Drgdrśyavivekah

Updated: Apr 14, 2019

After studying Tattvabodhah, where the subject matter of Vedānta teaching is covered in all aspects, namely jīva (the individual), jagat (the world), Īśvara (the Lord), bandha (bondage and its caused), moksa (liberation), and sādhana (the means for liberation), now we are starting another prakarana granthah (simpler and smaller text revealing the nature of ātmā) called Drgdrśyavivekah, where the focus in on particular aspect more thoroughly in jīva, his bondage, liberation and means for liberation.

This text is consisting of 46 verses, and being predicted written by Vidyāranya Swami.


Drk means seer/objectifier, Drśya means seen/objectified, and Vivekah means discrimination knowledge to dissolve confusion between drk and drśya or clarity of thinking for differentiate these two. Why this discrimination is needed? Discrimination is needed because we are mixing up between observed and the observer. Anything which is observed is jada (insentient), and the observer is cetana (sentient). Observed is always depend on the observer to be exist, it doesn't have its own independent existence. Jīva always giving the reality to the objects outside of him/her for fulfilling the limitless happiness. But the objectified is limited in nature (only depend on the objectifier to be exist), therefore it will never gives unlimited happiness. Therefore for a mumuksu (one who has desire to liberate), needs to have this discrimination knowledge between the seer and seen, to find out who is the ultimate seer which doesn't depend on anything to be happy and free. With this background, we are going to enter into the text.


rūpaṃ dṛśyaṃ locanaṃ dṛk taddṛśyaṃ dṛktu mānasam । dṛśyā dhīvṛttayaḥ sākṣī dṛgeva na tu dṛśyate II 1 II

Form is the seen, the eye is the seer: that eye is the seen, and mind is its seer; of the thoughts in the mind, the Inner witness alone is the seer, and is never the seen.


Here ācārya is analysing the individual jīva from the point of body, senses, mind and ātmā. We know all of them are made of five inert elements, except ātmā. Even though they are inert, they behave as though they are sentient only. The body can moves, the senses can sense and the mind can thinks and having emotion. When inert can function as though sentient, they must be borrowing consciousness from somewhere. Just like the moon, even though doesn't have the capability to shine by its own, but it borrow (reflect) the light from the sun, as though it's the source of light in the night. That light principle (sun) is not physically seen (at night), therefore it must be an invisible principle which lending the light to the moon. In the same manner, our body, senses and mind appeared sentient because are blessed by an invisible sentient principle called ātmā with the nature of Cit-consciousness.


Prakarana granthah is written based on the teaching of Upanishad. This first verse itself is based on Kenopanisad 1.1

Kena isitām presitam manah patati - blessed and directed by which principle, the mind lands on different objects. Kena yuktah prānah praiti - directed by which principle, the prāna functions in the form of activities of all the organs. Kena isitām imām vācam vādanti - directed by which principle, these very words take place. Caksuh śrotram ka u devah yunakti - by which effulgent being, the sight and the hearing take place.


The question is asked from an informed student, being targeted toward the explanation of ātmā from his teacher. He totally understood that this body, mind, sense complex is made up of five principle elements which are insentient. Therefore the sentiency and the consciousness of them cannot be natural. There must be other invisible principle which make the body, mind, sense complex alive.

This invisible principle is called as devah (in this verse) - one who is endowed with effulgent and not material.


Come back to Drgdrśyavivekah, this invisible sentient principle ātmā lending consciousness to the mind directly. In this way ātmā is the illuminator and mind is illumined. In another saying ātmā is the seer/objectifier and mind is seen/objectified. When the mind is illumined, it got borrowed-sentiency which has the capacity to lend consciousness to the senses. In this way ātmā doesn't lends consciousness to the senses directly. The mind becomes the illuminator/seer and the senses become illumined/seen. Now the senses are having the borrowed-sentiency which lend consciousness to the body, and thus senses become the illuminator/seer and body becomes illumined/seen. And through the body, the external world gets illumined. In the first verse itself said that ātmā is drk, the mind is drśyam - dṛśyā dhīvṛttayaḥ sākṣī dṛgeva; the mind is drk, senses are drśyam - taddṛśyaṃ dṛktu mānasam; senses are drk, body and the world become drśyam - rūpaṃ dṛśyaṃ locanaṃ dṛk. In this manner ātmā which is called sāksī (witness) here illumines the entire world and never becomes the illumined/seen - na tu dṛśyate.


This first verse is called pratijñā śloka - affirmation verse, where ācārya wrote the next four verses to comment upon this first verse.


nīla-pīta-sthūla-sūkṣma-hrasva-dīrghādi-bhedataḥ । nānāvidhāni rūpāṇi paśyellocanamekadhā II 2 II

Like blue, yellow, gross, subtle, short, long, etc – on account of these differences the forms are many and varied. The eye remaining the same sees them all.


The second verse is the explaining the first quarter of the first verse, where all sense-objects including the body are seen by the eye the seer. Different colours, forms, attributes are seen by the same one eye, are shown by ācārya to convey that there is plurality in the drśyam and there is non-duality in drk.


Now third verse explaining the second quarter of the first verse.

āndhya-māndya-paṭutveṣu netradharmeṣu caikadhā । saṅkalpayenmanaḥ śrotra tvagādau yojyatāmidam II 3 II

Blindness, dullness and sharpness are the many characteristics of the eye, but remaining the same is the mind which knows (these differences). The ear, the skin, etc, the same thing applies.


If we are saying that the ultimate seer is non-dual alone, that one eye (as one sense -organ) which is seeing the plurality world can be said as the ultimate seer. But if we analyse further, that one eye even though is one, but it undergoes change. Sometimes eye-sight can be sharp, dull, blur or even can become blind. All these different conditions are experienced by one mind. When the condition of perception is changed, it doesn't require different mind to know. In this case, eye and all other senses are objectified and the mind is objectifier.

kāmaḥ saṅkalpasandehau śraddhā'śraddhe dhṛtītare । hrīrdhīrbhīrityevamādīn bhāsayatyekadhā citiḥ II 4 II

The thoughts of desire, willingness or doubt, belief or disbelief, fortitude or its lack, modesty, understanding, fear, and such others – Consciousness, remaining the same, illumines them all.


Here the mind goes through different kinds of emotions like happiness, sorrow, hatred, compassion, etc (function of manas) and also the condition of the mind like knowing, not knowing, partial knowing, etc (function of the buddhi). The various conditions of the mind are known/experienced by ātmā. If somebody raising objection that mind is self-illumined (self-evident), just knowing the activities of itself (based on our daily experience where everything is known to us through the mind), doesn't need another entity to know it's activities. The answer also can find in our daily experience which is deep sleep state. Mind is resolved in deep sleep state, but why the next morning when we wake up, we know a good deep sleep was there? We witnessed no activities of the mind. The witness to know the resolution of the mind was there, and after come back to the waking state, the same witness knows that the mind was not there. This witness is witnessing waking, dreaming and deep-sleep state. This is the ultimate seer remain the same in three states of experience, lends consciousness to the mind, and through the mind consciousness is lent to the senses and through senses, the entire world is experienced. This consciousness is ātmā which called citih in this verse.

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