Author Topic: Part 2 - Important Couplets From Vedanta Panchadasi By Sri Vidyaranya Swami  (Read 3015 times)


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Translated by Swami Swahananda Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai


3. The body which is produced from the seed and blood of the parents, which are in turn formed out of the food eaten by them, grows by food only. It is not the Self, for it does not exist either before birth or after death.

5. The vital airs which pervade the body and give power and motion to the eyes and
other senses constitute the vital sheath. It is not the Self because it is devoid of

6. That which gives rise to the ideas of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ with regard to one’s body,house and so forth, is the mind sheath. It is not the Self because it has desires and is moved by pleasure and pain, is subject to delusion and is fickle.

7. The intellect which has the reflection of pure consciousness, and which pervades the whole body up to the tips of the fingers in the waking state but disappears in deep sleep, is known as the intellect sheath. It also is not the Self because it too is changeable.

8. The inner organ functions as the agent and also the instrument. Hence though
one, it is treated as two, viz., the intellect sheath and the mind sheath. Their fields of operation are the inner world and the outer world respectively.

9. There is a position or function (of the intellect) which, at the time of enjoying the fruits of good actions, goes a little farther inward and catches the reflection of the bliss and at the end of this enjoyment, merges in deep sleep. (This is what is known as the sheath of bliss).

10. This bliss sheath also cannot be the Self because it is temporal and
impermanent. That bliss which is the source of this reflection is the Self; for it is
eternal and immutable.

11. (Objection): By granting that the sheaths beginning with that of food (body) and
ending in that of bliss (joy or sleep) are not the Self, yet (when they are negated),
no further object remains to be experienced.

12. (Reply): True, bliss sheath etc., are experienced and not anything else. Yet who
can deny that by which these are experienced ?

13. As the Self is Itself of the nature of experience only. It cannot be an object of experience. Since there is no experiencer nor any experience other than It, the Self is unknowable – not because It does not exist but because It cannot be an object of experience.


2. The Svetasvatara Upanishad says: ‘Know Maya as Prakriti and Brahman associated with Maya as the great Ishvara’ (who imparts existence and consciousness to it and guides it). It is He who creates the world.

3. The Aitareya Upanishad says that before creation there was Atman only, and He thought, ‘Let me create the world’, and then He created the world by His will (to create).

4. The Taittiriya Upanishad says that from the Self or Brahman alone arose in succession the whole creation including Akasa, (ether), air, fire, water, earth,vegetation, food and bodies.

5. The Taittiriya Upanishad says that desiring ‘I shall be many, so I shall create’, the Lord meditated; and thus created the world.

20. Objects created by Ishvara (e.g., gems) do not alter; they remain the same. But
gems may affect different people differently according to their mental states.

21. One man may feel happy on obtaining a gem, whereas another may feel disappointed at failing to obtain it. And a man uninterested in it, may only look on and feel neither happy nor disappointed.

22. The Jiva creates these three feelings of happiness, disappointment or
indifference with regard to the gem, but the nature of the gem as created by Ishvara
remains the same throughout.

23. Through personal relationships, one and the same woman appears differently as
a wife, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law, a cousin and a mother; but she herself
remains unchanged.

24. (Objection): These different relationships may be seen, but no changes in the
woman’s appearance are seen to result from other people’s ideas about her.

25. (Reply): Not so. The woman has a subtle body as well as a physical body
composed of flesh etc. Although other people’s ideas about her may not affect her
physical body, yet they can change her mental state.

27. (Reply): True, Acharya Shankara, Sureshvara and others acknowledge the fact that the mind assumes the form of the external object with which it comes into contact and modifies that form to suit its purposes.

29. Or just as sunlight assumes the forms of the objects which it illumines, so the
mind assumes the forms of the objects which it perceives.

33. In dream, when external (material) objects are absent, man is bound by the intellect to pleasure and pain, although outer objects are not perceived. In deep sleep, in a faint and in the lower Samadhi (when the mental functions are temporarily suspended), no pleasure or pain is felt inspite of the proximity of outer objects.

34. A liar told a man whose son had gone to a far-off country that the boy was dead,although he was still alive. The father believed him and was aggrieved.

35. If, on the other hand, his son had really died abroad but no news had reached
him, he would have felt no grief. This shows that the real cause of a man’s bondage
is his own mental world.

38. (Objection): If the mind causes bondage by giving rise to the phenomenal world,
the world could be made to disappear by controlling the mind. So only Yoga needs to
be practised; what is the necessity of knowledge of Brahman ?

39. (Reply): Though by controlling the mind duality can be made to disappear
temporarily the complete and final destruction of the mental creation is not possible
without a direct knowledge of Brahman. This is proclaimed by the Vedanta.

45. ‘An intelligent person, who has studied the scriptures and has repeatedly
practised what they enjoin should renounce them after knowing the supreme
Brahman, just as a man throws aside a flaming torch at the end of his journey’.
[Amritanada Upanishad]

46. ‘An intelligent person, who has studied the scriptures and has practised what
they enjoin should discard them after experiencing Brahman as his Self, just as a
man discards the husk when he has found the grain’. [Amrita-Bindu Upanishad]

47. ‘A wise man, having experienced Brahman as his Self, should keep his higher intuitive faculty (prajna) united with Brahman. He should not oppress his mind with many words, for they are a mere waste of energy’. [Brihadaranyaka Upanishad]

48. It has been clearly told in the Shruti: ‘Know that One and give up other talks’ [Mundaka Upanishad] and ‘A wise man should restrain his speech and keep it within the mind’. [Katha Upanishad]

52. You may say: Let there be no liberation in life; I am satisfied if there is no birth anymore. We reply: Then (if the desires remain), you will have births also. So be satisfied with heaven only.

53. If you say that the pleasures of heaven are defective, having waning and
gradation, and so are to be renounced, then why don’t you give up this source of all
evils, the passions ?

55. Sri Sureshvara says that one who pretends to be a knower of Brahman and yet lives without moral restraint is like a dog that eats unclean things.[Naiskarmyasiddhi-IV-62]

66. If sometimes owing to actions performed in previous births the mind of a
reflective man is distracted by desire, then it may be brought back to a peaceful
state by the constant practice of spiritual meditations.


2. The one consciousness which is in Brahma, Indra and other gods, as well as in
human beings, horses, cows, etc., is Brahman. So the consciousness in me also is


7. On consciousness are superimposed various forms. In each of them there is a reflection, i.e., a special function of consciousness. They are known as the Jivas and are subject to the process of birth and death.

12. Therefore one should always enquire into the nature of the world, the individual Self and the supreme Self. When the ideas of Jiva and Jagat (world) are negated, the pure Atman alone remains.

13. By negation it does not mean that the world and Jiva cease to be perceptible to
the senses, it means the conviction of their illusory character. Otherwise people
would be automatically liberated in deep sleep or in a faint.

14. ‘The supreme Self alone remains’ also means a conviction about Its reality and
not non-perceiving of the world. Otherwise there would be no such thing as liberation
in life.

69. The Buddhists believe that the Atman consists of the momentary states of the intellect, because the intellect, endowed with the faculty of understanding, is the basis of the mind and through it the mind grasps matter.

70. The internal organ (Antahkarana) has two kinds of vrittis, viz., the ‘I’-
consciousness, and ‘this’ consciousness. The first constitutes the intellect, the
subject-consciousness and the second the mind, the object-consciousness.

75. Quoting the Shruti, ‘In the beginning all this was non-existent (Asat)’, the Buddhists say that perception and the objects of perception are the creations of illusion.

76. The Vedantins refute them by saying that there can be no illusion without a
substratum which is not an illusion. The existence of the Atman must be admitted.
Even the void has a witness; if not, it would be impossible to say, ‘There is a void’.

94. The first of the sheaths, the bliss-sheath which persists in the state of deep sleep and which does not manifest consciousness fully, is taken as Atman by the followers of Prabhakara and some logicians. What they state to be the nature of the Self, is in fact, characteristic of the bliss-sheath.

95. The followers of Bhatta hold that consciousness is hidden in Atman and that its
nature is both consciousness and unconsciousness. This is inferred from the fact of
the remembrance of sound sleep by the awakened man.

96. ‘I became unconscious and slept’, such feeling expresses the memory of that inert state which he actually experienced. But this remembrance of unconsciousness in deep sleep would not be possible unless there were at the same time a conscious element.



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Dear prasanth,


A Brahma Jnani is a totally uninterested in pleasures and pains,
happiness and sorrow, and good and bad.  He is without any
positive and negative emotions. He takes things as they come
in life, neither showing anxiety not despair.

Once Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni told Bhagavan Ramana: "O
Bhagavan!  For Atma Vicharam, we do not need anything, if
we get Rs 2.00 per month [those years!] for our food and other
minimum expenses."  Bhagavan Ramana smiled and said: "Nayana!
We do not need anything, excepting the body."

For a sincere seeker, only this body alone is adequate to do sadhana.  For a Brahma Jnani, even the body is a liability.

Paul Brunton asked Bhagavan Ramana:

"For atma jnana, should I leave all possession?" 

Bhagavan Ramana said: "Leave the possessor too."

Brahma Jnanam is attained only when the ego, the possessor
is also burnt away.  Vamana came to Mahabali and asked for
three steps of land.  Mahabali was ready.  He was ready to
leave all the possesions. No interest or disappointment. But
Vamana became Trivikrama and then asked for a space for his
third step.  Where is the space?  Mahabali gave his head and told
Vamana to place his foot.  This is leaving the possessor too!

Arunachala Siva.   


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Dear prasanth,


Bhagavan Ramana quotes this story in Talks No. 276

Muruganar says in Verse 669 of Guru Vachaka Kovai [Tr. David Godman]:-

The creation of God does not bind the jiva.  Only the creation of
the Jiva, his mind's imaginings, is bondage.  Alas!  While the
father of the son who was dead rejoiced, the father of the living
son wept.  This is the proof.

Kaivalya Navaneetam 2.55, 2.56 and 2.57 also covers this point.

Arunachala Siva.       


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Dear prasanth,

IV. 66

This is due to vasanas.  Freedom from vasanas come only when
one practices Self abidance at all times.  Muruganar says in
Guru Vachaka Kovai, Verse 675:

You should go beyond meditating at specific periods of the day
and continuously practice Self abidance, at all times.  This shaving
of the hairs, which are itching vasanas, so that they do not sprout
as thoughts through the brain is the excellent and true shaving of the head that is practiced by sannyasins.  [Tr.David Godman].

Bhagavan Ramana says this in Verse 85 of Sri Arunachala Akshara
Mana Maalai.

The power of vasanas is tremendous.  Muruganar says in Verse
155 of Guru Vachaka Kovai [Tr. David Godman]:

Among the few rare jivas who practice Self abidance, those who are
not able to remain firm on the river bank, which is the state of the
Self, will be hurled by those mischievous boys, the vasanas, into the swirling river, the life of samsara, and will suffer.

Arunachala Siva.


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Dear prasanth,

IV. 47-48

Bhagavan Ramana was a guru of few words.  All that He talked
in His 54 years in Tiruvannamalai, are confined to three books.
Talks, Day by Day and Letters from Sri Ramanasramam.  Even
here, Day by Day and Letters contain many repetitions.  Whenver
some devotee asked a question, He would keep silent for sometime
and then reply in a sentence or two.  Very rarely, when He narrated
some stories, He would speak at length.  Most of the answers would be to ask the questioner:  "Who is having this question?  Who is the
doubter?  Doubt the doubter."   For many questions, He would answer after a couple of days only. 

As regards His teachings, these are confined to Stuti Panchakam,
Upadesa Saram and ULLadu Narpadu.  Brevity in speech and writings was His virtue.  Silence was His essential teaching.

Muruganar says in Guru Vachaka Kovai:

Verse 525:  In direct contrast to revealing the truth, words only
cloud it, making it dim.  Therefore, simultaneously restrain word and thought in the Heart in order that the supreme reality which is concealed by these words may shine spontaneously.

Verse 526:  Do not subject your mind to the slavery of noisy words and arguments.  Through a sattvic mind, enter the Heart, end all
concepts, know your nature, and realize the truth.

Muruganar again says in Padamalai:

Verse 1257:  Consciousness, one's real nature, is extremely
subtle, so subtle that it cannot be known by speech, mind or intellect.

Verse 1258:  It is therefore proper and necessary that they [speech, mind and intellect] should first be reformed through reflecting upon the grace-consciousness of God.

Arunachala Siva.       


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IV. 66:

How do the vasanas occur?  These are from the latencies of previous
births.  They are very subtle. 

Muruganar says in Guru Vachaka Kovai:

Verse 84:  The wonderful scene that manifests in a fireworks
display is already present in the unlit fireworks, all the gross
and subtle scenes that manifest through the brain are already
present within the Heart, in the form of the ancient tale of vasanas
that manifest in such a way that they can be seen externally.  You
should clearly understand this in your mind.
[Tr. David Godman]

In Talks No.616, Bhagavan Ramana says:

The ahamkara shoots up like a rocket and instantaneously spreads
out as the universe.

In Talks No. 384 Bhagavan Ramana says:

The good tendencies and bad ones are concomitant - the one
cannot exist without the other.  May be that the one class predominates.  Good tendencies are cultivated and they must
also be finally destroyed by Jnana.

Guru Vachaka Kovai Verse 154 says:

Among the few rare jivas who practice self abidance, those who are not able to remain firm on the river bank, which is the state of the Self, will be hurled by those mischievous boys, the vasanas, into
the swirling river, the life of samasra, and will suffer.

Guru Vachaka Kovai Verse 676 says:

Like the thorn that is useful for removing a troublesome, irritating
and sharp thorn that has painfully and deeply penetrated the sole
of the foot, the extremely pure thoughts, after digging out the impure thoughts from the Heart, also become reduntant.

[Tr. David Godman]

Bhagavan Ramana says the same thing in Verse 85 of Sri AAMM.
"Shaving of the head" means destruction of vasanas.     

Arunachala Siva. 


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This is from Aitreya Upanishad 3.1.3.

Everything is Consciousness.  It is all pervading, eternal and
One without a second.   

Bhagavan Ramana describes this as Arunachala, Heart and I.
In Verse 2 of Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam, He says:

As on a screen a wondrous picture,
On You, fair Hill, is all the world
Formed and sustained and then withdrawn,
Ever as "I" in the Heart you dance,
Hence are you called the Heart.

   - Tr. Prof. K. Swaminathan.

Again, Bhagavan Ramana says this in Verse 5 of Ekatma Panchakam:

The Self alone, the Sole Reality,
Exists for ever,
If of yore the First of Teachers,
Revealed it through unbroken silence
Say who can reveal it in spoken words?       

    - Tr. Prof. K. Swaminathan.

Arunachala Siva.


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Chapter VI - Chitradeepam

Verses 7 and 8 are excellent ones.

Bhagavan Ramana has said the contents of Verse 7 in His Sri Arunachala Ashtakam, Verses 5 and 6:

6. Like the string that holds together the gems, in a necklace,
You it is that penetrate and bind all beings and the various religions.
If, like a gem that is cut and polished, the separate mind is whetted on the grindstone of the pure, universal Mind, it will acquire the light of your Grace and shine like a Ruby whose brightness is not flawed
by any other object.  When once the light of the Sun has fallen on a
sensitive plate, will the plate register another picture?  Apart from
you, O Aruna Hill, bright, auspicious does any other thing exist?

7. You alone exist, O Heart, the radiance of Awareness, in You a power mysterious dwells, a power without You is nothing.  From It
[this power of manifestation] there proceeds, along with a perceiver, a series of subtle shadowy thoughts which, lit by the reflected light
of mind amid the whirl of prarabdha, appear within as a shadowy
spectacle of the world and appear within the five senses as a film
is projected through a lens.  Whether perceived or unperceived, these thoughts are nothing apart from you.  O Hill of Grace!

Verse 8 of Chitradeepam speaks about the ordinary worldly people,
who think that the world as a picture in a canvas are only real and
they do not apprehend the canvas.  Bhagavan Ramana has used
the metaphor of cinema screen to highlight the same idea.  The
cinema screen alone is Real, before, during and after the film show.
He has also said the example of a kerchief where the cloth alone
is real and all the lines and colours on the kerchief are superimpositions.

Arunachala Siva.


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Chitradeepa - Verses 12,13 and 14:-

The world and the jiva are said to be unreal, in the sense that
they are only illusory.  The world's disappearance is experienced
by everyone in deep sleep.  The Jiva [Bhagavan calls it as only
mind], also disappears in deep sleep.  Vidyaranya says here, that
for a Brahma Jnani, the world does not disappear totally.  It is
very much there for a Brahma Jnani, who is in Sahaja Stithi.  That is
in Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi.  The world also disappears only when
he attains videha kaivalyam or Brahma Nirvanam.

The world [space] and time are not apart from us.  We alone exist.
In other words, the Self alone is the One without a second.  The
world and time are only manifestations from the Self.  This is described by Bhagavan Ramana in Verse 16 of ULLadu Narpadu.

Muruganar says in Guru Vachaka Kovai, Verse 44:

The world does not exist in the state of ultimate truth, Paramartha.  Its appearance, its apparently existing nature in maya, is like the
imagined appearance of a snake in a rope, a thief in a wooden post,
and water in a mirage.  Their essential nature is delusion.
[Tr. David Godman].

But, the world as Brahman is real.  This is what is experienced by
a Brahma Jnani.

Bhagavan Ramana says in Day by Day entry, dated 7th April 1946:

....According to advaita, the world as Brahman is reality, the world
and reality are not different....

Muruganar again says in Guru Vachaka Kovai, Verse 785:

O heart, do not get deluded by regarding as real, through the
rising of the ego, the imaginary objects that appear separate
from you.  Instead, know and realize your source and subside into the Heart through Jnana Vichara.  If you do so, you will experience
as your own nature the non dual consciousness, the Supreme, in
which everything exists as the Self.

[Tr. David Godman]   

Bhagavan Ramana says the same thing in Verse 5 of Sri Arunachala

Arunachala Siva.