Science of the Absolute







When the ends and means of a full knowledge of the Absolute are thought of as participating with each other through the reasoning process we have the result called awareness. The Self and the non-Self, here treated dualistically, have a more intimate homogeneous parity between them. The resulting awareness is a process linking the two counterparts in terms of intuitive thought, producing various positive, negative or neutral states of consciousness.


Reasoning covers the same ground in a more mechanistic, conceptual and positivistic context. Positivism has to presuppose its negative counterpart; otherwise the term will have no precise meaning. The steps of ratiocination mark out the gap between the goal to be attained by thinking and the mechanical means available to thinking man. There are an infinite number of stages whereby the reasoning process moves inductively forward or deductively backward through syllogistic thinking and logical argumentation. The process becomes very complicated when all the halting places between the a priori and a posteriori aspects of thought are given separate recognition. Dialectical thinking abolishes these intermediary steps in favour of a purer intuitive process where the extremities of higher or lower value counterparts are brought unitive together.


All these subjects belong to epistemology. We have called this chapter "Awareness" (1) because the term correctly refers to the neutral attitude proper to the context of the Science of the Absolute. Every type of reasoning is meant to agree with its purpose. In educational psychology the type of reasoning depends upon whether an idealistic, pragmatic, natural or negative result in the education of a child is desired. The proper methods vary according to the purpose. Here, however, it is easy to see that the end is the attainment of the wisdom of the Absolute.

Generally it is taken for granted that such a high aim, by its abstraction and generalization of content, abolishes all need for thinking in terms of any recognized active or passive type of intermediate reasoning. A flight of the alone to the Alone need not be marked out with any stopping places. Ends and means are abolished and the content and principle merge with each other. Although this is fully accepted by Narayana Guru, he also indicates the main intermediate phases of this two-sided process. Like the two sides of a coin or the two aspects of consciousness placed back to back, the Self and the non-Self are treated side by side or together while passing from more positive to more negative points within the total range.

We saw how Maya and its negative incertitude still had to be countered by a positive appeal from the instrument to the highest value in the previous chapter. Here this one-sidedness is not in evidence. In terms of pure reason the counterparts come together more intimately to fuse or participate with each other, yielding a unitive awareness comparable to the white glow of wisdom without any alternating mystical emotion or vibration. The unitive treatment of the counterparts is always kept in mind by Narayana Guru in each and every chapter of this series of visions. According to the normative content under reference in each chapter, different words or expressions pertaining to the Science of the Absolute are meant to be integrated here. Narayana Guru proposes to bring them together in every chapter so as to make of them a homogeneous methodology and epistemology without contradiction or gap between the concepts employed. For this reason we find usual logical terms such as perception (pratyaksha) used side by side with terms implying dialectical notions belonging to the final intuition of the Absolute.


Awareness is thus treated in a direct and simple manner without too much activity or passivity in its operations. It refers to a uniform value present from beginning to end, irrespective of the subjectivity or objectivity which generally divides reasoning into idealist or realist schools of philosophy. These different schools are so numerous that it is impossible to bring all of them into one inclusive group except by a Science of the Absolute where such a generalization is legitimate and advantageous.


We notice that the treatment by Narayana Guru keeps the positive and negative aspects of reason together in each verse so as to pass from the extreme limits of reasoning at the plus side of the vertical axis and by an imperceptible and graded descent to arrive at the negative limit proper to its total range. This is where Narayana Guru attains to an equation of the Self with the non-Self through the use of the same Upanishadic dictum found in the last verse of the fifth Chapter, sad-eva tat (the existent is even that). Here he bridges the gap between the ontological existent and its subsistent counterpart.



Science as we have said at the very beginning, seeks certitude. Absolute awareness in the total context of reason must contain all the elements of certitude needed for making our inquiry of truth fully scientific. It is the global approach, taken as a whole and without getting lost in its ramifications, that can lay bare the main lines of scientific reasoning in the context of the Absolute. No kind of reasoning need be excluded from its scope; but we should not lose sight of the forest because of the trees. In so far as they can be fitted into a total whole, structural details should be included and given their legitimate place. Such details of logical or even syllogistic reasoning, yielding only a feeble degree of truth may, however, be profitably left out. The same holds true for quibbling, equivocation and eristic and sophistic argumentation serving no fruitful purpose. Verbosity should also be minimized.


To avoid error in thinking, the main structural features should be kept in mind. The choice between the innumerable possibilities and a singular impossibility on the converse side should be envisaged together. In guiding human thought between the experimental and axiomatic poles of the total knowledge-situation, empirical control, rational method, critical scrutiny and intuition in matters of pure possibility must all cooperate together. In this chapter Narayana Guru presents his case for logic in his own way. He neither includes all the elements of logical reasoning known in the West, nor all those known in India. Instead he applies the principle of elimination of the extraneous with a drastic love of order and simplicity.


Syllogistic reasoning in the context of Aristotelian logic has a certain element of feeble certitude when it proceeds deductively from the general to the particular or inductively from the particular to the general. From starting premises or postulates allowing for incertitude in themselves, the major, minor and middle terms, when properly manipulated, can prove many things that are highly questionable. Such a logical approach is only a feeble instrument for a fully scientific method of reasoning.


There are two verses in the "Atmopadesa Satakam" (28-29) confirming the same standpoint in respect of ratiocination caught between the full certitude of the a priori and the axiomatic and the a posteriori and experimental. There is a no man's land between these two certitudes: the former being either ascending or descending dialectics and the latter of an apodictic nature. Narayana Guru honours almost all such intermediate forms of reasoning by their omission from his own enumerated list of norms of awareness or certitude. For the purposes of a Science of the Absolute, feeble certitude is not good enough for him. We read in these two verses (28 & 29) this clear statement of what constitutes proper certitude:

"Bereft of bottom as of top from bottom to the crest
What transparent awareness has, turiya consciousness that is.
The inert no knowledge has! What it cogitating tells

From in-between, is no knowledge at all, do mark.
The inert, no awareness can have, awareness no cogitation needs
Nor does it hold discourse; knowing awareness to be all
And giving up all, transparency of spirit one gains,
And in body bonds confined, one suffers nevermore indeed!"



At the end of the last chapter it was indicated that the wise man was one whose Self was eternally lifted above all action belonging to the world of things and their relations. It was further pointed out that such a Self was not ultimately real, but had only a superimposed status like the false lustre of mother-of-pearl, Instrumentalism has the end result of revealing such a hypostatic Self. In this chapter, Self-knowledge is again extolled and referred to as the means of complete Self-absorption in the Absolute reached in the last chapter. It is further to be noticed that awareness belongs to the context of consciousness, and it is natural to suspect that it has already been comprised within the fifth chapter.


But the "awareness" of the present chapter is not mere consciousness. It has to be given its proper place among the other chapters where it is also treated as serving as the means of attaining the highest goal of wisdom. The very fact that it comes after action, which is a positive state of mind, needs some explanation. Reason is always to be given a higher place than action. Here we have the indication given in the Bhagavad Gita (XII.12) where we find a gradation of items starting with abhyasa (practice) and ending with santi (peace). We read as follows:

"Better indeed is knowledge than practice; than knowledge meditation is superior; than meditation, renunciation of the benefits of action - after renunciation - peace". (2)

An ontological study of consciousness in its double aspect where the instrument and its activity are more intimately brought together and a more functional treatment of the same as a white glow of pure reason, is what distinguishes this chapter from Chapter 5.


We have to consider here the position occupied by pure reason in this scheme as seen in the graded series presented by the Gita above. The chapters of the second half of this work respect the same principle that underlies this gradation. To miss the over-all structure is to miss the true import of the chapters to follow for which it supplies the key. Immortality is promised by means of the wisdom of the Self. This is underlined in Verse 3 by Narayana Guru in order to direct our attention to the perspective proper to wisdom of the highest order and not merely to ordinary reason and intelligence.


We have already explained how even works like the Brahma Sutras with Sankara´s commentary give ample room for ambiguity of interpretation in the name of a higher and a lower brahman (Absolute). A correct student might often feel as if he is sitting in a carriage swaying from one side of the road to the other. The speculation of Sankara moves between two alternating positions and rarely reaches finality. Such a postulation of two Absolutes, para and apara, can only detract from Sankara's own pure advaita (non-duality) and causes much confusion to those who try to follow him. The Bhagavad Gita (VI. 46) is a successful revaluation of such ambiguities arising in the commentaries on the Brahma Sutras. It introduces the important concept of yoga (dialectical unification) as a linking device bridging the duality between the rival positions by treating them as dialectical counterparts instead of as contradictory positions.
We read:

"The yogi is greater than men of austerity, and he is thought to be greater than men of wisdom and greater than men of works; therefore become a yogi, 0 Arjuna" (3)

Wisdom unilaterally conceived as the end result of spiritual aspiration loses itself in the world of mere effects. It is the aim of Yoga to equate causes with effects in the name of a neutral or central wisdom properly belonging to the context of the Absolute, with a dialectical reason and not just any reason unilaterally conceived. In the ninth chapter on Yoga, Narayana Guru revalues Patanjali Yoga where ends and means are kept apart and the final attainment of spiritual aloneness (kaivalya) is still vitiated by some duality. In spite of the efforts of commentators on the "Yoga Sutras" like Vyasa and Bhoja Raja, there lingers a persistent duality which the method of Advaita can abolish and banish completely. We shall come to this question in due time.


Even here it is important to recognize in advance this subtle distinction between a dualistic and a unitive approach so that major errors in the understanding of the final teaching of this work as a whole may be avoided. We shall therefore approach the question of pure reason in this unitive way in both the Prologue and Epilogue, referring to Kant, Hegel, Plato and others in the former and to Buddhism and other Indian sources in the latter section.



In a series of articles (4) already published by us we have traveled from the notion of empirical human understanding to the methodic approach of the speculative reasoning of Rationalism. This critical approach belongs to Kant where it touches an epoch-making phase in European thought. We have traced this impetus of thought further onwards into the present century where it has suffered a setback, lapsing into ways of instrumentalist thought prolonged on the lines of evolutionism such as that of Bergson and others.


This same impetus has finally been followed up into the philosophy of modern physics, touching its latest developments in Eddington's structuralism, subjectivism and selectionism, implying a full epistemological revision of the philosophy of science. Eddington for the first time was bold enough to say: "it is the concept that matters". In physics a direct relation to physical objects only is normally to be supposed, but with this admission of concepts, a philosophy of science may be said now to have joined hands with speculative philosophy proper or metaphysics itself.
We are interested in Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" because his contribution to Western thought reveals for the first time the possibility of innate ideas. His particular way of using the a priori method of synthesis as included in the scope of pure reason is another contribution of Kant´s.


We have also to think of the acceptance of the conceptual by modern physicists after Einstein in order to keep in view the whole scope of modern thought from the scepticism of David Hume to the absolutism of Hegel which touches belief once again. The constant use by Kant of the term "transcendental" is evidence of the same point of belief, although in his eagerness to remain a critical philosopher he prefers to be called a critic, with doubting as a natural starting point, rather than a believer in the usual theological sense.

Scepticism and belief mark the extremities of modern thought which in Kant's Pure Reason fully reveal the two-sided affiliation to the antinomies, such as immanent-transcendent, phenomenal-noumenal, synthetic-analytic, a priori - a posteriori, etc. They all belong together "architectonically" to a total or global schematic whole. The thing-in-itself (ding-an-sich) has to be accommodated within the antinomies of pure reason. This notion of pure reason is perhaps as vague as 'human understanding', which it is supposed to replace. Nowhere do we find a clear definition of pure reason in Kant's "Critique". We are left guessing, and this is only to be expected, because any mention of the Absolute would have made Kant into a believer rather than a scientific sceptic. This leads us to believe that he must have deliberately left this question vague. Essentially, the "Critique of Pure Reason" consists in resolving some of the major problems of philosophy and science of Kant's time which called for a philosophical answer. Kant says in his philosophy that nobody can discern that anything has been left out.


Claiming for his philosophy a unity, totality and wholeness, he proceeds to examine the content of pure reason as having an "architectonic" unity. His preferred terms such as "schematismus" and "architectonic" apply to this global entity called pure reason which is none other than the structural normative notion of the Absolute. In fact Kant's method has been the one single encouragement we have received from the West in the matter of integrating and presenting a Science of the Absolute. The scientific character of any body of thought or discipline depends upon its unitively integrated totality


It is when the creative mind of a philosopher is able to see the structural features of his total vision that he can systemize them through a critical examination and revision of speculation. The "thinking substance" and the "absolute substance" of Descartes and Spinoza have been carried ever into Kantian philosophy. The two aspects of res extensa and res cogitans are retained by Kant within the structure of pure reason understood without any substance as such. The transcendental moral censor at the one pole and the immanent a priori synthetic consciousness at the other together give us a pure vertical reference within the scope of which all natural sciences could be comprised at the bottom, and all pure mathematical relations at the top. Although Kant prefers not to refer to an Unmoved Mover, his "a priori synthetic" touches the same ontological, immanent and negative pole, while the moral censor corresponds to a high semi-personified factor of goodness in the world of the Intelligibles. These are some of the leading thoughts to be kept in mind when reviewing the Critique of Pure Reason.

We shall now begin our analysis of Kant's notion of the architectonic: First the distinction is made by Kant between pure transcendental Philosophy and its practical aspects as follows:

"Transcendental philosophy is the wisdom of pure speculative reason. Everything practical, so far as it contains motives, has reference to sentiments, and these belong to empirical sources of knowledge". (5)


Revealing the overall structure of reason, Kant says further:

"By architectonic I understand the art of constructing systems. As systematical unity is that which raises common knowledge to the dignity of a science; that is, changes a mere aggregate of knowledge into a system, it is easy to see that architectonic is the doctrine of what is really scientific in our knowledge, and forms therefore a necessary part of the doctrine of method.
By system I mean the unity of various kinds of knowledge under one idea. This is the concept given by reason of the form of the whole, in which concept both the extent of its manifold contents and the place belonging to each part are determined a priori.
This idea requires for its realization a schema, that is an essential variety, and an order of its parts, which are determined a priori, according to the principles inherent in its aim." (6)

The claims of the a priori are now clearly stated whereby all realities belong to it:

"Now what we call a science, the schema of which must have its outline and the division of the whole into parts devised according to the idea, that is, a priori, and keep it perfectly distinct from everything else according to principles, cannot be produced technically according to the similarity of its various parts of the accidental use of knowledge in concrete for this or that external purpose, but architectonically only, as based on the affinity of its parts and their dependence on one supreme and internal aim through which alone the whole becomes possible." (7)

Kant is optimistic about a future Science of the Absolute when he writes:

"Hence, not only is each of them articulated according to an idea, but all may be properly combined with each other in a system of human knowledge, as members of one whole, admitting of an architectonic of all human knowledge which in our time, when so much material has been collected or may be taken over from the ruins of old systems, is not only possible, but not even very difficult." (8)


Again a structural, all-comprehensive philosophy is envisaged by him in the following words:

"In this manner philosophy is a mere idea of a possible science which exists nowhere in concrete, but which we may try to approach on different paths, until in the end the only true path, though overgrown and hidden by sensibility, has been discovered, and the image, which has so often proved a failure, has become as like the original type as human power can ever make." (9)

The reader must recognize now the division that Kant wants to make between the perceptual a priori entering as given data, and the same a priori entities having a conceptual status. The line of demarcation is not as definite as we might wish, but it is clearly implied between the second and third metaphysical principles. The two subdivisions of immanent (a posteriori) and transcendent (a priori) aspects of pure reason are also more clearly indicated:

"Thus the whole system of metaphysic consists of four principal parts. 1.Ontology, 2. Rational Physiology, 3. Rational Cosmology, 4. Rational Theology. The second part, the physiology of pure reason, contains two divisions, namely physica rationalis and psychologia rationalis.
The fundamental idea of a philosophy of pure reason prescribes itself this division. It is therefore architectonical, adequate to its essential aims, and not technical only, contrived according to any observed similarities, and, as it were, haphazard. For that very reason such a division is unchangeable and of legislative authority. There are, however, a few points which might cause misgivings and weaken our conviction of its legitimate character". (10)


Kant now goes on to explain the difference in the a priori and the a posteriori ways of arriving at knowledge:

"First of all, how can I expect knowledge a priori , that is metaphysic, of objects so far as they are given to our senses, that is a posteriori, and how is it possible to know the nature of things according to the principles a priori, and thus to arrive at a rational physiology? Our answer is, if we take nothing from experience beyond what is necessary to give us an object either of the external or of the internal sense. The former is done by the mere concept of matter, the latter through the concept of a thinking being (in the empirical internal representation, I think).

Secondly, what becomes of empirical psychology....? Empirical psychology, therefore must be entirely banished from metaphysic and is excluded from it by its very idea." (11)

He now treats of the "cosmical concept of philosophy" and a little later brings in a vertical-horizontal scheme, the vertical being "pure" and the horizontal "empirical":

"But there is also a universal, or if we may say so, a cosmical concept (conceptus cosmicus) or philosophy, which always formed the real foundation of that name, particularly when it had, as it were, to be personified and represented in the ideal of the philosopher, as the original type. In this sense philosophy is the science of the relation of all knowledge to the essential aims of human reason (teleogia rationis humanae), and the philosopher stands before us, not as an artist, but as the lawgiver of human reason.

"The legislation of human reason (philosophy) has two objects only, nature and freedom, and contains therefore both the law of nature and the law of morals, at first in two separate systems, but combined at last in one great system of philosophy. The philosophy of nature relates to all that is; that of morals to that one that ought to be" (12)


Next, Kant outlines metaphysic in its absolute and all-embracing sense, as well as the other, a more limited metaphysics:

"All pure knowledge a priori constitutes, therefore, according to the special faculty of knowledge in which alone it can originate, a definite unity; and metaphysic is that philosophy which is meant to represent that knowledge in its systematical unity.

Metaphysic, in the more limited sense of the word, consists of transcendental philosophy and the physiology of pure reason. The former treats only of understanding and reason themselves ... the latter treats of nature, that is, the sum total of the given objects." (13)

We now come to an eliminating censorship or regulator wherein error is kept away from philosophy by descending on speculation to control it without ever losing sight of the highest aim which is 'the general happiness of the world':

For the same reason metaphysic is also the completion of the whole culture of human reason, which is indispensable, although one may discard its influence as a science with regard to certain objects. For it enquires into reason according to its elements and highest maxims, which must form the very foundation of the possibility of some sciences, and of the use of all.


That, as mere speculation, it serves rather to keep off error than to extend knowledge does not detract from its value, but on the contrary, confers upon it dignity and authority by that censorship which ensures general order and harmony, by the well-being of the scientific commonwealth, and prevents its persevering successful labourers from losing sight of the highest aim, the general happiness of the world." (14)

Kant's pure reason thus refers to a concrete and systematic unit reality. It has an inner architectonic or schematic unity of structure comprising both concepts and percepts within its scope. When looked upon as a regulating factor in philosophical speculation in general it can even spell the happiness of mankind through its harmony. Such are some of the perspectives that come to view when we think of Kant's Pure Reason. Percepts and concepts linked together in thousands of monadic entities can disperse themselves into the nothingness of pure space if the human spirit does not put a controlling or encircling limit around what it can possibly encompass. This limit when once accepted in principle can shrink or expand its circumference in the same way as in the universe of the red or violet shift. According to the choice of a unit of measurement it could be big or small, subjective or objective, cosmological or psychological.


The person who exercises his choice of selection or "censorship" as to what is significant to his moral or contemplative life tries to counteract the diffusion of mental elements and their dispersion into nothingness. The ontological pole thus interacts with teleological interests as dialectical counterparts. A meditation of the Absolute is then possible in the full context of pure reason.


This is foreshadowed in Verse 96 of the "Atmopadesa Satakam":

"The atom and the infinite thus as being and non-being
Loom from either side; this experience too
Of being as well as non-being shall thereafter extinction gain
And devoid of any basis, shall forever cease to be."

A further paragraph from another of Kant's works, the "Critique of Judgement", unmistakably supports this same contraction or limitation of the plus side of our spiritual life to prevent it from running away with us. For the purposes of the first verse and the dialectics implied in both the first and the last verses of this present chapter it might be helpful to keep in mind the architectonic principle. Kant says:

".....understanding is as well served and as satisfied whether imagination selects for the unit a magnitude which one can take in at a glance, e.g. a foot or a perch, or else a German mile or even the earth´s diameter ... In each ease the logical estimation of magnitude advances ad infinitum with nothing to stop it. The mind hearkens now to the voice of reason which, for all given magnitudes .... requires totality....and does not exempt even the infinite .... from this requirement, but rather renders it inevitable for us to regard this infinite .... as completely given (i.e. given in its totality)." (15)



After grasping the basic features of Kant´s architectonic of pure reason where its essential feature represents the same normative absolute as with us; we have now to place in the same context certain types of reasoning recognized by Narayana Guru in this chapter. Ordinary ratiocinative reasoning of a syllogistic or logistic order, pertaining to a propositional or other calculus, should strictly be considered as falling outside the scope of the Awareness of this chapter. Although it is a global overall structure of pure reason on the same lines as Kant´s that interests Narayana Guru, he departs slightly from what is expected. The usual inferential and empirical modes of judgement, as well as analytic reasoning are seen included within the scope of pure reason. These latter are the normal instruments for non-absolutist speculation. Even in Indian logic the strict use of ways of reasoning such as direct empirical evidence, inference, and induction are considered to belong to the more natural or objective disciplines. The Vaiseshika philosophy, whose methods are extended into the heart of Purva Mimamsa philosophy, give more recognition to such pramanas (instruments). Strict Vedanta relies on such instruments only in a secondary fashion. It is the axiomatic and the a priori that gains primacy in Vedanta.


Dialectics is the verticalized equation of counterparts applied to the purpose of the full certitude of a Science of the Absolute. Dialectical reason solves the most significant and subtle problems for Vedanta and like pure mathematics its operations move up and down a vertical axis. Pre-Socratic dialectics moves in the world of existent hylozoic entities, while post-Socratic dialectics beginning with Plato moves in the world of general ideas. The former is negative while the latter is positive. These two do not however exhaust all processes of thinking. Neutral reasonings have to be legitimately included under awareness. Neutral awareness includes within its scope the awareness of simple reality as such. In this case "a spade is a spade" and nothing else. Such a judgment refers to the hub of the whole mechanics of the reasoning structure. On the minus side of this central point of origin from where awareness radiates, there is the type of reasoning which does not need any special effort on the part of the reasoner. A child counting with its 9 fingers to find out the notion of 4 is exercising its reason at almost an automatic level where the empirical data and the calculated conclusion co-exist, occupying the same negative level.


Instead of treating pratyaksha (perception i.e. reasoning by sense data) and aparoksha, which is epistemologically the same because of being ontological, we find in Verse 6 that Narayana Guru treats these two together as belonging to each other without any difference. He is also seen to omit all references to sabdapramana (the validity of the Word). By this simple omission he places himself altogether outside any closed Vedic orthodoxy.

Both the Mimamsas are slavishly dependent on this pramana and their scientific attitude suffers because they are apparently limited by their closed affiliations. For this reason Narayana Guru is satisfied with the claims of axiomatic reasoning which by its a priori self-certitude fulfils the same role as sabda-pramana for Vedism.

Instead of using analogies limited to the range of Vedic and Vedantic literature considered together as a whole, Narayana Guru further emancipates the Science of the Absolute from its dependence on artificial crutches of a local and fixed character. In Verse 8, upamiti or analogy covers the same ground as indirect or figurative meaning in any science or metaphysics irrespective of its source.

Exegetic complications called arthavada are thus avoided. Analogy is now used even in the sciences and is coming more and more into vogue when micro- and macrocosmic structures reveal parities or mirror-image correspondences between counterparts or ensembles. The language of analogy need not be limited to the rhetorical or the figurative. Structural models and scientific equations also employ analogy for purposes of certitude. Analogy covers all the remaining requirements for certitude other than the strictly empirical and is thus fully adequate for a Science of the Absolute.


Thus we find Narayana Guru giving a legitimate place to both pure and practical reason as forms of positive activity, bringing together the counterparts of instrument and product more intimately than in the last chapter. Pure reason is the Absolute implied in Kantian philosophy. It covers the thing-in-itself and the categorical imperative and both pure and practical reason meet in it. In Verse 5 the term yathartha (that which is) is no other than the knowledge of a thing as it is and this central certitude is the same as in Kant's "thing-in-itself". The first verse covers the vertical dialectical approach, pointing its arrow downwards, while the last verse closes the bracket from the negative limit with an equation pointing upwards. Between these two limits all varieties of helpful operations of reason originate and all are kept in their correct structural places. Perfect knowledge results when the two brackets enclose the content of the Absolute more and more firmly in the mind.



Pure reason, as we have said, is a totality enclosed within its own plus and minus tendencies. On final analysis, it has its rightful place only within the unconscious of man. As a value it refers to aesthetics or ethics, which must control its final shape, as it were, from above, in the same way as a sculptor arrives at his perfected image by the double process of eliminating the extraneous and keeping the essential.


Absurd reasoning, whether positive or negative, must be kept normalized by four different references. Existence has to attain an ontological a priori status belonging to absolute reason. Subsistence has to submit itself to a censorship from above where a census tends to disperse itself as meaninglessness. Reason has to hold its centralized position as referring to subsistence normalized in terms of the Self. There is a mutual double-sided correction to be applied with the transcendent and immanent factors involved. This is a precaution difficult to keep in mind, but without it our search for certitude in regard to the Absolute and its existent, subsistent and value implications can easily defeat its purpose. A rider has to sit on a horse correctly and centrally. Likewise the architectonic implications of pure reason have to be fully understood together with all possible perceptual and conceptual errors. When immanence gains, transcendence fails, and when transcendence is secured as within the grasp of dialectics the validity of immanence as truth eludes the grasp. Referring to such fourfold error we find this striking instance in Narayana Guru's "Advaita Dipika", Verse 15:

"Happiness exists, it looms within, it is one alone
As one apart, nothing is, nor looms at all.
Mirage-water, sky-blue would be unreal thus
And sky-flower, mirage sky gain ultimate reality."

In the domain of pure reason both scepticism and belief can be productive of their characteristic errors. Willingness to believe and earnestness to question can at times defeat the true purpose of reason. This is evident with modern logistic, the propositional calculus and mathematical reasoning with its symbolic logic, as all finally lead up a blind alley. Scepticism and analysis are the two watchwords of positivism, an approach based on empirical or demonstrable facts. Those who are ready to believe support evident superstitions offering a fecund field to fakes and charlatans. Unscientific reasoning spoils the case for both the believer and the sceptic.


Examples of errors in the domain of belief are too many and too tragic to contemplate. History is marred by such major and minor errors. The error of sceptics, on the other hand, who claim to be strictly scientific is a more natural one and therefore less dangerous. This verity is brought out in the "Isa Upanishad" (Verse 9) when it says:

"Into blind darkness enter they
That worship ignorance;
Into darkness greater than that, as it were,
That delight in knowledge." (16)

We have already discussed the question of correctly placing logical positivism and allied disciplines in their true perspective in the Science of the Absolute. Even mathematicians like Tobias Dantzig discountenance such an approach as found in the logic of the "Principia Mathematica". (17) Other thinkers like S. Korner help to show that when we discredit such works as unreadable and unprintable we are not alone. S. Korner writes:

"Russell would not claim for the vicious-circle principle, and its supplementary assumptions, that it had the immediately-obvious and intuitively-undeniable character of a principle of logic; and neither would Quine claim this for his more elegant version. The logicist account of logic is philosophically inadequate beyond its mere obscurity. The original logicism of Frege and Russell becomes a thoroughgoing pragmatic logicism. In this compound name "logicism" expresses no more than a pious historical memory" (18)


Russell's own disciple, Wittgenstein, trained along the same lines of positivistic thought, has only faint praise for the findings of his early mentor. Wittgenstein has the following interesting words:

"6.123. Clearly the laws of logic cannot in their turn be subject to laws of logic. (There is not, as Russell thought, a special law of contradiction for each 'type'; one law is enough, since it is not applied to itself). (19)

Wittgenstein says this about the superficiality of logical propositions:

"6. 1232. The general validity of logic might be called essential in contrast with the accidental general validity of such propositions as "All men are mortal". Propositions like Russell's 'axioms of reducibility' are not logical propositions, and this explains our feeling that, even if they were true, their truth would only be the result of a fortunate accident." (20)



Awareness and ratiocination should not be mixed up. The exercise of pure reason takes place subtly between two of its counterparts belonging together in an intimate relationship like two sides of the same coin. They are subject to a double correction and a back-to-back position, while their reasonings take higher or lower positions within the range of conceptual or perceptual entities categorically or schematically understood.

This subtle interaction in the domain of pure reason has been compared to the process of the osmotic interchange of essences. A magnet can be treated as a whole, or when broken up into smaller lengths exhibit the same double-sided polarity. This polarity, ambivalence or dichotomy expresses itself independently of the actual length of the magnet.


Likewise, the intensity of the attraction of a magnet considered quantitatively does not interfere with the structural pattern. Even when pure reason works within an overall context of the positive or negative side of the vertical axis, its counterparts still remain distinguishable and can be mathematically extrapolated in reference to the different physical or mental problems presented. Conditioned and unconditioned reason can thus be placed anywhere in relation to the fourfold correlates. When it is given a specific structural position at the centre or the periphery, it begins to be distinguished under inference having either a theoretical hypothetical value or a value capable of being experimentally tested in the laboratory.


Newton's law of universal gravitation, as we have more than once pointed out, has its experimental basis in the simple falling of an apple. The boldest of theories pertaining to the universe as a whole had thus its scientific basis unquestionably accepted, without any need for any laboratory demonstration. Newton never had to take a physicist to the farthest corners of the universe to test his theory experimentally. By common consent it was good science in itself. We have also used elsewhere the example of the Pythagorean theorem, where we find two approaches to scientific certitude: one from the experimental and a posteriori, and the other from the mathematical demonstrability through a sign language structurally dependent on a priori reason, which is in turn the essence of all axioms, yielding one and the same certitude. Thus, reason proves itself from two sides.


Axiomatic thinking has always been an integral part of scientific thinking. It is strange to see many modern intelligent people look surprised when one makes the statement that a priori reason, which is at the heart of scientific thinking, is necessary and that otherwise no mathematical demonstrations could ever occur. This same a priori principle is present in diluted form in postulates, propositions, theorems, riders, lemmas, etc. in whatever way the proof may be found. Spinoza´s whole philosophical system employs this Euclidean approach. It is not the less conducive to certitude because of its axiomatic basis. Axiomatic thinking is in fact recognized more and more, not only by applied scientists but by all who are interested in intuitively recognizing the underlying structural features of a scientific discipline, as we have just shown in the case of Kant. The architectonic of pure reason is a global and real entity giving to the process of pure reason a power to make all the chaotic collections of judgments or predictions into a systematic and global unit. The modern trend to give greater recognition to axiomatic thinking has been alluded to by us in the preliminaries. Vedantins would say that one cannot keep one half of a chicken to lay eggs and fry the other half for eating. This is intended to bring out the fact that in any reasoning process partial reasoning has always to imply the whole. Such considerations refer to pure reasoning of a fully absolutist content. When used by Sankara and his followers this way of reasoning profits best when it employs such features as impossibility (anupalabdhi) etc., which come into the scope of pure reason from the side of what Kant calls practical reason. Such reasoning belongs, according to us, to the plus side of the vertical axis where speculation moves cautiously between the limits of the cogito ergo sum of Descartes, and Kant's censor, supporting itself on notions in the most general and difficult context of the Intelligibles which may include God. When thus totally subjected to a priori axiomatization pure reason yields a pattern into which the various kinds of awareness or pure reasoning reviewed by Narayana Guru in this chapter find their proper and legitimate places.


To note this self-consistency in this chapter is a task most profitable for the careful reader. The resulting certitude is the very truth that makes us free. This has been underlined by Narayana Guru at the end of Verse 3, where immortality is virtually promised.


The intuitive status of axiomatization in the context of pure reason is exactly what brings into the same picture, as it were by an equal right, the claims of dialectical thinking. Dialectical reason is called 'pure' because the counterparts belong to the same self-sufficient and axiomatic context.



There are more intuitive versions of the same architectonic of pure reason as critically understood by Kant found in post-Kantian philosophy. Though not a Kantian, Hegel used many Kantian notions in his philosophy. Even in Aristotle and Plato there was the similar idea of the structure and the ascending and descending dialectics possible within the function or operation of pure reason in the form of absolute awareness. Reasoning by inference and analogy refers to the existent and high value aspects of pure reason when it functions in solving the most significant of human problems. On the other hand the scientific method as understood in the context of inductive-hypothetical logical calculations is full of incertitude as indicated by such terms as if, but, either-or, neither-nor, etc. Problems marked with such hesitating syllogistic reasonings can solve minor or miscellaneous problems. They serve their purpose when secondary interests prevail. In more significant wholesale matters the function of logic refers more directly to the non-utilitarian love of truth.


Ends and means come closely together and the ascending and descending steps of reasoning glide up or down, joined as it were, back to back like the movement of an elevator with an inner reciprocity. Thought becomes fluid or more intuitional and here transcends the mechanistic steps of its own cross-sections. Pure movement is a flux. We need not go over these oft-repeated aspects here, but in order to make clear the implications of these later chapters it is necessary to examine the togetherness and the modus operandi of the elements of pure reason, functioning always as a unit organon or absolute thinking substance.

Some of these elements of impure reason are tainted with more horizontalization than others. For example, a hypothesis never attains to a full dialectical status. It could approximate at best to analogic reasoning by ascending dialectics corresponding to the upamiti (comparison or analogy) of Verse 8. The more ordinary form of inferential reasoning is called anumiti (inference) and is found in Verse 7. Here the movement is based on the association of abstract causes and effects whereby ontological varieties of existence are revealed by a descending process. Smoke is associated with fire by our familiarity with such a connection. Even when we are not present on the spot where it is directly given to the senses, we infer one from the other. This is the nature of 'inference' as explained in Narayana Guru's definition. This is not to be confused with an inference belonging to a more positivist-empirical order. It comes under the same category of awareness, characterizing the chapter as a whole. 'Human understanding' is a term referring to a weaker form of 'pure reason', when the negative empirical weight of experience is not properly balanced by a full exercise of the critical faculty. It is thus an 'incidental' certitude that could result. Absolute certitude places itself neutrally between the "incidental"' and the "accidental" probables and possibles.


We have thus to fit all the structural aspects of pure reason together as belonging to the context of the Absolute. The most abstract horizontal implications have to be understood first and the four rival aspects or error comprising four possible non-Selfs have to be vertically and horizontally equated to the same normative Self. This is what the chapter proposes to accomplish. The Self and its four non-Self aspects are seen to be brought together as counterparts for dialectical treatment, sometimes ascending sometimes descending, and sometimes neutrally abolishing the horizontal factors, whether actual or virtual. Much penetration is required to visualize or understand the implications of this twofold and double correction.

Instead of entering into these subtleties directly we shall rely on Aristotle, Plato and Hegel who sufficiently reveal the most important features of the functioning of pure reasoning. Knowledge is stated by Narayana Guru in Verse 1 to be "one alone", while the knowledge of the absolute Self is stated in the last verse. The term yathavat found in Verse 5 is a form of apodictic reasoning fully absolutist in its certitude. Although neither Indian nor Western logic have yet given apodictic knowledge a position among forms of pure reason or awareness, they have so far remained outside the scope of absolute certitude. The term yattat-yathartha-vijnanam in Verse 5 is a function of pure awareness often found in the Upanishads. It is more than a judgement or proposition and yields a conviction helpful for arriving at final certitude about the Absolute. It is therefore a form of reasoning important for the Science of the Absolute.


Apodictic certitude is a form of certitude which is essentially dialectical in character inasmuch as it is pure and independent of sense data. In pre-Socratic philosophy this form of negative dialectics was used by Zeno and Parmenides for resolving paradox in the world of motion and things. Aristotle, who was concerned with prime matter and the Unmoved Mover, is more interested in this form of negative dialectics than in the higher form used by Plato belonging more properly to the world of the Intelligibles. The following quotation is from Aristotle and sufficiently reveals the main characteristics of this search for certitude at the negative ontological level:

"And thinking in itself deals with that which is best in itself, and that which is thinking in the fullest sense with that which is best in the fullest sense. And thought thinks on itself because it shares the nature of the object of thought; for it becomes an object of thought in coming into contact with and thinking its objects, so that thought and object of thought are the same. For that which is capable of receiving the object of thought, i.e. the essence, is thought. But it is active when it possesses this object. Therefore the possession rather than the receptivity is the divine element which thought seems to contain, and the act of contemplation is what is most pleasant and best. If God is always in that good state in which we sometimes are, this compels our wonder; and if in a better state this compels it yet more. And God is in a better state. And life also belongs to God for the actuality of thought is life and God is that actuality; and God's self-dependent actuality is life most good and eternal, We say therefore that God is a living being, eternal, most good, so that life and duration continuous and eternal belong to God; for this is God." (21)

On the other hand, the ascending dialectical process portrayed by Plato reveals its main features and speaks for itself:

"And of this kind I spoke as the intelligible, although in the search after it the soul is compelled to use hypotheses; not ascending to a first principle, because she is unable to rise above the region of hypothesis, but employing the objects of which the shadows below are resemblances in their us turn as images, they having in relation to the shadows and reflections of them a greater distinctness, and therefore a higher value. And when I speak of the other division of the intelligible, you will understand me to speak of that other sort of knowledge, which reason herself attains by the power of dialectic, using the hypotheses, not as first principles, but only as hypotheses that is to say, as steps and points of departure into a world which is above hypotheses, in order that she may soar beyond them to the first principle of the whole and clinging to this and then to that which depends on this, by successive steps she descends again without the aid of any sensible object, from ideas, through ideas, and in ideas she ends." (22)


Hegel has carried over the notion of dialectical reasoning into his philosophy. Although his dialectics do not contain all the elements of pre-Socratic and Socratic method it is still possible to see how the broad outlines are retained and employed to full advantage by this great thinker. These features were employed by the post-Hegelian philosophers but, judging by the results of their dialectics, our trust in this way of reasoning is by no means heightened. Nonetheless Hegel knew dialectics, as we see from the following:

"The whole course of philosophy is based on its own dialectical logic, whose categories unfold all ontological distinctions which pervade the life of nature and of mind. Philosophy moves from immediate or irrational experience, through rational and objectifying experience, to the realm of the absolute spirit in art and religion, wherein philosophy sees the counterpart of its own Concept in intuitive and mythical symbols. This whole way of liberation is not only a preparation for, or a way toward, philosophy; but is also within philosophy. What it works out, its own Concept, is nothing apart from the process of its continuous self-relation. Ground and end, absolute finality and absolute movement are the same.

The Concept of philosophy is truth knowing itself, the idea thinking itself, the spirit living its thought. Dialectic, the logic of philosophy, is the explication (Ur-Teil) of the Concept of all essential shapes of life, in nature, soul, mind and spirit. The movement of these living contents and the movement of dialectical thought is one and the same movement. In space and time it shines through disappearing appearances, founding, transcending, and preserving them in their true meaning.

The Concept and its self-division (Ur-Teil) terminates in three essential "conclusions" in which the three basic metaphysical spheres - the Absolute, nature, mind mediate each other.
Nature as a whole may be the mediating link or metaphysical 'middle term' pre-supposing ontology and making spirit possible.
Spirit, in working out the logic of its objects, makes or produces itself, and discovers its ground in the Absolute.

The idea of the Absolute as the 'middle' prevents reason from cutting the whole into separate entities. Nature and spirit are aspects of the whole in their mutual interpenetration." (23)


The togetherness and the process involved in pure reason and awareness should be sufficiently clear from the above quotations and help in understanding not only the verses of this chapter but the rest of the work. The subtle principle of the horizontalized version of reasoning which is not brute activity, but instead refers to the same tendency in spirituality as a whole is referred to by Narayana Guru as vritti ("Activity" in Verse 2).


This is a technical term of Vedanta applicable even to the most generalized and abstract of pure reasoning in the Self. Even when a concrete factor called avarana (a factor veiling full spiritual vision) has been successfully abolished, the negativity of Maya can persist in consciousness as its own extraverted positivistic counterpart. This form of positivity can compromise the full vision of the Absolute in a final sense. Function or vritti, even when it has a merely logical status, can be the enemy of wisdom. It can infinitesimally separate subject from object as the eternal enemy of the wise according to the Bhagavad Gita (III.39):

"Wisdom is enveloped by this which is the eternal enemy of the wise, remaining in the form of desire... which is a fire that is difficult to satiate".

In the second verse here it is profitable to note the backward reference to bhana darsana (Chapter 5) because of the more subtle and neutral interaction implied there between positive and negative structural aspects of consciousness. Unconditioned awareness, however, conforms to pure reason and is not therefore studied under the double aspect of subject and object, but conforms more to positive awareness than what is found in the fifth chapter where it was a form or interaction with a more ontological context. The intimacy between the counterparts of the last three chapters have also to be noted separately in the light of the reciprocity of counterparts of pure reason as analyzed by us in this chapter.


It is always important to distinguish clearly the vertical and horizontal implications and to recognize the degrees of bipolarity, complementarity or cancellability of the counterparts to be properly envisaged by us in each of the succeeding chapters that we are to cover hereafter.




[1] Note: The verses of Narayana Guru to which reference is made, will be found on pp. 982-989.


[2] Bhagavad Gita, p. 522


[3] Bhagavad Gita, p.314


[4] See "Search for a Norm in Western Thought," Values, Vol. XI :3 (12/65) to XII:2 (11/66).


[5] Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", pp. 33-34


[6] Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", p.486


[7] Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", p.487


[8] Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", p.488


[9] Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", p.489


[10] Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", p.494


[11] Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", p.494-495


[12] Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", p.490-491


[13] Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", p.493


[14] Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", p.496


[15] Kant, "Critique of Judgement", trans. J. Meredith, p.26.


[16] Hume,p.363


[17] See p.387 above for Danzig's comment.


[18] Korner, pp.56 and 58, resp.


[19] Wittgenstein, "Tractatus", P.127.


[20] Wittgenstein, "Tractatus", P.127.


[21] Aristotle, P. 222


[22] Plato, "Republic", trans. Jowett, New York, p.252


[23] Hegel, pp.284-286









1. jnanamekam hi nirupadhikam sopadhikam ca tat ahankaridhinam yajjnanam tannirupadhikam
Awareness is one and unconditioned indeed,
There is also the conditioned.
Awareness without egoism, etc.
That is the unconditioned.
JNANAM-EKAM NIRUPADHIKAM HI, awareness is one and unconditioned indeed,
SOPADHIKAM CA TAT, that is also the conditioned,
YAT JNANAM AHAMKARADI-HINAM, awareness without egoism, etc.
TAT NIRUPADHIKAM,that is the unconditioned
By awareness we mean that which is in the form of mental consciousness inside the bodies of animals. This enables mental consciousness to have the awareness of all things within the intelligence. This awareness, which is an attribute of the Self, remains as one in its true state without any activities or conditionings of the intelligence. In spite of this, when in practical life it is connected with egoism and other operations of the mind it becomes conditioned. When it is unconnected with such factors as egoism it remains unconditioned.

2. ahantaya'ntarbahirasti yadevamidantaya bhanavrttya'nvitam yattu jnanam sopadhikam
That which is accompanied by egoism as if inside,
And which again as qualified by this-ness is
Accompanied by conscious activity,
Such awareness is to be understood as conditioned.
YAT, that which,
AHANTAYA BHANA VRITTYANVITAM ANTAH, accompanied by the active consciousness of egoism inside,
EVAM YATTU, that by which again,
IDANTAYA (BHANAVRITTYANVITAM CA) ASTI, as if accompanied by active consciousness (thisness) as outside,
(TAT) JNANAM, (that) awareness,
SOPADHIKAM (ITI) MATAM, is understood to be conditioned
The conditioning of awareness consists of function and activity. This functioning has been already stated in Chapter 5, where it is present with its own specific and generic aspects and with subtle and gross differences. Beginning from awareness of outside objects such as "this is a pot", "this is a cloth", and likewise, to awareness of inner 'objects' such as "I am the Absolute", all functions are to be included within the scope of the varieties mentioned above. All functional activities are the conditionings of that one awareness which treats them as objects of consciousness. This awareness, although in reality independent of conditionings, when functionally referring to corresponding objects is called conditioned awareness

3. anatmanamahankaradinam yenanubhuyate saksi tadatmajnanam syadyenaivamrtamasyate
That by which are experienced all things
Of the non-Self, such as egoism, etc.,
And even by which immortality is enjoyed,
(As) the Witness, is Self-awareness.
ANATMANAM, of things pertaining to the non-self,
AHAMKARADINAM, such as egoism, etc.,
SAKSHI, the witness (i.e. the Self),
YENA-ANUBHUYATE, what is experienced,
YENA-EVA, by which even,
AMRITAM, immortality,
ASYATE, is enjoyed,
TAT-ATMA-JNANAM SYAD, that is (absolute) Self-awareness
There is a Witness remaining within the bodies of all beings able to take cognizance of all non-Self factors beginning with egoism and reaching out to external entities like pots and cloth. At the time of deep sleep this Witness is not subject to any change and is capable of cognizing the subtlest factors in consciousness. Such a Witness is no other than the Self. The awareness by which the witnessing Self is experienced is Self-knowledge. It is the final conclusion of Vedanta that liberation is attained through Self-knowledge. By the use of the word eva in the text, it is intended to point out the primary nature of this sole means of liberation. Such an awareness of the Self could be described as unconditioned awareness.

4. ahankaradi karyam yadanatmakamasankhyakam yenavagamyate'natmajnanam tadavadharyate
As innumerable effects of egoism, etc.,
What as pertaining to the non-Self
Attains to awareness, that is said to be
Awareness of the non-Self.
YAT, what,
ANATMAKAM, as pertaining to the non self,
ASANKHYAKAM, as innumerable,
AHANKAR ADI KARYAM, as effects such as egoism etc.,
YENA, by what,
AVAGAMYATE, awareness attains,
TAT, that,
ANATMAJNANAM (ITI), as awareness of the non-self,
AVADHARYATE, it is said to be
The non-Self factors mentioned in the previous verse, such as the effects of egoism sense objects etc., are innumerable. They pertain to the non-Self, where all objects of knowledge are found. Without knowing the witnessing Self which is capable of understanding all the innumerable effects, what cognizes only these objective entities is the opposite of what has been described in the previous verse and constitutes the awareness of the non-Self. This awareness of the non-Self is conditioned.

5. yathavadvastuvijnanam rajjutattvabodhavat yattadyatharthavijnanamayatharthamato'nyatha
Knowing things as they really are,
As when one attains to the truth of the rope,
What makes for such is true awareness,
Wrong awareness is what is otherwise.
RAJJU-TATTVA-AVABODHAVAT, like the right knowledge about the rope,
YATHAVAT-VASTU-VIJNANAM, awareness of things as they really are,
YAT, which,
TAT-YATHARTHA-VIJNANAM, that is right awareness,
ATHAH ANYATHE, what is different from this,
AVATHARTHAM (CA BHAVATI), wrong awareness (too becomes)
It is possible to have a right or wrong awareness of a rope. That awareness which is capable of recognizing in the rope its own rope-character is right awareness; while that awareness which is capable of mistaking the same rope for a snake due to visual defects in contrary fashion is wrong awareness. Knowing things-as-they-are is distinguished as right awareness and cognizing them as-they-are-not is wrong awareness. These two forms of awareness are of a conditioned order.

6. yatsannidhyadeva sarvam bhasate svayameva tat pratyaksajnanamiticaparoksamiti laksyate
By the very presence of which everything looms
In consciousness by itself,
That awareness is indicated as empirical awareness,
And also as non-transcendental awareness.
YAT-SANNIDHYAD-EVA, by the very presence of which,
SARVAM SVAYAM-EVA BHASATE, everything looms in consciousness by itself,
TAT, that,
PRATYAKSHA-JNANAM-ITI, as empirical awareness,
APAROKSHAM-ITI CA, and also as non-transcendental awareness,
LAKSHYATE, is indicated
One and the same right awareness about a certain thing can be gained in two different ways which are: by inference or valid testimony, and also by the relation of the object with its causes. The first way is non-immediate but is accomplished by obstructing mediating factors. Such indirect knowledge is designated as mediate. The second type of right awareness has two names which are: perception (pratyaksha), and the non-transcendental or immediate (aparoksha), Here there are no obstructing elements. It is by this kind of awareness that we gain direct knowledge of things. Yet, even this is of a conditioned order.

7. yaya'nusadhakam sadhyam miyate inanarupaya vrittya sainumitissabacaryasamakarajanyaya
That function of awareness by which
The means to an end is appraised
And which arises but of associative innate disposition,
That is inferential awareness.
YAYA, that by which,
SHACARYA-SANISKARA-JANYAYA, as originating in associative innate disposition,
JNANARUPAYA, having the form of awareness,
VRITTYA, by function,
ANUSADHAKAM SADHYAM, means for ends,
MIYATE, are brought into awareness,
SA-ANUMITI, this is inferential (awareness).
That awareness establishing certitude through the use of specific marks of recognition (linga) is inferential awareness. When we see smoke in the kitchen we conclude that there is fire there. By constant association we understand that whenever there is smoke there is also fire. Thus we understand that in all places where there is smoke there is fire. This is associative awareness. It is described as associative and refers to innate dispositions of memory factors because of the necessary and eternal connection between the smoke and fire as seen in the kitchen. This kind of associative awareness pertaining to memory dispositions takes the form of functional activity.

Because of this functional activity established by associative memory factors we are able to be aware of the fact that there is also fire when we see smoke rising out of a distant mountainside. The awareness arising in this manner is called inference. Here the effect is the smoke and the cause is fire. The fire having the status of being the means is inferred by the effect which is the smoke and is compatible with it. Such an awareness is none other than inferential awareness.

8. gatva samipam meyasya miyate srutalaksanah yaya samvitsopamitirmrgo'yamiti rupaya
On going near to an object to be ascertained,
What - in the form of "this is the animal
known by such marks"-
Is the functional basis for certitude,
That is (said to be) analogical awareness.
MEYASYA, of the object to be known,
SAMIPAM, near,
GATVA, going,
SRUTA-LAKSHANAH MRIGAH-AYAM-ITI RUPAYA, in the form of " this is the animal having the marks I heard about",
YAYA (VRITTYA), by what (functional activity),
(MEYAH) MIYATE, (what is to be understood) is brought into awareness,
SA SAMVIT UPAMITIH, this is analogical awareness.
A man who has not seen a certain rare animal, on being told about it by another who has seen it, or on reading about it in a book, when he keeps his mind on the specific characteristics (of the rare animal) i.e. keeping in his mind certain analogous traits between the unseen rare animal and some other familiar animal; if he should then go to the forest where such a rare animal has its habitat and then sees it, he gets a functional form of awareness as indicated by the sentence. "This is the animal having the marks I have heard about". This kind of awareness resulting under such a circumstance is awareness by analogy. The word meya means the object to which something is compared. It (i.e. meya) refers to the object which is the referent for the analogy. When we say gavayam (cowness) is what resembles a cow, the latter is the referent analogy, while the former is a referring abstraction made from the actual cow. We have to understand here that in all cases where the mind operates from the object of analogy to that to which it refers is the awareness to be distinguished as awareness by analogy.

9. aham mameti jnanam yadidam taditi yacca tat jivajnanam tadaparamindriyajnanamisyate
That awareness of "I" and "mine"
And that other as "this" or "that"-
The former as vital awareness, and the latter
As sense awareness, is declared.
AHAM MAMA-ITI JNANAM YAT, that awareness expressing itself as "I" and "mine",
TAT JIVA-JNANAM, that as vital awareness,
APARAM IDAM TAD-ITI JNANAM YAT, and that which also expresses itself as "this" and "that",
TAT INDRIYA JNANAM CA, that as sense awareness,
ISHYATE, is declared.
Living creatures have awareness (in regard to themselves) in the form of 'I" and "mind". This does not depend upon any of the external organs such as the ear, etc. Even deaf and dumb people are known to have this kind of awareness. This is commonly known throughout the world. Because of such awareness depending solely on the inner vital elements, such awareness as "I'' and "mine", depending on the vital principle, has been named vital awareness. We have to distinguish such vital awareness from awareness given to the senses which expresses itself in the form of "this" and "that" and is independent of any vitalistic elements being only dependent on the senses.

10. om tatsaditi nirdistam brahmataiyamupagattam kalpanadivihinam yattatparajnanamiryate
Designated as AUM, THAT EXISTS,
Attained to unity of Absolute and Self,
Devoid of willing and other functions -
That is said to be the ultimate awareness.
AUM-TAT-SAD-ITI NIRDISHTAM, that which is designated as "aum-that-exists",
BRAHMATMA AIKYAM, the unity of the Self and the Absolute,
UPAGATTAM, having attained,
KALPANADI VIHINAM, devoid of all willing,
(JNANAM) YAT, what awareness there is,
TAT-PARAJNANAM (ITI) IRYATE, that is said to be the ultimate awareness.
It is the same unconditioned awareness of the first verse that is also treated in this verse. The word Aum is what has been conferred by ancient sages (rishis) as designating the Absolute in the form of pure awareness. The sruti (original Vedic texts), smriti (traditional secondary texts) and puranas (epic or heroic lore) all present the same wisdom in applied form, and the word Aum is well known to be used in these texts as denoting a meaning everywhere referable to the Absolute. In other words, 'unlimited', 'absolute', and 'awareness' are the same as Aum, and this is the Absolute. Such phrases as "AUM the one eternal letter is the Absolute", "AUM is all that" and "Aum is the Absolute", are phrases indicating the same truth in the above body of literature. Patanjali also declares, "That Absolute remaining always untouched by harsh or painful activities is indicated by the descriptive sentence, "the uttered syllable Aum", and "The Lord has many names". Of all, the most superior and general in applicability, easy to utter by all persons, and the object of meditation by everyone is the syllable Aum. The word Aum has also the meaning of general assent. Any name applied to the Lord (isvara) who is of the form of pure consciousness is valid, when referred to by Aum. Because it is not capable of being referred to by any name at all, it is beyond the reach of mind and speech, it has been indicated by the relative pronoun "that" (tat). By "that" something is meant which is beyond all predications. Being eternal and essentially of the stuff of pure consciousness, it is called existent (sat). This term means it has an existent reality in all the three aspects of time. The philosophical principle indicated here is that all other things are not real, and the only reality is the Absolute. Therefore, what has been described as "Aum" or "that" or "existent" are three perspectives of the same. Thus the three syllables "Aum-tat-sat" have been accepted in such authentic literature as the Vedas as well known terms for absolute awareness (which is the same as the Lord or the Absolute). The ultimate goal of awareness is to establish the identity between the living Self and the Absolute. Within the scope of such awareness, there is neither room for such notions as brahma (the creator) nor for the willing of the phenomenal world. Therefore because of its superior nature and its identity with the supreme Self it has here been referred to as ultimate awareness.







Salvation is the goal of wisdom. The truth must make one free. This way of viewing pure reason, the very stuff of wisdom, is the peculiarity of Indian thought in general. In the East every philosophy states clearly in advance what its overall purpose is. This purpose is referred to as having a negative aspect of avoiding error and suffering, and a positive content of pointing out a way of release or emancipation. Even the duality between ends and means and positive and negative aspects are here to be absorbed and cancelled out into the unity of the normalized value of the Absolute.

At least in Vedanta, correctly understood, and also with Sankara when he is in accord with the Upanishads, any idea suggesting unilateral salvation is to be ruled out in advance. When the contents of this chapter are considered and the way such contents should be treated as pertaining to Vedantic wisdom, the reciprocity between the counterparts of the Self and the non-Self is to be never lost sight of. The overall equation implied in each of the mahavakyas (great dicta) should also be kept in mind. This rule will be seen also to be true of Ramanuja and Madhva although they are considered dualists. While a devotional and theological imagery dominates their philosophic outlook it does not essentially change its basic presuppositions. Another common feature distinguishing the Indian attitude to pure reason is that it is always to be thought of in terms of the Self and the non-Self. Devotion is itself always in any Vedanta a contemplation of the Self as a Highest Value. Pure reason is still a function, however thin or mathematical it might be when divested of its actual or operational implications which might linger on to give significant content to it from the side of the ontology in which it is necessarily rooted. This causes both gross and subtle errors through Maya. There is no way of scientifically distinguishing the factor called pure reason, except in terms of a function. The operator and function are terms that even the science of pure mathematics cannot altogether dispense with.


One goes in vain through Kant´s "Critique of Pure Reason" looking for a clear definition of the term "reason" itself. In the name of criticism stemming out of its genetic scepticism Kant avoids as far as possible any direct reference to a theological God or to any absolute Self. The history of thought in the West amply justifies such an attitude and Kant´s epoch-making contribution to Western Philosophy is not to be minimized or discredited. A complete philosophy cannot, however, omit a truly absolutist notion and, as all reason has necessarily to be grounded in the Self, it is in these terms of the Self that pure reason is to be understood. Even in terms of the Self it is hard to understand the operations and functions of pure reason because a specific character belonging to an entity cannot itself be placed inside the same entity. It has to be treated as an attribute, however intimate the connection between substance and attribute might be. The blueness of a lotus and the red heat of an iron ball imply the concepts at least of blueness and heat. Specificity has to depend on such a distinctio, whether we finally accept the duality or not. We need not subscribe to the principle of "esse est percipi", but at least for the purposes of discourse the distinction has to remain even when we take a fully non-dual attitude. The equation of the Self and the non-Self of this chapter, both in their horizontalized and verticalized implications, gives it a fourfold correction for purposes of neutralization or normalization. We have already referred to the fourfold error of judgement analyzed by Narayana Guru in the "Advaita Dipika" (see p. 969 above).


To recognize the functional togetherness of the reasoning Self which seeks the certitude of absolutist awareness is thus of the very nature of, the subject-matter of this chapter. It is a continuation of the fifth chapter with only one intervening chapter separating it. This is evidently intended to reveal the operational aspects of the purer functions of reasoning. Instrumentalism gives place to a more balanced parity between the pure functional activity persisting here between two aspects of the Self. Action becomes more sublimated but it does not lose its character as a function altogether.



In this chapter the white glow of pure reason is comparable to a subtle form of interaction between two aspects of the same Self, where the agency of the instrument as a means and the end attained by thought come together more intimately. The resultant white glow of pure reason, having a tint of redness in the context of the interaction of counterparts of the previous chapter, now points the way to more and more intense forms of interaction between the Self and the non-Self. This duality is retained only for purposes of discourse. The Self-contemplation of the next chapter, the union of the Self with the non-Self in Chapter 9, and finally the merging together by total cancellation of counterparts mark further intimacy or intensity of the participation of the two aspects of the same Self where ends and means reside with different degrees of duality admitted only for purposes of clear exposition. Scientific certitude can result only when the two limbs of an equation are brought together into unity by the inquiring mind.


Viewed in this manner, this chapter pertaining to jnana or awareness occupies a unique and important position in the whole series of visions. Science and reasoning are the same; while philosophy is a more speculative form of reason. Both are expected to yield certitude. For this reason alone it is legitimate that we find in Verse 3 a promise of full immortality. This chapter refers to the world of logical or rational discourse. Reason by itself is often looked upon as sufficient for salvation when it refers to the wisdom of the Absolute. A knower of the Absolute becomes the Absolute. This is the repeated promise of the Upanishads.


Although the normalized notion of the Absolute falls naturally within the scope of this chapter the further positive stages of the intensification of the same understanding are marked by the succeeding chapters in a graded order. They are more contemplatively spiritual in their content but the wisdom quality implied in them does not suffer a change, even when intensification might reveal another spectral shift, as it were, ranging between an infra-red and an ultra-violet. All the chapters of this second half of the work give up their precise meanings in each verse only when we remember that it is always the positive side, leaving ontology behind and pointing to a more intense form of contemplative self-identity, that now underlies the plan. The complementarity, reciprocity or cancellability of counterparts implied in each verse have to be clearly noted.
Furthermore, the careful student has to keep in mind the implications of the word vritti (function) which has a series of organically graded meanings ranging from the horizontal interaction of the instrument and the object of thought to the most subtle of verticalized functions between cancelable mathematical counterparts. This technical term runs like a relational thread stringing together all verses and is finally abolished in the last two verses.
There is also the term upadhi (conditioning) which is not a vertical relationship but rather refers to a horizontal form of relationship with some interest or object not strictly within the scope of the contemplative life.


Man's interests vary from moment to moment and between individual and individual. Such is the fecund cause of error from which all reasoning or logic must find its starting point, at least for purposes of systematic discourse.
What is called logic in India is really a discipline examining the locus of error in the total context of reasoning. Indian logic is not interested in individual judgments or predications as is the case in Western logic. We have already referred to the khyativada or theory of the locus of error. There we find the problem of locating the origin of error, which is the enemy of reason, in the various structural zones of reality, truth or value found in contemplative life. Some, like the upholders of the atmakhyativada (locating error in Self) and the Buddhist upholders of vijnanavada (idealism), place the origin of error inside. Others prefer to be realists, like the Vaiseshikas and Visishtadvaitins like Ramanuja, who go so far as to say that the silver imagined in the mother-of-pearl means the presence of real silver as essentially present everywhere in the universe. Other forms of realism based on first principles are to be found where error and its possibility are located.


Causes and effects are similarly subjected to treatment as an organic reciprocal whole giving primacy to effect or cause or both, according to the systems concerned. When thinking of the simple existence of things the Nyaya school has brought into the picture the valuable notion of abhava (nothingness). Even Western philosophers like Kant and Hegel have use for this negative notion helping to make their speculation valid. Vedanta has adopted for its own purposes the four kinds of abhavas clinging together in a total context of reason, while looking down on the Nyaya school as defective.


Thus Indian thought tacitly recognizes a structural basis for locating error taken together and in visualizing in a nutshell propositional reciprocities. Here we refer to such organic clusters of elements in reasoning to show that the Indian logical tradition has its own tacit structural presuppositions which have always to be kept in mind. This type of logic is in reality more than logic and often includes organic clusters or categories without which it cannot operate. It has been the task of Vedanta to take over and complete the formal implications of Indian logic as it accumulated in the world of philosophical inquiry, Sankara is always seen as saying in his commentary on the "Brahma Sutras" that he is of the Vedanta school, as distinct from other schools such as the Purva Mimamsa of Jaimini or the Samkhya philosophy of Kapila. What distinguishes Vedanta from all other schools is the single feature that ultimate reality is never an effect built upwards from causes by the mind and treated as real. The Absolute of Vedanta is neither cause nor effect. Its locus is the Self of man as an unconditioned pure entity independent of causes and effects. Narayana Guru's own commentary to Verse 3 also makes this point explicit. There is no ambiguity or incertitude here although in locating the cause of error, Vedanta admits the principle of maya in order to eliminate fully its negative drag through pure reason which is a normalizing positivist function. The contributions of heterodox schools such as the Jainas have been of great value in formulating Vedantic logic. Vedanta approaches logic from both sides instead of treating it unilaterally.
Sankara's "Drig-Drisya-Viveka" (Discrimination between the Seer and the Seen) correctly puts together the counterparts. This two-sided approach is already presented to him in works of the Purva Mimamsa school like the "Manameyodaya".


Even the syadvada (may be, maybe not) principle of the Jainas (sometimes referred to in disparaging terms by over-enthusiastic Vedantins) nonetheless reveals the same structural aspects of reason as the Vedanta's anirvachaniya (unpredictability) position, giving due place to the same ambiguity found at the basis of the notion of Maya.


Before examining the Syadvada, we have to note that Narayana Guru in his treatment respects a certain global and unitive concept of awareness in the context of the Absolute. In the first and last verses, he refers to absolute unconditioned awareness, marking the limits of this chapter enclosed, as it were, within the brackets of an upper and a lower limit. We also find Narayana Guru treating the functions and conditioning which distinguish various forms of awareness in a certain symmetrical and epistemological order with positive, negative, and neutral implications. The Syadvada of the Jainas need not be discarded, because it analyzes for us the elements of probability and possibility entering into an organic and reciprocal relational whole, wherein all problems cluster together to be solved by the pure light of reason. Concerning this epistemological device, we read in "The Elements of Indian Logic":

The Jaina philosophers have pointed out seven chief points of view (naya) or aspects (antas) under which we know objects. A statement made from one point of view (naya) should not be confused with a statement made from another point of view. Every statement is true from its own standpoint. In comprehensive knowledge about any object all points of view must be represented. That is, we should know the object, in order to know it fully, from all the points of view. Unfortunately we rarely do so. The seven points of view emphasized by the Jaina logicians are:
  1. The naigama naya is the standpoint in which the generic and the particular characteristics of objects are not abstracted from each other.
  2. Sangraha naya is the point of view of the common aspects of objects.
  3. The Vyavahara naya is the standpoint of the specific or individual characteristics of objects, neglecting their generic or common aspects.
  4. The Rijusutra naya is the standpoint of the present moment. It is the view of objects as they are at the present moment; not caring as to what they have been in the past or what they may be in the future.
  5. Sabda naya is the literal point of view. It is the standpoint of Grammar and confines itself to the gender, number and tense, etc. exclusively, neglecting the meaning of the words.
  6. Samabhirudha naya is the standpoint of the etymologist who always tries to use the terms in their etymological sense.
  7. Svambhuta naya is the point of view of the actual function that any object performs. From this standpoint every thing is defined in terms of what it actually does.
These are the seven most prominent nayas (standpoints), as they are ultimately infinite in number. From this naya-vada (doctrine of standpoints) logically follows the doctrine of syadvada, which is analyzed into seven most general and formal predicates, called saptabhangi naya. They are:
  1. "Syat asti" (syadasti) - "It may be so". E.g., this water may be hot for somebody.
  2. "Syat nasti" (syannasti) - "It may not be so". E.g., this water may not be hot, for some other body.
  3. "Syat asti nasti" (syadastinasti) - "It may be so and it may not be so". E.g., this water may be hot to some body and may not be hot to another body; or to the same person, it may be hot at one time and may not be hot at another time.
  4. "Syat avaktavyam" (syadavaktavyam) - "It may be indescribable" in either of the ways. E,g., this water may be indescribable as hot or cold, for it is neither hot nor cold to some person.
  5. "Syat asti avaktavyam" (syadastyavaktavyam) - "It may be so and also may be indescribable". E.g., this water may be cold to some body; neither cold nor hot to another body, i.e., indescribable either as cold or as hot.
  6. "Syat nasti avaktavyam" (syannastyavaktavyam) - "It may not be so and may also be indescribable". E.g., this water may not be hot to some body and neither hot nor cold to another body.
  7. "Syat asti nasti avaktavyam" (syadastinastyavaktavyam) – "it may be so, may not be so and also may be indescribable". E.g. this water may be hot to some, not hot to another, neither hot nor cold to still another; or all to the same person at different times.
The structural manner of speaking of all possibilities or probabilities together is seen in its most rudimentarily basic form in this total way of logic.



The Jaina enumeration of the possibilities and probabilities where correct reasoning lives and moves leads us to a consideration of certitude (nigama) from the doubt of mere curiosity (vicikitsa). Between certitude and curiosity there are semblances, (pratiti) emerging to view from the dull background of consciousness. The active function of reason as a whole is called vritti where reason moves through the duality of conditionings. Any extraneous factor obstructing the freedom of reason is called upadhi, having a horizontal reference, while vritti is its purest functional form in a positive vertical function.

Each kind of reasoning process moves between its own two dialectical counterparts called lingas. The principle uniting the lingas in pairs is vyapti or mutual participation in the ground of reason. When two lingas have a tautology implied between them, it is referred to as a dosha or vitiating factor, called ativyapti or excessive participation and overlapping. When there is not sufficient participation between lingas there is the contrary case of avyapti or non-participation between the two factors. This takes the place of the excluded middle of Western logic and tends to logic in which contradiction is not avoided.


The third dosha or vitiating factor is asambhava or impossibility. This impedes reason in its proper function. There are also the notions of anavastha or infinite regression and its complementary aspect, infinite possibility of progression. These are objectionable factors to be avoided when trying to arrive at certitude.

The method of agreement and disagreement (i.e. double correction) (anvaya-vyatireka) has already been discussed (see page 684 above), where the interaction between two aspects of unconsciousness is involved. In this chapter such interaction is on more intimate grounds referring to the positive conceptual aspects of pure reason, rather than backwards to negative ontological factors.

Certitude can refer to individual items of practical interest in everyday life. Utilitarian values and factors have their type of reasoning found in John Stuart Mill, Alexander Baine, and others, where each item of the logical process is studied as a form of judgement referring to something practical to be accomplished in the world of activity. Contemplative logic, on the other hand, fits into a more general context. All reasoning processes hang here, as it were, by the same peg instead of each having a disjunct importance of its own as individual ratiocinative functions with distinguishable subjects or predicates. The logic of pure reason is thus a global and two-sided one. The overall structure of reasoning proper to the Science of the Absolute presupposes further a common homogeneous matrix, where reasoning can freely move as awareness within its own external and internal active or passive limiting attributes. Substance and thought are always involved. The former has a horizontal and the latter has a vertical reference. When paradoxes and vicious-circle arguments are avoided or resolved one attains easily to the Absolute, which is the overall aim of pure reason.


The ramifications of the science of reasoning as understood in India are perhaps as complicated as in the West. The pramana sastra (science of ways of knowing) is where the various schools of Indian philosophy vie with each other. Here is found much subtlety of reason and we need not enter into its intricacies here. We have already seen how textbooks such as the "Tarka Sangraha" are referred to again and again by Indian logicians. Some terms are more favoured than others by particular schools for developing their logical theories, yet there are still many terms like vyapti, linga, pramana (measure), prameya (measured), pramatri (measuring subject), prama (element of certitude), etc., which are common to all of them and could be adopted for a complete science of reason.


Indian logic also varies according to religious or philosophical interests. The religious schools include values such as apurva, the unseen result of a well-reasoned life beyond the unseen principle of adrishta and free from all memory factors as a supreme effect or karya. When such spiritual ends are kept in mind the required pramanas become more numerous and sometimes attain to the limit of ten items in a graded ascending order beginning with perception or pratyaksha. Religious-minded people want to believe, while philosophers prefer to be critical and sceptical. This is true both in the East and West. A Science of the Absolute has to take an inclusive position in respect of these two attitudes. The total architectonic of Reason and the matrix where reasoning solves problems are what interest students of the Science of the Absolute. When rid of mere localized cultural or traditional aspects of value the certitude arrived at is a simplified series of norms of thought covering all human values. For example the Vedic word can extend its authority to the agamas (secondary texts), the puranas or epic and heroic tales, as well as to the itihasas or legendary lore.


Religious willingness to believe can also include even mere stories within the scope of strict articles of faith, while those who prefer to strictly preserve the purity of philosophic thought will avoid getting involved in mere theological or figurative speculation. Reasoning in India thus starts with the Materialists or Charvakas who are said to have their reasoning based only on the given data of the senses. Yet a close examination of the logical position they developed reveals that they cannot be called simply crude materialists. Their scale of values alone shows their one, two or three dimensional insight. (1) There are those among them who are able to give the datum of what is objectively seen a more or less dignified epistemological status.

The numerous schools of Buddhism like the Vijnanavadins, Vaibhasikas, Sautrantikas, Yogacaras, Madhyamikas, etc., are all despised by Vedic orthodoxy yet we find, even in Sankara's commentary on the "Brahma Sutras", a methodology showing how much in debt he was to the older Buddhist philosophical schools, particularly the Madhyamikas. How far his indebtedness goes is hard to determine with precision, but there is no mistaking the resemblance between his way of reasoning and that of the Buddhists.


Instead of having prameya as an objective measurable end-result or effect of reasoning, the accent is transferred by Sankara to the pramata (the reasoning subject) in terms of absolute Self-knowledge. An effected Absolute thus becomes distinct from an Absolute having its cause in the Self of man. The first is called the lower brahman and the other the higher brahman.


We have already pointed out how the battles which take place in polemical textbooks like the "Brahma Sutras" over the primacy of these two Absolutes results in no final certitude. Such is the logical predicament we have to keep in mind while studying the verses of Narayana Guru where he applied his razor mercilessly to trim the unnecessary extraneous overlappings coming from one-sided or distorted scepticism or belief. He is seen to respect the total structure of the world of logical discourse, placing himself on a homogeneous and flexible matrix or ground. The simple scientific position taken by him is most evident in the fifth verse. The main classes of logical propositions are also fully respected by Narayana Guru and in Verse 8 his desire to keep figurative language strictly within the scope of analogy is made clear. This verse touches the teleological limit of the scope of logic. On the extreme side of ontology, Narayana Guru's love of fact does not exclude a certain basic willingness to believe as seen from his equal treatment of pratyaksha (perception) and aparoksha (the non-transcendental aspect), giving them an equal epistemological status within the total unitive scope of pure reasoning. Such an attitude is still in accord with the true spirit of. Indian logic.



Each man has a coat that fits him. So, too, each kind of reasoning has to fit its purpose or its logical context. Both have the Self as a double correlating factor. What the reasoning process is finally meant to accomplish is to reveal the truth of an equation between the Self and the non-Self. The last verse of this chapter contains such an all-important equation giving us the key that unites the various kinds of reasoning which the chapter includes. We shall presently explain the position of this chapter, but let us first point out that in the previous chapter there was already reference to an "I'' standing as it were on the top of a rock called kutasta.


Instrumentalism was the psychological functioning of an organon or antah-karana (inner instrument) linking this higher placed Self with its own psychological counterpart. The resulting contemplative effect was the red glow of mysticism where Maya and its function were less intimately operative.


In this chapter the negativity of Maya and its horizontal implications of activity have been left behind. As we have said, the red glow of mysticism gives place to the white glow of reason resulting more directly and intimately from the interaction of the psychological Self with the logical Self. The syllable Aum in the last verse is unmistakably the Logos of neo-Platonism. The Logos concerns itself with logic and thus with the universe of discourse, especially in the contemplative context of absolutism. The ontological implications of the Nous, on the other hand, can be safely forgotten here, because the gap to be filled by the present darsana or vision is concerned with logical distinctness although the resulting awareness is still conceivable in functional terms.

In other words, we are here in the domain of axiomatic thinking where ascending and descending dialectics is the next and more positive form of reason directly derived from the previous forms of Chapters V and VI. The process here does not have to depend on actualities or actions. All normal forms of reasoning like inference and analogy come under the scope of this chapter fulfilling all the requirements of Narayana Guru for his purpose of developing his subject here in an integrated and unitive manner. The apodictic self-identity of truth as a pure function of the understanding has not been omitted to be given a legitimate central position. When this apodicity is applied to the Self where the effected Self abides in full relation with the non-effected Self which is its own counterpart, the resulting awareness is underlined as the same as what is given to the highest wisdom.


It is thus a subtle equation that is established here between the logical Self in a neutral position at the point of origin in the vertical axis and its own counterpart of the non-Self which has been openly degraded as a supposition, but nonetheless still retains an axiomatic status in the "I"-sense at the top of a series of possible conceivable Selves.


The gap between concepts and percepts has to be bridged by a reference to known and valid reasoning processes belonging generally to the domain of logical thought of Indian philosophy. Inference and direct perception are two forms of elementary reasoning. Direct perception is what even animals sometimes exercise better than the most learned of philosophers. A cow running away from a man with an upraised stick is, in its own way, using inference without analyzing its logical implications. However, the very innateness and simplicity of these operations within consciousness have caused confusion in the minds of philosophers like Locke who have tried to separate primary and secondary qualities of empirical entities. Hume gave to the ground of logical inference a merely phenomenological status almost amounting to nothingness. Rationalism passed through different forms of axiomatic or dialectical thinking between the periods of Descartes, Leibniz and Spinoza. The credit of having fully established the claims of the innate a priori synthetic operation or function of pure reason, however goes to Kant.


In a corresponding manner in India, it is Buddhist logic that entered minutely even into the presuppositions of such apparently simple items of awareness as objects actually visualized or brought within consciousness. Whether reason is dialectical, experimental or axiomatic, the simplest form of impression made by a visible thing presupposes the same total and absolute consciousness having a homogeneity of content.


In the same way as numbers represent things there are also numbers representing numbers ad infinitum. Such are the possibilities of the human mind where memory and imagination, as well as the immanent and transcendent, can meet and coexist without contradiction or conflict, making subtler processes of reasoning ascend or descend in a vertical scale uniting axioms with facts. This is the domain proper to general ideas within which reason or awareness can function. There are general notions of validity functioning from the side of instinct as well as intelligence. A philosopher might need "cogito ergo sum" and a theological God to effect the linking of the subtle counterparts of general ideas. Narayana Guru prefers to treat the link as passing from the psychological to the logical through successive levels of the abstract "I'' sense. Between these limits, however numerous, might be the points of view proper and possible to different schools of logic, it is the same verticalized ground that is meant to be covered, when the pure reason of this chapter functions both ways as awareness or certitude.


It is necessary also to point out that contemplation is a subject that cannot be submitted to scientific treatment in any narrow or restricted sense. As soon as one admits the God of any religion or presupposes even a vestige of the duality found between such a God and the Self, whether in prayer or contemplation, the strict scientific validity or normality of reasoning tends to be compromised. On the other hand we have here to deal with human values that are real. Mathematical thinking on its own might leave us with at best only a frame of reference without any essential value content. Moral, aesthetic, religious and contemplative values are made of the stuff of essences to be understood in terms of numinous states of the Self. An axiology in terms of the Self and its happiness is involved here. Narayana Guru respects the requirements of the mathematical framework in logical thought in bridging the gap between axioms and subtle values originating in the real Self.


We can have a Self of all selves or a Value of all values, as easily as a Thought of all thoughts and an Idea of all ideas. Instead of being in a world of either-or and neither-nor, we enter here into the domain of both-together. Ratiocination as such is thrown away as a weak instrument. An apodictic and dialectical certitude is preferred. The axiom itself has its central place in the form of Self-identity, making for the highest of contemplative values. It is by the extreme application of Occam's Razor that Narayana Guru in this chapter and the chapters to follow gives a scientific character to his discussion. The scientific character is also conferred by the clarity and simplicity of the approach to this otherwise highly speculative domain which through its verbosity has become repugnant to the modern scientific mind. The three terms called the Absolute, the "I'' sense and the high value factor called ananda or bliss make up the summum bonum, whether in God or in humanity, these terms being used interchangeably by Narayana Guru. This extreme simplification makes these verses fully scientific.


The unconditioned pure reason of the first verse corresponds to the word "that" or tat in the formula, aum-tat-sat. The word tat of the last verse refers to teleological reality and is directly related to the ontological sat. Although all items are thus covered by Narayana Guru within these verses, it will be profitable for us to examine the usual items as enumerated and defined by various philosophical schools of India. This is in order to avoid the usual textbook errors and prejudices growing round each item of valid reasoning.


The following analysis of the types of valid reasoning favoured by various schools of Indian thought gives us a bird's eye view of the ground to be covered, although their strict compartmentalization as distinguishing separate schools need not directly interest us.
The number of pramanas (means or instruments of knowledge) found in Indian philosophy is ten. Very few schools use all ten, but instead try to incorporate those they have not used into the pramanas accepted as valid.


The ten pramanas are:
  1. pratyaksha (perception);
  2. anumana (inference);
  3. sabda (verbal testimony);
  4. upamana (analogy by reason);
  5. arthapatti (postulation);
  6. anupalabdhi (impossibility);
  7. aitihya (knowledge based solely on tradition);
  8. ceshta (figurative gesture);
  9. parisesha (elimination of the extraneous)
  10. sambhava (possibility).
The Charvaka or Materialist philosophy recognizes only perception.
The Vaiseshikas Jainas and Buddhists recognize both perception and inference.
The Samkhya and Yoga school of Patanjali recognizes these as well as verbal testimony.
The Nyaya school includes analogy by reason along with the above three.
Certain Mimamsakas, followers of Prabhakara, recognize these four and include arthapatti (postulation).
The other Mimamsakas who follow Kumarila Bhatta, as well as Advaita Vedantins include arthapatti (postulation) and anupalabdhi (impossibility).
The followers of the puranas accept these six and add two others: knowledge based solely on tradition or aitihya and figurative gesture or ceshta.

Students of the Tantra add parisesha or elimination of the extraneous.

Finally, certain thinkers include all ten pramanas, inclusive of the last item which refers to pure and simple possibility (sambhava).



Before entering into a scrutiny of the main items helping to arrive at true awareness, let us first fix our attention on the implications found in the most central of the verses. Verse 5 puts its finger on a basic ontological or epistemological problem. There is here a clear line of demarcation between the dialectic and the apodictic. Even the most subtle of logicians cannot overlook this simple middle limit of certitude in the world of logical discourse. This refers to a schematic line separating the perceptual and conceptual aspects, so as to yield a central normalized certitude participating in both percepts and concepts. Causes and effects, names and forms, the a priori and the a posteriori, reality and appearance, and other conjugate pairs belong together as dialectical counterparts, cutting across the principle of contradiction represented by the horizontal line of reference separating concepts from percepts within the totality of the Absolute.


A favourite and classical example of Vedanta refers to this basic paradox at the core of the absolute truth to be found by pure consciousness, in the example of the appearance of the supposed snake on the basic reality of the rope. The rope is the ontological verity and the snake is the superposed apparent notion. To give unilateral primacy to one or the other is an inadequate way of solving this basic paradox or error according to Narayana Guru. All troubles in philosophy arise from such one-sided accentuation. Absolute truth is neither on one side nor the other, but at the point where the plus and minus aspects neutralize each other. The Buddhist dialectician. Dharmakirti also makes this unmistakably clear in the following way:

"The object cognized by sense-perception is the particular essence of that object. No interpreter´s skill in the world can do away with the obvious fact that the real fire is the fire that burns and cooks, and the ideal fire which I have in my head can of course 'completely determine' the particular fire, but it cannot burn and cook." (2)


The above quotation amply clarifies that in scientific certitude the mechanism of awareness does not depend on choosing one truth in preference to another. Certitude is the result of a double-sided correction of error whether it is a function of the senses that is producing it or is of a deeper origin in consciousness. Verse 5 of this chapter gives full recognition to a form of direct ontological certitude without abolishing the claims of appearances however dignified. Hence its importance in this Science.



The Charvakas or Materialist philosophers have questioned the validity of even simple inference. There is the story of the wife of a Charvaka philosopher who believed there was a wolf at the front door during the night because she saw its footprints in the morning. Her husband laughed and told her that he made the prints on purpose in order to show her how inference is not valid. Error is possible even in a one-hundred-percent probability when all contingencies are admitted. This is what the Charvaka was trying to establish. The Absolute alone is without either probability or possibility of error.


Belief can be exaggerated or miscarried and when depending upon out-of-the-way texts it can even become highly questionable. The Charvakas answer an exaggerated belief in suffering by pointing out that even though the husk on a kernel of rice is not edible, the intelligent man throws away the husk and cooks the rice. He also points out in connection with making food offerings to deities, that if a man is sitting on the roof of a house and you place a plate of rice on the ground he will have to come down to eat it.


Logicians who exaggerate their methods have also been caricatured in the dramas of Kalidasa. There is the humorous story of two logicians disputing on the road after an elephant has passed them. They did not see the elephant pass because they were engrossed in another argument, but later they tried to convince themselves by argument that it was really an elephant that passed because of the footprints on the ground. There is also the favourite tale of the blind men and the elephant. This is meant to show that it is the totality that counts and not just one item of preference. The buttons have to be pushed carefully to accord with the total mechanism of reasoning so as to produce the degree of certitude that each type of reasoning can yield.


Perception can also be subjected to an analysis based on a double correction of the general kind as seen from the above quotation from Dharmakirti. Believers can be non-scientific and sceptics can be nearer to a belief in the Absolute. Harmony of matter and method yields a normal healthy awareness from the side of ontology as well as logic. It is in Buddhist logic that the subtlest dialectical analysis of logical problems is found. There are two sets of double corrections involved in all judgments. One is horizontal and the other is vertical, each with two poles.


If we keep this in mind when reading some of the Buddhist quotations to follow, we shall be able to appreciate how Narayana Guru has given to items of logical reasoning their proper positions belonging to the total structural content of the Absolute. As for the use of our terms vertical and horizontal, we find Th. Shcherbatsky himself using them in connection with Dharmakirti, who says in the "Pramana Vartika":

"Experience, positive and negative, says Dharmakirti, can never produce (a knowledge) of the strict necessity of inseparable connection. This always reposes either on the law of Causality or on the law of Identity" (3)

Shcherbatsky remarks about this:

"The understanding, besides constructing the concepts, arranges them so as to give them order and systematical unity. It arranges them, so to speak, either along a vertical line in depth or along a horizontal line in breadth" (4)

In the "Mula-Madhyamika-Karika-Vritti", Chandrakirti admirably sums up the dialectical methodology of the Madhyamika philosophy:

"Simple humanity imagines (i.e. constructs dialectically) and dichotomizes Matter and (Mind, etc.), without going to the bottom (of the dichotomy)....But all such (imagined dialectical) concepts form an inveterate Habit of Thought, coeval with the beginningless world-process.

They arise in a process of Dispersion-into-Manifold (of the original Unity of the Universe). Thus are created (in couples the dialectical) concepts of cognition and cognized; the object (expressed) and the subject (expressing it); agent and action; cause and effect; a jar and a cloth; a diadem and a vehicle; woman and man; profit and loss; pleasure and pain; fame and infamy; blame and praise; etc. etc. All this worldly Manifold disappears without leaving any trace in the Void (of Relativity), as soon as the essence of all separate existence is perceived to be relative (and ultimately unreal)." (5)


Dharmottara, in the "Nyayabindu-tika", says this about perception and ontological certitude in general:

"We apply the term "ultimately real" to anything that can be tested by its force to produce an effect .... This indeed is the reason why purposive actions are realized in regard of objects directly perceived, not in regard of objects constructed (by imagination) .... A really perceived object, on the other hand, produces purposive action. Consequently real is only the particular (i.e., the unique point of efficiency, the thing-in-itself), not the constructed (empirical) object." (6)


Regarding Ultimate Reality, Dharmottara says in the "Nyayabindu-tika":

"Affirmation (viz., that affirmation which is the contrary of negation) is the thing, and the thing is the synonym of ultimate reality, ultimate reality is in its turn the ultimate particular." (7)
We next come to Jinendrabuddhi, who treats of pratyaksha (perception, empirical awareness) and aparoksha (non-transcendental awareness) together in a unitive manner and then shows how the empirical point of view can also make mistakes:

"From the standpoint of Thisness i.e., Absolute Reality) there is no difference at all! But hampered as we are by a Transcendental Illusion (we perceive only a refraction of reality) all that we know is exclusively its indirect appearance as differentiated by the construction of a difference between subject and object. Therefore the differentiation into cognition and its object is made from the empirical point of view, not from the point of view of Absolute Reality." (8)

Next, we find Dharmakirti relating perception with inference:

"Sensation does not convince anybody. If it cognizes something, it does it in the way of a passive reflex, not in the way of judgment. In that part in which sensation has the power to engender the following right judgment, in that part only does it assume (the dignity) of a right knowledge. But in that part in which it is powerless to do it, owing to causes of error, another source of knowledge begins to operate. It brushes away all wrong imagination and thus we have another source (viz. inference) which then comes to the front." (9)


Dignaga, in the "Pramana-Samuccaya", now presents a verticalized view of inference:
"Knowledge derived from words does not differ (in principle) from Inference. Indeed the name can express its own meaning only by repudiating the opposite meaning, as for instance the words 'to have an origin' (designate their own meaning only through a contrast with things having no origin or eternal). (10)

Our final quotation is from Santiraksita, who says double negation is both logical and ontological:

"Negation is double, says he, it is either special or simple. The special contains an affirmation of the contrary. In its turn it also is double, it either is logical or ontological.

The logical variety of qualified Negation is the mental image which we cognize in our perceptual judgments (as an Universal) which have one and the same form pervasive (through many objects).

The ontological variety of qualified Negation represents pure reality, when every thing unreal (i.e. every ideality) has been brushed away from it, (It is the Thing-in-Itself)." (11)

Thus some valuable structural sidelight on pure reason is shed even by Buddhist logic which we can see can be put into service for a Scientific study of Reason.



The above considerations have made it a amply clear that logical incertitude lurks behind even so-called facts and sense data. When direct inference can be questioned, how much more should it be possible that far-fetched conclusions about the ultimate Good raise difficulties for any scientific speculation? Here it is axiomatic thinking that is the saving factor. There is no lack of certitude in the truth behind the axiom.

This does not mean that axiomatic truth is factual. Its certitude belongs to the logical order. If fact-truth refers to the horizontal actuality of percepts, then logic-truth refers to its conceptual counterpart. Logic refers to thinner and thinner concepts representing thoughts, until concepts begin to have a purely nominalistic value where one name is as good as another. Thoughts can be piled on thoughts making for a Thought of all thoughts. The thinker belonging to thought has his own dialectical counterpart from the side of "cogito ergo sum". He can be abstracted as the Thinker of all thoughts and by descending into his own essential nature become the Self of all possible Selfs.

Teleological logic is the region where the neutral Self contemplates true logical verities with the help of concepts or mathematical names. Such a Self was reached at the end of Chapter 5. It is in this sense that one hears of the delight of pure mathematics and in modern scientific language it is even possible to find a mystical content within its scope. Pure reason has its rewarding delights to the speculator or the calculator when it follows a verticalized parameter of truth having value. When we swerve from the path of true delight, we know by axiomatic thinking and pure reason that a certain position is impossible or untenable.


Generally it is the authority of a sacred text that religious believers turn to when faced with incertitude. Their favourite arguments are seen to be mainly based on the principle of possibility or impossibility. We find this raised in the "Brahma Sutras" in the form of a negative principle of sufficient reason. The next best argument put forward by the religious- minded is to appeal to some obscure text and claim validity for something because "it says so in the text."


This is done by Sankara and Badarayana in the "Brahma Sutras". The ontological argument is often referred to in a light-hearted fashion by Sankara and examples taken from somewhat dubious walks of life such as the worlds of dreams, omens, magic, etc. are employed. Meditation on holy objects is also treated as capable of giving the devotee entrance into a world of the Gods.


In this chapter we note the glaring omission of all these methods demanding a high degree of willingness to be an orthodox believer in a particular body of Vedic texts. Dogmatism and scientific certitude cannot go together. Impossibility is a good argument and in the field of general ideas it is sufficiently warranted. But to ask a person to believe every word of a text without any kind of scrutiny savours of superstition and blind belief. The regulative factor to be applied here belongs to the Cartesian method of systematic doubt.


Auguste Comte's own rules of positive philosophizing also have a healthy influence here, though all he laid down is not respected by us. His love of scientific laws in thought and insistence on avoiding mythology has a good effect on speculation. From a strictly scientific point of view all myth must be ultimately dispensed with. To attain to Kantian critical standards is another regulative principle of importance in the world of general ideas.

It is only correct dialectics that spells certitude. Such dialectical reasoning employs counterparts such as found in the methodology of the Madhyamika philosopher, Chandrakirti, quoted above. Whatever conjugate pair we think of, the dialectical process is independent of the operator and operand. The function of dialectics remains the same.


It always implies a vertical equation between the reasoning Self and the non-Self which is reasoned about. Such delight is a high value and as an emergent factor is the stuff of emancipation. In the present series of verses, we are able to recognize a mathematical equation implied in the last verse where the term aum-tat-sat (aum, that is existent) is found. This term has received various logistic, rhetorical, dialectical and semantic treatments by Vedantic speculators. The word brahman (the Absolute) is called in Sankara's commentary on the "Brahma Sutras", svata-eva-arthavan-eva (by itself meaningful). This is pure nominalism and someone like Abelard in the West might fully approve of it.


A further examination in a less nominalistic spirit is taken up by Sankara when he gives three attributes to the Absolute. They are satyam (the ontological real), jnanam (wisdom) and anantam (eternal). He analyzes the semantic and logical implications of three attributes, which he says successively limit the scope of each to reveal a pure and neutral Absolute.


Exegetics admits not only the rules of rhetoric but of pure semantics. Common usage understood as pertaining to the basic pragmatics of language is also resorted to by Sankara to reveal the nature of the unconditioned pure and neutral Absolute. The mahavakya or great dictum tat-tvam-asi (Thou art That) offers Sankara opportunities to show his own expert knowledge of arthavada or exegetics, with as much ability as the Purva Mimamsa philosophers and logicians. He sometimes even excels them in crediting fully all semantic polyvalences. We have referred to these matters elsewhere. We shall now only mention in passing the broad distinctions to be made.


  1. vacyartha (direct or literal meaning) and lakshanartha (indirect or figurative meaning).
  2. jahalakshana (inclusion of metaphorical implications) and ajahalakshana (exclusion of metaphorical implications). Both of these can be referred to the single method of or elimination of the extraneous.
  3. anvayavyatireka (combined agreement and difference) presupposes the fourfold semantic polyvalence in arriving at certitude where the mahavakyas are concerned.
Later Vedantic speculation became specialized to such a degree that much of it comes to us in the form of vain punditry.

Like sophistic and eristic reasoning and the misuse of the dialectical method, which have been overdone in Western scholastics, the similarities between Eastern and Western historical developments run almost on parallel lines. The spirit of science defeats itself when these extreme luxuries of speculative thought are permitted without any check.

It is therefore consoling to find Narayana Guru depending on upamiti (analogy) as an item by itself sufficient to cover the whole ground of all the sub-varieties of speculation employed by the best Vedantic philosophers and logicians. Analogy is inevitable as an overall means of certitude and falls under one category. Inference or anumiti is its counterpart on the ontological side of the total knowledge-situation. Analogy occupies a similar symmetrical position on the side of teleology where speculation lives and moves among the thin strands of pure reason.

It should also be noted that it is not the form of upamiti that is important for the purposes of explaining this instrument of certitude as intended by Narayana Guru.


This form of certitude has two opposite references: the first is teleological, and the second ontological. An actual cow is ontological but "cowness" is teleological as an abstraction. A person who has heard from another authoritative person of a new kind of animal having the specific attributes of "cowness" gets confirmatory evidence when actually seeing such an animal. Such an animal need not represent an actuality at all, but an inner experience of an abstract notion of the Absolute is all that is needed. The Absolute is first described and when the inner experience tallies with the description there is a subtle form of conviction known as anumiti-jnana (knowledge by analogy), pertaining to the context of samvit (awareness). This is what makes certitude about the Absolute possible at all.

Such implications must not be overlooked by the careful reader when he studies this chapter where this special event in consciousness is described. Ordinary logicians might put the accent of certitude on the side of ontology rather than on teleology. Such an error is disastrous for the purposes of this chapter. The usual definitions make this mistake: it should be avoided.


Class or jati is an abstraction and should not be mixed up with an actual example. The four castes of India are meant to be jatis in this stricter sense, but the grave error of casteism is due to the interference of the notions of an actual brahmin to be distinguished as a bahir-brahmana (outer or objective member of a caste). This is a representation of an abstract class having the attributes of brahmin-hood to be gleaned from the sastras (textbooks). To speak of an actual brahmin in the former sense is an absurdity that has been pointed out in Narayana Guru's "Jati Mimamsa" (Critique of Caste) in the very first verse:

"Man's humanity marks out the human kind,
Even as bovinity proclaims the cow.
Brahminhood and such are not thuswise.
None do see this truth, alas!"


Analogy thus covers all speculative processes of pure reason where the certitude about a concept or its name is in question. The term nirdishtam (indicated by words) reveals this abstract and semantic state of pure reasoning used in establishing the unity between the cosmological Absolute and the ontological Self. Here the proof is fully axiomatic.



Pure reason as treated in this chapter is a unitive and almost nominalistic entity fully representing the absolute value called Truth. In itself it is unconditioned and exists beyond the reach of an actively functioning subjective consciousness. Before this nominalistic entity can be thought of, pragmatism and operationalism have to attain the purest of mathematical functions. Such an entity is so highly axiomatic in its status that its existence is its own proof. The formula giving content to its reality is stated in the last verse of this chapter. Pure reason is thus enclosed between the brackets indicating the top and bottom limits of a logical vertical parameter of reference.


The great dictum aum-tat-sat (aum, that is existent) touches the different levels of existence-subsistence-value (i.e. sat-cit-ananda), placed between the ontological and the high value limits comprised within the amplitude of this chapter. The structure of logic revealed throughout the verses is what is meant to give these verses a scientific status. This is especially true of Verse 9 where the several items referred to are meant to reveal the inner structure of thought-functions as they belong together in the context of pure reason.


We now conclude with a review of the verses: 
Verse 1. This verse underlines the purely unconditioned and non-functional character of absolute reason to be treated as a single nominalistic reality or value. The term hi (indeed) stresses the utmost purity of reason as an absolute thing-in-itself. As existing beyond the reach of all functionings of the human mind, reason should really be called awareness instead of a form of active reasoning. It is not possible to bring it within the requirements of scientific descriptions when its absolute nature is fully credited. Description is possible only when the knower and the known are together implied as distinguishable factors. Languages must communicate and necessarily have their dual counterparts of the Self and the non-Self. This is true whether one is talking to oneself or to someone outside of oneself. The other person spoken of is thought of as a generalized and abstracted entity, existing, at least in principle, on the plus side of the vertical axis. This is necessary for communication in discourse. Such duality does not detract from the absolute status of pure awareness.

The second half of this verse steps down, as it were, to a position where communication becomes more admissible. The ontological Self is what is able to exercise its reason however pure it might be. When thought is conditioned by such an ontological subjectivity other inevitable conditionings belonging to the side of reality have necessarily to limit the scope and purity of any active reasoning. This ontological Self is therefore the first all-inclusive conditioning factor referring to pure awareness. The "I" sense of egoism (ahankara) conditions pure awareness. This permits us to exercise the further implications of pure reason in the context of absolute wisdom. The first verse is thus meant to give absolute awareness its full two-sided yet discussing other aspects in a graded sequence respecting the organic togetherness of reasoning.


Verse 2. This verse views awareness from a perspective admitting of a fundamental interplay of elements involved in general awareness belonging to the dual context of the Self and the non-Self. This gives us the double frame of reference helpful in the analytical discourse of this chapter. Already in Chapter 5 the ontological foundations of the present chapter were laid. The duality of subject and object so pronounced in their interaction in Chapter 5 are now seen subdued under a purer or a rational form of consciousness. Here the interaction is present in principle but refers to the purest of notions of reason. The subjective implications fade in favour of a more positive one.

The conditioning to which self-awareness is subject is that of the Self as indicated by the word adhyasa (superimposition) and the vritti (operation or function) refers to interaction of the two Selfs, one psycho-physical and the other logical or teleological, treated as two wholes pertaining to the Self and the non-Self respectively. The use of the word bhana (consciousness) takes us back to realism of the fifth chapter. This chapter is a continuation of Chapter V, with only instrumentalist reasoning intervening and is emancipated from physics to a further degree.


Verse 3. The term atmajnana (Self-knowledge) is defined by its reference to what is not rather than to what is. Like the nominalistic pure reason of the plus side, absolute reason abiding in the Self eludes description. Here one has to adopt the law of negative specification.

 All negativity is specificatory, as when a sculptor eliminates chips of marble to reveal his conceived reality. What remains after elimination is a pure absolute witness (sakshi) having a noumenal rather than phenomenal Status.

Narayana Guru underlines here the nature of the Self-realization of the absolute witness as consisting of immortality (amritam). This view is fully supported in the Upanishads where we find expressions like brahmavit brahma-eva-bhavati, "the knower of the Absolute becomes even the Absolute".

Verse 4. Here the reference is to the multiple world of effects (karyam). If the witnessing Self has its unitive place in a vertical axis linked with the nominalistic Absolute as its transcendental counterpart, the non-Self has its participating locus at some point beyond the origin in the same vertical axis. Instead of being a unitive factor, the non-Self tends to disperse itself into the plurality and multiplicity of rival values. This is detrimental to the contemplation of the Absolute. Nominalistic specification of the unique absolute has to be attained again by negation.

Practical and utilitarian philosophies still retain a degree of pluralism in the name of human progress, William James, John Dewey and C.S.Pierce stand for pluralism in the same way the Vaiseshikas do. Pluralism refers to the world of horizontal values having as important a reference as the vertical. While a philosopher recognizes its presence, he prefers not to disperse his interests into the endless absurdities into which it leads him. A man who does not see unity is not a philosopher, and "wends from death to death", as it says in Upanishads.

For purposes of discourse it is important to recognize this pluralistic reference and to retain it. One might not like to live in the climate of the equator but this does not mean the equator has no validity as a geographical reference. The knowledge of the non-Self has therefore the knowledge of the Self as its meaning.


Verse 5. In this verse as already pointed out the object is to reveal the nature of the thing-in-itself or all things-in-themselves. Reason has to avoid the four errors of actuality, virtuality, immanence and transcendence. It has to fix facts, truths and values at the central apodictic position of certitude. This is where the last vestiges of superimposition of the non-Self on the Self can be eliminated. There are two definitions of awareness: the first is called true and the second is called false. Both are defined at one stroke in the same verse. Truth and falsehood participate at right angles at their point of origin. Kant's ding-an-sich is no other than this absolute awareness.

Verse 6. Here Narayana Guru enters into the individual items in the context of valid reasoning known to Indian logic but equally present in Western logic. Empirical sense data are treated as the source of the most generalized and publicly known means of certitude. The evidence of the senses is not treated as questionable. The absolute existence of things outside the self when viewed in a more fully philosophical context needs as much proof as the proof needed in axiomatic reasoning.

Inferences based on analogies are still more questionable. There are various kinds of certitudes because of the structure of logic. A conceptual flame will not burn anybody, but a perceptual one proves its existence by its burning. This distinction is quite valid when guiding one intelligently in practical life where disobedience to laws of nature might be detrimental to happiness.

Awareness of objects given to the senses is treated by Narayana Guru as having the same epistemological status in consciousness as the non-transcendental or immanent aspect of awareness. Perception (pratyaksha) and the immanent aspect (aparoksha) belong to the same context referring to a common certitude. This certitude still conceptually understood can be placed just below the centre of the vertical axis. In this chapter we are concerned with the conceptual version of all perceptual elements.


Verse 7. Here inference (anumiti), perhaps the most generalized function of reasoning, is defined. A simple inference may appear to need no special explanation. We see smoke and infer fire. It is when we think of the importance of this inference in the general context of wisdom that its true function reveals itself. It is not for simple utilitarian practical life that inference is an important instrument. Induction from simple associations of causes with effects can be carried by extrapolation into the domains of hypothetical constructions. Sometimes scientific theories surpass the observed aspects of events or facts to such a degree that they attain a fully absolutist status. This is true of the universal theory of gravitation.

Causes and effects or even means and ends could be linked by a necessary inner connection called upadana (material or basic). This means pots have to depend on clay. There is an eternally necessary link between cause and effect, when vertically viewed. This permits the making of valid inferences even though the most far-reaching of extrapolations might be involved.

As Narayana Guru explains in his commentary on this verse, it is quite legitimate to infer the presence of fire on a mountainside from the observed smoke. By the simple familiar association of smoke with fire in the context of the kitchen, inference becomes an important possibility and aid to certitude. There are many sub-divisions of inference known to syllogistic and logical reasonings which are not so important. They are too numerous to be included by Narayana Guru and are of secondary value.


Verse 8. Certitude or analogy (anumiti) is now treated by Narayana Guru. The scope and importance of this type of reasoning has already been explained by us. We have also pointed out the common error which is like looking through the wrong side of the telescope. This item of awareness is meant by Narayana Guru to cover many other items of reasoning generally included in Indian logic such as sabda (verbal testimony), arthapatti (postulation), anupalabdhi (impossibility), aitihya (knowledge based solely on tradition), ceshta (figurative gesture), parisesha (elimination of the extraneous) and sambhava (possibility).

Verbal testimony or sabda is covered by the axiomatic and a priori, while arthapatti (postulation) is but a form of guesswork. In the third item, anupalabdhii (impossibility), we have argument by impossibility which depends on a general idea with total consensus of opinion. The ritualism of the Purva Mimamsa and Tantric contexts are implied in ceshta (figurative gesture), which has a structural validity all its own. Seeking the essential from the irrelevant is natural to reasoning and is covered by parisesha (elimination of the extraneous). Sambhava (possibility) is also a general item to be taken for granted. All these could be adequately treated as covered by upamiti (analogy).

Whatever the certitude, the essence of a comparison is always implied; whether the item compared is familiar through experiment or by other forms of common knowledge. A cow is a familiar animal but the specific universal quality of cowness found in a strange animal is established by the type of awareness in consciousness which strictly comes under analogy.


Verse 9. This Verse is meant to reveal the actuality of the vertical and horizontal references kept together for the purposes of unitive reasoning. The terms "mind" and "I" refer to the living Self and are vertical. The terms "all this" and "that" refer to external objects and are horizontal. Both belong together to the world of logical discourse.

Verse 10. The elaborate commentary on this verse by Narayana Guru refers to all the important implications. The conditioned nature of reasoning adopted in the intermediate verses for purposes of discourse is fully abandoned here. Instead, axiomatic thinking is resorted to in equating the Self and the non-Self. A vertical or dialectical way of certitude is what is here implied: the Absolute can be called by any name as all propositions prove themselves. Such is the assumption here resulting from awareness of the Absolute.


The scanning of the import of the verses of this chapter will reveal its perfect epistemological sequence and gradation. together with the symmetry of one-one status implied between the second and fourth with the ninth, eighth, and seventh in inverse structural order. Teleology and ontology have their neutral apodictic turning point in the fifth verse; and in the first and final verses we can recognize limiting verities like two brackets enclosing all possible varieties of certitude in reason or awareness. We descend here by a thin thread from conditioned awareness to the heart of ontological actuality which marks the negative limit of the pure absolute Awareness, the content of this chapter.





[1] See Madhavacharya, "Sarva-Darsana Samgraha".


[2] Shcherbatsky, Vol.1, pp.189 and 455, resp,


[3] Shcherbatsky, Vol.1, p.260


[4] Shcherbatsky, Vol.1, p.260


[5] Shcherbatsky, Vol.1, pp.478-479


[6] Shcherbatsky, Vol.1, p.192


[7] Shcherbatsky, Vol.1, p.192


[8] Shcherbatsky, Vol.1, pp 512-513


[9] Shcherbatsky, Vol.1, p. 241


[10] Shcherbatsky, Vol.1, p.459


[11] Shcherbatsky, Vol.1, p.472






We have translated the term bhakti as "contemplation". It is defined by Narayana Guru as "Self-contemplation". Sankara in the "Vivekachudamani" (Verses 31-32) also defines it as contemplation of the Self. According to popular usage the term covers many forms of emotional expression and religious devotion. Agony, ecstasy, mystic trance as well as subnormal and abnormal expressions are also sometimes covered by this term. India is essentially a religious country, and such manifestations are normal.


The varieties of religious behaviour connected with holy places and individuals representing this type of spiritual life have offered the traveler to India many interesting features. The search for naked fakirs or yogis continues to interest visitors who are curious about this aspect of contemplation. Yogis and mahatmas are still supposed to be hiding in the Himalayas and other out-of-the-way places. Various psychic feats or performances are expected to be seen by the visitor. These performances sometimes include men sitting on nails and practicing other forms of self-torture.


All these exaggerated expressions of bhakti have been condemned by Sankara, the Buddha and others, as purposeless in the serious context of wisdom. However interesting they may be in themselves and no matter how much mystery they offer the student of psychology, the philosopher will always take a most generalized and abstract view of the variety of such expressions, dismissing freak instances as of secondary importance only. Even the Bhagavad Gita, III.10 tries to put all types of spirituality under the single term of yajna or sacrifice. This is presented there as an abstract principle lodged in the heart of human beings from the beginning of creation.


This unitive reduction of all spiritual expressions in common human life includes in its scope two other principles called dana (gift giving) and tapas (austerity). According to the Gita the spiritual tradition of India comes down to us in a three-stranded string made up of these elements. Man offers sacrifice to some high principle, whether or not it has fully attained the Absolute. The meaning of the Absolute is conceivable under these three categories as repeatedly pointed out in the Upanishads. It is therefore not wrong to say that bhakti is an attempt to establish a bi-polar relation between a religious aspirant and his own highest ideal inclusive of these three elements fused into one.

A cosmological Absolute, with or without a personal God, and a psychological Absolute, representing the non-Self counterpart of the devotee, are interchangeable in establishing this bipolarity required for bhakti. Besides being capable of being viewed under the perspectives of cosmology and psychology, it is possible to think of bhakti in the context of axiology. The Self and the non-Self are related as bipolar counterparts of an axiological situation where an osmotic and reciprocal exchange of value essences takes place between the counterparts. The Self is absolute and the non-Self is relative, in a relativistic context still retained here for purposes of discourse. Even this duality will be seen to be finally abolished by the end of the tenth chapter, where all reciprocities are abolished by mutual absorption.


Chapter 6 on instrumentalism assumed a similar duality for developing its subject where the apparent disparity between the instrument and thought was more pronounced in favour of the instrument.


In the last chapter (7), the conditioned and unconditioned come together more closely with their complementarities of functioning. Here the Self and the non-Self aspects are still distinguishable and the non-Self aspect is viewed under the three perspectives of the cosmological, psychological and axiological. Each of these implies an equation of its own homogeneous order presupposing a parity of status between the limbs of each equation.


There is also a fourth equation implied in this chapter (VIII) belonging to a more perceptual content as in the case of the relation between a married man and woman. Marital felicity is a value that most persons experience in common human life. By treating this felicity as a value on a par with higher spiritual values Narayana Guru intends to bring all contemplation realistically as well as idealistically under one overall category for purposes of a Science of the Absolute. He does not exclude even this factual and popular experience of contemplative values known to all in everyday life.


In the terminating verses Narayana Guru includes under bhakti such forms of respect or regard for administrative heads, not to speak of the respect due to the Father of Humanity as well as parents and teachers. This scientific and impartial treatment of bhakti in a form that is complete but carefully inclusive of its accidental or necessary implications and associations in the popular mind is therefore quite evident. Full absolutist devotion or contemplation is however treated apart from all traditional or necessary taints as a separate item at the end of the chapter.



There are many freak expressions of spirituality found in religions. In India the variety is so great that it is almost impossible to do justice to even the main classes of such expressions. Asvaghosa the Buddhist enumerates the various forms of religious expressions of his time. Sankara also refers to many different religious expressions in the Bhajagovindam, going so far as to say they exist merely to fill the stomach. Their scientific classification can only be attempted on the basis of complementarity, reciprocity and parity between counterparts implying an equation between the Self and the non-Self.


These three terms are used by physicists like Heisenberg, Bohr and others to express relationships between aspects of physical and metaphysical realities.

  1. Complementarity is based on the notion of factors completing each other.
  2. Reciprocity goes one step further in equalizing the status of the counterparts with varying degrees of difference between them. They need not necessarily include each other in the operation or function of the interchange of essences.
  3. Parity marks an essential equality between counterparts.
Re-normalization is a process by which counterparts abolish their differences in respect of an axiomatic or experimental certitude. In striking averages and eliminating error there is the principle of cancellation of counterparts necessarily implied. There is always a double correction. The various kinds of bhakti enumerated in this chapter can be systematically examined only in the light of the above notions. We have already indicated the four kinds of equations implied in this chapter, three of them being of immanent import and the fourth being transcendental because of its absolutist implications.


If we should now go on trying to enumerate in graded order the other items arising from Self-non-Self relations, we can think of factors like the alternation of pairs of ambivalent items, the absorption of verticalized counterparts or the elimination of horizontal factors by a principle of innate contradiction. samyoga (horizontal-union) and samanya (inherent union) are the technical Vedantic terms referring respectively to the mechanistic (samyoga) and the to more inherent self absorption (samanya) of such counterparts. In verses 54-56, 57-68, and 72 of the "Atmopadesa Satakam", Narayana Guru refers to this.


We need not go into the detailed implications of the verse here as we have already dealt with these matters in the Preliminaries and elsewhere. All we wish to point out is that the dynamism of contemplation here presupposes a methodology and epistemology with the Self and non-Self as counterparts and that an equalization of value factors are involved. The dynamism is always the same in whatever way it may be described.


All actions have their reactions in a crude horizontal sense in the world of mechanistic life. The principle of contradiction is minimized more and more when counterparts have a fuller verticalized status. When contradiction lingers on, it can be expressed in the form of an alternating succession in consciousness. When verticalization becomes better established, alternation gives place to simultaneity. In the purest of verticalized versions of the same dynamism a total mutual absorption or cancellation into the neutral unity of the Absolute finally takes place.


When religions speak of the rewards of heaven and the punishments of hell, the scientifically minded man should understand these terms in the most universal and abstract sense, referring to an alternating dynamism in the overall context of spiritual progress. What is the most universally understandable is the most scientific, and as for abstraction, it can be either of a geometric or algebraic order. Visible and intelligible meanings can meet in the highest unity if schematic abstractions yield certitude to both. Between the most sacred and the profane, value factors in life have their dynamic interplay based on the same factors, such as reciprocity etc.


When these features of contemplative dynamism are treated together, bringing in all the possible elements and their functions, we come to a way of treatment of such subjects as bhakti, and also the remaining chapters of this work. Here Narayana Guru boldly defines this term in a most generalized way and in a manner reflecting the style of the Upanishads. Adoration of the Self is the essence of bhakti, because it always refers to one's self while its outward manifestation is non-essential to the subject. We have seen elsewhere how scientists like Schroedinger have been able to see a fundamental scientific approach in the epistemology and methodology of the Upanishads.


A further elaboration of the Science of the Absolute along these lines is full of promise and the best approach in treating the remaining chapters is the same as indicated by Schroedinger. Numerous examples can be found in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads where the same schematic generalized and universalized abstraction retains the living dynamism implied in spiritual progress. There is also the reference in the Bhagavad Gita (VIII.17) to a day and night of Brahma:

"Those who know that a day of Brahma is a thousand unit periods in the cosmic cycle, and the night of a thousand (such) units, they are understanders of the day and night (principle)."


The separating of day and night into such long periods is purposely done for their generalization and abstraction in universal terms, while they still retain their full phenomenal implications. A mere mathematical abstraction will not fully serve the requirements of a contemplative life. Abstractions must have their living and dynamic content. To put the conceptual and perceptual sides together and to relate individual life with the universal is always the method of the Upanishads.


It is exactly this feature that makes it interesting to the modern scientist who prefers to replace figurative language by a more precise mathematical one. Instead of relying on vague analogies familiar within the limitations of a language like Sanskrit, the modern scientist prefers a schematic language. Many of the verses of Narayana Guru, especially those in the "Atmopadesa Satakam", reveal to us the advantages and possibilities of the use of a structurally based proto-linguistic imagery to reveal the dynamisms in the contemplative Self. Verses 17, 50, and 76 speak for themselves:

"Suffering-filled, with petals five and tiers two,
Rotating beginningless, such a lamp hanging,
The Self in shadow form, it burns, with prior habit traits
For oil, and function verily for wick.

With earth and water, air and fire likewise,
Also the great void, the ego, cognition and mind,
All worlds including the waves and ocean too,
Do they all arise and to awareness change.

Nature is water, the body, foam, the Atma (Self) the deep
The constant "I", "I", rumbling within, the magic of waves.
Pearls they are each flowering of knowledge from within,
And what one drinks of oneself, indeed the nectar of immortal bliss."

The pattern implied in the dynamism is always the same, but we have also to imagine the processes taking place at different levels of immanence or transcendence. When the Self contemplates the Self we have the most centralized of dynamisms. When the Self contemplates the cosmological aspect of itself we have a fully positive and transcendental version. The counterparts have their positions like two points on the plus side of the vertical axis. The counterparts can be contemplated in reverse order and the positive cosmos reduced in terms of the Self within. A reversible process of renormalization is legitimate within the scope of this chapter, and it is always the Self that contemplates the Self because of the impossibility of anything else taking place.


Immanent aspects of Self-contemplation are referred to when the relation between husband and wife is brought in, a relation in which the bipolarity of the counterparts is quite clear. The value implied in this is not fully transcendental or vertical in content. What is lost in the vertical is gained in the horizontal and vice-versa. Even the horizontal as a universal concrete value-factor is not outside the scope of the Absolute when thought of in its more abstract and universal implications.


Thus, everywhere the same Absolute is implied. In the verse referring to loyalty to an administrator of justice we touch on matters of practical everyday import. Here the absolute value remains still the same. The bipolarity between the items always marks the differential between two points of a vertical axis, and whatever horizontalized elements might enter into the situation are merely compensatory in character. When thought of thus in the most schematic terms, all duality and contradiction are abolished. Like water poured into water, to use a favourite example of the Upanishads, horizontal and vertical values become indistinguishable. Such are some of the features we should keep in mind in these last three chapters. Herein is the uha-poha (the double process of dialectical thinking) that Sankara says is so necessary for a contemplative in the context of atmavidya or the Science of the Self.



Both ethics and aesthetics are based on appreciation of value. These two aspects of philosophy have been the subject-matter of much speculation in the West. Philosophy in the past 500 years or so began with an inquiry into this existent reality. In classical times notions such as the Highest Good were included in ethics by Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and others. With the divorce of philosophy and religion, ethical subjects began to be treated more as a part of religion. Only the ontological aspects of reality interested philosophers in deriving standards for a good life without God.


It can also be traced to the spontaneous natural conditioning of human beings based on their natural preferences. The individual and society in the West have an ethics which can be viewed from historical, sociological, psychological or axiological perspectives. The extensive literature on this subject with rival theories put forward by different thinkers make the subject very complicated indeed. Some authors take several volumes to expound their ideas. In spite of this vast body of literature, the subject still remains vague. Special chairs are established in universities in order to clarify the various issues involved. Oxford and Cambridge have taken rival sides in this apparently unending controversy.


Aesthetics comes into the picture by the same axiological right, although obligation in art is not so binding as in ethics or religion as practiced within society in general. Standards in art exercise their influence on the prevailing prices of art products, sometimes making old masters as well as modern innovators very costly. The same basic axiology regulates ethics and aesthetics whether connected with social duties, religion or not. It is in this overall sense that Narayana Guru indirectly brings in a discussion of the basic principles regulating both morality and art. What is important to note is that he is able to treat all values together. He does not treat them as divorced from contemplative Self-realization. One and the same correlating parameter runs through all ethical and aesthetic values alluded to in this chapter.


Since the kingdom of God is capable of being placed in the human heart, Self-contemplation in principle also covers all varieties of religious devotion. It is in the Self that all value appreciation becomes possible. It must follow as the night follows day that it is by being true to oneself that one can avoid being false to any man, as Shakespeare puts it. Every form of virtue implies a subject and an object and an implicit Truth-Value. One is loyal either to a religion or a state, or to one's partner in life. Such loyalty implies obligation when horizontal interests prevail.


In purer forms of morality, within the natural inclinations for the good life, the categorical imperative coincides with the natural urge to equate the Self and the non-Self aspects of value. Hedonistic pleasures and utilitarian ideas of welfare, as in doing the greatest good to the greatest number, fade into the background of insignificant human values in the light of the wholesale Happiness resulting from the identification of the Self with the non-Self in a supremely contemplative context. Weak though the interests based on obligation are, still, they deserve to be given their due place in any complete scheme where ethical and aesthetic interests are meant to be covered in an overall context of Self-contemplation. Miscellaneous loyalties without which human life cannot bring any happiness are also examined by Narayana Guru under the same schematic perspective. Of all these loyalties or interests, the one important verity to be noticed is that there is no reference to any forbidden fruit or original sin, which is left out of the scheme altogether. The text openly says that it is svananda or Self-happiness that constitutes the stuff even of the happiness implied in sensual interests or vishayas (V.7). All secondary happiness, however, has to be derived from its possibility which can reside only in the absolute Self because the duality between the Self and the non-Self is only apparent. Sin is thus relegated to the limbo of the absurd and not to be taken notice of. This is because the Science of the Absolute has no place for the absurd. Its omission is the respect we pay to it. There is however an incidentally passing reference to forbidden acts in Verse 10 whose indirectness is note-worthy.


The first verse of this chapter defines bhakti as referring to the joy of Self-knowledge. The last verse closes the brackets between the two limits. There is a descending movement pertaining to systems of axiological interest, always retaining the same vertico-horizontal structure. The reference to father and mother together in Verse 9 suggests two functions of equal importance, both of which demand the same degree of loyalty. Even here it is possible to place the claims of the father above the mother in as much as the latter is more intimately related to the contemplative context.


On careful scrutiny it is seen that there is a consistent unitive treatment of all items implying the Self or the non-Self. The last verse further underlines how on every level it is necessary not to mix relative with absolute loyalties. Absolute loyalty belongs to the order of the categorical imperative and is all-inclusive in character. It is justly given its unique status and final mention.



The two proverbial sayings, "from the East light", (ex Oriente lux) and "from the West, law", (ex Occidente lex) point their arrows in opposite directions. Eastern ethics and aesthetics point the way to the final good through the notions of yajna (sacrifice), dana (gifts), and tapas (austerity). These refer to a life of contemplation and emancipation through detachment and renunciation. It is not society that is primarily involved in this view of life. Society is something to be shunned and only the purest activity in the form of an aspiration for union with the Absolute is to be looked on with favour.

The four stages of life (asramas) have drawn from Paul Deussen the comment that, "The entire history of mankind does not produce much that approaches in grandeur to this thought." (1)
These four stages are brahmacharya (student life), grihastha (life of a householder), vanaprastha (life of a forest dweller), and sannyasa (life of full renunciation of society). They mark the ascent of the Self to final liberation. The three disciplines of yajna, dana, and tapas are to be observed in stricter forms of behaviour or thought and behaviour as one climbs from stage to stage. They represent a progressive verticalization of tendencies. Finally the duality between the aspiring Self and the Self aspired for become identical. The whole progress is generally represented in spiritual literature as taking place within the household of a guru (spiritual teacher) or in the ashram (contemplative retreat) of a sannyasin.


The cardinal sins when incidentally referred to in contemplative texts of India happen to be only those that are possible in a life of isolation within forest schools and contemplative retreats. The householder who lives in a large town does not normally come into the picture, and it is the message of the forest rather than the message of civic life that is reflected in the ethics and aesthetics of the Upanishads.

The history of ethics and aesthetics in the West has its beginnings in the civilizations of the Greeks and Romans. The Athenian city-state had an abstract personality and a body politic of its own, exercising its sovereignty and waging wars with other cities.


Roman law, the model for modern laws, was infused with a sense of justice for every free-born citizen. Thus the pattern was set for the administration of unit groups of people called states where responsibility and duty had a regulative influence on freedom and full liberty. Rights and responsibilities were conceived on the basis of certain relational implications recognized between ruler and ruled. Greek and Roman civilization were offered as models to the rest of Europe. Christianity influenced Europe before Greek and Roman civilization entered public life there. One could be a very good Christian and at the same time take part in the administration of the Inquisition. A vertical sense of justice was not neutralized nor regulated by its horizontal implications so as to harmonize and administer uniform justice. Thus there were two sources of religion and morality and a fourfold pattern wherein closed and static as against open and dynamic ethics and religious virtues had to live and move and regulate each other as best they could, resulting in the darkness of the middle ages.


We need to remember that all norms of the ancient regime dominated by Christian morals were rudely shaken up by the Renaissance and the French Revolution, when both ethics and aesthetics were subjected to drastic changes. The names of Rousseau and Voltaire are ever associated with the French Revolution. Voltaire's voice was vitriolic and satirical, and his "Candide" was one of the most effective works discrediting European Christian standards and other forms of superstition. He was the harbinger of the Age of Enlightenment, but it is really to Rousseau we have to go if we want to trace the theoretical and more philosophical aspects of this new attitude. His "Contrat Social" and "Emile" have become classics of world importance.


Unlike Voltaire, Rousseau was sentimental and romantic. What he wrote had an oriental touch where public justice and personal integrity harmoniously entered to make a healthy and normal form of life. He stood for a universal virtue applicable to all humanity regardless of culture, religion or nationality. He not only wrote about citizenship in the "Contrat Social", but also dealt with education in "Emile". His economic theories are found in many of his writings and the relationship between man and woman, as well as teacher and pupil, are dealt with in "Emile" and other works. Schopenhauer, who admired the Upanishads, also admired "Emile". He considered both these works among the five most important books he ever read. Kant also had great respect for him and he had a large portrait of Rousseau hanging in his room. Others who were influenced by Rousseau were Shelley, Baudelaire and Thomas Jefferson. Rousseau had a theory of value similar to that of the Guru in this work. It is true that Rousseau is still not fully understood by the generality of European thinkers, but there is no mistaking that his writings made a profound impression on the best thinkers of his time. In the literary and musical world both George Sand and Chopin had genuine admiration for him.
Nonetheless people like Voltaire still ridiculed him as one who asked human beings to retrace their steps back to the animal kingdom.


In his "Contrat Social" we find rudiments of both a public and private morality where Eastern standards could be seen to blend harmoniously with Western ones. The references by Narayana Guru in this chapter to administrators of justice, parents, gurus (spiritual teachers) etc. establish a link between East and West in the norms of ethics. Narayana Guru, like Rousseau, succeeds in pointing the way to a universal absolutist standard of ethics and aesthetics.


In Rousseau's "Emile", negative education is the first education imparted to the student. A positive and pragmatic form comes later. There are many features in this negative form of education that resemble the life of a brahmachari or typical Indian student. Emile and his teacher are also represented as being related on the same bipolar lines meant to be preserved between guru (spiritual teacher) and sishya (pupil) in India. They have to be devoted to each other and consider themselves inseparable throughout the process of education. In Emile a reference is made to his apprenticeship under a carpenter. Even when so apprenticed to another craftsman instructor, Rousseau thinks it important that the normal preceptor should also be present in the workshop. This is because he does not want the continuity and bipolarity between teacher and pupil to be disrupted in the process or education. The essence of devotion to one's spiritual teacher, or guru bhakti, is thus dominant in the educational theory of Rousseau.


The relation between the woman type represented by Sophie and Emile as the man reveals this same bipolarity. Emile is supposed to be an orphan and therefore the relation between him and his parents does not figure in this work, but it can be easily presupposed that in a normal situation where education was not the main purpose, Rousseau would have recommended the same bipolarity between parents and progeny.


By including loyalty to teachers and parents as a necessary item under devotion, Narayana Guru covers all other possible contingencies in the world of ethical relationships. Rousseau's relations with his own father and mother bear touching testimony to the bipolarity and whole-heartedness of his domestic and filial life. This is brought out in his well-known "Confessions". Patriotism for Rousseau is not just a political sentiment, but rather one that he was taught to cultivate by his own father, who was supposed to have had a great love for his country. Patriotism came to Rousseau in a purified form as an inheritance of a noble sentiment vertically transferred from father to son and not horizontally as in modern politics from group rivalries.



Rousseau's "Contrat Social" contains a social and political theory wherein the two contracting parties are the citizen and the sovereign state. The rights of the ruler and the privileges of the ruled are not unilaterally derived. There is no principle of "might is right" and no-one is to be permitted to take away another´s freedom, or to give him another a kind of freedom amounting to slavery. The tyrant's right even in times of war is also questioned from the first principles of human justice.


Rousseau is able to bring to light a new and civilized relationship between the two contracting parties. He disagrees with Grotius and others, saying it is wrong to argue as they do from effect to cause. Rousseau finds all arguments of this type objectionable, as he wishes to give equal importance to ruler and ruled. Whatever the form of government, this bilateral contract or agreement is the only political formula that can bring about general happiness and the good of all. This formula is also stated in the famous dictum, "All for one and one for all". There is a symmetrical reciprocity or complementarity in both political and social duties and privileges.


Democracy is a modern form of government originating from classical times and its success or failure is still being tested. Whatever the formula may be for guiding states, any kind of one-sidedness will eventually lead to oligarchy, mob-rule or worse evils.


Again, a balance between the two counterparts which can be thought of in terms of the Self and the non-Self is involved here, whether in the individual or collective context of human life. The bhakti of this chapter is a conciliation of the Self with its own dialectical counterpart, the non-Self. Rousseau's ethics do not resemble those of Nichomachus, Aristotle, Machiavelli, nor even those found in Plato's "Republic" where slavery is tolerated. It has an absolutist presupposition.

The three watchwords of the French Revolution, "liberty, equality and fraternity", are derived from Rousseau's first principles underlined in the "Contrat Social". The full implications of these watchwords belong to a Science of the Absolute such as the one Narayana Guru always keeps in mind here. There is no direct evidence by which we can prove this claim from the writings of Rousseau but one has only to scrutinize carefully some of his paragraphs to see how his arguments bear a resemblance to the way of thinking found in the Upanishads.


The general good and the good of all are two value factors which have to interchange their essences to result in the happiness of a perfectly run political unit or city-state. Such a city-state need not be modeled after the Athenian city-state, because there were too many features such as slaves and citizens recognized in it.


The same basic principles could be extrapolated and be applied on a world scale, especially because the basic needs of Humanity are always the same. The "Social Contract" therefore contains some basic principles stated in nuclear form for adoption by any future world government. The following paragraphs explaining its basic implications justifies what we have said above. Rousseau writes (in Book 1, Chapter 6):

"Each gives himself to everybody, so that, in the third place, he gives himself to nobody; and since every associate acquires over every associate the same power he grants to every associate over himself, each gains an equivalent for all that he loses, together with greater power to protest what he possesses."
If, then, we exclude from the social contract everything not essential to it, we shall find that it reduces itself to the following terms:

"Each of us puts into the common pool, and under the sovereign control of the general will, his person and all his power. And we, as a community, take each member unto ourselves as an indivisible part of the whole." (2)

The emphasis on the totality of the situation so evident in the above quotation, treated together with its sound and universally valid philosophical basis, makes such a formula applicable at all levels to governments big or small, local or global, religious or secular. The structural features remain intact and it is possible to think of a pre-established harmony between unit-states. This is like the monads of Leibniz where all monads are comprised under a Monad of monads. There is a complementarity of vertical and horizontal value factors in every case and when scientifically conceived, the possibility of a world government cannot be ruled out. The only question is whether humanity will be able to understand this in a normalized and scientific way without exaggerations or distortions of the central verity.



The transition from an ancient City-state of man to a Christian City of God was a natural one in European history. The Good Shepherd, the King or Father on High represent God placed at various levels in a simple and universal pattern of thought having essentially the same structure. The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man are always implied. There is a New Jerusalem involved in each of these contexts.


One can belong to the Kingdom of God as naturally as one belongs to any state with a ruler and its laws. Even when in Islam the term "Father" was substituted by the term referring to a most high God, a prophet was still needed here on earth to represent his will. Likewise in so-called atheistic religions such as Buddhism, the Buddha is abstracted and elevated to the status of an embodiment of all dharma (righteous way of life) treated as a total idea.


The simple family-unit has offered the structural pattern for all of them, and when the same analogy is extended to a sub-human level we see in animal life that the same relations between ruler and ruled persist. A scientific mind will not find it difficult to extract the same structural pattern however varied the actualities of the units compared might be.


When this common structural pattern is kept in mind it will not be difficult for us to enter into a comparison of two important theologians of the Christian Church. The first is St. Augustine and the other is St. Thomas Aquinas. We could take these as representative of the theology of the Christian world. Between them we can find some of the most subtle theological arguments within whose range most other Christian theologies could be covered as particular instances.


St. Augustine, who wrote about the "City of God", was greatly influenced by Plato. His system of spiritual values refers to the Platonic world of the Intelligibles as hypostatic entities to be attained through Christian citizenship in the City of God. This does not mean that St. Augustine neglected the real and empirical aspects of life. In his own way he admitted them into a total homogeneous scheme where every reality is first reduced in terms of illuminated entities and then made to articulate or participate within a structural whole. The soundness of his methodology is what constitutes his recommendation as a theologian.


There is no mistaking that he put more emphasis on hypostatic values than on those of earth. This asymmetry of accentuation of values was somewhat corrected by St. Thomas Aquinas many centuries later.


St. Thomas devoted 15 years of his writings to the elaboration of a revised Aristotelian point of view as against the dominant neo-Platonism of his time. By his subtle arguments he was able to reconcile the two positions in his own way. This enabled him to give to the critical and reasoning faculty its own rightful place in understanding and adoring God. We can generalize and say that Aquinas' position was nearer to a City where an intelligent man could worship God without surrendering much of his reasoning. It was rather a city in God than one merely of God. Both were caused by God for God.


Thus we have two distinct levels even within Christian theology where two cities, one more hypostatic than the other, come into interaction in the same way as the Self and the non-Self are reciprocally related to each other. There can be model Cities resembling one or the other of these two possibilities. Thomas More was beheaded by the King of England for taking sides in favour of a heavenly ruler to the exclusion of an earthly one. His book "Utopia" has not been taken seriously by others, although it contained as noble an idea as Augustine's work itself. The same kind of disaster could occur when the state is against the church, as amply revealed in the history of England during the time of Henry VIII or his daughter Mary. Value cities, whether for man or God, must fit into an overall structural whole so as to make sense whether in politics or religion.


The Church and the State have generally been rivals in Christian Europe and the battle is not yet over. What interests us in the present context is the fact that there are many structural patterns possible between a natural and simple family pattern of life where children respect the head of the family and the high ideal of a spiritual Father of humanity, whether conceived in actual or imaginary terms. We can put such an abstract principle as the Father on a vertical axis of reference. This can be done either in a simple unit fashion such as in the notion of the family, or in a more universalized and extrapolated version. The more scientifically minded we are the more we think in terms of generalizations and abstractions by which all possible particular instances can be comprised within the scope of one absolutism. It is always a unitive vision that is needed and if there are many units involved, the One and the Many can be cancelled out by a dialectical process permitted by modern mathematical norms of thought which were also recognized by the ancients of both the East and the West.


The equation of the Self with the non-Self is all that is finally involved. When rid even of the notion of Fatherhood which is boldly extrapolated, all that is important is what is contained in the last verse of the present chapter where bhakti or Self-contemplation is an equation between the Self here on earth and the ultimate Self. All other Self-contemplations, loyalties, or devotions are comprised in this last and highest one. It is natural for human beings especially in times of danger, to look up to God with gratitude and thanksgiving. When the people of Geneva were saved from the danger of outside invasion their gratitude resulted in building the most important church of that city. Humanity as a city can also legitimately think of a God who is the benefactor and protector of all.


Even when raised to the highest position possible for a God to occupy in the human heart, we have to remember that the transcendence of God is not outside the scope of human interests even of an instinctive or emotional kind. Absolute Self-contemplation is not limited even to human interests and it is to underline this basic difference that Narayana Guru, in the last verse, refers to such contemplation as ultimate and not to be mixed up with lesser ones belonging to a different order. It is important always to remember from the foregoing that it is not one-sided attention to the claims of man over God or God over man that is important, but rather a normalization of both with reference to a central unitive and neutral Absolute.



Although several items of value have been referred to as constituting together the totality of Self-contemplation or bhakti, Narayana Guru, in Verse 8, points out the comprehensive and inclusive character of bhakti as a supreme contemplative value. It is neither to be treated as an end nor as a means. Instead, both meet together in one absolute value. In the proper context of a Science of the Absolute the various bipolar relations enumerated in this chapter have to be treated as one global unit in terms of general awareness. In this sense, aesthetic and religious values are without any difference of grade. In every situation in life the person of right understanding is able to feel the joy of this overall awareness, resulting from the cancellation of all duality between the Self and the joy constituting its essential attribute.


Contemplation as an absolute value has no frontiers and cannot be thought of as belonging only to the religious or aesthetic walks of life. It is only when the constitutive elements are comprised within a global and generous attitude that Self-contemplation prevails. When this is understood, the way of bhakti becomes as respectable as any other discipline. Sankara in the "Vivekachudamani" commends bhakti as the highest of "means for attaining liberation" (moksha-sadhana-samagri). Narayana Guru also says the same thing without calling it a means. Self-contemplation has to be absolute if it is to have this high respectability in the proper context of the Science of the Absolute.



We have made it sufficiently clear that religious sentiment as seen in the Western world is generally linked with the Church. Almost every religious contemplative belongs to some church institution. In the climate of Europe it is not possible to live in a forest hermitage as easily as did the mystics and sages of ancient India. In the same way, just as the piano is normal to the European music room, so the drum is normal to the Indian open air. We have always to make allowances for geographical considerations even when contemplation is in question.


Western Church mystics think normally in terms of being citizens in the kingdom of God. Western thinkers, however much they might love freedom of thought, were obliged to keep a sharp lookout for ecclesiastical and civic wrath. In the West an individual religious mystic on his own is almost unthinkable; while the freedom known to Indian mystics knows no limit. In India every stone may be dressed and anointed and could be the beginning of a temple. Even if someone denies God, he will never be persecuted in India because there is no centralized religious organization exercising authority over its followers.


The difference of expressions in contemplative life have, therefore, to be viewed with due allowances made to historical and geographical circumstances. The Indian contemplative never thinks in terms of national citizenship, but instead adheres to some abstraction in the name of groups, or else even disregards this and does not conform to any kind of particular religious pattern of behaviour. The majority of sannyasins in India fall into this latter category. They are completely open-minded, being attached to no closed institution, and are free to seek their life´s fulfilment in their own way without any outside interference.


If we content ourselves only with pure contemplative life without mixing up the personalities of Christian mystics with the actual institutions they belonged to, it is possible to select a few examples among them helping to shed some light on the high value of Self-contemplation. There is a certain glow of living vitality in the life of many of these mystics which seems to be almost completely absent in Indian mysticism. We have already examined the interesting case of Joan of Arc whose mysticism was openly patriotic. There are similar feelings for the church which could be called religious loyalty. It is true that the glow of enthusiasm for such ideals as democracy gives to such expressions a more pragmatic character. This does not mean however that all mysticism should be included under this glowing form that philosophers like Bergson prefer. The frontiers of mysticism reach far beyond the scope of pragmatism and vitalism and in the last two chapters we shall be dealing with these higher forms which have nothing to do with religious feelings or group loyalties as such.


The Self and the non-Self enter into a reciprocal relationship in which the joy or bliss of the contemplation of the Absolute constitutes a form of pure delight, of which the mathematician or scientist is also capable. The delight does not suffer in dignity because of its purity, and spiritual life has to include all forms of value whether they refer to human progress or not. Just as beauty and art can be for their own sake, so too a high contemplative value can be a pearl of great value. As the Bhagavad Gita (II.40) puts it, "even a little of this way of life saves one from great fear".


Such pure values have their own importance outside mere utilitarianism and pragmatism. Even in the Western world there are some pure contemplative mystics who are not committed to Christian orthodoxy. They can be considered representatives of a higher level of mysticism compatible with the spirit of science. We shall come to some of them in the last two chapters. Now we shall pass in review some instances of Christian religious mysticism which fit into the content of this present chapter as approximately as possible.

Our first two selections are from active mystics and servants of the Church endowed with a sense of doing good. St. Catherine of Genoa and St. Catherine of Sienna were dedicated to a contemplative life of prayer and fasting as well as looking after the sick and needy. In Roman Catholic circles they are held in high esteem because their way of life correctly conforms to the life of true Christian charity and saintliness. A careful scrutiny of their writings, however, reveals that their piety was not of the usual kind but had touches of deeper mystical feeling and insight.


St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) has been described by Evelyn Underhill as, "one who was at once an eager lover and an indomitable doer. More: she was a constructive mystic, a profound thinker as well as an ecstatic: an original teacher and a busy and practical philanthropist". (3)
St. Catherine of Genoa was both a practical mystic as well as one capable of deeper insight as we can gather from the following quotations:

"We must not wish anything other than what happens from moment to moment, all the while, however, exercising ourselves in goodness. I will have nothing to do with a love which would be for God or in God. This is a love which pure love cannot abide; for pure love is God Himself". (4)


St. Catherine of Siena (1380-1444) was earlier than St. Catherine of Genoa, but her own teaching and way of life greatly influenced the latter.

We read the following:

"Thou (the human being) art that which is not. I am that I am. If thou perceivest this truth in thy soul, never shall the enemy deceive thee; thou shalt escape all his snares. When we conceive the love of suffering, we lose the sensibility of the senses and dead, dead we will live in that garden." (5)

St. Theresa of Avila (1615-1582) belongs to a group of mystics who were more profoundly steeped in contemplative mysticism. She also worked hard establishing new orders for her Carmelite nuns. Her autobiography reveals a life that alternated between two levels, one more instinctive than the other. She was highly capable of analyzing her own feelings and her writings therefore have a great value inasmuch as they reveal the agonies of a soul torn between a life under the sway of instincts and one on a higher level of spiritual life. Roman Catholic circles always refer to St. Theresa with great respect, as representing the highest model of mystical expression acceptable to the Church. St Theresa speaks about "serving God in justice" in the following:


"Let everyone understand that real love of God does not consist in tear-shedding, nor in that sweetness and tenderness for which usually we long, just because they console us, but in serving God in justice, fortitude of soul and humility. (6)


Next, we read St. Theresa´s "Four Degrees (or Stages) of Prayer" where we can easily recognize the broad features of our own idea of structuralism. We read:

"We may say that beginners in prayer are those who draw the water up out of the well; which is a great labour, as I have said. For they find it very tiring to keep the senses recollected, when they are used to a life of distraction.

Let us now turn to the second method of drawing it which the Owner of the plot has ordained. By means of a device with a windlass, the gardener draws more water with less labour, and so is able to take some rest instead of being continuously at work. I apply this description to the prayer of quiet ....

Let us now speak of the third water that feeds this garden, which is flowing water from a stream or spring. This irrigates it with far less trouble, though some effort is required to direct it to the right channel. But now the Lord is pleased to help the gardener in such a way as to be, as it were, the gardener Himself ...

The soul does not know what to do; it cannot tell whether to speak or be silent, whether to laugh or to weep. It is a glorious bewilderment, a heavenly madness, in which true wisdom is acquired, and to the soul a fulfilment most full of delight.

In this state (i.e. the fourth state) the soul still feels it is not altogether dead, as we may say, though it is entirely dead to the world. But, as I have said, it retains the sense to know that it is still here and to feel its solitude; and it makes use of outward manifestations to show its feelings, at least by signs.

How what is called union takes place and what it is, I cannot tell. It is explained in mystical theology, but I cannot use the proper terms: I cannot understand what mind is, or how it differs from soul or spirit. They all seem one to me."


St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) also attains to a high degree of mystical awareness. He was contemporary with St. Theresa of Avila and was for a time her co-worker. His precise psychological descriptions of mystical states have probably been his most important asset as a mystical writer. He has served as a guide for many future mystics and Churchmen. God, Christ, the Church and the Soul are all for him interchangeable terms within a structural frame of reference conceived along the lines of a spiritual ascent. This ascent has been described in great detail by St. John of the Cross, where stages such as the "double night" through which the soul passes is graphically represented. The "Ascent of Mount Carmel" has however to be subjected to a revaluation in order to be fitted into a complete Science of the Absolute. But as a basis for discussion of contemplative mysticism it is most interesting. St. John of the Cross represents the highest form of mysticism of a Christian character. During his own time he had great difficulties with certain factions in the Church and he was even imprisoned for a time at Toledo. Nonetheless he is now considered one of the greatest mystics of the Church. The following is from "The Conduct of Contemplative Souls":

"But if the soul is to be the recipient of this loving knowledge, it must be perfectly detached, calm, peaceful, and serene, as God is: it must be like the atmosphere, which the sun illumines and warms in proportion to its calmness and purity. Thus the soul must be attached to nothing, not even to meditation, not to sensible or spiritual sweetness, because God requires a spirit free and annihilated for every act of the soul, even of thought, of liking and disliking which will hinder and disturb it and break that profound silence of sense and spirit necessary for hearing the deep and soft voice of God." (7)


This next quotation is a poem showing how the soul arrives at union with God by the path of spiritual negation. We read:

"Upon a gloomy night,
With all my cares to loving ardours flushed,
(O venture of delight!)
With nobody in sight
I went abroad when all my house was hushed.

In safety, in disguise,
In darkness up the secret stair I crept,
(O happy enterprise!)
Concealed from other eyes,
When all my house at length in silence slept.

Upon a lucky night
In secrecy, inscrutable to sight,
I went without discerning
And with no other light
Except for that which in my heart was burning.

It lit and led me through
More certain than the light of noonday clear
To where One waited near
Whose presence well I knew,
There where no other presence might appear.

Oh night that was my guide!
Oh darkness dearer than the morning's pride,
Oh night that joined the lover
To the beloved bride
Transfiguring them each into the other.


Within my flowering breast
Which only for himself entire I save
He sank into his rest
And all my gifts I have
Lulled by the airs with which the cedars wave.

Over the ramparts fanned
While the fresh wind was fluttering his tresses,
With his serenest hand
My neck he wounded, and
Suspended every sense with its caresses.

Lost to myself I stayed
My fate upon my lover having laid
From all endeavour ceasing:
And all my cares releasing
Threw them among the lilies there to fade." (8)


In clarifying the Christian mystics, it is not easy to follow any strict line of demarcation because some expressions co-exist within others. We have already quoted the Sufis and the highest of Christian mysticism. Eckhart, Law, Boehme, etc., are only Church Christians if you want to include them. They themselves would not object to this, but there is in all of them a non-exclusiveness of attitude. The reader will profit if he refers back to them in Chapter. They can also be included here in this chapter.




[1] Deussen,Phil. Up., p.367.


[2] J. Rousseau, "The Social Contract", ed., Chicago, 1954, pp.19-20.


[3] A. Huxley, "The Perennial Philosophy", Collins Fontana ed., London, 1963, pp.114 and 95, resp.


[4] Huxley, pp.171 and 237 resp.


[5] Huxley, p.95


[6] St. Theresa of Avila, "The Interior Castle", trans. J.Cohen, Penguin ed., London.


[7] St. John of the Cross, "The Mystical Doctrine of St. John of the Cross", trans. D.Lewis, London, 1948, p.127.


[8] St. John of the Cross, ibid.








1. bhaktiratmanusandhanamatma'nandaghano yatah atmanamanusandhatte sadaivatmavidatmana
Meditation on the Self is contemplation,
Because the Self consists of bliss,
A knower of the Self meditates by the Self,
Upon the Self, for ever.
ATMANUSANDHAMNAM, meditation on the Self,
BHAKTIH, contemplation,
YATAH, because,
ATMA, the Self,
ANANDAGHANAH (BHAVATI), consists of bliss,
TATAH, for that reason,
ATMAVID, a knower of the Self,
ATMANAM, the Self,
ATMANA, by the Self,
SADA-EVA, forever always,
ANUSANDHATTE, meditates upon.
Bhakti is meditation on the Self. The Bhagavad Gita (III.17) underlines the truth that a man who is always interested in the Self and satisfied in it has nothing else to do. Sankara in the  "Vivekachudamani" (Verse 32) also says that bhakti is meditation on the true form of one's Self. The reason why such great importance is given to contemplation on the Self is stated in this verse by the fact that the very nature of the Self consists of bliss. It goes without saying that it is the high value of bliss which deserves to be meditated upon. All living beings are naturally disposed to such meditation. Therefore the quality of representing this high value is what makes the Self fit to be meditated upon. In the world all people who have attained to Self-realization are in truth those who contemplate the Self.

2. anusandhiyate brahma brahmanandaghanam yatah sada brahmanusandhanam bhaktirityavagamyate
The Absolute is meditated upon
Because it consists of bliss.
Constant meditation on the Absolute
Is thus known as contemplation.
BRAHMA, the Absolute,
ANUSANDHIYATE, is meditated upon,
YATAH, because of this,
BRAHMA, the Absolute,
ANANDAGHANAM, consists of bliss,
SADA BRAHMA-ANUSANDHANAM, constant meditation on the Absolute,
BHAKTIHITI-AVAGAMYATE, is thus known as contemplation.
The Self is the same as the Absolute, and the meditation of the Self is therefore the same as the meditation of the Absolute. It is because the Absolute consists of bliss that a knower of the Self contemplates the Absolute. Such a constant and unbroken meditation is what is well known as contemplation.

3. anandameva dhyayanti sarve duhkham na kascana yadanandaparam dhyanam bhaktirityupadisyate
It is even bliss that all do meditate,
No one at all (meditates) suffering.
That which is meditation of bliss,
As contemplation it is thought.
SARVE, all,
ANADAM-EVA, even bliss,
DHYAYANTI, do meditate,
KASCANA, no-one,
DUHKAM, suffering,
NA (DHYAYATI), does not (meditate),
YAT, that which,
ANANDAPARAM, as pertaining to bliss,
DHYANAM, meditation,
(TAT), (that),
BHAKTIH-ITI, as contemplation,
UPADISYATE, it is taught.
All creatures in the world desire happiness. There is not even one living being wishing for suffering. As for the Absolute it is made of bliss. Therefore, the goal desired by all is the contemplation of the Absolute which is the contemplation of bliss, and this is (true) contemplation. Such is the teaching of all knowers of the Self.

4. atmaiva brahma bhajati nanyamatmanamatmavit bhajatiti yadatmanam bhaktirityabhidhiyate
It is the Self alone that contemplates the Absolute;
The knower of the Self
Meditates on the Self, and not on any other.
That which is meditation on the Self
Is said to be contemplation.
ATMA-EVA BRAHMA, it is the Self alone that is the absolute,
ATMAVIT, the knower of the Self,
ATMANAM, on the Self,
BHAJATI, meditates,
ANYAM NA (BHAJATI), does not (meditate) any other,
ATMANAM, on the Self,
BHAJATI-ITI-YAT, that which is meditation,
(TAT)BHAKTIH-ITI, (that) as contemplation,
ABHIDHIYATE, is said to be.
It is because a wise man is a knower of the Self that he meditates on the Self. Not only does he meditate on the Self, but he meditates on nothing other than the Absolute consisting of existence, subsistence and value (i.e. bliss). He does not meditate on the inert and unreal non-Self which is the cause of suffering. He does not (even) meditate on the world. Because of meditating on the Self it is called bhakti or contemplation. So, the man who meditates on the Self is the real contemplative. The Self is the Absolute, and the knower of the Self is the same as the knower of the Absolute. This is the same as saying he is a true contemplative. The characteristics of such a knower of the Absolute will be further described in the final chapter.

5. ananda atma brahmeti namaitasyaiva tanyate iti niscitadhiryasya sa bhakta iti visrutah
Bliss, the Self and the Absolute
Are said to be the names of this alone.
In whom there is such sure awareness,
He as a contemplative is well known.
ANANDAH ATMA BRAHMA-ITI, bliss, the Self and the absolute,
ETASYA-EVA NAMA, are the names of this alone,
TANYATE, is said to be,
ITI, thus,
YASYA, of whom,
NISCTADHIH (ASTI), there (is) sure awareness,
SAH, he,
BHAKTAH IVA VISRUTAH, so as a contemplative is well known.
It is the same ultimate reality having the attributes of existence-subsistence-value which is also referred to as the Self, the Absolute or bliss. Such a certitude is called contemplation (bhakti). The man possessing this certitude is the real contemplative (bhakta). In this verse the truth of the great dictum (mahavakya), "This Self is the Absolute" is indicated. We know by this that the Self referred to is in the form of bliss (anandarupa). The correct understanding of the meaning of this dictum is true contemplation and the man possessing this knowledge is the true contemplative.

6. anando'hamaham brahma'tma'hamasmiti rupatah bhavena satatam yasya sa bhakta iti visrutah
"I am Bliss, I am the Absolute, I am the Self."
In whom, in such forms,
There is always creative imagination,
As a contemplative he is well known.
AHAM ANANDAHA-ASMI , "I am bliss",
AHAM BRAHMA (ASMI), "I am the Absolute",
AHAM ATMA (ASMI), "I am the Self",
ITI RUPATAH, in such forms,
YASYA, in whom,
SATATAM, always,
BHAVANA (ASTI), there (is) creative imagination,
SA BHAKTAH ITI VISRUTAH, as a contemplative he is well known.
As stated in the previous verse, a contemplative having conceptually and intellectually understood the truth of the great dicta like "I am Bliss," "I am the Absolute, "I am the Self," as referring to the same reality when he realizes himself to be the Absolute through his own inner experience (perceptually) this state is said to be the most superior kind of contemplation. The man attaining to this kind of contemplation is the best of contemplatives.

7. bharya bhajati bhartaram bhartta bharyam na svanandameva bhajati sarvopi visayastitam
The wife does not merely adore the husband,
Nor the husband merely adore the wife,
It is Self-bliss alone that they adore,
As lodged within every sensuous object.
BHARYA BHARTARAM, the wife, the husband,
NAKEVALAM BHAJATI, does not merely,
BHARTTA-BHARYAM, the husband the wife,
NA BHAJATI, does not merely adore,
SARVAH-API, even every,
VISHAYA-STHITAM, lodged within every sensuous object,
SVANANDAM EVA, it is even Self-bliss,
BHAJATI, (they) adore.
Here the commentary explains how ordinary people think that when a husband takes care of his wife who ministers to him, it is merely in the interest of the husband or wife that they do so. The truth is that whatever pleasure they derive from sense objects is really felt as pleasure by the Self alone. The ignorant man considers the source of pleasure as existing in things and is attracted to them. But the wise man finds the source of pleasure in himself, and sees the universality of such a pleasure. The well- known instance of the dialogue between Yajnavalkya and his wife Maitreyi found in the "Brihadaranyaka Upanishad" (IV.51ff) supports this point. (See pages 699-700 above).

8. evam pasyati kutrapi vidvanatmasukham vina na kincidaparam tasya bhaktireva gariyasi
For the wise man who sees
Thus at any place whatever,
There is nothing at all other than Self-bliss.
(Such) contemplation verily is the highest.
EVAM, thus,
VIDVAN, the wise man (of Self-knowledge),
KUTRAPI, at any place whatever,
ATMA SUKHAM VINA, other than Self-bliss,
APARAMKINCID (API), (even) a little of anything else,
NA PASYATI, does not see,
TASYA BHAKTIH-EVA, his contemplation verily,
GARIYASI, is most exalted.
In the same way as worldly people enjoy sensual pleasures on the basis of the bliss of the Self, so too the wise man enjoys Self-bliss everywhere. He does not see anything but Self-bliss in any object of interest. Because a wise man knows the unity of the living Self and the Supreme Self, the bliss he enjoys everywhere is known by him to belong to the Self. What is more, he treats without any difference all such bliss anywhere and in any creature as belonging to himself. In other words the bliss of the creature is identical with the bliss of the Self. The wise man understands this verity. Because he is capable of seeing all bliss as pertaining to the Absolute, his contemplation is called the most exalted.

9. lokasya pitari svasyagurau pitari matari atyasya sthapitari ca tatpathenaiva yatari
Towards the Father of the World, to one`s
Spiritual teacher, father, mother,
Towards the Founders of Truth, and
Towards those who walk in the same path;
LOKASYA PITARI, towards the father of the world,
SVASYA, to one's,
GURAU PITARI MATARI, spiritual teacher, father, mother,
SATYASYA STHAPITARI, towards the founders of truth,
TAT-PATHENA-EVAYATARI, towards those who walk in the same path.

10. niyantari nisiddhasya sarvesam hitakarttari yo'nurago bhaktiratra sa para paramatmani
Towards those who put down evil,
And those who do good to all -
What sympathy there is, is devotion here,
(While) what here belongs to the Self Supreme is the ultimate.
NISHIDHASYA NIYANATARI, towards those who put down evil (i.e. towards those who control (their subjects) from forbidden actions),
SARVESAM HITA KARTTARI (CA), (also) towards those who do good to all,
ANURANGAH YA, what sympathy there is,
SA BHAKTIH, that is devotion,
ATRA PARAMATMANI, what belongs to the Supreme Self,
SA PARA, that is the ultimate (devotion).
All humans need adoration to a god for the sake of securing their happiness here as well as hereafter. Those who desire liberation also need the same for the sake of the purification of the Self. It is also important that all persons should respect their spiritual teacher with the same respect given to God, because of their help in removing ignorance and bestowing the light of wisdom. It is the duty, moreover, of every human being to have respect and regard for their mother and father because they caused his birth and suffered many inconveniences for his sake thereafter.
When truth and righteousness decline in the world there are people like Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Jesus who come for the regeneration of mankind to once again re-establish righteousness. There are also those who follow the footsteps of such men and who constitute good models. It is good that people have respect and regard for people who control and prohibit bad acts like murder, robbery, drunkenness and debauchery. By doing this they give protection to everybody and nurture goodness among men.
All the above-stated items are necessary to human life, and this is why we have set them forth as examples. In spite of this, however, what is indicated in this chapter as most important is devotion to the Supreme Self, being of the nature of existence, subsistence and value. All other devotions are customary or traditional only, but the one referring to the Supreme Self is the highest devotion.