Lord Dakshinamurtih


(Tap or hover over green words for translation.)

When it comes to the ātmā, the śāstra has pramāṇatva only in so far as it removes all superimpositions upon the ātmā. Knowledge is nothing but the removal of ignorance. It cannot be a superimposition upon ignorance. If ignorance is not removed, there is no knowledge at all, ignorance being opposed to knowledge. Only the removal of ignorance is necessary. Ignorance of ātmā is present and the śāstra has the capacity to remove it, meaning that it removes all the confusions centred on ātmā. But, ātmā is self-evident; that is why there is confusion. The ātmā is self-evident, but that it is limitless is not known. Hence, all the limitations of the body, mind, etc., are superimposed on it.

Between liberation and the śāstra there is a relation, a sambandha; one is sādhana, the means, and the other is sādhya, the end. In order to gain liberation, moksa, you go to the śāstra, for which you require śraddhā. You need to know that the śāstra is the means of knowledge whereby you will gain the knowledge that is liberation.

First, there is śraddhā in the śāstra as a means of knowledge. Then, as a result of this śraddhā, a commitment arises that causes a person to give up everything and pursue the knowledge by approaching a teacher with the proper attitude. One who approaches the guru has both śraddhā in the śāstra as the means of knowledge and commitment to the knowledge. In addition, the person must also have the sense-organs under control. These three factors being there, the knowledge will definitely be gained.

Faith in the śāstra as a pramāṇa is required only until knowledge takes place.

The śāstra does not give you indirect knowledge, parokṣa-jñāna. It says, 'tat tvam asi' - you are Brahman', and that is a fact. Because the śāstra's vision is a fact, this knowledge has to be as true as the fact. You cannot have indirect knowledge here. At most, the word paroksa-jñāna can refer to the insight a person has with reference to ātmā being Brahman, as opposed to vijñāna, the truth of that knowledge.

The vṛtti, thought, by which one recognises an object, and the object of the vṛtti are identical. That is, in order to recognise the object, the vṛtti must necessarily have the object in itself. If I have to recognise a pot, ghata, the vṛtti must assume the very form of the pot. Therefore, the vṛtti is called ghata-vrtti. By the ghata-vṛtti alone, one recognises the object ghata, pot.

For the recognition of ātmā also, there must be a vṛtti. This vṛtti is created by the śāstra and it destroys self-ignorance. And this vṛtti is brought back by the contemplator in nididhyāsana. In the recognition of the svarūpa of the self, the vṛtti assumes the very svarūpa of ātmā, without objectifying it. This is not similar to knowing an object such as a pot. In the recognition of the svarūpa of the ātmā there is only one operation involved; whereas in the objectification of a pot, there are two operations.

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