Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Drik Drisya Viveka of Shankaracharya

Drik Drisya Viveka
of Shankaracharya

Ramana Maharshi
This composition of Shankaracharya was translated into
Tamil by Sri Bhagavan (Ramana Maharshi) . Bhagavan also composed the
following introductory verse and introduction.
Oh thou divine Shankara,
Thou art the Subject
That has knowledge
Of subject and object.
Let the subject in me be destroyed
As subject and object.
For thus in my mind arises
The light as the single Siva.

‘Brahman is only one and non-dual’ declare the Srutis.
Since Brahman is the sole reality, according to advaita, how
is it that Brahman is not apparent to us, whereas the prapancha
(world, i.e., non-Brahman) is so vivid? Thus questions the
advanced sadhaka.
In one’s own Self, which is no other than Brahman, there
is a mysterious power known as avidya (ignorance) which is
beginningless and not separate from the Self. Its characteristics
are veiling and presentation of diversity. Just as the pictures
in a cinema, though not visible either in sunlight or in darkness,
become visible in a spot of light in the midst of darkness, so
in the darkness of ignorance there appears the reflected light
of the Self, illusory and scattered, taking the form of thought.
This is the primal thought known as the ego, jiva or karta
(doer), having the mind as the medium of its perceptions.
The mind has a store of latent tendencies which it projects as
the object of a shadow-show in the waking and dream states.
This show, however, is mistaken for real by the jiva. The
veiling aspect of the mind first hides the real nature of the
Self and then presents the objective world to view. Just as the
waters of the ocean do not seem different from the waves, so
also for the duration of objective phenomena, the Self, though
itself the sole being, is made to appear not different from

Turn away from the delusion caused by latent tendencies
and false notions of interior and exterior. By such constant
practice of sahaja samadhi, the veiling power vanishes and
the non-dual Self is left over to shine forth as Brahman itself.
This is the whole secret of the advaita doctrine as taught by
the master to the advanced sadhaka. Here the same teaching
is contained, which Sri Shankaracharya has expounded
concisely without any elaboration, in the following text.
The Text

All our perception pertains to the non-Self. The immutable
Seer is indeed the Self. All the countless scriptures proclaim
only discrimination between Self and non-Self.
The world we see, being seen by the eye, is drisya (object);
the eye which sees it is drik (subject). But the eye, being
perceived by the mind is drisya (object) and the mind which
sees it is drik (subject). The mind, with its thoughts perceived
by the Self, is drisya (object) and the Self is drik (subject).
The Self cannot be drisya (object), not being perceived by
anything else. The forms perceived are various, blue and
yellow, gross and subtle, tall and short, and so on; but the eye
that sees them remains one and the same. Similarly, the varying
qualities of the eye, such as blindness, dullness and keenness
and of the ears and other organs, are perceived by the mind
singly. So, too, the various characteristics of the mind, such
as desire, determination, doubt, faith, want of faith, courage,
want of courage, fear, shyness, discrimination, good and bad,
are all perceived by the Self singly. This Self neither rises nor
sets, neither increases nor decays. It shines of its own
luminosity. It illumines everything else without the need for
aid from other sources.

Buddhi, as the sum total of the inner organs, in contact
with the reflected consciousness has two aspects. One is called
egoity and the other mind. This contact of the buddhi with
the reflected consciousness is like the identity of a red-hot
iron ball with fire. Hence the gross body passes for a conscious
entity. The contact establishing identity between the ego and
the reflected Consciousness, is of three kinds.

1. The identification of the ego with the reflected
Consciousness is natural or innate.
2. The identification of the ego with the body is due to
past karma.
3. The identification of the ego with the witness is due
to ignorance.

The natural or innate contact continues as long as the
buddhi, but on realization of the Self it proves to be false. The
third mentioned contact is broken when it is discovered by
experience that there is no sort of contact of anything at all
with the Self, which is Being. The second mentioned contact,
that born of past karma, ceases to exist on the destruction of
innate tendencies (vasanas). In the deep sleep state, when the
body is inert, the ego is fully merged (in the causal ignorance).
The ego is half manifest in the dream state, and its being fully
manifest is the waking state. It is the mode or modification of
thought (with its latent tendencies) that creates the inner world
of dreams in the dream state and the outer world in the waking
state. The subtle body, which is the material cause of mind
and ego, experiences the three states and also birth and death.
Maya of the causal body has its powers of projecting (rajas)
and veiling (tamas). 

It is the projecting power that creates everything from 
the subtle body to the gross universe of names
and forms. These are produced in the Sat-Chit-Ananda
(Being-Consciousness-Bliss) like foam in the ocean. 

The veiling power operates in such a way that internally the
distinction between subject and object cannot be perceived,
and externally that between Brahman and the phenomenal
world. This indeed is the cause of samsara. The individual
with his reflected light of Consciousness is the subtle body
existing in close proximity with the Self that is the vyavaharika
(the empirical Self). This individual character of the empirical
Self appears in the witness or sakshi also through false
superimposition. But on the extinction of the veiling power
(tamas), the distinction between witness and the empirical
Self becomes clear; and the superimposition also drops away.
Similarly, Brahman shines as the phenomenal world of names
and forms only through the effect of the veiling power which
conceals the distinction between them. When the veiling ends,
the distinction between the two is perceived, for none of the
activities of the phenomenal world exist in Brahman.
Of the five characteristics, Being, Consciousness, Bliss,
name and form, the first three pertain to Brahman and name
and form to the world. The three aspects of Being,
Consciousness and Bliss exist equally in the five elements of
ether, air, fire, water and earth and in devas (gods), animals,
men, etc., whereas the names and forms are different.
Therefore, be indifferent to names and forms, concentrate on
Being-Consciousness-Bliss and constantly practise samadhi
(identity with Brahman) within the Heart or outside.
This practice of samadhi (identity with Brahman) is of
two kinds: savikalpa (in which the distinction between knower,
knowledge and known is not lost) and nirvikalpa (in which
the above distinction is lost).

Savikalpa samadhi again is of two kinds: 
that which is associated with words (sound), and
meditation on one’s own consciousness as the witness of
thought forms such as desire, which is savikalpa samadhi
(internal), associated with (cognizable) objects. Realizing
one’s Self as ‘I am Being-Consciousness-Bliss without duality,
unattached, self-effulgent’, is savikalpa samadhi (internal)
associated with words (sound). Giving up both objects and
sound forms of the aforesaid two modes of samadhi and being
completely absorbed in the Bliss experienced by the realization
of the Self is nirvikalpa samadhi (internal). In this state steady
abidance is obtained, like the unflickering flame of a light
kept in a place free from wind. So also, in the Heart, becoming
indifferent to external objects of name and form and perceiving
only Being of (or as) Sat, is savikalpa samadhi (external)
associated with objects; and being aware continually of that
Sat (true existence) as the unbroken single essence of Brahman
is savikalpa samadhi (external) associated with words (sound).
After these two experiences, Being, which is uninterrupted
like the waveless ocean, is nirvikalpa samadhi (external). 

One who meditates should spend his time perpetually in these six
kinds of samadhi.
By these, the attachment to the body is
destroyed and the mind that perpetually abides in the Supreme
Self (paramatman) wherever it may wander, is everywhere
spontaneously in samadhi. By this constant practice of
samadhi, the supreme Self, who is both highest and lowliest,
who encompasses Paramatman as well as jivatman is directly
experienced, and then the knot of the Heart is loosened;
 all doubts are destroyed and all karmas (activities) cease too.
Of the three modes of individual being, the limited self (as
in deep sleep), the empirical self (as in the waking state) and
the dreaming self, only the individual limited by the deep
sleep state is the true Self (paramarthika). Even he is but an
The Absolute alone is the true Self. In reality and by
nature he is Brahman itself, only superimposition creates the
limitations of individuality in the Absolute. It is to the
paramarthika jiva that the identity of Tat-tvam-asi (That thou
art) and other great texts of the Upanishads applies, and not
to any other. The great maya (the superimposition without
beginning) with her veiling and projecting power (tamas and
rajas) veils the single indivisible Brahman and, in that
Brahman, creates the world and individuals. The individual
(jiva), a concept of the empirical self in the buddhi, is indeed
the actor and enjoyer and the entire phenomenal world is its
object of enjoyment. From time without beginning, till the
attainment of liberation, individual and world have an
empirical existence. They are both empirical. The empirical
individual appears to have the power of sleep in the shape of
the veiling and projecting powers. It is associated with
Consciousness. The power covers first the individual empirical
self and the cognized universe, and then these are imagined
in dream. These dream perceptions and the individual who
perceives them are illusory, because they exist only during
the period of dream experience. We affirm their illusory nature,
because on waking up from dream no one sees the dream, no
one sees the dream objects. The dreaming self experiences
the dream world as real, while the empirical self experiences
the empirical world as real but, when the paramarthika jiva
is realized, knows it to be unreal. The paramarthika jiva, as
distinguished from those of the waking and dream experiences,
is identical with Brahman. He has no ‘other’. If he does see
any ‘other’, he knows it to be illusory.
The sweetness, liquidity, and coldness of water are
characteristics present equally in waves and foam. So, too,
the Being-Consciousness-Bliss character of the Self (the
paramarthika) is present in the empirical self and through
him in the dream self also, because of their being only illusory
creations in the Self. The foam with its qualities, such as
coldness, subsides in the waves, the waves with their
characteristics, such as liquidity, subside in the water, and the
ocean alone exists as at first. Similarly, the dream self and its
objects are absorbed in the empirical self; then the empirical
world with its characteristics is absorbed in the paramarthika
and, as at first, Being-Consciousness-Bliss which is Brahman
shines alone.

Ramana Maharshi on Creation

Ramana Maharshi on Creation
Sri Ramana adopted three different standpoints when he spoke about the nature of the physical world.
Question: How has srishti (creation) come about? Some say it is predestined. Others say it the Lord's leela or sport. What is the truth?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Various accounts are given in books. But is there creation? Only if there is creation do we have to explain how it came about. We may not know about all these theories but we certainly know that we exist. Why not know the '`I'' and then see if there is a creation?
Question: In the Vedanta of Sri Sankaracharya the principle of the creation of the world has been accepted for the sake of beginners, but for the advanced the principle of non-creation is put forward. What is your view on this matter?
Maharshi: "There is no dissolution or creation, no one in bondage, nor anyone pursuing spiritual practices. There is no one desiring liberation nor anyone liberated. This is the absolute truth." This sloka (verse) appears in the second chapter of Gaudapada's Karika. One who is established in the Self sees this by his knowledge of reality.

Question: Is not the Self the cause of this world we see around us?
Maharshi: Self itself appears as the world of diverse names and forms. However, Self does not act as the efficient cause (nimitta karana), creating, sustaining and destroying it. Do not ask `Why does the confusion of Self, not knowing the truth that it itself appears as the world arise?' If instead you enquire `To whom does this confusion occur?', it will be discovered that no such confusion ever existed for Self.

Questioner: You seem to be an exponent of ajata doctrine of advaita Vedanta.
Maharshi: I do not teach only the ajata doctrine. I approve of all schools. The same truth has to be expressed in different ways to suit the capacity of the hearer.
The Ajata doctrine says, `Nothing exists except the one reality. There is no birth or death, no projection or drawing in, no seeker, no bondage, no liberation. The one unity alone exists.'
To such as find it difficult to grasp this truth and who ask, `How can we ignore this solid world we see all around us?', the dream experience is pointed out and they are told, `All that you see depends on the seer. Apart from the seer, there is no seen.' This is called the drishti-srishti vada or the argument that one first creates out of one's mind and then sees what one's mind itself has created. Some people cannot grasp even this and they continue to argue in the following terms:
`The dream experience is so short, while the world always exists. The dream experience was limited to me. But the world is felt and seen not only by me, but by so many others. We cannot call such a world non-existent.'
When people argue in this way they can be given a srishti-drishti theory, for example, `God first created such and such a thing, out of such and such an element, and then something else was created, and so on.' That alone will satisfy this class. Their minds are otherwise not satisfied and they ask themselves, `How can all geography, all maps, all sciences, stars, planets and the rules governing or relating to them and all knowledge be totally untrue?' To such it is best to say, `Yes, God created all this and so you see it.'

Question: But all these cannot be true. Only one doctrine can be true.
Sri Ramana Maharshi: All these theories are only to suit the capacity of the learner. The absolute can only be one.
The Vedanta says that the cosmos springs into view simultaneously with the seer and that there is no detailed process of creation. This is said to be yugapat-srishti (instantaneous creation). It is quite similar to the creations in dream where the experiencer springs up simultaneously with the objects of experience. When this is told, some people are not satisfied for they are deeply rooted in objective knowledge. They seek to find out how there can be sudden creation. They argue that an effect must be preceded by a cause. In short, they desire an explanation for the existence of the world which they see around them. Then the srutis (scriptures) try to satisfy their curiosity by theories of creation.
This method of dealing with the subject of creation is called krama-srishti (gradual creation). But the true seeker can content with yugapat-srishti, instantaneous creation.
There may be any number of theories of creation. All of them extend outwardly. There will be no limit to them because time and space are unlimited. They are however only in the mind. If you see the mind, time and space are transcended and the Self is realised.
Creation is explained scientifically or logically to one's own satisfaction. But is there any finality about it? Such explanations are called krama-srishti (gradual creation). On the other hand, drishti-srishti (simultaneous creation) is yugapat-srishti. Without the seer there are no objects seen. Find the seer and the creation is comprised in him. Why look outward and go on explaining the phenomena which are endless?
Where are you now? Are you in the world or is the world within you? You must admit that the world is not perceived in your sleep although you cannot deny your existence then. The world appears when you wake up. So where is it? Clearly the world is your thought. Thoughts are your projections. The "I" is first created and then the world. The world is created by the "I" which in its turn rises up from the Self. The riddle of the creation of the world is thus solved if you solve the creation of the "I". So I say, find your Self.
Again, does the world come and ask you `Why do "I" exist? How was "I" created?' It is you who ask the question. The questioner must establish the relationship between the world and himself. He must admit that the world is his own imagination. Who imagines it? Let him again find the "I" and then the Self. Moreover, all the scientific and theological explanations do not harmonise. The diversities in such theories clearly show the uselessness of seeking such explanations. Such explanations are purely mental and intellectual and nothing more. Still, all of them are true according to the standpoint of the individual. There is no creation in the state of realisation. When one sees the world, one does not see oneself. When one sees the Self, the world is not seen. So see the Self and realise that there has been no creation.

Question: "Brahman is real. The world is illusion" is the stock phrase of Sri Sankaracharya. Yet others say, "The world is reality." Which is true?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Both statements are true. They refer to different stags of development and are spoken from different points of view. The aspirant starts with the definition, that which is real exists always. Then he eliminates the world as unreal because it is changing. The seeker ultimately reaches the Self and there finds unity as the prevailing note. Then, that which was originally rejected as being unreal is found to be a part of the unity. Being absorbed in the reality, the world also is real. There is only being in Self-realisation, and nothing but being.

Question: Sri Bhagavan (Ramana Maharshi) often says that Maya (illusion) and reality are the same. How can that be?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Sankaracharya was criticised for his views on Maya without being understood. He said that: 1. Brahman is real, 2. The universe is unreal, and 3. The universe is Brahman.
He did not stop at the second, because the third explains the other two. It signifies that the universe is real if perceived as the Self, and unreal if perceived apart from the Self. Hence May and reality are one and the same.

Question: So the world is not really illusory?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: At the level of the spiritual seeker you have got to say that the world is an illusion. There is no other way. When a man forgets that he is a Brahman, who is real, permanent and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a body in the universe which is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion. Why? Because his vision which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the external, material universe. It will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external material universe is unreal. When once he realises his own Self he will know that there is nothing other than his own Self and he will come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman.
There is no universe without the Self. So ling as a man does not see the Self which is the origin of all, but looks only at the external world as real and permanent, you have to tell him that all this external universe is an illusion. You cannot help it. Take a paper. We see only the script, and nobody notices the paper on which the script is written. The paper is there whether the script on it is there or not. To those who look upon the script as real, you have to say that it is unreal, an illusion, since it rests upon the paper. The wise man looks upon both the paper and script as one. So also with Brahman and the universe.

Question: So the world is real when it is experienced as the Self and unreal when it is seen as separate names and forms?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Just as fire is obscured by smoke, the shining light of consciousness is obscured by the assemblage of names and forms, the world. When by compassionate divine grace the mind becomes clear, the nature of the world will be known to be not the illusory forms but only the reality.
Only those people whose minds are devoid of the evil power of Maya, having given up the knowledge of the world and being unattached to it, and having thereby attained the knowledge of the self-shining Supreme Reality, can correctly know the meaning of the statement "The world is real." If one's outlook has been transformed to the nature of real knowledge, the world of the five elements beginning with space (akasha) will be real, being the Supreme Reality, which is the nature of knowledge.
The original state of this empty world, which is bewildering and crowded with many names and forms, is bliss, which is one, just as the egg-yolk of a multi-coloured peacock is only one. Know this truth by abiding in the state of Self.