The nature of a sage who knows the Self
- Excerpted from:
CREST JEWEL OF DISCRIMINATION (Vivekachudamani)
By Adi Sankaracharya, 788-820 CE,
Translated by Swami Madhavananda
Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkattaranslation
THE NATURE OF A SAGE WHO KNOWS THE SELF
The knower of the Atman, who wears no outward mark and is unattached
to external things, rests on this body without identification, and
experiences all sorts of sense-objects as they come, through others'
wish, like a child.
Established in the ethereal plane of Absolute Knowledge, he wanders
in the world, sometimes like a madman, sometimes like a child and at
other times like a ghoul, having no other clothes on his person
except the quarters, or sometimes wearing clothes, or perhaps skins
at other times.
The sage, living alone, enjoys the sense-objects, being the very
embodiment of desirelessness always satisfied with his own Self,
and himself present at the All.
Sometimes a fool, sometimes a sage, sometimes possessed of regal
splendour; sometimes wandering, sometimes behaving like a motionless
python, sometimes wearing a benignant expression; sometimes honoured,
sometimes insulted, sometimes unknown thus lives the man of
realisation, ever happy with Supreme Bliss.
Though without riches, yet ever content; though helpless, yet very
powerful, though not enjoying the sense-objects, yet eternally
satisfied; though without an exemplar, yet looking upon all with an
eye of equality.
Though doing, yet inactive; though experiencing fruits of past
actions, yet untouched by them; though possessed of a body, yet
without identification with it; though limited, yet omnipresent is he.
Neither pleasure nor pain, nor good nor evil, ever touches this
knower of Brahman, who always lives without the body-idea.
Pleasure or pain, or good or evil, affects only him who has
connections with the gross body etc., and identifies himself with
these. How can good or evil, or their effects, touch the sage who has
identified himself with the Reality and thereby shattered his bondage?