VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY

Self=Knowledge
(ATMA=JNANA)

BY

SWAMI ABHEDANANDA
Author of " India and her People:'
''Divine Heritage of

Man."

" How to be a YosU*' " Reincarnatioti" etc.

THIRD EDITION

PUBLISHED BY

THE VEDANTA SOCIETY
West Cornwall, Conn.

S\\

AMI ABHKDAN ANDA.

Copyright,

190!;,

BY

SWAMI ABHEDANANDA.
Enitrtd at Stationers'
I/all.

8

iss

To
THE LOTUS FEET
OK

BHAGAVAN

SRI

RAMAKRISHNA

MY Divine Guru
BY

whose grace
THE
BLISS OF
IS

SeLF-KNOWLEDGE

REALIZED

779

PREFACE.
In
this

age of scepticism and materialism
to

few people care
is

know

their real Self,

which

Divine and immortal.

But the knowledge

of the true Self has always been the principal

theme of the philosophy and
danta.

religion of

Ve-

Even

in its

most ancient writings, the form
find

Upanishads,

which

portions

of

the

Vedic Scriptures,

we

how

earnestly Selfafter

knowledge or Atma-jnana was sought

and

extolled.
in

The

great inspired seers

menand

tioned

these

Upanishads

discovered
lies

taught that knowledge of the Self
root
of
all

at the

knowledge,

whether of science,
Ever}' sincere seeker

philosophy or religion.

after knowledge, therefore,
lectual,
first

who

desires intel-

moral or

spiritual

development, must

learn to discriminate between spirit

and

matter, soul and body, and then reahze the

all-knowing Divine

Self

who

is

the

eternal

foundation of the universe.

1

CONTENTS.
PAGB
I.

Spirit

and Matter

1

II.

Knowledge of the Self
Prana and the Self
Search after the Self.

35

III.

63

IV.

93
121

V. Re.\lization of

the Self

VI. Immortality

and the Self
7

161

related to spirit or is equally RELATED TO THE OBJECT OR MATTER. If THERE WERE NO OBJECT, THERE WOULD BE NO SUBJECT; AND IF THERE WERE NO SUBJECT, THERE WOULD FOR ON EITHER SIDE ALONE BE NO OBJECT. NOTHING COULD BE ACHIEVED."
is

"Matter or object

subject; and the subject or spirit

Kaushitaki Upanishad,

III, 8.

9

SPIRIT
Spirit
jects

AND MATTER.

and matter have always been subdiscussion
in

for

science,

philosophy
of
all

and

religion.

The

great

thinkers

countries have tried their best to understand the
true meanings
of

these

two terms and

to establish their

mutual

relation.

The two
mind and

words have various synonyms, such as ego

and non-ego, subject and
matter.
Scientists

object,

and philosophers have adto

vanced many theories from time
explain
their

time to

ideas

and

conceptions
at

about
conclu-

them and have arrived
sions.

different

Some

say

that

spirit

or

mind

or

ego

is

the cause of matter, while others re-

verse the relation

and believe that matter
or

is

the cause of spirit

mind

or ego.

These
to

conclusions

have

given
11

foundation

the

VEDAXTA PHILOSOPHY.
various explanations of the universe, which

can

be

classified

under three heads,
the

—the

spiritualistic

or

idealistic,

materialistic,
spiritualistic

and the monistic

theories.

The

or idealistic theory claims that spirit or mind
is

the creator of matter
all

and energy, hence
and
it

of

material objects;

denies

the

existence of matter as distinct

and separate
or mind.

from the mode or condition of

spirit

The

materialistic

theory,

on the contrary,
spirit,

maintains that matter produces

mind,

ego or subject.

There have been many

idealistic

or

spirit-

ualistic philosophers in different countries at

different times.

In India, Greece, Germany,
ideal-

and England have arisen a number of
ists

like

Bishop Berkeley, who have denied

the existence of the external world and also
of matter as
ideas.

an entity separate from mental
Christian
is

Modem

Science,

which

teaches that there

no such thing as matter
is

but that everj'thing

mind, has been built

upon

this idealistic doctrine of

Bishop Berke-

12

SPIRIT
ley

AND MATTER.
of the

and other philosophers
it

same

school.
is

In America

is

new, because the nation

new.

America has not yet
.

produced

any

great idealistic philosopher.

The

materiahstic theory of the
is

universe,

on the other hand,

maintained by a large

majority of the scientists, physicists, chemists,

medical practitioners and the evolutionists of
the present time.

They

try to

deduce everythat
it

thing from matter,

and claim
spirit.

is

the

cause of mind, ego or

Although there

are thousands and millions

of people all over

the world

who advocate
materialists,

this theory
still

and
few

call

themselves

very

can

define the term matter and give a clear idea
of what they understand by
it.

y^ -^
^

y^

"What

is

matter?

Has anybody ever seen
see matter? the

matter?

This question can be asked of the

materialists.

Do we
Is

No.

We

see

color.
It is

color

same as matter?
it

No.

a

quality.

Where does
think

exist?

An

uneducated

man may
13

that

the

color of a flower, as perceived, exists in the

VEDANTA PinLOSOPHY.
flower.

But the
is

j)hysiologists

explain

that

the color ^^•hich

perceived does
it

not exist

as such in the flower, but that
tion caused

is

a sensa-

by a certain order of vibrations
contact

coming

in

with

our

consciousness

through the

medium

of the optic ner^^es.
it

This
per-

may seem

strange, but
is

is

true.

The
effect

ception of color

a

compound
ether,

pro-

duced by vibrations of

which, enter-

ing through the eyes, create another set of
vibrations in the brain cells;
tions,
tity,
is

and these vibra-

when

translated

by the conscious enColor, therefore,

are called sensations.

the result of the blending of the objective
It
is

and subjective elements.
of the combination of that

the product

which comes from
which
is

the outside world and

that

given

by the subjective or mental

activities.

Thus

we

can understand that color does not rest
but
it

in the flower;

depends upon the retina,
cells

optic nen^es

and brain

as well, so

it

cannot be the same as matter.
Similarly

we may

ask: Is sound which
14

we

SPIRIT

AND MATTER.
No.
It
is

0.
the;^^_^,.ew!a-'<^'^^
the.<--<>^

hear the same as matter?
result of

a certain kind of vibration plus
If

-yt^^^

conscious activity of the mind.
to
sleep,

you go

.n^^^

the vibration of sound will enter -^-^'^'-^^

A

through your ears and be carried through
the auditory nerves into the brain
cells,

but

you

will not
is

hear

it,

because the percipient

mind
into

not there to translate the vibration

the sensation of sound.

Sound, thereIn the same

fore, is

not the same as matter.
it

manner

can be shown

that the other senses

do not give us any information about that
which we
is

call matter.

Then we

ask:

WTiat

matter?

John Stewart Mill

defines m.atter

as the

"permanent

possibility of sensation,"

and mind as the "permanent
feeling."

possibility

of

Are we

better

off

after
it

hearing
is

this definition?

On

the contrary,
difficulty

more
the
that

confusing.

The whole
It

lies

in
is

word

"possibility."

means, matter

which permanently makes sensation possible,

and mind or

spirit is that

which permanently
in other

makes feeHng

possible;
15

or,

words

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
matter
is

that

which can be permanently
is

felt

or perceived, that which
ing;

the object of feel-

and
feel

spirit

is

that

which
that

can

permais

nently

or

perceive,

which

the

subject of feeling.

That

w^hich permanently

makes sensation
by the senses,

possible can never be revealed
for the senses are
for our sensations.

no more than open doors
All that

we can

predicate

of matter

is

that

it

causes sensations.

When
do
not

we

try to

know

its

nature per
it,

se,

or any par-

ticulars

concerning

our

senses

help us.

The

eyes are only instrumental in

perceiving the sensation of color, the ears of

sound, nostrils of odor.
the external world
is

Our

perception of

limited

by these sense

powers, and
or
indirect

all

sensations are either direct
of

results

our

sense
is

activities.

Although we know that matter

something

which
various

exists

in

space and time and causes
still

sensations,
it.

we cannot

see
to

or
the

touch

That which corresponds
will IG

name "matter"

always remain intangible.

SPIRIT

AND MATTER.
wood
or

We
This

may
is

touch a chair, a piece of

gold, but

we cannot touch matter by
Gold or stone
which
is

itself.
is

very curious.
it

not

matter, but matter.
It

is

that

produced by

Matter appears as wood or stone.
be interesting to know the history
matter.

may

of

the term

This word

is

derived

from the Latin

materies,

meaning "stuff,"

and
solid

it

was

originally used in the sense of the

wood

of a tree or a timber for building.

Gradually a generalized concept was formed

which
v.hich

meant

anything

substantial

out

of

some other thing was fashioned.

When

a wooden statue was made, the form was
distinguished from
the

substance
still

wood or
But when
it

mater ies.

Here

it

was

wood.

a statue was
still

made

of stone or metal

was

called materies.

Thus

the
of

name

materies

signified

the substance out or

which someGradually
the

thing was shaped

fashioned.

when

the

question

arose,

"What was

substance out of which this world was
the answer was materies or matter.
17

made ?"
So the

VEDANTA nilLOSOPHY.
word matter docs not mean any
It
is

definite thing.

used for that unknown substance out
perception

of

which the known objects of

are formed.

Here ends the
term.

literal

and

real

meaning

of the

Matter can be used

in the sense of
lies

any unknown substance which

at

the

bottom or foundation of some

form or

object.

For instance,

in

our ordi-

nary conversation
expressions as

we

use this word in such
is

"What

the matter?"

"It

does not matter," "Important matter," caying matter."

"De-

In science and philosophy, however, matter
is

that

unknown substance out

of

which
It
is

all^

phenomenal forms are fashioned.

beall

yond sense perception, yet
the objects of the
universe.

it

underlies
It
it

is

not the
space,

same as space or
manifests
itself in

time,

but

fills

time,

and cannot be hmited
All these ideas
of

by the category
are

of causality.

included

in

the

meaning

the

term

matter.
of

When we

think of that substance
is

which the universe

the appearance,

we

18

SPIRIT
imagine
that
it

AND MATTER.
vast,

is

immense,

marvel-

lous and possessed of wonderful powers, which

are constantly changing.
Is
it

But what

is

matter?
cannot

one or many?
it

It is one.

We

say that

is

many.

Herbert Spencer says:
reduced to
its

"Our

conception of matter,
is

simplest shape,

that of coexistent positions

that offer resistance, as contrasted with our

conception of space in which the coexistent
positions
ciples,

offer

no resistance."

(First

Prindifis

p.

140.)

Let us understand the

ference between space and matter.

Space
but

extension

offering

no

resistance,

that
is

which
matter.

offers

resistance
also states:

and

lies

in

space

He

"Of

these two inis

separable elements, the resistance

primary
As,
it

and the extension
example,
sists,

is

secondary."

for
re-

when we touch something

then

we have an
extends

idea of resistance; but

when we
resistance

spread our hand that feeling of
also
in

space.

Herbert
of

Spencer
force
is

says

again:

"Our
19

experience

that out of

which the idea of matter

VEDyVNTA rillLOSOPIlY.
is

built

up.

.

.

.

That which opposes our
is

muscular energy

immediately present to

consciousness in the terms of force.
forces,

Hence

standing in a certain correlation in

space,

form the whole content of matter."

Furthermore, he adds:
as

"Matter and motion,

we know them,

are differently conditioned

manifestations of force.
cretes built

They

are the conof various
feel
resist-

up from the contents
In order to

mental relations."

ance there must be present one

who

feels;

and then the force that

is

felt is

the primary

cause which gives rise to the conception of
matter.

Again,

matter has not been created

by

anybody.

No

one has ever seen, nor can

anyone imagine the creation of matter out
of nothing or
its

total annihilation.

Accordits

ing

to

modem
is

science,

matter in

true

nature

a substance uncreatable and indethat
is,
it

structible,

was neither created out
it

of nothing nor can

go back into nothing.

There are various other definitions of matter. 20

StIRIT

AND MATTER.
is

Some
tion."

physicists say that matter

"whatever

possesses

the property of gravitative attracstill

But

this

does not
say

tell

us

its

true
is

nature.

We

can

only

that

there

some substance which responds

to attractions.

Ernst Haeckel, again, defines matter as "infinitely

extended substance, and

spirit as all:

embracing energy of thought."
After studying these various definitions,
learn
that

J

/

we

""
^

matter

is

that

substance of the
objective w^orld,

universe which

makes up the

or that which can be perceived by the senses

and cognized by the mind.
jective,
tive,

It is
is

always ob-

and

spirit or

mind

always subjec-

always the perceiver or cognizer of matter,

the knower of the object.

Now we
is

can under-

stand the difference,

spirit

the perceiver
that

and knower, while matter
perceived,

is

which

is is

sensed

and known.
is

The one

the subject and the other

the object.

These

two

exist

in

relation

to

each

other.

The

objective world or matter forms only one-half,

while the other half

is

the subjective world

21

VED.WTA PHILOSOPHY.
or
spirit.

Therefore, the materialistic theor}',

which admits the existence of the object and
denies the existence of spirit or
subject,
is

mind or
It

the

onesided and imperfect.

ignores

the fact that matter or object can only exist as related to the subject.

The
object

materialistic theor}'
it

is

a logical blunder,

because

is

based upon a confusion between
It asserts that
it

and

subject.

matter
tries

is

objective,

but at the same time
it

to

show

that

is

also the cause of the subject,
be.

which can never

"A"

can never become

"non-A."
that matter

Materialism begins with the idea
is

objective,

and ends

in attempt-

ing to prove that this objective something has

become the subjective mind,
It
first

spirit

or
is

ego.

takes for granted that matter
is

that

which
then
it

perceived, or the cause of sensations,
it

gradually claims to show that
feels the sensations,

pro-

duces that which
is

which

self-contradictor}'

and absurd.
onesided and imperfect,

As materialism
so
is

is

the spirituaUstic or idealistic theory of

SPIRIT
the world,

AND MATTER.
of matis

which denies the existence

ter or object,

and says that ever}lhing

mind.

The
as

theory of
is

modem

Christian
is

Science,

that all
is

mind and

that there

no matter,
theor}\

erroneous as the materialistic
or

Spirit

mind or

ego,

which

is

always the

subject, can exist as perceiver or

knower so

long as there
of knowledge.

is

an object of perception and
If

we admit
is

the existence of

one, that of the other

implied.

Therefore,

Goethe was correct

in saying:

"^Matter canspirit or

not exist and be operative without
spirit

without matter."
universal substance appears as possess-

The

ing these two attributes of subject and object,

of spirit,

mind or ego and matter or
are
like

non-ego.

They

the two
is

modes

of

the one eternal substance, which

unknown
called

and

unknowable

existence.

It

was

"Substantia" by Spinoza.
calls
it

Herbert Spencer
It is the

the

"Unknowable."

same

as

"Ding an
in-itself of

sich," or the transcendental thing-

Kant; Plato named
23

it

the

"Good."

VEDAXTA
It
is

I'llILOSOrilY.
in

the

"Over-Soul" of Emerson; while
it

Vcdanta
lute

is

called

"Brahman,"

the absoinfinite

substance of the universe,
of

the

and eternal source
object

matter and mind, of

and

subject.

This substance

is

not

many
and

but one.

All varieties of
this

phenomena

have come out of
into
it

one source, Brahman,

they will be reduced at the time of
It
is

dissolution.

the universal
all forces.

energ}-,

the

mother or producer of

We know
and

that all forces are related to one another
that they are, as

modem

science explains, the
eternal energy or
this

manifestations of the
the infinite substance.
all

same

From
come

one source

mental

and

physical

phenomena and
into

material

forces

have

existence,

and have evolved
shapes.
(V^v^'v^

into

various

forms and

This

is

monism.

The
eternal

monistic thinkers of

\1

the present age, like Ernst Haeckel

and

others,

admit

this

one

substance
all forces.

as

the

source of mind, matter and
also accept the great truth

They

which has always

24

SPIRIT .\XD INIATTER.

been taught by Vedanta that
infinite

"From

that

substance or Brahman, the Absolute

Being, have evolved hfe-force or Prana, mind,
all

the

mental

activities,

and

the

sense

powers, which are included in the meaning
of the term "spirit" or subject on the one hand,

and, on the other, space or ether, and
gaseous,
liquid

all

and soHd objects which are
Matter in
to
its

understood by matter!"
plest state
finite

simin-

can be reduced

the

same

substance Brahman, which forms the
of

background

mind or

spirit.

Therefore,
is

Vedanta teaches that the eternal substance
both the material and the
the
universe.
efficient
is

cause of
still
it

Although
its

it

one,

appears as

many by
not

inscrutable

power

known

in

Vedanta as "Maya."
is

This world
alone.
It is

made up

of

dead matter

not the product of the combina-

tion of those

minute particles called atoms.
chemists
these

Until lately the western physicists,

and

other

materialists
indivisible

believed
units

that

atoms were

floating in

the

25

VEDAXTA PHILOSOPHY.
infinite

space,

attracting

and repelling one

another, mechanically producing the elements
of nature

and creating the phenomenal world.
the

But now, through
tricity,

application
the

of

elec-

J.

J.

Thomson,

great

English

scientist,

has proved that the so-called indiinto
still

visible

atoms can be subdivided
chrirons,

finer

which are nothing but

the

force-centers of the ancient
If

Hindu

scientist.

atoms arc made up of
are

electrons,

and

elec-

trons
exist?

but force-centers,
exist
in

where do they
primordial ocean

They

that

of infinite

substance or Brahman, the recep-

tacle of the eternal energ}',

which
Thus,

is

in turn

the

mother

of

all

forces.

we can

understand
to

how matter and
substance
of

force are related

the

one

or

Brahman.

The
as

objective
as

side

that

substance
subjective

appears
side

matter,

and

the

spirit.

I

have already said that
is

it

is

a scientific

truth that matter
able;

indestructible

and uncreat-

so

is

force.

Matter and force can be
26

SPIRIT

AND MATTER.

transformed into various manifestations, but

can never be destroyed.
rises:

Now
be

the question

If the

one half of the world or objecforce

tive

matter and

uncreatable
is

and
of
If

indestructible,
spirit?
Is
it

then

what

the

nature

creatable
half
of

and destructible?
the

the

objective

universe

be unthe other

creatable

and

indestructible,

how can
spirit,
is

half, the subjective

mind

or

be creata-

ble

and

destructible?

That

impossible.
is

Spirit or

mind

in

its

simplest form
If

equally

uncreated and indestructible.
ject

matter or ob-

be

eternal, then the spirit or subject

must

also be eternal to
to

make

it

possible for the object

be

eternal.

Who will know that matter and
if

force are eternal,

the spirit or subject be

not

equally

eternal?

This point has been

overlooked by most of the eminent thinkers

and

scientists

of

different

countries.

The
mind.

etemality of matter and force or energy pre-

supposes
If the

the

etemality

of

spirit

or

one

falls,

both will disappear.

There-

fore the ultimate analysis of spirit

and mat-

27

VKDANTA rillLOSOPHY.
ter

shows thai both arc uncrcalablc, inde-

structible

and

eternal.

If the

one pole of a

niagnet be eternal, the other pole must necessarfly

be eternal.

Furthermore, the neutral

point where both meet must also be eternal.

This universe
pole
spirit,

is

like
is

a gigantic magnet, one

of

which

matter,

and the other
is

is

while the neutral point

the absolute

substance.
ter,

For

this reason these three,

mat-

spirit,

and Brahman are

eternal.

In Vcdanta,
cognizer,
is

spirit is called the

Atman, the
It

the pcrceiver and
Self.

the subject.

our true

It existed in the eternal

past

and

will continue to exist in the eternal future.
it.

Nothing can destroy
world, which
tion,
is

The phenomenal

the object of sense percep-

but

may change from one form into another, the Atman or Self will never change. It is
"Weapons cannot
it,

absolutely unchangeable.
pierce
it,

water cannot moisten

fire

cannot

burn

it,

nor can the air dry

it."

It is indis-

soluble,
It is

immutable and immortal substance.

not destroyed at the time of death.
28

Death

SPIRIT
is

AND MATTER.

the property of everything within the reakn

of

time and

space.

All

objects

that
is

have

form are subject by death.

to death.
is

Birth

followed
die.

That which
will die,

bom
it

must
its

Our body
and

because

had

birth

exists in

space and time.
die,

But the Atit

man or spirit cannot bom and is beyond
tr}'

because

was never
If

space and time.

you

to think of the birth of

your

spirit,

you

will

never be able to find an absolute begintherefore,

ning;

Atman

is

beginningless and

endless.

Ever}'thing which can be perceived
will

by our senses
while the

change and pass away,

Atman

or spirit will remain forever.

Here
or
of

may be asked whether spirit is one many? The same question may be asked matter. Is matter one or many? We
it it

have seen that matter as objective substance
is

one, although
its

appears as

many on account
one eternal

of

manifestations within space and time.
is

Similarly, says Vedanta, there
Spirit

or Subject of the

universe, of

which

the individual spirits or egos are but so 29

many

VEDANTA
manifestations.

rillLOSOPIIY.
arc

They

but parts of one
spirit

stupendous whole or universal

or God.
of the

God

is

the eternal Subject or

Knower
the

world.
total

He
of
all

is

the

cosmic

Ego,
or

sum-

individual
is

spirits

egos
Being,

and
the

more.

He

the

one

Infinite

eternal ocean, which contains so

many

eddies
is is

or souls.
first-born
first

The cosmic Ego
Lord
of

or

God

the

the

universe.

He
is

the

and highest manifestation of the AbsoSubstance or Brahman.

lute

He
all

the

ma-

terial

and the
the

efficient

cause of
of

phenomena.

He

is

projector

evolution.

He

dif-

ferentiates subject

from object,
In

spirit

or ego

from matter or non-ego.
exists,

Him

evcr}'thing

through
they

Him
in
all

all

beings hve, and into
end.

Him

return

the

He

is

more
to-

powerful than
gether.

the

individual

spirits

We
is

possess

small

powers;

as

our

knowledge

limited so are our powers;

but
is

God
the

is

the one substance whose power

unlimited.

He

dwells everywhere.

He

forms

background of our individual
30

spirit

and

SPIRIT

AND MATTER.

possesses eternal knowledge.
of our souls.

He
shall

is

the Soul

We

should meditate on

Him

and worship Him; then we
the relation between spirit

understand

and matter.

"He

is

the one Eternal Being in the midst

of all non-eternal forms

and names.

He

is

the one Source of intelligence in the midst
of
insentient

matter.

He makes
many and
the

that
fulfills

one
all
all

substance
desires

appear as

dwelling

within

hearts

of
in

creatures.

Whosoever

realizes

Him

his

soul attains to eternal bliss even in this life." 31

/ c--z^

"The

infinite

and eternal truth, BrahVIS-

man, PERVADES THE WHOLE UNIVERSE, THE
IBLE AND INVISIBLE.
If

THE VISIBLE BE TAKEN AWAY, (if the PERCEPTIBLE PHENOMENA BE destroyed) THAT WHICH WILL BE LEFT IS THE Infinite." May we realize the Infinite in THIS life; may we attain to that truth and ENJOY peace F0RE\^ER. "Peace, peace, peace to all iiving creatures."
Ishi

Upanishad.

33

KNOWLEDGE OF THE
The knowledge
spoken of
true Self.
in

SELF.
commonly

of

God

is

not so

India as the knowledge of the

Self-knowledge reveals the knowl-

edge of the real nature of the Absolute and
of

the

Supreme

Deity.

Ordinarily

we

use

the

word "self"

in the sense of ego, but the

term "Self-knowledge" does not mean mere

knowledge of the ego.
actor,

The

ego in us

is

the

thinker
all

and

perceiver.

That which
body and
or
ego;

performs

the functions of the

mind,
but
it

is is

generally

known

as

"I"

only the reflection of the Absolute
is
is

Brahman, which
gence.

the source of

all

intelli-

The
do

ego

the image of that divine
it

spark within us which gives

vitality

and

makes

it

all

works mental and physical.
35

So when we speak of Self-knowledge, we

VEDANTA rHILOSOPIIY.
do not mean simply the knowledge
lower animal
higher
Self.

of

the

self

or

ego,

but also of the

The
which
enal

higher Self
lies

is

the

same

as the Absolute

at the feundation of the

phenomor

universe.
is
it

The

Absolute

Substance

Brahman
sequently

beyond space and time, conis

formless
itself
it

and unchangeable.
as an individuahzed,

When
It also

it

manifests

self-conscious entity,

is

known

as the ego.

appears as the object of consciousness,
is

then

it

called matter;
is

the Absolute Being,
is
it

however,
as ego.
therefore
realized

neither matter nor

the

same

It
it

forms the background of our ego,
is

our true

Self.

When we have
as well as

it,

we have known God

the relation which the

phenomenal universe
method of beis

bears to

Him; and
of

the best
this

coming conscious

Absolute Being
Self,

through the realization of our true

or

Atman, as

it

is

called in Sanskrit.
is
it

Some

people think that self-annihilation

the ideal of the Vedanta Philosophy, but 36

KNOWLEDGE OF THE
is

SELF.

not so.

The

true Self, according to VeIf self-anni-

danta, can never be destroyed.
hilation

were the
to

ideal,

then the Self would

be

subject

change

and

destruction;

it

could not be the same as the Absolute Being.

The Vedanta
structible

Philosophy,

on the
is

contrar}-,

teaches that the true Self

absolutely inde-

and unchangeable.

How
its

is

it

then

possible for anyone to think of

annihila-

tion?
sible

Destruction of Self
as

is

just as impos-

the

destruction

of

the

Absolute;

therefore self-annihilation cannot be the highest

aim and

ideal of

life.

Self-knowledge alone
the absolute
It
is

helps

us

to

realize

Truth and

to attain

perfection.

considered to be the highest wisdom.
Socrates
is

When
"What
"self"

asked the

Delphian Oracle

the highest knowledge?" the an-

swer came,
here

"Know
is

thy Self."

By

the

word
ego,
of

meant not merely the

but the true

Self.

The same knowledge

the real Self has been glorified in India from
the

most ancient Vedic period.
37

Vedanta, the

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
rationalistic
this
life.

portion

of

the
the

\'cdas,

describes
ideal

Self-knowlcdi^c
If \vc

as

highest

of

wish
true

to

know God, we must

first

know our
ourselves

Self;

we must ask within
are
in

who and what wc
death

reality,

where wc have come
of us
vital

from, and what becomes

after

?

These questions are
Ordinary'
their

of

importance.

people

cannot
are
too

solve

such
with

j)roblenis,

minds
the

busy
world.

the

affairs

of

phenomenal

But an earnest seeker after Truth,
discontented with the knowledge of

who
face

is

material objects, wishes to go below the surof

phenomenal appearances and docs

not stop until the ultimate goal, the reality

which underlies
His aim
these
is

all

phenomena,
the

is

discovered.
solution of

to

fmd

correct

problems by knowing the true nature

of his ego as well as of the universe.

He

may

start

with the objective world, but gradu-

ally, as

he advances step by step and reaches

farther

and farther
in

in his

search after Truth,

he comes back

the end to his

own

Self.

38

KNOWLEDGE OF THE
Because the true Self
universe.
sists
is

SELF.
center of the

the

The phenomenal
to

world, which con-

of the objects of sense-perception,

may

be compared

a grand
lies

circle,

the circum-

ference of which

in

the gross material
is

forms and the innermost center of which

Atman, the true

Self.

The nature
to

of

this

true
It
is

Self,

according

Vedanta

is

infinite.

neither limited
relations.

by time nor conditioned by space

The

Scriptures describe

God

as the center of

the universe, but Vedanta says that Self or

Atman

is

also the center of the universe,
is

and

that the true Self

one with Divinity.

The

moment
us,

that

we

realize the

Divine Self within
the

we understand

that

realm of the

same Atman extends
and even
light

to the sun,

moon,

stars,

to

the

most distant planets, the

from which takes hundreds and thou-

sands of years to reach us.
is

Wherever there
the

existence,

whether
is

on

physical

or

mental plane, there
of this Divine Self.

also the manifestation

That by which we know
39

"

VKDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
the existence of the external world, by which

we

arc conscious of our bodies, senses
is
it

and
not

mental powers,
far

our true
is

Self.

It

is

from

us,

yet

beyond the reach of
Self
is

mind and
^^^^scribed

intellect.

The

thus

de-

in the fourth verse of the Isha
Self)
is

Upani-

shad: "It (the
I

beyond

all

vibration

and

,

motion.
*

It is one,

and

swifter than mind.
it,

The

^ iV
Sly

'

senses never reached
all.

it

transcended them
it

Though standing

still,

overtakes

the
It

mind and senses which
is

are running fast.
activities,

the source of

all

mental

sense-

powers and the various forces of nature.

Modem
world
forces.
is

science

tells

us

that

the

whole

the product of matter

and material
seen
in

Matter, again, as
chapter,
is

we have

the
state

first

nothing but
of

a certain

of

motion

or vibration

some subis

stance, the true nature of

which

unknown

and unknowable.
verse
is

Ever}- particle of the uni-

in

constant
call

motion

or
light,

vibration.

That which we
taste,

heat or

sound or
ol

odor,

touch

or
40

any object

sense-

KNOWLEDGE OF THE
perception,
of the
is

SELF.

nothing but a state of vibration
Sir

same unknown substance.

WilHam

Crookes says:
second,
is
it

"At
shown

thirty-two vibrations per
that

we have

the

first

beginning of audible sound, and that sound
ceases to be audible

when

it

reaches to somevibraof

thing less than thirty-three thousand
tions
in

a second.

The

vibrations

heat

and

light rays are

almost inconceivably more

rapid.

They

are expressed in no fewer than

fifteen figures, whilst the vibrations within

a

single

second

of

the
in

recently

discovered
mil-

radium are expressed
Hons
of

more than nine

millions

of

millions."

The whole
material sub-

world consists in the vibration of atoms, or
the

most minute

particles

of

stance, but above
tion

and beyond
the

all this vibra-

there

exists
is

Absolute Reahty, the

true Self, which
intelligence

the source of knowledge,
It is
is

and consciousness.

through
such a

this Self that

we know

that there

thing as vibration.

Here the question

rises:

Who

is

it

that

41

VEDAN'TA rHILOSOniY.
kno\YS that the world
is

a mass of vibration?
itself?
It

Docs

vibration

know

cannot.
this

"Motion produces nothing but motion,"
is

one of the laws of nature which has been

confirmed by

modem
is

scientists.

Motion canis

not produce knowledge.
thing which
vibration;

Knowledge

some-

not the effect of motion or
it

but

is

that

which enlightens our

minds and makes us see and understand that
there
is

such a thing as motion or vibration.

Therefore the Upanishad says:
does not vibrate
is

"That which
Search

our true Self."
is

within and see where
vibrate, but
tions

that

which does not
of all vibra-

which

is

the

Knower
mind."

and

actions.
faster
is

"It
that

goes

than

"We know

mind

the fastest thing in the world;
electricity,

thought travels faster than
other
plane.

or any
physical
that

current
Sir

that

exists

on

the

William

Crookes

reasons
issue

"the

thought

vibrations
really
it

which

from

the brain

may

have
42

their beginning at

a point where

becomes no longer possible

KNOWLEDGE OF THE
to estimate the vibrations

SELF.

which are caused

by the most subtle forces
Furthermore, he adds:

of physical nature."

"If

we can any way
which
is

realize the concept of a force

capaof

ble

of

creating

thousands

of
if

trilhons

vibrations in a second,

and

we add

to this
is

idea that the velocity of these vibrations

equalled by their rapidity,
that

we
a

see easily

enough
the

thought

may

put

girdle

about

earth in an infinitesimal fraction of time."

We

can

exchange

messages

by

wireless

telegraphy between here and England or any
other part of the world, but thought transference
is

quicker than wireless telegraphy.
of a

The mind
sun into the

person

who

is

sitting

here

can go straight into the sun, or beyond the
infinite

space where the ordinarj'

force of electricity will not reach perhaps

even there the mind can run in the shortest
interv^al of time.
is

Time

exists in

mind.

What
the

time?

Time means
between them

succession in thought.
after

When

one thought

rises
is

another,
call

interval

what we

Time,

43

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
SO
it

is

subject

to

mental

activity.
is

That

which

is

swifter than

mind

the true Self.

Our

real Self

can go quicker than thought-

current and even where
It

mind cannot

reach.

travels evcrj-where.

Self or

Atman forms

the
Self

background of the mind, therefore the
is

quicker and faster than the activity

of the mind.

Mind can go nowhere without
the
Self,

depending upon

the

Knower.
it

It

remains absolutely inactive when
rated from the Self.

is

sepa-

"The
them

senses never reached

it, it

transcended
reveal
it;

all."

The

senses

cannot

sense-powers cannot express the true nature
of the Self, because they are limited by time

and space, while the Knower

of

time and

space must necessarily be beyond the reach
of the
senses.

When we

see

the sun,

the

very
that

sight
is,

depends upon self-consciousness;
conscious
of

we must be

the

fact

that

we

are seeing something, and that con-

sciousness must depend upon our true Self.

The sun

will not

be seen
44

if

our mind and

KNOWLEDGE OF THE
eyes
the are

SELF.
off

separated
of

and cut

from

Self,

source

knowledge,

intelligence

and

consciousness.
of

Depending upon that source
our mind
functions

consciousness and intelligence,

works,

our

senses

perform

their

and

the

body moves.

Therefore, the
(Self)

Isha
it

Upanishad continues: "It

moves and

LtXiJi^ v "
'

moves
inside

not;

it

is

far

and

likewise near.

It is

and

also outside of all this. "

When

the

body moves, the source

of intelligence, or our

true Self, appears as moving, but in reahty
it

does

not

move.

Where

will

it

go?

It

cannot go anywhere.

When we move

a jar

from one place

to

another the space within but does the
is it

the jar appears to be moving;

space move
that

in reality?

No.

What

then

moves?

We

do not know;

the form

appears to be moving, but the form again
is

limitation in space.

It

may

be said, "If

space does not move, then the form cannot

move."

It

seems

to
it

be like a puzzle, when
at every step

we

tiy to

answer

we meet

with insoluble problems.
45

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
The whole
deavor
nature,
fusion.
to find

of

life

is

a mysten'.

We

en-

some explanation by studying
puts
us
into

but

nature

more conshe takes

Science does not help us;

us up to a certain point and there she leaves
us

without showing anything beyond, with-

out telling us what to do and where to go.

Such
edge.

is

the condition of our relative knowl-

When
which

properly analysed,

it

appears to

be a
edge,
Self.

partial expression of the absolute knowlis

the

real

nature of the true

Relative knowledge, however, will not
in

help us
If

solving the riddles of the universe.
to

we wish

know

the ultimate

Truth

of

the

world we must go
the

beyond
the

nature and
of

seek

explanation

in

realm

the

Absolute.

Nature

is

called in Sanskrit

Mdyd;

she deludes us, yet

we

arc living in nature,

and our body, senses and mind are parts
of nature.

more we are deluded;
any
final solution.

The more we study nature, the we do not come to
Scientists

have arrived at

certain

conclusions,

which are hke conclu46

KNO\\XEDGE OF THE
sions in which nothing
tells
is
is

SELF.

concluded.

Science

us that the ultimate goal of everything

unknown and unknowable.
its

Here Vedanta

comes and advises

students to study not
Self or

merely nature, but our
all

Atman; then

confusion will be removed and the Abso-

lute

Truth

will

be reached.
Self

Nature makes us see that the

moves

when
the
feel
is

the body
is

is

in

motion, but in reality

Self

immovable.
is

Nature
far

makes
us,

us
it

that

Self

very

from

but

the

nearest

thing

that

we

have,

nearer

than
to
is

this

body and mind which we consider
our true
Self,

be the nearest;

however,

in reality the nearest of all.
its

" It dwells in ^\fjiAA-^_^'^
it

everything as
is

soul or inner nature, yet

Oj-*-^-^-*^

outside of everything."
it

How
it

can that be?

If

dwells inside

how can

dwell outside?

Space exists inside as well as outside.
the space within this room, which
is

Take

confined

by

its

walls.

This space appears as inside

the room;

but what are the walls, are they

separate from space?

No; they
47

exist in

and

VEDANTA rillLoSOPHY.
through space, ihcy arc nothing but space.

The space
is

of

the-

walls limits the space that
it

inside the
It
is

room; but does
outside also.

limit in reality?
limit

No.

Can we

the
if

infinite

space?
to limit

By no means.

Similarly,

we

tr)'

our Self by our mind we
is

fail,

because mind
to

not large and strong enough

keep the Self out;
it;

sense-powers cannot
it;

limit

physical forms can never divide

because each one of these exists as related
to

the

Self.

The

Self

or

Atman,

when

properly realized, appears as unlimited and
infinite.

We
reality

say that

we
not

are

finite

beings,
is

but

in

we

are

finite.

There

only one Infinite Existence which
itself

expresses

through

finite

forms.

As

finite

forms,
it,

existing in space, cannot live outside of
all

so

these various individuals live in

and through
is

that infinite space of Reality which

called

the Absolute Self.

"He who
^..a

realizes
in
all

all

beings in

the

Self,

*^ v].y*^'
.

and the

Self

animate and inanimate
48

^

,

(^

objects of the universe, never hates anything

KNOWLEDGE OF THE
or

SELF.

any

being. " *

Hatred

proceeds

from

imperfect relative knowledge, which makes us
perceive objects as separate from one another.

But when we see our true

Self in others,

how

can we hate another without hating our
Self?
It
Self.

own
to

would be impossible for

Self

hate

As
it

it

is

impossible to hate our
to hate

true Self, so

would be impossible
This
is

the Self of any being.
results

one of the

of

Self-knowledge, where Self-knowl-

edge

is

there can remain no feeling of hatred.

When
pear.

hatred

is

gone, jealousy and

all

other

selfish feehngs,

which we

call

wicked, disapordinary
love,

What remains?

The

which stands

in opposition to hatred, vanishes;

but Divine love begins to reign in the heart
of the Seer.

True As

love

means

the expression
feel

of oneness.

love for

body makes us

one with the body, so love for the true Self

makes us

feel

one with the true

Self;

and

if

we

see that Self In others,

we cannot

help

* Isha Upanishad, verse

6.

49

VEDA NT A rillLOSOPHY.
loving them
as

wc

love our Self.

Now we

understand the meaning of "Love thy neigh-

bor as thyself."
teaching.
truth.

It

is

not an extraordinary

Vedanta has always

taught

this

People of the western world say that

Christ
in this
is

was the only one who ever taught
way, but they do not know that
this

the verj' foundation of the ethics of Vedanta.

Love means

the expression of oneness

in

thought, word and deed.

"Where
Self,

all

beings

have become one with the
sion,

what deluto

what sorrow can there be

him who

has once realized this unity?"*

Self-knowlall

edge leads to realization of oneness with
beings.

When
nor

all

beings appear as parts of
there
is

one universal
nor
exist
fear,

Self,

neither delusion,
there

sorrow,

because

can

no other thing outside of Self or Atman

for

which one can grieve or from which one
suffer.
is

can

Sorrow and fear

arise

so

long

as there

the sense of duality or multiplicity.

* Isha Upanishad, verse

7.

50

KNOWLEDGE OF THE
If all objects of fear

SELF.

and sorrow become one
Self,

with the all-pervading Divine

then fear

and sorrow must vanish.

But so long as

we
our

think of other beings which exist outside of
Self,

we cannot
on

avoid grief and suffering
account.

which

arise

their

In absolute

oneness, however, there cannot remain fear,

sorrow, suffering, separation or self-delusion.

This

is

another resuk of Self-knowledge.
people

Some

may

think

that

Vedanta
from
lower
all

teaches us to be
true.

selfish,

but

this is far

The

self

becomes dead;
its

the

self vanishes,

and with
destroyed.

disappearance

selfishness

is

The word "Self"

must not be taken
It
is

for lower self or selfishness.

stands for Atman, the higher Self, which

our

Divine

nature.

There

is

no other
conshall

expression in English by which

we can

vey the real meaning of Atman.
avoid
confusion,
therefore,
if

We
use

we

the

Sanskrit
Self.

word "Atman"

to express our true
it

,^X
fr

Then

no one will mistake

for selfishall,

^^

ness.

"The Atman

has pervaded

efful-

^

'i

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
gent,

incorporeal,

scatheless,

untouched

by

brain or ner\'c centers, pure, sinless, a poet
(Kiivi),

wise,

omnipresent,

self -existent,

he
''

has disposed

all

things aright for eternity.

*

That Atman
universe,
is

(Self),

who

is

the center of the

all-pervading.

Wherever
It is
it

our
the

mind

goes, the

Atman

goes there.

source of the light of intelligence;
spotless,
sinless.

is

pure,
that

Here you

will

notice

\'edanta teaches that

we

are not

bom

in sin

and
Self

iniquity,
is sinless.

but that our

Atman

or

true

By

this

it

does not encourage
it

us to do sinful acts, but

tells

us that the

moment one
that

acquires

Self-knowledge,
to

from

moment one

ceases
is

do

anything
it

wicked.

The Atman
subtle

in

the body, but
is,

has no body.
gross

It is formless, that

beyond

and

forms.
see

There arc forms
through
the

which

we cannot

except

most powerful microscope, even such minutest

forms do not

affect the Self.

It is

abso-

* Isha Upanishad, verse

8.

52

KNOWLEDGE OF THE
lutely
it

SELF.

beyond

all

forms; but at the same time
all

can appear in any form, and
it.

forms

exist

in

Atman

is

beyond

all

nervous activity, or

the function of the brain.

The

materialists

maintain that when brain and nerve centers
vibrate,

self-consciousness

is

produced.

But

Vedanta contradicts

their statement

by saying,

"Beyond
untouched
affected

the

reach

of

nerve

centers
It
is

and
not
there

by brain

powers."

by the changes of the body;
variations in the color or

may be

form of the

physical body, or the

body may be diseased

or have some part mutilated, but that disease

or mutilation will not produce any change
in the true Self or

Atman.
free

Therefore, Self-

knowledge makes one

from nervousness

and other physical ailments.

The word "Kavi" means
means
the seer of things.

poet,
is

and also
described
this
is

Self

as the greatest poet of the universe;

one of the most beautiful expressions and
attributes

that

can be given to Divinity
53

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.

He He
The
of

is

the poet, His poetry
also

is

the universe.
artist.

is

described as the greatest
in
tlie

His art we see
sun,

sunrise

and sunset.
nothing but

moon and

stars

arc

the paintings on infinite space by the
the

hand

Almighty
oclf

artist.

True
evil,

or

Atman

is

above good and

beyond virtue and

vice.

Some people Good and
evil

ask:

How

can

it

be above good and evil?
only good.
evil,

Others say:

It is

however, are two relative terms;
in relation to good,

exists

and we cannot separate
If

the one from the other.

we wish

to take

good,
virtue

we

shall

have to take one cannot

evil also.

So with

and

vice;

exist

without being
Self
is

related to the other.

The Absolute
therefore,
it

above

all

relativity;
evil,

is

above

good and
is

beyond virtue and
this

vice.

"There

no other seer than

Atman, no other

knower. "
universe?

Who
There

can be the knower of the
is

one eternal Knower who

knows the
knower
in

existence of all objects,

and the

us

is

only a part of that eternal 54

KNOWLEDGE OF THE
Knower
kind
or God.

SELF.

The

vast majority of

manthe

do

not

know

this
it,

great

truth;

preachers do not teach
selves

because they themit.

do not understand
of
all,

If

God

is

the

Knower

then the

Knower

in us is

a

part of God.
individual

Vedanta
first;

tells

us to realize the

knower

then will the

Knower

of the universe be

known.
is

The Atman
of knowledge,

or true Self

never the object

but

it

is

always the subject.

The

cosmic or universal

Knower

is

the

same

as that

which people worship as God.
light of

Thus
close

by the

Vedanta we can see God

to our souls;
religions

but in the Scriptures of special
is

He

made

remote.

He

is

driven

far out of our reach.

Vedanta brings

Him

nearer than anything
this

we

possess.
it

Although
is

Atman

is
it

all-pervading, yet

beyond
it

everything;

dwells

in

all things, still

is

not the same as anything.

It is It

never

aflfected

by phenomenal

conditions.
it

transcends the

changes of nature, yet
It is its

permeates nature.

own

cause; in it cause and effect are 55

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
identical.
is
it

Tiic

Atman

has no
at

ca'jr,c,

yet

it

the cause of all;
is

and

the

same time

beyond the law of cause and
by
itself

effect.

The

Self has existed
less past

from the beginningexist

and

will continue to

through-

out eternity; no one can see
its

its

begimiing or

end, because beginning and end refer to

time,

and our search

after them, being within
is

the sphere of mental activity,
to

also subject

time.

We may
of the
(Self)

search for the beginning
universe, but as
all

and end
the

phenomenal
is

Atman

above
it

thought and

beyond time and space,
end nor beginning.

can have neither

^
is

*'

It is all- knowing. "

All relative knowledge

only a partial expression of that wisdom
of the

which constitutes the nature

Atman.

Now we
cient,
finite,

see that the attributes

which people

generally give to God, such as.

He

is

omnisin-

omnipotent, all-pervading, eternal,
are also given by Vedanta to the

Atman

or true Self.
souls.

True

Self

is

the Soul of our
attri-

Self-knowledge reveals that the
56

KNO'\\X.EDGE
butes of

OF THE

SELF.

God

are also the attributes of the
this

Atman.

"Those who do not reahze

{)jgj^L

true Self, dwell in the darkness of ignorance

and go through the misery and
which
always
exist

sufferings

in

that

darkness."

They
They

are
fear
their
life

fearful

and

unhappy.
that

death
earthly

and

everything

threatens

existence,

and they make

their

miserable by attaching themselves to a particular

form of manifestation which they are

afraid of losing.

They

love sense-enjoyments

and worldly

pleasures, they feel disappointed
if

and discontented

they do not find these,
this earthly life
ideal.

and they consider that
no other higher aim or
such persons
chain of fear
is

has
of

The
a

life

nothing

but

continuous

and unhappiness.

Those who

are rich fear loss of fortune; those
reputation
losing
suffers

who have

and high position are afraid of
while
every

them;

man

or

woman
will ever

from the fear

of disease

and death.

Do

you suppose that these people
true

enjoy

happiness
57

on

this

earth?

No.

VEDANTA
They alone
absolutely

ririLOsoriiY.

are truly
free

happy who have become
fear.
is

from
all
is

Perfect

happi-

ness comes and

fear

conquered when

Self-knowledge

gained.
to

For

this

reason

each one of us ought
to acquire
it

make

constant efforts
light of Self-

in this life.

The

knowledge dispels the darkness of ignorance

and

frees us

from
as

fear, sorrow, miser)', birth

and death,
fection

also

from

bondage,

imper-

and

delusion,

which proceed

from

ignorance.

This ignorance
selfishness.
It

is

likewise the
the

mother of
veil

has

power

to to

the

Divine and absolute

Atman and

make

us

identify our true Self with the material body.

Thus when
of

forced by the inscrutable power

ignorance

(Avidya)

we

forget

our

real

Self,

think of ourselves as the sons or daughters

of mortals,

we become

finite

and subject

to

such limitations as are understood by the

term "selfishness."

Self-knowledge destroys

ignorance and makes one absolutely unselfish.
Blessed
is

he

who

lives

in

the sunshine of

58

KNOWLEDGE OF THE

SELF.

Self-knowledge, having risen above the clouds
of fear

and

selfishness

which gather
is

in

the
It

night of ignorance.
is

What
of

this

world?

produced

by

ignorance
the

and
Self

bound
destroys

by
all

fear.

Knowledge

worldliness,

brings

spiritual

strength
fearless.

and

makes one

fearless, as

God

is

Does

He? The moment we realize that God dwells in us, how can we fear? How can we have fear of death when we know that death merely means
fear anything?

He

How

can

a change from one body into another, and
that our true Self or

Atman

is

unchangeable ?

Those who do not possess Self-knowledge
are

miserable, and will be

bom

again and
until they

again on this plane of ignorance

have learned

to realize their true Self.
is

Self-knowledge
ness;
it

the only source of happi-

will lead to perfection

and freedom.

You may
obtain
fear
it

seek freedom, but

how can you
slave of

when you have become a
earthly

and

conditions?

You
it,

are

a
all

part of Divinity.

Feel
59

it,

realize

and

VEDAXTA rHILOSOPHY.
these tics will drop
free.

away and you
of this

will

be

The
of
will

allainment

freedom through

Self-knowledge will bring to you the realization

your oneness with
be able to say:

Divinity.
light

Then
which
is

you

"That

I see in the
in

sun

is

in

me; and
I

that

which

me

is

in the sun.

am

the
I

Lord

of the

body, senses and mind, and

am

also the

Lord
"I

of all

phenomenal objects."
through

am
I

the light of the universe,

me

shine the sun, moon, stars and the light-

ening.
realized

have realized
the
true
Self

my
of

true Self.
the

I

have

universe

and

therefore I

am

one

v.ith the

Absolute."

60

"May my speech be established in my mind; may my mind be fixed in my speech. O Divine Word! Thou hast manifested
Thyself in the form of wisdom. Do Thou SPREAD Thy powers through my words. Do not deprive me of the truth. ]\Iay I always dvv'ell in the truth. My salutations to the fire of wisdom, to the seers of Truth and to the Devas (bright spirits).

"O Divine Word! be propitious to us; STAY in our spiritual SPACE AND BE HAPPY.
Like the lord of light (the sun) constantly purify our hearts and reveal to our eyes THAT which is AUSPICIOUS FOR US. Do NOT leave US. "Peace, Peace, Peace to all living creatures."
Kaushitaki Upanishad.

61

PRANA AND THE SELF.
Since the Vedic period, at least two thou-

sand years before Christ, Self-knowledge has

been in India not only the theme of sages

and philosophers, but
of kings.

also the highest ideal

Most

of the early

Hindu monarchs

were, indeed, the great spiritual teachers of
the country, although they did not belong to

the

Brahmin

caste.

There

is

a prevailing

idea that the
of
spiritual

Brahmins were the only teachers
Truth
in

the

beginning,

while

the duties of ruling

and

fighting

were con-

fined to the Kshatriya or warrior caste.
in the great epic

Yet

Mahabharata

it

is

told that

some

of

the Brahmins fought battles, comthe

manded

army and showed remarkable

powers, courage and ability, though they did
not

become

rulers

of 63

the

country.

As

in

7i.«\>

T-TSl-

A^C^ >K*^

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
llio

Bhagavad

Gilfl.

\vc

read

of

Drona and
birlh,

Krip&ch^rya,
yet

who were Brahmins by

who became

noted generals, ser\'ed on

the battlefield,

and were the teachers of the
it

Kshatriyas
at

in mih'lar}- science as

was known

that

lime.

On

the other hand,
in
first

we

find

in

the

Upanishads and

the

epics

that

the Kshatriyas were the

teachers of the

Brahmins

in

higher spiritual truths; Krishna,
all

Rama,

Buddha were

Kshatriyas.

The

Kshatriyas, being of the warrior caste, were

bound by duly
the
nation,

to protect the country, govern

fight

the

enemies and establish

the reign of peace, justice and righteousness

among

the people.

They were

entitled,

how-

ever, not only to

become
to
sit

soldiers,

commanders

of the

army and

on the throne, but

likewise to impart Self-knowledge to all sincere

and earnest

souls.

The Hindu
garded

rulers of those early days

were
re-

not like the monarchs of to-day.
life

They

as something that

had a meaning,
worth

and

for thcra this early existence w-as not
/

64

PRANA AND
living until that

TFIE SELF.
realized.

meaning had been

Even

in

that

early age these royal seekers that those

after truth felt

who perform

the

duties

of their daily lives

without knowing

who
are

they are and what they are in reality,

dwelling

in

absolute

darkness.

There-

fore, after fulfiUing their duties as

Kshatriyas

and

rulers of the country, they
to

still

found time

enough

devote themselves to the pursuit

of Self-knowledge.

There

Vv-as

a

great

Hindu monarch

of

ancient India, by
in

name Divodisa, who
was the

lived

Benares.

Benares was the Indian Athens
It

of those days.

seat of education,

and the center
ophy.

of religion, science
prehistoric

and

philos-

From

ages

it

had been
culture.

the cradle of oriental civilization

and
five

Even
years
of

at the time of

Buddha,
it

hundred

before

Christ,

was
and

the

stronghold

Hindu

philosophy

religion;

and
if

Buddha could not have done anything
had not been able
scholars of Benares.
to

he

convince the learned

Divod^a,
65

this

famous

VEDAXTA nilLOSOPHY.
and powerful
ruler of

Benares, had a son,

who

became

renowned
It is

by

defeating

his

fiercest

enemies.

said that he even con-

quered the Dcvas, the mythological gods or
bright
spirits.

In

the

third

chapter of the
is

Kaushitaki Upanishad there
describes

a story which

how

this

young

prince, Pratardana,

by

his

wonderful courage and prowess conall

quered

the great ones on the
to the

human

plane
of

and then came
the Devas.

abode of the ruler

According to Hindu mythology, Indra, the

god of Thunder, became the

ruler

of

the
wis-

Devas through dom.

his

righteous works and
the

Pratardana,

son

of

the

mighty

king Divodasa, went to the abode of Indra,
dwelling in his heaven, with a desire to con-

quer him.
his

He

told

how he had

destroyed

enemies and vanquished the Devas.
at

Indra

was somewhat dismayed
great a hero,
to

the sight of so

and did not know how he ought
to

receive

him and what he should do
So,
after

please him.

hearing the descrip-

G6

PRANA AND THE SELF
tion of his
to

powers and
*'I

victories,

Indra said
with

Pratardana:

am
happy

well

pleased

thee

and wish

to give thee a boon. to grant
it

Choose
to thee."

a boon and I will be

The

prince

answered:

"Do

thou

thyself

choose that boon for

me
ask,

which thou deemest

most beneficial for a man."

He

did

not

know
there

for

what

to

but he knew that

was
to

something v/hich would
ail.

be most

helpful

Having
v/ho

in

his

mind

the
in

thought

that

people

are

dwelling

iomorance and self-delusion and O

who do

not

understand the true nature of Being, ought
to
life

have something that would make their

worth

living,

he said:

'*

Grant

me

that

boon which thou thinkest best
Indra rephed: "That
choose thine
is

for a

man."

not right; thou must
chooses,

own boon; no one who The

chooses for another."
saying:
for

prince insisted,

"The boon chosen by me is no boon me." He would not choose because he
know what would be most
left
it

did not
to

helpful

mankind, therefore he
67

to

Indra.

VEDANTA
Then Indra
said
I

rillLOSOPIIY.

to

him, "I

my

promise and

must be

am bound by true to my words,
to all

so I must grant thee the highest boon that

would be helpful and useful

mankind."

"Know me
Self."

only;

that

is

the highest

and
true

most helpful for man.

Know
this,

me,

my

He meant by
by
all

not his powers,

not his glory, but his real Self
signified

— that which

is

such expressions as "I, me,
thee,

mine," and "thou,

thine."

He who

has known this tnie Self gains unbounded
power.
If

he commits any wrong, that wrong

does not alTect him.
is

The knower
is

of

Self

the greatest of

all,

he

greater than kings,

greater than the mightiest emperor;
sesses all

he pos-

the virtues that are described in the
of
fall

Scriptures

the

world

and

nothing

can

make him
edge.

from the

glor>' of

Self-knowl-

Then Indra

praised

Self-knowledge
all

by saying:
mons,
I

"I have conquered
those

the

de-

have destroyed
heads,

demons who
I

had

three

one
68

hundred heads.
all

have done many cruel deeds, but

these

PRANA AND THE

SELF.

horrible acts could not affect me, because I

possess the knowledge of the

Supreme

Self.

Although

I

have performed many inhuman

deeds, yet see

my

glory, strength,

and power;

not a single hair of

by them.

my head has been injured He who knows me thus is never
by any
sinful act, neither

harmed
by
theft

in his life

nor by the murder of his father,
If

mother or a wise Brahmin.
to

he

is

about
of

commit a
face

terrible

sin,

the expression

his

does

not

change."

Thus
did

Indra

praised
that the
all

Self-knowledge.

He

not

mean

knower
sinful,

of Self should ever

perform

such

cruel

and inhuman deeds.

He wanted
knov/ledge
that
exists

to
is

show

that the

power

of Self-

greater

than any other power
in

anywhere

the world;

that

it

purifies the heart

and soul

of the worst sinner

and washes
a

off

the most horrible sins

that
of

human

being can commit.

The murder

either father, mother, or both, or the revered
spiritual master, all these

unpardonable sins

cannot

corrupt

the

Divine
G9

power

of

Self-

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
knowledge,

which
it.

purifies

tlic

souls of

all

who

possess

After praising Self-knowledge,

Indra said:
life.

"I am Prina, know me
ship

as Prana,

Wor-

me

as the conscious Self, the source of
Priina
is

intelligence."
life-force;
life

the Sanskrit

word

for

and

intelligence
is

arc
is

insepaintelli-

rable;

wherever there
in

life,

there

gence

some form or

other.

"Meditate on
Life
is

me

as

life
is

and inteUigcnce.
life;
life
is

Pr&na,

Prana

immortahty and im-

mortality
that
tal
life

is

life."
dies.

Here we must understand
Life in
it

never

itself is

immor-

and

indestructible;
see life

cannot change.
less
life.

We
Life

do not

growing from
is

in the abstract

always the same whether or
itself

not

it

expresses

outwardly.

The
is

ex-

pressions

may

var}',

but the

life-force

one

and unchangeable.
manifestation of
life-force
life

When we do
we
say
it

not see the

is

dead;

but

does not die.
this.

Ver)' few people
life
is,

can
can-

understand
not
exist.

Where
70

death
is

We may

say a child

bom, a

PRANA AXD THE
child grows, but the
h'fe
it

SELF.
is

of the child

not

subject to growth;

if

were subject to birth
it

and growth,
be mortal.
free

it

would be changeable,
call

would
is

That which we
birth,

life-force
all

from

decay and death;
in

these

changes

take

place

the

forms

through

which the immortal

life-force manifests itself.

We

speak of a child or a plant as growing,
is

but from the very beginning the life-force
the same;
the manifestations of
life
is

some other
appear
of

powers with which
in
different

attended,
stages

ways

at

various

the

evolution or growth of the animal or vegetable

organism.

"Prana
as the
is life.

is

life,

life

is

immortality;

as long

Prana dwells

in

the body, so long there
in

By Prana one obtains immortality
If

the other world."
life is,

we know what
are one with
life

true

and

feel that
it,

we

and

inseparable from

then

we can
life

realize that

we
it

are immortal, because

does not die,
If

does not proceed from non-life.
life,

we

trj;

to trace the origin of

going back in im-

71

VEDANTA
agination as far as

IMIILOSOPIIY.

wc

can,
its

wc

shall

never

be able to discover as

cause non-life or

something dead.
life.

Life always proceeds from

It

has existed

from

the

beginningless
its

past,

and we cannot think of
to

ever being
therefore
it

siil)jcct
is

death or destruction;

eternal.

But so long as

life-force

mani-

fests itself

through a body, the body appears
this
is

as living;

the sccondar}' expression of
of the

true life-force.
life-force

Here we do not think

or

Prana, but of the form which
certain work.

moves and does
lived

\\c sav, "lie
consisted
all

so

long,"

"His

lifetime

of

so

many

years, three or four score;"

these

expressions,

however,

signify

the

secondary
its

manifestation of Prana.
sense
force
alive,
is

Life in

primar}''
life-

immortal.

When

that Prana or
tlic

expresses

itself,

tlicn

organs

are

the senses perform their functions, the
thinks,
this

mind

and the
Prana or

intellect

acts.
is

Again

life-force

inseparable

from intelligence;
ligence from

we cannot
force which

separate intel-

the

makes

every-

72

PRANA AND THE
thing of the universe move.

SELF.

The

Self

has

two powers, which express themselves
ligence
force.

as intellife-

and

as the activity of
is

Prana or
which
is is

Intelligence

that

the

source of consciousness;

there

no English
It is called

term by which we can express
in

it.

Sanskrit "Prajna."
as

It

cannot be trans-

lated

"knowledge,"

because
is

knowledge

means understanding, which
the intellect;
of
all

a function of

but Prajna refers to the source

knowledge and consciousness.

Indra continued:

"He who knows me
and

as

one with
as

life

(Prana) and intelligence (Prajna),
indestructible
its fullest

immortal,

unchange-

able, has Hfe to

extent on this earth,

and

after death resides in
life.

heaven and enjovs

everlasting

"

Here Indra used the word

"Prana"

for life-force, but the

young prmce

thought that he must have meant sense-powers,

because

Pra.na

is

also

used

to

signify

the

power

of seeing, hearing,

smeUing

tasting or

touching, the power of speech, the powers of
seizing,

moving, excreting and generating, and
73

^'^^

VliDANTA I'HILOSOI'HV.
that

by whicli
their

all

the organs of the

body

per-

form

functions.
all

Therefore, he

said:

"Some

say that

the Prinas or sense-powers

become one;
hear,

for otherwise

no one could
the

see,

speak,

and

think,

at

same

time.

After having become one, each of the senses
perceives

separately."

Thinking

that

by

Prina was

signified the activities of the sense-

organs, he wanted to

know which

of these

was

particularly

meant by Indra.

He

main-

tained that although hfe or Prana
still

was one,

the sense-organs performed their func-

tions

separately in

succession.

Two

sense-

perceptions do not occur at

the

same mo-

ment, there must be a minute interval of time

between them.
sight

For instance, when we see a
at

and hear a sound apparently
time,

the
that

same

proper analysis will show
is

the one sensation

followed by the other;
perceptions
simul-

we cannot have
taneously.

various

According

to the phychologists of

ancient India,
sensation

mind

perceives the objects of

one at a time.
74

When

one scnse-

PRANA AND THE
organ performs
quiet;
its

SELF.
others

function,

remain

the

interval

may be
it

infinitesimally

small,

we may not grasp
still

with

ordinary

attention,

they rise in succession leaving

between them a very minute interval of time.

So the young prince did not understand what
particular
sense-activity

was referred

to

by

Indra.
silence.

After raising this question, he kept

Indra replied:

"It

is

true

that all these

senses perform their functions at certain intervals

and that each one of them
is

is

great;

but
is

nevertheless there

another force which

higher than
is is

all

the sense-powers.
all

That force
It

preeminent among

other powers."

not the power of seeing or hearing that
alive.

makes us

Blind and deaf persons do
still

not see and hear, but

they

live.

The
live

power

of speech does not manifest itself in a

dumb man,
having
touching.

yet he

is

alive.

A man may

lost the

power

of smelling, tasting or

Infants and idiots live though de-

prived of the

thinking-power of the mind.
75

VEDAXTA rillLOSOrHY
One may
makes one
not liavc
All
i.s

memory,

still

one

^vill

bo

called living.

tiiis

shows that that which

alive

not the

same

as the

power

of seeing, hearing, speaking, smelling, lasting,

touching
lose his

or

thinking.

Again,

a

man may
to seize

arms and may not be able
still

anything,

we do
around

not call

him dead.

The

loss of one's legs or other

organs of work does

not, as

we

see

us, destroy the life-force

or the }Inkhya (higher)
the life-force
is

Pr^na.

Therefore,

distinct

from the power of
Yet at the same

perception or sense-activnty.

time these sense-organs will not perform their
functions
force.
if

they are separated from the

life-

The
the

life-force or

Miikhya Prana
the

is

some-

thing independent of

sense-powers, but

sense-powers
Prana.

are

dependent
life-force

upon
is

life-

giving
fest,

Where

unman iperfect,

the

sense-organs

may remain

but there will not be any expression of the

sense-powers
sensation.

in

the

form of perception of

The

eye of a dead
7G

man may

be

PRANA AND THE
perfect, the optic nerve
dition,
state,

SELF.
in in

the brain cells

may be may be
is

good cona normal

but as the life-force

not working in

that body, the sense-organs

must remain dead,
without
see

without performing their functions,

producing any sensation.

Thus we can

that all the sense-organs remain active in the

body because Prana, the source
is

of all activity,

there,

and because the
all
is

life-force

governs

and regulates
the

the

senses.

Therefore, in

Vedas

it

said:

"One

should worship

Prana, the
alive.

life-force,

which keeps the universe
life-

"
is

If

you can understand what that

force

you have understood the secret of the

universe as well as that which keeps you alive.
All

the

scientists,

anatomists, and

evolu-

tionists are tr}dng to
life-force,

know
they

the nature of that

but
it

have

succeeded?

No.

Some say

is
it

a molecular attraction, others
is

believe that
cal forces;

the result of physico-chemi-

but are they sure of what they
progress has science

say?

What

made

in

her

attempt to find out the source of life-force?
77

VKDANTA rillLOSOPHY.
Science has rejected
force
is

the idea

that

the

h"fe-

independent of the mechanical forces
but she cannot
tell

of nature;

us definitely

the cause of vital cnerg}-.

There have been

debates and discussions on this subject
the
scientists
still

among
at If
all

of

different
is

countries

times;

the problem

unsolved.

we

can understand the

life-force of

the universe

we have understood
says

the living
life-force
is

God; because,
is

Vedanla,

that

inseparable

from the Being who

worshiped as God.
everj'thing
all

What
alive,

He who keeps and upon whom depend
is

God

?

other

activities,

sense-powers and the functions- of

the gross physical body.

Indra said: " Prana
this

alone
rise
is

having animated
It
is

body makes

it

up.

alone

is

the conscious Self.

What
and
Prina.
to-

PrS.na
is

Prajna,

self-consciousness;
is

what

self-consciousness
live in

also

They both
same
seen

the

body together and

gether they pass out of it."

"That

life is

the

as our self-consciousness."

Have you

self-consciousness
78

where there was no

PR.\NA
life?
It
is

AND THE

SELF.
is

impossible.

Wherever there
hfe;

self-consciousness there must be

self-

consciousness and

life

are inseparable.

You
in
is

may
trees

say

there

is

no self-consciousness

and plants;
Is
it

how do you know
the

it

not there ?

because they have no brain

?

They may not have
ness as that

same

self-conscious-

of those

who have
their

brain,

but

they

have nerves

of

kind.

How

do

you know a
All such
life is

sensitive

plant

does not feel?

dogmas

of the theologians as that

granted by the Creator to

human

beings

alone,

who would
us.

glorify

His name, no longer

appeal to
like

Even

the scientists of to-day,

Ernst Haeckel, are beginning to realize that
its

every plant has

soul, that every cell has

its

own

life,

that every
is

atom has
is

its

soul;

and

wherever there

soul there

also intelligence,
It

the source of self-consciousness.

may be

ex-

pressed imperfectly,

it

may be
;

latent or waiting

for proper manifestation
life

still

wherever there

is

there

is

some kind
is

of intelligence;

and
life.

wherever there

intelligence there

must be

79

VKDANTA
As we
is

I'lIII.oSorilY

sec in all living; creatures,
is

when
j^onc,

life*

gone, self -consciousness
life
is

also

so

when
in

in

a

state

of

abeyance, cither
llie

faintness or in swoon,

when

life-force

(Iocs not

manifest
or

itself in tlie

form of orranic
self-conscious-

functions

sense

activities,

ness at that time remains latent.
said:
state,

Then Indra

"When
is

a

man

goes into the deep sleep
his
it

where he sees no dream whatever,
absolutely
at rest, is

mind

enveloped, as

were, with a veil of ipjiorance."
Vshcn you

Sometimes
you

wake up

after dreamless sleep

feel as thourrh

you have come out of a realm
;

of deep ijmorar.cc
(]o

in that state of

sound sleep
your sense
hearin,;:',

you

know what becomes
powers
of

of

activities,— the
fm.cUinfT?

sccin.r^,

They remain

latent in Pi ana, they
in

ro back and take refuge

that

life-force.

When
sleep

the

life-force

remains

inactive,

then

other powers also become inactive.

In deep

we do not

speak, see or smell anything.

If there

be the noise of a
80

am

rinht near our

car

we do not

hear, neither

does our mird

PRANA AND THE
think or imagine;
all

SELF.

mental and physical

powers remain potential, and come out as

we wake up.
in
vital

The

first

awakening

is

visible

actions.

In

dreamless
is

sleep

(Sus-

hupti), however, the life-force

not entirely

separated from the central part of the body,

because

the

subconscious

activity

of

the

Prana
in

is

then manifested in the heart beat,
digestion

the

circulation,

and

in

the

re-

spirator}- process.

If that force

which causes
stops,

the

motion
is

of

the

heart

and lungs
of

there

absolute

separation

the

Prana
This

from the organs, then we do not wake.
is

death.

But

in

deep sleep we become one
all

with Prana, which absorbs
activities,

our conscious
state

and

in

the

waking

they

all

return to their respective organs;

the senses
their

then

begin

to

perceive

and perform

functions.

Indra

illustrates this

by saying: "And when
fire

he awakes, then as from a blazing
shoot forth in
all directions,

sparks

so the sparks of

the various sense-powers proceed each toward
SI

VEDANTA rHILOSOPIIY.
its

place and

come

in

contact with external

objects.*'

When
it

a spark takes possession of
object of sight, the

the eye

illumines the

form and color;

another spark

comes out
it

and

falls

in

the

organ of hearing,

then

illumines

what

we

call

sound.

Similarly

other sense-powers proceed from Pr^na like
sparks.

The mind
performs

itself

is

another

spark

which

various
is

mental

functions."
ill

But "when a person

going to die, being

and
the

falling into

weakness and faintness,
go

all

sense-powers

back

to

their

source;

then people say 'His mind has departed,' he

cannot hear or

see,

speak or imagine.

Then
As the

he becomes one with Prana alone."

Pr^na leaves the body
sense-powers, which

it

takes with

it

all

the
it.

arc

dependent upon

The dying man

carries with

him

the powers

of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching,
seizing,

moving, speaking, excreting, generatself-

ing and the power of thinking as well as
consciousness.
All the vital forces

and subare
also

conscious

activities

of

the

organs

82

PRANA AXD THE
withdrawn

SELF.
the

when

Prana

leaves

body.

Along with these the
odor,
etc.,

objects, like color, sound,

that are illumined

by the

senses, are seeing, for
all

also taken away.

When the power of
all colors

example,

is

drawn away

and

forms,
it.

which can be perceived by the eye, go with

We

shall see presently that the objects of

the senses are inseparable from these sense-

powers;
objects

when
are

the latter are withdra\vn, the

taken

with

them.

If

all

the

sounds and words which we utter be stopped,
then the power of speech will remain latent,

and with

it

will

go

all

the

names which can
For
is

be illumined by the power of speech.
the

same reason, when the power
all

of smell

withdrawn,
of

the perception
it;

and sensation
all

odor

accompany
concepts,

and

thoughts,

percepts,

memory,

volition

and

ideas disappear
to

when mind and

intellect cease

be

active.

This absolute and complete one-

ness with Prana happens at the time of death.

Since

Prana and

self -consciousness

are

in-

separable, and since together they live in the 83

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
body and
top^cthcr Ihcy

go out of
be dead.

it,

a

man

in this state is said to

All these organic

powers which have been
after

withdrawn with Prdna remain with him

death and he manifests them in another form.

As

in

the state of

waking

after
rise

deep sleep
like

mental and physical forces

sparks
of

from a burning
death
all

fire,

so

after

the

sleep

the

latent

powers come out from

Prina, manufacture other organs

and

peris

form their functions
that
force

respectively.

What
the

which
It is the

manufactures

sense-

^

organs?

Prina or

life-force,
all

which

contains in a potential form

the desires,

impressions
existence.

and tendencies of the previous

When
sations

the

activities

of the

senses,
latent,

which
sen-

reveal their objects,
stop,

become

all

and

consequently

ceases

the
Self

relative existence
is

of sense-objects.

The

the center of intelligence and consciousness.
is

It

clothed with the Prana or life-force, a
itself

portion of which manifests
84

subjectively

'h^<?i^/x.^oT

^'

^^^Fo

PRANA AND THE

SELF.

as sense-powers, while other portions express

themselves as objects of sensation.
objects
of

As the
without

perception

cannot

exist

being related to the perceiving sense-powers
or subjects, similarly the subjects only exist
as such so long as they are related to the
objects.

Here we should remember the truths which

we have already
Pr^na and

learned:

that

the

sense-

powers depend upon Pr4na or
self-consciousness
related

life-force, that

are
to

identical,

and that objects are

sensations

because they cannot exist as independent of
the powers of perception.

There

will

be no

color in relation to us

if

our power of sight be

dead.
call

For the same reason that which we
exists in relation to the
it

sound only

power

of hearing.

Similarly

can be shown that

the external objects

which we perceive are

inseparable from our sensations of them, and
these in turn

depend upon our sense-powers.

An

object of perception
cloth.

may
cloth

be compared to

a piece of

As a
85

which

is

made

VEDAXTA nilLOSOPHY.
out
(for

of threads

is

identical

with

the

thread

what b a piece

of cloth but threads

woven

together?) so an object of perception, being

woven together
is

of sensations

and sense-powers
threads of sen-

identical

with them.

The

sations

and sense-powers, again, are twisted

out of the forces of Pr^na.
verse, therefore,

The whole

uniself-

depends upon Prana or
Self
is

consciousness;

the center of the uni-

verse as well as the center of each one of
us.
It is the

foundation of

life,

inseparable
all

from

Pra.na,

and the producer of
Self
is

senseof

powers.

Indeed,

the

origin

the

phenomenal universe.

\y

Again

it

is

said
is

that this

PrS.na or sclfit

consciousness

not

many, but
is

is

one.
lifeis

The

life-force in

you
in

the

same

as the

force in

me and

others.
is

As
one.

life-force

one, so self-consciousness

The
same

self-

consciousness in you
is

is

also the

as
It

it

in

me and

in

all

living creatures.

is

one throughout the universe.
infer

We

can only
self-

from external signs the nature of
SG

PRANA AND THE

SELF.

consciousness in other individuals and com-

pare

it

with our own.
lies

Self-consciousness

at

the

root

of

all

knowledge.

For

without

self -consciousness

speech does not

make known any word; we
Without self-consciousness

do not perceive

it.

the ear cannot reveal any sound.
self-consciousness
ticular
is

When

our

centered upon one parsee

object

we do not

things which

may

lie

in close contact

with our eyes.

For

instance,
intently

when you
on the

are looking at something

street,

other objects

may

pass

by

in front of you, but

you do not notice them
So with sounds,

though your eyes are there.

when your mind
ticular

is

concentrated on one par-

sound you do not hear other sounds;

a person
it;

may

be calling, but you do not hear
is

so

when your mind

concentrated on

any

particular thought or idea, you

do not

see, hear,

smell or taste or have any other

sensation.
ness,

In

short,

without
rise

self-conscious-

no thoughts can

in succession
it

and
said:

nothing can be known.
S7

Therefore,

is

VEDAXTA IMIILOSOPHY.
"That which
we must not Where
is
is

the real seer

wc must know;

try to

know

the speech or the

words, we must
is

know
Find

the speaker, the Self.

the speaker?
it

Find
out.

it

out.

Who
man

the

seer?

Let
let

no

find out

what speech
Let no

is,

but

him

find out

the speaker.
is,

man

find out

what sight

but

let

him

find out the seer.
is,

Let no

man
the

find out

what sound

but

let

him know

hearer."
Scientists are trj-ing to find out
is,

what sound
is

but they do not care to

know who

the

hearer.

Vedanta philosophers, on the conbottom of things;
is

trary, go to the

they do

not care whether or not sound
tion of air.

the vibra-

In order to become a sound any

kind

of

vibration

must be
if

related

to

our

power

of hearing;

our power of hearing

be withdrawn who

will

hear the sound?

So

what
to

is

the use of wasting our time in trying
is?

know what sound
true

First let us

know
then

the

nature

of

the

sense-powers,

their source,

and ultimately the Knower of
88

PRANA AND THE
all sense-objects.

SELF.
try to find

"Let no man
let

out tastes of food,
of
tastes.

him know
try
let

the

knower

Let no

man
are,

to

know what
the

pleasure

and pain
of pleasure

him know
Let no

knower

and pain.

man
is,

try to discover

what joy or happiness
of joy

let

him know the knower
Let no

and happiness.

man

try to

know

the thought, let

him
,

know
tion
ness,

the thinker.

These objects of percep- >;A,^
y/

have reference to Prajna or self-conscious- ^,^

f-i

and the

subjects or sense-powers have

reference to objects.
subjects,

Objects have relation to
if

subjects are related to objects;

there were
subjects,

no

objects

there

would be no

and

vice versa.

For on either side

alone nothing can be achieved."
Self-consciousness
is

described by Indra as

the center of the wheel of a chariot.

This

body

is

the chariot
is

and the outer circumfer-

ence of the wheel

made up

of sense-objects,

the spokes are the sense-powers, which reveal these objects,

and the nave, on which the
is

spokes are fixed,

the Pr^na, the life-force. 89

0-.

%

Vr.DAXTA PHILOSOPHY.

Thus

the objects arc placed

on the subjects
on Pr^na.

(spokes)

and

the

subjects

The

Prdna or

life-force,

which

is

inseparable from
is is

intelligence

and

self-consciousness,

imthe

perishable, immortal,
true Self.
acts, or

and
is

blessed, that

True

Self

not increased by good

decreased by

evil deeds.

The

sins of

the world do not corrupt or change the nature
of this true
Self.

The

true
it

Self

is

neither

virtuous nor sinful, but

is

always Divine
deeds affect the
in

and

perfect.

Good and
and
actor,

evil

ego, the doer

and bring

return
shall
evil

the

results
to

which the ego reaps.
all

We

have

understand that

good and

works are dependent upon self-consciousness

and

life-force or

Prina.

The
is

source of conthe guardian of

sciousness and intclhgence

the world, the producer of all the universe,

phenomena
true Self."
will

of

and

that

is

"my

"And
humanity

this

Self-knowledge
the

help

all

in

path

of

immortality

and

perfection,

which leads
90

to the

abode of peace

and happiness."

"May all the functions of our minds, works of our bodies and activities of our SENSES PLEASE THE AlMIGHTY BrAHMAN, WHO IS DESCRIBED IN THE VeDANTA; MAY WE NOT FORGET Him; may we realize His presence IN us; may we not be forsaken by Him; may all Divine qualities adorn our souls and bring peace to our minds. "Peace, Peace, Peace be unto us all."
Chkndogya Upanishad.
91

SEARCH AFTER THE SELF.
The
ancient mythology of the Hindus, which

resembles in
describes

many

respects

Greek mythology',

forms and lived
earth.

how gods and demons took human like human beings on this
in

Even

the earliest Upanishads

we

find accounts of such

Devas (gods) and Asuras
It
is

(demons) Hving together and fighting.
told that the first-bom

Lord

of the universe,

Prajapati, once said to the gods

and demons:

"Why
acy?
brings

are you fighting for power and suprem-

The

knowledge

of

the

Self

alone
Self

peace to the
is sinless,

knower.

The

or

Atman

free

from old age and death,
hunger and
thirst.

sorrow and

suffering,

Its

desires are true
its

and never

unfulfilled;

and

thoughts are always true.
all.

This Self must
realizes

be sought after by

Whosoever

93

VKDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
the Self obtains whatever he wishes, his desires

arc

fulfilled,

all

powers come
of all worlds

to

him,

and he becomes master
all

and of

the realms that exist

on

this earth as well

as in the heavens."

The gods and demons, who were ambitious
this

and unhappy, thought
it

after hearing

that

was a very easy thing then

to

become
thing.

lord of the world

and master
stor}-,

of every-

Here begins the

given in the

Chandogya Upanishad, one

of the oldest
It

and
be-

most authentic writings on Vedanta.

longs to the SsLma-Veda, that portion of the

Vedas which
science
of

laid

the
in

foundation

of
scale

the
of

music

India.

The

seven notes was

first

used in the hymns of the
into

Sima-Veda, which were put

music and
rites

chanted or sung during religious
sacrifices.

and

The

narrative

tells

that the gods

and demons, being thus instructed by Praj^pati, the
first-born
to

Lord
a

of
to

all

creatures,
Self-

were awakened
knowledge.

desire

attain

They

inquired
94

among themselves

SEARCH AFTER THE SELF.

how

they could gain that knowledge, which
of all

would make them the most powerful
beings,
for
all

and they were determined
Self

to search

that

(Atman),
all

by knowing which

worlds and

desires are obtained.

Here we should understand

that

demons

are not evil spirits, but they are like

human
of the

beings, strongly attached to the pleasures of

the sense- world.

They know nothing
life,

higher ideals of
their views,
in all,

they are materialistic in
is

and think that the body
is

all

and that everything

finished with
to

the death of the body.

They wish

rule

over the whole universe, and their desires are

never satiated;

they always want

more and

more, and struggle constantly for power and
strength.

Human

beings with such tendencies

are described in the

Vedas as Asuras or de-

mons;

while Devas, or gods, are those
righteous,
self-sacrificing,

who

are spiritual,

who
and
life,

do

not

consider

earthly

enjoyments

worldly pleasures to be the final aim of

and whose

ideal

is

to

gain spiritual strength

95

VnDAXTA rHILOSOPIIY.
and
lute

spiritual

power and

to realize the Abso-

Truth.
that
if

These Devas and Asuras thought
could send their leaders to

they

some

seer of Truth,

then from them they could gather Self-knowledge.

So the gods and demons went

to their

respective leaders, Indra

and Virochana, and
Self-

requested them

to

go in search after
all

knowledge.
ures

Although they had
of
life

the pleas-

and comforts

and whatever human
although they pos-

beings could
sessed
luxur\',
all

wish for;

psychic powers, property, wealth,
get

and could
still

everything

they

de-

sired,

they

were

not

satisfied.

They
and

coveted

more

strength,

more

power,

when
was
really

they heard from Prajapati that there

something

through

v.-hich

they

could

become

masters of the whole universe,
it

they longed for
it

and were anxious

to obtain

immediately.

Indra and

Virochana,

the

rulers

of

the

Devas
for

and Asuras, set out separately to seek

a

knower

of

Absolute Truth,
06

who had

SEARCH AFTER THE SELF.
realized

the Self
to

and who could impart

his

knowledge
luxuries

others.

They gave up
left their fine

their

and pleasures,

raiment

and other possessions behind.

With modesty
leaders,

and simplicity of manner, the two
without

communicating

with
all

each

other,

sought out the greatest of
Self,

the knowers of
offerings in their

and approached him with

hands in accordance with the custom of the
country, for in India people do not visit a

temple,

king

or

spiritual

teacher
fuel,

(Gum)
butter,

empty-handed.
fruit

So

they

took

with them, and with due reverence ofthese to him,

fered

regarding him as their
his

spiritual

master.

Having received
his pupils

per-

mission, they
life

became

and

lived the

of

purity

and righteousness

like

Brah-

macharins, or students, for thirty-two years,

always serving him and obeying his wishes.

One day
They
japati,

this

holy master asked

them why

they had come to him and what they wanted.
replied:

"We

have heard from Prathat
Scir-

the

Lord

of all creatures, 97

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
knowledge can make one extremely happy and
bring
all

powers and

all

objects of desire to
is

the knower;
sin

that the real Self

free

from

and old age, unborn and
by hunger and
and
its

deathless, un-

aflcctcd

thirst;

that

its

desires

are ever fulfilled
perfect.

thoughts are true and
after

This

Self

must be searched
have

and

realized.

We

come

to

thee,

O

Lord, to acquire Self-knowledge."

The

great

master,

wishing

to

examine

whether the understanding of these pupils was
purified or not, did not instruct

them

in the

highest Truth at the outset, but gave
suggestions,

some

by which they could search out
real Self that dwells within
is

and discover the
all.

The

best teacher

he

who

directs his

students step by step in the path of reaHzation

and who makes them investigate the
their

Truth by
master,

own

exertion.

So the Divine
himself
in

who was

Praj^pati
to
is

the

form
that

of a
is

Guru, said

them: "The person

seen in the eye
free

the real Self (Atman).

He

is

from

sin,

sorrow, suffering,
98

and

SEARCH AFTER THE
birth;

SELF.

immortal and
all

fearless.

By knowing
all desires."

him one can obtain
Hearing
confused.
the master
this,

worlds and

the

minds

of the pupils

were

They could

not understand what

meant by the expression, "The
is

person that

seen in the eye

is

the

Atman,
must

the true Self."

They thought
is

that he

mean

the

shadow that

seen in the pupil of
at a person's eye

the eye.
see in
it

WTien we look

we

the image of a small figure, the rethe master, however, did
referred to the real agent

flection of ourself;

not

mean

that.

He

of seeing, the ruler of all the senses,

who

is

seen through the senses by the pure-hearted

Yogis

alone.

Thus

misunderstanding

the

true meaning, the disciples asked:

"Bhagavan,

who

is

that which
in

is

seen in a mirror and
Is

perceived

the

water?

he

the

same

person as the one

who

is

seen in the eye?"

The

master, knowing that his pupils had not
the
true
is
it.

understood

spirit,

replied:

"That

real Self indeed
it

seen in

all

these."

Know
test

and

realize

Furthermore, to
99

his

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
pupils'

power of understanding, he continued:
at yourselves in a

"Go
the

and look

bowl of water,

and whatever you do not understand about
Self

come and

tell

me."
in

The
the

obedient

pupils

went and looked
the
reflection

water,

and
they

seeing

of

their
sir,

bodies

came back and
what
you

said:

"Yes,

we have seen
asked:

meant."
seen
the

The
Self

master
or

"Have you

what?"

The

disciples answered:

"We

have seen ourselves

altogether from head to foot, a perfect picture

even to the hair and nails."

In

order to

bring them out of this confusion the master
said:

"After having your hair and nails

cut,

put on your best garments, adorn yourselves
with ornaments and look again
of water."
in

the bowl

Following his instructions, they

cleaned

themselves,
rich

and

wearing

beautiful

dresses and
their
itual

ornaments, they looked at
in

own

reflection

the water.

The
we

spir-

master then asked:

"Do

you see the
sir,

Self?"

They
just

said:

"Revered
are
100

see

ourselves

as

we

now, clean, well-

SEARCH AFTER THE SELF.
dressed and well-adorned."
plied:

The master

re-

"That
is

is

the Self, the immortal

Atman,

which
it

free

from fear and sorrow."
it.

Know
seeing

and

realize
in

The

disciples

went away

satisfied

their

hearts.

Praj&pati,

them

at

a distance, cried out:

"You have

departed without acquiring the knowledge of
the true Self;

whoever among you, whether

gods or demons, will follow this doctrine will
perish."

But Indra and Virochana paid no

heed to his words.

They thought

that they
feeling

had

realized the Self

and went home

content.

Now
the

Virochana,

who had understood
Self,

that

body was the

went to the Asuras,

the demons, and preached the doctrine which

he had learned.

He

taught them the most

materialistic ideas, like those of the atheists

and

agnostics,
is

— "The
to

body

is

the Self;

the

body alone

be worshipped and
self

serv^ed.

By

glorifying the

and serving the body

one becomes master of the worlds and obtains
ever)^hing."

The demons,
101

following his in-

VEDAXTA
structions,
llu-ir

rillT.OSOPIIY.
niaU-rialistic

became absolutely

in

views and began to decorate and worship

their gross physical forms.

Even

in the

present age
in

many
world.

such demons

arc to be found

this

Those who

uphold

atheistic, agnostic

and

selfish doctrines

possess demoniac tendencies.

They

care for
feel

nothing but their own bodies and do not
for others.

They

are not charitable, neither
to the

do they give alms

poor.

They have

no

faith

in

anything higher than their owti

material form.

The demons
God.

of to-day o(Ter

no

sacrifice to

They

decorate the body
flowers, per-

of the living or of the

dead with
fine

fumes,

ornaments,

and

raiment,

and

vainly imagine that by thus worshipping the

body they

will

conquer the worlds.
the

The
had

lord

of

Devas,

Indra,

however,

better sense than the ruler of the
to

demons;

he went home, but he hesitated
the
all

preach before
the

gods.

Remembering what

Lord of

creatures had described, that "the

Atman

or Self must be free from hunger,
102

thirst, birth,

SEARCH AFTER THE SELF.
death and sorrow, that
fearless,"
it

is

immortal and

he said to himself:

"This body
it

cannot be the true Self, because
to

is

subject

hunger and
of these

thirst,

and

is

not free from

any

imperfections.

How
is

could the

master have meant by
of this

true Self the

shadow
to
re-

body, when the body

subject

birth, disease
sult

and death?
doctrine."

I see

no good

from

this

Thus

dissatisfied

Indra determined

to return to his
in

master as

a pupil with offerings

his

hand.

he came again the master said to him:

When "You
your

went away with Virochana

satisfied

in

mind

that you

had learned the truth and gained
for

the knowledge of the Self;

what purpose

have you returned?"
gavan,

Indra replied:

"Bha-

how can
If the

the

shadow
it

of the

body be

the true Self

when

goes through constant
is

changes?
flowers

body

well-decorated with

and

beautiful

costumes

the
If

Self

(shadow) has a different appearance.
loses

one
will

ones eyes the shadow

(the

Self)

look as though blind, that Self (shadow) will
103

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
be lame
if

the

body

is

lame, crippled
will

if

the the

body
deatli

is

crippled, and

perish

with

of the body.

Therefore, that change-

able
Self.

shadow cannot
I

be

the

unchangeable

do not

see

any good

result

from such

a doctrine.

Please explain
the

my
true

dilTiculty

and

make me understand
master replied:
I shall explain

Self."
it

The
Live

"O,
to

Indra, so

is

indeed.

you the true
for

Self.

with

me

as

my

disciple

another thirty-

two years."
Indra lived with his master and served him
for

another thirty-two years.

One day

the

master, being pleased with the purity, chastity

and devotion of

his pupil, instructed
all
is

him thus:

"That which enjoys
is

dreams during sleep
the

the

true

Self.

It

immortal

and
it,

fearless
realize
this,

Brahman
it,

(the Absolute). "

Know

and be conscious

of

it.

Hearing
his lieart.

Indra went home
to

satisfied

in

But before speaking
another difficuhy.

the

Devas he found

He
104

understood,
is

The

Self

(Atman) which enjoys dreams

not the same

"

SEARCH AFTER THE SELF.
as the

shadow

of the body,
It

it

is

not affected
that
this

by physical changes.
Self
is

is

true
is is

not blind

when
is
;

the

body

blind, or
it

lame when the body
if

lame, nor

injured
the seer

the

body be injured

but

how can
it

of dreams be immortal when

is

subject to
in

change
pleasant

and

fear,

and

suffers

pain

un-

dreams?
see

Thus

thinking,

he said:
I

"I do not
again

good

in this doctrine;

must go
this

and ask

my

master concerning

perplexity."

Indra

went

to

Prajapati,

his

spiritual teacher, the third time

and questioned

him

thus:

"How

could that changeable seer of
Self,

dreams be the true
able, immortal, free
suffering,
birth,

which
sin,

is

unchange-

from

hunger, sorrow,

and

death?"
you are

The master
right.

replied:

"O,

Indra,

I

will

explain to you again, stay with
thirty-two years.

me

another

At the end "In
rest

of that time the master said:

sound

sleep that w'hich

enjoys perfect

and

sees

no dreams
is

is

the

tme

Self or

Atman, which

immortal."
105

Indra thought,

:

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
how can
that be the immortal Self,
itself

which

is

not conscious of

or of anything else?
in

No

knowledge or consciousness remains
Everj'thing
is

this state,

destroyed then.

Did

the master
all

mean by

Self the

destruction of

thoughts, feelings, sensation, consciousness

and knowledge?
neither feelings,

In deep sleep state we have

nor dreams, nor sensations,

nor consciousness of the body or of the external world.

He

could not understand

how
true

that state of annihilation could be the
Self,

so he came back and asked the question
that
true
Self

"Bhagavan, dost thou mean
is

the state of absolute annihilation of con-

sciousness,

knowledge,

sensation

and

feelis

ings?"

The master answered:

"No,

that

not true Self."
the the
great

Here we should notice how
master gradually directs

spiritual

mind

of the disciple

from the gross physi-

cal body through the abstract to the Absolute.

True

Self

is

the Absolute
If

beyond
this
all

all

comof

prehension.

we

start

from
above

state

dreamless

sleep,

rising

feelings,

106

SEARCH AFTER THE SELF.
thoughts and sensations, and
still
if

we can go

further

we

shall find our true Self.

Now
is

the master was extremely gratified to see his

return

and
I

said:

"Your understanding
to

profound;
Self
is.

will explain

you what true

Live with

me

for another five years

and no more."
At the end of the
last five

years the master
faith-

imparted the highest knowledge to his
ful pupil:

"This gross physical body cannot
it

be the
is

Self,

is

subject to death, in fact,

it

constantly attacked by death."

The
body

life

of the

body

is

nothing but a series of deaths
particle
if

or changes.

Every

of

the

is

continually changing, and
for

that change stops
live

a

second

the

body
is

will

no more.

"By
death

death this body
is

perpetually attacked;
in

always working

the body."
all

The
sense-

word

"body" here

includes
of the

the

organs.

The organs

senses are also

subject to similar changes, consequently they
arc dying at every

moment.
107

"The body

is

the abode or instrument of the Self, which

is

VEDANTA rHILOSOPHY.
immortal and without body."
instrument the Self or
tact

Through
in

this

Atman comes

conthe
it

with the gross
Self does

material world.
the

If

true

not manufacture

body

cannot come
of

in direct

touch with the objects
therefore,
it

the

senses.

The body,

exists

for the enjo)Tnent of the Self;

is

the

me-

dium with which
it

the

Self

being

identified,

thinks "I

am
body

the bofJy"

and experiences
But the

heat and cold, pleasure and pain.
ruler of this
is its
is

the Self, while the

body

abode.
real agent that perceives
is

The
senses
are

through the
Sensations
of

the true Self within us.

produced
with

by
the

the

contact

material
gross

objects
objects,
in close

sense-organs.

The

having forms, cannot directly come
contact with the Self unless
it

mani-

fests

itself

through the physical form of the
is

body.
Self,

But formless

the true nature of the
of this body, the enall

who

is

the

knowcr

joyer of sensations, the doer of

actions.

"The

Self," said

the master,
lOS

"has no par-

SEARCH AFTER THE
ticular

SELF.
the

form."

It

dwells

within

body
should

without having any special shape.

We
is

bear in mind that our
although our body
is

true Self

formless,

with form;

then

we

should understand that the changes of the

body do not
is

affect

the Self.
it

Since the Self

formless,

how can
body ?

be the same as the
lord of the

shadow

of the

The

demons,

having his

intellect

covered with Tamas, the

darkness of ignorance, and having an impure

mind and an imperfect understanding, could
not grasp the true meaning of the Self.

The

master waited for him to ask further questions,

but as he went away satisfied in his

heart that he had learned everything regarding the
force
lute
Self,

Prajapati was not anxious to
his

upon him
Self

knowledge of the Absoutterly

or
of

Atman, which he was
receiving.

incapable
fore,

Virochana,

there-

did not acquire the knowledge of the
is

true Self, which

formless and immortal.

All the organs of the senses, all sensations,
in fact everything

connected with the body,
109

is

VTDANTA rillLOSOPHY.
transl/on";
if

we can

realize

this

we

can

know
with
in

that the immortal Self cannot be one

the

body.

This

formless

Self

dwells
it

the

body

for a time,

and

after leaving

remains formless.

"So long
body and

as the Self (Atis

man)
it,

lives in the
is

identified with

it

not free from pleasure and pain, but
the Self as separate from the
is

he

who knows

physical abode,

untouched by pleasure and

pain."
less

It

may
a

be asked.

How

can the form-

Atman
has

manifest

itself

through the body
has

which

form?

Wind

no

form,
is

steam has no particular form,
formless, but
still

electricity

they appear through forms.
it

When
it

the

wind blows, although
in direct

is

formless,

comes

contact with objects with
its

form,

and

shows
;

form
steam

and
is

power

by

moving them
but think

so, also,
it

without form,
gigantic force

how

manifests

its

through engines

and locomotives.
with
electricity,

The
which

atis it

mosphere

is

filled

imperceptible to our eyes and senses, yet
takes

various

forms, such
110

as

lightning

and

SEARCH AFTER THE
thunder.

SELF.
presence
a
of

We
make
of

do not

feel
it

the

atmospheric
coni to

electricity;

required

]Mar-

us realize the value and imthis

portance

invisible

current

in

the

atmosphere.
invisible

The

forces of nature are always

and formless.

No
se.

one has ever seen
Its existence
its

or touched a force per

can

only be inferred by

seeing
all

manifestation
imperceptible

through

forms.

As

the

forces can be perceived

by the senses under

certain conditions, so the

Atman

or true Self,

although imperceptible by nature, manifests
its

power and

intelligence

through the form

of the physical body.

How

can we
its

know

the

power of thinking except by
as thoughts?
istence of the

manifestation

In the same manner the ex-

powers of seeing and feeling
their expressions.

is

inferred

from

If the sight
w^e
call

remains unmanifested in a
blind;

man

him

and he

is

known

as an idiot

whose

mental and intellectual powers have become
latent;
'

but

when

the

expression
their

of

these
effects.

powers begins we see

outward

Ill

VEDAXTA nilLOSOPHY.

No

one

could
the

have
if

inferred

what

powers

exist in

Atman

the true Self

had not

manifested through the body the powers of
seeing,
seizing,

smelling,

tasting,

touching,

moving,

thinking, feeling, etc.
the

They proceed
center

from the Atman,
within
us.

self-intelligent

In the state of ignorance these

faculties of the soul

appear as produced by
mistaken
for

the

body,

which

is

the

Self;

but when the light of Sclf-lvnowlcdgc begins
to shine

the

Atman

reveals

itself

in

its

true

nature as separate from the body and possessing
all

powers and

intelligence.

As an

ignoramus cannot distinguish the wind clouds

and

electricity

from etherial space, so a

self-

deluded soul cannot distinguish the true Self

from the material organism.

He who

pos-

sesses Self-knowledge, realizes that the
is

Atman
is

the Highest

Being (Purusha).

He
life's

al-

ways happy, enjoying the play of
under
all

sports

conditions and never thinking of the
is

material body, which
the intelligent Self.

the

mere abode

of

112

SEARCH AFTER THE SELF.

The

true

Self,

as

we have already
and

seen,
^

possesses

Prajna,

intelligence,
will

Prana,
|

activity, these

two

be found at the foundauniverse.
is

j

tion

of

the

phenomenal

When
or

these are latent or potential there
tion.

no evolu-

Vibrations
all

of

all

kinds,

cosmic

molecular, and

kinds of motion are but
In-

the expressions of the activity of Prana.
telligence

h

manifested

by human

beings, as

also by lower animals, the difference being

only in degree and not in kind of manifestation.

Wherever

intelligence, life-force or
is

any
the

\

kind of activity

to

be found, there

is
is

expression of the SeK.
sible

No

knowledge

pos-

without self-consciousness.
ourselves

First w^e

must

know
thing.

before

we can know anyreal Self
still

We may

not

know our

on

account of imperfect understanding,
possess

we
In

some kind

of self -consciousness.
intelligence

Vedanta these two,

and Prana:\\\ and they

are described as the uhimate generalizations
of all

phenomena

of the universe;
Self or

proceed from the Cosmic
113

Brahman,

VKDAXTA PHILOSOPHY.
which
is

the source of all knowledge

and of the

activity of

mind and

senses.
Self
is

Indra said:
in tlie

"The

the greatest Being

universe."

When
this

properly understood

we cannot separate

Atman

or true Self

from the universal or Cosmic Being, because
there exists only one

ocean of the absolute
is

Being or substance which

called

by various
Self,
itself

names, such as God, Brahman, Atman,

When
the

that

absolute
it

Being

expresses

through our forms

becomes our true

Self,

source of mental and

physical activity,

as well as of intelligence

and consciousness.

All desires are certain forms of mental activity;

they could neither rise nor exist

if

the self-

conscious entity were not at the foundation
of all activities.

He who
live in

has acquired

Self-

Knowledge can
all

the world
all

performing

kinds of works, enjoying
the

pleasures, but
affected

at

same time without being
by
any
unpleasant

or
of

disturbed
this

condition

world.

The knowledge
114

of Self protects

the soul

from being agitated by phenomenal

SEARCH AFTER THE SELF.
changes.
carriage

"As a
makes
it

horse,

being

yoked

to

a

move, so

this conscious Self,

being attached to the chariot of the body,

makes
of

it

perform

its

functions by the

power

Prana and intelhgence."

Or we may com-

pare the body to an automobile, the propelling powder of
Self.

which proceeds from the true
Self

If

the

be separated
organs of
the

or

disconthe

nected from

the

senses

eyes will see no sight, the ears will hear no

sound, the nose will smell no odor, the tongue
will

taste

nothing,

the hands and

feet

will

perform no work.
eye
itself
is

Indra continued:

"The
is

only an instrument, the seer

behind the pupil of the eye.

The

real seer

and knower
nose
smell
is is

of sight

is

the true Self.

The

the

instrument, but the knower of

the true Self.

The tongue

is

the in-

strument of speech, but the knower of speech
is

the conscious Self; the ear

is

the instrument the true Self.

of hearing, but he

who

hears

is

He who
is

thinks

is

the true Self, and the

mind

his

spiritual

eye.

Through
115

this

spiritual

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
or divine eye the Self or
ures
heart,

Atman

sees all pleasintellect,

and
are
is

rejoices."

The

mind,

the instruments of the true Self,

which

the

knowcr

of all

mental

activities.

"The Devas, who

arc in the highest heaven,
this Self;

worship and meditate upon
fore, all

there-

worlds belong to them and they have
all desires.
it

obtained the fulfiknent of

He who
all

knows

this

Self
all

and

realizes

obtains

worlds and

desires."
is

He who

possesses

Self-knowledge

the master of the world

and

lord of ever}-thing, like the gods of the highest

heaven.

In him

all

desires are fulfilled.

He He
the

no longer
does he
possesses
tent,

desires anything of the world, nor

seek happiness
all

from outside.
he
is

powers;

in short,

omnipo-

omniscient and ever

blissful.

Thus

great

master explained

the

mystery of the

true Self;

and the earnest, sincere and pureit

hearted disciple realized
ing.

through his bless-

Indra

served
it

Praja,pati
is

one

hundred
This
cannot

and one

years, as

said in the stor}-.
Self

shows that knowledge of the true
116

SEARCH AFTER THE SELF.
be
easily

acquired.

Patience,

perseverance,

and earnest and

sincere longing are the steps

toward the attainment of Self-knowledge.
Indra became happy, and with gratitude in
heart and salutations to his Divine master,

he went home and gave the
labor to the Devas.
directions,

fruit of his

hard
his

All of

them followed
and
is

realized

the

Self

became
power

masters of the

worlds.

Such

the

and greatness

of Self-knowledge.
117

"May the DmNE

AND the student. WITH THE NECTAR OF ETERNAL TrUTH. ^SIaY HE GRANT US spiritual STRENGTH. MaY OUR STUDIES BRING THE REALIZATION OF THE ABSOLUTE!

Self protect the teacher MaY HE FEED OUR SOULS

"Peace, Peace, Peace be unto us and to ALL LIVING creatures."
Kena Upanishad.
119

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.

A

seeker after Self-knowledge, having perall

formed

the duties of his

life,

discovered

that the performance of duty could not bring

peace to his mind.
the

He had
spirits,

worshipped

all

Devas or bright

and had served

the gods, but he had not received the knowl-

edge of his real
faction,

Self.

Nor had he found
Thus

satis-

although he had spent most of his
learn-

time in devotion to the Supreme.

ing that happiness, peace and knowledge can-

not be obtained from
earthly relations,

sense-objects or from

and

realizing the

ephemeral

character of

the phenomenal world, he could

no longer remain content with the pleasures
of

a worldly

life,

so

he renounced

all

his

attachment to earthly things.

He

also gave

up

all studies,

because he had

121

VEDAXTA PIIILOSOniY,
discovered thai the
readini:^ of the

Scriptures

couUi

not

give
for

Self- know led <:^c

or

absolute

happiness;

books and Scriptures simply
the
hii^^her
hi;,')K'st

remind
cannot
reach

us

of

tniths,

but

they

brinir

the

Truth within the

of

our soul.

Those who think that

spiritual realization will

come from

the study

of the

Scriptures

and sacred books are misdescribe certain spiritual

taken.
truths,

The Scriptures

such as the existence of God, Divine

Love, salvation, but by squeezing the pages
of the

book no one can gain the
truths

realization of

these

any more than one can get a

drop of water by squeezing the pages of the
almanac,
in

which
Before

the

annual

rainfall

is

mentioned.
spirit

we can comprehend
text

the

of any
the

Scriptural

we
in

shall
it.

have

to realize

tmth described

This seeker after Self-knowledge, therefore,

abandoned
teacher

all studies,

and went
the

to a spiritual

who had knowTi
like

Self.

He

ap-

proached him

a humble pupil, longing

to acquire Self-knowledge. 122

He had no

other

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
desire;

he did not care to go to heaven or to
his
sole

enjoy celestial pleasures;
ideal in
life

aim and

was

to

know
else

the true nature of

the Self.

Nothing

could please him or

make him happy;
that

his heart

was longing
flows
in

for

nectar of

wisdom which
of the

the

soul of a

knower
to

Atman.

Though he

had come

understand that the physical body
in all, that the

was not
of

all

mind, the director
the

the

senses,

was

not

unchangeable

Reality, but

was subject

to constant change,

yet his thirst for knowledge

was un quenched.

Now

he was eager to search after that un
is

changeable and absolute Truth, which
Soul of our souls and the Ruler of
all.

the

Having
at

bowed

his

head with deep reverence

the

feet of the

great spiritual teacher, the pupil
Sir,

asked:

"Revered

who

is

it

that governs
is

the mind,

and by what power
to

the

mind
WTiat

directed

perform

its

functions?

force guides the

Prana and the sense-powers?

Why

is

it

that

we

are so active,
?

what

is

the

cause of our activity

Who
123

is

this

speaker of

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
words?
is

Who

is

the

sccr

of

sights?

Who
con-

the hcariT of sounds?

What power

trols

the

organs of sight, hearing, and the

other senses?"

With

this inquir)' begins the

Kena Upanidown through
the
art

shad, which had been handed

memory
old

for

generations

before
It

of

writing was

known

in

India.

shows how

and sublime

are the teachings of Vedanta.

Think

of the antiquity

and the deep meaning
that our

of these questions!
is

We know

mind
ideas

constantly active;

new thoughts and

are rising and going down.

Mind wanders
it

from here to there;

sometimes
it

is

in

Eng-

land, or in India, sometimes

runs to the

sun, moon, stars or other planets;

hence the

seeker after Self-knowledge asked:
the director of this constant

"WTio

is

activity of the

mind?"
is

The master answered: "That which
mover
of all activ-

the hearer of hearing, the thinker of thoughts,

the speaker of words, the
ities

of the sense-organs, the seer of sights."

Let us understand

the
124

meaning of "That

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
which
all
is

the

hearer of hearing."

First

of

we must

inquire,

What

is

meant by hearpower by which

ing?

Hearing

signifies that

we

perceive

the

existence

of

what we

call

sound, or in other words, that organic activity

which illumines the vibration of sound;

so the hearer of hearing refers to the illuminator
of the

power

of hearing, without

which no
master's
is

sound can be heard.
reply was,

The

spirit of the

The

director of the

mind
of

that

which

illuminates

the

powers

hearing,

seeing, thinking,

and

of speech, as well as the

knower

of all the activities of our sense-organs. of
seeing,

The power

again,

means

that

organic function by which the object of sight
is

illuminated or
sight,

made known

to

us.

The The
Self-

organ of
to

however, has not the power

produce consciousness or intelligence.
of seeing exists so long as there
it.

power

is

consciousness behind
as

The organs
optic

of vision,

the eye,
cells,

the

retina, the

nerve, the

brain

together with all their activities,

do

not produce the consciousness of color or the
125

VEDAN'TA PHILDSOPHY.
object of vision.
orj^ans

In a dead person

all

these

may
felt

be

in

a perfect condition, but the

perception of sight or the sensation of color will

not be

by the body.

The body

itself

has

not the power to see or perceive any external
object.

Thus by analyzing our

perceptions

we

can understand that the

activities of the sense-

organs are unconscious by nature.

The

con-

scious Self which illumines the organic functions
is

the seer of sights, the hearer of sounds,
of all sensations.
It
is

and the knowcr
the

also

thinker

of

thoughts

within

us.

That

intelligent Self,

which

is

the source of con-

sciousness and knowledge,
the director of the

must be known
senses.

as

mind and

When

we have
ness,

realized the cause of self-conscious-

we have understood
mind.
to

the

power which

directs the

According
matter
in

Vedanta,

mind

is

"finer

vibration."

The

vibration of the
sen-

mind substance produces perceptions and

sations, and reveals things which cannot be

revealed by vibrations of grosser matter.
126

The

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
functions
of the

mind

are nothing but

the

vibrations of the finer particles of the etherial

substance called in Sanskrit Sattwa.

But the

vibration of this substance does not produce
intelligence
tient

or

consciousness.

It

is

insen-

by nature.

The mind substance appears
it

as intelligent

when

is

in close contact

with

the conscious Self or

Atman,

just as a piece

of iron, having absorbed the heat of a furnace,

appears as red-hot and
conscious Self

is

able to

bum.

The

may

be compared to a magnet

which

attracts the iron of the

mind substance.

When

a piece of iron, being attracted by a
is

magnet, moves, that motion
with the iron, but
is

not natural
its

caused by

proximity

and

close contact with the

magnet.

As the

very presence of the magnet produces activity
in the iron, so the

very presence of the Self
activity
is

(Atman)

creates

the

of

the

mind

substance; but the Self
the limits of the
true Self
is

not confined within

mind

substance, because the

beyond

all relations of

space and

time.
127

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
The master
immortal."
continued: " Knowi:^,^ this
Self,

the wise, bcinc^ freed from this world,

become
that

Those

who have

known

source of intelligence, the true Self, attain to
immortality, but those
it

who have

not

known

remain attached to the material body and

senses,

and arc therefore subject
This
is

to birth

and
Self-

death.

one of the
our

results

of

knowled/re,

— kr.ov/ing
is

true
tlie

Self

we

be-

come immortal.
the
soul,

Altlioufrh

tnie nature of
is

according to Vedanta,

immortal,
still

and

immortality
attain
it

our birthright,

we
con-

do not

until

wc have become

scious of our immortal Self.

So long as wc
have fear of
im-

think that
death.

we

are the

mortal we

When
is

consciousness of the
all

mortal Self
of death

gained

fear vanishes.

Fear

rises

from ignorance, which makes
i<lentify
is

us forget our immortal nature and
ourselves

with

the

material

body, which

subject to death.
the mortal body,
suffer

[Thus, becoming one with

we begin
128

to fear
j

death and

from anxiety and misery,

How

can

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.

we

expect to be free from fear of death
identified

when

we have
which

our Self with the body,
die?

will

surely

This

fear,

however,

ceases to trouble
the body
is

him who
shell,
is

has realized that

like

a

a house, or a recepdeathless

tacle of the soul,

which

by nature.

The

soul manufactures the physical
fulfill

body

in

order to
of
life.

certain desires

and purposes
this truth
it

He who
all

has known

has
said:

risen

above

fear.

Therefore,

is

"Those who have obtained the knowledge of
the real Self are called the wise, the

and

after

death of the body they transcend the

realm of birth and death.
object to be achieved
tivity.

This
this

is

the greatest

in

world of rela-

We
pose.

have come here to

fulfill

a certain pur-

At present we may think that the
purpose
of

highest

earthly

life

is

to

gain

material prosperity, success in business, fulfilment of ambition

and sense

desires;

but

the time
that
all

is

sure to

come when we
129

shall realize
real

these are

momentary, that the

VEDANTA

IM III/

)Sopi i y.

i

purpose of

life
is

is

much

higher and more perto

manent.

It

vcr}'

difTicult
life.

understand
in

the true purpose of

Few
perfect

people

this

world

have

found

a

standard

by

which they can

measure correctly whether

or not they have fulfilled that puqiose.

Each
is

one of us

will

have to find out what
life.

the

highest ideal of

It is the

attainment of

Self-knowledge.

Self-knowledge brings to the soul absolute

freedom.

It

is

by Self-knowledge that we

can

obtain

cver}'thing
is

we

desire.

In

this

world there

nothing higher than the knowlSelf.
is

edge of the true

The knowledge which
imperfect,
it

we now

possess

is

only

a

partial expression

of the all-knowing nature

of

the

Divine

Self.

That

imperfection

is

due

to the limitations or imperfect conditions

of the

Buddhi or

intellect

which

reflects the

Divine wisdom.

But when the limitations are
intellect
is

removed and the
perfect

purified

tme and
If

wisdom begins

to

shine

within.
it

the mirror be covered with 130

mud,

will not

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
have the power to
so
is

reflect the light of the

sun;

when

the mirror of the intellect or

Buddhi
it

covered
not

with the
reflect

mud

of worldliness,

does

the light of

wisdom which
In

emanates from Atman the Divine Sun.

order to learn this truth and the method by

which our
fied

intellect

and heart may be puri-

we need

the help of a
is

Guru

or spiritual

master.

Elnowledge

one, not

many.

The
will

same knowledge which we now possess
be the highest knowledge when
it

will reveal

our immortal

Self.

Therefore, the wise
Self,

men

who know
tality

the

true

attain

to

immor-

even during

this lifetime.

The
is

pupil desired to see that Self, which

the director of the

mind and

the seer of

the sight,

and by knowing which one becomes

immortal.
seeing

The master
reveal

said:

"The power
The

of

cannot

the

Self."

dis-

ciple thought:

"If the eye cannot reveal the

Self

its

nature

may

be described. "

To

this

the teacher replied:
it;

"Words
131

fail to
it.

describe

the

mind cannot reach
,

We

cannot

,t-*

<V-

clt^/^^

_
fyUfCL^
'>->-

^^L-e-

''yt^<::^>'V't^lCt..iXi^^

y^Vj'^t-

^v*A.

i^t-tduC

VEDANTA
know
it

TMIIT.OSOPHY.
or understanding

by mind,

intellect

how can anyone
when

teach it?"

Thv

Self

is

the*

thinker of thoughts.

Mind can who
is

only think

directed by the Self

beyond

all

thoughts.

The

very act of thinking presupall

poses self-consciousness, and
onlv
possible

tlioughts arc

through

self-consciousness;
all

therefore, that

which

is

above and beyond

thoughts cannot be revealed by the mind or
intellect.

When

the

mind cannot think

of

it

how
Self?

is

it

possible for the eye to see the tnie
of
sight
to

The power
is

can

reveal

that

which
true

in

relation

our eyesight.

The
the

Self

can never be brought within

reach of sense-perceptions.
tinued:
it

The master

con-

"It

is

far from the known and also

is

above

the

unknown.

Thus wc have

heard from the ancient sages who taught us
this."

From

ancient times the great sccrs of
the
real Self
it

Tmth
neither
narily

have declared that

is
is

neither kno^\Tl

nor knowablc, and yet
nor
132

unknown
we
say,

unknowable.
a thing,"

Ordi-

"We know

"the

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
knowledge of
the
this

book,"

etc.

In this sense

Atman

can never be kno^^'n or

made an

object of knowledge.

Let us understand this clearly.

When we
relative

.

j^-u^

speak of knowing a thing we mean

knowledge by

intellect;

and we convey the

same idea w^hen we say "we do not know a
thing."

Again,

intellect

can

reveal

those

things which are related to the senses or are
subject
less

to

sense-perception.

It

is

more or
consefor

dependent
its

upon
is

sense-powers;
very limited,

quently

sphere

the

senses can reach only within a small circle.

For instance, we hear sound through our

ears.

The sound

is

audible within a certain degree
if

of vibration;

the vibration of air be above

or below that scale
there

we cannot

hear; although
still

may

be a tremendous noise,
it.

our
said

ears are deaf to
of the eye;

The same may be
is

the range of sight

equally nar-

row.

Now we

can see

how

very limited that

intellect

must be which depends upon these
Therefore, that intel133

powers of perception.

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
locliial

knowledge, which
is

is

rtlatcd

to senseit

perceptions,

secondary knowledge;

can-

not reveal the Self;
"Self
is

hence

it

is

said that the

far

from tho known,"
not

Furthermore,
this

when wc say "we do

know

thing"

we mean
ance,

that

wc

arc conscious of our ignor-

we

liavc the

knowledge of
it

tlic
it

fact that

we do not understand
lect.

or

know

by

intel-

This ignorance

is

nothing but the lack

of the intellectual apprehension of the thing,

which we have called secondary knowledge.
It
is,

however, revealed

to

us

by another
in-

knowledge which does not depend upon
tellect

or upon sense-perception.

That apwc do not
the
Self.

perception by which

we know

that

know

this

thing

proceeds
is

from

Therefore, the Self

neither
relative

known nor unknowledge and
it

known, but beyond
ignorance.

"We
this

have

heard

from

our

great masters which passed

away

before us."

Although
is ver)^

Upanishad

of the

Sama Veda
who
pre-

old,

still

the teacher here refers to the

authority of other seers of Truth
134

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
ceded

him and from whom Self-knowledge

had been handed down through generations.

The master
and director
highest

said:

"That which cannot be
is

expressed by speech, but which

the speaker

of speech, that alone
(the

Imow

as the

SeK

Brahman);

not that which

people worship here."

Ever}- attribute that

we

give to
call

God

is

not His attribute in reality.

We We
it

Him

good, but

He

is

not merely good;
evil.

'i^

strictly

speaking,

He

is

beyond good and

project our idea of good, mentally separate
evil,
it

from

and

increasing

its

dimension,
call

attribute

to the Infinite

Being and

Him

good.

At the same time we forget that that
is

which

good
better
best.

demands something
again
requires

better,

and

that
is

something

which
are

This shows how foolish we
to be contented after callis

when we seem

ing

Him

good.

God

in

reality
is

beyond

our conception of good, which
limited.

relative

and

In

this

manner

it

can

be

shown
of,

that ever}^ attribute which

we can think
is

nay, every word which we can utter
135

finite

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
in
its

meaning and

idea.

Yet

if

wc go

a

little

deeper we shall find that no thought can

exist

and no word can be uttered unless there
self-conscious

]x

the

thinker

and
is

speaker

l^ehind.

This self-consciousness

caused by

the light of intelligence which proceeds from

the Self.

Therefore, the Self

is

the absolute
It
is

Truth

inexpressible

by

speech.
it

the

illuminator of speech,

but

can never be

illumined by words.
Is

Self

(Atman) the same thing which
all

is

worshipped by
shippers of

the great devotees
Is
it

and wor-

God?
will

some Personal God

dwelling outside of us and directing our minds

and senses by
the

and command?
is

Is

Self

same Being who
in

called

by

different

names, as Father

heaven, or Allah,

whom
Is
spirit ?

we worship with
the

prayers and offerings?

Atman
is

the

same as an angel or bright

What

it?

Reading the mental question of

his pupil the master said:

"Not

that which
of a

people worship here."

The worshipper

Personal

God

with a

name and form

is

not

136

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
the worshipper of the absolute Truth, because

he worships the phenomenal God.

Name and
is

form being both phenomenal, our conception
of

the

Divinity with a

name and form

phenomenal and anthropomorphic, or
words,

in other

we

create an ideal

God by

projecting

our ideas, give our
conception

Him

attributes according to

and then worship

Him by

offering

Him
God

our prayers.

Prayers are noththese words to the

ing

but words;
in

we send

Personal

order to obtain certain results,

but He, to

whom we

pray with words,

is

not
is

the director of
in us

speech.

That

Self

which
is

and makes us speak and pray

differ-

ent from that which

we

worship with prayers.
a form and a

The Personal God with
is

name

not the highest.

This

to us, but

we cannot

may seem deny it. God

strange

with a

name
words
not

and form,

who can be
of

described

by
is

and

thought

by our minds,
is

the

Absolute.

There

a

saying,
i

"\\Tien

God
our

is

knowTi

He

is

no longer God,

He

is

imagination."
137

The

Absolute

/

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
Divinity
is

difTcrent

from

that

which

is

worshipped.
Again, that which can be thought of
l)v

the

mind

is

not the Absolute Truth or Brahman.

Therefore, the master said:

"That which can-

not be cognized by the mind but by which
all

mental functions are cognized, know that

to be

your true Self (Brahman), but not that

which people worship."

"That which can-

not be perceived by the eye, but by which the

eyes are

made

to see,

know

that to be the

Self (the Absolute

Brahman), not that which

people

worship."
ear,

"That which cannot be
but by which the ear
is

heard by the

made capable
to

of hearing a sound,

know

that

be the Self (the Absolute Brahman),
people worship."

not

that which

"That which

cannot be perceived by the power of smell,
but by which the organ of smell perceives
odor,

know

that to be the Self (the Absolute
that

Brahman) not

which people worship."
true Self,
senses,
is

These verses show that the
the director of the

who

is

mind and
138

not the

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
same
as the Personal
it

God whom

people wor-

ship, but

is

one wdth Brahman, the absolute

Truth.

Having heard

this,

the

seeker after

Self-

knowledge went into meditation and searched
for the

illuminator or director of the mind,
is

that which

beyond the reach
sense-powers.

of our thoughts,

words

and

He

spent

some

time in Samadhi or the superconscious state,

and

realizing

the
of

Self

he returned

to

the
said:

ordinary

plane

consciousness
realized

and

"I have known and
Truth,
I

the

absolute

have

known

the

Self."

The

master replied: "If you think that you know
the Self, then you

know

very

little

of it."

If

you believe that you have known the Absolute
little

Brahman
of the

perfectly,

you have known very
in

Truth which dwells

you as

well as in the universe.

Truth

is

one.

When;

you begin to think that you have kno^vn the
Truth, you are using your secondary knowl-

edge of the
Absolute.

intellect,

which cannot reveal the
that

If

you

imagine
139

you

have

VEDANTA nriLOSOPHY.
known
the
Self

or

Brahman, who

is

the

director of the mind, you have
ver)- little of
it.

comprehended

If

you think that you have

realized

it

as dwelling in your body, you have
its

not

understood

absolute

nature.
it

If

you

believe that

you have cognized
still

as dwelling

outside your body,
the Truth.
If

you have not realized
Self as

you have known the
of the universe,
little

God, the Creator
apprehended
ver\'

you have

of

it.

Here the question
have kno^^'n very

rises,

"Why

is it
if

that

we

little

of the Self

we have
Bccausr*

known

it

as dwelling in our

body?"

that something

which
in

is

the director of the
it is

mind does not dwell
the space relation.

one place;

beyond

Therefore, when

wc have

known

it

as dwelling in
else,
if

a particular place
realized
it

and not anywhere
the

we have not

Truth.

Again,

we have perceived
and not
in us,

as dwelling outside of us
also

then
is all-

we have not known

that this Being

pervading and beyond the relation of time

and space;

but we have
110

known only

that

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.

much

of the Infinite

which

is

limited

by time

and space and conditioned by
.,.>-

their relations.

Then

the disciple sat in meditation

once

more, and his soul, rising above the plane of
thoughts,
state.

entered

into

the

superconscious
for

Having remained there

some time

he came back to the plane of sense-consciousness and declared:
the Self well, nor

"I do not think do
I

I

know

know
is

that I

do not

know

it

at

all.
is
it

The
the

Self

neither to be
that

known nor
absolutely

same as

which

is

unknown; he who has known
it

this

truth has realized

(the Absolute

Brahman)."

What
is

he meant by
relative

this

was that Self-knowledge

beyond

knowledge and ignorance.
is

Whatever we know by the understanding

only possible through the light of intelligence

which proceeds from the true
other knower of the
Self,

Self;
is

there

is

no

who

the illumiSelf
is
is

nator of mind and thoughts.
reality
in

The

in

the eternal knoM^er, there

nothing

the universe that can
it

know

the true Self,

yet

is

the source of

all

the true knowledge

141

VED.VNTA PIIILOSOniY.
that \\c possess.
It
is

always the subject of
but

knowledge
object.

or

consciousness,

never

its

Furthermore, the disciple said:

"He

who

thinks that the Self (Brahman) can never
of

become an object
but he

knowledge thinks
'I

rightly;
it,'

who

thinks
its

have known

has

not realized

true nature.

The

Self (Brah-

man)

is

not

known by
it

those

who

think

it

is

kno\^Tl;
it is

but

is

realized

by those who think

not

known."
it

This seems an enigma; what does
If

mean?

we analyze our perceptions what do we

find ?

When we
is

see

a
is

color,

we

find

that
light

the sensation

of color

produced by

which
ether.

a certain kind of vibration of the
ray of light coming in contact with

A
in

the

retina?

causes

some kind
this

of

molecular

change

them;

being carried by the

optic nerves into the brain cells creates certain

molecular vibration
a

in

those

cells.

It

requires

conscious

ego

to

translate

this

vibration into a sensation, which

we

perceive

and

call

color.

If the

conscious ego be not

142

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
there,

then these vibrations

to the brain centers

may be carried where they may produce
we
shall not see the

other changes, but
color.

still

For
if

instance,

when we

are

looking

at a color,

our mind be suddenly distracted

or

concentrated

on some other object, the
before our eyes, yet

color

may remain
it.

we do
light

not see

Although the vibration of

has been carried to the brain centers, the molecular changes

have been formed and

all
still

the

physiological conditions are fulfilled,

we
is

have no sensation of

color,

because there

no one

to translate

the molecular vibrations

of the brain cells into the sensation of color.

The ego who
on something

translates
else.

them

is

concentrated

But when the changes are

translated by the ego into sensations, then

we

perceive

it.

Now

let

us go a

little

deeper.
there
is

Behind

this

intellectual

perception

the self-consciousness of the ego.

If the

ego

be unconscious,

if

there be

no sense

of "I,"

then these vibrations will come through the
senses and pass

away without producing any
143

VKDAXTA PHILOSOPHY.
sensation in the mind.

Again,

if

the

mind be

separated from the source of apperception and
intelligence,
in

then the sensations will remain

the

subconscious mind

without affecting

the conscious ego.

This source of consciousIt is

ness

in

us

is

the knowcr.

our true

Self.

We know

that

we

are sitting here;

when when
are

we walk, we know

that

we

are walking;

we perform an
performing
thoughts
different
is
it;

act,

wc know
knowcr
Is

that
all

we
acts

this

of

and

the director.

that

knowledge
it

from our true Self?

No,

is

inis

separable
like

from our

Self;

our true

Self

J\

a sea of intelligence.

Some people say
Self,

that

knowledge proceeds from the

or

in other

words, that from which this knowlis

edge proceeds
that the Self

the Self.

This would imply

is

separate from knowledge and

would
nature

raise the question,

"What

is

then the
to

of

the

true

Self?"

According

monistic Vedanta the true nature of the Self
or

Atman

or

Brahman

is

absolute knowledge

or absolute intelligence which never changes.
144

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.

The

functions of the intellect and
is

mind

are

changeable, but Self-knowledge
able.
rises,

unchange-

Suppose you have a

feeling;

when
is

it

you

feel

it

and know that there

that

feeling;
its

when

it

subsides and another takes

place, then also
is

you Icnow that the new

feeling

there.

The knowledge by which
only one

you cognize each feeling cannot be known

by any other knowledge,
knowledge

for there

is

in the universe;

consequently the

knower

of that

knowledge cannot be known

by any other knowledge.
vou know the existence

That by which

of a feeling or a sen-

sation cannot be revealed

by

intellect,

underit

standing or any other faculty.

Upon

de-

pends

intellectual

understanding.

Whenever

we

perceive any object through the senses, that
is

knowledge
or

a partial expression of the Self

absolute

knowledge,

which

directs

the

mind and

senses to perform their functions.
is

The

nature of the Self

all-knowing;

its

knowledge does not depend upon the
145

relation

between the knower and the object of knowl-

^

VKDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
edpc, but
all
it

remains unchanged even when

the objects of knowledge

have ceased to

exist.

The

all-knowing

Self

may
As

be

com-

pared to the sclf-eflulgent sun.
\^
I

the nature

of the sun

is

to

illumine himself as well as

other objects, so the light of the Self illumines

\

its

own nature own

as also the

phenomenal world.

The

sun himself can illumine everything as
form,

well as his

we do not need
therefore,

a candle
call

or a torch to see him;
self-effulgent.

we

him

Self-effulgence does not need
its

any other

light to illumine

nature.

For the

same reason

the

Atman

is

said to be the self-

effulgent sun of knowledge.

That knowledge
feel-

by which we perceive
ings,

all

sensations and
intellection,

organic

functions,

under-

standing and other activities of the mind as
well as external objects, the sun,
is

moon,

stars,

the light of the self-effulgent
is

Atman

or Self

which

the source of

intelligence

and con-

sciousness.

This self-effulgent Atman
director of the
"

is

the

knower and

mind and
146

senses.

The mind

;

REALIZATION OF THE SELr.
and senses
if

will

not

perform

any function
self-effulgent
al-

they are separated from the
of

light

knowledge.
is

Mind, as we have
in

ready seen,

"finer matter

vibration."
is

Vedanta does not teach that mind
as the Self or
spirit.

the

same

There

is

no

intelligence
It is

in the vibration of the

mind substance.
All

not

the

source

of

consciousness.
stop,
Self.
still

the
shall

activities of the

mind may

we

remain conscious of our
of Sam§,dhi
there

In the state

may

not be any feeling,

like fear, anger, or

any other modification of
as volition, desire,
cognition,

the

mind substance, such
will,

emotion,

determination,
still

or
self-

understanding, but

one does not lose

consciousness or become absolutely unconscious
in that state.

This
pure

will

prove that pure conis

sciousness

or

intelligence

separate

from and independent of mental functions.
All these functions

and sensations can be

stopped by entering into superconsciousness
in

short, one can cut ofJ all connection with

the

body and mind and
147

still

continue to be

VEDAXTA miLOSOPIIY.
conscious on
difTicult

the

hij^hcr

plane.

It

will

be

for

those

who have
this

not

rcali/A-d

Sam^dhi
knowledge
learn

to

grasp

truth.

Intellectual

will not reveal the Self;

we must
intellect
if

the

method
aljove

of going

beyonrl

and

rising

the

realm of

thoughts

we wish

to realize the Absolute Self or

Atman.

Intellectual

ai)prehension

being relative and
the
limits

imperfect,

cannot

transcend

of

phenomena and cannot reach
the Absolute.

the sphere of
said,
it

Therefore,
the Self

it

is

"He who

thinks he

knows

knows

not."

/

Self-knowledge precedes even
tion of
is

the

concep-

God.

If the thought about

God, which
self -con-

in

our mind, be separated from
it

sciousness

instantly vanishes

and becomes
there

non-existent.
is

We
in

know God because
because the

knowledge

us,

light of the
If this

Self reveals the existence of
so,

God.
the

be

we ask: Which
or the Self?

is

higher,
Self
is

Personal

God
it

The
which

higher, because

illumines the existence of
is

God.

This source

of all knowledge,

the absolute Truth,

148

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
is

higher than

a

Personal

God,

since

the

Personal God,

who can be

described by words

and thought of by
to the
Self or

the mind,

becomes subject

mind and

speech, consequently to the
is

Atman, which

the director of the
is

mind and
to a thing

speech, and that which

subject

must be lower or
it.

less

than that

which governs
our true
as
Self,

So when we try to
to

know
it

we do not attempt

know

we know

the existence of a

book or a

tree,

because that kind of knowledge will never
reveal
it.

We

must not
is

try to see
in

any form,
Self.

because there

no form

the

We

must not make

the objects of the senses, like

sound, color, odor, touch, the starting point
of our search after Self, for these are on the
relative plane, while the

SeK

is

the Absolute

Being.

Thus we can understand
So long as we are on the

the difference be-

tween the relative plane and the absolute.
relative plane,

we can-

not reach the Absolute, because the absolute

knowledge, by which we
149

know

the existence

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
of things which arc related to one another,
is

beyond

all

relations

and

infinite.

All

relative

phenomena

exist in

and through the

Absolute,

but the Absolute
self-existent.
If

Atman

is

inde-

pendent and
telligent

we were uninpossess
Self-

beings
then

and

did

not

knowledge,

these

sensations

and per-

ceptions would have

no

relation to us.

The
be

pure knowledge of the Absolute Self

may

compared

to

the thread which goes through

the pearls of percepts, ideas and thoughts that
rise

in

our minds, and strings them together

into one

harmonious whole, forming a garland
This pure knowlrelative

of our daily experiences.

edge must not be confounded with the

knowledge which

is finite

and

rckited to ignorSelf,

ance, or non-knowledge.

The

being the

knower
and

of

ignorance,

is

higher and greater
is

its light

of absolute

knowledge

that by

which we

realize that

we know

this or

do not

know

that.
it

In Vedanta

is

said:
sees,

"The

Self

is

the

knower

of that

which

hears, thinks or

150

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
perceives.
It is the

knower

of the body, senses,

mind,

intellect,

and

heart

with
this

which we
identifica-

identify our Self."
tion,

Through

when
that

the Self appears as the ego, then

we say

we

are the hearer, seer, perceiver
sees, hears, thinks

and thinker; but the ego

and perceives, being dependent upon the pure
knowledge
of the Self.

In fact the ego canSelf-knowl-

not exist without Self-knowledge.

edge and existence are one and the same.

We

know

that

we we

are here;

if

for a

moment we
if

forget that

are in this place or

we become

unconscious

of

our surroundings,
it

we

shall

remain non-existent, as
to

were, in

relation

our environments.

Thus although we may
from our
for pure knowl-

try to separate our Self-knowledge

existence,

we can never do

it

;

edge or consciousness and
separable.

existence are inrealized
Selfexist-

When
have

we have

knowledge, we

understood

our

ence and discovered that the director of the

mind

is

all-knowledge and all-existence.

We

say the

sun

exists;

why?
151

Because we are

VEDAXTA PHILOSOPHY.
conscious
of

liim;

when

nvc

arc

not con-

scious of him, as in trance, he does not exist
in

relation

to

us.

Self-consciousness,
all relative

there-

fore, is the

standard of

knowledge
the beginall

and

relative existence.

Herein

lies

ning and end of the existence of

objects

which we

can

think

of

or

perceive.

The
body

moment
and

that

we

are unconscious of our

ever)'thing of this world, they will cease

to exist in relation to us.
this truth

We
the

all

experience

during our sound sleep, when our
connection

conscious
cut
off,
it

with

body being

ceases to exist

and consequently we

do not claim anything of the material world
as belonging to us.

But as our consciousness

returns to the body, instantly the

body together

with everything related to
ing to us.

It

appears as belong-

Therefore,

it is

said that

knowledge

and existence are one.
Vedanta gives these two
Absolute
Self,
is

attributes to the

who

is

the director of the mind.
existence,
is

The

first

absolute

in

Sanskrit

"Sat"; and the second

absolute knowledge

152

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
or
intelligence,

"Chit"

in

Sanskrit.

These

two, as

we have already

seen, are one

and
is

inseparable.

A

third

attribute,
It
is

however,

also given in Vedanta.
skrit

called in

San-

"Ananda," meaning pure happiness or

bhssfulness.

Where

absolute knowledge and
is

absolute existence prevail, there
lute

also abso-

/y\>4^-

happiness or blissfulness.

It is different

from changeable pleasure or
ness.

relative happiis

Unchangeable

blissfulness again

al-

ways attended with absolute peace.
there
is

Wherever

true happiness, there

must be abso-

lute peace,
else,
it

and the mind
it

will

not seek anything

but will enjoy

and

will try to possess

and never be
pleasures,

separated

from

it.

The
for

ordinar}^

which

we mistake

true happiness,

may

be agreeable for the time

being,

but in
tr}'

the next

moment we

dislike

them and

to get

away from them.

Think

how

transitory are the pleasures that can be

derived through the senses, they last only for

a short time and in
miserable.

the

reaction

make us
is

True happiness, however,
153

un-

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
changcaljlc.
everlasting.
It

brings

no

reaction

and

is

In the state of absolute existence

and pure

knowledge alone

can

be

found

absolute peace and true happiness.
the realm of our true Self,
relativity

Such
above

is

which

is

all

and beyond

all

conditions of this

earth.
lute

This indivisible Sat-chit-ananda, absoExistencc-intelligence-bliss, the disciple
in

realized

Samidhi as

the director of

the

mind and

the source of all the

phenomena

of the universe.

He

then said:

"Whosoever

realizes
tlie

that

which manifests within us as
Self, attains to

conscious

immortality. "

Death means a
die, the

change of the body.

The body may

mind may

die, the senses
die.

may

die,

but pure

knowledge can never
that something
tify
is

When we know
if

dying and
it,

we do

not iden-

ourselves with

but become conscious

of our absolute Self, then
to

we

are sure to attain
the idea

immortality.

If

we once grasp

that

we

are the Absolute Being,

how can we

ever be changed by death into a non-being?
154

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
As being cannot come out
it

of non-being, so

cannot go back

to non-being.

Pure

existthis is

ence can never become non-existence;
the proof of immortahty.

The Absolute

Self

or

Atman

is

the immortal Being.

It is also

Brahman, the beginning and the end
universe.

of the

The same

eternal

Being

is

wor-

shipped as
forms.
is

God under
is

various

names and
and

He
is

the Being

who

dwells in us

inseparable from our true SeK.

The AbsoIf there

lute

Being

not

many but

one.

were

many Absolute

Beings they would be limited

by each other and consequently not absolute.

That one Absolute Being alone
and
deathless,

is

immortal

and by knowing

it

we become

immortal.

No

Divine Incarnation can give
if

us immortality,

we do

not possess

it

already.

The

Christian belief that immortality can be

obtained only through the grace of Jesus the
Christ,
is

not founded upon the knowledge

of the immortal nature of our true Self.

The

students of Vedanta are not deluded by such

statements;

they try

first

to

know

the real

155

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
Self
is

and then

tliey
"

realize

that

immortality

their birthright.

Since the true Self
the disciple said:

is

the source of

all

strength,

"We

gain strength and im-

mortality by Self-knowledge."

Real strength
that

comes
is

to us

when we have known

which

changeless and immortal.
is

The

spiritual

strength which

gained through Self-knowl-

edge

is

greater than material, physical, mental,
together.

and moral strength

All other powers,

except spiritual strength, are subject to change

and death.
ing
of

Few

people understand the meanstrength."

"spiritual
is

By

the

word
spirit,

"spirit"

not meant a disembodied
Spirit or Self or
is

but the Absolute

Atman
is is

or
the the

Brahman.

Spirit

that

Self

which

source of absolute intelligence and which

Absolute
to

Being.

Knowing
which

it,

one

attains

spiritual

strength,

is

higher than

physical or

psychic

strength.
kill

With physical

strength a

man

can

a tiger or destroy
it

thousands of mortals, but

will not protect

him

from death.

He may
156

possess

material

REALIZATION OF THE SELF.
strength, but
last
it

will not save his life at the

moment.

He may

gain psychic power

and do wonderful

things,

but that will not
Spiritual

stop the changes of body and mind.
strength,
brings,

however,

which

Self-knowledge

makes one

free

from birth and death.

He who
will
if

has gained physical and psycliic powers
to birth

remain subject

and death, but

he can know that immortal Being, he be-

comes a master of the universe.
forces of nature serve

The

gigantic

and obey the

command

of

him who has acquired Self-knowledge.

"If a

man know
In

this Self here,
this

he has gained

the Truth."

world of imperfection

he who has known

the Self has reaUzed the
fulfilled

Absolute Truth and has

the highest

purpose of
freedom,

life.

He

has

attained
true

absolute

perfect

peace and

happiness

in this Hfe.
here, for

But

"if he does not
is

know

this

him

there

great suffering."

He

who

does not realize the Self comes back to
again and again, and, remaining in

this earth

ignorance, seeks sense-pleasures
157

and

suffers

VEDAXTA PHILOSOPHY.
great sorrow and miser)-.

He

does not escape

the law of

Karma and

reincarnation.
realized the allall

"The

wise ones,

who have

pervading absolute Self (Brahman) in

ani-

mate and
mortal

inanimate

objects,

become
this

im-

after

departing

from

world."

The knower
Self

of the Absolute
it

and Immortal
as the
ever.

becomes one with

and remains

immortal and perfect

Spirit forever

and

158

"That which is the Infinite is Bliss. In THE finite there IS NO BLISS. INFINITY ALONE
IS BLISS.

This INFIN^TY
Self (Atman)

is

to be realized.

is

Self below, above, behind, before, right and left; Self is all this. "He WHO SEES, PERCEIVES, UNDERSTANDS, and
is

"The

the Infinite.

LOVES THE Self, delights in the Self, revels IN THE Self, rejoices in the Self, becomes

the lord and master in all the worlds."
Chandogva Upanishad.
159

<h^.

a/

IMMORTALITY AND THE SELF.
In the Brihadaranayaka Upanishad of the
iXci %Prr^-

Yajur Veda we read that there

lived in ancient

Vk/ ci&-.

India a great sage, Yajnyavalkya by name.

He

^'7^
\X4.0'

1

L/W-^ ht

was a

seer of

Truth and hved a pure, virtuous,
hfe.

and righteous

He had

a devoted wife,
all
ii

whose name was Maitreyi; he performed
the duties
of

the householder as

also

of

good
to

citizen,

and

lived in peace, doing
result
his

good

others.

As the

of all

these good
purified

and
and

unselfish
his

w^orks

heart was

eyes were open to spiritual Truth.
the
transitoriness

He

understood

and

im-

permanent nature of the phenomenal world,

and reahzing

that the life of a householder
in the process of evolution,

was only a grade

he desired to enter into a higher state

and

make

further progress.
161

He had

discovered

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
ihc foolishness of pcoijle
life

whn

lc:ul

a worldly

and constantly

try

to fulhll their earthly

desires;
li\e

therefore, he
life

made up

liis

mind

to

a

of

seclusion,

and devote the

rest

of his days to the pursuit of eternal Truth.

He

wished

to

take

refuge

in

the

absolute

Reality of the universe by retiring into the
forest

where he would not be disturbed by
Constant meditation upon the true
of this great seer.
his

the world.
Self

had become the aim
to

One day he came
"Beloved
Maitreyi,

wife and said:

verily

I

wish

to

retire

into the forest, leaving with thee

my

wealth,

property and whatever belongs to me.
these

Enjoy

and grant me thy permission."
this,

On
un-

hearing

Maitreyi

felt

extremely

happy, but being spiritually-minded, she asked
this

question: "Bhagavan, please

tell

me,

if

I possess the
it

whole earth with

all

the wealth

contains shall I gain
like

immortality by it?"
of to-day,

She was not
are

the wives

who

greedy for wealth and possessions and
are delighted to acquire a
162
little

who

inheri-

IMMORTALITY AND THE
tance;

SELF,
for

she was not ambitious

material

property like a

woman

of the world, but she

understood that immortality was the highest
of all treasures.

Being guided by
"Shall
I

this ideal,

she

questioned:
all

be immortal by

possessing

the riches and property which
to

thou

art

going

give

me?"

"No,"

re-

plied the sage, "if thou possessest the property

and wealth

of

the world thou wilt

live

like the rich

who

enjoy, in whatever

manner

they desire, the luxuries, comforts and pleasures of earthly existence.
of gaining immortality

There

is

no hope

by wealth.

None can
of riches or

ever

become immortal by means

material possessions."

Then

the wife said:

"What
thing

shall I

do with that thing which canIf

not bring

me

immortality?
I shall

thou hast any-

by which

become immortal

please give

me

that.

I .do not care for thy

wealth."
plied,

Her husband,
art

the great sage,

re-

"Thou

truly
it

my

beloved;

thou
If

hast spoken well,

is

worthy of

thee.

thou desirest, I will

tell

thee of that by which

163

Mi:DANTA rillLOSOPIIY.
one can attain immortality.
attentively to

Come and
say."

listen

what

I will

lie

first

explained the true nature of the
love.

object

of

People

love

tlicir

parents,

children,

husbands, wives, property, wealth,
other things
that

and

all

they possess,

but

they do not

know what
of

they love in reality.
is

The
thing,
terial

real

ol)ject

love

not

a

material
tlie

but
form.

that

Avliicli

lies

behind
I

maunto

O

beloved,

verily

say

thee:

"A

wife loves her huslxand not for the
it

husband's sake, but

is

for the sake of the

Atman, the
band
dead
is

Self,

who

is

within, that the hus-

loved."

The

wife does not love the

particles of matter of her

which make up the

body
the

husband, but she loves the soul,
lies

Atman, which

behind his form.

"The

husband
but
wlio
it

loves his wife not for the wife's sake, for the sake of the

is

Atman, the
is

Self,

is

within, that the wife

loverl."

The
dear
the

physical

body

of the wife
soul,

is

not dear to her
is

husband, but her
to
liim.

the Atman,
will

The husband
104

not

touch

IMMORTALITY AND THE
dead body of
his

SELF,
not love
it.

wife,

he

will

it

when her

soul has departed from

People

love their children, not for the children's sake,

not for the material form of their children,

but

it

is

for the sake of the

Atman, the

Self,

that the children are loved. "

When

a mother

loves her child, do you think that she loves

the matter that m^akes

up the face or the
it

body

of the child?

No,

is

the Self that,

dwelling behind the material particles, gives
the child
its

form and attracts the soul of

the mother.
rial

Love cannot
it

exist

on the mate-

plane;

is

the attraction between two

souls

on the

spiritual plane of the Self.

When
of

people love their friends and relatives, that
attraction of the souls lies
at

the bottom

the expression of their true love.

"Verily wealth

is

not dear,

O

beloved, that

thou mayst love wealth, but that thou mayst
love

Atman, the
center
of

Self, therefore

wealth

is

dear,"
Self.

The
tion

love

is

the

Atman

or

When we
is

love wealth or property, our attracSelf,

toward the omnipresent
165

whether

VKDAXTA riuLusuriiv.

we

arc

conscious

of

it

or

not.

\Vc

love

animals, like dogs, horses, birds, not because
of their material forms, but for the

Alman,
In this

the Self, which resides \\ilhin them.

manner Yajnyavalkya showed
there
is

that wherever of

true love there

is

the expression

the real Self or
loves

Atman.
for

"None,

O

beloved,

an animal

the animal's sake,

but

for the sake of the soul of the animal. "

The

dead

material

body

of

an

animal

cannot

inspire love in our souls.

"People love the

priests (BrS.hmins), the warriors (KLshatriyas),

the

celestial

worlds
the

(Lokas),

the

bright

spirits
all

(Devas),

Scriptures (Vedas),

and

other animate and inanimate objects, not
it

for the sake of those objects, but

is

for the

sake of the Self (Atman) that each of these
is

loved."

When
of his
selfish

a person loves another for the sake
self or ego,
it is

own lower
love;

an extremely
is

but

when

that love

directed

toward the Self or
another
person
it

Atman which
is

dwells in
selfish;
it

no longer
1G6

IMMORT.\LITY AND THE SELF.
gradually leads
thing abides
spirit

to

Divine Love.

In ever}-

the

one

Self

or unchangeable

which

attracts

our souls.

We

do not

know
which

the nature of that Self or
all love,

Atman toward
or unselfish,
is

whether

selfish
all

directed,

and from which

love proceeds,

whether for wealth, property, or material objects.

A
of

miser loves riches, but he knows

perfectly well that riches

mean nothing but

a

medium

exchange,

that

they only bring
of the body.
self,

certain pleasures

and comforts
to

He
that
his

is

attached

his

lower

and

for

reason he loves wealth which enriches
ego.

The

lower

self of

such a

man

is

the center of attraction,
brings happiness to
it

and

ever}^thing that

is

very dear to him.
the
Self

"Therefore,
is

O

Maitreyi,
to

(Atman)

to

be realized,
to

be heard, to be thought
upon.

of,

be
the

meditated
Self

O
heard,

beloved!

When
of,

has

been

thought
all
is

meditated upon and realized, then

known."

Thou

shouldst

know
is

the true na-

ture of that Self,

which
1G7

the center of all

VEDAXTA
attraction,

rillLOSOPIlY.
all

from which
it

love proceeds
It

and
be

toward which

is

directed.

should

heard and meditated upon constantly;
the

when
true

mind

is

concentrated

upon

it,

its

nature will be revealed.
of
the

By

the realization

true

Self,

through constant hearing,

concentration and meditation. Self-knowledge

and immortality

will

be gained.
If

Y^jnyavalkya continued thus:
loves
terial

a person

and cares
body

for another only for his

mais

and

possessions,

the
If

lover

abandoned by the loved one.

we care

not

for the Self of another but love the

dead matter,

believing there

is

no soul
will

in

the person,

do
No,

you think that person
that person will love a priest
is

be pleased?
instantly.
If

desert us

we

(Brihmin) knowing that there

no

Self in him,

we

shall be

abandoned by

him.
pany.
there
of

He
If
is

will

immediately leave our comto

we go

a

king,

thinking
is

that

no

Self in him, that

he

only a mass

dead matter, we

shall not

be loved by him,

but on the contrar}' we shall surely be for1G8

IMMORTALITY AXD THE
saken by him.
realizes that

SELF.
out
if

He
love

will drive us

he

we

him not

for himself but

for his material possessions.

"For
is

the

same

reason, he

who knows

there

no Self in the

heavens, in the gods (Devas), in the Scriptures
(Vedas),
shall
in

animate and inanimate objects,

be abandoned by each one of these."
think of a departed
is

If

we

friend,

believing

there

no soul

in
If

him,

we
love

shall surely be

deserted by him.

we

God, knowing

Him

as a

mass of insentient matter, without
spiritual,

loving
Self or

His

Divine
will

and immortal
to

Atman, He

never come

us;

we

shall be forsaken

by Him.

Thus we can

understand

that

whosoever knows anything

elsewhere than in the true Self or

Atman
to

is

and

should

be

abandoned
exists

by

everything,
the

because ever}^thing
Self.

as

related
is

"The

Self is all

and

all

the Self."
of,
is

Whatever we

see, perceive or

think

in-

separably connected with the Self (Atman);
it is

one with the
Self.

Self,

and
1G9

is

in reality nothing

but the

VEDANTA rillLOSOPHV.
Here
it

may
this

be asked:

How

is is

it

possible

for us to realize that evcr)'tliing

the Self?
fol-

To
a

explain

Yajnyavalkya gives the

lowing illustrations:

"Now

as the

sound of
can
l^e

drum, when beaten with

a stick,

diflerentiatetl
it

from other sounds by referring
or to the drumstick, which
is

to the

drum

the source of the sound, and not by any other

means, so the existence of a particular object
can be differentiated by referring
Self
it

to

the

(Atman) which

is

the source of

all

knowl-

edge and consciousness and without which
nothing can be known."
a conch-shell or a
pipe

"As

the sound of

when blown cannot
it

be differentiated without referring
shell or to the pipe, as the

to

the

sounds of a lute
only by referring

when played can be
them
to the lute;

known

as these particular sounds of one
Self or

are but various manifestations

com-

mon

sound, so the one
is

common
of

Atman,

which

the Reality of the universe, ai)pcars

through

the

varieties

names and forms

which we perceive with our senses."
170

"As

"

D.IMORTALITY AND THE SELF.
from the one source of
with
fire,

when kindled

damp

fuel,

gradually emanate clouds of
exist

smoke and flame which did not
before,

there

so verily,
the

O
Self

beloved,

from the one

great

Being,

(Brahman), the com-

mon
been

source of knowledge and intelligence has

spontaneously

breathed

forth

all

the

knowledge that we possess, such as the four

Vedas
science
exists

(Scriptures),

the

various

branches of

and philosophy, and everything that
in
this

world as well as

in

celestial

realms.

Ordinarily

we

ascribe scientific knowledge

to particular individuals, but in reahty every

kind of knowledge that we find in different
people,

scientists.

Yogis,

and

philosophers,

— has
Self.

proceeded from that one source, the

As from one
flames, so
all

fire

proceed smoke, sparks

and

from

this

one

Infinite Self

have

come out
spiritual

the sciences,

philosophies and
in

truths

described

the

different

Scriptures of the world, as also the truths of
art

and

history.

The knowledge which we
171

VEDANTA nilLOSOPHY.
possess

and make use
of

of in our daily life

is

the

expression
is

that

absolute

knowledge

which

eternal,

one, indestructible

and un-

changeable, and which brings immortality to
the knowcr,

who

realizes the Self.
all

At the beginning of the cosmic evolution

phenomena
from
as a
this

as well as all knowledge evolved

one Infinite Self or Brahman.

Just

human

being naturally breathes out the
lungs, so the latent

air that has entered his

energ)' of the

Brahman spontaneously breathed
all

out knowledge and

phenomena which had
it

potentially existed in

before the evolution

of the universe.

Again, at the time of disso-

lution these return to that Infinite

Being and

remain latent as the energ)- of the Brahman
in

the

same manner
all

as

rivers,

streamlets,

brooks and
will

waters
flow

that

exist

anywhere

eventually

into

one ocean.
is

The
final

ocean of the Infinite Brahman
goal as well as the source of

the

all

knowledge

and

phenomena
all

of
is

the
in

world.
the

"As

the

source of

taste

tongue,

of all

172

IMMORTALITY AND THE
touch in the skin, of
all

SELF.

smells in the nose,

of all colors in the eye, of all sounds in the
ear, of all percepts in the

mind, of

all

knowlall

edge in the inteUigence, so the source of
intelligence
is

the Self or

Atman

or

Brahman."
to

Thus Yajnyavalkya explained

his

wife

how
end,

the Infinite
the

Self

is

the Beginning and

Alpha and Omega of everything.

At the time of evolution everything comes out
of
it

and during involution or

dissolution

everything goes back to the same source of
all.

The

Infinite Self,

Atman

or Brahman,

is

one mass of inteUigence without a second;
there
is

no duality or multiphcity

in this

one

substance.

"As a lump
it

of salt has neither
is

outside nor inside, but

a mass of

taste,

so indeed the Absolute Self has neither outside

nor

inside,

but

it

is

altogether a mass of in-

teUigence,
less."

unlimited,

beginningless

and end-

This

infinite

Being appears

in

two aspects,

the universal,

which

is

called
is

Brahman, and
Self

the

individual,

which

caUed the

or

173

VFXANTA PHILOSOPHY.
Atman.

As
it

the

source

of

individual

con-

sciousness,

manifests

itself in

various forms

•when

it is

connected with our body and senses;
it

but

when

leaves

this

material body, the

senses cease to perceive their objects

and the

elements return to their causal states from which
they arose.
After death one cannot perceive

the objects of senses.

"O

beloved!
is

Verily I

say unto thee, although the Self
intelligence having
it

a mass of

departed

from the body,

possesses no particular consciousness of a

mortal. "

The

expression of intelligence on

the sense-plane stops after death.

On
lord!

hearing

this,

Maitreyi replied:

"O

wise

Thou

hast bewildered

me by

thy state-

ment, 'This mass of intelligence possesses no
particular consciousness after death.'
it

be?"
I

Yajnyavalkya answered:

How can "O be-

l)vcd!

do not say anything bewildering; imis

perishable

the nature of the Self (Atman)."

For
thee.

thy enlightenment I will

explain

it

to

"The

Self

is

deathless

and immortal
the duality of

by nature.

So long as there

m

is

rVIMORTALITY AND THE SELF.
the perceiver

and the object

of perception, so

long one sees, perceives the other, one smells
the
other,

one

tastes,

touches,

thinks,

and

knows the other."

The

individual Self perit

ceives sense-objects so long as

remains on

the plane of duahty or relativity. ception of sight
is
is

The
we

per-

possible only

when
If

the seer

related to

an object of

vision.

are
hovv'

not related to that which

we

call

odor

can

we

smell it?

The ego can hear
In

a sound

or taste a savor by coming in direct relation

with those objects of sensation.

this

man-

ner

it

can be shown that

all

perception and

sensation require the relation between the subject

and

object;

but

when we go

into

deep

sleep

we do

not see, hear, taste, smell or

perceive

anything.

These objects

exist

on

the sens-e-plane, but

when we

are above

and

beyond
there
taste,
is

it

and have gone

to that plane

where

neither sight nor odor nor smell nor
see,

how can we

hear or perceive any-

thing?

All individual souls,

who

are in the

state of dreamless sleep, become equal in their 175

VEDAXTA rHILOSOPIIY.
realization;
\vc

cannot distinguish the soul of

a nian from that of a

woman
then

so long as he or
it

she

is

in

sound sleep;
them.

is

impossible

to dilTcrentiate

Similarly, in the state

of
is

Samadhi or supcrconsciousness, where there
neither
duality

nor multiplicity,

but the

infinite

ocean of intelligence, what can be seen
?

or heard or smclled or tasted
is

Where

there

neither relativity

nor any object of peror

ception,

how can one touch

know

or think

of anything?

"How
all

can one know that by
this?"
Is

which one knows

there

any

power
the

of knowledge,

by which we can know

Self,

who

is

the

knowcr
is

of

all?

No;
of

because the true Self alone
the universe.
If

the

Knowcr

we seek

to

know

the Self within us

what

will

be the best method?

By

right discrimi-

nation and analysis we can

different iate

the

knowcr from
this

the

object

of

knowledge.

In

process of discrimination

we must menThus when

tally reject everything outside of the knower
l^y

raying

"Not

this,

not this."
176

IMMORTALITY AND THE
all

SELF.

objects of knowledge, including all sensa-

tions,

perceptions,

thoughts,
intellectual

feelings

and
are

other mental

and

functions

removed by
ing Self
is

right discrimination, the all-know-

reahzed in Samadhi.

The

Self or
intel-

knower cannot be comprehended by
lect;
it is

incomprehensible.
is

The

Self

cannot

perish;

it

immortal.

The
it
it

Self cannot be

destroyed by anything;

is is

unchangeable.
not touched by
it is

The
any
It
It

Self

is

unattached;

object.

The

Self
it

is is

unfettered;

free.

does not suffer;

beyond
always

all suffering.

does

not

fail,

it

is

the

same.

"How,

O

beloved,

can such a Knower be

known and by whom ?
and beyond

Thus

far,

O

Maitreyi,

the true nature of the Self can be described;
this is the realization in

Samadhi

(superconsciousness) which brings the attain-

ment

of immortality.

He who
is

has reahzed

the Self, has

become immortal.
Self,

The

loiowlall

edge of that

which

the source of

love, the source of intelligence, existence
all

and

that

is

blissful,

makes one
177

attain to im-

VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
mortality."

Thus

saying, Yajnyavalkya, the
retired

great seer of Truth,

into

the forest,

devoted
eternal.

his
Self,

time
and,

to

meditating

upon

that
his

ultimately

reahzing

true nature in Samidhi, he gained immortal
life.

Self-knowledge being the goal of Ufe, by
that alone

we can understand

the

universe,
it

how

it

has come into existence,
it

why

stands,

and where

will

go after dissolution.

By
will

knowing our true Self we can know what

become

of

all

phenomena
if

at

the
to

time

of

^general involution, and

we wish

become

immortal,
there
is

we must know
to

this Self or

Atman;

no other way
this great

immortahty.
like

"I know

Atman, radiant

the

self-effulgent sun

and beyond the darkness of
crosses

ignorance.

By knowing Him alone one
there
is

the ocean of death;
there
is

no other way;

no other way."
178

How
I.

to be a Yogi.

C^^^h Edition.)

BY SWAMI ABHEDANANDA
Intrcxluctory.
III.
II.

What

is

Yoga?

IV.

Was

Science of Breathing. Christ a Yogi?

I2mo, l88 pages.

Portrait of author, frontispiece. Clulh, SI. 25. Postage, 8 cents.

*' For Christians interested in foreign missions this book is o' moment, as showing the method of reasoning which they must be

if they are to influence the educated Hindu. To the Orientalist, and the philosopher also, the book is not without Swimi Abhedananda preaches no mushroom creed . and no Eurasian hybrid theosophy.' He aims to give us a compendious account of Yoga. Clearly and admirably he jaerforms his task. In form thf. little book is excellent, and its English style is good." New York Times Saturday Review ofBooks, Dec. 6, 2903.

prepared to meet
. .

interest.

'

*' How to be a Yogi is a little volume that makes very interestreading. The book contains the directions that must be followed in physical as well as in mental training by one who wishes to have full and perfect control of all his powers." Record Herald, Chicago, Feb. 28, 1903.
*
'

ing;

" The Swimi writes in a clear, direct manner. His chapter on elicit more than ordinary attention, as there is much in it that will prove helpful. The book makes a valuable addition to Vedanta Philosophy." Mind, June, 1903.
Breath will

*'The book

is

calculated

to interest

the student of Oriental

thought and familiarize the unread with one of the greatest philosophical systems of the world." Buffalo Courier, Nov. 23, 1902,
*' How to be a Yogi practically sums up the whole science of Vedanta Philosophy. The term Yogi is lucidly defined and a full analysis is given of the science of breathing and its bearing on the highest spiritual development. The methods and practices of Yoga are interestingly set forth, and not the least important teaching of the t'M.k is '.lie asseninii (jf how great a Vo^i was Jebus 01' Nazareth." The Bookseller, Neivsdealer and Stafioiifr. Jan. T^, 1903.
'

'


:s

"
.'

i

I

book

IS

-Hr

lid

concise,

it fills

» aiiauuug spiritual perfectioo."— £//»/>', Kaiisas City, Dec, ifoe.
NOTE:- Postage
is

well worth a careful reading. Condensed, yet one with tlie desire to en-iiiate these Yoi:i-;

subject to Parcel Post rates according to zones

All orders received

by and money orders and checks made
payable to

VEDANTA ASHRAMA
West Cornwall,
Conn*

Great Saviors of the World
rVol.
I.)

A NEW BOOK
BY

SWAMI ABHEDANANDA
Cloth, ^i.oo net.
Postage, 6 cents.
Portrait

of each Savior.

CONTENTS.
I.

Great Saviors of the World (Introductory.)

II.

Krishna and His Teachings,
Zoroaster and His Teacliings.

III.

IV. Lao-Tze and His Teachings.
studies are schol.nrly and comprehensive reviews of They are also broad and open interpretations of moral forces. The author's attiiude is reverent toward all. His mini! is free. His speech is peculi.-^rly impressive. Surely, it speaks well for the world that its people can look without bitterness and jealousy upcn the fact that God has sent, and will send, many Saviors into the world. This is a good study, tilted to opea the heart and liberalize mind.''''— li^asAing ton Star. June 39, 191a.
historic fact.

"These

and spiritual

"A
June

valuable contribution to metaphysics."

Portland Oregonian,

23, 1912.

"The work is taken up somewhat in chronological order. The teachincs of the thinkers who form the subject of the lectures are faithfully reported. The author holds no special brief for any of those remarkable men but endeavors to state precisely what their ideas were. The style of the author is interesting as well as perfectly
.
.

.

lucid."

Buffalo Neius, April

31, 1912.

similarities in the teaching of that the fundamental teachings of the founders of the great religions of the world have had the same spiritual keynote and that the stories connected with their lires and miraculous deeds are similar to those of Jesus Christ."— i"/. Paul Piontir Press, August 4, 191a.

Swami Abhedananda emphasizes the these great men. His aim is " to show

—— —— — —

Press Notices.

— Continued.

" He (author) attempts to explain their ideas accurately and pays attention to the leg-ends of the east relative to the origin of the great leaders in sacred affairs." Des Moines Capital, June s, 1912.

much

" It sets forth in picturesque language the principal events in the lives of his heroes and gives a good concise idea of their teachings." 26, 1912. The Indianapolis Star,

May

" Swami Abhedananda's discourses point to the essential harmony and offer an unusual opportunity to study from . of religions . conemporaneous expressions the companion viewpoints of faith and pure culture." New York World, May 25, 1912.
.

'• The life and teachings of three great Sages, of whom the Western world knows far too little, is treated in a wonderfully clear and Their illumined efforts in lifting up a new attractive manner. . . ensign for the people of their respective countries are described by an Oriental Scholar, who is perfectly titted for the task, and has familiarized himself with the available records of their almost superhuman Each of these great souls is made to live again in the respectlabors. ive chapters of this engrossing work, very interesting side lights are thrown on alleged inaccuracies, many abscure points are made plain, and the underlying principles they set out to teach are conveyed in The Column, June, igia. simple, but scholarly style."
.

in the

" Swami's book will do infinitely more good at the present time west than any book he could have written upon the different schools of Vedanta." Vedanta Universal Messenger, Dec, igu.

"It breathes the spirit of deep vision and profound learning and one sees that the Swami is actuated by the spirit of his Master, Sri Ramakrishna, that Synthesis of the Religious Consciousness. The quotations from learned authors, bearing relation to the historical features of the Avataras with which the book is replete, shows how diligently the Swami has prepared himself for his arduous task. He
. .
.

has

left

nothing unsaid.

Awakened

India, Nov., 1912.

collection of lectures by the well-known Vedantist constitutes the first of a series of three volumes dealing with the same subject. As the author indicates in his preface, the word " Saviour" is used by him in the broad sense, and not as denoting "a Saviour who saves from eternal damnation." The present volume deals with the lives and teachings of Krishna, Zoroaster, and Lao-Tze, viewed in the unifying light of the Vedanta. The many admirers of Swimi Abhedananda's works will welcome this addition to the list, whilst those who have not yet had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with the grandeur of the teaehings of this religio-philosophy, through the light of which "the Unity of the Godhead under variety of names and forms" may be perceived, will assuredly read the book not only with interest, but come from its perusal with the conviction that the Swami possesses the happy gift of bringing to ligtit in an interesting and attractive manner the harmony existing between the leading world-religions." Occult Review, July, 1912, London, England,

"This

In the Press

GREAT SAVIORS OF THE WORLD
Vols.
II.

and

III.

Human

Affection and

Divine Love
BY

SWAMI ABHEDANANDA
Flexible cloth.
Price, 50 cents.

Postage, 3 cents.
describes

A

suitable gift-book full of inspiring thoughts.
its

It

the evolution of Love in

various stages

— animal,

human,

and shows that love is not an emotional sentiment as commonly understood but an attribute of our Real Self. and divine
;

" BeautifoUy expressed sentences, on the idealism of love, reflected

from India."

Portland Oregonian, June
is

83, 191a.

divine lore an evil thing, but In this liti'.e book the author is everlatting in its beneficent blessings. contrasts the enduring beauty of the divine love with that of human

"Never under any circumstances

in its selfishness results in murder, His book is divided into two parts and the latter includes numerous quotations to prove his argument."— i?// Moisnes Capital, June 5, ign.

affections

which

if

misdirected

robbery and other crimes.

"

It is

written iimply and the mysticism

the mysticism of Maeterlinck,
diflerent as they
all

are."— 5/.

in it is somewhat akin to Kempis Emerson and of Thomas Paul Pionetr Press, Aug. 4, igu.
i.

book but containing a volume of profound thought wisIt was Drummond who wrote that the greatest thing in the world was " Love," and since then love has somehow had a greater significance and more exalted place in the world than it ever occupied before. But even Drummond did not put it on the high plane or give it such exquisite meaning as this writer has. He casts away the material and shows that the love that exalts, the love that worketh only good reaches through the material to the divine."— Or**

"A

tiny

dom and

beauty.

/»« Jemrmal, April

a8, tgii.

Press Notices.
"

Continued.

affection has ever been manifested in attachment to some and the enlightened passages in this practical little volume •bow the same tendency on the animal plane by means of a very fine comparison. The nature and expression of Divine Love is also very skillfully analysed, and a nice distinction drawn, between it and the human quality. The author feelingly portrays an ideal behind both, which might well be adopted by the individual, and typified in his relation to others in daily life, with invaluable results to all. The words of the Swami on "that Divine Love that knows no fear," but realizes everything comes from God are uttered in a dteisive style that will appeal to an army of souls, who to-day feel the truth of such a principle. Those will be greatly helped by the plain and highly intelligent explanation of a great truth, in which the vividness of Oriental expression is reproduced in Western terms by a master of both languages. This especially applies to the closing chapter where aptly chosen illustrations so dear to the oriental mind elucidate the two characteristics of ecstatic love, the three states of consciousness and their correspondence to the five sheaths of the soul, beyond which is the True Self, the Absolute. An elevating manual quite in keeping with the Author's previous best work." Tk* Column, June, ign.

Human

object,

*' It is thoroughly sound and happily written book, a fine intro* iuction to Bhakti Marga. It is profitable reading to every person while to the more philosophically inclined it affords valuable instruct'

ion."^7'<i« Brahtnavadin,

Madras India, Dec,

igz2.

" Carefully does the Swami draw the

distinction,
itself to

showing

bow

human

love attains

its

climax in directing

God."— A waktiud

India, Nov., ign.

" This is a book presenting somewhat of the old, Indian phiU osophy, which is noble and pure. It is in no sense a departure from Western thought, as one might be led to suppose. It is well written and free from metaphysical spKalAtions."—Brooklyn Eagltt June 14,
1913.

Unity and Harmony A New Lecture by SWAMI ABHEDANANDA
Price, 15 cents.

Postage, 2 cents.

— — —

— —

Divine Hcritaee of Man. BY SWAMI ABHEDANANDA
l2mo, 215
jiagcs.

Portrait

of author, frontispiece.

Cloth, $1.25.

Postage, 8 cents.

III.

Contents. I. Existence of God. II. Attributes of GodHas God any Form? IV. Fatherhood and Motherhood
V. Relation of Soul to God.
VI. \Vhat
is

of God.
nation of
in

an Incar-

God?

VII.

Son of God.

VIII. Divine Principle

Man.
" The SwSmi Abhedinanda's writings are also companionable and read.

The Philosophy of India, being the bringing together of the able. . . best thoughts and reasonings of the best men for the thousandsof preceding years, had under consideration the self-same problems that are to-day vexing the souls of our philosophers. The Swftmi's book is therefore not *o radical » departure from accepted thought as might at first be imagined. ... It is not meat for babes, but rather will it give new lines of thought Transcript, Boston, Aug. 1903. to the brightest intellects."
*' His method of dealfng with these fundamental questions is peculiarly free both from dogmatic assertion and from pure metaphysical speculation." Inttr-Ocean, Chicago, Aug. 1903.

" "

He bases his arguments,
It is

facts."

not on theological hypotheses, but on Citvtiand yiain Deultr, Aug. 1903.

scientific

who

author

written in a plain and logical style, and cannot fail to interest all are anxious for information concerning the philosophy of which the Timts Pittsburg, June, 1903. is such an able exponent."

" A glance over a few of its pages would be sufficient to convince the reader that he is in the presence of an intellect of hiuh order, more thoroughly conversant with the philosophies and sciences of the Occidental world than most Europeans or Americans. . The " Divine Heritage of Man " gives a rare insight into the religious views of educated Hindoos and in its argumentation furnishes an intellectual treat."—
.
.

CkronicU, San Francisco, Aug.
" Fully cognizant of
his subject

1903.
scientific

modem

discoveries, the author treats

broadly." York, Aug. 1903.

BoohsetUr, Ntwsdealtr^

and

Publisher,

New

"The student of religions will find much of value in the discourses, since they are full of historical information concerning the origin and growth of certain ideas and beliefs dominant in Christianity." Re/>ubiican, Denver, July, 1903.
" There is no disposition on the part of the author to assail any of th« Christian principles, but he simply presents his subject with calmness, not attempting to reconcile religioi and science, for to him they ar* one." Washington Fest, June, 1903.

——

Self- Knowledge

(Atma-Jnana). BY SWAMI ABHEDANANDA
$1.25.

Clefeh,

Postage, 8 cents.
frontispiece.

Portrait of author,

Contents.
I.

Spirit

and Matter.

IV. Search after the

Self.

II.

III.

Knowledge of the Self. Prana and the Self.

V, Realization of the

Self.

VI. Immortality and the Self.
is

" So practically and exhaustively
treated that
it

each phase of the subject

well serve as a text-book for anyone striving for self-development and a deeper understanding of human nature." Toronto Saturday Night, Dec. 1905. •' It will also be welcomed by students of the Vedic Scriptures,

may

since each chapter

is

known

as the Upanishads,

based upon some one of the ancient Vedas and many passages are quoted."

Chicago Inter-Ocean, Jan. 1906. " The book, from the gifted pen of the head of the Vedanta Society of New York, presents in a clear manner, calculated to arrest the attention of those not yet familiar with Vedic literature,
the principles of self-knowledge as taught by the leaders of that The many passages quoted prove the profound . . philosophy.
.

wisdom and
tures."

practical teaching contained iu the early

Hindu

Scrip-

— Was/iitigton
it

"

A

Evening Star, Dec. new book which will be welcome
be found
is

1905.

whether

in the

to students of Truth, Eastern religions, in modern thought

or elsewhere."

Unity, Nov. 1905.
very well written."

"The book
Dec. 1905.

San Francisco

Chronicle,

" In forcefulness and clearness of style it is in every way equal works by the Swami Abhedananda, who has always shown himself in his writings a remarkable master of the English language." Mexican Herald, Dec. 1905. " The volume is forcefully written, as are all of this author's works, and cannot fail to be of great interest to all who have entered A fine portrait of the Swami forms the this field of thought.
to the other

frontispiece."— Ttf/tf^^ Blade, Nov. 1905.

India and

Her People

{Lectures delivered before the Brooklyn Institute
of Arts a>id Sciences during the season

of 1905-1906.)
BY

SWAMI ABHEDANANDA
THIRD EDITION
Cloth, $1.50
Postage,

10 Cents

'

Contents
I.

Philosophy of India To-day.
Religions
v f

11.

India.

III. Social Status af India:

Their System of Caste.

IV. Political Institutions of India.

V. Education
VI.

in India.

The

Influence of India on Western Civilization

and the

Influence of Western Civilization on India.
*
i

"T^is booVhas more than usual interest as coming^ from one who knows the Occident and both knows and loves the Orient. ... It The boolc has two admirable qualities: is decidedly interesting.
. .
.

breadth

in

scope and supcestiveness

in

material."

Bulletin o/ the

American Gtographical Society, Sept, 1906. "This volume, written in an attractive
life,

style and dealing with the philosophy and rcli^^ion of India, should prove a useful addition to the literature of a f.iscinating and as yet largely unknown subject. It is designed for popuUr readinir, the metaphysical portions beinp so bandied that the reader runs little risk of getting beyond his depth." Literary Digest, P'eb. 16, 1907.

" The Swami possesses the exceptional advantage of being able to look upon his own country almost from th.e standpoint of an outsider and to handle his <;ubji-ct free from both foreign and native prejudice."

— New

York

il-'orid.Axi^. 4, 19^6.

— H^askin^ton HviHing Star^
"
It is

" It is a valuable contribution to Western knowledge of India, containing precisely wtiat the American wants 10 know about that regioa.'

Aug.

4, 1906.

impossible to quarrrl \s -.li his book. He (Swami) writes too The Sunriay Oregoninn, interestingly and he is a man with a mission."

Aug.

36, 1906.

—— —

PRESS NOTICES OF "INDIA AND HER PEOPLE."
in this work by Swami Abhedananda . are interesting, as being those of a native of India who has devoted much time and attention to the study of those questions which aflfect the government and general administration of the country. The author has selected a wide range of subjects for treatment, embracing the social, political, educational, and religious conditionsas they now exist, and, speaking generally, has invariably exercised sound tact and judgment in discussing the many different questions embraced under those headings " Journal cj the Royal Colonial Institute, April, IQ07,
.
.

"

The views set forth

London, England.
excellent contribution to the very scanty literature on India. All chapters are instructive to any one aspiring to a knowledge . . of this vast country. ... It is a book which every non-Indian visiting India or making a temporary or permanent stay therein, and also every son of the soil, should have by his side." The Arya, February,
.

"An

IQ07,

Madras, India.

Reincarnation.
(New and Enlarged Edition,}
Reincarnation. II. Heredity and Reincarnation. III. Evolution and Reincarnation. IV. Which is Scientific, Reburrection or Reincarnation? V. Theory of Transmigration.
I.

Paper, 50 cents.

Cloth, 75 cents.

Postage, 5

and

7 cents.

" In these discourses the Swami Abhedananda considers the questions of evolution and the resurrection in their bearing upon the ancient teaching of rebirth, the truth, logic and justii.e of which are rapidly permeating the best thought of the Western world. For the preservation ot this doctrine mankind is indebted to the literary storehouses of India, the racial and geographical source of much of the vital knowledge of Occidental peoples. Reincarnation is shown in the present volume to be a universal solvent of life's mysteries. It answers those questions of children that have staggered the wisest minds who seek to reconcile the law of evolution and the existence of anintelligentand just Creator, with the proposition that man lias but a single lifetime in which to develop spiritual self-conscioubuess. It is commended to every thinker." Mind, Fenruary, IQOO. " It IS a work which will appeal to the novice for its simplicity and definite quality, and to the student for its wealth of knowledge and suggestion.'''' Vedanta Monthly Bulletin, Sept., IQ07.

'Th':;

book should prove a valuable acquisition."
}'.,

The Ei'eiting

Sua, ^.

Decetni

e>

21, igoy.

the work of a man of fine education and of fine intellect. (iveincarnation) hs expounded by Swami Abhedananda is very . plausible, quite scientific, and far from uncomforling. The exposition contained in this little book is well worth reading by ail students of metaphysics. There is not the slightest danger ot its converting or perverting any one to a new and strange religion. Reincarnation is not religion, it is science. Science was never known to iiurt anybody Brooklyn Eagle, Decimber jj, IQ07. but scientists."

"This
.

is

.

WORKS BY SWAMI ABHEDANANDA.

Philosophy of Work.
I.

II.

III.

rhilosophy of Work, Secret of Work. Duty or Motive in Work. Po»tage, 3 and 6
ceitts.

Paper, 50 cents.
" In
this

Cloth, 75 cents.

volume the Veilanta Society presents three lectures by tht leader of the Hindu relig;ious movement that is making much headway among philosophic minds throughout the United States. Tht book is an excellent antidote to the gospel of selfism now pyopular in many quarters, and a copy should be in the hands especially of every ambitious seeker after the loaves and fishes of material desire. It shows the folly of slavery to sense and the means of escape from the thraldom of egoism, while elucidating the Hindu concept o(

many things that are race problems' because of individual igno» ranee of spiritual principles. These discourses merit a wide circuit iion amone unprejudiced minds." Mind, February, J903.
'

Single Lectures.
Christian Science and Vedanta. Cosmic Evolution and its Purpose. Divine Communion. Does the Soul Exist after Death ? The Motherhood of God. The Philosophy of Good and Evil. The Relation of Soul to God. Religion of the Hindus. Scientific Basis of Religion. Simple Living.
Spiritualism and Vedanta. The Way to the Blessed Life. Who is the Saviour of Souls? Why a Hindu Accepts Christ and Rejects Churchianity. Why a Hindu is a Vegetarian. Woman's Place in Hindu Religion.

The Word and the Cross
15 cents each.

in

Ancient Indla.

Postage, 2 cents each.

Single Lectures Parts Postage, 8 cents.

I

&

H. Bound in cloth, each $1.25.

The

Sayings of

Sri

Ramakrishna.
Si. 00.

COMPILED BY

SWAMI ABHEDANANDA.
234 pages.
Flexible cloth, gilt top,

Postage, 6c.

Rfimakrishna was a fjreat Hindu saint of the nineteenth century who has already had an influence on the relig^ious thought of America and England through the teachings of his disciples, Swami VivekSnanda, Swami Abhedananda, and others. His Sayings are full of broad, practical, non-sectarian instructions concerning the spiritual life which cannot but give help and inspiration
to the followers of all creeds. The present volume contains a larger number of Sayings than has yet appeared in any one EngUsh collection. For the first time also they have been classified into chapters and arranged in logical sequence under marginal headings, such as "All creeds paths to God," " Power of Mind and

Thought," "Meditation," "Perseverance." As an exposition of the universal truths of ReUgion and their application to the daily life this book takes its place among the great scriptures of the
world.

Spiritual

Unfoldment. BY SWAMI ABHEDANANDA
I.

Self-control.

IL
HI.
Paper, 50 cents.
" This attractive

Concentration and Meditation.
God-consciousness.
Cloth, 75 cents.
little

Postage, 2 and 6 cents.

also IS this book of common utility and significance among all races of believers. Its precepts are susceptible ot application by any rational thinker, regardless of religious predilection and inherited prejudicf-s. The principles set forth by this teacher are an excellent corrective of spiritual bias or narrowness, and as such the present work is to be commended. It has already awakened an interest in Oriental literature that augurs well for the cause of human brotherhood, and it merits a wide circulation among all who cherish advanced ideals."—iJ/j«</. ^^»7.

comprises three lectures on the yedanta Philosophy. The discourses will be found vitally helpful even by those who know little and care less about the spiritual and ethical teachings of which the Swami is an able and popular exponent As the yedanta itself is largely a doctrine of universais and ultimates so

volume

What

is

Vedanta?

Pamphlet printed for distribution containing^ a short exposition of the fundamental teachings of the Vedanta Philosophy. z2mo, 8 pp.
Price, 10 cents.

The Gospel

of Ramakrishna.

Authorized Edition.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BV

swImi abhedananda.
448 pages; with two
pictures,

maginal notes, and index.
Postage, 7 cents.

Flexible silk cloth, gilt top,

$1.50 net.

Full leather binding,

flexible cover,

circuit

edge with red

and gold

in

the style of " Teachers' Bible."

$3.00 net.

Postage, 8 cents.

"The

sayings of a mystic

who

has

much

influence in India

and who has been made known to the Western world by various missionary 'Swamis' will be found in 'The Gospel of Rama-

— The
"
'

krishna.'

They have been

translated into excellent English."

Slot,

New

York.
'

The Gospel of Mmakrishna

contains the

religious

teachings of this modern Hindu saint whose life contained so many good deeds that his followers thought him little short of
divine."

The Boston

Globe, Boston,

Mass.
attracted the nine-

"During his lifetime his career and personality much attention from English and German scholars of
teenth century."

The Chicago Inter-Ocean, Chicago, in.
filled

"The book

is

with beautiful thoughts and beauti-

ful teachings, whicli, if followed,

would lead

to

a perfect

life.

One cannot marvel

that the sayings of Rilmakrislina

made

a

deep impress on modern Hindu thought. He was at least a great and wise scholar, and gave goodly advice to his followers." The San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, Cal.

«'It

is

to read

a remarkable book and it should be a rare privilege \i."—The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon,

14

DAY

USE

RETURN TO DESK FROM WHICH BORROWED

LOAN
This book
is

DEPT.

due on the last date stamped below, or on the date to which renewed. Renewed books are subject to immediate recalL

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*** General Library University of California Berkeley