[Advaita-l] simile of the cloud

S.N. Sastri sn.sastri at gmail.com
Mon Sep 4 19:36:51 CDT 2006

   In SataSlokI SrI Sankara gives a beautiful simile. The translation of
this particular verse is given below:

   The cloud which appears to conceal the sun which is much bigger than
itself did not exist before the rainy season and is not seen after the end
of that season. That cloud, which exists only in between these two periods,
cannot really conceal the sun. It only obstructs the sight of the person who
tries to see the sun. If the cloud really concealed the sun, the cloud
itself would not be visible, because it becomes visible only because of the
light of the sun. In the same way, the universe, which is illumined and
enabled to function only because of the supreme Self, conceals the Self from
the intellect of human beings.

  Note: The cloud owes its origin to the sun's heat. We are able to see the
cloud only because of the light of the sun. It is this same cloud that
obstructs our view of the sun. Similarly, the universe which has its origin
in brahman (Self) and which is illumined by brahman, presents itself before
us and prevents us from knowing brahman. brahman can be known only if the
intellect and the sense organs are withdrawn from the external


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