Content[ edit ] Upadesasahasri is divided into two parts — one is in metric verse and another is in prose. There are nineteen chapters prakarana in the verse or Metrical Part Padyabandha. The manuscript of this work indicates that the two parts prose and verse were regarded as independent works and studied or commented upon separately. Manuscript also suggests the possibility that any single chapter could be studied differently — apart from the rest.
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We shall now explain a method of teaching the means to liberation for the benefit of those aspirants after liberation who are desirous of this teaching and are possessed of faith in it.
That means to liberation, viz. The Sruti also says, "A Brahmana after examining those worlds which are the result of Vedic actions should be indifferent to them seeing that nothing eternal can be achieved by means of those actions. Then, with fuel in his hands he should approach a teacher versed in the Vedas and established in Brahman in order to know the Eternal.
The learned teacher should correctly explain to that disciple who has self-control and a tranquil mind and has approached him in the prescribed manner, the knowledge of Brahman revealing the imperishable and the eternal Being". This transmission of knowledge is helpful to people, like a boat to one who wants to cross a river. The scriptures too say, "Although one may give to the teacher this world surrounded by oceans and full of riches, this knowledge is even greater than that".
Otherwise there would be no attainment of knowledge. For the Srutis say, "A man having a teacher can know Brahman", "Knowledge received from a teacher alone becomes perfect ", "The teacher is the pilot", "Right Knowledge is called in this world a raft", etc. The Smriti also says, "Knowledge will be imparted to you" etc.
When the teacher finds from signs that knowledge has not been grasped or has been wrongly grasped by the disciple he should remove the causes of non-comprehension which are: past and present sins, laxity, want of previous firm knowledge of what constitutes the subjects of discrimination between the eternal and the non-eternal, courting popular esteem, vanity of caste etc.
He should also thoroughly impress upon the disciple qualities like humility, which are the means to knowledge. The teacher is one who is endowed with the power of furnishing arguments pro and con, of understanding questions and remembering them, who possesses tranquillity, self-control, compassion and a desire to help others, who is versed in the scriptures and unattached to enjoyments both seen and unseen, who has renounced the means to all kinds of actions, who is a knower of Brahman and is established in it, who is never a transgressor of the rules of conduct and who is devoid of shortcomings such as ostentation, pride, deceit, cunning, jugglery, jealousy, falsehood, egotism and attachment.
He has the sole aim of helping others and a desire to impart the knowledge of Brahman only. He should first of all teach the Sruti texts establishing the oneness of the self with Brahman such as, "My child, in the beginning it the universe was Existence only, one alone without a second", "Where one sees nothing else" "All this is but the Self", "In the beginning all this was but the one Self" and "All this is verily Brahman".
The disciple who has thus learnt the definition of the inner Self from the Srutis and the Smritis and is eager to cross the ocean of transmigratory existence is asked, "Who are you, my child? If he says, "I am the son of a Brahmana belonging to such and such a lineage; I was a student or a householder and am now a wandering monk anxious to cross the ocean of transmigratory existence infested with the terrible sharks of birth and death", the teacher should say, "My child, how do you desire to go beyond transmigratory existence as your body will be eaten up by birds or will turn into earth even here when you die?
For, burnt to ashes on this side of the river, you cannot cross to the other side". If he says, "I am different from the body. The body is born and it dies; it is eaten up by birds, is destroyed by weapons, fire etc. I have entered it, like a bird its nest, on account of merit and demerit accruing from acts done by myself and like a bird going to another nest when the previous one is destroyed I shall enter into different bodies again and again as a result of merits and demerits when the present body is gone.
Thus in this beginningless world on account of my own actions I have been giving up successive bodies assumed among gods, men, animals and the denizens of hell and assuming ever new ones.
I have in this way been made to go round and round in the cycle of endless births and deaths, as in a Persian wheel by my past actions and having in the course of time obtained the present body I have got tired of this going round and round in the wheel of transmigration and have come to you, Sir, to put an end to this rotation.
I am, therefore, always different from the body. It is bodies that come and go, like clothes on a person", the teacher would reply, "You have spoken well. You see aright. If the disciple says, "How did I speak wrongly, Sir? If he asks, "How is the body possessed of the diversities of birth, lineage and purificatory ceremonies different from the Self and how am I devoid of them?
The teacher should say to the disciple who has remembered the definition of the Self, "That which is called Akasa the self-effulgent one which is distinct from name and form, bodiless and defined as not gross etc. This element called the ether thus arose out of the supreme Self, like the dirt called foam coming out of transparent water. Foam is neither water nor absolutely different from it. For it is never seen apart from water. But water is clear and different from the foam which is of the nature of dirt.
Similarly, the Supreme Self, which is pure and transparent, is different from name and form, which stand for foam. These - corresponding to the foam - having originally been unmanifest, took the name and form of the ether as they were manifested. From that again they became fire, from that water and thence earth. In this order the preceding elements penetrated the succeeding ones and the five gross elements ending with earth came into existence.
Earth, therefore, possesses the qualities of all the five gross elements. From earth, compounded of all five great elements, herbs such as paddy and barley are produced.
From these, after they are eaten, are formed blood and the seed of women and men respectively. These two ingredients drawn out, as by a churning rod, by lust springing from ignorance and sanctified by Mantras, are placed in the womb at the proper time. Sanctified again by the ceremony of investiture with the holy thread, it gets the appellation of a student. The same body is designated a house-holder when it undergoes the sacrament of being joined to a wife.
That again is called a recluse when it undergoes the ceremonies pertaining to retirement into the forest. And it becomes known as a wandering monk when it performs the ceremonies leading to the renunciation of all activities.
Thus the body which has birth, lineage and purificatory ceremonies different from the Self is different from you. Therefore it is established that you are without any connection with birth, lineage and sanctifying ceremonies".
If he says, "I am in bondage, liable to transmigration, ignorant, sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy and am entirely different from Him; He, the shining One, who is dissimilar in nature to me and is beyond transmigratory existence, is also different from me; I want to worship Him through the actions pertaining to my caste and order of life by making presents and offerings to Him and also by making salutations and the like.
I am eager to cross the ocean of the world in this way. So how am I He Himself? The teacher should say, "You ought not, my child, regard it so; because a doctrine of difference is forbidden. These Srutis show that transmigratory existence is the sure result of the acceptance of the reality of difference. That transmigratory existence comes to an absolute cessation, in the case of one who speaks the truth that difference has no real existence , is illustrated by the example of one who was not a thief and did not get burnt by grasping a heated hatchet ; and that one, speaking what is not true i.
Such statements are found in every branch of the Veda. It was, therefore, certainly wrong on your part to say that you were the son of a Brahmana, that you belonged to such and such a lineage, that you were subject to transmigration and that you were different from the Supreme Self". For these rites and Yajnopavita etc. It is only on those people that refer classes and orders of life etc.
That one is other than Brahman is due only on account of the perception of difference. Therefore, Vedic actions which are incompatible with the knowledge of the identity of oneself with the Supreme Self, should be renounced together with their means by one who aspires after liberation; and it should be known that the Self is no other than Brahman as defined in the Srutis".
If he says, "The pain on account of burns or cuts in the body and the misery caused by hunger and the like, Sir, are distinctly perceived to be in me. How can I who am different from Him and possess so many phenomenal attributes, possibly accept the Supreme Self as myself, and myself, a transmigratory being, as the Supreme Self?
I may then very well admit that fire is coll! Why should I, a man of the world entitled to accomplish all prosperity in this world and in the next and realise the supreme end of life, i. Because the pain due to cuts or burns, perceived in the body, the object of the perception of the perceiver like a tree burnt or cut, must have the same location as the burns etc.
People point out pain caused by burns and the like to be in that place where they occur but not in the perceiver. If pain or its causes viz. Therefore, as it is perceived to have the same seat as burns, cuts and the like, pain must be an object of perception like them. Since it is an effect, it must have a receptacle like that in which rice is cooked.
The impressions of pain must have the same seat as pain itself. As they are perceived during the time when memory is possible i. The aversion to cuts, burns and the like, the causes of pain, must also have the same seat as the impressions of pain.
Therefore it is concluded that impurity pertains to the object and not to the Self. As there is no contradiction to perceptional evidence etc. The teacher should say, "Whatever is observed in this world or learnt from the Srutis regarding the next world are products of Ignorance.
But in reality there is only One, the Self, who appears to be many to deluded vision, like the moon appearing more than one to eyes affected by amaurosis. It is the gradual removal of this ignorance that is the aim of the scriptures; but not the enunciation of the reality of the difference of the end, means and so on. For it is this very difference that constitutes this undesirable transmigratory existence. The scriptures, therefore, root out the ignorance constituting this false conception of difference which is the cause of phenomenal existence by giving reasons for the oneness of the evolution, dissolution, etc.
Even the slightest taint of impurity due to the diversity of ends, means, evolution, dissolution and the rest is, therefore, not reasonable. As this reference is contradictory to right knowledge, it is intelligible why reasons are given regarding the prohibition of the acceptance of the reality of difference. For when the knowledge that the one non-dual Self is beyond phenomenal existence is generated by the scriptures and reasoning, there cannot exist side by side with it a knowledge contrary to it.
None can think of chillness in fire or immortality and freedom from old age in regard to the perishable body. One, therefore, who is eager to be established in the knowledge of the Reality should give up all actions with Yajnopavita and the rest, their accessories, which are the effects of ignorance". Here ends a method if enlightening the disciple Chapter - II The knowledge of the changeless and non-dual self A certain Brahmacharin, tired of the transmigratory existence consisting of birth and death and aspiring after liberation, approached in the prescribed manner a Knower of Brahman established in It and sitting at ease and said, "How can I, Sir, be liberated from this transmigratory existence?
Conscious of the body, the senses and their objects, I feel pain in the state of waking and also in the state of dream again and again after intervals of rest in deep sleep experienced by me. Is this my own nature or is it causal, I being of a different nature? But if it be causal, liberation from it may be possible by removing the cause.
The teacher said to him, "Listen, my child, it is not your nature but causal". That cause being brought to an end, there will be the absence of the effect and I shall come by my own nature, just like a patient who gets back the normal condition of his health when the cause of his disease is removed". The teacher said, "The cause is Ignorance, Knowledge brings it to an end.
When Ignorance, the cause, will be removed, you will be liberated from the transmigratory existence consisting of birth and death. You will never again feel pain in the states of waking and dream". The disciple said "What is that Ignorance? What is its seat? What is its object? The teacher said, "You are the non-transmigratory Supreme Self, but you wrongly think that you are one liable to transmigration.
Similarly , not being an agent or an experiencer you wrongly consider yourself to be so. Again, you are eternal but mistake yourself to be non-eternal.
Upadesha Sahasri Of Shankaracharya Rama Krishna Math