. Anger is the disturbance of the mind when beaten or shouted at and so on, and it is shown by trembling of the limbs and sweating and the like. thrill is the reverse of that, arising when something longed for is attained, and shown by tears and movement of the hair and similar signs. irritation is the particular mental change when something undesired happens. greed is coveting the property of others, and refusal to use one’s own when the time comes. delusion (moha) is inability to distinguish what ought to be done and what ought not. self-display is showing off one’s own virtues. spite is seeking to do what others do not want. false speech is saying what is …

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Being without delusion or self-display

14 Freedom from anger, freedom from thrill, non-irritation, freedom from greed, being without delusion or self-display or spite, truth-speaking, moderate diet, no back-biting, freedom from jealousy, sharing with others, giving up, straightforwardness, gentleness, calm, control, the yoga which has no conflict with any being, nobility, kindness, contentment, – these apply to all stages of life. Practising them in the approved way, one becomes all-pervading. Freedom from anger, freedom from thrill these and the others are the opposite of those (doshas) which obstruct yoga, and these are yogas because samadhi is made on them. sharing with others distributing one’s own means of livelihood to the needy. giving up (tyaga) abandoning with all one’s strength all desired pleasures present or future, and the means to them. straightforwardness sincerity, and exercising speech, mind and body in an innocent way without disturbance. gentleness mildness. calm pacification of the inner organ (the mind). control pacification …

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