Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Panchadasi part 2

SRI VIDYARANYA SWAMI, Translated by, and with commentary by JAMES SWARTZ


flower picture



Visit James' website for details of his publications, forthcoming satsangs and other events, purchase DVDs, view a gallery of photos and more!


Read Part 1...

Panchikarana Prakriya

James: The purpose of the Panchikarana prakriya is to make clear the relationship between the individual, (Jiva), the world (Jagat) and Awareness in its role as the Creator (Isvara).  Clarity with reference to this teaching is liberation for Awareness.  Awareness cannot be liberated because it is not actually bound.  However, owing to Avidya it thinks it is bound.  Its bondage is simply lack of clarity with reference to the nature of reality, satya and mithya.   

18.  By the will of awareness in the form of Isvara and for the experience of Prajna the five subtle elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) arose from the part of Prakriti (nature) in which Tamas predominates.

James: ‘For the experience (of awareness) as Prajna’ is the reason given for creation.  Experience can be seen as for its own sake or for liberation from experience.  One concludes that the creation is for experience because that is what is happening in it. 

19.  From the sattvic part of each of prakriti’s five subtle elements arose in turn the five sense organs: hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell.

20.  From a combination of all the sattvic portions of the five subtle elements), arose the organ of inner experience called the antahkarana (the Subtle Body). The antahkarana functions in two ways: it doubts and it determines.  In its doubting function it is called Manas (mind).  Its determining, discriminating function is called Buddhi (intellect). 

21.  From the Rajas portion of the five elements arose in turn the organs of action: speech, hands, feet, anus and sex.

22.  Prana, the Vital Air, arose from the rajas portion of the five subtle elements (tanmatras).  It divided into the five physiological functions: respiration, digestion, circulation, excretion and the power to eject the Subtle Body from the physical body at the time of death. 

23.  The five sensory organs, the five organs of action, the five vital airs, mind and intellect together form the Subtle Body, called the linga or suksma sarira.

James:  The Subtle Body cannot be perceived by the sense organs.  It is known as the linga sarira, that by which something is known.  Linga means a sign and sarira means something that is perishable.  It is made of sattva and reflects awareness.  Hence it is a sign or indicator of the presence of awareness.  It is subject to change as the gunas modify it.

Macrocosm and Microcosm Prakriya

24-25.  When Prajna identifies with an individual Subtle Body it is called Taijasa, the ‘shining one’ or the dreamer.

When Isvara identifies with the totality of subtle bodies it is known as Hiranyagarbha, the golden egg.  Taijasa is the individual because it only has knowledge of its own Subtle Body.

James: Isvara has all knowledge. Isvara is that part of awareness that knows everything in samsara.  Isvara is omniscient.  Jiva has limited knowledge. 

26.  To provide the individual Jivas with objects of enjoyment and make their bodies fit for enjoyment,  awareness as Isvara causes each of the subtle elements to share a part of each of the other subtle elements. 

27.  Dividing each subtle element into two equal halves and again dividing one half of each subtle element again into four equal parts Isvara mixed the subtle elements so that the resulting gross elements would contain one half of its original nature and one eighth portion of each of the other four. 

28.  From these composite elements the cosmic egg arose and from it evolved all the worlds, the objects of experience and the bodies in which experience takes place.  When Hiranyagarbha identifies with the totality of gross bodies it is known as Vaisvanara.  When Taijasa identifies with the gross bodies of animals, men or gods it is known as Visva.

James: ‘Cosmic egg” is the womb, the seed from which all gross and subtle objects emerged.  ‘Identifies with the gross bodies of animals, men or gods’ means that Jiva is not a specific person. 

29.  Visvas, waking state entities, see only external things and are devoid of the knowledge of their true nature. Therefore they perform actions for results they believe will make them happy.  They enjoy performing action.

James:  Jivas are awareness turned outward, facing gross objects. 

30.  They pass from birth to birth like insects that have hatched and fallen in a river are swept from one whirlpool to another, never attaining peace.

31.  When their good deeds bear fruit they enjoy temporary rest as if they had been removed from the river by a kind person and set on the shore. 

32.  Individuals, caught in the whirlpool of samsara, sometimes receive teaching from a teacher who has realized the Self and, differentiating the Self from its five sheaths attain the supreme bliss of release.

James:  The word ‘supreme’ does not indicate an intense state of experiential joy that results when awareness is realized to be one’s nature.  It is used to distinguish the bliss of awareness…which is steady and fulfilling…from the temporary blisses that jivas experience when the get what they want.

Method of Self Realization – The Five Sheaths (Pancha Kosa Prakriya)

33.  The five sheaths of the self are: food, vital air, mind, intellect and bliss.  Caught up in them it apparently forgets its real nature and is subject to transmigration.

34.  The Gross Body is known as the Anamaykosa or the food sheath. That portion of the Subtle Body which is composed of the five vital airs and the five organs of action is called the Pranamayakosa or the sheath of vital airs.  

35.  The doubting mind and five knowledge gathering sensory organs (Jnanendriyas) make up the Manomayakosa, the mind sheath. The intellect and the Jnanendriyas make up the Vignanamayakosa, the intellect sheath.

36.  The impure Sattva which is the Causal Body, bliss and other mental modifications in seed form (vrittis) is called the Anandamayakosa or the bliss sheath.  When the self identifies with the various sheaths it seems to take on the attributes of the sheath with which it is identified. 

37.  By differentiating the unchanging self from the ever-changing five sheaths one can realize the nature of the self with and without form. 

Elimination of non-essential variables – Mandukya Prakriya

38.  The physical body, present in the waking state and absent in the dream state, is an inconstant factor but the witnessing element, pure awareness, is present in both and is therefore the invariable factor.

39.  Similarly, in the state of deep sleep the Subtle body does not exist but Awareness witnesses that state so the Subtle Body is inconstant and the self the constant factor.

40.  Using the Subtle Body one discriminates the sheaths, which are the result of the three gunas, from the self. 

James:  Discrimination is the recognition of the transient nature of the sheaths brought about by the endless disequilibrium of the three gunas and the recognition of the unchanging nature of awareness.  In discriminating, awareness is the invariable factor (anvaya) and the sheaths are the inconstant factor (vyatrireka).  Awareness is always present.  Discrimination shows that the Subtle Body is not the self because the Subtle Body is not present in the deep sleep state and in samadhi. Discrimination is called anvaya-vyatireka, separating what is always present from what is sometimes present.  

41.  In the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi the Causal Body does not exist so it is an inconstant factor.  In Nirvikalpa Samadhi the self exists as the witnessing awareness and therefore it is invariable.

James: Negation of Nirvikalpa Samadhi shows that liberation is not experiential.  It is Self knowledge.

42.  As the tender pith of the munja grass can be drawn out from its gross covering, the self can be distinguished through reasoning from the three bodies or the five sheaths.  It is then recognized as unconditioned awareness.

James: Munja grass has a soft core that exudes a sweet liquid and it is encased by layers of leaves. In order to get to the core, one has to skilfully remove the leaves. It is a delicate task which needs patience and full attention.

43.  In this way the identity of awareness and Jiva is demonstrated through reasoning. This identity is taught in the sacred texts in sentences such as ‘You are That’. The method of Self realization is through the elimination of variable attributes. 

James:  Eliminate the five sheaths and you are left with only awareness.  The sheaths, which are non-essential because they can be negated, make Awareness seem to be limited

44.  The self, awareness, becomes the material and efficient cause of the world when it is associated with those aspects of Maya in which there is a predominance of tamas and sattva respectively.

James:  Tamas is the material for the creation and awareness as sattva is the intelligence that designs the creation.

The Self is referred to as ‘That’ in the statement ‘You are That.’

45.  When the self is under the spell of Avidya, ignorance, it associates with rajas and tamas and becomes a Jiva, pursuing its desires by means of various activities.  ‘You’ in the statement “You are That’ refers to the Jiva

James:  Associated with sattva it is Isvara.  Isvara is not an individual with fears (tamas) and desires (rajas).

46.  When the three gunas are rejected as apparent realities, the self alone remains.  The self’s nature is existence, awareness and bliss. This is revealed by the statement ‘You are That.’

James:  The three gunas can be rejected because they come and go

47.  In the sentence ‘This is that Devadatta’, ‘this’ and ‘that’ refer to different times, places and circumstances.  When the particulars of ‘this’ and ‘that’ are eliminated Devadatta remains as their common basis.

James:  Two friends, Devadatta and Somadatta, met after a very long time. Somadatta saw a large gathering listening to a discourse given by an unknown monk so he sat down and listened. After a while he was struck with the realization that the serene looking, orange robed, bearded monk, Swami Guhananda, was none other than his fun-loving high school friend, Devadatta, much transformed by time.  The time, name, and his friend’s appearance were different, but by eliminating the differences and leaving the common core, he realized the oneness of his friend and the monk. 

48.  Similarly, when the apparently conditioning adjuncts, Maya and Avidya, are removed the self alone remains.  The nature of the self is existence, awareness and bliss.

James: Isvara, who is responsible for Maya (macrocosmic ignorance), and Jiva, who is caught up under the spell of  Isvara’s Maya, seem to be different but they share the same identity as limitless awareness.  By eliminating avidya, one realizes one’s identity as awareness.  You, awareness, are beyond the creator and the creature.  When Jiva’s ignorance (avidya) ends, Isvara’s Maya remains, deluding everyone. 

To be continued...


Page last updated: 28-Aug-2012