Thursday, April 21, 2016



extracts of Adisankaracharya's book Sata Sloki.pdf

"Purity of mind is the essential pre-requisite for the attainment of Self-realization."
~ Adisankaracharya


The Self (Atman), which is of the nature of sentiency, consciousness and bliss, is well known as it is experienced in all the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep. It is what makes the body, mind and organs function. In spite of knowing this clearly, it is a wonder that man, because of delusion caused by Avidya (ignorance of his real nature) looks upon his own body as well as that of others, which is composed externally of bones, muscles, bone marrow, flesh, blood, membrane, skin and lymph and which is filled inside with excreta, urine and phlegm as the Self and identifies his perishable body with himself.

(Discrimination, Dispassion, Renunciation, Detachment)
Discrimination and Dispassion (Viveka and Vairagya)
The essential pre-requisite for the dawn of Self-knowledge is dispassion. This is of two kinds according to Sage Patanjali's Yoga sutras, namely, inferior dispassion and superior dispassion
The inferior type of dispassion arises as a result of the realization that attachment to one's house, friends, son, possessions and the like culminates only in sorrow. 
The superior type of dispassion arises from discrimination between what is eternal, namely the Atma and what is perishable, namely the body-mind complex.
Dispassion and Renunciation
When this superior dispassion arises, all worldly objects and pleasures become as revolting as vomit. One who has attained control over the mind as a result of such dispassion is fit to renounce the world. This renunciation not only means leaving his home, but also giving up attachment to his body. 
Everything in this world, being only name and form, is unreal from the absolute point of view. All things appear to have reality and function in various ways only because of the substratum, Brahman (consciousness), on which they are superimposed. This universe should be covered by that supreme Being, just as the illusory snake is covered by the rope on the recognition that what is in front is only a rope (and not a snake). By renunciation alone, can the unsurpassed bliss of Brahman be enjoyed and so one should not covet impermanent things like wealth and possessions. 

Fire does not burn wet firewood, but if the firewood has been dried by the heat in the atmosphere in summer, then fire will burn it. 
Similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge cannot enter the mind of a person who is deeply attached to his family, wealth and possessions, even if he has acquired considerable religious merit (punya) by the performance of Vedic rituals, by begetting a virtuous son and by using his wealth for noble purposes. 
Only if he has developed strong detachment can Self-knowledge dawn in his mind. Therefore the scriptures declare that the acquisition of pure detachment is essential for a person who seeks Self-realization.

 A person who yearns for liberation (Mumukshu), who has already acquired the preceding three pre-requisites, becomes first a Jivanmukta (one who is liberated even while alive). Thereafter he continues in the body till the Prarabdha karma* which gave rise to the present body is exhausted. When his body falls he becomes a Videhamukta*. 
Both Jivanmukti and Videhamukti are attained only by the compassionate glance of the Guru, by repeated practice of Asana, Pranayama, etc and by constant meditation on the Self. 
Repeated practice is of two kinds, by the body and by the mind
That by the body consists of Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara** (pratyahara is also practice of the mind and is related to Dama but also to Sama). 
That by the mind consists of Sama, the control of the mind, Dama, control of the sense organs, Uparati (turning the mind away from desire for sensual enjoyment), Titiksha (patiently bear the pairs of opposites), Sraddha (unshakable faith in the existence of Brahman, in the teachings of Guru and scriptures, and faith in one's own Self) and Samadhana (fixing the mind on Brahman or the Self, without allowing it to run towards objects), Hearing, reflection and meditation on the Self. Sravana is hearing of Srutis, Manana is thinking and reflecting, Nididhyasana is constant and profound meditation. on the Self (Atman). These constitute the Jnana yoga.


The Jivatma (individual soul) is the reflection of Brahman in the mind which is made up of the Sattva parts of the five subtle elements. 
This Jivatma is in essence Sattvic and is associated with the Prana or vital force, which is the power of action (Kriyasakti). Though the Jivatma (individual soul) is enveloped by the body, mind and sense organs, it is not in reality tainted by the characteristics of the body such as youth, old age, etc. (These qualities are wrongly attributed to the Jiva because of ignorance of its real nature). The Jiva is an exalted being (since it is really Brahman itself) and has the capacity to become liberated from the apparent bondage which does not really exist, but is wrongly attributed to it. 

This liberation is achieved by the individual who has a subtle intellect (pure sattvic), who concentrates his mind on Brahman, the only Reality (by withdrawing the mind and senses from all external objects) and who practises the disciplines such as Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara and Jnanayoga.


Liberation is the realization of the identity of the Jiva and Brahman by the removal of the identification with the body-mind complex. This is attained when the mind takes on the form of Brahman. The mind modified in the form of Brahman continues till the fall of the body on the exhaustion of the Prarabdhakarma. The individual in this state is a Jivanmukta. Thereafter he continues in the body as a Jivanmukta, one who is liberated even while living on this earth, till his Prarabdha karma is exhausted, when his body falls.  When the body falls he becomes a Videhamukta.


*Videhamukta and Praarabdha Karma
 Karma in the sense of results of actions performed, is divided into three categories . (1) sanchita karma—the accumulated results of actions performed in past births, (2) praarabdha karma-- those results of past actions which have given rise to the present body and (3) aagaami karma—the results of actions performed in the present birth. 
On the dawn of Self-knowledge the first category is completely destroyed along with the third category acquired upto the time of attainment of knowledge. After the dawn of Self-knowledge any action performed does not produce any result in the form of merit or demerit. The second category is not destroyed on the attainment of Self-knowledge, but has to be exhausted only by being actually experienced. On the exhaustion of this category of karma the body of the enlightened person falls and the jivanmukta becomes a videhamukta.  

**Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara-- These are three limbs of Patanjali's Yoga. They are, respectively, posture for meditation, regulation of vital force and control of the senses.

The eight limbs of of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga are:  
  1. Yama (self-restraint),  
  2. Niyama (religious observances), 
  3. Asana (posture),  
  4. Pranayama (restraint of breath),  
  5. Pratyahara (abstraction of senses),   
  6. Dharana (concentration), 
  7. Dhyana (meditation) 
  8. Samadhi (super-conscious state). 
 Read more about Patanjali's Yoga here: RAJA YOGA By Swami Sivananda