Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bĥaratī Tīrtha - An Inquiry Into The Nature of the Seer and the Seen

Belur, Karnataka – photo by Vikram Zutshi
Belur, Karnataka – photo by Vikram Zutshi


 An Inquiry Into The Nature of the Seer and the Seen,
the Way of Inquiry and the Nature of Truth

Attributed to Bâratī Tīrtha (ca. 1350 ce)

Translation by Richard Miller, PhD

Editor’s note:

The Dŗg-Dŗśya-Viveka contains 46 slokas performing an inquiry into the distinction between the “seer” (Dŗg) and the “seen” (Dŗśya),an overview of samadhi, centering on savikalpa and nirvikalpa, and the identity of Atman and Brahman. Although also attributed to Shankara, the text is most commonly attributed to Bĥaratī Tīrtha (ca. 1350 ce.)

1. All objects are perceived by the senses. The senses are, in turn, perceived by the mind. The mind, in turn, is a movement that unfolds in Awareness. Awareness is not perceived by any other structure. It is its own perceiving.

2. The objects perceived by the senses appear to be constantly changing, while the senses, which perceive them, appear to be stable and unchanging.

3. On close inspection, however, the senses are realized to be constantly changing, while the mind, which perceives these changes, appears to be stable and unchanging.

4. Upon close inspection, however, the mind is seen to be constantly changing. The constantly changing mind can be seen due to the unchanging nature of Awareness.

5. Awareness is unchanging and ever-present, while all changing phenomena arise within unchanging awareness.

6. The sense of ‘I’, which arises within the mind, takes itself to be conscious.

7. The sense of ‘I’ appears to be conscious because it has identified itself with Awareness, within which it arises.

8. The sense of ‘I’ identifies itself with Awareness, as a result of three factors: 1) the movement of the mind within Awareness; 2) the movement of thought within the mind; and 3) ignorance of Awareness as the underlying essence.

9. The misperception of the sense of ‘I’ as conscious ceases upon the realization of the existence of Awareness.

10. During waking and sleeping, the I-thought believes in the notion of being a separate self. But during deep sleep, the belief in being a separate self disappears.

11. The I-thought is but a modification that arises within the mind. The mind, identified with its own movement of I-ness, imagines an externalized world because of its association with the sensory organs, which, like the mind, are but modifications that arise within Awareness.

12. “Who am I”, “What am I”, “Where am I”, “When am I”, “How am I”, “How is this world created”, and “Who is its creator?” This is the way of inquiry as to what is the ultimate truth.

13. “I have a body but I am more than this body”, “The body is comprised of the five elements but I am more than these five elements”, “I have these five senses and mind, but I am more than these five senses and mind.” This is the way of inquiry as to what is the ultimate truth.

14. The misperception of separation dissolves when, through inquiry, separation is discovered to be only the product of the mind’s identification with its own thoughts, especially the thought ‘I’.

15. Identification with the belief of separation gives rise to limited understanding. Limited understanding creates a veil wherein the mind splits unitive Awareness into two: an internal perceiver that believes itself to be separate, and a perceived separate external world.

16. The mind splits unitive Awareness into perceiver and perceived. The perceiver, which is only a thought, then identifies with the belief that it is an empirical self, separate from a perceived external world, which again, is only a projection of the mind.

17. Misperception arises when the mind identifies with its own movement of thought and projects the belief that it is a separate self. The mind believes itself to be a perceiver who is separate from what it perceives. When the mind awakens to this misperception, the belief in being a separate self disappears. What was all along non-existent is re-cognized to be non-existent.

18. Awareness is conceptually divided by the mind into perceiver and perceived, subject and object. The division of subject and object is misperceived by the mind to be real.

19. When essential nature, Awareness, is realized, all division is understood to be only the product of the mind as thought.

20. Every object is composed of five elements. These elements appear to exist as separate phenomenal aspects, but in reality are not separate from their homeground, which is Awareness. The first three – space, air and fire – resemble Awareness, while the latter two – water and earth – appear more solid.

21. The five elements make things appear as separate and different. Yet everything – earth, water, fire, air and space – which come together to form everything animate and inanimate – nature, animals, humans and even the Gods – arise in and are not separate from Awareness.

22. Name and form are merely concepts, thoughts. But, they can serve as pointers back to Awareness in which they arise. When Awareness re-cognized and awakens to Itself, there is uninterrupted abiding as Awareness even as name and form continue to arise.

23. There are two types of concentration, which may be practiced in order to realize the ultimate truth of nondual Awareness: 1) object-centered concentration; and 2) objectless concentration. The former may be divided into two types: 1) concentration that is associated with thought, and 2) concentration associated with sound.

24. All movements that arise in the mind are to be treated as objects.

25. “I am Being-Awareness-Bliss, unattached, self-luminous and free of separation.” This understanding is known as inquiry in which ideas are present (sâvikalpa samâdhi).

Inquiry in which the mind is free of distractions and attachment to objects of the senses and mind is known as freedom from thoughts ( nirvikalapa samâdhi). A mind that is free of thoughts is steady like the unflickering flame of a lamp that resides in a place free from the wind. Here, there is indifference to all changing objects on account of the complete absorption in the Being-Awareness-Bliss that accompanies Awareness awakening to Itself.


 27. All objects, whether perceived as external or internal, arise in unconditioned Awareness. All objects are pointers to Awareness, which is revealed when the mind’s fascination with objects is relinquished.

28. True nature is unconditioned, unchanging and unlimited by space, time, name or form. Uninterrupted inquiry upon Awareness, in which every object arises, reveals the unconditioned, unchanging and unlimited nature of Awareness.

29. The mind remains undistracted by arising objects when the unconditioned, unchanging, and unlimited nature of Awareness is recognized. Then one awakens to the pure being, bliss, and equanimity of Awareness. When absorption in Awareness is steady and uninterrupted for a long time (nirvikalpa samâdhi), establishment in non-separate Awareness is close at hand. Inquire through the six stages of absorption (samâdhi), which give rise to awakening to the truth of non-separate Awareness.

30. All external and internal objects are changing: world, body, senses and mind. All changing objects appear and disappear in unchanging Awareness. When the understanding of essential nature as unchanging Awareness arises, identification with changing objects ceases. Through meditative inquiry all objects are realized to be expressions of, and therefore not separate from, unchanging Awareness. Constant abiding in this realization of the truth of Oneness reveals that everything is only an expression of unchanging Awareness.

31. Constant abiding as Awareness dissolves all misperceptions. Then, the heart opens, all doubts are resolved, suffering ceases and there is liberation from the notion of being a separate self.

32. “What is the nature of the separate self?” When Awareness is realized to be all that there is – that Awareness is ultimate Reality – the separate self is realized to be only a mental concept. The individual sense of self only appears to be separate and limited because of the way the mind categorizes and conceptualizes perceptions. This misperception of the I-self as a separate and limited individual occurs both in the waking and dream state.

33. The belief of separation, which engenders the notions of confusion, imperfection and limitation, is based on the mental misperception of the mind, which takes itself to be a separate self. But Awareness is ever free of division. It is always whole and undivided, being devoid of parts or separation. Ultimate reality is omnipresent, unlimited, complete, timeless and all pervasive under all circumstances and at all times.

The notion of separation and limitation are merely thoughts produced by the mind that arise in Awareness. The notion of being a separate, limited and finite self arises as a mental-emotional perception because of the mind’s projection of, and identification with the felt-sense of limitation. When the projections of the mind are traced back to their origin, the notion of separation is healed, misperception ceases, and separation dissolves as the unreal notion that it is.

34. Awareness is whole and without parts. Statements such as “Thou are That”, “That thou art”, “I am pure Awareness”, “This Self is pure Awareness”, “Pure Awareness is what everything is”, Pure Awareness is unknowable”, and “I am That unknowable”, reflect the truth of nondual Awareness. The notion of being separate, finite and limited is not found in either the descriptions or realization of essential nature.

35. The illusion of separation, which is brought about by the two aspects of projection and concealment, arise within and are not separate from Awareness. The experience of separation appears to divide and limit the indivisible and unlimited nature of Awareness and makes it appear as the world of separate objects and embodied separate I-selves.

36. The mind fallaciously appears to perform various actions as well as enjoys their results in the erroneous form of a separate individual. The mind divides what is not-two into a universe of separate objects of enjoyment, which consist of various combinations of the five elements.

37. The sense of being a separate I-self who experiences a separate universe has existed since the beginning of time. Time is a creation of the dividing mind that splits what is timeless into the notion of past, present and future. The notion of being a separate self who is aware of a separate universe has only empirical existence, is only conceptual and remains true only until awakening as Awareness. Both self and world are not separate from Awareness and are cognized to be real only as long as the mind projects, identifies with, and believes in the notion of separation.

38. As long as the belief in separation exists, the notion of causality exists. The mind projects the existence of the individual in the waking state and then imagines it afresh in the sleep and dream states.

39. The individual and world that are cognized in the dream state are illusory. When dreaming ends the dream self and all dream objects are realized to be merely products of the dreaming mind.

40. While the dream self believes that the dream world is real, the waking self believes that the dream world is unreal and the waking world is real. But both these selves are only passing projections of the mind, ephemeral concepts that come and go in Awareness, which is the underlying reality, devoid of separate selves.

41. The self believes that the world is real. But this empirical world is unreal, as it disappears during deep sleep. The three worlds of waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep are ephemeral appearances. The real Self, Awareness, underlies, and therefore transcends the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep.

42. When Awareness is realized to be the underling Reality behind all states, the world of objects are realized to be merely reflections of Awareness.

43-44. The qualities of water such as wetness, fluidity, coldness, sweetness, wave and foam are inherent in water and are not separate from water except as conceptual names and forms. So also Being, Consciousness, Peace and Bliss, which are the natural characteristics of Awareness, appear to be inherent in the so-called separate selves that reside in the waking and dream states.

From the relative standpoint wetness, foam, waves, fluidity, coldness and sweetness appear as separate qualities of water; so, too, do I-selves and objects appear to be separate qualities of Awareness. From the standpoint of Awareness there are no waking or dream selves that are separate from Awareness. The characteristics of a separate self and a separate world are merely superimpositions upon undifferentiated Awareness.

45. All differences like, wetness, foam, wave, coldness, fluidity and sweetness are non-separate characteristics of the underlying essence of water. The characteristics of water have no existence separate from the water from which they arise. All these characteristics appear and disappear in water. All characteristics of water are only aspects of their essential nature, water.

46. Upon waking up from the dream state, all characteristics of the dreamer, such as existence and consciousness, dissolve and are realized to be only projections of the dreaming mind. Just so, upon awakening, all separate characteristics of the self dissolve, and are realized to be only projections of nondual Awareness. As foam and wave have no existence separate from water, so also the entire universe consisting of the separate self and the objective world have no existence separate from nondual Awareness. In truth, all that exists is nondual Awareness.


Dr. Richard C. Miller

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