Chapter 19: The Realized — Varieties and Conduct.


1. After having heard Sri Dattatreya say so, Parasurama asked him further regarding the conduct and activities of the jnanis.

2-4. "Lord, please tell me clearly how intellects differ according to the stages of jnana (wisdom). Is not wisdom of one kind alone, being simply the revelation of the Self? Moksha (emancipation) is the simple unfolding of the Self and is alone to be sought. How can it be dependent on stages of development according to mental predispositions? Do the methods also differ in the same way?''

5. Thus asked again, Sri Datta, the Ocean of Mercy, began to answer his questions.

6. "I shall now tell you the secret of it all. There is no difference in the methods, nor does jnana differ in fact.

7. "The fruits differ according to the grades of accomplishment. The same extends through several births and on its completion, jnana easily unfolds itself.

8. "The degree of efforts is according to the stage of incompleteness brought over from past births. However, jnana is eternal and no effort is really needed.

9. "Because it is already there and needs no accomplishment, jnana is pure intelligence, the same as consciousness which is ever self-radiant.

10-13. "What kind of effort can avail to disclose the eternally self-resplendent consciousness? Being coated with a thick crust of infinite vasanas (dispositions), it is not easily perceived. The incrustation must first be soaked in the running steam of mind control and carefully scraped off with the sharp chisel of investigation. Then one must turn the closed urn of crystal quartz - namely, the mind cleaned in the aforesaid manner - on the grinding wheel of alertness and finally open the lid with the lever of discrimination.

"Lo! the gem enclosed within is now reached and that is all!

"Thus you see, Rama, that all efforts are directed to cleaning up the Augean stables of predispositions.

14-15. "Intellects are the cumulative effects of the predispositions acquired by karma. Effort is necessary so long as the predispositions continue to sway the intellect.

"The dispositions are countless but I shall enumerate a few of the most important.

16. "They are roughly classified into three groups, namely, (1) Aparaadha (fault), (2) Karma (action) and (3) Kaama (desire).

17-29. "The disposition typical of the first group is diffidence in the teachings of the Guru and the holy books which is the surest way to degeneration. Misunderstanding of the teachings, due to assertiveness or pride is a phase of diffidence and stands in the way of realization for learned pandits and others.

"Association with the wise and the study of holy books cannot remove this misunderstanding. They maintain that there is no reality transcending the world; even if there were, it cannot be known; if one claims to know it, it is an illusion of the mind; for how can knowledge make a person free from misery or help his emancipation? They have many more doubts and wrong notions. So much about the first group.

"There are many more persons who cannot, however well-taught, grasp the teachings; their minds are too much cramped with predispositions to be susceptible to subtle truths. They form the second group - the victims of past actions, unable to enter the stage of contemplation necessary for annihilating the vasanas.

"The third group is the most common, consisting of the victims of desire who are always obsessed with the sense of duty (i.e., the desire to work for some ends). Desires are too numerous to count, since they rise up endlessly like waves in the ocean. Even if the stars are numbered, desires are not. The desires of even a single individual are countless - and what about the totally of them? Each desire is too vast to be satisfied, because it is insatiable; too strong to be resisted; and too subtle to be eluded. So the world, being in the grip of this demon, behaves madly and groans with pain and misery, consequent on its own misdeeds. That person who is shielded by desirelessness (dispassion) and safe from the wiles of the monster of desire, can alone rise to happiness.

"A person affected by one or more of the abovesaid three dispositions cannot get at the truth although it is self-evident.

30-33. "Therefore I tell you that all efforts are directed towards the eradication of these innate tendencies.

"The first of them (i.e., fault) comes to an end on respectfully placing one's faith in holy books and the master. The second (i.e., action) may be ended only by divine grace, which may descend on the person in this birth or in any later incarnation. There is no other hope for it. The third must be gradually dealt with by dispassion, discrimination, worship of God, study of holy scriptures, learning from the wise, investigation into the Self and so on.

34. "Efforts to overcome these obstacles are more or less according as the obstacles are greater or lesser.

35-37. "The most important of the qualifications is the desire for emancipation. Nothing can be achieved without it. Study of philosophy and discussion on the subject with others are thoroughly useless, being no better than the study of arts. For the matter of that, one might as well hope for salvation by a study of sculpture and the practice of that art. The study of philosophy in the absence of a longing for salvation, is like dressing up a corpse.

38-40. "Again, Rama, a casual desire for emancipation is also vain. Such desire often manifests on learning of the magnificence of the emancipated state. It is common to all but never brings about any abiding results. Therefore a passing desire is worthless.

"The desire must be strong and abiding, in order that it may bear fruit. The effects are in proportion to the intensity and duration of the desire.

41-43. "The desire must be accompanied by efforts for the accomplishment of the purpose. Then only will there be concerted effort. Just as a man scalded by fire runs immediately in search of soothing unguents and does not waste his time in other pursuits, so also must the aspirant run after emancipation to the exclusion of all other pursuits. Such an effort is fruitful and is preceded by indifference to all other attainments.

44-46. "Starting by discarding pleasures as being impediments to progress he develops dispassion and then the desire for emancipation, which grows in strength. This makes a man engage in the right efforts in which he

becomes thoroughly engrossed. After these stages are passed, the most unique consummation takes place."

When Dattatreya finished, Parasurama was completely bewildered and asked him further:

47-49. "Lord, You said earlier that association with the wise, divine grace and dispassion are the prime factors for attaining the highest aim of life. Please tell me which is the most essential and how it can be accomplished. For nothing happens without an antecedent cause. This is certain. What is the root cause of the fundamental requisite? Or is it only accidental?"

50. Thus asked, Dattatreya answered him as follows:

"I shall tell you the root-cause of it all. Listen!

51-61. "Her transcendental Majesty, the absolute-Consciousness, being self-contained, originally pictured the whole universe in Her being, like images in a mirror. She took on the individuality, named Hiranyagarbha (the Creator), and considering the predispositions of the egos enclosed in that egg (Hiranyagarbha), She unfolded the Scriptures - the reservoir of sublime truths - for the fulfilment of desires. Since the embryonic individuals were full of unfulfilled desires Hiranyagarbha began to think out the means of their fulfilment. He elaborated a scheme of cause and effect, of actions and fruits, and consequently the individuals born later on to revolve in that wheel of cause and effect. They take different shapes and are placed in different environments consistently with their predispositions. After passing through innumerable species, the individual evolves as a human being owing to the merit he has accumulated. At first he will take to selfish pursuits. With growing desire, he will seek the unobstructed fulfilment of mighty ambitions. But in due course the methods advocated in holy books will be adopted. Failures are inevitable everywhere. Disappointments result. Expert advice is sought. Such advice will be forthcoming only from a man living in unbroken beatitude. Such a sage will, in due course, initiate the seeker in divine magnificence. The initiate's accumulated merits, reinforced by association with the wise and by divine grace, make him persist in the course, and gradually take him step by step to the highest pinnacle of happiness.

62-64. "Now you see how association with the wise is said to be the root-cause of all that is good. This happens partly through the accumulated merits of the person and partly through his unselfish devotion to God, but always as if by accident like a fruit which has suddenly fallen from the void. Therefore the goal of life being dependent on so many causes, there is variety in its attainment, either according to the intellect or the predispositions of the person. The state of the jnani also differs, according as his efforts have been great or less.

65-66. "Proportionately slight effort is enough for erasing slight vasanas. He whose mind has been made pure by good deeds in successive past incarnations, gains supreme results quite out of proportion to the little effort he may make (as with Janaka).

67-68. "The glimpse of jnana (realisation) gained by one whose mind is crowded with dense vasanas accumulated in past incarnations, does not suffice to over-ride one's deep-rooted ignorance. Such a one is obliged to practise samadhi (nidhidhyasana or control of mind and contemplation) in successive births for effective and final realisation.

"Thus there are seen to be different classes of sages.

69. "O Scion of Bhrgu's lineage! there are differences in states of jnana characterised by the aspects and attitudes of intellect and the varieties in its activities.

70-77. "Such differences are quite obvious in Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Siva (the Destroyer) who are jnanis by nature. That does not mean that jnana (realisation) admits of variety. These attitudes depend on their vasanas (dispositions) and environments. They are Lords of the universe and all-knowing. Their jnana is pure and uncontaminated by what they do. Whether a jnani is fair or dark in complexion, his jnana neither shares these qualities nor the qualities of the mind. See the difference in the three sons of Atri, namely, Durvasa (said to be of the aspect of Siva and reputed to be exceedingly irritable), Chandra (the moon, of the aspect of Brahma and reputed to be the husband of the twenty-seven constellations who are in their turn daughters of Daksha) and myself (Dattatreya, of the aspect of Sriman Narayana or Visnu, reputed to be the ideal of saints, roaming nude in the forests, etc.). Vasishta (one of the greatest rishis, well-known as the family preceptor of the Solar line of kings) never fails in the strictest adherence to duty as prescribed by the Scriptures; whereas, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatsujata and Sanatkumara (four sons born of Brahma's volition and instructed by Narada) are types of ascetics totally indifferent to any action including religious rites; Narada is the ideal of bhakti (devotion to God); Bhargava (Sukra, the well-known preceptor of Asuras, who incessantly fight against the gods) supports the enemies of the gods whereas the equally great sage Brihaspati (Jupiter, the preceptor of gods) supports the gods against their enemies; Vyasa is ever busy codifying the Vedas, and is propagating their truth in the shape of the Mahabharata, the Puranas and the Upapuranas; Janaka famous as the ascetic-king; Bharata looking like an idiot; and many others.

[Note. - Bharata was a great king who, according to the custom of the great Kshatriya emperors, abdicated his throne in favour of his son when he attained his majority and retired into the forest to do penance. On one occasion, hearing the roar of a lion, a deer in an advanced state of pregnancy took fright and leapt across the stream. Her womb was disturbed and she landed on the other shore with her young one in placenta and dropped dead. The royal hermit took pity on the little thing, washed it, took it in his hands and returned to the hermitage. The baby-deer was carefully tended and remained always by its master's side. The hermit and the deer grew fond of each other.


After some time, the hermit knew that he was dying and became anxious about the safety of the deer in the forest after his own death. He died with that thought and consequently re-incarnated as a deer. Being a sage with pious disposition, the re-incarnate deer was placed in a holy environment, retaining knowledge of its past. So it did not associate with its species but remained close to a hermitage listening to the chant of the Vedas and discussions on philosophy. When it died it was reborn as a boy in a pious Brahmin family.


The parents died while he was still young. The boy was always helping others but never took to any definite work. He was healthy, strong and free from care. The neighbourhood put him down as an idiot, and so he appeared as he loafed about.


One night, the ruling chief of Savvira, passed in a palanquin; he was in haste to reach a renowned sage who lived in another province. One of his bearers took ill on the way; so his men looked about for a substitute; on finding this Brahmin boy 'idiot', they impressed him for the work; and he took his place as a bearer of the palanquin.


The chief was irritated at the slow pace of the bearers and reprimanded them. Even after repeated warnings, the pace continued to be slow and the chief was wild with rage. He alighted from the palanquin and found the new recruit to be the culprit who was thrashed and ordered to hasten.


Still there was no improvement and the chief chided him again, but could make no impression on the 'idiot'. The chief was exasperated, got down and remonstrated with him. But he received a reply which astonished him and further conversation convinced the chief of the idiot's greatness. So the chief became the disciple of Bharata, the idiot.]

78. There are so many others with individual characteristics such as Chyavana, Yajnavalkya, Visvamitra, etc. The secret is this.

[Note. - Chyavana: A king once went with the royal family and retinue for a pleasure trip into a forest which was famous as the habitation of a remarkable sage Chyavana by name. The young princess was playing with her companion. She came across what looked like an ant-hill and put a spike into one of its holes. Blood came out. She took fright, and returned to the elder members of the family, but did not disclose her prank to any of them.


When they had all returned home the king and many others fell ill. They suspected some involuntary evil had been perpetrated on Chyavana. When an envoy arrived in the forest praying for his blessings, the sage was found hurt in the eyes and he sent word to the king as follows:


"Your daughter hurt my eyes by driving a spike into the ant-hill which had grown over me while I was in Samadhi. I am now old and helpless. Send the mischief maker here to make amends for her mischief by becoming my helpmate."


When the envoy communicated the message to the king, he spoke to the princess, who readily acceded to the wishes of the saint. So lived in the forest with her aged consort and carefully attended to his comforts. She used to bring water from a neighbouring spring. One day the twin gods, known as Asvins, came there and admiring her loyalty to her aged husband, revealed themselves to her and offered to rejuvenate her ancient husband. She took her husband to the spring and awaited the miracle. They asked the saint to dive into the water. They too dived simultaneously. All three emerged like one another. The girl was asked to pick out her husband. She prayed to God and was enabled to identify him. The saint promised in return to include the twin benefactors among the gods eligible for sacrificial propitiation. He invited his father-in-law to arrange for a sacrifice and called on the names of the Asvins. Indra - the chief of the gods - was angry and threatened to spoil the sacrifice if innovations of the kind contemplated by Chyavana were introduced. Chyavana easily incapacitated Indra by virtue of his penance and kept his promise to his benefactors. In the meantime, Indra apologised, and was pardoned and restored to his former state.


Yagnavalkya is the sage of sages mentioned in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Visvamitra is too well known to be described here. He was the grand-uncle of Parasurama.]

79. "Of the three typical vasanas mentioned that one of action is the most potent and is said to be ignorance.

80-83. "Those are the best who are free from all of the vasanas, and particularly from the least trace of that of action. If free from the fault of mistrust of the teachings of the master, the vasana due to desire, which is not a very serious obstruction to realisation, is destroyed by the practice of contemplation. Dispassion need not be very marked in this case. Such people need not repeatedly engage in the study of Scriptures or the receiving of instructions from the Master, but straightaway pass into meditation and fall into samadhi, the consummation of the highest good. They live evermore as Jivanmuktas (emancipated even while alive).

84-86. "Sages with subtle and clear intellect have not considered it worth while to eradicate their desire etc., by forcing other thoughts to take their place because desires do not obstruct realisation. Therefore their desires continue to manifest even after realisation as before it. Neither are they tainted by such vasanas. They are said to be emancipated and diverse-minded. They are also reputed to be the best class of jnanis.

87-90. "Rama, he whose mind clings to the ignorance of the necessity of work cannot hope for realisation even if Siva offers to instruct him. Similarly also the person who has the fault of marked indifference to or misunderstanding of the teachings cannot attain. On the other hand, a man only slightly affected by these two vasanas, and much more so by desires or ambitions, will by repeated hearing of the holy truth, discussion of the same, and contemplation on it, surely reach the goal though only with considerable difficulty and after a long lapse of time. Such a sage's activities will be small because he is entirely engrossed in his efforts for realisation.

Note. - His activities will be confined to the indispensable necessities of life.

91. "A sage of this class has by his long practice and rigorous discipline controlled his mind so well that predispositions are totally eradicated and the mind is as if dead. He belongs to the middle class in the scheme of classification of sages and is said to be a sage without mind.

92-94. "The last class and the least among the sages are those whose practice and discipline are not perfect enough to destroy mental predispositions. Their minds are still active and the sages are said to be associated with their minds. They are barely jnanis and not jivanmuktas as are the other two classes. They appear to share the pleasures and pains of life like any other man and will continue to do so till the end of their lives. They will be emancipated after death.

95-96. "Prarabdha (past karma) is totally powerless with the middle class, who have destroyed their minds by continued practice.

"The mind is the soil in which the seed namely prarabdha sprouts (into pleasures and pains of life). If the soil is barren, the seed loses its sprouting power by long storage, and becomes useless.

97-103. "There are men in the world who can carefully attend to different functions at the same time and are famous as extraordinarily skilful; again some people attend to work as they are walking and conversing; while a teacher has an eye upon each student in the class-room and exercises control over them all; or you yourself knew Kartaviryarjuna, who wielded different weapons in his thousand hands and fought with you using all of them skilfully and simultaneously. In all these cases, a single mind assumes different shapes to suit the different functions at the same time. Similarly the mind of the best among jnanis is only the Self and yet manifests as all without suffering any change in its eternal blissful nature as the Self. They are therefore many-minded.

Note. - Kartaviryarjuna was the chief of the Haihayas who were the sworn enemies of Parasurama. He was himself a devotee of Sri Dattatreya and had received the most wonderful boon from his Master, namely, that his name should be transmitted to posterity as that of an ideal king unparalleled in legend or history. His reign was indeed remarkable and his prowess was unequalled, much less excelled. Still, as destiny would have it, he was challenged by Parasurama and killed in battle.

104-105. "The prarabdha of jnanis is still active and sprouts in the mind but only to be burnt up by the steady flame of jnana. Pleasure or pain is due to the dwelling of the mind on occurrences. But if these are scorched at their source, how can there be pain or pleasure?

106-108. "Jnanis of the highest order, however, are seen to be active because they voluntarily bring out the vasanas from the depth of the mind and allow them to run out. Their action is similar to that of a father sporting with his child, moving its dolls, laughing at the imagined success of one doll over another, and appearing to grieve over the injury to another, and so on; or like a man showing sympathy for his neighbour on the occasion of a gain or loss.

109-112. "The vasanas not inimical to realisation are not weeded out by the best class of jnanis because they cannot seek new ones to crowd the old out. Therefore the old ones continue until they are exhausted and thus you find among them some highly irritable, some lustful and others pious and dutiful, and so on.

"Now the lowest order of jnanis still under the influence of their minds know that there is no truth in the objective universe. Their samadhi is not different from that of the rest.

113. "What is samadhi? Samadhi is being aware of the Self, and nothing else - that is to say - it should not be confounded with the Nirvikalpa (undifferentiated) state, for this state is very common and frequent as has been pointed out in the case of momentary samadhis.

114-115. "Every one is experiencing the Nirvikalpa state, though unknowingly. But what is the use of such unrecognised samadhis? A similar state becomes possible to the hatha yogis also. This experience alone does not confer any lasting benefit. But one may apply the experience to the practical affairs of life. Samadhi can only be such and such alone. (Sahaja samadhi is meant here.)

[Commentary. - Samadhi: Aspirants may be jnana yogis or hatha yogis. The former learn the truth from the scriptures and a Guru: cogitate and understand it clearly. Later they contemplate the truth and gain samadhi.


The wise say that samadhi is the control resulting from the application of the experienced truth (i.e., the awareness of the Self) to the practical affairs of life. This samadhi is possible only for jnana yogis.


The hatha yogis are of two kinds: the one intent on eliminating all perturbations of the mind, starts with the elimination of the non-self and gradually of all mental vacillations. This requires very long and determined practice which becomes his second nature and the yogi remains perfectly unagitated. The other practises the six preliminary exercises and then controls the breath (Pranayama) until he can make the air enter the Sushumna nadi. Since the earlier effort is considerable owing to control of breath, there is a heavy strain which is suddenly relieved by the entry of air in Sushumna. The resulting happiness is comparable to that of a man suddenly relieved of a pressing load on his back. His mind is similar to that of man in a swoon or a state of intoxication. Both classes of hatha yogis experience a happiness similar to that of deep slumber.


A jnana yogi, on the other hand, has theoretical knowledge of the Self, for he has heard it from the Guru and learnt it from the Sastras, and has further cogitated upon the teachings. Therefore, the veil of ignorance is drawn off from him even before the consummation of samadhi. The substratum of consciousness free from thoughts of external phenomena is distinguished by him like a mirror reflecting images. Furthermore in the earlier stage of samadhi, he is capable of remaining aware as absolute consciousness quite free from all blemishes of thought.]

"Whereas a hatha yogi cannot remain in such a state. In the jnani's samadhi, both the veil of ignorance and perturbation of thoughts are removed. In the hatha yogi's samadhi, though the Self is naturally free from the two obstacles, yet it remains hidden by the veil of ignorance. The same is torn off by the jnani in the process of his contemplation.

"If asked what difference there is between the samadhi of a hatha yogi and sleep, it must be said that the mind overpowered by deep ignorance is covered by dense darkness in sleep whereas the mind being associated with satva (quality of brightness) acts in samadhi as a thin veil for the self-effulgent principle. The Self may be compared to the Sun obstructed by dark and dense clouds in sleep, and by light mist in samadhi. For a jnani, the Self shines in its full effulgence like the Sun unobstructed in the heavens.

"This is how the sages describe samadhi."

116-117. (Having spoken of the jnani's samadhi as approved by the sages, Dattatreya proceeds to prove its unbroken nature). What is samadhi? Samadhi is absolute knowledge uncontaminated by objects. Such is the state of the best jnanis even when they take part in the affairs of the world.

"The blue colour of the sky is known to be an unreal phenomenon and yet it appears the same to both the knowing and the unknowing, but with this difference that the one is misled by the appearance and the other is not.

118. "Just as the false perception does not mislead the man who knows, so also all that is perceived which is known to the wise to be false will never mislead them.

119. "Since the middle class of jnanis have already destroyed their minds, there are no objects for them. Their state is known as the supramental one.

120. "The mind is agitated when it assumes the shape of those objects which it mistakes for real; and unagitated otherwise. Therefore the latter state alone is supramental.


Note. - The mind of the highest order of jnanis though associated with objects, knows them to be unreal and therefore is not agitated as is the case with the ignorant.

121. "Since a jnani of the highest order can engage in several actions at the same time and yet remain unaffected, he is always many-minded and yet remains in unbroken samadhi. His is absolute knowledge free from objects.

"I have now told you all that you want to know."

Thus ends the Chapter nineteenth on the different states of jnanis in Tripura Rahasya.