Science of the Absolute Chapter 4 - Verses







1. na'vidyate ya sa maya vidya'vidya para'para tamah pradhanam prakrtirbahudha saiva bhasate
What is not real, that is Negation,
Which by itself, as by science-nescience,
Transcendence-immanence, darkness and prime potency
Of nature, in many forms looms.
YA NAVIDYATE, what is not real,
SA MAYA, that is negation,
SA EVA, itself,
VIDYA, science,
AVIDYA, nescience,
PARA, transcendance,
APARA, immanence,
TAMAH, darkness,
PRADHANAM, prime potency,
PRAKRITIH, nature,
(ITI) BAHUDHA, (thus) in many forms,
BHASATE, looms
The term Maya refers to what is not real. What really does not exist but seems to exist in practical life is what is to be understood here. It is this same Maya which is not real but in practical life seems to be the basis of science, etc.

2. pragutpatteryatha'bhavo mrdeva brahmanah prthak na vidyate brahma hi ya sa maya'mevaibhava
Just as for the origin of the pot the clay itself is
In its non-being,(so too before the origin of the world), as other than the world,
What had no being as the Absolute itself,
Such is Maya, the negative principle of indeterminate possibility.
YATHA, just as,
(GHATASYA) UTPATTEH PRAG, before the origin (of the pot), ABHAVAH, the non-existence,
MRID-EVA, is the clay itself,
(TATHA JAGAT UTPATTEH PRAK), (in the same way before the origin of the world),
YA BRAMANAH PRTHAK NA VIDYATE, what as other than the Absolute is not there,
YA BRAHMA HI, what is the Absolute indeed,
SA MAYA AMEYAVAIBHAVA, such is the negative principle of indeterminate possibility
Although the term abhava as used in ordinary language means nothingness according to the Nyaya (Logic) school of philosophy, it is counted as a padartha (i.e. a category of existence). Even according to the Advaita philosophy, abhava is non-different from its counterpart bhava (being). Before the pot originated, its non-existence is to be attributed to the clay. In other words, it is the clay that remains as the prior non-existence of the pot. Therefore the non-existence prior to the origination of the pot has its anterior existence which is stated to be the clay. To state this another way, the non-existence of the pot and the existence of the clay are the same. But in reality even after the origin of the pot what is the being of the pot is a supposition, and the being of the clay is real. The non-existence of a certain object always resides in the existence of another thing. As the clay constitutes the anterior non-existence of the pot, it remains as another entity. Similarly, before the origin of the world its non-existence remains something which is none other than the Absolute. In other words, it is the Absolute alone. But from the Absolute which is without change of form, how this world with all its different forms came about is a matter that cannot be decided on the basis of inferential reasoning (anumana), etc. Therefore, that non-existence which was the cause of the origination of the world and is non-different from the Absolute is described here as the principle of indeterminate possibility. In other words, Maya - is the non-existent - is the Absolute. That which does not really exist is Maya, as has already been stated in the previous verse. Within the scope of the term Maya it is not wrong to include also manas (mind), sankalpa (willing), and other faculties.

3. anatma na sadatma saditi vidyotate yaya sa vidyeyam yatha rajjusarpatattvadharanam
"The non-Self is unreal, the Self is real".
Thus what looms is vidya (knowledge),
As the reality of the snake (appearance)
(Superimposed) one the rope-reality is understood.
ATMA SAT, the Self is real,
ANATMA NA SAT, the non-Self is unreal
ITI YAYA VIDYOTATE, thus what looms,
SA IYAM VIDYA, that what is here is knowledge,
YATHA-RAJJU-SARPA-TATTVA-AVADHARANAM, as the reality of the snake superimposed) on the reality of the rope is understood.
That knowledge which sees things as they really are is knowledge or science. That knowledge which makes us aware that the Self alone exists and all else outside it does not exist is (also) knowledge or science. Maya has a bright-intelligent side and a dark ignorant side. Of these, the bright-intelligent side is here referred to as vidya or science, which is the way to salvation.

4. atma na sad anatma saditi vidyotate yaya saiva'vidya yatha rajjusarpayoryatharthadrk
"The Self is unreal, the non-Self is real."
Thus what looms is avidya (nescience) indeed,
As the erroneous cognition
As between rope and snake.
ATMA NA SAT, the Self is unreal,
ANATMA SAT, the non-Self is real,
ITI YAYA VIDYOTATE, that what looms (in awareness),
SA EVA AVIDYA, that indeed is nescience,
YATHA RAJJU-SARPAYOR-AYATHARTHA-DRIK, as the erroneous cognition as between rope and snake.
What has the form of knowledge is vidya (science), and what has the form of ignorance is avidya (nescience). That is to say, nescience is contrary to science. Patanjali has said (in the "Yoga Sutras", II.5):

"What is transient (anitya), unclean (asuci), having a seat of suffering (duhkham), and belonging to the side of the non-Self (anatma) are respectively to be taken to be (as the opposite, such as) lasting (nitya), clean (suci), happy (sukham), and consisting of the Self (atma). Such perverted awareness is produced by nescience (avidya)."
Wrong value-judgments are thus included under nescience.

5. indriyani manobuddhipancapranadayo yaya visrjyante saiva para suksmangani cidatmanah
The senses, the mind, intelligence and the five
Vital tendencies, what creates -
That is the transcendent (para) indeed, even (they being)
The subtle limbs of the reasoning Self.
CIDATMANAH, of the reasoning Self (which is the vital principle), SUKSHMA-ANGANI, the subtle limbs,
INDRIYANI, the senses,
MANO-BUDDHI-PANCAPRANADAYAH, mind, intelligence, the five vital tendencies, etc.,
YAYA, that by which,
VISRJYANTE, is created,
SA-EVA PARA, that indeed is the transcendent aspect (of Maya)



The five organs of knowledge;
hearing (SROTRA),
sight (CAKSUS),
touch (TVAK),
taste (RASANA)
smell (GHRAND)



The five organs of action;
speech (VAK),
grasping (PANI),
legs (PADA),
excretory organs (PAYO)
sex organs (UPASTHA)



The five vital tendencies;
the upward vital tendency, (PRANA),
the downward (APANA),
the equalizing (SAMANA),
the outgoing, (UDANA)
the evenly spread (VYANA)
All these are the subtle limbs of the reasoning Self (which is the same as the vital-principle). Both the vital principle and the Absolute together form the thinking Self.

When the limbless Absolute comes to have these subtle limbs, it is called jiva or vital principle. So, in this manner, the Absolute without limbs is that factor which created limbs causing the erroneous consciousness of a living being; that limbless aspect of Maya is called para or the transcendent.

6. aganyetanyavastabhya sukhi dukhiva muhyati cidatma mayaya svasya tattvato'sti na kincana
Adopting as its own these limbs, the reasoning Self,
By its own negative base of error, imagines
(Itself) as if happy or suffering,
In truth, there is nothing at all.
CIDATMA, the reasoning self (which is the vital principle),
SVASYA MAYAYA, by its own negative base of error,
ANGANI-ETANI-AVASHTHABYA, adopting as its own these limbs, SUKHI IVA, as if happy,
DUKHI-IVA, as if suffering,
MUHYATI, imagines,
TATTVATAH, in truth,
KINCANA NA ASTI, there is nothing at all.
When the vital principle (jiva) has happiness or suffering of a sensuous character, it considers them to belong to itself and that there is an agent behind such happiness and suffering. (It also) erroneously considers itself to be happy or suffering. But in reality this happiness and suffering are only presentiments and therefore unreal. The vital principle which is the reasoning Self is ever free from happiness and suffering. It is Maya which is the transcendental (para) that is at the basis of this wrong assumption.

7. indriyanam hi visayah prapanco'yam visrjyate yayasaiva para'dhyatmasthulasankalpanamayi
The objective data of the senses, which is the world,
What emanates forth - that indeed,
In the context of the Self, is the immanent (apara),
The basis of all gross presentiments of the will.
INDRIYANAM HI, of the senses indeed,
VISHAYAH, the objective data,
AYAM PRAPANCAH, which is the world,
YAYA, by what (Maya factors),
VISRIJYANTE, emanates forth,
SA-EVA, that indeed,
ADHYATMA-STHULA-SANKALPANAMAYI APARA, which in the context of the Self is the basis therein of all gross presentiments of the will, is the immanent
This visible world of the five elements has been already stated to be a product of the will. What remains in the Self in the form of gross presentiment and creates this world as presented to the senses is that aspect of Maya called the immanent (apara). What is called para or transcendent is subtle and what is called apara or immanent is gross.

8. suktikayam yatha'jnanam rajatasya yadatmani kalpitasya nidanam tattama ityavagamyate
As the ignorance about the mother-of-pearl
Is the basis of the silver-presentiment,
So too what in the Self is the basis (of the world),
That is known as darkness (tamas).
YATHA, as,
SUKTIKAYAM, in the mother-of-pearl,
KALPITASYA, what is a presentiment,
RAJATASYA, of silver,
AJNANAM, lack of knowledge
NIDANAM, the basis,
ATHA, so,
ATMANI, in the Self,
YAD, that which,
KALPITASYA, of what is imagined,
JAGATAH, as the world,
NIDANAM, the basis,
AJNANAM, lack of knowledge,
TAT-TAMAH-ITI-AVAGAMYATE, this is known as darkness
Some people see the mother-of-pearl and mistake it for silver. The reason for this error is ignorance. In the same way, ignorance, which is the cause of the presentiment of the world, is darkness. When the Self is properly understood we come to know that it alone is real and the world is only a presentiment in the Self and is unreal. Just as darkness is the cause of error in perceiving silver in the mother-of-pearl, so the cause of the supposition of the world in the Self is that aspect of Maya called darkness.


9. dhiyate'smin prakarsena bije vrksa ivakhilam atah pradhanyato va'sya pradhana miti kathyate
Because of being that aspect (of Maya) which is a marvel,
By containing all this (universe) like a tree in a seed,
Or by virtue of its importance (above others),
This here is known as the prime potent power (pradhana).
BIJE-VRIKSHA-IVA-AKHILAM, as the tree in the seed, everything,
ASMIN, in this (i.e in this aspect of Maya),
PRAKARSHENA DHIYATE, contains as a marvel,
ITI ATAH VA, or else it,
ASYA, of this,
PRADHANYATAH (VA), (or) its importance,
IDAM, this pradhana
MITI KATHYATE, is known as the prime potent power.
In the same way as a large banyan tree is contained in a small seed, the whole of this universe is contained within Maya. Because in a marvelous way it contains the whole universe in itself, it is called prime potent power. There is the further justification for calling it pradhana, the prime potent power, because it is a more comprehensive factor than science (vidya) and other factors already enumerated.


10. karotiti prakarsena prakrtyaiva gunan prthak nigadyate'sau prakrtiritihatrigunatmika
By its very nature, because in a marvelous way
It diversifies the three nature modalities,
This aspect (of Maya) consisting of the three
Modalities is well known as Nature (prakrti).
PRAKRTYA-EVA, by its very nature,
GUNAN, the nature modalities,
PRAKARSHENA in a marvellous way,
PRTHAK KAROTI-ITI, in that it diversifies,
ASAU, (this aspect of Maya),
TRIGUNATMIKA, as consisting of the three modalities,
PRAKRTIH-ITI-HA NIGADYATE, it is well-known as nature (PRAKRTI)
The three Nature modalities remain potentially united within Maya before creation. At the time of creation Nature separates them out in a surprising manner. Because it was separated out in a surprising way it is called Nature. The varieties observed in Nature are all due to the three nature modalities. Nature is no other than what is the basis of the variety seen in the world. In this darsana, the same Maya has been described under the eight items (including Maya) which are: vidya (science), avidya (nescience), para (the transcendent), apara, (the immanent), tamas (darkness), pradhana (prime potent power), and prakriti (nature). This is not the ultimate Reality, but instead it is called Maya; because it is the basis of the discrimination of the Self from the non-Self it is called vidya ; because it is the basis of contrary knowledge it is called avidya ; because it remains in the form of potentiality and creates the subtle limbs of the vital principle, such as the indriyas, it is called para ; because it remains in a gross form and creates-the sense data called the world it is called apara ; because it remains in the form of darkness forming the basis of wrong suppositions it is called tamas ; because it bears within itself the whole universe in a surprising manner it is called pradhana ; (and) because it remains in the form of the three nature modalities, and by its own nature it is able to separate them, it is called prakriti. These are only the main divisions, but if necessary we could elaborate them into further subdivisions.