Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Brahma Knowledge, by L. D. Barnett, [1911], at

XVI. The Advaita-Makaranda of Lakshmīdhara 3

1. Homage to Kṛishṇa of infinite bliss, the incarnate blessing of the world, who by the sunbeams

p. 102

of his glances evaporates the ocean of delusion!

2. Always I 1 am, I give light; never am I unbeloved; thus I am proved to be Brahma, consisting in Being, Thought, and Bliss.

3. In me, the sky of Thought, arises the mirage of the universe 2; then how can I be aught but Brahma, knowing all, cause of all?

4. Destruction cannot come upon me from myself, because of my recognition; nor from anything else, for I have no parts; nor from the destruction of an [external] basis, for I have no such basis. 3

5. I, the ether of Thought, cannot be dried, burned, soaked, or cut even by real wind, fire, water, or weapons, much less by imaginary ones. 4

6. The universe, having no light of its own,

p. 103

could not possibly come to light but for the presence of light; I am the Light, and therefore am everywhere. 1

7. Without manifestation there can be no Being, without consciousness there can be no manifestation of the unconscious, and without transference there can be no union with consciousness. Thus I have none beside me. 2

8. I am not body, nor organ of sense, nor vital function, nor mind, nor intelligence; for they are embraced by the idea of "mine" and are a playground for the conception of "this." 3

9. I am the Witness, related to all things, most

p. 104

dear; I am never the Ego, for that is plunged in affections, limitations, and pains. 1

10. When the Ego is [dreamlessly] slumbering, sorrow, guilt, and activity do not appear; thus it is he who wanders, not I, who am the wanderer's witness. 2

11. The sleeper 3 knows not his sleeping; in him who sleeps not there is no dreaming and no waking. I am the Witness of waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep, and thus am not under these conditions.

12. [Dreamless] sleep is a halting of [finite] understanding, dreaming and waking are the rise thereof; how can these three exist in me, who am the Witness of them and infinite of knowledge?

p. 105

13. I am the one who knows the beings of sixfold change, 1 and myself changeless; were it not so, I should be altogether incapable of observing their changes.

14. For a changing thing goes again and again through birth and dissolution in this and that form; how can it be an observer of these [changes]?

15. Nor can any one behold his own birth and destruction; for these are [respectively] the last and first moments of antecedent and subsequent non-being. 2

16. How can the not-Light touch the Self which is Light itself, and by whose light alone are caused the words, "I give not light"? 3

17. Nevertheless there is apparent in the sky

p. 106

of Thought a certain mist which subsists on the lack of reflection and ends with the rise of the sun of reflection. 1

18. In this long-drawn dream of which our world is made, and which arises from the great slumber of Self-ignorance, there appear Heaven, Salvation, and the other phantoms. 2

19. This distinction between unconscious and conscious being is imaginarily imposed on me, the conscious being, like the distinction between moving and motionless figures in a picture on a level wall.

20. Even my Witnesshood is unreal, is but a colouring reflected from the objects of thought; it merely suggests the billowless ocean of Thought. 3

21. I, the ocean of ambrosia, decay not because phantom bubbles arise; I, the mountain of crystal, am not flushed by the play of dream-fashioned evening clouds. 4

p. 107

22. Being is my very essence, not a property, like ether's being; for as there is no Being save me, no class-concept [of Being] can be allowed. 1

23. Knowledge is my very essence, not a quality; if it were a quality, [Soul] would be if intelligible not-Self, and if unintelligible non-being. 2

24. Bliss am I, which is naught else [but me]; were it aught else, it would not be bliss; for if not subordinate to me, it would not be agreeable, and if subordinate, it could not be of itself agreeable.

25. No real thing forsooth can ever be of diverse essences; thus I am without inward distinction, void of the differences arising from the world.

26. By the words "That art thou" is indicated a Power of single essence, pure by the absence of the variety [consisting in] the transcendence [of

p. 108

the Supreme] and the distinction [of individual souls]. 1

27. I am the Power self-authoritative and absolute, in which are stilled the phantom figures of the world and separate souls, of disciples and masters.

28. May this "Nectar of Monism" of the poet Lakshmīdhara, gathered from the autumnal lotuses of poesy, be drunk by the scholar-bees.


101:1 See above, § 4.

101:2 The light of the sun; Ṛig-veda, III. lxii. 10

101:3 This is a somewhat modern poem, which is here added as it conveys with great clearness the leading psychological doctrines of the later Vedānt.

102:1 Throughout this little work the pronoun "I" is used to denote the individual soul as witness of the sense of personality, (ahaṃ-kāra, egoity), and the other "determinations" of soul, while itself it consciously transcends them. The verse means that as the same predicates—existence, thought, and agreeableness—apply both to the soul and to Brahma, these two are identical.

102:2 See above, § 16.

102:3 The soul is eternal; for it cannot be destroyed from within, since it has self-recognition, i.e. continuous consciousness of self-identity; and it cannot be destroyed from without, for as it has no parts it cannot be dissolved into its parts; and as it is dependent upon nothing but itself it cannot suffer from the destruction of its basis.

102:4 The physical elements, which seem real, are in truth imaginary.

103:1 In the process of cognition, according to the Vedānta, there are two elements—viz. the object or matter of the cognition and the subject of it. The former, being wholly lifeless and inert, can only emerge into consciousness when the light of subject Thought falls upon it from without. The first word of this verse, abhā-rūpasya, is wrongly printed ābhārūpasya and accordingly mistranslated in the "Pandit" of 1873, pp. 11, 130.

103:2 No object exists unless it becomes cognised—i.e. it becomes the object of a subject conscious thereof. Thus conscious being enters into relation with unconscious being; and how is this possible? It can only be explained by assuming an adhyāsa or "transference," an inveterate error of the individual consciousness making it identify itself with the phenomenal world, which is properly nothing more than an unreal emanation of the consciousness. Hence there exists in reality nothing but consciousness. See Śankara on Brahma-sūtra, i. 1.

103:3 The sense-organs (indriya), vital functions (prāṇa), sensorium (manas), and intelligence (dhī, i.e. buddhi), are only "determinants," upādhis, external to the soul; see p. 28 f.

104:1 The "witness" is the consciousness impassively cognising the affections of the psychical upādhis, such as love or hate. It is "related to all things," for things exist only in so far as they are objects of thought (see v. 7). It is thus universal Being, Thought, and Bliss. On the error of confusing the absolute Self with the Ego, see p. 45. The Ego (ahaṃ-kāra) is really the subject of dreaming and dreamless sleep and waking, not the transcendental Self, according to the later, Vedānta.

104:2 In deep sleep or swoons the Ego or sense of personality disappears and with it disappear its resultant activities and affections; hence the saṃsāra, or continuance of rebirth, which consists essentially of these activities, cannot co-exist with the absence of the Ego, i.e. with the condition of abstract impersonal self-consciousness.

104:3 The Ego, or sense of personality, which in dreamless sleep is unconscious that it is sleeping. On the other hand the transcendental Soul or Self is everlastingly conscious; it is the "Witness" of the three states.

105:1 The six changes of finite being are origin, continuance, increase, attainment of maturity, commencement of decay, and dissolution. As subject of the cognition of these phenomena, the Soul must be itself devoid of these properties.

105:2 If the Soul were liable to changes, it would be conscious of its changes, which is not the case (verse 14). Every change of a thing implies destruction of its previous condition; hence, even if we could imagine soul as passing through the six changes, we should have to admit that when it is in a particular state it cannot as such be conscious of itself at the beginning of that state (which is the last moment of the previous state), nor can it be conscious of itself at the end of that state (which is the first moment of the next state).

105:3 The illusion of a phenomenal world cannot be in any real connection with the pure consciousness of the absolute Soul; for the conception of a physical world opposed to thought is essentially a partial negation of consciousness by consciousness, and nothing more.

106:1 The illusion of the phenomenal world, which falsely appears as really existent, until its unreality is proved by "reflection."

106:2 Even salvation, or release of the Soul (moksha), is only real from the standpoint of empiric thought. The transcendent Self is never in bondage, and therefore is never released.

106:3 Since the objects of finite Thought are strictly unreal, there cannot be a real consciousness of them in the real Self. The function of witness of phenomena which apparently is exercised by the Self is really a mere indication of the absolute supra-phenomenal immobility of consciousness which is characteristic of the real Self.

106:4 The essential nature of the Soul is in no way affected byp. 107 the emergence from it of an imaginary universe, nor by the false idea, reflected upon it from the illusory universe without, that it is a subject or object of action, etc.

107:1 We must not say that "existence" is only a property or attribute of the Soul. For an attribute is a generic concept implying more than one individual in which it resides; but in the case of Soul there is only one individual, the Soul itself, in which resides the attribute "existence," in the same way as in the phenomenal world there is only one ether, or space, in which therefore "etherhood" is essence, not attribute.

107:2 If the Self is an object to its assumed property of knowledge, it is no longer Self; for the object of knowledge cannot be identical with the subject (which here is the property of knowledge). If again the Self is not an object of its know ledge, the Self is non-existent; for the incogitable is unreal.

108:1 See Appendix I.

Next: Appendix I: The Sambandhas