Chapter 13: The Bliss of Non-Duality
The Cause-Effect Relation
What was called the ‘Bliss of Yoga’ previously is the same as the ‘Bliss of the Self’ referred to recently. Because the Bliss of Brahman is directly experienced in Yoga meditation, it is called Yogananda. The essential Bliss unconditioned by anything else is called Nijananda, or essential Bliss, and because this very same Bliss is realised as something different from the Gauna Atman and the Mithya Atman, it is called Atmananda, or Bliss of the Primary Self. Now it may appear that inasmuch as it is told that the Bliss of the Atman is different from such other things as the Gauna Atman and the Mithya Atman, it is perhaps conditioned by these, or limited by their existence. This is precisely not the case, because the Bliss of Brahman is Brahman itself and not some quality attached to it from outside, and the whole world beginning from Space (Akasa) down to the grossest object like the body, is nothing apart from the Bliss of Brahman, as it will be seen from the Brahmananda-Valli Section of the Taittiriya Upanishad. This Upanishad says that everything has come from the Atman, the Omnipresent Self. Hence, the world is not different from Brahman. Brahman is non-dual. The Taittiriya Upanishad says, again, that if all this world is born from Ananda (Bliss), exists in Ananda, and is finally dissolved in Ananda, how can there be then a world different from the Ananda of Brahman? The whole Universe is the manifestation of Ananda. We all live on account of it, and we can never rest satisfied until we fully realise it. Let it not be thought that the world is an effect different from the power of this Ananda, as an earthen pot is different from its cause, the potter. The Ananda is not merely an instrumental cause (Nimitta-karana), as the potter is in relation to the pot; but it is also the material cause (Upadana-karana), as clay is in relation to the pot. The existence and dissolution of the pot do not depend upon the existence of the potter, but they are dependent on the clay out of which the pot is made. For, clay is the substance out of which the pot is made, it is the material cause. Likewise, the existence and the dissolution of the world are dependent on the Supreme Being as Ananda, as it is the Material Cause of the world.
Material cause is, again, of three kinds: (1) Arambha, (2) Parinama, and (3) Vivarta. Arambha-Upadana is that material cause which is distinguishable from its effect, as cloth is distinguished from its threads in some respects, though the latter are the material cause of the former. Parinama-Upadana is that kind of material cause which actually renounces its nature as the effect, by undergoing a transformation within itself and remains in another form altogether, as milk becomes curd. Vivarta-Upadana is that kind of material cause which appears as an effect without actually undergoing any change in itself, and yet appearing as something different, as, for example, a rope appearing as a snake. Here, the cause has not become the effect, but merely appears as the effect. This may happen even in the case of partless or shapeless objects, because we see that a thing like Space, which has no shape at all, appears to be blue in colour, inverted like a dome, touching the horizon, etc., and it also appears to be affected by the qualities of the earth on account of which we attribute to it clearness as well as its opposite. In a similar manner, it may be said that this world is a Vivarta (appearance) of Brahman, of the Divine Ananda, and this appearance is made possible due to a power, or Sakti, called Maya, indescribably present, as a special kind of power is seen in a magician. This power is actually not different from the substance in which it inheres, nor is it totally identical with it. We find, in ordinary life, that the burning capacity which is the power of fire cannot be said to be either identical with fire or different from it. When the effect of burning in fire is not seen actually, even when it is flaming forth, we infer that the absence of its burning power is due perhaps to the application of some Mantras, or incantations, on fire. If heat is the same as fire, fire itself ought to have ceased to exist when its heat is suppressed; nor is it possible for us to say that there is no such thing as fire apart from mere heat. The Divine Power of Brahman, called Maya, is likewise inscrutable (Anirvachaniya) and its relation to Brahman is difficult to ascertain, or understand.
Sages endowed with intuition recognise in meditation that the Divine Power, or Sakti, is hidden by its own properties, that the Supreme Power inherent in Brahman manifests itself in various ways, especially as knowledge (Jnana), action (Kriya), and will or desire (Ichha). There are those who think that there is no cause at all for the world and that it just exists by its own nature. Others think that the world has come out of nothing (Sunya), or void. Some think that the world is a conglomeration of invisible atoms which combine themselves in a peculiar way to form this world. The astronomers and the astrologers opine that it is all Time factor that is operating everywhere and there cannot be any other cause of the world than the movement of Time in various ways creating different conditions and situations. The materialists are of the opinion that matter is everything and there is no such thing as Consciousness, and even if the latter is conceded, it is only an exudation of matter. The Mimamsakas, or ritualists, think that the potency of Karma, called Adrishta, is the real cause of the world-manifestation, and nothing can exist other than Karma, as the operative cause. The Samkhyas hold that the cause of the world is Prakriti in conjunction with Purusha, and the diversity of the world is only the evolution of Prakriti. The Yoga school posits an Isvara in addition to Prakriti and the many Purushas of the Samkhya, because it is impossible to conceive of the dispensation of justice and the proper allocation of the fruits of the Karmas of Jivas if there is no such Being who is independent of Prakriti and the Purushas. The Vedanta school of dualism (Dvaita) accepts the supremacy of God above all things, making the Goal within the aspirations of the Jivas, unlike Samkhya and the Yoga, but never thinks that there is any intrinsic relation among God, the world and the souls. According to them, the relation is only extrinsic. The Visishta-Advaita school of Vedanta accepts the intrinsic relationship existing among God, the world and the souls, making the latter two integral parts of Isvara, in the manner of qualifications, or Viseshanas, of Isvara, who is the Substance. The Advaita-Vedanta does not accept any relationship at all, because it never feels that there are three things as God, world and soul. For it, the Truth is one and whatever appears in this world is only the way of the revelation of this one Truth.
Thus, the scripture affirms the existence of a Divine Sakti in Brahman and this is also corroborated in such other texts like the Yogavasishtha, where it is said that Brahman is Omnipotent, full with all powers, eternal, complete and non-dual. As is the revelation of Brahman at a particular time, so is the way in which the Sakti expresses itself as manifestations. All these bodies and objects that we see in all the planes of existence are the manifestations of this Sakti of Brahman. Movement in air, hardness in stone, liquidity in water, heat in fire, emptiness in space, transience in things – all these are expressions of this Sakti. The world is hidden in the Supreme Being in the same manner as a snake is hidden in an egg, or a huge tree is hidden in a seed, though the tree may have an extended form with trunk, branches, leaves etc., which are bigger than the seed itself. The Saktis of Brahman do not manifest themselves at all times, but only some of them are revealed at certain places and times as the occasions may demand, even as seeds germinate only as conditioned by space, time, circumstance etc., and not always and under all circumstances. This Omnipresent Brahman, the Self-luminous Being, when it reveals itself, becomes the many, and then there is the origin of mentation, or mind, in a cosmic sense. In the beginning, there is the Primeval Will of the Eternal Being, and then commence the individualist notions of the Jivas attended with the feelings of bondage and freedom, and then comes the grossened consciousness of the world outside, which, somehow, assumes reality in the minds of the Jivas by their constant wrong thinking and an inability to discriminate between truth and falsehood, just as a fable may look real when we do not deeply think over its meaning.
The Sage Vasishtha continues that this world has assumed a reality in the same manner as a story may assume reality in the mind of a child. For the delight of the child a fable is narrated from one’s imagination, though for the mature mind it is no reality. Take, for example, the following story: There lived three princes, somewhere, in a delightful manner, enjoying themselves, of which two were not born and one never entered the womb of the mother. They lived in a very righteous manner in a city at a non-existent place, and from this void-city they went out hunting through space, and on the way they found in the skies trees filled with fruits, flowers, etc., and these princes even today live in this picturesque city which is yet to be. This fable sounds nice to the mind of a child because his mind has not yet reached maturity and so takes in only the literal meaning of the words. This world, says Vasishtha, has the hardness of reality due to non-discriminatory thinking as in the case of the child, and consequently this Samsara sits tight in the mind of the Jiva due to lack of sufficient knowledge. Like this, and in many other ways, the world-manifestation has been described in detail both in the Sruti (revelation) and Smriti (tradition), which we intend to describe here concisely.
This Sakti, or Power, is the cause of what we call causal relation or the connection between the cause and the effect, but it is itself different from the effect which is the world and its cause which is Brahman. For example, the burning capacity of fire is different from itself and its effect. It is felt by us through sensation. Taking a more complete example: an earthen pot with a particular size and shape is an effect, and its cause is clay with the characteristics of sound, touch, form, taste and smell. The power inherent in clay by which it gets fashioned into a pot is itself not identical with either the effect or the cause. It is precisely on account of this reason that we call it indescribable, as no words can denote it or indicate its precise nature. Before the production of the effect the power was inherent in the cause, as clay. It has taken a modified shape after it is interfered with by the potter with his instruments. People without the endowment of proper discrimination confuse between the mere shape of the pot and the characteristics of the clay, viz., sound, touch, etc., and thus remark that there is a pot. The substance and the space-and-time factor by a mutual dependence on each other produce a peculiar effect to which we give a specific name on account of the sensory observation of a particular form empirically. Prior to the time the potter touched the clay, it was not called a pot. Later it was called so because of the subsequent sensation of certain characteristics which we are unable to identify with the cause, viz., clay. Though the substance is in the effect, yet we generally make a practical distinction between the two and then say that there is an effect independent of the cause. It is individualistic perception or spatio-temporal sensation that is responsible for the notion that there is an independent effect different from the cause, while the truth is otherwise.
The pot is really non-different from the clay, because it is seen that when it is separated from the clay it ceases to be; equally can it be said that the two are not absolutely identical with each other because of the fact that the pot was not seen when there was only a lump of clay prior to the manufacture of the pot. Hence, this manifestation that we call pot is really an indescribable something as a Sakti, or power, inherent in the clay. It is called Sakti when it is unmanifest and it is called a pot when it is manifest. When a magician conjures up a phenomenon with the power that he possesses the observers begin to see the same, say, the marching of an army, etc., but it is not difficult to understand that there is no such phenomenon as an army, etc., really speaking, and it is only the manifestation of the power of the magician. As the unmanifested it was inherent in the magician, as a Sakti, and in the manifested state it becomes observed as a coloured phenomenon. Thus, the unreality of the mere fact of modification and the reality of the basis or the substance behind the modification appears.
The Chhandogya Upanishad says that all modification is only a matter of words, a name, the truth being the basic substance alone, as, for example, clay. The name mentioned here is not indicative of anything substantial. The name is just an abstract notion denoting a modification which is conceptual and nothing real. Here, in this instance cited, only the clay possesses the qualities like sound, touch, etc., and not the pot. In the series of the basal substance, the unmanifested power and the manifested effect, the latter two are different only temporarily and, truly speaking, they are synonymous, meaning one and the same, but differing on account of the succession or the distinction of priority and posteriority, one thing existing before and another appearing afterwards. In the movement of time the base, namely clay, is, however, permanent, and persists in the different stages of the modification that we call the effects. The effect is unsubstantial, though it appears there. It has a beginning and an end, and when it comes into being as an effect, it is indicated by a name expressed by word of mouth. The name persists in an abstract manner even after the destruction of the effect, and here, in this condition, the name does not indicate anything existent, but is just a sound connoting nothing. It is contentless and has no existence apart from being only in name, and such effect is called by the Sruti as simply a matter of words, nothing more. It is not real like clay, because of its unsubstantiality, transiency, and because of its being merely a name in the form of a sound, not really existent. As distinguished from this, however, the clay persists at the time of the appearance of the effect, prior to its appearance, and also after its disappearance, in one and the same form without undergoing any change. Hence, it is substantial , real, undestructive. Because of its permanency in the three periods of time, it is called real.
When there is a correct insight into the cause, the nature of the effect is also known simultaneously. In fact, when there is a concentration of the mind on the real substance of the cause, the shape or the form of the effect will not present itself in perception. When there is an entirely free occupation of Consciousness in the knowledge of the substance, or the cause, there will not be perception of the name and form of it, as these do not exist independently by themselves. Truly speaking, the potness of the pot vanishes when the idea of its reality is sublated. Knowledge is nothing but the vanishing of ignorance, but this need not always be necessarily followed by the vanishing of the name and the form. However, in certain cases even the name and the form vanish, as, for example, in the recognition of the rope on the sublation of the snake. Now, the name and the form of the snake entirely vanish when the rope is seen clearly, but when the clay in the pot is seen, the form of the pot is still visible to the eyes. In the mistaking of a rope for a snake, there is pure ignorance unconditioned by any external factor and hence it is called Nirupadhika-bhrama, i.e., ignorance without any conditioning factor. That is why when this ignorance is removed there is a sudden vanishing of the effect of the ignorance; but in the latter instance, namely, the perception of the pot in clay, what is involved is not pure ignorance alone, but also certain other factors, such as the interference of the potter with the clay by means of instruments etc. As there is an external limiting factor here, in addition to ignorance, it is called Sopadhika-bhrama, i.e., ignorance with a conditioning factor associated with it. This is the reason why the form of the pot continues to be seen even when one begins to see the clay alone in the pot. Nevertheless, the appearance of the effect does not in any way affect one’s knowledge, because what affects one is not the existence of anything outside, but the erroneous notion which one has of that thing. Take, for instance, the case of a person standing in front of a mass of water where the person’s reflection is seen in the water in an inverted position. The reflection is seen by everyone, but no one ever takes this reflection for the real person, and nobody takes an interest in it, though it is visible to the eyes. So, this visibility need not really or necessarily mean reality. Likewise, the visibility of the effect need not obstruct one’s knowledge of its truth, and it is the doctrine of the Vedanta that knowledge alone is the highest aim of human existence, whether or not objects are seen with the eyes, with their usual names and forms.
Now, coming to the point, as there is no transformation of the clay when it becomes the pot, it is a case of Vivarta, or appearance, and not Parinama, or transformation as in the case of milk becoming curd. Nothing happens to the clay when it becomes a pot, and nothing happens to gold when it becomes the ornament. However much the pot or the ornament is beaten, the substance out of which it is made will ever remain, though the shapes may change. In Parinama, or transformation, the effect can never become the cause again. In Arambha, or the production of an effect different from the cause, there would be the duplication of the characteristics of the cause present in the effect since these thinkers hold that the characteristics of the cause are carried over to the effect, and yet these characteristics independently exist in the cause and effect differently.
In the Chhandogya Upanishad, Sage Uddalaka gives three examples, namely, clay, gold and iron, to show the non-difference of the cause and the effect, and to teach that by the knowledge of the cause, all its modifications or effects are also known at once. The knowledge of the cause means at the same time the knowledge of all its effects also. It may be doubted as to how a knowledge of truth could involve a knowledge of what is false. Inasmuch as it is clear that a separate existence of the effect is not true, it is only from the point of view of ordinary sense-perception that the effect is regarded as a modification plus the substance of the cause. Really, there is, in the effect, nothing in addition to the cause, the clay alone being real in the pot and the modification being something independently existent in its own right. Hence, when it is said that the knowledge of the cause is at once a knowledge of the effects, a knowledge of falsity is not implied. What is meant is that there is nothing real in the effect which is apart from the cause. There is no point in trying to know what is false, because it serves no purpose. The aim of human life is knowledge of Truth. Here, again, it may appear that, in the knowledge of the effect, nothing new is known, and we mean nothing different when we say that there is such a thing as knowledge of the cause or knowledge of the effect. We mean the same thing, though we use two different words, viz., cause and effect. Yes, it is true that there is absolutely no difference whether we say that the cause is known or that the effect is known, and from the point of view of the knower, or the Jnanin, there is nothing surprising in this. But it is a great wonder to those who regard the effect to be absolutely different from the cause and those who consider the effect to be a transformation of the cause, or that there is no such thing as a cause at all. In crass material perception, as also in dualistic, logical perception, there is this defect of the apparent isolation of the effect from the cause, or the assertion of the effect alone without any regard for the cause.
The Supreme Brahman
The Upanishad teaching is different. In this teaching, the unity of all things is intended, and, when it is said that by a knowledge of ‘one thing’, ‘everything’ else is known, what is intended to be conveyed is not that there is any real diversity, such as “all” things, but that there is only one thing which appears as the many things, and when this one thing is known, the many-ness of the many things will vanish. By the knowledge of the One Brahman, the whole Universe is known, not as a multifarious conglomeration of objects, but as an eternal being, one and secondless of the nature of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss), as different from name and form, which is the nature of the world.
Sage Uddalaka states that Reality is Sat, Existence. The Aitareya Upanishad says that it is Prajnana, Consciousness. Sanatkumara says that it is Sukha, Bliss. Thus, Sat-Chit-Ananda is the nature of Brahman. Names and forms are not existent independently of Sat-Chit-Ananda, but are appearances on its basis. It does not mean that there is a name and form of the world apart from Sat-Chit-Ananda. What is meant is that when we divest the Universe of its Sat-Chit-Ananda aspects. There would be no names and forms to be experienced separately, just as when we remove all the clay in the pot, there would be no separate pot to be seen. When the Universe is divested of Sat-Chit-Ananda, it itself is not. Thus, there is no creation apart from Brahman. It is that One Being that has become the many, or, rather, appears as the many. The scripture says that the One Supreme Being diversifies itself, as it were, into the various names and forms. There was, in the beginning, only the unmanifest, or the Avyakrita, the matrix of all things, wherein all the names and forms were hidden as a tree is hidden in the seed, and hence we cannot say that the names and forms are really different from the Avyakrita, just as we cannot say that the tree is different from the seed. The names and forms are potentially present in the Avyakrita, and the two, viz., the Avyakrita and the names and forms of the world, are like the obverse and the reverse of the same coin, the Avyakrita being the cause, and the names and forms being the effect. Yet this Avyakrita is indescribable in words. It is a Power that is inscrutable. No mind can think it, because even the mind is an effect. All the Jivas are subsequent to creation. Hence the causal condition of creation cannot be known by the Jivas. This Avyakrita-Sakti is having Brahman as its foundation. This cause of change is based on the Changeless, and it undergoes many modifications such as the subtle and the gross Universe of varieties. This is also called Maya (illusion), Prakriti (matrix), or Karana (cause), all meaning the same thing, denoting finally the unmanifested condition of the Universe. The director of this Sakti is Isvara, God. He is Brahman possessed of unlimited powers, the Eternal appearing as the Immanent Ruler of the temporal. He is the Lord over all things, the Controller of Maya, not affected by it in any way.
The first modification of this Avyakrita is Space (Akasa). Space has Existence; it is revealed in Consciousness, and it is the source of Joy to all living beings. These three are the aspects of Brahman in Space, but the special feature of Space is spatiality or extendedness, by which we measure distance and recognise all sorts of difference of one from the other. This latter feature is not real, while the former three characters are real. Extendedness or spatiality was non-existent prior to the manifestation of Space. It will not be there also after the dissolution of the cosmos. Metaphysically, what is not in the beginning and not in the end, is not also in the middle. Sri Krishna mentions this to Arjuna when he says that all beings have the unmanifest as their beginning, and the unmanifest as their end, but they are manifest only in the middle. That which does not persist in the three periods of time cannot be called the eternal or the real. The real is that which is continually present in all the three periods of time. Just as clay is present in the pot and all the modifications which it undergoes, so Sat-Chit-Ananda, the essential nature of Brahman, follows everything and is concomitant with all things. It persists in every form of existence, whatever be the changes that it may undergo. The true existence is revealed in the consciousness of the negation of spatiality. In profound spiritual states of meditation, Space is not felt to be existent. There is no idea even of Time or of objects. There is only a feeling of perennial bliss, because, in the spaceless condition, Sat-Chit-Ananda manifests itself. When spatiality is forgotten altogether, what is it that remains? Not merely a negation or a void. If you contend that it is just void, or nothing, there is no harm, because you are conscious of what you call void or nothingness. As it is revealed in the conscious state, it cannot be equated with non-existence. It is the highest real conceivable, and it is also the highest bliss, because of the absence of likes and dislikes, the desirable and undesirable, friend and foe, etc. As it is an impartial condition unconnected with the objects of the world, that alone is real Bliss, wherein one is above the notions of the desirable and the undesirable. One is exhilarated when one comes in contact with the desirable; one is sunk in sorrow when confronted with the undesirable; but true Bliss is experienced only in the absence of both. There is no such thing as ‘real’ pain because pain is not an essential condition of the Self, it is a passing state. Both exhilaration and grief are psychological conditions, and they come and go. They are not permanent states of experience. The mind is transient and, hence, its conditions, viz., pleasure and pain, also, are transient. The permanent being is the Bliss of Brahman alone.
In Space and the other four elements, Sat-Chit-Ananda is present equally, and this can be known by a careful distinction of its presence from names and forms. Special features of things restrict them to their individualities, but in all things there is something which is above such restrictions. For example, reverberation of sound is a special feature of Space, motion and touch are of Air, heat and light of Fire, liquidity of Water, and hardness of Earth. These are the qualities special to the elements mentioned, but ‘Existence’ is commonly seen in all these, and this ‘Existence’ is nothing but the revelation of Brahman. All things in the world are existent (Sat), are revealed (Chit), and are objects of endearment (Ananda) to someone or other, at different times. These characteristics of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss are the essence of Brahman, while the special qualities, such as confinement to a locality in space, appearance only at a particular time, etc. belong to the individuality of things. By a careful analysis of the visible world, it is possible to isolate Sat-Chit-Ananda from nama-rupa (name-and-form), the General Existence from particular appearances.
An object has five features in it. Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, Name and Form. The first three belong to what is eternal. The latter two pertain to the temporal world. This is how we should endeavour to separate Reality from appearance in all our perceptions. When we look at the waves we are just looking at the Ocean. When our mind is deeply concentrated on the depths of the Ocean, we forget the separate existence of the waves. All these things of which the Universe consists are ripples, bubbles and waves in the Ocean of Sat-Chit-Ananda. When the mind visualises an object, let it recognise in the object the profound depths of Brahman, which is its Reality, and without which it cannot be. The independent existence of names and forms is not true. Names and forms do rise and fall as waves in the Ocean. Thus, with an effort of intelligence one should discover Brahman in this world, and when this discovery is effected to an adequate extent, the mind will never be able to go astray as before, among sense-objects. The more one ignores the external crust of name and form, the more does one go deep into the truth of Brahman and the more is Brahman discovered in this world, and the more also is one detached from names and forms. When, by such a practice, one acquires real knowledge and is established firmly in that knowledge, one becomes a liberated soul, Jivanmukta, whether objects exist or not. This rare experience is had by the practice of Brahmabhyasa, which consists in thinking of Brahman alone always, speaking about That alone, conversing with and awakening each other on That alone, and totally depending on That alone at all times, as one’s ultimate refuge. When this practice is continued for a long time, without remission in the middle, with wholehearted devotion, then all the Vasanas, or mental impressions, of past births recede completely and get destroyed in the end, and the names and forms just appear as expressions of Brahma-Sakti (Power of Brahman). As clay appears as pot, etc., so does this Brahma-Sakti appear as the many things of the world. As the dream of a Jiva projects variegated objects, so does the Cosmic Maya manifest things, sustain them and withdraw them in the end. Just as fantastic things can appear in dream, so do marvellous things appear in this world. One may see oneself flying in dream, or see oneself beheaded, a moment may look like a series of years, dead persons may make their appearance, and so on. These are all the fancied visions which we can have in dream and it is difficult to say what is proper and what is improper, what is consistent and what is not, etc. in a dream. Consistency, method, law, rule, etc. are valid only in a particular plane of existence or state of consciousness, and the logic of one state cannot be transferred to another; one level of experience cannot be judged from the point of view of another. Everything looks all right when it is directly experienced in relation to the law of the particular realm; but when it is judged with the standard of the law of another realm, it may look erroneous and even meaningless. Such is the wonder of this creation, whether it is individual or cosmic, whether it is projected by the mind of the Jiva or by the Cosmic Maya. All things, such as the five elements, the different worlds, the individuals, the inanimate things, etc., are manifestations of the one Power of Brahman. They appear to be different from one another, as conscious, unconscious, etc., because of the manifestation or non-manifestation of mind and intellect in them. The degree of intelligence in a particular being is determined by the degree of consciousness of Brahman revealed through the psychological organs in accordance with their varying subtleties. Brahman is commonly present in all things, whether intelligent or non-intelligent. The difference is in name and form and the degree of the rarefied condition of the internal organs.
The changing objects of the world are in many respects similar to the changing moods of the mind. Just as the mind takes different forms in the Jiva, the Cosmic Mind also takes various shapes, and these shapes are called the Universe. Though there is a great difference in the degrees of reality manifested by the individual mind and the Cosmic Mind, yet, the manner of the construction of the world is similar in both the cases. Though the creation of the mind of the Jiva is short-lived, and the creation of the Cosmic Mind is more enduring, there is this similarity between the two that both are non-eternal in the end, and are subject to withdrawal into their causes. Therefore, it is essential for a seeker of Truth to abandon the notion of reality in the names and forms of the world, though they appear to one’s perception. When there is an abandonment of interest in names and forms, meditation on Brahman becomes unobstructed in every way. The obstacles being centred in the desire for contact with names and forms, there is no chance of obstacles presenting themselves when such a desire is wiped out from the mind by beholding Sat-Chit-Ananda through the names and forms. Just as a firmly seated rock is not affected by a flood of water flowing over it, so is the immovable Brahman unaffected by the variegated changes in names and forms that appear on its background. Just as, in a mirror, which has really no holes in it to contain anything, the vast space with its contents of solid objects may be reflected, the world of names and forms is reflected, as it were, in Brahman, though the world is not really contained in Brahman, Brahman being unaffected and unattached, even as the mirror does not contain the objects within it. But, just as one cannot see the reflection of objects in a mirror without there being a mirror first and without observing the mirror even before seeing the reflection, it is impossible for one to merely see names and forms without first confronting the Existence of Brahman. When we see, when we open our eyes, really the Existence of Brahman is spread out everywhere, and on this Existence the names and forms are superimposed. One thing is mistaken for another. Brahman is mistaken for a world of objects. When Sat-Chit-Ananda is beheld through the names and forms, let the intellect by fixed on it, and let it not be again diverted to the names and forms. This is the essence of Vairagya and Abhyasa, the withdrawal from sense-perception and practice of concentration on the One Reality. Thus, Brahman is portrayed as an unworldly Existence, in the sense that the world is not contained in it, but only superimposed on it, and its essential Being is Existence-Knowledge-Bliss, and not name and form. It is in this that one should try to fix oneself. To those who have, by the continuous habituation of themselves to this practice, the feeling that there is no world outside of Brahman, the world is Brahman only appearing. (Verses 1-105)