Author Topic: Chapter II - Vaitathya Prakarana (Illusion)  (Read 276 times)


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Chapter II - Vaitathya Prakarana (Illusion)
« on: April 07, 2019, 05:41:49 PM »
Karika, verse 2.1
Aum. It has been already said, “Duality does not exist when (true) knowledge arises,” and this is borne out by such Śruti passages as, “It (Atman) is verily one and without a second,” etc. This is all based merely on the authority  of the Śruti. It  is also equally possible to determine the unreality (illusoriness) of duality through pure reasoning; and for this purpose is begun the second chapter which commences with the words Vaitathyam (unreality) etc. The word, Vaitathyam signifies the fact of its being unreal or false. Of what is this (unreality) predicated? Of all objects, both internal  and external,  perceived in the dream. It is thus declared by the wise, i.e., those who are experts in the use of the means (pramāṇas) of arriving at true knowledge. The reason of this unreality is stated thus; For, the objects perceived are found to be located within the body. All these entities such as a mountain, an elephant, etc., perceived in the dream are cognized there  (i.e., within) and not outside the body. Therefore they must be regarded as unreal.

Objection: This (“being within”) is no valid reason. A jar and other things on account of their being perceived within a cover, such as a cloth, etc. (cannot be called unreal).
Reply: On account of their being confined in a limited space, that is, within the body (where dream objects are cognized). It is not possible for the mountain, the elephant, etc., to exist in the limited space (within the nerves  of the body) which are within the body.. A mountain does not or cannot exist inside a body.

Karika, verse 2.2
That all that is perceived to exist in dreams is located in a limited space, is not a fact. For a man sleeping in the east, often finds himself, as it were , experiencing dreams in the north. Anticipating this objection (of the opponent) it is said:—The dreamer does not go to another region outside his body where he experiences dream. For, it is found that as soon as a man falls asleep he experiences dream objects, as it were, at a place which is hundreds of Yojanas   away from his body and which can be reached only in the course of a month. The long period of time which is necessary to go to that region (where dream objects are perceived) and again to come back (to the place where the sleeper lies) is not found to be an actual fact. Hence on account of the shortness of time the experiencer of the dream does not go to another region. Moreover, the dreamer when he wakes up, does not find himself in the place where he experiences the dream. Had the man (really) gone to another place while dreaming and cognized (or perceived) the dream-objects there, then he would have certainly woke up there alone. But this does not happen. Though a man goes to sleep at night he feels as though he were seeing objects in the day-time and meeting many persons. (If that meeting were real) he ought to have been met by those persons (whom he himself met during the dream). But this does not happen; for if it did, they would have said, “We met you there to-day.” But this does not happen. Therefore one does not (really) go to another region in dream.

Karika, verse 2.3
For this reason also the objects perceived to exist in dream are illusory. For, the absence of the chariots, etc. (perceived in dream) is stated by Śruti, in such passages as “There  exists neither chariot, etc.” its assertion being based on reason.  In the opinion of the wise, i.e., the knowers of Brahman, the illusoriness (of the dream objects) has been established on the ground of their being perceived within the contracted space in the body. The Śruīi only reiterates it in order to establish the self-luminosity  (of Atman) in dream.

Karika, verse 2.4
The proposition to be established (Pratijñā) is the illusoriness of objects that are perceived in the waking state. “Being perceived” is the “ground” (hetu) for the inference. They are like the objects that are perceived in dream, is the illustration (dṛṣṭāntaḥ). As the objects perceived to exist in dream are illusory so also are the objects perceived in the waking state. The common feature of “being perceived” is the relation (Upanaya) between the illustration given and the proposition taken for consideration. Therefore the illusoriness is admitted of objects that are perceived to exist in the waking state. This is what is known as the reiteration (Nigamanam) of the proposition or the conclusion. The objects perceived to exist in the dream are different  from those perceived in the waking state in respect of their being perceived in a limited space within the body. The fact of being seen and the (consequent) illusoriness are common to both.

Karika, verse 2.5
The identity  (of the experiences) of the dream and waking states is declared by the wise on account of the reason, already stated, i.e., the experience of objects (in both the states) is associated with subject-object  relationship. This Kārikā enunciates the conclusion that has already been arrived at in the previous inference by the wise.

Karika, verse 2.6
The objects perceived to exist in the waking state are unreal for this reason also,  that they do not really exist either at the beginning or at the end. Such objects (of experience) as mirage, etc., do not really exist either at the beginning or at the end. Therefore they do not (really) exist in the middle either. This is the decided opinion of the world. The several objects perceived to exist really in the waking state are also of the same nature. Though they (the objects of experience) are of the same nature as illusory objects, such as mirage, etc., on account of their non-existence at the beginning and at the end, still they are regarded as real by the ignorant, that is, the persons that do not know Atman.

Karika, verse 2.7
Objection: The assertion that the objects perceived to exist in the waking state are illusory like those of the dream state is illogical. It is so because the objects of the waking experience, such as food, drink or vehicles, etc., are seen to serve some purpose, that is, they appease hunger and thirst as well as do the work of carrying a man to and fro. But this is not the case with the objects perceived in dream. Therefore the conclusion that the objects perceived in the waking state are unreal like those seen in dream is mere fancy.
Reply: It is not so.
Objection: Why?
Reply: It is because the serving as means to some end or purpose which is found in respect of food, drink, etc. (in the waking state) is contradicted in dream. A man, in the waking state, eats and drinks and feels appeased and free from thirst. But as soon as he goes into sleep, he finds himself (in dream) afflicted with hunger and thirst as if he were without food and drink for days and nights. And the contrary also happens to be equally true. A man satiated with food and drink in dream finds himself, when awakened, quite hungry and thirsty. Therefore the objects perceived in the waking state are contradicted in dream. Hence, we think that the illusoriness of the objects perceived in the waking state like those of dream need not be doubted. Therefore  both these objects are undoubtedly admitted to be illusory on account of their common feature of having a beginning and an end.

Karika, verse 2.8
Objection: The assertion about the illusoriness of objects perceived in the waking state on account of their similarity to those perceived in the dream state is not correct.
Reply: Why?
Objection: The illustration does not agree with the thing to be illustrated.
Reply: How?
Objection: Those objects that are cognized in the waking state are not seen in dream.
Reply: What then are they (dream experiences)?
Objection: A man perceives in dream objects which.are never usually seen in the waking state. He finds himself (in dream) to be with eight hands and seated on an elephant with four tusks. Similarly various other unusual (abnormal) objects are seen in the dream. These (dream objects) are not like other illusory objects. They are, without doubt, real (in themselves). Therefore the illustration does not agree. Hence, the statement that the waking experiences are unreal like those of dream is not correct.
Reply: No, your conclusion is not correct. You think that the objects perceived in dream are extraordinary (not like those usually seen in the waking state), but these are not absolutely real in themselves. What, then, is their nature? They  are only peculiar to the circumstances of the perceiver associated with those (dream) conditions, i.e., of the dreamer associated with the dream-conditions. As  the denizens of heaven, such as Indra, etc., have the characteristics of being endowed with a thousand eyes, etc. (on account of the very condition of their existence in heaven), so also there are the (peculiar) unusual (abnormal) features of the dreamer (on account of the peculiar condition of the dream state). These  (dream experiences) are not absolutely real like the absolute reality of the perceiver. The dreamer associated with the (dream) conditions, while in the dream state, sees all these abnormal or peculiar objects which are but the imaginations of his own mind. It is like the case of a man, in the waking experience, who is well instructed regarding the route to be taken to reach another country, and who while going to that country sees on the way objects belonging to that locality. Hence as  perception of snake in the rope and the mirage in the desert which are due to the (mental) conditions of the perceiver are unreal, so also the objects transcending the limits of the waking experience, perceived in dream, are unreal on account of their being due to the (peculiar) condition of the dream state itself. Therefore the illustration of dream is not incorrect.

Karika, verse 2.9-10
Having refuted the contention of the opponent that there exists no similarity between objects of the waking state and the abnormal (unusual) objects seen in dream, (the text proceeds to point out) the truth of the objects of waking state being (unreal) like those of dream. In the dream state also those which are mere modifications of the mind, cognized within, are illusory. For, such internal objects vanish the moment after they are cognized. In that very dream such objects as pot, etc., cognized by the mind and perceived by the sense-organs, eyes, etc., as existing outside, are  held to be real. Thus, though all the dream experiences are, without doubt, known  to be unreal, yet they arrange themselves as  real and unreal. Both kinds of objects (in dream), imagined by the mind internally and externally, are found to be unreal. Similarly in the waking experience objects known as real and imaginary (mental) should be rationally held to be unreal. Objects, internal and external, are creations of the mind (whether they be-in the dream or in the waking state). Other matters have already been explained.

Karika, verse 2.11
The opponent asks, “If the objects, cognized in the-waking and dream states, be devoid of reality, who  is the cognizer of these,—objects imagined by the mind, both inside (subjective), and outside (objective)? Who is, again, their fmaginer?” In short, what is the support (substratum) of memory and knowledge? If you say none,. then we shall be led to the conclusion that there is nothing like Atman or Self.

Karika, verse 2.12
The self-luminous  Atman himself,  by  his own Maya, imagines  in  himself the different  objects, to be described hereafter. It is like the imagining of the snake, etc., in the rope, etc. He  himself cognizes them, as  he has imagined them. There  is no other substratum of knowledge and memory. The aim of Vedānta is to declare that knowledge and memory are not without, support as the Buddhistic nihilists maintain.

Karika, verse 2.13
How does he imagine the ideas? It is described thus:—The word “Vikaroti” means creates or imagines, i.e., manifests in multiple forms. Lord, i.e., Atman,. with  his mind turned outward, imagines in diverse forms various objects, perceived in the (outside) world, such as sound, etc., as well as other objects,  and also various objects permanent (such as earth, etc.), and impermanent,  i.e., which exist only for the moment, i.e., as long as that imagination lasts—all being of the nature of subtle ideas (Vāsanas) in his mind and not yet fully manifested. Similarly, turning his mind within, the Lord imagines various ideas which are subjective. “Prabhu” in the text means the Lord (Isvara), i.e., the Atman.

Karika, verse 2.14
A doubt is raised as to the statement that everything is mere imagination of mind like the dream. For, the imagination of mind, such as desire, etc., determined  by mind, is different from objects  perceived to exist outside, on account of the latter being determined by two points in time. This objection is not valid. Objects perceived to exist within, only as long as the thought About them lasts, signify those (subjective) ideas which  are only determined by mind; i.e., such objects have no other time to determine them except that wherein the idea in the mind exists (when.imagining such ideas). The meaning is that such (subjective) ideas are experienced at the time when they are imagined. Objects related to two points of time signify those external objects which are cognizable by others at some other point of time and which cognize the latter in their turn. Therefore such objects are said to be mutually limited by one another. As for example, when it is said that he remains  till the cow is milked, the statement means, “The cow is milked as long as he remains and he remains as long as the cow is milked.” A  similar instance is the following: “It is like that, that is like this.” In this way, the objects perceived to exist outside mutually determine one another. Therefore they are known as “Dvayakālāh” that is, related to two points in time. Ideas perceived within and existing as long as the mind that cognizes them lasts, as well as the external objects related to two points in time, are all mere imaginations.  The  peculiar characteristic of being related to two points in time of the objects that are perceived to exist outside is not due to any other cause except their being imagined by the mind. Therefore the illustration of dream well applies here.

Karika, verse 2.15
Though  the objects perceived within, as mere mental impressions, are unmanifested, and though  the objects perceived outside through the sense-organs such as eyes, etc., are known as manifested (gross entities), yet the distinction  is not due to anything substantial in the nature of the (two kinds of) objects. For, such distinction is seen in dreams as well. What is, then, the cause of this distinction? It  is only due to the difference in the use of sense-organs (by means of which these objects are perceived). Hence, it is established that the objects perceived in the waking state are as much imagination of the mind as those seen in the dream.

Karika, verse 2.16
What is the source of the imagination of various objects, subjective  and objective  that are perceived and appear to be related to one another as cause and effect? It is thus explained:—The Jiva is of the nature of cause and effect and is further characterised by such ideas as “I do this, I am happy and miserable.” Such Jiva is, at first, imagined  in the Atman   which is pure and devoid of any such characteristics, like  the imagination of a snake in a rope. Then for the knowledge of the Jiva are imagined  various existent entities, both subjective and objective, such as Prana, etc., constituting different ideas such as the agent, action and the result (of action). What is the cause of this imagination? It is thus explained:—It, the Jiva, who is the product of imagination and competent to effect further imagination, has its memory determined by its own inherent knowledge. That is to say, its knowledge is always followed by a memory, similar to that knowledge. Hence,  from the knowledge of the idea of cause results the knowledge of the idea of the effect. Then follows.the memory of both cause and effect. This memory is followed by its knowledge which results in the various states of knowledge characterised by action, actor and the effect. These are followed by their memory, which, in its turn, is followed by the states of knowledge. In this way are imagined various objects, subjective and objective, which are perceived and seen to be related to one another as cause and effect.

Karika, verse 2.17
It has been said that the imagination of Jiva (the Jiva- idea) is the source of all (other) imaginations (ideas). What is the cause of this Jiva -idea? It is thus explained by an illustration:—It is found in common experience that a rope, not known as such, is imagined, in hazy darkness, as snake, water-line, stick or any one of the many similar things. All this is due to the previous absence of knowledge regarding the real nature of the rope. If previously the rope had been known in its real nature, then the imagination of snake, etc., would not have been possible, as in the case of one’s own fingers.
Similarly, Atman has been variously imagined as, Jiva, Prana and so forth  because It is not known in Its own nature, I.e., pure  essence of knowledge itself, the non-dual Atman, quite distinct from such phenomenal characteristics indicated by the relation of cause and effect, etc., which are productive of misery. This is the unmistakable verdict of all the Upaniṣads.

Karika, verse 2.18
When it is determined that it is nothing but the rope alone, then all illusions regarding the rope disappear and the (non-dual) knowledge that there exists nothing else but the rope, becomes firmly established. Similar is the knowledge,—like the light of the sun—produced by the negative Scriptural statements which deny all phenomenal attributes (in Ātmari),—statements like “Not this”, “Not this”, etc., leading to the knowledge of the real nature of Atman, as: “All this is verily Atman”, “(It is) without cause and effect, without internality and externality”, “(It is) ever without and within and beginningless”, “(It is) without decay and death, immortal, fearless, one and without a second.”

Karika, verse 2.19
If it be definitely ascertained that Atman is verily one, how could it be imagined as the endless objects like Prana, etc., having the characteristics of the phenomenal experience? It is thus explained:—This is due to the Maya (ignorance) inhering in the luminous Atman. As the illusion conjured up by the juggler makes the very clear sky appear covered with trees blooming with flowers and leaves, so  does this luminous Atman become deluded, as it were, by his own Maya. “My Maya cannot be easily got over” declares the Gītā.

Karika, verse 2.20-28
Prana means Prājña (the Jiva associated with deep sleep) and Bījātmā (the causal self). All the entities from Prana to the Sthiti (subsistence) are only various effects of Prana. These and other popular ideas of their kind, imagined by all beings, are like the imaginations of the snake, etc., in the rope, etc. These are through ignorance imagined in Atman which is free from all these distinctions. These fancies are due to the lack of determination of the real nature of the Self. This is the purport of these ślokas. No attempt is made to explain the meaning of each word in the texts beginning with Prana, etc., on account of the futility of such effort and also on account of the clearness of the meaning of the terms.

Karika, verse 2.29
What more is to be gained (by this kind of endless discussion)? Whatever idea or interpretation of such things as Prana,   etc., narrated above or omitted, is shown to the inquirer by the teacher or other trustworthy person. He realises  that as the sole essence (Atman), i.e., he understands that as “I am that or that is mine”. Such conception about Atman as is revealed to the inquirer, appears to him as the sole essence and protects him, i.e., keeps him away from all other ideas (because it appears to him as the highest ideal). On  account of his devotion (attachment) to that ideal, he realises it as the sole essence in due course, i.e., attains his identity with it. Prana—All interpretations of Atman must be included in the Prana, as Prana or the causal Self is the highest manifestation of Atman in the relative plane.
Realises, etc.—It is because such inquirer, for want of proper discrimination, accepts the words of the teacher as the highest truth. The teacher also, realising the limited intellectual capacity of the student, teaches him, at first, only a partial view of truth.
On account, etc.—Such student only gets a partial view of Reality though he takes it as the sole essence. He shuts his eyes to other views. On account of his single-minded devotion to that ideal he becomes intolerent of other view-points. But he who takes a particular idea to be the Reality and condemns other ideas as untrue, has not realised the Highest Truth. For, to a knower of Reality, all imaginations are identical with Brahman and hence have the same value. This is the mistake generally committed by the mystics who, for want of the faculty of rational discrimination, do not see any truth in the views of others.

Karika, verse 2.30
Though this Atman is verily non-separate  from these, the Prana, etc.,—like the rope from such imaginary ideas as the snake, etc.,—it appears as separate to the ignorant persons. But to the Knower (of truth), the Prana, etc., do not exist apart from Atman, just as the snake, etc., falsely imagined in the rope, do not exist apart from the rope. For, the Śruti also says, “All that exists is verily Atman” One who thus knows truly, that is, from Scriptures as well as by reasoning that Prana, etc., imagined in Atman, do not exist separately from Atman fas in the illustration) of the (illusory) snake and the rope, and further knows that Atman is ever pure  and free from all imaginations,—construes,  without hesitation, the text of the Vedas according to its division.  That is to say, he knows that the meaning of this passage is this and of that passage is that. None but the Knower of Atman is able to know truly the (meaning of the) Vedas. “None but the Knower of Atman is able to derive any benefit from his actions,” says Manu.

Karika, verse 2.31
The unreality of duality has been demonstrated by of Vedānta Scriptures. Therefore it is stated:—Dream objects and illusion, though unreal when their true nature is considered, are thought, in spite of their unreality, as real by the ignorant. As an imaginary city in the sky, filled with shops full of vendable articles, houses, palaces and villages frequented by men and women, though appearing real to us, is seen to vanish suddenly as dream and illusion, which are known to be unreal (though they appear to be real),—so also is perceived this entire duality of the universe to be unreal. Where is this taught? This is thus taught in the Vedānta Scriptures. “There is no multiplicity here.” “Indra (assumed diverse forms) through the powers of Maya.” “In the beginning all this existed as Brahman.” “Fear rises verily from duality,” “That duality does never exist.” “When all this has become Atman then who can see whom and by what?” In these and other passages, the wise men, i.e., those who see the real nature of things, declare (the unreal nature of the universe). The Smṛti of Vyāsa also supports this view in these words:
“This duality of the universe, perceived by the wise like a hole seen in darkness in the ground, is unstable like the bubbles that appear in rain-water, always undergoing destruction, ever devoid of bliss, and ceasing to exist, after dissolution.”

Karika, verse 2.32
This verse sums up the meaning of the chapter. When duality is perceived to be illusory and Atman alone is known as the sole Reality, then it is clearly established that all our experiences, ordinary or religious (Vedic), verily pertain to the domain of ignorance. Then one perceives that there is no dissolution, i.e., destruction (from the standpoint of Reality); no birth or creation, i.e., coming into existence; no one in bondage, i.e., no worldly being; no pupilage, i.e., no one adopting means for the attainment of liberation; no seeker after liberation, and no one free from bondage (as bondage does not exist). The Ultimate Truth is that the stage of bondage, etc., cannot exist in the absence of creation and destruction. How can it be said that there is neither creation nor destruction? It is thus replied:—There is no duality (at any time). The absence of duality is indicated by such Scriptural passages as, “When duality appears to exist....” “One who appears to see multiplicity....” “All this is verily Atman.” “Atman is one and without a second.” “All that exists is verily the Atman,” etc. Birth  or death can be predicated only of that which exists and never of what does not exist, such as the horns of a hare, etc. That  which is non-dual (Advaita) can never be said to be born or destroyed. That it should be non-dual and at the same time subject to birth and death, is a contradiction in terms. It  has already been said that our dual experience characterised by (the activities of) Prana, etc., is a mere illusion having Atman for its substratum, like the snake imagined in the rope which is its substratum. The imagination characterised by the appearance of the snake in the rope cannot be produced from nor dissolved in the rope  (i.e., in any external object), nor is produced from the imaginary snake or dissolved in the mind,  nor even in both (i.e., the rope and the mind). Thus  duality being non-different from mental (subjective) imagination (cannot have a beginning or an end). For,  duality is not perceived when one’s mental activities are controlled (as in Samādhi) or in deep sleep. Therefore  it is established that duality is a mere illusion of the mind. Hence it is well said that the Ultimate Reality is the absence of destruction, etc., on account of the non-existence of duality (which exists only in the imagination of the mind).

Objection: If this be the case, the object of the teachings should be directed to prove the negation of duality and not to establish as a positive fact non-duality, inasmuch as there is a contradiction (in employing the same means for the refutation of one and the establishment of another). If this were admitted, then the conclusion will tend to become Nihilistic  in the absence of evidence for the existence of non-duality as Reality; for, duality has already been said to be non-existent.
Reply: This contention is not consistent with reason. Why  do you revive a point already established, viz., that it is unreasonable to conceive of such illusions as the snake in the rope, etc., without a substratum?
Objection: This analogy is not relevant as even the rope, which is the substratum of the imaginary snake, is also an imaginary entity.
Reply: It is not so. For, upon the disappearance of the imagination, the unimagined substratum can be reasonably said to exist on account of its unimagined character.
Objection: It may be contended that like the imagination of the snake in the rope, it (the unimaginary substratum) is also unreal.
Reply: It cannot be so. For, it (Brahman) is ever unimagined, because it is like the rope that is never the object of our imagination and is real even before the knowledge of the unreality of the snake. Further, the existence of the subject (knower or witness) of imagination must be admitted to be antecedent to the imagination. Therefore it is unreasonable to say that such subject is non-existent.
Objection: How  can the Scripture, if it cannot make us understand the true nature of the Self (which is non-duality), free our mind from the idea of duality?
Reply: There  is no difficulty. Duality is superimposed upon Atman through ignorance, like the snake, etc., upon the rope. How is it so? I am happy, I am miserable, ignorant, born, dead, worn out, endowed with body, I see, I am manifested and unmanifested, the agent, the enjoyer, related and unrelated, decayed and old, this is mine,—these and such other ideas are superimposed upon Atman. The notion  of Atman (Self) persists in all these, because no such idea can ever be conceived of without the notion of Atman. It is like the notion of the rope which persists in (all superimposed ideas, such as) the snake, the water-line, etc. Such being the case, the Scripture has no function with regard to the Atman which, being of the nature of the substantive, is ever self-evident. The function of the Scripture is to accomplish that which is not accomplished yet. It does not serve the purpose of evidence if it is to establish what has been already established.
The Atman does not realise its own natural condition on account of such obstacles as the notion of happiness, etc., superimposed by ignorance; and the true nature is realised only when one knows it as such. It  is therefore the Scripture, whose purpose is to remove the idea of happiness, etc. (associated with Atman) that produces the consciousness of the not-happy (i.e., attributeless) nature of Atman by such statements as “Not this” “Not this”, “(It is) not gross,” etc. Like the persistence of Atman (in all states of consciousness) the not-happy (attributeless) characteristic of Atman does not inhere in all ideas such as of being happy and the like. If it were so, then one would not have such specific experience as that of being happy, etc., superimposed upon Atman, in the same manner as coldness cannot be associated with fire whose specific characteristic is that of heat. It is, therefore, that such specific characteristics as that of being happy, etc., are imagined in Atman which is, undoubtedly, without any attributes. The Scriptural teachings which speak of Atman as being not-happy, etc., are meant for the purpose of removing the notion that Atman is associated with such specific attributes as happiness, etc. There is the following aphoristic statement by the knowers of the Āgama. “The validity of Scripture is established by its negating all positive characteristics of Atman (which otherwise cannot be indicated by Scriptures).”

Karika, verse 2.33
The reason for the interpretation of the previous verse is thus stated: Just as in a rope, an unreal snake, streak of water or the like is imagined, which are nonseparate (non-dual) from the existing rope,—the same (rope) being spoken of as this snake, this streak of water, this stick, or the like,—even so this Atman is imagined to be the innumerable objects such as Prana, etc., which are unreal  and perceived only through ignorance, but not from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality. For, unless the mind is active, nobody is ever able to perceive any object. But no action is possible for Atman. Therefore the objects that are perceived to exist by the active mind can never be imagined to have existence from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality. It is therefore this (non-dual) Atman which alone is imagined as such illusory objects as Prana, etc., which are perceived, as well as the  non-dual and ultimately real Atman (which is the substratum of illusory ideas, such as Prana, etc.) in the same manner as the rope is imagined as the substratum of the illusion of the snake. Though  always one and unique (i.e., of the nature of the Atman), the Prana, etc., the entities that are perceived, are imagined (from the standpoint of ignorance) as having the nondual and ultimately real Atman as their substratum. For, no illusion is ever perceived without a substratum. As “non-duality” is the substratum of all illusions (from the standpoint of ignorance) and also as it is, in its real nature, ever unchangeable, non-duality alone is (the highest) bliss even  in the state of imagination, i.e., the empirical experiences. Imaginations alone (which make Prana, etc., appear as separate from Atman) are the cause of misery.  These imaginations cause fear, etc., like the imaginations of the snake, etc., in the rope. Non-duality  is free from fear and therefore it is the (highest) bliss.

Karika, verse 2.34
Why is non-duality called the highest bliss? One suffers from misery when one finds differences in the form of multiplicity, i.e., when one finds an object separate from another. For  when this manifold of the universe with the entire relative phenomena consisting of Prana, etc., imagined in the non-dual Atman, the Ultimate Reality is realised to be identical with the Atman, the Supreme Reality, then alone multiplicity ceases to exist, i.e., Prana, etc., do not appear to be separate from Atman. It  is just like the snake that is imagined (to be separate from the rope) but that does no longer remain as such when its true nature is known with the help of a light to be nothing but the rope. This manifold (Idam) does never really exist as it appears to be, that is to say, in the forms of Prana, etc., because it is imaginary just like the snake seen in the place of the rope. Therefore different objects, such as Prana, etc., do not exist as separate from one other as a buffalo appears to be separate from a horse. The idea of separation being unreal, there is nothing which exists as separate from an object of the same nature or from other objects (of different nature). The Brāhmaṇas, i.e., the Knowers of Self, know this  to be the essence of the Ultimate Reality. Therefore the implication of the verse is that non-duality alone, on account of the absence of any cause that may bring about misery, is verily the (highest) bliss.

Karika, verse 2.35
The perfect knowledge as described above, is thus extolled.  The sages who are always  free from all blemishes such as attachment, fear, spite, anger, etc., who are given to contemplation, who can discriminate between the real and the unreal and who can grasp the essence of the meaning of the Vedas, i.e., who are well versed in the Vedanta (i.e., the Upanishads) do  realise the real nature of this Atman which is free from all imaginations and also free from this the illusion of the manifold. This Atman is the total negation of the phenomena of duality and therefore it is non-dual. The intention of the Śruti passage is this: The Supreme Self can be realised only by the Sannyāsins (men of renunciation) who are free from all blemishes and who are enlightened regarding the essence of the Upaniṣads and never by others, i.e., those vain logicians whose mind is clouded by passion, etc., and who find truth only  in their own creeds and opinions.

Karika, verse 2.36
As non-duality, on account of its being the negation of all evils, is bliss and fearlessness, therefore knowing it to be such, direct your mind to the realisation of the non-dual Atman. In other words, concentrate your memory on the realisation of non-duality alone. Having known this non-dual Brahman which is free from hunger, etc., unborn and directly perceptible as the Self and which transcends all codes  of human conduct, i.e., by attaining to the consciousness that ‘I am the Supreme Brahman,’ behave with others as one not knowing the Truth; that is to say, let  not others know what you are and what you have become.

Karika, verse 2.37
What should be his code of conduct in the world? It is thus stated:—He  should give up all such formalities as praise, salutation, etc., and be free  from all desires for external objects. In other words, he should take up the life of a Paramahamsa Sannyāsin.  The Śruti also supports this view in such passages as “knowing this Atman”, etc. This is further approved in such Smṛti passages as, “With their consciousness in That (Brahman), their self being That, intent on That, with That for their Supreme Goal” (Gītā), etc. The word “chalam” in the text signifying “changing” indicates the “body” because it changes every moment. The word “Achalam” signifying “unchanging” indicates the “Knowledge of Self”. He  has the (changing) body for his support when he, for the purpose of such activities as eating, etc., forgets the Knowledge of the Self, the (real) support of Atman, unchanging like the Ākāśa, (ether) and relates himself to egoism. Such  a wise man never takes shelter under external objects. He entirely depends upon circumstances, that is to say, he maintains his body with whatever food or strips of cloth, etc., are brought to him by mere chance.

Karika, verse 2.38
The truth  regarding external objects such as the earth, etc., and the truth regarding internal objects characterised by body, etc., is that these are as unreal as a snake seen in the rope, or objects seen in dream or magic. For, there are such Śruti passages as, “modification being only a name, arising from speech, etc.” The Śruti further declares, “Atman is both within and without, birthless, causeless, having no within or without, entire, all-pervading like the Ākāśa (ether), subtle, unchanging, without attributes and parts, and without action. That is Truth, That is Atman and That thou art.” Knowing it to be such from the point of view of Truth, he becomes one with Truth and derives his enjoyment  from Truth and not from any external  object. But a person  ignorant of Truth, takes the mind to be the Self and believes the Atman to be active like the mind, and becomes active. He thus thinks his self to be identified with the body, etc., and deviated from Atman saying, “Oh, I am now fallen from the Knowledge of Self.” When his mind is concentrated he sometimes thinks that he is happy and one with the Self. He declares “Oh, I am now one with the essence of Truth.” But, the knower of Self never makes any such statement, as Atman is ever one and changeless and as it is impossible for Atman to deviate from its own nature. The  consciousness that “I am Brahman” never leaves him. In other words, he never loses the consciousness regarding the essence of the Self. The Smṛti supports this view in such passages as “The wise man views equally a dog or an outcaste.” “He sees who sees the Supreme Lord remaining the same, in all beings.” (Gītā)
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