8 – Panchadasi: CH1, Verse 47-52 and 5 Sheaths (Anandamaya Kosha, Causal Body), Tat Tvam Asi Mahavakya

Summary of Panchadashi Discourse:

We revisit 5 sheaths, specifically anandamaya kosha / karana sharira (causal body), as they are often least understood. Source of all joy is Self alone, even in Deep Sleep. Mahavakya ‘Tat Tvam Asi' is explained again. Objection is raised to negate view of ‘Brahman being ultimate Reality”, and how it's handled by acarya.

Source: Swami Vidyaranya, Pancadasi CH1 – verse 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 + Revision of verse 36-41

What is ānandamayaḥ kośa?

Above is from Adi Shanakra's Tattva Bodha, describing what is Anandamaya Kosha.
  • It is kāraṇa śarīra, which is avidyā (ignorance).
    • We said earlier that Māyā is sattva-rajas-tamas, and kāraṇa śarīra is miniscule of that sattva-rajas, with dominant tamas. Thus sattva which causes knowledge is overpowered by tamas.
    • kāraṇa śarīra is nothing but avidyā, in which tamas has higher power. That's why in deep sleep, there is ignorance, as it's pure avidyā.
      • Thus: Deep sleep = ānandamaya kośa = kāraṇa śarīra = avidyā = tamas
  • What is ānandamaya kośa?
    • That kośa which is called kāraṇa śarīra, wherein ignorance reigns, because of which we experience bliss of absence of mind/senses. Described blissful sleep.
  • Meaning because kāraṇa śarīra leads to experience of bliss in deep sleep, is why we call it: ānandamaya kośa.



  • 3 Bodies:
    • Sthula-śarīra: Strictly anamaya kośa
    • Sukṣma-śarīra: Strictly prāṇamaya, manomaya, vijñanamaya
    • Kāraṇa-śarīra: ONLY experienced in deep sleep. It is not strictly ānandamaya-kośa. Because ānandamaya kośa can also be experienced in waking/dream state. IMPORTANT DIFFERENTIATION.
  • ānandamaya-kośa isn't just happiness of kāraṇa-śarīra. But also happiness of: priya + moda + pramoda in WAKING, DREAM state.
    • EG: When I see object of my like, suddenly we’re happy (priya)! Then grab it; even happier (moda). Then experience it; even happier (pramoda).
  • priya: happiness arising from seeing object of one's liking.
    • Sanskrit: iṣṭa vastu darśana janyam
  • moda: That what you saw (of your liking), comes to YOUR HOLD.
    • Sanskrit: iṣṭa vastu prāpti/lābha janyam (born)
  • pramoda: Experiencing it, once gotten HOLD.
    • Sanskrit: iṣṭa vastu bodha/anubhava (both mean same: experience) janyam
  • Kāraṇa śarīra is NOT ānandamaya kośa. But ānandamaya kośa IS kāraṇa śarīra.
  • We call it ānandamaya kośa because it's associated with happiness.


VERSE 37-41: (Complimented by Tattva Bodha) 3 States / 3 Bodies Association:

  • Waking state > specially identified with Gross Body: I am man, woman, short, small, young.
  • Dream state > specially identified with Subtle Body: He is going too fast. I think she is pretty. People are kind. Mind (thought) level identifications.
  • Deep Sleep > specially identified with Causal Body: Causes ignorance vidyā (ignorance of Self). “I still don't know who I am”.
  • Deep sleep is compared to: A man carrying heavy suitcase (inside is contents of life), and running to catch train. End of day, catches train. Because so tired, he puts bag (life down), and totally relax from exhaustion. This relaxation is Deep Sleep. Where one just wants to relax (having gone through days prārabdha).
  • WHERE DOES HAPPINESS COMES FROM IN DEEP SLEEP? From Self (whose nature is ānanda). Because mind/intellect/senses are withdrawn, so they're not infringing/superimposing their imperfect/finite personalities onto Ātman. In this way, Ātman shines in all it's glory.)
  • HAPPINESS OF DEEP SLEEP: Happiness of Deep Sleep is not “Happiness” we experience through Body-Mind. But it's kind of happiness where one knows NOTHING. And one can't say “I know nothing” because Mind-Intellect required to verbalizes the experiences or presents the knowledge in thought form, is absent.
    • aham kimapi na jānāmi: Present tense, meaning “I know nothing”, 6.2.2. It's not past tense, because that'll be waking state, and wouldn't apply to Deep Sleep state.)
  • WHY CAN’T VERBALIZE DEEP SLEEP ACCURATELY? Deep sleep is kind of experience you can't verbalize. Just like tasting new food. Someone ask “how is it?”. You say “Wait!”. You're trying to find a word for the experience. Thus waking state experience takes time to internalize in Mind. But in Deep Sleep, mind is not available. So even in waking, we can't describe deep sleep accurately, because mind wasn't available to decide what Deep sleep “feels like”.
  • OBJECTION: People think “Deep Sleep” is inference.
    • Their logic is: I slept at 11pm. Woke up 6am. Thus between 11pm-6am, I slept super!. But this is incorrect thinking. That is NOT how people know they slept.
    • People know they slept because they say: After 11pm falling alseep, I knew nothing. Thus “I knew nothing” is a remembrance.
    • VEDĀNTA RESPONSE: Because you're remembering of deep sleep, right now, it means you must've experienced it. Because “I” only remembers what “I” experienced. The experinecER is ALWAYS the rememberER.
  • IS DEEP SLEEP A THOUGHT? Deep Sleep is a subtle thought called: abhāva-vṛtti (abhāva: nothingness, vṛtti: thought)
    • Every thought holds an object. And when thought has nothingness, it's called: abhāva-vṛtti
    • When mind holds object, it is ALSO called a thought. EG: “Shirt-thought” is when senses are feeding mind with object of shirt.
      • But we can't call abhāva-vṛtti (nothingness) the mind, because it's too subtle. Just like can't call vāsanā a thought, since subtler then thought occurring in mind.
        Vāsanā is that which causes me to say “I have an idea!”. Something came before saying that; which is vāsanā/saṃskāra.
    • So in deep sleep, all there is (1) abhāva-vṛtti + (2) Self. And this abhāva-vṛtti gets it's happiness from Self. Meaning the always-reflecting reflection of Self (whose nature is ānanda) falls on abhāva-vṛtti (tama guṇa associated with individuals kāraṇa śarīra), hence we know “Deep sleep” to be happiness (which belongs to Self).
      • Meaning, the quieter the mind is, or less agitated, the more reflection of Self is shining onto mind, thus greater joy is felt. So happiness is never coming from object, it always comes from quietness of mind.
        • EG: When I finally get what I want, mind stops being completely agitated, in this way maximum happiness (of Self) is ‘experienced'.
      • Meaning: the more agitated the mind is, when it finally gets what it wants, the more happy it gets. Just like the longer I hold toilet, the more I'm happy when I detach from the agitating cause. 🙂
    • SUMMARY OF CAUSE OF HAPPINESS: When mind quietens, the ānanda nature of “I” (Self), falls onto that mind, and then mind-body experiences happiness.
    • Logic for why Happiness comes from Self/Subject and NOT Object:
      • There is only subject/object.
      • We know same object doesn't give equal intensity joy to all subjects.
      • Thus joy can't be in object.
      • Which leaves “subject” only, as source of happiness.
  • OBJECTION: Happiness in Deep Sleep (or waking state) comes from state of nothingness.
    • This is wrong. It comes from agitation-free mind. Thus Self (whose nature is ānanda) reflects fully onto such still mind, and result is: Happiness is experienced.
    • In other words, the quiet mind, CAPTURES/REFLECTS the happiness (ānanda) of Self.
    • This is why even in waking state, when priya/moda/pramoda vṛtti comes, mind is stilled. Thus we don't put priya/moda/pramoda in Mind, but in ānandamaya kośa.
  • Simple philosophy: Whenever ānanda is felt, mind is quiet.
    • What about rock n' roll type of happiness? In moment of dancing, mind is still, thus happy.
  • Conclusion: Ānanda/priya/moda/pramoda are neither S.R.T. They are still mind reflecting the happiness of the “beyond” or ever-present Ātma.

Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 47:
(In ‘this is that' statement, both refer to same principle)

So’ya mityā divākyeṣu virodhāt tadi dantayoḥ, tyāgena bhāgayo reka āśrayo lakṣyate yathā

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. (JS)

  • ‘That' refers to past tense and a different place and ‘this' refers to present tense and present place.
  • Commentary (Chinmaya HS):

Thirty years ago a man met his brother’s baby son, named Devadatta. He was a cute little baby, no more. Now he meets his brother in the company of a young man with a stylish moustache, very well-built, well-dressed and well-spoken. His brother says, “This is that Devadatta”. In disbelief, the man reacts, “What, is this that baby I saw 30 years ago! Wow, I can hardly tell that it is the same person.”

The personalities of both, the baby and the young man are dropped. What is left is the person himself, who is the same before as he is now.

Three changes have taken place: Tat kāle (change in time), Tad deśe (change in place) and Tad vayaskah (change in circumstance). A fourth change may be added: change in knowledge – knowledge of the baby changes to knowledge of the young man now being received directly.

When all the changing factors are removed, what is left is the person Devadatta.

This method of removing variables is called bhāga-tyāgena lakṣaṇā (V43).

  • Commentary (Chinmaya): In the same way the ‘Tat' is with reference to the material and efficient cause of this world; and ‘tvam' is the conditioning of the pure sattva (with raja/tama guṇa). When the conditionings of tat and tvam are rejected one discovers that tat and tvam both are nothing but Sat-Cit-Ananda.
  • WHAT'S NEXT? The example of Devadatta is now applied to the mahāvākya…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 48:
(Īśvara & Jīva are just clothes worn on Brahman. You were/are always in all-ways free.)

Māyā’vidye vihā yaivam upādhī para jīvayoḥ, akhaṇḍaṁ saccidā nandaṁ para brahmaiva lakṣyate

Māyā and Avidyā by superimposition on Brahman create Īśvara and Jīva. When these illusory conditioning adjuncts are negated, the identity of Brahman and Jīva becomes evident as one same substratum which is non-dual, infinite conscious existance. (RK/Chinmaya)

Translation (JS): Similarly, when the apparently conditioning adjuncts (inessential) Māyā and Avidyā are removed, the self alone remains. The nature of the self is existence, consciousness and bliss.

Translation (Chinmaya): In the same way, when the conditionings of jīva and Īśvara, namely avidyā and māyā are rejected, the substratum which is non-dual, infinite conscious existance (Parabrahma) remains.

  • Commentary (JS): You, consciousness, are beyond the Creator and the created. The variable factors are the Subtle Body and the Causal Body. The Subtle Body makes consciousness seem to be a person and the Causal Body makes it seem to be God, the Creator.
  • Commentary (Chinmaya HS): 

My clothes are not ‘Me’. They may be large or small in size; expensive or cheap; colourful and fashionable or plain and simple. I remain the same regardless of the clothes I wear. This principle comes through very clearly when applied to Maya and Avidya. Maya and Avidya are like clothes worn over the same Brahman. Point is, they are just clothes worn, and Brahman remains unaffected by what clothes He wears!

Putting on the outfit of Maya, Brahman looks regal and full of knowledge and wisdom. He is omniscient and omnipotent. He is kingly, awesome, a wonder to behold. Avidya is just the opposite. In the outfit of Avidya, Brahman looks very insignificant. He is just an ignorant fool being tossed like a boat in the oceanic waters of this world. He knows very little about what forces are acting upon him. He has little power over his environment. Most importantly, he has no idea of his true spiritual status.

Looking beneath the clothes of Brahman, we behold the same Supreme Truth. We reject all influence that the garments may make on our judgement.

How Tat Tvam Asi applies in life:

We should not give importance to all the externalities of our condition in this world. Whilst undergoing all the drama of associating in the world, we should, as spiritual aspirants, always bear in mind our spiritual identity with the Supreme Truth. That will lift us above the day-to-day ups and downs.

Anchoring ourselves in the Truth, our boat will not let lost. It will, of course, get tossed about, but we will never become spiritual wrecks. That is the great teaching of this Mahavakya of the Upanishad – Tat Twam Asi, “That Thou art!”

  • Commentary (Chinmaya): Jīvātma can never become Īśvara and vice versa, because the two exist only in relation to each other (just like wave can never become ocean and vice verse). The Jīvātma, after due sādhana discards both, his own limitations, as well as those of Īśvara, and comes to discover the substratum, Paramātmā.
  • WHAT'S NEXT? Now a peculiar doubt is raised as to whether self is Savikalpa or Nirvikalpa i.e. with or without modification.


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 49:
(Cunning doubter (nyayika/logician) tries to demolish non-duality view/Brahman)

Savi kalpasya lakṣyavte lakṣyasya syāda vastutā, nirvi kalpasya lakṣyatvaṁ na dṛṣṭaṁ na ca sambhavi

(Objection:) If the denoted object (of That thou art, i.e., Brahman) is with attributes, then it becomes unreal. Secondly, an object without attributes is neither seen nor is possible to conceive. (RK)

Question is posed by Nyaya (extreme logician stuck in head) who can't grasp non-duality, so poses excellent objections.
  • Commentary (Chinmaya):

A doubt is now raised: “By the “Tat-tvam-asi” mahāvākya, the Para Brahman was indicated as satcitānanda. Now is this Brahman, savikalpa (with attributes) or nirvikalpa (with attributes)?”

Cunning doubter attempts to negate Brahman: If we say that the Tat-tvam-asi mahāvākya refers to the savikalpa Brahman, with its modifications, these modifications (by their very definition) will keep changing. And that which is constantly changing cannot be indicated as a permanent thing. It, therefore, seems unlikely that the mahavakya can be referring to the Savikalpa Brahman.

On the other hand: If we say that the mahāvākya refer to the nirvikalpa Brahman, i.e. that which is not associated with any modifications, then such a Brahman cannot be perceived or conceived because there is no frame of reference. It cannot become the object of knowledge, or the point of investigation.

  • Commentary (JS): If Brahman is nirvikalpa it will not be an object of revelation, so it will not be revealed by Vedanta, because the moment it is revealed it becomes an object and therefore useless for moksa. You cannot teach the self.
  • Commentary (RK): Does the earlier text refer to Brahman with attributes ? Then it is unreal because of the Vedantic theory that all attributes, names and forms are unreal.
  • Comment (Chinmaya HS):

From the objection raised here by the Poorvapakshee, we can deduce that he falls into the Vithanda category of debaters. He has no view of his own, but tries to tear down the Vedantin’s view. 1-2 The Poorvapakshee is quite aware that Vedantins hold the view that Brahman is attributeless. So one may read a touch of sarcasm in his words here.

The Poorvapakshee starts as if he is in agreement with the Vedantin! He says: “If the thing that you are considering (the Lakshyatve) is with attributes (Savikalpa), then it must be an object of some kind and, therefore becomes unreal (Avastutaa).

But very soon we see what he is really wanting to say: “But we know that you hold Brahman to be attributeless (Nirvikalpasya). And if He really is attributeless, then I cannot see how you can indicate it through a sentence such as the Mahavakya Tat Twam Asi. A sentence is merely words. How can words point to a thing which is attributeless?” The Poorvapakshee, with this twist of his logic, tries to ridicule the Mahavakya. In effect he is saying that these Mahavakyas are simply glorified sentences but they cannot have any power to indicate the Truth, which is what they claim to do.

He is almost saying, “The Mahavakyas are useless to indicate the Truth. It is all just much ado about nothing! I suggest that you simply accept that Reality has properties, then you can use ‘Tat Twam Asi’ to indicate it.”

The ultimate point to which the Poorvapakshee is driving is to annul the concept of Non-dual Reality. Opponents of Vedanta are very uncomfortable with Non-dualism.

  • WHAT'S NEXT? The teacher replies to this doubt in a sarcastic fashion…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 50:
(Reply: Brahman is attributeless)

Vikalpo nirvi kalpasya savilpkasya vā bhavet, ādye vyāhati ranyatrā navasthā’tmā śrayā dayaḥ

(Reply with a counter question 🙂 Does the objection you have raised relate to Brahman without attributes or with attributes ? If the first, you are caught in your own trap ; if the second, it involves logical fallacies of infinite regress, resting on oneself, etc. (RK)

  • Commentary (AV): Mind can't grasp infinite and attributeless (nirvikalpa). To bring nirvikalpa into argument of comparison, you've already turned nirvikalpa into savikalpa. Hence contradicted yourself! Also for mind to ask about infinite, it has to reduce it to capacity of it's own FINITE logical caliber. So are you talking about infinite or finite?
  • Commentary (Chinmaya):

How can nirvikalpa be indicated as savikalpa by the Tat-tvam-asi mahavakya? This is a fallacious statement. This is called vyāhati dośa, an impossible doubt like in the classical example “I do not have a tongue”. To say such a statement one should have a tongue; and if one did not have the tongue, such a statement could not have been said!

This is a repetitious statement because “Savikalpa” itself means “with modifications”.  This falls under the category of anāvasthā dośa i.e. fallacy of mutual dependence.

Brahman is beyond the limitations of all kinds.

The use of savikalpa etc will lead to other fallacies like self-dependence, circular logic, or infinite regress etc. Therefore this doubt has no basis; it is only the result of confusion in the usage of words. 4 Fallacies are:

      • Self-dependence: The first player (first thought) who arrives for training is forced to play with himself only. He passes the ball from his right foot to his left foot!
      • Mutual dependence: The second player (one thought supported by another thought) now arrives at the ground and the two players pass the ball to each other.
      • Circular logic: Third player arrives at the ground. The three players stand in triangular formation and pass the ball in a fixed direction.
      • Infinite regression: Infinite num of players passing ball to each other. Ball never returns to first player.
  • WHAT'S NEXT? This is elaborated further in the next śloka.


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 51:
(The Unreality of All Attributes)

Idaṁ guṇakriyā jāti dravya sambandha vastuṣu, samaṁ tena svarūpasya sarva meta ditīṣyatām

These fallacies are of similar nature as we can see with reference to attribute, action, type, object, relationship with the object. Therefore, the same should be understood with reference to the Brahman also. (Chinmaya)

  • Commentary (AV): In last verse, Ācārya was correcting doubters definition of nirvikalpa and savikalpa, because doubter turned “nir” into “sa”. Furthermore, ācārya explained 4 defects of savikalpa logic (which doubter is using to challenge reality of Brahman). But doubter is smart. He says “Those same 4 defects also apply to action (kriya; like thinking) and relationship (sambandha; like viveka)”. And since thinking/logic itself is savikalpa (because it has attributes), this means thinking/logic itself inheres 4 defects. Which means your knowledge of nirvikalpa/Brahman is also flawed, since thought/viveka of the author is also infused with 4 defects.
  • Commentary (Chinmaya HS): Only the Vedantin knows that Nirvikalpa is the true answer and why. The Vikalpa is superimposed upon the Absolute Principle and therefore is not part of It. The Substratum, remains Nirvikalpa and unaffected by any Vikalpas. (AV: Vedantic Principle of Superimposition of the Vikalpa onto a Nirvikalpa Absolute Substratum takes lots of faith and persistence to come to “see” the truth.)
  • WHAT'S NEXT? The conclusion from above discussion is…


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 52:
(The Self From the Ultimate Standpoint)

Vikalpa tada bhāvā bhyām asaṁ spṛṣṭāt ma vastuni, vikalpi tatva lakṣyatva sambandhā dyāstu kalpitāḥ

Chinmaya (HS): Whether the (above) Vikalpas (doubts) exist or not, the Self which is Reality is untouched by them; Thus: i) all the discussion on falsity of properties, etc; ii) the Mahavakya itself as an indicator of the Reality; and iii) the relationship of Brahman and the world (as Nimitta & Upadana Karana); all these are mere Superimpositions only.

The Self is untouched by doubts about the presence or absence of associates, connotations and other adventitious relationships, because they are superimposed on it phenomenally. (RK)

  • Commentary (Chinmaya HS): 

The point is that Reality is Reality, regardless of the presence or absence of any observations regarding reality.

Sages have thus said, “Reality is beyond words.” Swami Chinmayananda used to say, “To define God is to defile God!” To say Brahman is All-Silence is only with respect to the All-Noise world with which we are so familiar.

The example of snake and the rope was given a fresh twist in this context. Relative to the qualities of the snake, it is certainly true that the rope has no poison (free of qualities of world). But poisonlessness (nirguṇa/nirvikalpa) is NOT the definition of the rope; it is only a relative view of the rope seen from the snake’s (dualistic) standpoint.

So are the descriptions like Nirvikalpa only relative views of Reality from the standpoint of this world.

Now we can see why the best definition for Brahman as given in the Brihadaranyaka
Upanishad is simply the uncontradictable “Neti Neti” – “Not This, Not This”!

  • Commentary (Chinmaya):

When the waves are described as modifications of the ocean, it does not mean that something is added to the ocean or that when the waves are absent, something is lost from the ocean. The waves “appear” as modifications but ocean undergoes no modification. The waveness is essentially oceanness. The name and form of waveness are imagined.

Thus the Tat-tvam-asi does not give any importance either to the samaṣṭi Īṣvara or vyaṣṭi jīvatma, but indicates that jīvatma bhāva and Īśvara bhāva are imagined or superimposed on the substratrum of Brahman, because of ignorance. Jīvātma and Īśvara being of relative existence, have no meaning in the Absolute satcitānanda Brahman reality.

  • WHAT'S NEXT? Topic change. Means to realization…


Recorded 20 Oct, 2019



  1. Hari Om. Your website is very informative and a pleasure to visit. I notice that you are saying in Deep Sleep (V37-41) we say, ‘I know nothing’ in present tense. Sw Parmarthanandaji in Tattwa bodha says, “If we are able to say that we are experiencing sleep it would mean that we are not in the sleep state. We need to be in a waking state to make this statement. Thus the experience cannot be claimed while undergoing the experience. We can claim the experience only after we return to the waking state. We can never use the present tense but can talk about this experience only in the past tense. We can say “I slept well”, “I knew nothing”, “I was very happy” etc.”

    1. Hi Geeta,

      If it WERE (suppose it was) to be a present tense statement in deep sleep, it would be “I know nothing”.

      Adi Shankara wanted to state it as a DIRECT experience statement (in present tense).

      “I” refers to atman. And “nothing” is owning to absence of the mind.


      atha suṣuptyavasthā kā?
      ahaṁ kimapi na jānāmi
      sukhena mayā nidrā’nubhūyata iti suṣuptyavasthā,
      kāraṇa-śarīrābhimānī ātmā prājña ityucyate.

      Notice “ahaṁ kimapi na jānāmi”:

      aham: I.
      na: not (nothing)
      jānāmi: know.

      “I know nothing / I don’t know”.

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