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Athmopadesha Shathakam Verse-4

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Athmopadesha Shathakam (One Hundred verses of Self-Instruction)

Translation & explanation of Verse-4
Knowledge, its meaning known, and the personal knowledge
Subjective, together make but one primal glory;
Within the rarified radiance of this great knowledge
One should merge and become that alone.

(“Arivumarinjidumarthavum pumaanthan
Arivumoraadimahassu maathramaakum
Viralatha vittu vilangumammahathaam -
Arivilamarnnathu maathramaayidenam”):

Consciousness is like an ever-flowing stream. We do not always know the whole of it, since we tend to
ignore causes and focus on effects. For instance, we hardly notice the contours of a riverbed, tending to
look only at the effect it has on the surface. Hence, there is a subtle tri-basic factor called triputi which
is responsible for our wrong appraisal of reality.

The lazy mind left to itself without the attitude of contemplation, has tendency to view reality
sectionally or horizontally, as it were, from an angle which takes for granted the knower, the knowledge
as a concept, and the objective side of knowledge as three distinct separate entities. One has to
counteract this tri-basic prejudice to which the human mind is naturally disposed. The horizontalization
of our relation with the visible world produces a similar tri-partite cleavage in our thought process,
which shows itself under split aspects by which the unitive nature of thought is lost. With reference to
the vertical time axis, pure time can be thought of without such divisions into disjunct events, by a little
training in meditation; but it is merely the time as known by the ticking of the clock that is more
naturally cognized.

When the vertical view is established, a sense of wonder of contemplative vision goes with it. As such
knowledge refers to the Absolute, it is called here the “great knowledge” which, once established,
shines inclusively without intermission.

Knowledge, its meaning known, and the personal knowledge (Arivumarinjidumarthavum
pumaanthan) -
The Sanskrit term artham has two definitions which are relevant in this context: value and meaning.
What immediately strikes a person is an intuitive recognition of the value. The rationale for it comes
only later when one can sit back and ponder over the experience and assess its meaning. In the term
arinjidumarthavum, “the captivating lure of its value”, the Guru combines the intuitive recognition of
the meaning and the value one confronts in the wake of an experience. His reference is also to the flash
of Consciousness that comes with the affective impact of the situation. Thereafter the person cools
down. Next the Guru brings in pure connation as such, which he describes, as Pumaanthan Arivu one’s
personal knowledge.

But one primal glory (Oraadimahassu maathramaakum) -
Unity comes about through a merging process occasioned by the total focusing of the mind. When that
intensity is relaxed, the mind returns to its habitual attitude of a knower having knowledge of the
known. In other words, when the tri-partie split has been transcended by another way of approach to
reality, which is more in keeping with contemplation, an inclusive and universal value of great interest
and intellectual content takes its place in the center of consciousness.
Unrarified radiance (Viralatha vittu vilangumammahathaam arivu) -
Light is the favorite analogy for wisdom. Direct awareness which true wisdom demands, is not of the
nature of a merely syllogistic ratiocination, but approximates to an intuitive vision which is immediate
rather than mediate. Light, when it becomes intense, denies darkness and establishes itself as reality
without a rival. Relativistic thought thus changes into absolutist thought which becomes unitive and

Become that alone (Athu maathramaayidenam) –
The identity of subject and object in contemplative life has been recognized both in the East and the
West. With the maha-vakyaas (great dicta) derived from the Upanishads, such as tat tvam asi (That thou
art), this identity of subject and object may be said to be the central doctrine of wisdom generally.
When we say that the kingdom of God is within, or that I and my Father are one, as in the biblical
context, the same verity is implicit.

Word notes: -
The individual ego has no independent existence of its own. What is termed ‘he’ or ‘she’ is only a
relative factor. The only independent reality is the Absolute, which is defined in Vedanta as sathu,
chithu and aananda. Sathu refers to the ground of all things, whether physical or psychic. Chithu refers
to the source of illumination. It comprises both luminosity and what is illumined. Aananda is the
ground of all value. When conceived of as the Absolute, there is no division between these attributes,
which are verbalized only for the sake of convenience.

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