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Dakshinamurti Stotra, translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri, [1920], at

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Fourth Stanza of the Hymn.

All this world shines after Him alone shining in the consciousness "I know,"—after Him alone whose consciousness, luminous like the light of a mighty lamp standing in the bosom of a many-holed pot, moves outwards through the sense-organs such as the eye. To Him who is incarnate in the Teacher, to Him in the Effulgent Form Facing the South, to Him (Siva) be this bow!

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Objection to the Vedic doctrine of the one Existence and Light.

The identity of Brahman and Jiva, thus far set forth as the teaching of the Vedas, is objected to by some who allege that it is opposed to all evidence furnished by pratyaksha and other right sources of knowledge. By way of answering their objections, the Vedic doctrine of the identity of Jiva and Brahman will be more firmly established in this and the two following chapters:

1. "Self-existent do the pot, the cloth, and other phenomena shine,—not because of Isvara entering into them." To this as a reply is (the fourth stanza) chanted.

The Vedic doctrine that there is only one Existence and Light which is Atman (vide chap. iii. 3) is objected to on the ground that it is opposed to our immediate experience. It is, some say, an uncontradicted fact of experience that a pot exists and shines by itself; and they contend that there is no evidence whatever to show that Isvara has entered into the phenomena so that they all shine by His light.

The meaning of the fourth stanza may be explained as follows:

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External objects have no existence and light of their own.

2. If in the objective consciousness "I know it," the thinker were not to manifest himself as 'I,' what is there to shine, or to whom? And the whole world would be like one asleep.

If an object were to shine alone by itself, then there would be no manifestation of the Thinker as the cogniser of the object, in the form "I am conscious of the object." Then, like a lamp burning in a mountain-cave closed up on every side by solid rocks, no object will present itself to the consciousness of any individual. Thus unconscious, as in sushupti, of the universe around, man would ever be quite as inert and unconcerned in the universe around as he is during. sleep. Wherefore it must be admitted that the universe depends on something else for its manifestation. That something else, that light upon which the universe depends for its manifestation, must be a constant and independent light, itself not depending on another for manifestation.

Just as the universe depends for its manifestation upon a light beyond itself, so also it depends

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on another for its existence. So, the Vartikakara says:

3. The non-existent in the past and in the future cannot exist by themselves even in the present; therefore, they have their being in the Isa, the Lord, as to whom there is no before and after.

External objects have no existence of their own, inasmuch as, like a serpent seen in a rope, they are only occasionally perceived. If they could exist by themselves, they would also manifest by themselves like Atman, and thus they would not be objects of consciousness of an individual, which they are invariably now found to be.

On the other hand, as the Being whence everything proceeds at its birth and whither everything recedes at the end, as the Pratyagatman who witnesses all states of being in His never-failing light, Isvara's existence and consciousness must be unfailing. Never was a time when He was not li and did not shine; never will be a time when He will not be and will not shine.

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4–5. If the insentient objects were to shine by themselves independent of Isvara, either everything would present itself to every one's consciousness, or nothing at all would present itself to consciousness. Therefore the whole world would be on one level, either all-knowing or knowing nothing.

Independent of Isvara: without a self-conscious Atman perceiving them. If external objects were to shine by their own light, they would always shine and appear to all individuals alike as objects of consciousness. If it be, however, in their nature not to become objects of consciousness, then no individual would be conscious of any of the objects. All individuals being thus situated alike as to their knowledge of external objects, it would be difficult to account for the varying degrees of knowledge of the different individuals. Then the result would be:

5–6 If the sentient and the insentient

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be alike self-luminous, then it would follow that each alike will both perceive, and be in turn perceived by, the other, and so on; and, the sense-organs being unrestricted in their scope of perception, taste could be known by the eye, and so on.

Thus the contention that external objects are self-luminous and self-existent is opposed to our uncontradicted experience of a distinction between subject and object, as well as to the fact that the external objects have all of them a more or less temporary existence.

Isvara cognises and acts through upadhis.

7–8. Manifesting Himself by way of reflection in the Kriyâ-sakti and Jnâna-sakti, in the two sides of Antah-karana which are like unto the dull and the clear,—the back and the front—sides of a mirror, the Lord is spoken of as the doer and the knower.

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Prana constitutes that aspect of Antah-karana which is spoken of as Kriya-sakti, i.e., wherein Isvara manifests Himself in many a form of activity. It corresponds to the dark or back side of a mirror. Manas and Buddhi constitute that aspect of Antah-karana which is here spoken of as Jnana-sakti, wherein Isvara manifests Himself as a self-conscious cogniser. This corresponds to the clear or front side of a mirror. The self-conscious Atman, when associated with the upadhi of prana in activity, by way of lending to it His own existence and light, is spoken of as the doer; and when associated, in the same way, with the Manas and Buddhi which undergo changes of condition, He is said to cognise.

The organ of cognition.

8–9. Like unto a clear mirror, Buddhi, because of the predominance of Sattva in it and in virtue of the reflection of Atman in it receives images of external objects.

The predominance of Sattva is necessary, since otherwise Rajas and Tamas would give rise to covetousness and forgetfulness.

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9–10. And so do all the indriyas (senses), because of their connection with the Antahkarana; they are like spokes attached to the felly of a wheel.

That is to say, though by nature the indriyas move towards their respective objects, still their action is limited and controlled by the Buddhi; so that perception or non-perception or misperception of sense-objects through the sense-organs depends, at any given moment, on the state of the antahkarana at the time.

Nadis, the vehicles of the sense-organs.

10–11. There are nâdîs woven in the antah-karana, like unto threads woven into a net. By them, verily, reaching up to the physical regions of sensation, all sense-organs move, like sparks of fire, towards their respective objects.

Antah-karana is the Linga-Sarira impregnated with Jnana-sakti and Kriya-sakti, i.e., endued with the faculties of cognition and action.

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Nadis are tube-like threads of subtle ethereal matter in the body. It is through these Nadis that all the senses, accompanied with the mind in one or another of its forms, pass towards their respective objects in the external world. When passing from the sushupti to the jagrat or waking state of consciousness, these sense-organs pass up to the very physical regions of sensation, such as the eye, the ear, etc.

12. The midmost portion of the body is spoken of as the Mulâdhâra, 'the primary seat'; it is two inches above the anus and two inches below the penis.

13–14. It is triangular, with the apex turned downwards, like a young girl's organ of generation; and there dwells the Parâ-Sakti, the Supreme force called Kundalinî, the mother of Prâna, Agni, Bindu, and Nada; she is called Sarasvati.

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Kundalini is the Devata or the governing Intelligence in the Muladhara. She is so called because she manifests Herself in the form of a serpent. This Supreme Force, called also Mulaprakriti, illumined by the Light of the Supreme Atman, generates Prana, etc. Prana is Vayu or the Universal Force of activity, specified, on entering each individual being, into its vitality in its five-fold function. Agni, in one of its forms, is the digestive fire in the stomach. Agni and Prana are mentioned together in the Yoga-sastra under the designations of sun and moon. These are the Devatas of Ida and Pingala to be mentioned below. Bindu is the unmanifested sound; and Nada is the manifested sound in general, the Omkara, that form of sound which is common to all articulate sounds, and which one may hear on closing both the ears. All these are generated and propelled by Kundalini. She is also. called Sarasvati when, in one of her aspects as prana, she manifests herself in the nada, and then in the form of articulate sounds.

The Muladhara, the primary seat of the three great Nadis, has been thus described in some detail in order that the devotee who seeks illumination may meditate upon it for the purpose.

14–15. Starting from the apex of the

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[paragraph continues] Mûlâdhâra, the Sushumna reaches the Brahmarandhra; it is like a half-cut bamboo at the root, and has six supports.

The Sushumna manifests itself at the apex of the Muladhara and extends into the cavity of the head. It is uniform throughout, long and straight, visible only to the yogins. The six supports of the Sushumna, called Chakras, have each of them a particular form and a particular seat of its own. They may be presented in a tabular form as follows:—

Name of Chakra.

Its form

Its seat.

1. Muladhara

Four-petalled lotus


2. Svadhisthana

Six-petalled lotus

Linga or organ of generation.

3. Manipuraka

Ten „


4. Anahata

Twelve „


5. Visuddha

Sixteen „


6. Ajna

Two „

Region between the two eyebrows.

15–16. Starting from the corners thereof there are two Nadis, Ida and Pingala. These, as the Yogins say, constitute the Nâdi-chakra, or Nadi-system. Thence all nâdis proceed.

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Ida lies on the left, and Pingala lies on the right. They extend up to the basis of the forehead.

16–22. Gândhârî and Hastijihvâ run up to the eyes. Joined to the Nâdî-chakra, there are two nādīs reaching up to the nose. Starting from the region of navel called Nādī-chakra, which is shaped like a hen's egg, Pûshâ, and Alambushâ nâdis

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extend up to the two ears. The nâdî called Sukla (white, starts from the same place and goes to the mid-region between the eye-brows. The nâdî named Sarasvatî goes to the tip of the tongue and gives vent to speech. The nâdî (in the stomach) named Visvodarî eats the four kinds of food. Payasvinî, situated in the throat, drinks water and causes sneezing. Three nâdîs start downwards from the Nâdî-chakra: Râkâ excretes semen; Sinîvâlî, the urine; and Kuhû, the dung. That nâdî, again, which is called Sankhinî takes up the essence of the food when eaten, and reaching the âkâsa of the cerebral cavity, there in the head gathers the immortal nectar.

This immortal nectar is, as the yogins say obtainable in that region of the head which is called Sahasrara-padma, the Thousand-petalled Lotus, by the process called Lambika-yoga. (Vide Chap. IX., 32).

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22–23. "There are one-hundred-and-one nâdîs. Of them one goes to the head. Going upwards by that, one becomes liberated." Such is the Vedânta's teaching.

The passage referred to is the Katha-Upanishad VI., 16.

Jagrat state.

23–24. When the Atman, through the sense-organs which are impelled by the good (and bad) karma ingrained in the Buddhi, perceives sound and other objects of sense, then it is the Jâgrat or waking state.

It is certain that whenever Jiva does any act, he does not do so by himself, but only as identifying himself with the Buddhi, into which he enters by a reflected image as it were. Accordingly it is the Buddhi that is affected by the good or evil act, and its character is changed to the extent that it is affected by the act. When proper time, place, and other circumstances present themselves for a good or evil deed to bear its fruit, then the Antah-karana

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impels the sense-organs to action. By the sense-organs which, starting from the heart—the seat of Antah-karana—reach the extremities of the physical organs of sensation, Atman becomes conscious of sound and other sense-objects within and without the body. This constitutes the Jagrat-avastha, the waking state of Jiva. Thus Jagrat state consists in cognising sense-objects by means of the sense-organs.


24–25. When these sense-organs are withdrawn, A’tman is conscious of the mental images generated by the impressions of Jâgrat experience. It is the Svapna-avasthâ or the dream-state.

When the senses are withdrawn into the cavities of the nadis within the body, i.e., when the network of the nadis, through which the senses are coursing, is drawn back from the extremities of the physical organs of sensation into the body by the thread of the antah-karana (inclusive of prana), then Atman is no longer conscious of external objects. He sees, however, the mental forms,

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images which are purely manasic, evolved out of the impressions made on the mind during the jagrat state. Thus Svapna consists in cognising, on the withdrawal of the senses, those forms of mind which are evolved out of the impressions received during jagrat state.


25. The withdrawal of even manas itself is spoken of as Sushupti.

The manas is said to withdraw, when, with all its vasanas or impressions, it attains to the causal stage, to the state of avidya. Thus Sushupti consists in the Buddhis attaining to the form of its cause,—in all forms of cognition ceasing to appear.

Thus all the three avasthas of self-conscious A’tman are due to his association with the upadhis undergoing changes of state such as Jagrat; and these upadhis cannot come into association with the self-conscious A’tman except by Maya.

Atman is ever Sat-Chit-Ananda.

26. Then the Atman remains as pure Existence, veiled by Mâyâ. It is by

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connection with Mâyâ that He appears as deluded, inert, ignorant, and so on.

Atman is ever one with Brahman, the Absolute Existence; but, owing to Maya which veils his true character as Brahman, we are not conscious of the fact, except in so far as we always feel that we exist.

27. "I slept happy:" thus on awaking does Atman clearly manifest Himself as Existence, Consciousness and Bliss.

The word 'happy' refers to the essential constant nature of Atman as self-conscious Existence and Bliss. The word 'slept' refers to the then quiescent state of all upadhis. The happiness experienced in sushupti is not, indeed, accidental; it does not come from an external source, since then the sense-organs by which the external objects can be experienced are quiescent. The happiness does not certainly arise from the mere cessation of all active processes of life and conscious existence, inasmuch as there is no instance in all our experience where any positive result comes out of circumstances of a purely negative character. Nor again should it be supposed that happiness then experienced

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is itself of a negative character, consisting in the mere absence of pain; for there is, then, no organ by which to experience the absence of pain, and what has not been experienced cannot subsequently be remembered. The feeling "I slept happy" is clearly a case of remembering what has been experienced. Thus the happiness experienced during sleep points to the self-luminous nature of Atman as Bliss. The immutable, partless, self-conscious Atman cannot be spoken of as lying down or as going, or as sleeping, in Himself. All this is, therefore, due to His association with the upadhis which undergo changes of state. Wherefore the words "I slept" refer to the quiescent state of the upadhis in sushupti. Hence in all states of consciousness, Atman remains the same as Existence, Consciousness and Bliss.

Isvara, the one Light and Existence.

26. It Is by Mahesvara, penetrating the whole universe and manifesting Himself, that even the sun and other (lights) shine; how much more so pots and other things?

Brahman's manifestations in the upadhis of the cosmos and of the individual body may be exhibited in a tabular form as follows:—

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Macrocosm (Adhidaiva, Samashti, Karana).

Microcosm (Adhyatma, Vyashti, Karya).

State of Consciousness.


Brahman's manifestation


Brahman's manifestation.

Avyakrita or Avyakta.

Isvara or Akshara. *














29. Therefore, all things derive their being and light from the being and light of Isvara in whom they abide. And by Sruti Brahman is declared to be "the Real, Consciousness, the Endless."

That is to say, things have no being of their own. They are said to exist because they are illusory expressions of Isvara, the one Existence.

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30. All that comes into being in Jagrat and Svapna is unreal, senseless like a blind man.

Isvara as the Ego.

And Isvara manifests Himself as the Ego in all creatures.

31–32. The undifferentiated or Universal (Ego), the Pure, and the impure: thus the Ego is threefold. The undifferentiated or Universal (Ego) is the Supreme Brahman, who is devoid of all distinctions, like unto âkâsa free from dust, darkness, smoke and cloud.

32–33. The Pure (Ego is seen) at the time of discrimination, when He is rid of the body and other upâdhis, as âkâsa is

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seen a little through the starlight to a limited extent.

Though, under ordinary circumstances, Atman does not present Himself to all, He does occasionally manifest Himself to him who has thoroughly investigated the nature of Jiva and the Isvara, and is convinced that the physical body and other upadhis are not the Ego; and who has accordingly stripped his Real Ego of all the limitations ascribed to Him. This Pure Ego, manifested temporarily as He is at the moment of discrimination, is somewhat removed from the Absolute or Universal Ego, who is Brahman Himself.

33–34. Impure is the Ego stained by an intimate association with the body and sense-organs and other upâdhis; just as âkâsa, pervaded by darkness, looks as if affording no space.

34–35. When Jiva is well awakened to his Ego being one with Isvara, then can he be the all-knower and the all-maker.

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35–36. The Lord, by Mâyâ quite deluded, by Vidyâ manifests Himself. By meditating on the Nirvikalpa or the Un- differentiated Ego, Atman shines in full.

36–37. The veil of avidyâ removed, the Supreme Lord, He who is Dakshinâmûrti in form, shines in full Himself.

37–38. Thus ends the fourth chapter in brief in the work called Mânasollâsa which expounds the meaning of the Hymn to the Blessed Dakshinâmûrti.


92:* The name "Isvara" is given to Brahman's manifestation in the upadhi called Avyakrita, as well as to Brahman beyond the upadhis.

Next: Chapter V. False Personations of Atman