18 – Drg Drsya Viveka (38-46): Enlightened vs Ignorant Person – How to Achieve Self-Realization


Lecture 18 demonstrates why we need to eliminate false opinions about world before pursuing spirituality. Vyavaharika-jiva (waking Ego) makes same mistake as pratibhasika-jiva (dreaming Ego). Status of world for wise and unwise person. Importance of getting feedback from people. Meaning of ‘puranam adah purnam idam'. Order in which ignorance permanently leaves.

Source: Drg Drsya Viveka

VERSE 38: Both waking and dream worlds are projections of paramarthika-jiva

चिदाभास स्थिता निद्रा विक्षेप आवृति रूपिणी | आवृत्य जीव जगती पूर्वे नूत्ने तु कल्पयेत् ||
cidābhāsa sthitā nidrā vikṣepa āvṛti rūpiṇī | āvṛtya jīva jagatī pūrve nūtne tu kalpayet 
Capacity to dream during sleep [capacity is compared to māyā], has the power of projection (vikṣepa) and veiling (āvaraṇa).  It first veils the waking-jiva and the world, and then projects (creates) a completely new dream-jiva and dream world.

[COMMENTARY: Paramarthika-jiva projects the vyavaharika-jiva using maya-shakti, and forgets its true nature by identifying with the vyavaharika-jiva, who further projects a pratibhasika-jiva using nidra-shakti (power to dream), and identifies with pratibhasika-jiva in dreams. Waking up from the pratibhasika dream solves dream issues. Waking up from vyavaharika waking state solves waking issues. Both waking and dream worlds are projections of paramarthika-jiva forgetting its real nature due to maya and nidra shaktis.]

VERSE 39: Jīva and jagat are real only due to ignorance belonging to the perceiver

प्रतीति कालः एव एते स्थित त्वात् प्रातिभासिके | न हि स्वप्न प्रबुद्धस्य पुनः स्वप्ने स्थितिः तयोः ||
pratīti kālaḥ eva ete sthita tvāt prātibhāsike | na hi svapna prabuddhasya punaḥ svapne sthitiḥ tayoḥ ||
These two objects (jiva and perceived world) are incidental on account of their having existed only during the period of (dream) experience. It is because no one after waking up from dream sees those objects when one dreams again.

[COMMENTARY: Both the waking world and dream world are ultimately false, being projections. Though unreal, waking world has empirical continuity across experiences. While dream world lacks any objective or continuing reality. It exists only subjectively for the dreamer. Hence, dream has only fleeting, temporary subjective existence.  Waking world also has no absolute reality but has relative continuity unlike dream. However the reality of dream and waking are subject to (cognitive-based) negation upon dawn of knowledge. Just like investigating closer the snake [compared to your biases; jiva-srsti], it suddenly dawns it’s a rope [compared to seeing the empirical world; ishvara-srsti]. And with knowledge, rope further depends on atoms, depends on intelligence, depends on sat-cit (paramarthika-jiva).

VERSE 40: Vyavaharika-jiva makes same mistake as pratibhasika-jiva

प्रातिभासिक जीवः यः तत् जगत् प्रातिभासिकम् | वास्तवम् मन्यते अन्यः तु मिथ्या इति व्यावहारिकः ||
prātibhāsika jīvaḥ yaḥ tat jagat prātibhāsikam | vāstavam manyate anyaḥ tu mithyā iti vyāvahārikaḥ ||
He who is the dream-jiva, takes the dream-world as real. But the waker-Jiva takes the dream-world as unreal.

 [COMMENTARY: In dream, the prātibhāsika-jīva refuses to accept the prātibhāsika-jagat as an unreal projection. Takes it to be satyam. Whereas, vyavaharika-jiva sees prātibhāsika-jīva as mithya, and itself as satyam, committing same mistake as prātibhāsika-jīva. Waking and dream worlds contradict each other and cannot both be absolutely real, because each seems absolutely real from respective standpoints.  Objectively speaking, neither can be real, because real means that which is true throughout. Just as vyāvahārika-jīva isn’t associated to pratibhāsika-jīva, similarly pāramārthika-jīva isn’t associated to vyāvahārika-jīva. Dream example shows how vyāvahārika-jīva projects a dream body-mind and a dream world. Then identifies with it and gets immersed in transactions, while forgetting its true nature. Same applies with pāramārthika-jīva. It projects an empirical jiva and world, and considers them real.]

  • Notes below include Verse 38-40…
  • Prātibhāsika jīva yaḥ tat jagat prātibhāsikam:
    • I-sense is Ishvara’s design. It’s not your design. But it gets loaded with one’s own stories (pratibhasika) of what’s nature of I. Our notions become afflicting, “I’m no good, Unloved, lonely, I don’t deserve things”. Each jiva’s story gets highly complex, as stories aren’t from one life. 
      • What’s more, other’s pratibhasika (erroneous notions) become vyavaharika for you. So have to remain lucid, so you don’t take on others projections and unverified information.
    • What can one do to minimize pratibhasika?
      • When your stories come, first acknowledging “this has happened to me”, and be with the initial discomfort. Then identify what part of story is your own distortions and which parts are 100% true.
      • Take measure to not victimize others, or destroy their aspirations. If I hurt others, knowingly or unknowingly, result will come back to you.
      • Being accommodative towards yourself Doesn’t mean “Whatever unresolved stuff I have, just let it be”; that’s escape. Self-accommodation means not putting oneself down, but being proactive in changing perspective and responses.
      • Possibility for dreaming is vyavaharika design. But specific dream is pratibhasika. While you’re living in your pratibhasika dream, it seems real. One person affects another, and it makes you feel in certain way.
      • While in the dream, if you want to know the dream is your creation, without waking up from the dream or ending it, what do you do? Find a dream teacher who knows the truth of the dream. Who shows you whatever you see in the dream, resolves in your Awareness. Where is Awareness in the dream? Everywhere.
      • However what is difference between vyavaharika and pratibhasika-dream? Vyavaharika is collectively shared and it’s setup is not yours; although your own pratibhasika gets added.
      • NOTE: Don’t call vyavaharika a dream. Vyavaharika is manifestation of Ishvara.
  • Vāstavam manyate anyastu mithyā iti vyāvahārikaḥ: (One considers it real, another considers it false)
    • While you are dreaming, it seems absolutely real (vāstavam), but upon waking you know it’s mithyā. Similarly,  while vyāvahārika is going on, it seems absolutely real. But when remove ignorance, know vyavaharika is also mithyā.
    • Generally we think, dream is mithya, and waking world is satyam. Although they are both mithya, they have different order of reality.
      • This is why Ishvara-srsti is important. If can't clearly tell apart pratibhasika and vyavaharika (Ishvara-srsti), then everything becomes subjective reality (personal bubble). In which case, dharma and emotion management is perceived unimportant. And a wise person according to scriptures is NOT one who lives in a bubble, but acknowledges the empirical reality and contributes.

VERSE 41: Vyavaharika-jiva considers waking state real. Paramarthika-jiva considers it mithya

व्यावहारिक जीवः यः तत् जगत् व्यावहारिकम् | सत्यम् प्रत्येति मिथ्या इति मन्यते पारमार्थिकः ||
vyāvahārika jīvaḥ yaḥ tat jagat vyāvahārikam | satyam pratyeti mithyā iti manyate pāramārthikaḥ ||
He who is the empirical Jiva sees this empirical world (waking experiences) as real. But the real Jiva (pāramārthika-jiva; the witness of the 3 states) knows it (the waking state) to be unreal.

[COMMENTARY: There is an important difference – when one wakes up from a dream, the dream world physically disappears. But when one wakes up from the vyavaharika waking dream through self-knowledge, this world does not disappear. EG: the illusion of blue sky continues even after knowing there is no real blue. The vyavaharika-jiva and world continue due to prarabdha karma. So there are two types of unreality – one that disappears on knowledge, another that continues to appear even after knowing it to be unreal. The jnani knows the waking world is mithya even as the senses continue to report it. The cognitive understanding of its unreality remains.]

  • Ignorant vs Wise Person:
    • Ignorant: Dream is mithya. Waking is satyam.
    • Wise: Dream/Waking are both mithya, but also knows one is pratibhasika-mithya (subjective), other vyavaharika-mithya (empirically true).
  • Vyāvahārika jīvaḥ yaḥ tat jagat vyvāvahārikam satyam pratyeti:
    • Ignorant: Jiva seems satyam. Jagat seems satyam.
    • Wise: jiva/jagat are mithya.

VERSE 42: Vision of the paramarthika-jiva (jnani)

पारमार्थिक जीवः तु ब्रह्म ऐक्यम् पारमार्थिकम् | प्रत्येति वीक्षते न अन्यत् वीक्षते तु अनृतात्मना ||
pāramārthika jīvaḥ tu brahma aikyam pāramārthikam | pratyeti vīkṣate na anyat vīkṣate tu anṛtātmanā
But the Paramarthika Jiva knows its identity with Brahman to be (alone) real. He does not see the other (because Brahman alone is). If he sees the other, he knows it to be incidental [enjoying a dependent reality]. 

[COMMENTARY: In the presence of paramarthika-jiva, the other two jivas are invoked as needed for duties, while remaining firmly rooted in the ultimate reality. He or she performs roles seamlessly while cognitively and effortlessly recognizing the mithya status of everything. Only by knowing the world as mithya can the paramarthika-jiva remain free. He is a jivanmukta jnani, ever established in the ultimate truth.]

  • Verse makes it seem like there is pratibhasika-jiva, vyavaharika-jiva, and paramarthika-jiva. It wants to say, ignorant jiva is caught in pratibhasika bubble, and takes vyavaharika as absolute reality. Once knowledge takes place, the jiva knows the final paramarthika reality (brahma aikyam; cognitively sees brahman everywhere).
  • Na anyat vīkṣate (cognizes no other-ness): No matter which form or feeling comes, jnani is no longer fooled, not shaken. Life situation don’t touch me. EG: Gold, while appearing in different forms, remains Gold.
    • This is illustrated in prayer “purnam adaḥ…”, meaning: This (person) is gold, that (other person) is also gold. From the gold, both of us (different ornaments) have come. And gold doesn’t undergo any change to become ring/necklace. The gold doesn’t reduce when it’s in form of a ring/necklace. While appearing in a form, it transcends the limitations of that form.  You add one form to gold, or subtract from gold, the gold alone remains.  IE: While goldsmith is weighing the ring, he is weighing the gold. Similarly, although your situations, feelings, challenges, joys will change… you are in touch with reality that is never added onto or subtracted from.
    • To understand that Awareness has no division/other-ness (bheda), you need to first understand the universe has 3 types of divisions, and Awareness can’t belong to any of them:
      1. Sajatiya-bheda: Differences that exist within one group of similar objects. EG: Within group “Mango-trees”, there are different varieties (EG: Kent mangoes, Honey Gold Mangos). However even with “Honey Gold Mango”, there are differences.
        • Applying to Brahman: Ignorant jiva divides Awareness into groups. EG: Asian-Awareness, African-Awareness, Republicans-Awareness. Meaning there are many Brahmans, and one Brahman is different from another.
        • CORRECTION: Brahman is not that which belongs to one group.
      2. Vijatiya-bheda: There is difference between objects belonging to different groups. EG: Tree-group is different from animal-group. Animal belongs to one group, tree belongs to another group.
        • Applying to Brahman: Can’t say there are many different drks (seers). EG: I am one drk, and you are different-drk. As it contradicts our experience, because from my standpoint, I am drk, and you’re drshya, and from your standpoint, I’m drshya and you’re drk. Showing there’s many drshya, but one drk
        • CORRECTION: So there’s no need to stay away from the world, as it implies groups. Nor be concerned that thought displaces Awareness; as Awareness is not in any group. Fear doesn’t displace Awareness.
      3. Svagata-bheda: Within one thing, there is difference, as it’s made up of parts. EG: Within body, eyes are different from legs, etc.
        • Applying to Brahman: Often people think, Brahman is huge, and I’m a part. Again, imagining 2 categories. Brahman has no parts. It’s partless whole.
    • There are differences between objects belonging to same group, objects belonging to different groups, and one object itself has differences.
    • Brahman belongs to no category, it remains one undivided whole. Knowing this, what category can take you away from Brahman? None.
  • NEXT VERSE: What is the order with which ignorance goes?

VERSE 43 & 44: Water > wave > foam. Satcit > vyavaharika-jiva > pratibhasika-jiva

माधुर्य द्रव शैतानि नीर-धर्माः तरङ्गके । अनुगम्या अथ तत् निष्टे फेने अपि अनुगता यथा ॥ ४३
mādhurya drava śaitāni nīra-dharmāḥ taraṅgake | anugamyā atha tat niṣṭe phene api anugatā yathā || 43
साक्षिस्थाः सत् चित् आनन्दाः सम्बन्धात् व्यावहारिके । तद्द्वारेण अनुगच्छन्ति तथा एव प्रातिभासिके ॥ ४४
sākṣisthāḥ sat cit ānandāḥ sambandhāt vyāvahārike | taddvāreṇa anugacchanti tathā eva prātibhāsike || 44
Verse 43 & 44 Combined: As such characteristics of water as sweetness, fluidity and coldness appear to inhere in the waves, and then also in the foams of which the waves are the substratum, so also Existence-Consciousness-Limitlessness which are the nature of Sakshin, appear to inhere in the Vyavaharika-Jiva on account of its relation (with the Sakshin), and through it similarly inhere in the Pratibhasika-Jiva.  

[COMMENTARY: The ocean is compared to sat-cit-ananda. The waves on the ocean are vyavaharika-jiva.  The waves appear real and distinct from each other and the ocean, but they are just temporary manifestations made of the same water that makes up the ocean. Their shape and motion depends on wind [compared to personal and collective karma-phala). The foam atop the waves is like the pratibhasika-jiva. The foam is even more temporary and fleeting then the waves. Just as the wave borrows its existence, form and motion from the ocean, the vyavaharika-jiva borrows Awareness from the paramarthika-jiva. And just as the foam borrows its brief appearance from the wave, the pratibhasika-jiva depends on the vyavaharika-jiva.  I, the sākṣī, lend Awareness to the vyāvahārika-jīva (waker-I), and through the vyāvahārika-jīva, the very same Awareness is given to the prātibhāsika-jīva (dreamer-I). The waker’s mind alone gives Awareness to the dream body.]

VERSE 45: Negation of superimposition – truth remains

लये फेनस्य तत् धर्मा द्रवाद्याः स्युः तरङ्गके | तस्य अपि विलये नीरे तिष्ठन्ति एते यथा पुरा ||
laye phenasya tat dharmā dravādyāḥ syuḥ taraṅgake | tasya api vilaye nīre tiṣṭhanti ete yathā purā ||
With the disappearance of the foam (in the wave), its characteristics such as fluidity etc. merge in the wave; again with the disappearance of the wave in the water, these characteristics merge, as before, in the water. 

[COMMENATRY: Fluidity-coldness-sweetness (compared to sat-cit-ananda) were what constituted water (the unchanging reality of any object) before waves (vyavaharika-jiva) and foam (pratibhasika-jiva) appeared. Now, after the disappearance of wave and foam in the water, these characteristics continue to exist since water always exists. Foam, etc., have no existence separate from water. They appear from and disappear in water. They are nothing but water in another form.]

VERSE 46: Moksha

प्रातिभासिक जीवस्य लये स्युः व्यावहारिके | तत् लये सत् चिद् आनन्दाः पर्यवस्यन्ति साक्षिणि ||
prātibhāsika jīvasya laye syuḥ vyāvahārike | tat laye sat cid ānandāḥ paryavasyanti sākṣiṇi ||
With the dissolution of prātibhāsika jīva, there remains only vyāvahārika jīva. With the dissolution of vyāvahārika jīva, only Existence-Consciousness-Fullness is, cognitively understood to be the nature of the sākṣin.

[COMMENARY: When the dream-jīva dissolves upon waking up from the dream, the Awareness that was present in the dream does not dissolve; it continues into the waker-jīva. However upon further analysis, the waker-jīva is also subject to dissolving during three states ([1] deep sleep and death, [2] dissolution of the universe and  [3] videhamukti). At the time of deep sleep and death or total dissolution of the universe, the waker-jīva is temporarily dissolved. Upon videhamukti, the waker-jīva is permanently dissolved and remains as the sākṣī, one with Brahman. The sākṣī does not and cannot resolve. I, the sākṣī, am always present and in me alone the waves and bubbles of creation arise and fall. Life, the play, goes on in me, the sākṣī.]

  • Below notes cover Verse 43-46…
  • First your subjectivity has to go by operating from vyavaharika (Ishvara-srsti). Then, tat laye sat-cit-ānandaḥ, then you go one step further by recognizing that vyavaharika has it’s bases in sat-cit-ānandaḥ (atma).
    • Meaning you understand the empirical reality (jagat) is organized through, and manifestation of all-knowledge/power (Ishvara), where some things appear sentient/insentient, which is part of grand design. And Ishvara itself has it’s being in Awareness.
  • Paryavasyanti sākṣiṇi: Once buddhi has owned up to Awareness, it stays there. Nothing can shake it away.


Course was based on [1] Drig Drishya Viveka book by Swami Tejomayananda [2] Book by Swami Nikhilananda [3] Neema Majmudar.

Recorded 20 Jan, 2024

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