Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Dnyanadev’s letter to Changdev

Changdev Pasashti or The Ultimate Letter
(The sixty-five verses of Dyanadev’s letter to Changdev)

One of the best exposition of the Mahavakya ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ or ‘That Thou Art’. 
Verses 1-36 are about THAT and the rest about THOU ART.

May the revered Self bless us.
The Self being hidden, the world appears.
On realizing the Self,
 it devours the world.

When the Self appears, the world disappears.
When the Self disappears, the world appears.
Yet the Self never appears or disappears,
It is beyond all these attributes.

The Self only appears to have
become so many diverse forms.
But the Self, an unbroken whole,
knows no becoming.

Just as Gold remains Gold
even after becoming ornaments.
Similarly the Self remains the Self
although appearing to be diversified.

Just as the waves are not
different from the ocean.
Similarly the essential Self and the
apparent existence are not two but one.

Innumerable particles of dust
do not exists independent of the dust.
Similarly the innumerable forms of existence
do not exist independent of the essential Self

The apparent phases of the Moon
do not alter the Moon.
Or as the flame and fire are one,
the apparent world and the Self are one.

Ignorance creates the triad of the
knower, known and knowing in the Self.
Refusing this fragmentation, I look upon
the Self as an unbroken whole.

We fragment through labeling.
Just as clothes are nothing but
cloth which is interwoven thread.
As earthenware pots are nothing but mud.

Thus beyond the triad of knower, known
and knowing lies the Self on its own.
The Self only appears to have become
the triad, although it remains unmodified.

Just as an ornament is a name given
to a particular form of Gold.
Or as apparently different organs
combine to form a single Body.

Thus from the minutest to largest all forms
that appear on the earth owe their ‘Being’
to the Self or the essence,
without which nothing exists.

Just as the apparent paintings on the wall
are actually nothing but the wall only.
Similarly this apparent world of diverse objects
is actually nothing but the Self only.

The sweetness of a lump of sugar does not
depend on its size or number of particles.
Thus the Self gives existence its ‘Being’
regardless of the size or number of objects.

A piece of cloth when folded
appears as a folded entity.
Similarly the Self vibrating in its inherent
inspiration appears as the manifold world.

Free of dichotomy the Self appears as the triad
and stands before itself as the object and subject.
The play of complimentary aspects starts,
but the Self is free from all opposites.

Just as the image in the mirror imparts
objectivity to an object placed in front.
Similarly the objects of the world impart
subjectivity to the Self as a witness.

The Self itself appears as the triad of
interconnected seer, seen and seeing.
It is the holistic pulsation of the Self,
inherently non-dual but apparently dual.

Just as a bundle of thread is thread everywhere,
inside, middle or outside it is thread only.
Similarly the phenomenal world appears to be
made of triads but is only Self everywhere.

The reflected image in a mirror is not
your real face but only a reflection.
So in fact this seeing is meaningless
as you cannot see Reality which is holistic.

Without disturbing its holistic nature the Self
appears as the triad of seer, seen and seeing
in its existential inspiration as the pulsatile ‘I am’.
Thus is the way to recognize the perceptible creation.

It is only when the Self appears as the seen
that the seer and seeing come into being.
Limited vision of the physical eye is unable
to gauge the distance between the seer and seen.

Thus from what has been said so far
in the absence of the seen what
what kind of seeing would be there?
And would a seer exist at all?

Thus, as the seen appears,
seeing and the seer come into being.
And when the seen disappears,
seeing and the seer too disappear.

The one Self itself has become the
triad of seer, seen and seeing.
When all three go the basic Self remains.
The triad is an appearance, the Self is the truth.

Before and after seeing in the mirror
the original face remains the same.
Thus after seeing the image in the mirror
is there any change in the original face?

On seeing the image in the mirror
there arises a feeling of seeing the seen.
But it is only a feeling and not a fact,
thus vision is deluded from the real.

Thus when the world of names and forms
is perceived, let it be understood that
apart from the seen and seeing
it is the Self watching itself as all.

Sound exists prior to creation by musical instruments.
Fire exists prior to creation by burning wood.
Similarly the Self exists on its own, prior to
appearance as the triad of phenomenal existence.

Such is the Ultimate Self which has no name,
nor are there any means to know it.
It’s only there as the undivided
and eternally existent Reality.

The eye has the ability to see
yet it can never possibly see itself.
Similarly the knowledgeable Self cannot see itself.
The Self is eternal, all knowing and complete.

There is no ignorance at all in the Self,
so how can there be any self-knowledge as well?
The Self being all knowing knowledge itself,
so how can it be an object to be known?

Thus Oh Changdev! Silence is the only means
of knowing That which naturally is everything.
To ‘Be’ without becoming anything
is the only way to be possessed by the Self.

Just as the multitude of waves are water only,
similarly the various branches of knowledge
or Holy scriptures all point towards the
one single eternal and  ever established Self.

There is no duality in the Self or Ultimate principle.
The self-evident Self stands alone with no second.
The Self perceives itself only everywhere,
it’s like Divinity perceiving Divinity.

The Self has no cause for its being.
The Self perceives itself devoid of triads.
The Self enjoys itself without any object.
The Self stands alone in its own glory.

Listen Oh Changdev! You are the son the Self,
like a detached particle of camphor has all
the essentials of the original camphor piece.
Now listen how you and me are not two but one.

Thus, Dyanadev says, our meeting
or talking to each other is like
the lower hand or palm embracing itself.
Such sort of embracing is meaningless.

Like spoken words listening to themselves,
like taste  experiencing taste,
like light watching light,
thus is our interaction to be understood.

Gold acting like a touchstone on gold,
or like the face becoming a mirror to see itself,
such is the dialogue between me and
you Changdev, both being verily the Self.

Sweetness trying to taste sweetness is
meaningless and an exercise in futility.
Therefore our mutual affection too is meaningless.
It’s like loving myself and so for you as well.

Oh friend Changdev! How much I long to meet you.
But if we meet physically our self-evident
internal unity  would get disturbed and
that’s why I fear meeting you in person.

Oh Changdev! The moment I wish to meet you
my being dissolves in the Self and
it’s only the Self everywhere and nothing else.
Thus all overt meetings become meaningless.

All the dichotomies like action-inaction,
talk or no talk, imagination or no imagination,
do not exist in your true being or Self
and hence they now cannot emerge.

Oh Changdev! In your true being or Self
there is no doing or non-doing.
What more can I say? The moment I think of you
my I-ness completely dissolves.

When salt tries to measure
the depth of the ocean,
the salt itself gets dissolved.
Then how can it measure the depth?

In same way when I try to understand your
true being or Self, I start dissolving myself.
We become one with no differences at all,
so in what way can I imagine you to be?

If an awakened one wishes to see himself asleep,
he cannot do it, so he misses seeing himself.
Similarly when I tried to see you Changdev
I myself disappeared and only the Self remained.

Even if you are placed in total darkness
the feeling ‘I am’ is always there.
Similarly nothing can eliminate the Self,
it’s always there in its own right.

In searching for you I derived the benefit
of the Self and in the process both
you and me disappeared and merged
as one in the naturally established state.

The function of the eye is to
see a variety of objects it confronts.
Despite of seeing so many things,
the unity of the eye remains unaltered.

In the same way, though we have
communicated with each other,
it has in no way disturbed
the unity of our Self.

The apparent ‘you’ and ‘me’ now merged
in the Self  only awaits a token physical meeting.
Let us experience the joy of the Self
through this communication again and again.

Just as the one relishing good food
likes to taste it again and again.
Or on the pretext of seeing the mirror
one likes to see his reflection again and again.

Although words have served as evidence for the
self-evident Self, they are words of silence.
These words have composed the glory of
our meeting which was everlastingly always there.

Just as the lamp sees its own being
with the help of its own light,
similarly recognize your true being or Self
with knowledge of the Self imparted to you.

Please understand what I wish to convey
and recognize the nature of the undivided Self.
Then you shall realize our meeting is superfluous
as we already exist as an unity in the Self.

At the time of floods it’s water everywhere,
all differences like river, tributaries, lake, just vanish.
Be like that, give up all differences
and abide as the Self everywhere.

Dyanadev says, Oh Changdev! Drop all these
labels that you have attached to your ‘being’.
Stripped of all these labels what remains
is the ‘real you’, know this and be happy.

Thus Oh Changdev! I tell you again and again,
when the grandeur of Self-knowledge comes home
you transcend the triad of knower-known-knowing
and get established on the throne of perfection.

Oh Changdev! My Guru Sri Nivirittinath
has been very kind and blessed you
with this delicious sweet of Self-knowledge.
It has been bestowed with great love and affection.

Now, both Dyanadev and Changdev loaded with
Self-knowledge are like mirrors facing each other.
They are watching each other and in the process,
completely losing all separation and merging into one.

The one who looks upon these verses
as a mirror onto his Self would certainly
benefit from the Self-knowledge therein
and enjoy the bliss being Parabrahman.

The Self being free from all attributes
is very difficult to comprehend.
It cannot be seen or known in anyway.
The Self can only be known by being the Self.

The Self is beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep.
Live by devouring your present waking state.
Dyanadev says, such is the garland of these
Sixty-five verses with the fragrance Self-knowledge. 

1275 CE


Gratitude to:
Pradeep Apte