Hindu Bhakti Stotras (Devotional Hymns) Index
Vakya Sudha (Drig Drishya Viveka)
By Adi Shankaracharya; Translated by Charles Johnston; Source: Advaita Vedanta Library
Works of Adi Shankaracharya, Stotras of Adi Shankaracharya, Hymns of Adi Shankara, Gauri Dasakam, Govindashtakam, Dakshinamuthy Stotram, Brahma Jnanavali Mala, Bhashyas of Adi Shankara, Soundaryalahari, Shivanandalahari, Atma Bhodh
Seer and Seen
1. The form is seen, the eye is seer; the mind is
both seen and seer. The changing moods of mind are seen, but the
witnessing Self, the seer, is never seen.
2. The eye, remaining
one, beholds varying forms; as, blue and yellow, coarse and fine, short
and long; and differences such as these.
3. The mind, remaining
one, forms definite intentions, even while the character of the eye
varies, as in blindness, dullness, or keen-sightedness; and this holds
also of hearing and touch.
4. The conscious Self, remaining one,
shines on all the moods of mind: on desire, determination, doubt,
faith, unfaith, firmness and the lack of it, shame, insight, fear, and
such as these.
5. This conscious Self rises not, nor has its
setting, nor does it come to wax or wane; unhelped, it shines itself,
and illumines others also.
The Personal Idea
illumining comes when the ray of consciousness enters the thinking
mind; and the thinking mind itself is of twofold nature. The one part
of it is the personal idea; the other part is mental action.
ray of consciousness and the personal idea are blended together, like
the heat and the hot iron ball. As the personal idea identifies itself
with the body, it brings that also a sense of consciousness.
personal idea is blended with the ray of consciousness, the body, and
the witnessing Self, respectively -- through the action of innate
necessity, of works, and of delusion.
9. Since the two are bound up
together, the innate blending of the personal idea with the ray of
consciousness never ceases; but its blending with the body ceases, when
the works wear out; and with the witnessing Self, through illumination.
10. When the personal idea melts away in deep sleep, the body also
loses its sense of consciousness. The personal idea is only half
expanded in dream, while in waking it is complete.
11. The power of
mental action, when the ray of consciousness has entered into union
with it, builds up mind-images in the dream-state; and external
objects, in the waking state.
12. The personal form, thus brought
into being by the personal idea and mental action, is of itself quite
lifeless. It appears in the three modes of consciousness; it is born,
and so also dies.
The Power of Maya
13. For the Maya has two powers -- extension and limitation, or enveloping.
The power of extension brings into manifestation the whole world, from
the personal form to the universal cosmos.
14. This manifesting is
an attributing of name and form to the Reality -- which is Being,
Consciousness, Bliss, the Eternal; it is like foam on the water.
15. The inner division between the seer and the seen, and the outer
division between the Eternal and the world, are concealed by the other
power, limitation; and this also is the cause of the cycle of birth and
16. The light of the witnessing Self is united with the
personal form; from this entering in of the ray of consciousness arises
the habitual life -- the ordinary self.
17. The isolated existence
of the ordinary self is attributed to the witnessing Self, and appears
to belong to it; but when the power of limitation is destroyed, and the
difference appears, the sense of isolation in the Self vanishes away.
18. It is the same power which conceals the difference between the
Eternal and the visible world; and, by its power, the Eternal appears
subject to change.
19. But when this power of limitation is
destroyed, the difference between the Eternal and the visible world
becomes clear; change belongs to the visible world, and by no means to
20. The five elements of existence are these: being,
shining, enjoying, form and name; the three first belong to the nature
of the Eternal; the last two, to the nature of the visible world.
21. In the elements -- ether, air, fire, water, earth; in creatures --
gods, animals, and men, Being, Consciousness, Bliss are undivided; the
division is only of name and form.
Six Steps of Soul Vision (Six Types of Samadhi)
22. Therefore setting aside this division through name and form, and
concentrating himself on Being, Consciousness, Bliss, which are
undivided, let him follow after soul-vision perpetually, first inwardly
in the heart, and then in outward things also.
23. Soul-vision is
either fluctuating or unwavering; this is its two-fold division in the
heart. Fluctuating soul-vision is again two-fold; it may consist either
in things seen or heard.
24. This is the fluctuating soul-vision
which consists in things seen: a meditating on consciousness as being
merely the witness of the desires and passions that fill the mind.
25. This is the fluctuating soul-vision which consists in things heard:
the constant thought that "I am the self, which is unattached, Being,
Consciousness, Bliss, self-shining, secondless."
26. The forgetting
of all images and words, through entering into the bliss of direct
experience -- this is unwavering soul-vision, like a lamp set in a
27. Then, corresponding to the first, there is the
soul-vision which strips off name and form from the element of pure
Being, in everything whatever; now accomplished outwardly, as it was
before, in the heart.
28. And, corresponding to the second is the
soul-vision which consists in the unbroken thought, that the Real is a
single undivided Essence, whose character is Being, Consciousness,
29. Corresponding to the former third, is that steady being,
is the tasting of this Essence for oneself. Let him fill the time by
following out these, the six stages of soul-vision.
30. When the
false conceit, that the body is the Self, falls away; when the Self
supreme is known; then, whithersoever the mind is directed, there will
the powers of soul-vision arise.
31. The knot of the heart is
loosed; all doubts are cut; all bondage to works wither away -- when
That is known, which is the first and the last.
The Three Selves
32. The individual self appears in three degrees: as a limitation of
the Self; as a ray of the conscious Self; and, thirdly, as the self
imagined in dreams. The first alone is real.
33. For the limitation
in the individual self is a mere imagination; and that which is
supposed to be limited is the Reality. The idea of isolation in the
individual self is only an error; but its identity with the Eternal is
its real nature.
34. And that song they sang of "That thou art" is
for the first of these three selves alone; it only is one with the
perfect Eternal, not the other selves.
35. The power of
world-glamor, existing in the Eternal, has two potencies: extension and
limitation. Through the power of limitation, Glamor hides the undivided
nature of the Eternal, and so builds up the images of the individual
self and the world.
36. The individual self which comes into being
when the ray of consciousness enters the thinking mind, is the self
that gains experience and performs works. The whole world, with all its
elements and beings, is the object of its experience.
two, the individual self and its world, were before time began; they
last till Freedom comes, making up our habitual life. Hence they are
called the habitual self and world.
38. In this ray of
consciousness, the dream-power exists, with its two potencies of
extension and limitation. Through the power of limitation, it hides the
former self and world, and so builds up a new self and a new world.
39. As this new self and world are real only so long as their
appearance lasts, they are called the imaginary self and the imaginary
world. For, when one has awakened from the dream, the dream existence
never comes back again.
40. The imaginary self believes its
imaginary world to be real; but the habitual self knows that world to
be only mythical, as also is the imaginary self.
41. The habitual
self looks on its habitual world as real; but the real Self knows that
the habitual world is only mythical, as also is the habitual self.
42. The real Self knows its real oneness with the Eternal; it sees
nothing but the Eternal, yet sees that what seemed the unreal is also
Freedom and Final Peace
43. As the sweetness, the
flowing, and the coldness, that are the characteristics of the water,
reappear in the wave, and so in the foam that crests the wave;
So, verily, the Being, Consciousness, and Bliss of the witnessing Self
enter into the habitual self that is bound up with it; and, by the door
of the habitual self, enter into the imaginary self also.
when the foam melts away, its flowing, sweetness, coldness, all sink
back into the wave; and when the wave itself comes to rest, they sink
back to the sea.
46. When the imaginary self melts away, its Being,
Consciousness, Bliss sink back into the habitual self; and, when the
habitual self comes to rest, they return to the Self supreme, the
witness of all.