Vedanta For Beginners
By Sri Swami Sivananda, Founder of The Divine
BASICS OF VEDANTA
- The fourfold Antahkarana or the internal organ: Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (memory or subconscious), Ahamkara (egoism).
- There are three bodies or Shariras: Sthoola-Sharira (gross physical body), Sukshma or Linga-Sharira (subtle body), Karana-Sharira (causal body).
- There are five Koshas or sheaths covering the Jiva: Annamaya (food sheath), Pranamaya (vital sheath), Manomaya (mental sheath), Vijnanamaya (intellectual sheath), Anandamaya (bliss-sheath).
- There are six Bhava-Vikaras or modifications of the body: Asti (existence), Jayate
(birth), Vardhate (growth), Viparinamate (change), Apakshiyate (decay), Vinashyati (death).
- There are five gross elements: Akasha (sky), Vayu (air), Agni (fire), Apah (water),
- There are five Upa-pranas or subsidiary vital airs: Naga, Kurma, Krikara, Devadatta,
- There are six Urmis or waves (of the ocean of Samsara): Shoka (grief), Moha (confusion or delusion), Kshut (hunger), Pipasa (thirst), Jara (decay or old age), Mrityu (death).
- There are six Vairis or enemies: Kama (passion), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha
(infatuation or delusion or confusion), Mada (pride), Matsarya (jealousy).
- Maya is twofold: Vidya (knowledge), Avidya (ignorance).
- Vidya or knowledge is twofold: Para (higher), Apara (lower).
- Avasthas or states of consciousness are three: Jagrat (waking), Svapna (dreaming),
Sushupti (deep sleep).
- Saktis are two: Avarana (veil), Vikshepa (distraction).
- Jnana-Bhumikas or degrees of knowledge are seven: Subheccha, Vicharana,
Tanumanasi, Sattvapatti, Asamsakti, Padarthabhavana, Turiya.
- Ajnana-Bhumikas or degrees of ignorance are seven: Bija-Jagrat, Jagrat, Maha-Jagrat,
Jagrat-Svapna, Svapna, Svapna-Jagrat, Sushupti.
- The nature of Atman or Brahman is threefold: Sat (existence), Chit (consciousness),
- The Granthis or knots of the heart are three: Avidya (ignorance), Kama (desire), Karma (action).
- The defects of the Jiva are three: Mala (impurity), Vikshepa (distraction), Avarana (veil
- The Vrittis or modes of the mind are two: Vishayakara-Vritti (objective psychosis),
Brahmakara-Vritti (Infinite Psychosis).
- Gunas or qualities of Prakriti are three: Sattva (light and purity), Rajas (activity and
passion), Tamas (darkness and inertia).
- The Puris consisting the subtle body are eight: Jnana-Indriyas, Karma-Indriyas,
Pranas, Antahkarana, Tanmatras, Avidya, Kama, Karma.
- Karmas are three: Sanchita, Prarabdha, Agami.
- The nature of a thing is fivefold: Asti, Bhati, Priya, Nama, Rupa.
- Bhedas or differences are three: Svagata, Sajatiya, Vijatiya.
- Lakshanas or definitions of the nature of Brahman are two: Svarupalakshana,
- Dhatus or constituents of the body are seven: Rasa, (chyle), Asra (blood), Mamsa
(flesh), Medas (fat), Asthi (bone), Majja (marrow), Shukla (semen).
- There are four states of the Jnani: Brahmavit, Brahmavidvara, Brahmavidvariyan,
- Anubandhas or matters of discussion (themes) in Vedanta are four: Adhikari (fit
aspirant), Vishaya (subject), Sambandha (connection), Prayojyna (fruit or result).
- Bhavanas or imaginations of the mind are three: Samshayabhavana (doubt), Asambhavana (feeling of impossibility), Viparitabhavana (perverted or wrong thinking).
- Malas or impurities of the mind are thirteen: Raga, Dvesha, Kama, Krodha, Lobha,
Moha, Mada, Matsarya, Irshya, Asuya, Dambha, Darpa, Ahamkara.
- Kleshas or worldly afflictions are five: Avidya, (ignorance), Asmita (egoism), Raga
(love), Dvesha (hatred), Abhinivesha (clinging to body and earthly life).
- Taapas or sufferings are three: Adhidaivika, Adhibhautika, Adhyatmika.
- Pramanas or proofs of knowledge are six: Pratyaksha (perception), Anumana
(inference), Upamana (comparison), Agama (scripture), Arthapatti (presumption), Anupalabdhi (non-apprehension).
- Minds are two: Ashuddha (impure), Shuddha (pure).
- Meditations are two: Saguna, Nirguna.
- Muktas are two: Jivanmukta, Videhamukta.
- Muktis are two: Krama-Mukti, Sadyo-Mukti.
- Samadhis are two: Savikalpa, Nirvikalpa.
- Jnana is twofold: Paroksha (indirect), Aparoksha (direct).
- Prakriti is twofold: Para, Apara.
- Apara Prakriti is eightfold: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, Mind, Intellect, Egoism.
- Prasthanas or the regulated texts of Vedanta are three: Upanishads (Shruti),
Brahmasutras (Nyaya), Bhagavad-Gita (Smriti).
- There are two varieties of Granthas or Texts: Pramana-Granthas, Prameya-Granthas.
The texts are again divided into two sections: Prakriya-Granthas and Shastra-Granthas.
- Eshanas or desires are three: Daraishana (desire for wife), Vittishana (desire for wealth), Lokaishana (desire for this world and the other world).
- Species of beings are four: Jarayuja (born of womb), Andaja (born of egg), Svedaja
(born of sweat), Udbhijja (born of earth).
- The sentinels to the door of salvation are four: Santi (peace), Santosha (contentment), Vichara (enquiry or ratiocination), Satsanga (company of the wise).
- States of the mind are five: Kshipta (distracted), Mudha (dull), Vikshipta (slightly
distracted), Ekagra (concentrated), Niruddha (inhibited).
- Gates of the body are nine: Two ears, two eyes, mouth, nose, navel, genital, anus.
- Avarana-Sakti is twofold: Asattva-Avarana, Abhana-Avarana.
- Vikshepa-Sakti is threefold: Kriyasakti, Icchasakti, Jnanasakti.
- Satta or existence is of three varieties: Paramarthika (absolutely real), Vyavaharika
(phenomenal), Pratibhasika (apparent or illusory).
- Knowledge is of two varieties: Svarupajnana (knowledge of the essential nature),
Vrittijnana (psychological or intellectual knowledge).
- Obstacles to Samadhi are four: Laya (torpidity), Vikshepa (distraction), Kashaya
(attachment), Rasasvada (enjoyment of objective happiness).
- The nature of the cosmic person (Isvara) is threefold: Virat, Hiranyagarbha, Isvara.
- The nature of the individual person (Jiva) is threefold: Vishva, Taijasa, Prajna.
- Cognition is effected through two factors: Vritti-Vyapti (pervasion of the psychosis),
Phala-Vyapti (pervasion of the result or consciousness).
- The meaning of the Tat-Tvam-Asi Mahavakyas is twofold: Vachyartha (literal
meaning), Lakshyartha (indicative meaning).
- Vedantic enquiry is practised through the methods of: Anvaya-Vyatireka, Atadvyavritti, Neti-neti doctrine, Adhyaropa-Apavada, Nyayas (illustrations), etc.
- The meaning of the great dictum Tat-Tvam-Asi is ascertained through the considerations of Jahadajahallakshana or Bhagatyaga-lakshana, Samanadhikarana, Visheshanavisheshyabhava, Lakshya-lakshanasambandha.
- The important Vedas in Vedanta are: Vivartavada, Ajativada, Drishti-Srishtivada, Srishti-Drishtivada, Avacchedavada, Pratibimbavada, Ekajivavada, Anekajivavada, bhasavada.
- Vedantic Contemplation is threefold: Sravana, Manana, Nididhyasana.
Twenty-four Tattvas or Principles of the manifestation of Mula Prakriti:
- The five Tanmatras or rudimentary principles of the elements: Sabda (sound), Sparsha
- (touch), Rupa (form or colour), Rasa (taste), Gandha (smell).
- The five Jnana-Indriyas or organs of perception: Shrotra (ear), Tvak (skin), Chakshus (eye),
- Jihva (tongue), Ghrana (nose).
- The five Karma-Indriyas or organs of action: Vak (speech), Pani (hand), Pada (feet),
- Upastha (genital), Payu (anus).
- The five Pranas or vital forces: Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, Vyana.
Lingas or signs of a perfect exposition or a text are six:
- Upakarma-Upasamhara-Ekavakyata: Unity of thought in the beginning as well as in the end;
- Abhyasa (reiteration or repetition);
- Apurvata (novelty or uncommon nature of the proof);
- Phala (fruit of the teaching);
- Arthavada (eulogy, praise or persuasive expression);
- Upapatti or Yukti (illustration or reasoning).
Sadhana is fourfold:
- Viveka (discrimination);
- Vairagya (dispassion);
- Shad-Sampat (six virtues)—(i) Shama (tranquillity of mind), (ii) Dama (self-restraint or control of the senses), (iii) Uparati (cessation from worldly activity), (iv) Titiksha (fortitude or power of endurance), (v) Shraddha (faith in God, Guru, Scriptures and Self), (vi) Samadhana (concentration or one-pointedness of mind);
- Mumukshuttva (yearning for liberation).
Hari Om Tat Sat
Yours Truly Hari