Chapter 18: Pure Intelligence


1. Dattatreya continued: "Thus pure intelligence, free from objective knowledge, has been proved to exist; it can be felt on many occasions in ordinary life.

2. "However, it goes undetected because people are in the meshes of Maya and not conversant with it. Alertness alone will reveal it.

3-5. "Why say so much about it? The long and short of it is this. Objective knowledge is gained by the mind; the mind cannot be objectified. Still it follows that there must be mind even in the absence of objects. Such pure mind entirely divested of all objective knowledge (or thoughts) is pure intelligence. Awareness is its nature. Therefore it is always realised, for no other knower beside itself can ever be admitted.

6-7. "Do you think, O Bhargava, that the Self is not aware when objects are seen? If not aware, the Self cannot be. If the Self is not, how can you raise this question! Can you seek any good for yourself if the Self be a myth like a flower in the sky? How can I establish the Self for you? Consider and tell me.

8-9. "Or do you mean to say that there is ordinarily an awareness of the Self but it cannot be particularised? If so, know it to be the unending awareness which is perpetually existing. That is your Self. The Self is free from particulars. How strange that knowing it, you are still ignorant!

10. "At the time of cognising of an object, the pure intellect assumes its shape and manifests as such. Of itself it is pure and has no form. Objective knowledge is thus a particularised section of pure intelligence. The Self is ever-shining, unparticularised, unblemished, ordinary existence - self-aware and self-sufficient.

11-13. "If you say that the body, etc., usually appear as the Self, I tell you that they are only the play of thoughts and nothing more. For, think well and observe carefully. When you see a pot, are you aware that it is your Self like the body? (No, your body is no less a thought and appearance in consciousness, than the pot.) Then why should the body alone be confused with the Self?

"If you argue that there is no harm or mistake in identifying the body with the Self, because it is no worse than glorifying a part instead of the whole. I tell you: Do not confine such glorification to one part only to the exclusion of all others. Extend it right through and glorify the whole universe as the Self.

14. "In that case, there will be no confusion of the object with the subject, and you will always remain as the subject.

15. "For the Self is always self-resplendent and one without a second, and it displays diversities of phenomena as a mirror its reflections.

16. "Therefore rule out creation as a mere thought or series of thoughts and realise the non-dual, residual, pure intelligence as the Self.

17. "If the body and creation are transcended and the Self realised even once, there ensues that wisdom which will eradicate ignorance and override the cycle of births and deaths.

18. "Moksha (liberation) is not to be sought in heavens or on earth or in the nether regions. It is synonymous with Self-Realisation.

19. "Moksha is not anything to be got afresh for it is already there only to be realised. Such realisation arises with the elimination of ignorance. Absolutely nothing more is required to achieve the aim of life.

20. "Moksha must not be thought to be different from the Self. If it is a thing to be acquired, its absence before attainment is implied. If it can be absent even once why should not its absence recur? The Moksha will be found to be impermanent and so not worth while striving for.

"Again if it can be acquired, acquisition implies non-self. What is non-self is only a myth like a hare growing horns.


Note. - Sri Ramana says that Moksha is another name for 'I' or 'Self'.

21. "The Self is on the other hand all-round Perfection. So where else can Moksha be located? If it were so, Moksha would be like a reflection in a mirror.

22-27. "Even the popular idea is that Moksha is release from bondage, meaning destruction of ignorance. Ignorance is itself a form of thought: destruction is its absence; to bring about its absence is only another form of thought. So then on investigation the whole statement gets involved and becomes meaningless. For a thought cannot be destroyed and be a thought still. Dream is said to be real as well as unreal (in experience and in substance, respectively). Really speaking, dream too is not unreal. For, what is unreality? Impermanency. This again is recognised by the thought of the non-continuity of the dream which implies the thought content to be dream. Is it truly non-continuous then? The intellect being always continuous, there cannot be a moment of the non-existence of anything. So then, even at the moment of thinking the absence of a thing, that thing really exists in the mind and so it is real and not unreal. All objects are, however, non-existent when not contemplated by the mind. But reality is determined by the being or non-being which cannot be ascertained by the mind because its denial implies the formation of the mental image of the denied thing and it is absurd to deny its existence. In the absence of denial, the thing must be and so everything is.

"Thus the existence of pure intelligence is proved by its manifestation, as all else, and thus Moksha cannot be exterior to the Self, anything to be gathered, acquired or assimilated.

28. "Moksha is defined as the steady glow of the Self in perfection. (The question arises whether the Self is imperfect at one time, i.e., in ignorance and perfect at another time, i.e., in Moksha). The non-modification of abstract intelligence into the objective phenomena is said to be the state of perfection. (So there is no contradiction.)

29. "Abstract Intelligence contracts at the stimuli to modification and becomes limited. Otherwise, it is infinite and unbroken.

30. "If you mean to suggest that such intelligence is broken up into segments by time, etc. - tell me whether the disintegrating influences are within the Self or without.

31-32. "If beyond consciousness, they cannot be proved to exist; if within, consciousness pervades them and is not divided. The breaking up at intervals as seen in the world is perceived by consciousness as events (the broken parts) and time (the disintegrator), both of which are pervaded by consciousness. The consciousness is itself the time and the events.

33-34. "If time be not pervaded by consciousness, how do intervals become evident? In the universal pervasiveness of consciousness, how is it to be considered broken up? Breaking up must be brought about by the agency of something external. But anything beyond the pale of consciousness cannot be even maintained or discussed.

35. "Nor can it be granted the disintegrating factor is made visible by its effects of division, while it still evades intelligence, in its entirety. For that is to say that it exists so far as its effect is concerned and does not exist in other ways - which is absurd.

36. "Therefore even the concept of exterior must lie within the bounds of consciousness (cf., Avyakta in sleep or exterior in the scheme of creation). Similarly, all that is known and knowable must also lie within.

37. "In view of this conclusion, how can the container be split up by the contained? Investigate the truth on these lines, Rama!

38-41. "Being within, the universe cannot be different from consciousness. For you know that two things cannot co-exist within the same limits. If they do, intermingling is the result. However, the universe maintains its distinctness because it is like a reflection in the mirror of consciousness.

"As regards the appearance of (Avyakta or) exterior in the scheme of creation which was traced to the root-cause of ignorance, how can manifestation in it be real? Their reality must be associated with the fact of their being of the nature of consciousness, i.e., the Self. It is therefore proper to conclude that the Self is alone and single and there is nothing beyond." When Dattatreya had finished, Parasurama asked further:

42-43. "O Lord, I find it difficult to follow your reasoning when you say that Abstract Intelligence, being only one, yet manifests as the diverse objects of creation. The two entities, the cogniser and the cognised object, are distinct and separate. Of these, the cogniser, namely consciousness, may be self-luminous illumining the objects.

44. "Just as objects stand apart from light so the universe seems apart from the Intelligent Principle.

45. "Experience does not reveal the identity of the two. Furthermore, you are confirming the statement of Janaka as regards Samadhi.

46. "Janaka has said: 'Mind divested of thoughts becomes pure and is identical with the Self and further, that alone destroys ignorance.'

47. "How can that be the Self? Mind is always taken to be a faculty with which the Self functions in the supra-material planes.

48. "The Self would be no better than insentient but for the mind, which characterises it as different from the insentient world.

49. "Further, even the scriptures admit that liberation and bondage are only attitudes of the mind according as it is unmodified or modified, respectively.

50. "How can the mind be the Self as well as its faculty? Again, granting that the world is an image on the mirror of consciousness, the fact of its perfection is there, so the non-duality of consciousness does not follow.

51. "There are hallucinations known, like a rope mistaken for a serpent. Hallucination is not correct knowledge; but it does not end the duality attendant on its perception.

52. "Still again, unreal images cannot serve any useful purpose, whereas the universe is enduring and full of purpose.

53. "Tell me how you assert it to be unreal, thus establishing the non-duality of the Supreme.

"Furthermore, if the world itself is unreal, how does that unreality happen to distinguish between fact and hallucination in the affairs of life.

54. "Still more, how does everybody happen to have the same hallucination of mistaking the unreal phenomena for reality.

All these doubts are troubling me. Please clear them for me."

55. Dattatreya, the omniscient, heard these questions and was pleased with them. Then he proceeded to answer:

56. "You have done well, Parasurama, to ask these questions although not for the first time. They must be examined until one is throughly convinced.

57. "How can the Guru himself anticipate all the doubts of the disciple unless he states them clearly? There are different grades of mind and different temperaments too.

58. "How can clear knowledge be gained if one's doubts are not raised to be met? The student with an analytical turn of mind gains deep-seated knowledge. His questions help towards depth of knowledge.

59-61. "The unquestioning student is of no use. The earnest student is recognised by his questions.

"Consciousness is one and non-dual, but shines as if diversified like the clean surface of a mirror reflecting variegated colours.

"Note how the mind unmodified in sleep, remaining single and blank, is later modified by dream and manifests as the dream world. Similarly, the One Consciousness - Sri Tripura - flashes forth as the various phenomena of the universe.

62. "The cogniser and the cognised objects are seen in dream also. Even a blind man, without sight, perceives objects.

63. "How does he do so unless by mental perception? Can anything be known at any time or place in the absence of the light of the mind?

64. "There can be no images in the absence of a mirror, for the images are not apart from the mirror.

65. "Similarly, nothing is cognisable if it lies beyond the pale of the cognising principle. For the same reason I say that the mind cannot lie apart from intelligence in the abstract.

66. "Just as the cogniser, cognition and the cognised are identified with the mind in dream, so also the seer, the sight and the phenomena are identical with the mind in the wakeful state.

67-71. "Just as an axe was created in the dream for felling a tree, which is the thing for which it was designed, so is the mind said to be the faculty for giving perception.

"But, Rama, the faculty can be only of the same degree of reality as the action itself. For was anyone injured at any time by a human horn? The action and the instrument must clearly be of the same degree of truth. Since the action itself is unreal, can the mind, the faculty, be real? So, Rama, there is no faculty known as the mind. Mind is only surmised for the location of the dream subject, dream vision and dream objects. Its reality is of the same order as that of a dream.

"Pure intelligence is quite unblemished; mind and other faculties are mere fabrications for enabling transactions to continue, which, however go on because the Absolute is self-sufficient and manifests as subject and objects. The same is often pure and unqualified, as in the aforesaid momentary Samadhi.

"I shall explain to you further:

72-79. "Absolute Consciousness and space resemble each other in being perfect, infinite, subtle, pure, unbounded, formless, immanent in all, yet undefiled within and without but space differs from the other, in being insentient.

"In fact, the conscious Self is space. This being so, they are not different from one other. Space is Self; and Self is space. It is the ignorant who see the Self as space alone owing to their delusion, just as the owls find darkness in dazzling sunlight. The wise however find in space the Self, the Abstract Intelligence.

"Her Transcendental Majesty, stainless and self-contained, irradiates diversity in Her Self like an individual in the state of dream. This diversity in the shape of men, animals and other phenomena, does not delude the Self in its purity, but does delude aberrations of the Self, namely, the individual egos.

80-81. "Her Majesty, the Absolute, remains always aware of Her Perfection and Oneness. Though Herself immutable, She appears mutable to Her own creatures just as a magician beguiles the audience with his tricks but remains himself undeceived.

82. "She is light - One without a second; and yet She appears divided to Her Own creatures, because of the veil of illusion.

83. "Just as the magician's tricks delude the audience alone and not himself, so also the veiling of Maya affects the creatures and not the creator; when the individuals held in the meshes of Maya, see diversity and also discuss Maya.

84-85. "This Maya is the dynamic aspect of the latent self-sufficiency of the Supreme and is unfailing. See how yogis, charmers and magicians remain confident and sure, without revealing themselves, and yet play upon the imagination of others seeking to achieve the impossible.

86. "Division in the Absolute amounts to contraction within particular limits under the guise of the ego which is usually termed imperfection, or ignorance.

87. "In this manner, Bhargava, has the Absolute invested its own pure and independent Self with ignorance and seems to be iridescent with its different entities.

88. "Hence the identity of space with the Self is not apparent to the learned, because they are incapable of investigating the Self with a steady mind, for that is diverted by its inherent disposition to go outward.

89-90. "Second-hand knowledge of the Self gathered from books or gurus can never emancipate a man until its truth is rightly investigated and applied to himself; direct Realisation alone will do that. Therefore, follow my advice and realise yourself, turning the mind inward.

91. "She who is the Transcendental Consciousness, creating all and comprising their essence, is Pure Radiance and therefore devoid of anything insentient.

92. "She reposes in Her own Self undefiled by the ego. The insentient cannot exist of themselves but depend on Intelligence for their recognition and definition.

93-94. "They cannot shine by their own merit and reveal their own existence. Their imbecility and their dependence on consciousness betrays their imperfection.

"But pure Intelligence is absolute, shines by itself and feels its own existence, without any extraneous aids. Since it is self-radiant, it is self-contained. Such is the Perfect 'I' - the transcendental 'I' - totally absent from and unassociated with insentient creation.

95. "Because the aggregate of all phenomena is of Pure Intelligence - the Supreme - and there is nothing beyond Her orbit, there cannot possibly be anything to divide Her into sectors and so She is unbroken and continuous like mirror reflecting images.

96-97. "How are divisor and division possible for the Absolute. Such freedom from disintegration is Perfection; and the Self-radiance of such Perfectness is the unbroken 'I-I' consciousness - known as Self-repose; the eternal, immanent, unique and homogeneous essence.

98-99. "Though descriptions of and statements about the Supreme differ according to the aspects emphasised, yet She is simply self-sufficiency, energy, and abstract, unbroken, single essential Being - all unified into One, just as light and heat go to make fire, yet the three factors are discussed and described separately in practical life.

100-101. "Such is the Power called Maya, capable of accomplishing the impossible, and remaining undefiled, notwithstanding Her manifested diversity as phenomena resembling a mirror and its images. She is the eternal, single, unbroken 'I'-ness running through all manifestations.

102.-103. "These seeming breaks in the continuum are said to be non-self - the same as ignorance, insentience, void, Nature, non-existence of things, space, darkness, or the first step in creation, all of which represent nothing but the first scission in pure intelligence.

104. The passage from the infinite absolute to a limited nature is influenced by Maya and the transition is called space.

105. "But this is as yet undistinguishable from the Self owing to the non-development or absence of the ego, which is the seed of the cycles of births and deaths.

106-113. "Diversity is visible only in space, and this space is in the Self, which in turn projects it at the moment when differentiation starts although it is not then clear. Rama! Look within. What you perceive as space within is the expanse wherein all creatures exist, and it forms their Self or consciousness. What they look upon as space is your Self. Thus, the Self in one is space in another, and vice versa. The same thing cannot differ in its nature. Therefore there is no difference between space and Self - which is full and perfect Bliss-Consciousness.

"However space implies sections. Each section of intelligence is called mind. Can it be different from the Self? Pure Intelligence contaminated with inanimate excrescences is called Jiva or the individual, whose faculty for discrimination is consistent with its self-imposed limitations and is called mind.

"Thus in the transition from the Absolute to the individual, space is the first veil cast off. The clear, concentrated Self becomes pure, tenuous, susceptible space in which hard, dense, crowded, or slender things are conceived. They manifest as the five elements of which the body is composed. The individual then encases himself in the body like a silkworm in its cocoon. Thus the Absolute shines as awareness in the body (namely, 'I am the body') - just as a candle lights the covering globe. The individual consciousness is thus found to be only the radiance of the Self reflected in the body, which it illumines like an enclosed lamp illumining the interior of its cover.

114. "Just as the light of the lamp spreads out through holes made in the cover, so also the light of Intelligence extends from within through the senses to the external world.

115-116. "Consciousness, being absolute and all-pervading like space, cannot go out through the senses; but still its light extending as space presents certain phenomena; and this cognition amounts to lifting the veil of darkness to that extent. This is said to be the function of mind.

Note. - The rays of light are imperceptible in ether but when they impinge on matter the objects become visible by the reflection of the light rays on their surface. Similarly, consciousness appears to disclose the presence of objects in space by unveiling them from the ignorance surrounding them.

117. "Therefore, I tell you that mind is no other than consciousness. The difference lies in the fact that the mind is restless and the Self is always peaceful.

118-120. "Realisation of the Self subdues the restless mind which is the dynamic aspect of consciousness. On this being subdued, there gleams out the peace-filled, perfect, intelligent bliss which is synonymous with emancipation. Be assured of this. Do not think that an interlude of blank or veil of nescience will supervene after the cessation of thoughts. For, there is no such factor as a blank or veil of nescience. It is simply a figment of the imagination.

121-22. "If in a day-dream a man imagines himself taken, harassed and beaten by an enemy he will suffer from the effects until and unless he dismisses the day-dream. Will he continue to be bound by the enemy after the dream is dismissed with the enemy and his body? So it is with the veil of nescience.

123. "O Rama! Even from the very beginning there has really been no bondage or tie to the cycle of births and deaths. Only do not be deluded by identifying yourself with insentient matter but enquire: What is this bondage?

124. "The strongest fetter is the certainty that one is bound. It is as false as the fearful hallucinations of a frightened child.

125. "Even the best of men cannot find release by any amount of efforts unless his sense of bondage is destroyed.

126. "What is this bondage? How can the pure uncontaminated Absolute Self be shackled by what look like images in the mirror of the Self?

127-130. "To imagine that the Self is shackled by mental projections is to imagine that the fire reflected in a mirror can burn it. There is absolutely no bondage beyond the foolish certainty that you are bound and the difference of entity created by mind. Until these two blemishes are washed away by the holy waters of investigation into the Self, neither I, nor Brahma the Creator, nor Vishnu, nor Siva, nor even Sri Tripura the Goddess of Wisdom, can help that person to be emancipated. Therefore, Rama, surmount these two hurdles and remain eternally happy.

131. "The mind will shine as the Self if the mind be denuded of those thoughts now crowding it, and then all sense of duality will cease to exist.

132. "Mind is nothing but sectional knowledge as his and that. Eliminate such, and then pure knowledge will alone remain. This is the Self.

133. "As for the well-known example of the hallucination of a snake in a coil of rope the rope is real and the snake is unreal.

134-135. "Even after the true state of affairs is known and the hallucination of a snake dismissed, there is still the reality of the rope (which contains the potentiality of the recurrence of the same hallucination in the same person or in others). The danger is always there until the rope is recognised to be of and in the Self.

136. "Then objectivity totally ceases, and pure knowledge alone remains. There is thus a complete annihilation of duality.

137. "The sense of duality persists because there is the conviction of the purposefulness of the objective world. But such purposefulness and even durability is experienced even in dreams.

138-144. "The difference between dreams and the wakeful state lies in the fact that in the waking state the dream is determined to be false, whereas in the dream the waking state is not so determined. Therefore the waking state is universally taken to be real. But this is wrong. For do you not experience the same extent of permanency and purposefulness in dreams as in the wakeful state?

"Wakeful consciousness does not intervene in dreams nor does dream-consciousness intervene in the wakeful state, while the two factors - enduring nature and purposefulness - are common to both.

"Examine your past dreams and past waking experiences in the light of these facts and see for yourself.

"Again, note the appearance of reality in magical phenomena and the seeming purposeful actions of magical creations. Does reality rest on the slender basis of such appearances?

"The confusion is due to want of discrimination between the real and the unreal among ignorant folk. Ignorantly indeed do they say that the wakeful universe is real.

145-148. "Reality must endure for ever and ever. 'Consciousness either is or is not.' In the former case, it is obvious and in the latter it is implied, for the conception of its absence implies consciousness. (Therefore consciousness cannot be established to be transitory. It is permanent and therefore real.)

"Insentient matter is diverse in nature and its impermanency obvious. For, one object excludes all others.

"But can you conceive the absence of consciousness anywhere or at any time? If you say that there is no awareness in your sleep, tell me how you know that period or again how you know that you were not aware. If absolutely unaware, you would not now be able to say - 'I was not aware'. How was this unawareness illumined for you? Therefore you cannot escape the conclusion that there must be consciousness even to know its unawareness also. So, there is no moment when consciousness is not.

"I shall now tell you briefly the difference between reality and unreality.

149. "Reality is that whose existence is self-evident and does not require other aids to reveal it. Unreality is the contrary.

"If you say, however, that a thing is real until and unless its existence is contradicted, consider the example of a coil of rope being mistaken for a snake. The fancied snake would according to you be real in the interval antecedent to correct knowledge but that is absurd.

150-151. "Furthermore, if contradiction means non-existence, the mental image of the thing contradicted must be admitted, and that means the thing verbally denied is mentally admitted. Therefore contradiction, leads one nowhere and does not determine the unreality of a thing; nor does the appearance of a thing determine its reality. Appearance and contradiction are both intermediate.

152-154. "(According to me), there is nothing beyond the range of consciousness; also nothing certainly cannot indeed be; therefore he who denies consciousness, must be nothing but a dry logician. He may as well deny himself and say, 'I am not'. Then who speaks and what does he say? If he who denies himself out of incompetence and stupidity, can teach others and remove their ignorance by the force of his logic, then this rock before me could equally do the same.

155. "Therefore the appearance of a thing and its utility do not determine the reality of a thing or otherwise.

"All knowledge is secondary and unreliable. There is no doubt about it.

156-159. "The greatest of all delusions is the conviction that knowledge is not a delusion.

"A hallucination holds the field in the interval antecedent to correct knowledge in the same way as it does where we mistake a shining mother-of-pearl for a piece of silver. So also the mistake of the reality of the universe persists until primary and basic Self-knowledge is realised. This false sense is universal like the blue colour of the sky and it will end simultaneously with the realisation of Pure Intelligence.

160. "I have now answered your questions. Do not waver but make up your mind at once.

161. "I shall enlighten you further on the point you raised with regard to the activities of jnanis (sages).

162-165. "Jnanis may be classified as (1) the best, (2) the middle class and (3) the lowest. Of these, the last know the Self and yet are influenced by the pleasures and pains accruing to them according to their prarabdha (past karma). Jnanis of the higher order even while reaping the fruits of their past karma are however firmer in their internal happiness like men inebriated with drink. Jnanis of the highest order are never detached from the enjoyment of their bliss even if confronted with a million times more prarabdha; they are not surprised at the most unnatural and miraculous happenings; they are not elated by the greatest pleasures, nor depressed by the worst miseries. They are always peaceful and calm within, although they appear to act like common folk.

"These differences are due to the differences in their intellects and to the degrees of development of Jnana (wisdom).

166. "Their activities depend on their predispositions as determined by their past karma. But all their actions are like those of a drunken man.

Thus ends the Eighteenth Chapter in Tripura Rahasya.