Explanation of pratyagAtman - 1

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri May 8 16:24:39 CDT 1998

 (From the mahAvAkya-darpaNa, attributed to Shankara)

 pratyaktattvaM mayA samyagbodhyate shrUyatAM tvayA |
 yadviGYAnena saMsAraH sahamUlaM vinashyati      || 24 ||

 I will instruct the principles regarding the Inner Self in a
 proper manner. Listen to this so that, with this excellent knowledge,
 (your) transmigratory existence ends along with its cause (avidyA).

 yo.asmindehe tvahamahamitipratyayAlaMbanaH sa-
 nnAste nityaM sakalakaraNagrAmacheShTAnidAnaM |
 sAxAjjAnanvividhavikR^itIH prANabuddhIndriyANAM
 so.ayaM pratyaN^N^ahamadhigataH svAtmanA shuddhabodhaH || 25 ||

 This Inner Self is that which is the support of the thought "I, I",
 in this body, which is always the cause of the activity of all the
 sense organs, which directly knows the transformations (activities)
 of vital airs, the intellect, and the senses, and which is, by Its
 own nature, Pure Consciousness.

 svayaM tvanityA api nityatAM gatA
 vyomAdayo .amI yadanugraheNa  |
 yadbhAnamAshritya vibhAnti nityaM
 bhAnvAdayaH pratyagayaM chidAtmA || 26 ||

 By whose grace  these space and other things attain eternality,
 although they are non-eternal in themselves, and by whose shining,
 luminaries such as the Sun, etc., always shine, this is the Inner
 Self, the Consciousness.


 A clear reference is made here to the KaTha upaniShad statement from

 tameva bhAntamanubhAti sarvaM tasya bhAsA sarvamidaM vibhAti

 Everything that shines does so following His shining; His lustre
 illuminates all this.

 "He" in the upaniShad refers to Brahman. Hence, Shankara has, in this
 verse of the mahAvAkyadarpaNa, indicated that the Inner Self is the
 same as the Brahman of the upaniShads.

  prAmANyaM vedashAstrANAM tvagghrANashrutichakShuShAM |
  ghaTate yatprasAdena so .ayaM pratyagasheShadR^ik.h || 27 ||

  By whose grace, the veda-shAstra's, the (senses of) touch, smell
  hearing, and sight, become the means of knowledge (pramANa's), that
  is this Inner Self, the Seer of all.


  The bR^ihadAraNyaka upaniShad proclaims:

  yenedaM sarvaM vijAnAti taM kena vijAnIyAt.h ?
  viGYAtAramare kena vijAnIyAditi (2.4.14)

  By what means should (one) know that through which all this is
  known? How should (one) know the Knower, my dear?

  The means of knowledge such as perception (pratyaxa), inference
  (anumAna), the Vedas (shabda, shruti) are called pramANas. It is
 through the pramANas that right knowledge takes place. This is also
  called pramA or cognition. Since the Self is always the real
 "cognizer" and never the "cognized", YAjnavalkya tells his wife
  MaitreyI that the Self can never be the known objectively like
 one knows objects through the pramANas.

 Again, the various means of knowledge, the pramANa's, are only
 relevant if there is a cognizer! Without a cognizer, no cognition
 can take place. Therefore, Shankara, in this verse in the mahAvAkya-
 darpaNa, declares that the Self is the real basis for any pramANa.


 For more on Shankara's view on pramANa's please see:



Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list