Author Topic: Part 5 - Important Couplets From Vedanta Panchadasi By Sri Vidyaranya Swami  (Read 2878 times)


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Translated by Swami Swahananda Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai

244. After a man has realised the nature of the rope, the trembling caused by the
erroneous idea of the snake disappears gradually only and the idea of the snake still
sometimes haunts him when he sees a rope in darkness.

247. In the example already cited, the tenth man, who may have been crying and
beating his head in sorrow, stops lamenting on realising that the tenth is not dead;
but the wounds caused by beating his head take a month gradually to heal.

255. Let the ignorant people of the world perform worldly actions and desire to possess wives, children and wealth. I am full of supreme bliss. For what purpose should I engage myself in worldly concerns ?

279. The realm of duality, destroyed by knowledge, may still be perceived by the
senses, but such perception does not affect illumination. A living rat cannot kill a cat;then how can it do so when dead ?


21. That consciousness which witnesses the interval between the disappearance and the rise of successive Vrittis and the period when they do not exist and which is itself unmodifiable and immutable, is called Kutastha.

37. The Upanishad says that the Self (Atman) thought: ‘This body with the organs
cannot live without me’, and so cleaving the centre of the skull it entered into the
body and started experiencing the changeable states (e.g., wakeful, dreaming etc.,).

39. The Self becomes the ego identifying itself with the body composed of the five
elements and when the body perishes (once for all) the ego too perishes with it.
Thus said Yajnavalkya to Maitreyi.

40. ‘This Self is not perishable’ – thus the Shruti differentiates the Kutastha from
everything else. ‘The Self is associationless’ – such statements sing the everdetached state of Kutastha.

41. The passage which says that the body only dies and not the Jiva does not mean
that he is released but only that he transmigrates.

43. A man may be mistaken for the stump of a tree; but the notion of the stump is destroyed when the man is known to be a man. Similarly, when the Jiva knows ‘I am Brahman’, his notion ‘I am Buddhi (the ego-consciousness in the mind)’ is destroyed.

48. The consciousness, the substratum on which the illusion of Chidabhasa together
with the body and the sense organs is superimposed, is known as Kutastha in

57-58. As the support of the unreal world, its nature is existence; as it cognises all insentient objects, its nature is consciousness; and as it is always the object of love,its nature is bliss. It is called Shiva, the infinite, being the means of revelation of all objects and being related to them as their substratum.

63. When we sleep, our dreams create even Jiva and Ishvara. What wonder is there then that the Great Maya creates them in the waking state ?


14. After indirectly knowing the one indivisible homogeneous Brahman from the books on Vedanta, one should meditate on or think repeatedly ‘I am Brahman’.

15. Without realising Brahman to be one’s own Self, the general knowledge of Him
derived through the study of the scriptures, viz., ‘Brahman is’, is here called indirect knowledge, just as our knowledge of the forms of Vishnu etc., is called.

16. One may have knowledge of Vishnu from scriptures as having four arms etc., but if one does not have a vision of Him, he is said to have only indirect knowledge,inasmuch as he has not seen Him with his eyes.

18. From the scripture a man may have a conception of Brahman as existence,
consciousness and bliss but he cannot have a direct knowledge of Brahman unless
Brahman is cognised as the inner witness in his own personality.

33. If a person does not realise the Self even after practising till death, he will surely realise it in a future life when all the obstacles will have been eliminated.

34. Knowledge will arise either in this birth or the next, says the author of the
Brahma Sutras. The Shruti also says that there are many who listen to the teachings
on non-duality and yet do not realise in this life.

35. By virtue of the practice of spiritual enquiry in a previous birth, Vamadeva had realisation even while in his mother’s womb. Such results are also seen in the case of studies.

36. In spite of reading many times a boy may not be able to memorise something,but sometimes, next morning, without any further study, he remembers all that he has read.

47. Because of his practice of enquiry such a Yogi enters into the heaven of the
meritorious and then if he is not freed from desires, he is born again in a pious and
prosperous family.



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Dear prasanth,

Verses 255 and 256 are depicting the feeling of a Jivan mukta.
The supreme bliss is more than adequate for him.  Why should
he do karmas?  What should he desire?  Things that are required
for his life will come automatically.

As Yoga Vasishta says:

"O great minded One, just as pearls go to decorate the best bamboo, [flute], so the pure, illuminating knowledge go to him quickly,
whose present birth is the last one.  As the fair ladies resort to
inner apartments of a palace, so qualities like magnanimity, cordiality, friendship, benevolence, emancipation and intelligence,
always resort to such a yogi.  All people go after him who is sweet
by nature and charming by behavior, just as the wild animals of the forest go after the sweet note of the flute.

For such a person, the liberation is not a posthumous affair.

Arunachala Siva.   


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Dear prasanth,

You have not selected Verses 258 and 259 of Chapter VII.

258:  I have no desire to sleep or beg for alms, nor do I do so.
Nor do I perform the acts of bathing or ablution.  The onlookers
imagine these things in me.  What have I do with their imaginations?

259:  Seeing a bush of red ganja berries from a distance one may
suppose that there is fire but such an imaginary fire does not affect
the bush.  So the worldly duties and qualities attributed to me by other doe not affect me.   

Once there was an elderly devotee, who fell seriously ill during his stay in the Asrmam, and he was placed in a cottage.  He had serious breathing problem with phlegm choking the chest.  He was coughing
terribly.  The other devotees thought that that man would die. They
requested Bhagavan Ramana to come and see him.  Bhagavan
did not agree for a day or two and then He went and saw the patient.  He touched his chest and the patient wanted to get up
and in the process, he coughed and the phlegm and slimy saliva
fell on the chest of Bhagavan Ramana.  Bhagavan Ramana held him close to His chest for a while and then left.  Attendants and devotees rushed to Bhagavan Ramana, whether they could give sopa and towel for a wash.  Bhagavan Ramana simply wiped the dirt on His chest with His hands and put it on His head and came back to the room!

The patient passed away peacefully after some time.

Arunachala Siva.           


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Chapter VIII - Kutastha Deepam:

Verse 39: The Self becomes the ego identifying itself with the body
composed of the five elements and when the body perishes once for all, the ego too perishes with it.  Thus said Yajnavalkya to Maitreyi.

I am not sure, perhaps the translation in English is not accurate.
Bhagavan Ramana says that the mind [ego] upon death, carries
the prana with it and transmigrates. Of course, Verse 41 gives
some more clarity.  If we take Bhagavan Ramana's Who am I?
the Jiva is nothing but mind/body complex.

I checked up Brahadaranyaka Upanishad wherefrom this has been
taken.  There, Verse IV.5.13 reads as:

As a lump of salt is without interior or exterior, entire, and purely
saline in taste, even so is the Self without interior or exterior,
entire, and Pure Intelligence alone.  The self comes out as a separate entity from these elements and this separatenesss is destroyed with them.  After attaining this oneness it has no more
particular consciousness.  This is what I say, my dear. So said

Here, the verse mentions about particular consciousness [Jiva or ego] and the Pure Intelligence [Atma, the Self].

Arunachala Siva.       


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Verses 58-58 of Trupti Deepam:

Brahman or Sivam is called Sthanu.  Pillar.  Sivam is the pillar
on whose support is the beam and the roof.  But Sivam needs
not support for Itself.  In Sri Rudram, Siva is called Sthanu.  Om
Sthanuve namah:  Bhagavan Ramana uses the words "Natta Thoon"
the firmly planted pillar for Arunachala.  He says in Verse 6 of
Sri Arunachala Padigam:

Lord of my life!  I am ever at Thy Feet, like a frog which clings
to the stem of the lotus.  Make me instead a honeybee which
from the blossom of the Heart, sucks the sweet honey of Pure
Consciousness.  Then I shall have deliverance  If I am lost while
clinging to Thy lotus feet, it will for Thee a standing column [pillar]
of ignominy.  Oh, blazing pillar of light, called Arunachala!  O wide
expanse of grace, more subtle than ether!

Arunachala is the standing pillar of effulgence.
It is Brahman.
It supports the lives of the beings in the worlds.
If It does not support me, then I shall call him as the standing
   pillar of ignominy.
But I am like a frog on the stem of lotus.  How can the frog ever
taste the sweet honey of lotus?  Make me a honeybee.

The pillar example [the support, substratum, Brahman] is used
in two ways.  Brahman is the support of all the worlds, like a
pillar to the beam and roof called the world.  But if that Pillar
stands aloof, then what will happen to the beam and roof, to the
living beings of the world?

Bhagavan Ramana also said that the bramhachari is one who always
takes the support of Brahman.  Not just an bachelor. 

Arunachala Siva.   


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Verse 14 of Chapter IX, Dhyana Deepam, speaks about indirect knowledge.  The verse says that after indirectly knowing the one
indivisible homogeneous Brahman from the books on Vedanta, one
should meditate on or think repeatedly "I am Brahman."

However Bhagavan Ramana never approved this paroksha jnana, or indirect knowledge.  It is not a true knowledge.  But the world at
large only go through this indirect way, that is, reading scriptures,
etc., and then trying to attain Jnanam.  Bhagavan Ramana realized the Self without any knowledge of scriptures.  His way was direct.
Investigating the true "I" which is transcendental to mind.

Muruganar says in Verse 531 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:

The intense Jnana that dispels the false delusion arises only
through inquiry into the reality that abides in the Heart.  Be mindful
that a thorough inquiry into lucid scriptural texts is like the picture
of a bottle gourd drawn on a paper -- it can't be used to cook a
delicious curry.

Muruganar says in Verse 532 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:

Can the Jiva assuage its hunger and be satisfied by eating a food
cooked over a picture of a blazing fire?  In the same way, know that the peace-bliss of the Self and the ending of misery exist only in
Jnana experience that arises when the ego enters the Heart and perishes.  It is not in the knowledge of words.

A little later in the chapter Vidyaranya speaks about indirect knowledge in a different way.  In Verse 15, he says:  Without realizing Brahman to be one's own Self, the general knowledge
of Him derived through the study of scriptures, viz., "Brahman is"
is here called the indirect knowledge just as our knowledge of the forms of Vishnu etc., is called.

This type of worship or Upasana is also an indirect knowledge that
leads to enlightenment.  Bhagavan Ramana says that Upasana
is not inferior but it should go hand in hand with inquiry.

Muruganar says in Verse 728 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:     

If one were to tell the truth [one would say that] both the divine
grace of God and the inquiry "Who am I?", which is the means to abide in the Heart, are mutually supportive and trustworthy aids that simultaneously convey the aspirant towards the state of union with the Self, the Supreme.

[Tr. of GVK Verses - David Godman]

Bhagavan Ramana calls this as Para bhakti, supreme devotion.
He explains this in Verse 9 of Upadesa Saram:

Abidance in pure Being
Transcending thought through love intense
Is the very essence
Of Supreme Devotion.

[Tr. Prof. K. Swaminathan]

Arunachala Siva.     


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Verse 35 of Chapter IX - Dhyana Deepam:

By virtue of the practice of spiritual inquiry in a previous birth,
Vamadeva had realization even while in his mother's womb.  Such
results are also seen in the case of studies.

Bhagavan Ramana used to say that like merits and demerits, the
spiritual practices are also carried over, in case of a rebirth and a
person need not start afresh, though it may seem so.  Regarding scriptural knowledge and reading of books, Bhagavan Ramana has
said that He might have read them already in His previous births.
Though He did not mention that He might have also done self
inquiry in the previous births, it seems He might have also done
that in His previous births.  That is why, He could realize Brahman within say 15 minutes of 'death experience' in Madurai house.

Brahmasri Nochur Venkataraman says that spiritual knowledge
does not need even upadesa in a language.  When Narada gave
upadesa to Kayalu, while she was pregnant, she fell into sleep but the child in the womb, Prahlada heard it.  What language can a child in the womb know?  In case of potent mantras, mere sound would be sufficient and one need not know and understand the language.  That is why, Bhagavan in His times in Tiruvannamalai, allowed the non brahmins too to listen to Veda chanting, though they are not permitted to recite them.  When Bhagavan Ramana touched Cow Lakshmi with loving words, what language did the cow understand?  How did she attain liberation?  So inquiry or meditation does not need a language and mere sounds from a Guru is adequate.
Sri Sankara says that his guru [Govinda Bhagavadpada] told him:
Sivoham, Sivoham.  Though he did not understand that it would confer him Siva-state, he says, he continued to meditate on that
and he became Siva.  [See Dasa Sloki]

Arunachala Siva.