3 – Panchadasi: CH1, Verse 7-14

Summary of Panchadashi Discourse:

Everyone loves one infinite self only. But also many finite objects. How is this possible? Contradiction resolved.

Source: Swami Vidyaranya, Pancadasi CH1 – verse 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 7: (Sat is forever. Cit is self-efflugent/radiant)

Māsābda yuga kalpeṣu gatā gamye ṣvane kadhā, nodeti nāsta metyakā saṁvi deṣā svayaṁ prabhā

Awareness is unchanging throughout all cycles of time past, present and future. Unlike the sun, awareness does not rise or set. It is never born. It does not die. It is self-revealing.

Translation 2: Through the many months, years, ages and world cycles, past and future, consciousness is the same; it neither rises nor sets (unlike the sun); it is self-revealing.

  • V7-10 aims to show consciousness/self = satcitānanda, using logical analysis.
  • In Verse 6, we’ve seen consciousness is same in 3 states in 24-h cycle for any human. In Verse 7, Vidyaranya shows how consciousness is same even in past, present, future. 2 ways:
    • Person aware 2000 year ago of world at that time. Person aware of world today. Person aware 2000 years in future of that world.
      • Awareness/Consciousness same FOR ALL, at any time.
      • Na udeti: not born. Logic: What isn’t born, can’t have ending.
    • For world/mind to be called “changing”, it is only possible with presence of unchanging substratum.
      • Else couldn’t relate to our experience yesterday because there would be no “linking unchanging thread” for each day.
        • It can’t be memory because memory involves “doing the remembering”. But we have sense of continuity without having to “do remembering”.
      • This is common to all humans, sense of continuity of existence. Meaning all minds are supported by same “unchanging thread”.
  • What is proof of consciousness? Mere existence of self (conscious subject). Requires no authority to prove it or light to illuminate it. It is ‘known’ as self-evident “I AM” existence. On contrary, all objects of knowledge require consciousness for their validation.
  • How is sat (existence) and cit (Consciousness) SAME? Sat (existence) is proven by requirement of “IS” for any object’s existence.
    • Example: Object condition IS.
    • EG: Tall IS. Short IS. Blue IS. Red IS.
    • Thus sat is SAME in all conditions. And cit (Consciousness), as in verse 6, is same in all 3 states of experience. Meaning it too is SAME in all conditions. Hence sat-cit are both SAME.
  • Commentary (JS):

A day is not twenty-four hours, because there is no time. A “day” is one cycle of the three states. Because each person’s cycles are different, there is no impersonal object called “time,” although to structure experience to make the satisfaction of desires more efficient, humans have invented the idea of objective time.Science claims that consciousness evolved from matter. But it is not a product of anything. Everything is a product of consciousness.You cannot get consciousness out of something that does not have consciousness in it.

So consciousness was here before the body evolved.There is no need to prove it because it is self-evident. Every object needs to be validated by consciousness, but consciousness requires no validation. It proves the existence of everything. Since it is eternally existent, existence must be its intrinsic nature.

From our analysis of consciousness we discover that it is existence, what is.If I ask if you have a doubt about whether you exist or if you are conscious you will never answer in the affirmative. It is fair to say that nobody ever told you that you exist or that you are conscious. These facts do not need revelation, because they are self-evident.

  • NEXT VERSE: Having dealt with sat-cit, now ānanda and Vidyaranya gives us TWO reasons, why nature of Self is ānanda.

Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 8: (Desire to live forever)

Iya mātmā parā nandaḥ para premāspadaṁ yataḥ, mā na bhūvaṁ hi bhūyā sam iti premāt manī kṣyate

This consciousness, which is our Self, is of the nature of supreme bliss, for it is the object of greatest love, and love for the Self is seen in every man, who wishes, ‘May I never cease to be’, ‘ May I exist forever.’

Translation 3 (Chinmaya): This Pure Consciousness referred in last śloka is one’s own Self. The nature of which is Supreme Bliss. Because we love ourselves the most. This love for the Self (Ātmā) is seen to express as “May I never cease to be, may I ever be present”.

Translation 2 (JS): This awareness is the self of all beings. Its nature is bliss because it is for the sake of the self that people wish to never die and to live forever.

  • Commentary: We love our Self, our very being, more than everything else, even our body. So it is supremely blissful or (bliss itself. Sometimes people hate themselves; that is due to the hatred for some suffering through body, mind, etc., with which it is identified for the time being; the Self appears to be hated, due to its association with one or other of them.
  • REASON 1: Since everyone thinks “May I never cease to exist, may I live forever. I don’t want to die.”, that thought is pointing to Consciousness which is the Self “in” all minds with such a thought. Meaning everyone is only talking of Ātman/Consciousness only. Meaning greatest object of love is Ātman. This is why nature of Self is said to be ānanda (limitlessness), because who doesn’t want infinite, as already proven with statement “May I exist forever”.
  • DOUBT: What about suicide/self-hate? Experienced in antaḥkaraṇa which self is falsely associated To it’s talking about mind and not self, which is covered by hateful mind.
    • EG: When sick, don’t have yourself. Hate sickness.
  • NEXT VERSE: 2nd reason why Self is ānanda…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 9: (Ananda: Everything is loved for sake of self)

Tat premāt mārtham anyatra naiva manyārtha mātmanah, atasat paramaṁ tena paramā nandata’tmanaḥ

Others are loved for the sake of the self, but the self is loved for none other. Therefore the love for the self is the highest.

Translation 2 (RK): Others are loved for the sake of the Self, but the Self is loved for none other. Therefore the love for the Self is the highest. Hence the Self is of the nature of the highest bliss.

  • REASON 2 (continues from last verse 8): We love it because it gives us (the subject) joy. Implies we love it for sake of own self. Because the job is directed to the self. This is NOT in selfish sense, but because the joy lies in own self. The fact that self looks for experiences to summon happiness (ānanda), implies self already knows what love is. Meaning self IS love (ānanda) right now. And the fact that self is looking for maximum happiness (knows no end) implies self is already maximum happiness (ānanda) right now. This is why ānanda can be translated not only as “bliss” (fullness/love), but “limitless”, which is equivalent to connotated word “maximum”.
  • Commentary (JS):

The most common word we use – “I” – refers to the self. Everyone is the same “I.” If everyone was a different “I,” how could we communicate? I would have to have to know your special “I” and you would have to know my special “I.”And when I met another person I would have to learn who he was – and vice versa – before we could begin to talk. Communication depends on something common. It is a “union” of understanding. If every “I” was unique, there would be no way to communicate.

But I can communicate with a complete stranger because we have the same “I” and we know that the facts related to the bodies – which are different – do not in any way impinge on the ability of the self to speak to itself in another body.

In any case, the self can only be bliss (ananda) because I am always an object of my own love. I work overtime to please myself because I love myself and I know that you do too.

When something stops being a source of happiness, it is no longer loved. That I love myself shows that I am a source of happiness. My love of myself is unconditional whereas my love for others is always conditional. When the circumstances that relate you to me change, our love for each other changes.

Conditional love is unreal because it does not last. Self-love is unconditional, meaning eternal. Therefore it is real and not separate from awareness. A wise person’s love includes everyone because he sees everyone as the self: aware, existent and full.

A self-ignorant person’s love only goes to objects that conform to his or her likes and dislikes. If you do what I want, I will love you. If you don’t, I won’t.

  • NEXT VERSE: Identify between ātma & paramātma…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 10: (Identity between self and Brahman = satcitānanda)

Itthaṁ saccitparānanda ātmā yuktyā tathāvidham, paraṁ brahma tayoś caikyaṁ śrutyan teṣū padiśyate

In this way, it is established by reasoning that the individual Self is of the nature of existence, consciousness and bliss. Similar is the supreme Brahman. The identity of the two is taught in the Upanisads. (RK)

Translation 2 (JS): Scripture establishes by reasoning that the individual self and the impersonal self are of the nature of existence, awareness and bliss. The Upanishads teach that the individual and the limitless self are one.

  • Commentary (RK): So it is established by reasoning that the individual Self is of the nature of existence, consciousness and supreme bliss. This has Vedic support as the Upanisads speak of this identity. And the Upanisads say (i) that Brahman is of that nature and (ii) that therefore the two, viz., the individual Self and the universal Self are but one.
  • Commentary (JS):

If the nature of the limitless self is awareness/existence/limitlessness, then the individual self and the universal self are one because there are not two limitlessnesses, two existences or two consciousnesses. If there are two existences or two consciousnesses, which one are you? It is a matter of experience that you are not two beings.If you were two beings you would have two lives and two bodies, but you have only one. In everyday speech we say “one” does this and “one” does that. We say “someone” and “no one,” not “sometwo” and “no two,” because there is only one of us.

If there are two freedoms, neither will be free because one will limit the other. When you are free you do not evaluate the freedom, you enjoy it without question because there is nothing to compare it to.

The knowledge of gravity, for instance, happened at one moment in the mind of Galileo, but it is validated experientially every time an object falls. However, in the absence of a non-dual revelation, corroborated knowledge gained by the experience of others is reliable.

One’s knowledge is unbiased when the ego is suspended because at that time one sees as consciousness sees. Because consciousness is reality, one sees things as they are. One need not have a discrete experience of non-duality to reap the fruit of non-duality – freedom.

Because non-duality is always experienced as the essence of the experiencing entity, it is always available to be known – assuming a proper means – and once known it cannot be lost, because it is the nature of the ever-present self.

  • SUMMARY: Nature of Self (Ātman) is existence – consciousness – limitlessness. Nature of Brahman is SAME. Therefore the two are but ONE, as their nature is identical.
  • NEXT VERSE: Contradiction resolved…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 11: (Blissful nature of Self)

Abhāne na paraṁ prema bhāne na viṣaye spṛhā, ato bhāne’pyabhātā’sau paramānandatātmanaḥ

If the supreme bliss of the Self is not known, there cannot be the highest love for it. (But it is there). If it is known, there cannot be attraction for worldly objects. (That too is there) So we say, this blissful nature of the Self, though revealed, is not (strictly speaking) revealed. (RK)

Translation 2 (JS): If it is not clearly known that the self is limitless bliss, there will not be intense love for it. When it is known, there is no attraction for worldly objects because all one’s love goes to it. It is difficult to say that the self is either completely known or completely unknown.

  • There can not be supreme love for unknown Self (which is max ānanda). Which means we must know it, since all is done for sake of self as per V9. And if known, there can not be desire for objects. But object desire is there. Meaning I know the Self to be full, and yet my contradictory actions of object-desire disclose I don’t know Self.
  • Commentary (RK):

In case the supreme bliss is not known there cannot be the highest love for it. But we have this love. Therefore its knowledge cannot be denied. But if we know it, the supreme bliss, can we have taste for the enjoyment of material objects? Yet this desire for sensuous pleasure is also a fact.

So this supreme bliss is something known and yet unknown, which cannot be, according to the law of excluded middle. The answer is logic must yield to facts of experience. It is everybody’s experience that we have this highest love for it and yet we seek sensuous pleasures.

Therefore, we have to admit that it is known and yet not known (fully). The next sloka gives an example which clears ihe enigma.

  • SUMMARY: This is exactly purpose of Vedanta. To make clear what is incompletely known. If you don’t now it, you will keep seeking it because we cannot stand to be ignorant of anything that we love. It is not completely known (and loved), because it is through to be limited and is assumed to depend on objects.
  • NEXT VERSE: Shows example…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 12: (EG: Vedic Chanting)

Adhyetṛ varga madhya stha putrā dhyayana śabda vat, bhāne’pyabhānaṁ bhānasya prati bandhena yujyate

A father may distinguish the voice of his son chanting (the Vedas) in chorus with a number of pupils but may fail to note its peculiarities, due to an obstruction viz., its having been mingled with other voices. Similar is the case with bliss. Because of obstruction, it is proper to -say that the bliss “is known yet unknown”. (RK)

Translation 2 (JS): For example, a single child’s voice singing in a chorus is drowned by the simultaneous voices of the other children. The bliss of the self is easily obscured by the daily small blisses occurring when desired objects are attained.

  • Commentary (RK): Many voices in the chorus were an Obstruction for the father to recognize fully the voice of his son; so also the bliss is apprehended in general, but not fully because of obstructions, i.e., other loves rooted in ignorance.
  • Commentary (Chinmaya):

Although, (the Ātma) is manifest, yet it remains uncognised. This is possible. How? An example is given.

In a Gurukul, all the children are chanting the Vedas.

Can a father recognise his son’s voice alone in the midst of the collective chanting of all the children.

Because the collective chanting of the group acts as pratibandha or obstacle in the way of his distinguishing and singling out the voice of his son alone.

In the same way, although the Atma is of the nature of absolute ananda, Supreme Bliss, there is a possiblity that we may not realise this because of some obstacle or pratibandha.

  • SUMMARY: Father knows son is chanting as his lips are moving, but can’t hear. Thus he knows the son’s voice (self), but don’t know the son’s voice (self). Why? Chorus is drowned by simultaneous voices of other children. Bliss of self is obscured by daily small blisses occurring when desired objects are attained. Ananda is known, yet unknown. Due to obstruction called pratibandha.
  • NEXT VERSE: What is nature of this pratibandha (obstacle)? Answered next śloka (sholka; verse)…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 13: (Definition of pratibandha)

Prati bandho’sti bhātīti vyava hārārha vastuni, tanni rasya viruddhasya tasyot pādanam ucyate

Our experience of the articles of everyday use is that they ‘exist', they ‘reveal'. Now an obstruction is that which stultifies this experience of existence and revelation and produces the counter-experience that they are not existing, they are not revealing. (RK)

Translation 2 (JS): Experience of everyday objects leads to the conclusion that they are self-existent and self-revealing. An obstruction, like blindness, prevents an appreciation of the self-existence and self-revelation of objects.

  • Commentary (RK): In the last sloka we have talked of obstruction. Here its nature is defined. An obstruction is that Which hides the nature of a thing and makes it appear as something else.
  • Commentary (JS):

An obstruction is something that hides clear knowledge and/or brings about wrong knowledge, i.e., “I don’t see the object,” or, “I am not sure what it is.”

Owing to some obstacle, atheists say there is no God even though God is always physically present because God is everything that is.

Because we do not appreciate the self, we think that the objects exist on their own and reveal themselves, but they are generated by Ignorance (Maya) out of awareness and illumined by awareness, the limitless self.

Only the self is self-existent. It stands alone; objects depend on it.

Unobstructed knowledge is, “The object is there because I see it.” Obstructed knowledge is, “I see the object because it is there.”

  • SUMMARY: Obstruction (pratibandha) is that which hides nature of a thing and makes it appear as something else. Unobstructed knowledge is “The object is there because I see it”. Obstructed knowledge is “I see the object because it is there”.
  • NEXT VERSE: What is nature of this Pratibandha which cause such contrary knowledge?


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 14: (Cause of ignorance)

Tasya hetuḥ samānābhi hāraḥ putra dhvaniśrutau, ihā nādira vidyaiva vyāmo haika niban dhanam

In the above illustration the cause of the obstruction to the voice of the son being fully recognized is the chorus of voices of all the boys. Here the one cause of all contrary experiences is indeed the beginningless Avidya. (RK)

Translation 2 (JS): The universal obstruction to the appreciation of oneself as awareness is beginningless Ignorance (Maya).

Translation 3 (Chinmaya HS): The explanation (cause) of this (obstruction) is: The chorus of voices of all the chanters (obstructs) the hearing of the son’s voice. Here (in the case of not experiencing the Bliss), beginningless IGNORANCE acts in the same way, It is the sole facilitator of deluding experiences.

  • Commentary (RK): Avidya is beginningless because beginning implies that an object originated at a particular time, whereas Avidya is logically prior to time.
  • Commentary (JS):

So why did awareness create this obstruction and when did it first appear? Awareness does not create, because it is non-dual. Action is required for creation, and awareness is actionless (akarta). Ignorance creates. It is beginningless, beautiful and intelligent. We call it māyā.

Like awareness, Ignorance is not a created object. It is inherent as a possibility in awareness. It is simply the power of not-knowing. But this not-knowing is unique, it creates the whole universe. It is the substance of the universe – matter – the physical, moral and psychological laws that govern the universe and the sentient beings that populate it.

When did your ignorance of anything, including your limitless self, begin? It is always present (anādi) until knowledge removes it. It is always present because the self is always present. It creates a major problem: the belief that objects exist independently of the self and that they contain happiness.

Unless it is removed, samsara continues. Its most peculiar characteristic: it does not die a natural death. Everything it creates dies naturally, but it tenaciously continues unless you work hard to kill it.

Because Ignorance is prior to time, the idea that one day we will all automatically get enlightened is nonsense. Although you cannot remove it by typical actions, you can remove it by exposing your mind to the teachings of Vedanta. If your mind is open and you are properly taught by a qualified teacher, the means of knowledge will remove it for you.

Keeping the mind open is the discipline that sets the stage for Vedanta’s magic to work. When it is clear how Ignorance creates, the creation – as you understand it – will disappear, but not in the way that you imagine it now.

To keep it simple in terms of our everyday experience, the objects that present themselves to me on a moment-to-moment basis, my discrete experiences, are created by Ignorance. The self didn’t create them and I didn’t create them, Ignorance did.

  • SUMMARY: The many objects in the room, drown out the son’s voice. Many objects = avidyā = cause for non-apprehension of satcitānanda, nature of “I”.
  • NEXT VERSE: Nature of avidyā explained…


Recorded 11 Aug, 2019


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