Author Topic: Part 1 - Important Couplets From Vedanta Panchadasi By Sri Vidyaranya Swami  (Read 2765 times)


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Translated by Swami Swahananda Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai


3. The objects of knowledge, viz., sound, touch, etc., which are perceived in the waking state, are different from each other because of their peculiarities; but the consciousness of these, which is different from them, does not differ because of its homogeneity.

4. Similar is the case in the dream state. Here the perceived objects are transient and in the waking state they seem permanent. So there is difference between them.But the (perceiving) consciousness in both the states does not differ. It is homogeneous.

11. If the supreme bliss of the Self is not known, there cannot be the highest love for it. (But it is there). If it is known, there cannot be attraction for worldly objects.(That too is there). So we say, this blissful nature of the Self, though revealed, is not (strictly speaking) revealed.

15. Prakriti (i.e. primordial substance) is that in which there is the reflection of Brahman, that is pure consciousness and bliss and is composed of sattva, rajas and tamas (in a state of homogeneity). It is of two kinds.

16. When the element of sattva is pure, Prakriti is known as Maya; when impure
(being mixed up with rajas and tamas) it is called Avidya. Brahman, reflected in
Maya, is known as the omniscient Isvara, who controls Maya.

17. But the other (i.e. the Jiva, which is Brahman reflected in Avidya) is subjected to Avidya (impure sattva). The Jiva is of different grades due to (degrees of) admixture (of rajas and tamas with sattva). The Avidya (nescience) is the causal body. When the Jiva identifies himself with this causal body he is called Prajna.

18. At the command of Isvara (and) for the experience of Prajna the five subtle elements, ether, air, fire, water and earth, arose from the part of Prakriti in which tamas predominates.

19. From the sattva part of the five subtle elements of Prakriti arose in turn the five subtle sensory organs of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell.

20. From a combination of them all (i.e. sattva portions of the five subtle elements) arose the organ of inner conception called antahkarana. Due to difference of function it is divided into two. Manas (mind) is that aspect whose function is doubting and buddhi (intellect) is that whose functions are discrimination and determination.

21. From the rajas portion of the five elements arose in turn the organs of actions known as the organ of speech, the hands, the feet, and the organs of excretion and generation.

22. From a combination of them all (i.e. the rajas portions of the five subtle elements) arose the vital air (Prana). Again, due to difference of function it is divided into five. They are Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana and Vyana.

23. The five sensory organs, the five organs of action, the five vital airs, mind and intellect, all the seventeen together form the subtle body, which is called the Suksma or linga sarira.

24. By identifying himself with the subtle body (and thinking it to be his own), Prajna becomes known as Taijasa, and Isvara as Hiranyagarbha. Their difference is the one between the individual and the collective (i.e. one is identified with a single subtle body and the other with the totality of subtle bodies).

25. Isvara (as Hiranyagarbha) is called totality because of his sense of identification with all the subtle bodies (of the universe). The other (the Taijasa) is called ‘individual” because it lacks this knowledge (and is conscious only of his self, being identified with his own subtle body).

26. To provide the Jivas with objects of enjoyment and make the bodies fit for such
enjoyment, the all-powerful Isvara has made each of the (subtle) elements partake
of the nature of all others.

27. Dividing each element into two equal halves and one half of each again into four (equal parts) the Lord mixed the subtle elements so that each gross element thus formed should contain one half of its own peculiar nature and one eighth of that of each of the other four.

28. From these composite elements the cosmic egg arose, and from it evolved all the
worlds as well as all the objects of experience and the bodies in which the experience take place. When Hiranyagarbha identifies himself with the totality of gross bodies he is known as Vaisvanara; when Taijasas do so with individual gross bodies (e.g.) of the devas, men or lower animals, they are known as Visvas.

29. They see only external things and are devoid of the knowledge of their true inner
nature. They perform actions for enjoyment, and again they enjoy for performing

30. They go from birth to birth, as worms that have slipped into a river are swept from one whirlpool to another and never attain peace.

31. When the good deeds performed by them in past births bear fruit, the worms
enjoy rest being lifted from the river by a compassionate person and placed under
the shade of a tree on the bank.

32. Similarly, the Jivas (finding themselves in the whirlpool of samsara), receive the appropriate initiation from a teacher who himself has realised Brahman, and
differentiating the Self from its five sheaths attain the supreme bliss of release.

33. The five sheaths of the Self are those of the food, the vital air, the mind, the
intellect and bliss. Enveloped in them, it forgets its real nature and becomes subject to transmigration.

45. When the supreme Brahman superimposes on Itself Avidya, that is, sattva mixed
with rajas and tamas, creating desires and activities in It, then it is referred to as ‘thou’.

46. When the three mutually contradictory aspects of Maya are rejected, there
remains the one individual Brahman whose nature is existence, consciousness and
bliss. This is pointed out by the great saying 'That thou art’.

53. The finding out or discovery of the true significance of the identity of the
individual self and the Supreme with the aid of the great sayings (like Tattvamasi) is what is known as sravana. And to arrive at the possibility of its validity through
logical reasoning is what is called manana.

54. And, when by sravana and manana the mind develops a firm and undoubted conviction, and dwells constantly on the thus ascertained Self alone, it is called unbroken meditation (nididhyasana).

55. When the mind gradually leaves off the ideas of the meditator and the act of
meditation and is merged in the sole object of meditation. (viz., the Self), and is
steady like the flame of a lamp in a breezeless spot, it is called the super-conscious state (samadhi).


10. The various actions of man can be classified into five groups; speech, grasping,
movement, excretion and enjoyment of sexual intercourse. Action performed in
agriculture, commerce, service and so forth may be included into one or other of the

13. The mind enquires into the merits and defects of the objects which are perceived
by the senses. Sattva, rajas and tamas are its three constituents, for through them
the mind undergoes various modifications.

20. Differences are of three kinds: The difference of a tree from its leaves, flowers,fruits etc., is the difference within an object. The difference of one tree from another tree is the difference between objects of the same class. The difference of a tree from a stone is the difference between objects of different classes.

59. With Brahman as its basis, Maya creates the various objects of the world, just as
a variety of pictures are drawn on a wall by the use of different colours.



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Dear prasanth,

Nice summary of the first portion of Panchadasi.  Panchadasi is
named so, because it contains 15 Chapters.  While preliminary
chapters deal with differentiation of the Real principle, through
the process of differentiation of five elements, five sheaths, etc.,
Vidyaranya comes to the Atman or Kutastha from Chapter 8 and
then proceeds to describe the yoga of meditation, and the Self.
He talks about the bliss of the Self and the bliss of non duality
in the last few chapters.

I think, Brahman likes the number 5 though it is called Zero or
Poornam.  There are five elements, there are five sheaths, there
are five conative organs, there are five cognative organs all in
multiples of five.  Siva is also said to have five faces.  The sixth
face or Athomukam is Subrahmanya.  Mother is called Panchami,
Pancha bhutesi, Pancha sankyopa chaarini.

The differentiation i.e one half of X and one-fifth of all rest of the
four, is called Panchikaranam.

Thanks for the start of a new scripture.

Vidyaranya has also written Jivanmukti Viveka which should be
read after understanding Panchadasi. 

Arunachala Siva.


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Dear prasanth,

Actually the correct definition of Panchikaranam is the process
by which the gross elements are produced by combining half one
subtle element, with 1/8th of each of the other four subtle elements.

Sorry for the incorrect definition.

Arunachala Siva.


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The verses 53 to 57 describes the sravana, manana and nididhyasana
and says how it ends in samadhi.  But this samadhi is temporary
in that it actually explains savikalpa samadhi.  Because in Verse
56, Vidyaranya says about 'coming out of samadhi'.  It becoms Nirvikalpa Samadhi, only when the mind continues to be fixed in
Paramatman in the state of samadhi as a result of effort of will
mad prior to its achievement and helped by the merits of previous
births and the strong impression created through constant efforts.

As Bhagavan Ramana said that efforts are a must and there must
be merits of previous births.  For that matter even to desire the
Self and practice self inquiry or self surrender, one should have
the qualification of merits of previous births. 

These practices will result in a state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, subject
to of course, the grace of Atma. 

A state of a Jivan Mukta, which is Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samdhi needs
the knowledge of Truth, annihilation of the mind or thoughts and the effacement of latent impressions [vasanas].  These should be practiced simultaneously and continuously and not just one at a time.  This is so described by Vidyaranya in Jivan Mukti Viveka. 

Muruganar says in Verse 331 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:

All vices emerge from the desire for the false intoxicating pleasures
of sense objects, a desire that arises through forgetting the Self,
the very nature of happiness.  Therefore, plenitude of virtues
is only the tranquility, the experience of true Jnana that is attained
when the ego that has the delusion of revelling in sense objects
is destroyed by atma-vichara.

Thus, Atma Vichara alone, according to teachings of Bhagavan
Ramana is adequate to:

1. annihilation of the mind/thoughts
2. effacement of the latent impressions
3. knowledge of Truth.

Arunachala Siva. 


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Dear prasanth,

The state of a Jivan mukta in Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi [liberated
while living], like Bhagavan Ramana breaks most of the rules of Panchadasi.

Vasishta says to Sri Rama:

1.  He is said to be liberated-while-living to whom this world
of senses ceases to exist, although he is transacting with it in
the usual way, and to whom only the all-pervading consciousness
alone exists.

2.  He whose face neither beams in happiness nor becomes drowned
in sorrow and he whose body is maintained from whatever comes of its own accord, is said to be liberated while living.

3. He who is wide awake although in deep sleep, who has no
distinguished waking state, and whose knowledge is free from desires, is called a Jivan Mukta.

4. He who is absolutely pure at heart like the clear sky, although
responsive to the spurs of love, hate, fear and the like is called
a Jivan Mukta.

5.  He whose intellect is not tainted and whose inner self is not
affected by the feeling of "I am the doer" caused by egoism while
engaged or not in activities, is called a Jivan Mukta.

6. He who also neither perturbs the world, nor gets perturbed by the world, and he who is free from joy, anger and fear as well, is said
to be a Jivanmukta.

7.  He who is free from all worldly thoughts, although skilled in arts, is without any and who is, as it were, without a mind, although having one, is called a Jivanmukta.

8.  He who, although transacting with all sorts of sense objects, remains cool as if they are all concerned with someone else, and he who is self integrated into a whole, is said to be a Jivanmukta.

[Source: Yoga Vasishtam]

In fact, what sravana Bhagavan did:  Arunachalam.
What manana Bhagavan did: Arunachalam.
What nididhyasana Bhagavan did: Arunachalam.               
He was an ativarnasrami.  Hence He did not bother about any
of nimitta and naimitya karmas too.

Bhagavan Ramana has said in Verse 1 of Sri AAMM:

O Arunachala, you root out the ego of those who think
'Arunachala am I".

Arunachala Siva.


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Dear prasanth,

II. 59

Maya which rises from Brahman is the creator of the worlds, and all
their magic shows.  She is the cause and effect of all that is in
the world.  She is responsible for the five activities of all living
beings. Karya Karana nirmukta and panchakritya parayana.. says
Sri Lalita Sahasranamam.  The unchangeable Brahman appears
to be changing due to Maya.  She is at the same time, graceful
to guide the seekers of Truth to Brahman. 

Bhagavan Ramana says in Sri Arunachala Nava Mani Maalai,
Verse 1:

Though He is ever unmoving One, yet in the temple hall of
Thillai [Chidambaram], His dance of bliss, He dances before
the Mother moveless there. Now that Power [Sakti] withdrawn
within, His form here moveless, still, He soars as Aruna Hill.

[Tr. Prof. K. Swaminathan.]

Arunachala Siva.