Scriptural explanation of parabdha, gnanis stages, etc.
- View SourceHello,
I thought I would share some of my scriptural library. You can find
the whole text online. Ignore the commentary.
Om Namah Shivaya
Jason James Morgan
9-17. "This method does not require other aids to reinforce its
efficiency, as other methods do for accomplishing the end. There is a
reason for it. Pure Intelligence illumining all has cast a veil of
ignorance of Her own over all. Her true nature is evident only after
removing this veil by discrimination. This is hard for those whose
minds are directed outward; and it is easy, sure and quick for
devotees engrossed in the Goddess of the Self to the exclusion of all
"An intense devotee, though endowed with only a little discipline of
other kinds (e.g., dispassion), can readily understand the truth
though only theoretically, and expound it to others. Such exposition
helps him to imbue those ideas and so he absorbs the truth. This
ultimately leads him to identify all individuals with Siva and he is
no longer affected by pleasure or pain. All-round identification with
Siva makes him the best of jnanis and a jivanmukta . Therefore bhakti
yoga is the best of all and excels all else.
18-24. "The characteristics of a Jnani are hard to understand,
because they are inscrutable and inexpressible. For instance, a
pandit cannot be adequately described except by his appearance, gait
and dress because his feelings, depth of knowledge, etc., are known
to himself alone; while the flavour of a particular dish cannot be
exactly conveyed by word to one who has not tasted it; but a pandit
can be understood only by another pandit by his method of expression.
A bird alone can follow the track of another bird.
"There are of course some traits which are obvious, and others which
are subtle and inscrutable. Those which are obvious are their speech,
language, postures of meditation, signs of worship, dispassion, etc.,
which can however be imitated by non-sages.
25. "What are accomplishments to others to the accompaniment of
dispassion, meditation, prayer, etc. remain natural to the sage whose
mind is pure and unsophisticated.
26. "He whom honour and insult, loss or gain, cannot affect, is a
sage of the best class.
27. "The best among sages can, without hesitation give complete
answers on matters relating to Realisation and the sublimest truths.
28. "He seems to be spontaneously animated when discussing matters
pertaining to jnana (realisation) and is never tired of their
29. "His nature is to remain without efforts. Contentment and purity
abide in him. Even the most critical situations do not disturb his
peace of mind.
30. "These are qualities which must be tried for oneself and
verified; they are of no value as tests applied to others, for they
may be genuine or spurious.
31. "An aspirant must first apply the tests to himself and always
prove his own worth; he can then judge others.
32-33. "How can the repeated testing of oneself fail to improve one?
Let one not spend one's time judging others; but let one judge
oneself. Thus one becomes perfect.
34-38. "What have here been called the traits of a Jnani are meant
for one's own use and not for testing others, because they admit of
many modifications according to circumstances. For instance, a Jnani
who has realised the Self with the least effort may continue in his
old ways although his mind is unassailable. He looks like a man of
the world for all practical purposes. How then can he be judged by
others? Nevertheless, one Jnani will know another at sight just as an
expert can appraise precious stones at a glance.
"The Jnanis of the lowest order behave like ignorant men in their
care for their bodies.
39-54. "They have not attained Sahaja Samadhi (samadhi unbroken even
while engaged in work, etc.). They are in the state of Perfection
only when they are calm or composed. They have as much of the body-
sense and enjoy pleasure and pain with as much zest as any animal
when they are not engaged in the investigation of the Self.
"Though they are not always inquiring into the Self, yet there are
periods of the perfect state owing to their previous practice and
experience. All the same, they are emancipated because the animal-
sense is only an aberration during interludes of imperfection and
does not always leave any mark of them. Their aberration is similar
to the ashy skeleton of a piece of burnt cloth which, though
retaining the old shape, is useless. Again, the intervals of
Realisation have an abiding effect on their lives, so that the world
does not continue to enthral them as heretofore. A dye applied to the
border of a cloth 'creeps' and shades the body of the cloth also.
"The middle class of jnanis are never deluded by their bodies.
Delusion is the false identification of 'I' with the body; this never
arises with the more advanced jnanis, namely the middle class among
them. Identification of the Self with the body is attachment to the
body. The middle class of jnanis are never attached to the body.
Their minds are mostly dead because of their long practice and
continued austerities. They are not engaged in work because they are
entirely self-possessed. Just as a man moves or speaks in sleep
without being aware of his actions, so also this class of yogi does
enough work for his minimum requirements without being aware of it.
Having transcended the world, he behaves like a drunken man. But he
is aware of his actions. His body continues on account of his vasanas
(predispositions) and destiny. Jnanis of the highest class do not
identify the Self with the body but remain completely detached from
their bodies. Their work is like that of a charioteer driving the
chariot, who never identifies himself with the chariot. Similarly the
jnani is not the body nor the actor; he is pure intelligence. Though
entirely detached from action within, to the spectator he seems to be
active. Her performs his part like an actor in a drama; and plays
with the world as a parent does with a child.
55-56. "Of the two higher orders of jnanis, the one remains steadfast
through his sustained practice and control of mind, whereas the other
is so on account of the force of his discrimination and
investigation. The difference lies in the merits of their intellect,
I shall now relate to you a story in this connection.
1-4. After Sri Dattatreya had finished, Parasurama asked again
respectfully: "Lord, what further did that Brahmin ask Hemangada and
how did the latter enlighten him? The account is very interesting and
I desire to hear it in full." Then Sri Datta, the Lord of Mercy,
continued the story: Vasuman asked Hemangada as follows:
5-8. "Prince! I shall ask you a question. Please answer me. I learnt
about the Supreme Truth from Ashtaka and later from you. You are a
sage; but still, how is it that you go out hunting? How can a sage be
engaged in work? Work implies duality; wisdom is non-duality; the two
are thus opposed to each other. Please clear this doubt of mine."
Thus requested, Hemangada told the Brahmin as follows:
9-14. "O Brahmin! Your confusion owing to ignorance has not yet been
cleared up. Wisdom is eternal and natural. How can it be contradicted
by work? Should work make wisdom ineffective, how can wisdom be
useful any more than a dream? No eternal good is possible in that
case. All this work is dependent on Self-awareness (i.e., wisdom).
Being so, can work destroy wisdom and yet remain in its absence?
Wisdom is that consciousness in which this world with all its
phenomena and activities is known to be as an image or series of
images; duality essential for work is also a phenomenon in that non-
"There is no doubt that a man realises the Self only after purging
himself of all thoughts, and that he is then released from bondage,
once for all. Your question has thus no basis and cannot be expected
of the wise."
Then the Brahmin continued further:
15-16. "True, O Prince! I have also concluded that the Self is pure,
unblemished Intelligence. But how can it remain unblemished when will
arises in it ? Will is modification of the Self, giving rise to
confusion similar to that of a snake in a coil of rope."
17-26. "Listen, O Brahmin! You do not yet clearly distinguish
confusion from clarity. The sky appears blue to all alike whether
they know that space is colourless or not. Even the one who knows
speaks of the 'blue sky' but is not himself confused. The ignorant
man is confused whereas the man who knows is not. The latter's
seeming confusion is harmless like a snake that is dead. His work is
like images in a mirror. There lies the difference between a sage and
an ignorant man. The former has accurate knowledge and unerring
judgment, whereas the latter has a blurred conception and his
judgment is warped. Knowledge of Truth never forsakes a sage although
he is immersed in work. All his activities are like reflections in a
mirror for, being Self-realised, ignorance can no longer touch him.
"Wrong knowledge due to sheer ignorance can be corrected by true
knowledge; but wrong knowledge due to fault cannot be so easily
corrected. So long as there is myopia, the eyesight will be blurred
and many images of a single object will be seen. Similarly, so long
as there is the prarabdha (residual past karma) unaccounted for, the
manifestation of the world will continue for the Jnani, though only
as a phenomenon. This will also vanish as soon as the prarabdha has
played itself out and then pure, unblemished Intelligence alone will
remain. Therefore I tell you, there is no blemish attached to a Jnani
though he appears active and engaged in worldly duties."
Having heard this, the Brahmin continued to ask:
27. "O Prince! How can there be any residue of past karma in a Jnani?
Does not Jnana burn away all karma as fire does a heap of camphor?"
28-29. Then Hemangada replied: "Listen Brahmin! The three kinds of
karma (1) mature (prarabdha), (2) pending (agami) and (3) in store
(sancita) are common to all - not excluding the Jnani. The first of
these alone remains for the Jnani and the other two are burnt away.
30. "Karma matures by the agency of time; such is divine law. When
mature, it is bound to yield its fruits.
31. "The karma of the one who is active after Self-realisation, is
rendered ineffective by his wisdom.
32. "Karma already mature and now yielding results is called
prarabdha: it is like an arrow already shot from a bow which must run
its course until its momentum is lost."
33-35. "Environments are only a result of prarabdha: notwithstanding
they seem the same for all, Jnanis react to them differently
according to their own stages of realisation.
"Pleasure and pain are apparent to the least among the sages, but do
not leave any mark on them as they do on the ignorant; pleasure and
pain operate on the middle class of sages in the same way; however,
they react only indistinctly to their surroundings, as a man in sleep
does to a gentle breeze or to an insect creeping over him; pleasure
and pain are again apparent to the highest among the sages, who
however look upon them as unreal like a hare growing horns.
36. "The ignorant anticipate pleasure and pain before enjoyment,
recapitulate them after enjoyment, and reflect over them, so that
they leave a strong impression on their minds.
37. "Jnanis of the lowest order also enjoy pleasure and pain like the
ignorant, but their remembrance of such experiences is frequently
broken up by intervals of realisation. Thus the worldly enjoyments do
not leave an impression on their minds.
38. "Jnanis of the middle class, accustomed to control their minds by
long-continued austerities, keep their minds in check even while
enjoying pleasure and pain, and thus their response to the world is
as indistinct as that of a man in sleep to a gentle breeze playing on
him or an ant creeping over his body.
39-41. "Jnanis of the highest order are left untouched for they
always remain as the burnt skeleton of a cloth (retaining its old
shape but useless) after their realisation. Just as an actor is not
really affected by the passions which he displays on the stage, so
also this Jnani, always aware of his perfection, is not affected by
the seeming pleasures and pains which he regards as a mere illusion
like the horns of a hare.
42. "The ignorant are not aware of the pure Self; they see it always
blemished and hence they believe in the reality of objective
knowledge and are therefore affected by the pleasures and pains of
43-49. "As for the lowest order of Jnanis, these realise the Self off
and on, and spells of ignorance overtake them whenever overcome by
their predispositions, they look upon the body as the SELF and the
world as real. They are often able to over-ride the old tendencies,
and thus there is a struggle between wisdom and ignorance - each of
them prevailing alternatively. The Jnani ranges himself on the side
of wisdom and fights against ignorance until falsity is thoroughly
blown out, and truth prevails. Therefore Jnana is indivisible.
50-57. "Forgetfulness of the Self never overtakes a middle class
Jnani and wrong knowledge never possesses him. However he of his own
accord brings out some predispositions from his own depths in order
to maintain his body according to prarabdha. This is the conduct of
an accomplished Jnani.
As for the aspirant, there is no forgetfulness of the Self so long as
he is engaged in practising samadhi. But the accomplished Jnani is
always unforgetful of the Self and picks out his own predispositions
according to his own choice.
"The highest Jnani makes no difference between samadhi and worldly
transactions. He never finds anything apart from the Self and so
there is no lapse for him.
"The middle order Jnani is fond of samadhi and voluntarily abides in
it. There is accordingly a lapse, however slight, when he is engaged
in worldly affairs, or even in the maintenance of his body.
"On the other hand, the Jnani of the highest order involuntarily and
naturally abides in samadhi and any lapse is impossible for him under
"But the Jnani of the middle order or of the highest order has no
tinge of karma left in him because he is in perfection and does not
perceive anything apart from the Self.
How can there be anything of karma left when the wild fire of Jnana
is raging consuming all in its way?
58. "Such karma is only a trick believed to be true by the onlooker.
I shall explain this point further.
59-62. "The state of the Jnani is said to be identical with that of
Siva. There is not the least difference between them. Therefore karma
cannot besmear a Jnani."
"Vasuman had all his doubts cleared by this discourse of Hemangada.
He had a clear understanding of true realisation. Vasuman and the
prince saluted each other and returned to their respective places."
Having heard all this, Parasurama asked Sri Datta still further:
63-65. "Master! I have heard your holy words regarding Realisation
and Wisdom. My doubts are now cleared. I now understand the non-dual
state of abstract consciousness pervading all and abiding in the
Self. Nevertheless, kindly tell me the essence of the whole discourse
in a few words so that I may always remember them."
66-68. Thus requested, Sri Datta again resumed:
"That which abides as the Self is Pure Intelligence Transcendental
being comprised of the aggregate of all the egos in perfection. She
is Self-contained, and fills the role of Maya by virtue of Her own
prowess. Being one without a second. She makes even the impossible
happen and thus displays the Universe as a series of images in a
mirror. I shall now tell you how.
69-71. "She who is transcendence, awareness perfection and total-
summation of all egos, of Her own Will divides Herself into two.
Imperfection is concomitant with such scission; there is bound to be
an insentient phase which represents the aforesaid exterior or
unmanifested void. The sentient phase is Sadashiva Tattva."
72. "Now Sadashiva, also not being perfect, sees the unmanifest void
(i.e., the sentient phase becomes aware of the insentient phase) but
yet knows it to be of Himself - feeling 'I am this also'."
73-90. "Later Sadashiva identifies the insentient phase with His body
at the time of starting Creation. Then he goes by the name Ishvara.
Now this contaminated Higher Ego, namely Ishvara, divides Himself
into the three aspects - Rudra, Vishnu and Brahma (representing the
modes of Ego associated with the three qualities darkness, brightness
and activity) who in their turn manifest the cosmos consisting of
many worlds. Brahmas are innumerable, all of whom are engaged in
creating worlds; Vishnus are equally taken up in protecting the
worlds; and the Rudras in destroying them. This is the way of
creation. But all of them are only images in the grand mirror of
"These are only manifest, but are not concrete, since they have never
"The Supreme Being is always the sum-total of all the egos. Just as
you fill the body and identify yourself with different senses and
organs without deviating from the Ego, so does the transcendental
Pure Intelligence similarly identify itself with all beginning from
Sadashiva and ending with the minutest protoplasm, and yet remains
Again, just as you cannot taste anything without the aid of the
tongue, nor apprehend other things without the aid of other senses or
organs, so also the supreme Being (Sadashiva) acts and knows through
the agency of Brahma, etc., and even of worms. Just as your conscious
Self remains pure and unqualified although it forms the basis of all
the activities of limbs, organs and senses, so also the Supreme
Intelligence is unaffected though holding all the Egos within
Herself. She is not aware of any distinctions in the vastness of the
cosmos nor does She make difference among the Egos.
"In this manner, the Cosmos shines in Her like images in a mirror.
The shining of the Cosmos is due to Her reflection. In the same way,
the individuals in the world, namely you, I, and other seers are all
flashes of Her consciousness. Since all are only phases of Supreme
Intelligence, that alone will shine in purity bereft of taints or
impediments in the shape of objects.
"Just as the shining mirror is clear when images no longer appear in
it, and the same mirror remains untainted even when the images are
reflected in it, so also Pure Intelligence subsists pure and
untainted whether the world is seen or not.
91-92. "This untainted Supreme Intelligence is one without a second
and filled with Bliss, because totally free from the least trace of
unhappiness. The sum-total of all happiness of all the living beings
has taken shape as the Supreme One because She is obviously desired
by all; and she is no other than the Self, which consists of pure
Bliss, because the Self is the most beloved of every being.
93. "For the sake of the Self people discipline their bodies and
subdue their desires; all sensual pleasures are mere sparks of Bliss
inherent in the Self.
94. "For sensual pleasures are similar to a sense of relief felt on
unburdening oneself of a crushing load, or to the peace of sleep.
Pure Intelligence is indeed Bliss because it is the only one sought
95. "People do not recognise the Bliss inhering as their Self,
because of their ignorance. They always associate pleasure with
96-98. "Furthermore, just as images in a mirror are associated with
objects, ignoring the presence of the reflecting surface, but after
consideration are found to be dependent on the mirror and not apart
from it, and the mirror is found to be untainted by the reflected
images, so also the sages know the Self alone to be unique, real and
untainted by its own projections, namely, the world, etc.
99. "The relation of the Cosmos to Pure Intelligence, i.e., abstract
Self, is like that of a pot to earth, or of an ornament to gold, or
of sculpture to the granite rock.
100. "O Parasurama! Denial of the existence of the world does not
amount to perfection. Denial is absurd. For, it implies intelligence,
and intelligence displays itself as the universe.
101. "The intelligence denying or admitting the world is there
shining over all! Can the world be erased out of existence by mere
denial of it?"
102. "Just as the images appear in a mirror and partake of its
nature, so also the Cosmos is of and in the Self, and real inasmuch
as it is the Self."
103-105. "This wisdom in perfection is the realisation of all as the
Self. Intelligence appears as objects by its own virtue, as a mirror
appears as the images on it. This is the whole essence of the
sastras. There is no bondage, no liberation, no aspirant, no process
of attainment. The transcendental Conscious Principle alone subsists
in the three states of being. She remains as the one uniform,
absolute being. She is ignorance; She is wisdom; She is bondage; She
is liberation and She is the process therefor.
106. "This is all that need be known, understood and realised. There
is nothing more. I have told you all in order."
The Sage Harithayana concluded:
107-111. "The man who knows it rightly will never be overtaken by
misery. O Narada! Such is the section on Wisdom, recondite with
reason, subtlety, and experience. Should any one not gain wisdom
after hearing or reading it but continue to wallow in ignorance, he
should be put down as nothing more than a stock or a stone. What hope
is there for him?
"Hearing it even once must make a man truly wise; he is sure to
become wise. Sin or obstruction to wisdom is destroyed by reading it;
wisdom dawns on hearing it. Writing, appreciating and discussing its
contents respectively destroys the sense of duality, purifies the
mind and reveals the abiding Truth.
112. "She goes by the name of Emancipation when clearly and directly
realised by investigation as the one undivided Self of all;
otherwise, She goes by the name of Bondage. She is the one
Consciousness threading the three states of being, but untainted and
unbroken by them. She is the sound, word and the significance of
Thus ends the concluding Chapter in the most Sacred Itihasa Tripura