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.