Note on Sanskrit words

Sanskrit words are given in approximate Anglicized forms, sometimes grammatically anomalous. For example, the established words yogi and Nirvana should be: either yogin and Nirvana, or else yogi and Nirvanam. (There should be a macron over the first ‘a’ and a dot under the second ‘n’ of Nirvāṇa – Nirvāṇa.) But these words are established in English; experience shows that diacritical marks do not long survive transplantation into a foreign language. The inconsistency and general looseness of the Anglicized forms may be distressing, though only to those who know how the words ought strictly to be rendered; but countless examples show that when a field of theory and practice is carried from one language to another, there has to be some accommodation. Technical terms have to be retained when there is no proper equivalent; it is also useless to spell names by some elaborate system. No one writes yogī or …

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The Vedas contain hymns to the universal spirit

The Sacred Texts The Vedas are sacred revelations to the Aryans of India, some of them at least 5,000 years old and traditionally much more. They contain hymns to gods and to the universal spirit, prayers and sacrifices for the individual’s success and happiness in this world and the next, ethical instructions like ‘speak the truth’ and ‘let an uninvited guest be a god to you’. All these are directed to the human being as an individual. This is the first path of the Vedas. But there are other texts which give instructions on how to leap out of individuality altogether and be one with the universal spirit which is beyond even the gods. This is the second of the ‘two paths’, and with it the present text is concerned. They are ‘paths’ – concerned with effecting a change, not merely dogmas to be fanatically clung to. Knowledge of facts …

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The Law-book of Apastamba

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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Atonement for sins committed

The Chapter of the Self This chapter comes in the part of the Apastamba Law-book concerned with atonement for sins committed. The doctrine of karma (literally ‘action’) was that the consequences of an action extend into the moral and psychological realms, according to a law of cause and effect, as fixed and predictable as that in the physical realm. Actions prescribed by the holy texts as good will lead to happiness and favourable circumstances in this and future lives; actions condemned as bad will lead to suffering and adverse circumstances. The acts prescribed as good are what is called dharma or duty, and dharma varies according to the situation of an individual. For instance a king who has the duty of protecting his subjects against invasion cannot practise the pacifism (a-hinsa) which is part of the dharma of a wandering monk; the king sees the world as consisting of separate …

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Shankara the Teacher

Shankara, the great yogi-philosopher of India who revivified the ancient doctrine of the Upanishads when it was in danger from Buddhist scepticism on the one hand and from the refined materialism of ritualists on the other, is the reputed author of more than 400 works. They can be roughly divided into three classes: commentaries on authoritative texts (there are about 70 of these); about 110 independent treatises which do not follow a text; and some 220 poems, philosophical or devotional. Perhaps a quarter of this great body of works has been translated into English. It is important to note that Shankara regarded himself as a commentator, and never claimed to be an original thinker as did, for instance, the Buddha. Dr Nakamura’s history of early Vedanta has shown that most of the supposed innovations in Shankara’s work go back long before him. Shankara claimed to transmit the teaching of the …

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Commentary on the Chapter of the Self

First, it is necessary to have a rough idea of certain technical terms : Self (Ātman) universal consciousness, which with human beings is felt to be limited and imprisoned in a particular body or mind. Brahman universal consciousness, generally with reference to its projection, maintenance and withdrawal of this apparent world. Brahman and Ātman are the same. dosha a defect, something clouding or impeding or spoiling the existence or proper functioning of a thing. In spiritual matters, doshas are states such as anger, hatred, unwillingness to share, absence of meditation, and above all Ignorance – feeling the Self as imprisoned and of special qualities. They are based on false notions. yoga meditation in a sitting position, and the preservation and exercise of the insights attained during the sitting period, when actively dealing with affairs in the world. Yoga is based on right Knowledge. Ignorance (avidyā or ajñāna) Shankara’s description of …

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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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Shankara on Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga

8 Outline of Practice The stages of the path are set out clearly by Shankara many times in his Gita commentary, which is closely followed by his commentary on the Chapter of the Self. (They may very well have been written about the same time, in view of the fact that some unusual citations are quoted in both of them, sometimes even in the same pairs.) In Chapter V verse 12, for instance, he gives the stages as follows: 1 karma-yoga (action-yoga) based on the idea ‘I do’, which produces 2 purity of the mind, in which arises 3 attainment of Knowledge, ‘I am Atman’. 4 Renunciation of all actions. 5 jnana-yoga (knowledge-yoga), based on ‘I am’. 6 Peace (liberation). Karma-yoga itself is divided into four elements practised together: (a) worship of the Lord; (b) performing one’s duty without attachment to the fruits of the action; (c) independence of the …

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Find out what you really worship

9 Worship The first thing for a student of yoga is to find out what he really worships. There are people who claim to worship nothing, to be sceptical; and they say that all worship is a trammelling of the human spirit and intellect, and that it has done far more harm than good. They believe, or claim to believe, that they them-selves are able to face unflinchingly the fact that man is a tiny spark of intelligence, born of chance in a vast uncaring and unconscious universe. They say that they do not worship because worship is simply a projection into adult life of the dependence of the infant. But worship, as the Gita points out, is of various kinds. A worship in the form of tamas or darkness is a worship of some unknown but menacing power. Two prominent sceptics, who both made furious attacks on Christianity in …

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Om for realization of the Self

Practice The practice is to be done first of all in a meditation posture, preferably on a cushion or folded blanket on the floor, with one foot up on the opposite thigh and the other foot underneath, forming a triangle on which the body can be supported for a long time. Failing this, the practitioner may sit on a chair, but without supporting himself on the back of it. The general posture of the back is something like that of a horseman looking into the distance. The spine is balanced, which means fairly straight, and the weight of shoulders and head should be felt to rest on the loins. Hands are locked together in some way, and eyes half shut or, if there is no tendency to sleep, fully closed. Westerners should cultivate where possible a seated position on the floor; it does not have associations of sleep for them …

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Performing one’s duty without attachment

10 Free Action The second part of karma-yoga is ‘performing one’s duty without attachment to the fruits of the actions’. The word which is translated ‘fruit’ can be rendered ‘result’, but the first is better because it implies a distance from the action, and this is the sense of the Sanskrit. If a fruit-tree is planted, the result of the action is that the tree stands there in the ground; the fruit comes much later. To perform an action without attachment to the fruit does not mean without caring whether it is done well or badly. When cleaning a brass pot, or making a speech, a yogiis not to do it carelessly; with the brass he must rub evenly and vigorously, and with the speech he must prepare it with a definite structure, and speak firmly. He must not do these things badly and then say, ‘I did not care …

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Karma yoga independence of the pairs of opposites

11 Independence of the Opposites The third element in karma-yoga is independence of the pairs of opposites, heat and cold, pleasure and pain, and so on. The Gita verse (2.14) says that sense-contacts cause heat and cold, pleasure and pain; they come and go, being impermanent. They are to be endured bravely. And the next verse says, ‘The wise man whom these do not afflict, to whom pleasure and pain are the same, he can attain immortality.’ The first pair, heat and cold, typify sense experience; the second pair are to exemplify inner reactions. Shankara’s view is that in the first pair, the senses report heat or cold, and the mind (buddhi) modifies itself accordingly; Self is aware of the mental modification, and in the ignorant man there is a false identification with the modification – I am hot, I am cold’. In the second case, there is a mental …

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Patanjali gives methods for purifying and steadying the mind

12 Training the Mind There are not many people who can simply practise meditation on the Self, or on the Lord, aiming all the time at liberation, without becoming bored, or else being overwhelmed by waves of distraction, lassitude or fear. It is found that for most people there must be some encouragement, something tangible in everyday experience. So Patanjali in his Yoga sutras gives six main means of practice for first purifying and then steadying the mind as it is, and for some of them he gives results by which progress can be checked. These results, however wonderful some of them may seem, are not liberation. But they mean a lightening of the present burden of living with nothing but a distant hope. They are ways of confirming at least something that the teacher and the tradition say. If some one thing, however little it may be, is confirmed, …

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Meditations on four feelings

13 The Four Feelings The meditations on four feelings which are to be intensified through meditation are called bhavana: they are friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the suffering, goodwill towards virtue, and overlooking sin. Shankara in his com-mentary explains that these are meditations which must actualize themselves. Until the reactions in ordinary life have begun to modify themselves along the lines of the meditations, the cultivation of intensity has only begun. Friendliness – maitri, a great word in Buddhism – is explained as a general gladness at the good fortune and happiness of another. The Mahatma Balarama Udasin, whom Dr Shastri knew and held in great regard, remarks that this friendliness must not be partisanship, what the world calls friendship. It has to be something like the friendliness of the Lord towards all beings – not taking the side of one against another. Shankara in his Gita commentary (to …

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Control of prana

14 Pranayama sutra 54 : By either exhaling and checking the prana life-current Prana cannot be translated exactly into present-day English; the original sense of ‘spirit’ might come close to it. Control of prana is not the same as control of the breath, but one of the movements of prana is in phase with breathing, and the prana movement is most easily perceived by trying to become aware of it along with movement of breath. Control of prana, or pranayama, is introduced after the bhavana meditations on friendliness and the others, but most of the commentators agree that this is not an alternative to them. The Mahatma Balarama points out that sutra 55 gives the friendliness meditations as a means of making the mind clear, whereas this one and the ones following it refer to making the mind steady. Both transparency of mind and steadiness are necessary for samadhi. Here …

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Yogic practices for preparing the mind for knowledge

15 The Self-terminating Experiences Yogic practices for preparing the mind for knowledge are not necessarily concerned with ultimate truth, but may be just to purify and steady the mind as it now stands, with all its present preconceptions. It is found that in many cases there has to be some definite experience, however small, of something beyond the normal range. Unless this happens, everything is merely theoretical, and the highest Self seems so remote that yogic aspirants give up in despair. So certain practices may be given to steady the faith of the pupil, as well as his mind. sūtra 55 refers to a set of five of them: or (by) mental perception of (divine) objects, the mind becomes steady Shankara in his commentary on this gives examples of what are called dharana. The word means to support or maintain, and the practices consist in fixing the attention on to …

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radiant forms meditation

16 The Light Experiences sutra 55 or (by) the sorrowless radiant (mental perception) Shankara explains this as a much more important practice, and many teachers make it the first step, omitting the previous ones. The centre of attention (dharana) is the ‘heart centre’, roughly where the ribs meet. Some yogis put a dab of sandal paste there before sitting; the fragrance rising helps them to keep attention centred. Two hours is not too long for the practice, says the teacher Swami Mangalnath in the Heart of the Eastern Mystical Teaching. When the yogi can hold attention steadily at that spot, he generally becomes aware of something like a lotus, made of light, and he meditates on it. Many Westerners have only a hazy idea of what a lotus looks like, having only seen them from a distance. Like many of these traditional similes, this one has been chosen carefully to …

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Meditation on a mind free from passion

Some commentators explain the practice as meditation, ultimately with a sense of identity, on some saint who is free from passion. One way is to live through incidents in his life vividly through meditation.Shankara gives a different practice, which is to consider the idea of ‘freedom from passion’, and he instances a well-known Indian example, how even the most passionate man feels his lust subside in the presence of one woman, namely his mother. There are other examples; one given by Dr Shastri was that there are certain fruits in the Himalayas which have a very attractive appearance, and the hungry pilgrim finds his mouth watering as he sees them. But when the guide explains how poisonous they are, the desire disappears. Their beauty is still appreciated, but the desire to eat them has gone.The examples show that passion is not something inevitable; in these cases it disappears, though not forcibly repressed. If it can disappear on these occasions, then in principle it can disappear on others also.

Knowledge of dream and of dreamless sleep

18 Dream and Sleep sutra 1.58 or on the knowledge of dream and of (dreamless) sleep One commentator understands the first part of this sutra as meaning that when a man awakens from a dream of a god, he should remain as long as possible in the memory of that dream; the dreamless sleep he understands as the sleep of a man in whom the doshas are very attenuated. These meditations, made on awakening, are thought to give knowledge. Shankara, however, though he does not necessarily deny such an interpretation, takes it to mean meditating on the subtle analysis of dream and sleep. ‘Knowledge of dream’ does not mean knowledge of any object in a dream; the mind meditates on its own essence, by means of consideration of dream. The yogiis to meditate on knowledge as it is in itself, apart from any objects. Knowledge in itself is illumination, and …

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Mastery in Samadhi is when the mind can be steadied

 20 samadhi Sutra 1.40 Mastery is when the mind can be steadied on anything from the ultimate in smallness to the ultimate in greatness The Upanishadic verses quoted in the Chapter of the Self describe Brahman: Subtle, finer than a lotus-fibre, he stands covering all; Greater than the earth, firm, he stands supporting all. These are the two extremes, and the Lord is ultimately found in each of them. All the other exercises in training the mind refer to objects between these limits. Shankara sums up by saying that he has mastered the practice who is not interrupted by any opposing thought in his experience of the very small or the very great, or what lies between them. He also adds an interesting comment that all the practices are really the same; it is a question of mastering one and then the others also are accessible easily. These are all …

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Meditation is the immediate precursor of Knowledge

Knowledge In his Gita, commentary and elsewhere, Shankara declares repeatedly that meditation is the immediate precursor of Knowledge. Verse 8 in the Chapter of the Self runs: 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. In the commentary, Shankara defines Ignorance as taking the Self to be limited by such things as mind and body, and Knowledge as knowing the Self as universal, ‘a binding of the Knower to Brahman’. He sees it through ‘great skill’ in samadhi, and the word for skill means the same as the word which occurs in the Patanjali Yoga sutra on samadhi, ‘when there is skill in the higher (samadhi), there comes undisturbed inner calm’. In the commentary on the next verse, Shankara says that the man of Knowledge sees this first …

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Knowledge yoga in the Chapter of the Self

Knowledge-yoga In the Chapter of the Self, there is first an instruction to perform yoga to purify and steady the mind. Then come the verses on the Self, indicating it from two directions: the king of the city, hidden among his ministers in the innermost apartment, and the creator, sustainer and withdrawer of the universe. It is said that the Self is first known in meditation (verse 9). This is now realization of everything in the Self and the Self in everything, and he who is seeing thus is Brahman, glorious in the highest heaven and in everything. And yet in verse 11, as explained by Shankara, it is only when the doshas have been thrown off that this pandit who knows the Self is fully liberated. The point comes up again and again in his commentaries, in various forms. In many places in the Gita commentary it is said …

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The universal Self moving the body and mind

Freedom Analogies, inferences, illustrations, instances – these can never be more than encouragement to faith and practice. They may seem to give certainty, but that is only while circumstances remain favourable. Religious communities without real experience, as Hakuin pointed out, can be like trees with interlacing branches which have died at the root, but which support each other. They seem firm, but when a gale comes everything goes down. To try to discuss freedom in words and concepts which are products of individuality-experience becomes self-defeating. Human beings inevitably think of a ‘liberated man’ as somehow like themselves, but with perhaps some ‘insight’ or ‘change of view-point’. The thought that there is no individual man there at all, but the universal Self moving that body and mind, can indeed be verbalized; but then somehow it is supposed that there must be an individual watching the activity going on, like a man …

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The Chapter of the Self of the Apastamba Law-book

The significance of the Chapter of the Self of the Āpastamba Law-book in the history of early Vedanta is discussed in detail in Professor Hajime Nakamura’s Shoki Vedanta Tetsugaku-shi (History of Early Vedanta Philosophy), the first volume of which covers Vedanta before the Brahma-sūtras. Professor Nakamura has kindly agreed to the inclusion here of a translation of the relevant section as follows (notes giving references are largely omitted): In India from early times a great number of law-books were composed. They lay down, from a Brahminical standpoint, structures, customs and daily activities of society, concentrating on such problems as the systems of four castes and the four stages of life (āśrama). At first they were written in the comparatively concise sūtra style and their contents also were brief and simple, but later on elaborate law-books containing also civil and criminal law were produced. These were compiled and edited by the …

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The Shankara commentary on the Chapter of the Self

In a note in his Shoki Vedānta Tetsugaku-shi (History of Early Vedanta Philosophy), Professor Nakamura remarks that the commentary on the Adhyatma-patala attributed to Śaṅkara is in his style, quoting only the older Upanishads, and the thought ds consonant with his authentic works; he concludes that it is either by Śaṅkara himself or by some thinker of similar ideas who lived about the same time. Professor Sengaku Mayeda of the University of Tōkyō has made a special study of the authenticity of important works attributed to Śaṅkara (defined as the author of the Brahma-sūtra commentary); he has not published a separate analysis of this Adhyātma-patala commentary, but in his Encyclopaedia Britannica article on Śaṅkara, where he summarizes his con¬clusions, he states that it is a genuine work. In the monumental work on the history of the Dharma-Śastra Kane notes in passing that in style and content it is probably a …

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Consciousness can the self be known

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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