Drik Drisya Viveka
Ramana Maharshi - his introduction to Sankaracharya's Drk Drishya Viveka

ramana_maharshi.jpg"Brahman is only one and non-dual" declare the Srutis. Since Brahman is the sole reality, according to advaita, how is it that Brahman is not apparent to us, whereas prapancha (world, i.e. non-Brahman) is so vivid? Thus questions the advanced sadhaka. 

In one's own Self, which is not other than Brahman, there is a mysterious power known as avidya (ignorance) which is beginningless and not separate from the Self. Its characteristics are veiling, and presentation of diversity. Just as the pictures in the cinema, though not visible either in sunlight or in darkness, become visible in a spot of light in the midst of darkness, so in the darkness of ignorance there appears the reflected light of the Self, illusory and scattered taking the form of thought. This is the primal thought known as the ego, jiva or krta (doer), having the mind as the medium of its perceptions. 

The mind has a store of latent tendencies which it projects as the object of a shadow-show in the waking and dream states. This show however is mistaken for real by the jiva. The veiling aspect of the mind first hides the real nature of the Self and then presents the objective world to view. Just as the waters of the ocean do not seem different from the waves, so also for the duration of objective phenomena, the Self, though itself the sole being, is made to appear not different from them. 

Turn away from the delusion caused by the latent tendencies and false notions of interior and exterior. By such constant practice of sahaja samadhi, the veiling power vanishes and the non-dual Self is left over to shine forth as Brahman itself. This is the whole secret of the advaita doctrine as taught by the master to the advanced sadhaka. Here the same teaching is contained, which Sri Sankaracharya has expounded concisely without any elaboration, in the following text.

Drk Drishya Viveka

All our perception pertains to the non-Self. The immutable Seer is indeed the Self. All the countless scriptures proclaim only discrimination between Self and non-Self.
The world we see, being seen by the eye, is drisya (object);the eye which sees it is drik (subject). But the eye, beingperceived by the mind is drisya (object) and the mind whichsees it is drik (subject). The mind, with its thoughts perceivedby the Self, is drisya (object) and the Self is drik (subject).The Self cannot be drisya (object), not being perceived byanything else. The forms perceived are various, blue andyellow, gross and subtle, tall and short, and so on; but the eyethat sees them remains one and the same. Similarly, the varying qualities of the eye, such as blindness, dullness and keennessand of the ears and other organs, are perceived by the mindsingly. So, too, the various characteristics of the mind, suchas desire, determination, doubt, faith, want of faith, courage,want of courage, fear, shyness, discrimination, good and bad,are all perceived by the Self singly. This Self neither rises norsets, neither increases nor decays. It shines of its ownluminosity. It illumines everything else without the need foraid from other sources.
Buddhi, as the sum total of the inner organs, in contactwith the reflected consciousness has two aspects. One is calledegoity and the other mind. This contact of the buddhi withthe reflected consciousness is like the identity of a red-hotiron ball with fire. Hence the gross body passes for a consciousentity. The contact establishing identity between the ego andthe reflected Consciousness, is of three kinds
1. The identification of the ego with the reflectedConsciousness is natural or innate.
2. The identification of the ego with the body is due topast karma.
3. The identification of the ego with the witness is dueto ignorance

The natural or innate contact continues as long as thebuddhi, but on realization of the Self it proves to be false. Thethird mentioned contact is broken when it is discovered byexperience that there is no sort of contact of anything at allwith the Self, which is Being. The second mentioned contact,that born of past karma, ceases to exist on the destruction ofinnate tendencies (vasanas). In the deep sleep state, when thebody is inert, the ego is fully merged (in the causal ignorance).The ego is half manifest in the dream state, and its being fullymanifest is the waking state. It is the mode or modification ofthought (with its latent tendencies) that creates the inner worldof dreams in the dream state and the outer world in the wakingstate. The subtle body, which is the material cause of mindand ego, experiences the three states and also birth and death.

Maya of the causal body has its powers of projecting (rajas)and veiling (tamas). It is the projecting power that createseverything from the subtle body to the gross universe of namesand forms. These are produced in the Sat-Chit-Ananda(Being-Consciousness-Bliss) like foam in the ocean. Theveiling power operates in such a way that internally thedistinction between subject and object cannot be perceived,and externally that between Brahman and the phenomenalworld. This indeed is the cause of samsara. The individualwith his reflected light of Consciousness is the subtle bodyexisting in close proximity with the Self that is the vyavaharika(the empirical Self). This individual character of the empiricalSelf appears in the witness or sakshi also through falsesuperimposition. But on the extinction of the veiling power(tamas), the distinction between witness and the empiricalSelf becomes clear; and the superimposition also drops away.Similarly, Brahman shines as the phenomenal world of namesand forms only through the effect of the veiling power whichconceals the distinction between them. When the veiling ends,the distinction between the two is perceived, for none of theactivities of the phenomenal world exist in Brahman.
Of the five characteristics, Being, Consciousness, Bliss,name and form, the first three pertain to Brahman and nameand form to the world. The three aspects of Being,Consciousness and Bliss exist equally in the five elements ofether, air, fire, water and earth and in devas (gods), animals,men, etc., whereas the names and forms are different. Therefore, be indifferent to names and forms, concentrate onBeing-Consciousness-Bliss and constantly practise samadhi(identity with Brahman) within the Heart or outside.

This practice of samadhi (identity with Brahman) is oftwo kinds: savikalpa (in which the distinction between knower,knowledge and known is not lost) and nirvikalpa (in whichthe above distinction is lost). Savikalpa samadhi again is oftwo kinds: that which is associated with words (sound), andmeditation on one’s own consciousness as the witness ofthought forms such as desire, which is savikalpa samadhi(internal), associated with (cognizable) objects. Realizingone’s Self as ‘I am Being-Consciousness-Bliss without duality,unattached, self-effulgent’, is savikalpa samadhi (internal)associated with words (sound). Giving up both objects andsound forms of the aforesaid two modes of samadhi and beingcompletely absorbed in the Bliss experienced by the realizationof the Self is nirvikalpa samadhi (internal). In this state steadyabidance is obtained, like the unflickering flame of a lightkept in a place free from wind. So also, in the Heart, becomingindifferent to external objects of name and form and perceivingonly Being of (or as) Sat, is savikalpa samadhi (external)associated with objects; and being aware continually of thatSat (true existence) as the unbroken single essence of Brahmanis savikalpa samadhi (external) associated with words (sound).After these two experiences, Being, which is uninterruptedlike the waveless ocean, is nirvikalpa samadhi (external). Onewho meditates should spend his time perpetually in these sixkinds of samadhi. By these, the attachment to the body isdestroyed and the mind that perpetually abides in the SupremeSelf (paramatman) wherever it may wander, is everywherespontaneously in samadhi. By this constant practice ofsamadhi, the supreme Self, who is both highest and lowliest,who encompasses Paramatman as well as jivatman is directlyexperienced, and then the knot of the Heart is loosened; alldoubts are destroyed and all karmas (activities) cease too.

Of the three modes of individual being, the limited self (asin deep sleep), the empirical self (as in the waking state) andthe dreaming self, only the individual limited by the deepsleep state is the true Self (paramarthika). Even he is but anidea. The Absolute alone is the true Self. In reality and bynature he is Brahman itself, only superimposition creates thelimitations of individuality in the Absolute. It is to theparamarthika jiva that the identity of Tat-tvam-asi (That thouart) and other great texts of the Upanishads applies, and notto any other. The great maya (the superimposition withoutbeginning) with her veiling and projecting power (tamas andrajas) veils the single indivisible Brahman and, in thatBrahman, creates the world and individuals. The individual(jiva), a concept of the empirical self in the buddhi, is indeedthe actor and enjoyer and the entire phenomenal world is itsobject of enjoyment. From time without beginning, till theattainment of liberation, individual and world have anempirical existence. They are both empirical. The empiricalindividual appears to have the power of sleep in the shape ofthe veiling and projecting powers. It is associated withConsciousness. The power covers first the individual empiricalself and the cognized universe, and then these are imaginedin dream. These dream perceptions and the individual whoperceives them are illusory, because they exist only duringthe period of dream experience. We affirm their illusory nature,because on waking up from dream no one sees the dream, noone sees the dream objects. The dreaming self experiencesthe dream world as real, while the empirical self experiencesthe empirical world as real but, when the paramarthika jivais realized, knows it to be unreal. The paramarthika jiva, asdistinguished from those of the waking and dream experiences,is identical with Brahman. He has no ‘other’. If he does seeany ‘other’, he knows it to be illusory

The sweetness, liquidity, and coldness of water arecharacteristics present equally in waves and foam. So, too,the Being-Consciousness-Bliss character of the Self (theparamarthika) is present in the empirical self and throughhim in the dream self also, because of their being only illusorycreations in the Self. The foam with its qualities, such ascoldness, subsides in the waves, the waves with theircharacteristics, such as liquidity, subside in the water, and theocean alone exists as at first. Similarly, the dream self and itsobjects are absorbed in the empirical self; then the empiricalworld with its characteristics is absorbed in the paramarthikaand, as at first, Being-Consciousness-Bliss which is Brahmanshines alone.

alternative translation by Swami Nikhilananda
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