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Athmopadesha Shathakam Verse-14

Athmopadesha Shathakam (One Hundred verses of Self-Instruction)
Translation & explanation of Verse-14

“That light, rid of three-fold view, that ever brighter burns,
Upsurging and brimful beyond the bounds of the triple worlds,
Remember, it will never come within the reach
Of a hermit untrue, as Upanishadic secret lore declares.

(“Thribhuvanaseema kadannu thingivingum
Thriputi mudinju thelinjidunna deepam
Kapadayathikku karasthamaakuveelenna
Upanisha dukthirahasyamorthidenam”):

Key message-
A certain upright and straightforward attitude of mind is the basis of all Upanishadic teaching. There is no short cut or crooked path to wisdom. One has to go by the royal, public or straight road. All kinds of esotericisms and secret practices, not at one with the principle of truth, as a philosophical as well as an ethical concept, are discredited here by the Guru, where he wishes to enter the subject of Self-realization one degree deeper than hitherto in the text.

Explanation:
“That light, rid of three-fold view, that ever brighter burns,
Upsurging and brimful beyond the bounds of the triple worlds,

(“Thribhuvanaseema kadannu thingivingum
Thriputi mudinju thelinjidunna deepam”):
Thribhuvanaseema = triple-world boundaries
Thriputi mudinju = to get rid of three-fold view, etc.
thelinjidunna deepam = illuminating light of Supreme Knowledge

The first two lines of this verse disposes of two additional epistemological and methodological concepts familiar in Vedanta. This has to be first understood properly before one can enter the wisdom path of Self-realization. We have two difficulties here, in respect to being unified with the Absolute. One is a cosmological hindrance and the other is psychological. Our cosmological hindrance is that this body is separate unit. It is physiologically structure, so it is subject to physical laws and chemical operations.

Tribasic factors (the knower, the known and the knowledge) are naturalistic. Similarly, we live under an influence of our imaginations designed by our desires. Those become barriers to realize our own identity. One of such imaginations is ‘Thribhuvana’ (triple-world), which refers to the cosmological worlds of value within which the spirit of man with its aspirations may be said to live. They are the heaven, the inferno and the human world.

Every one of us prefers to receive all good fortunes in our life. Heaven is the gross resultant of such values. At the same time, whatever bad experiences we want to avoid in our life can be seen in hell (the inferno). These two are in our imaginative worlds. But the real world we lead our life is lying in a line in between the two. That is earth or the human world. All of them produce a great sense of wonder for us, as we undergo a variety of daily experiences by feeling the solid ground under our feet, seeing the sunshine, moonlight, stars, clouds and rain. Thus we become fully convinced of the three external worlds. After first achieving this conviction, we now have to erase it from our minds and see everything as a manifestation of one Truth. We have to undo whatever has been learned, which is not at all easy.

In other words, our conceptual experiences only make us to imagine the status of heaven and hell. But in earth, we get real and direct experience. This means the three worlds are different experiences of one single knowledge. So what should be the kind of that knowledge? It is the knowledge, which shines beyond those three worlds. These three worlds are illuminated by that knowledge. That is our sole eternal consciousness.

Remember, it will never come within the reach
Of a hermit untrue, as Upanishadic secret lore declares.

(“Kapadayathikku karasthamaakuveelenna
Upanisha dukthirahasyamorthidenam”):
Kapadayathikku = False hermit
karasthamaakuveelenna = not able to achieve or be qualified
Upanishadukthi rahasyam = the secret principle embedded in Upanishads.

There are people who pretend to be free from material pleasures, but at the same time, keeping the worldly desires in mind. In Bhagavat Gita chapter-III, verse-6, this kind of people is called ‘Mithyaacharan’. In the current verse-14, Guru says them as ‘Kapata Yati’ or false Recluse, a spiritual aspirant who believes in an indirect or sinuous path for reaching the vision of the Absolute. The light of Supreme Knowledge drives away the shadows of the tri-basic divisions such as knower, known and knowledge. The secret of this is not known to the pretender ‘Kapata Yati’. The false personal attitude might be what conditions from within, or conditioning as it were from without, both hiding the end envisaged as the goal of life.

The world is separated into the macrocosmic, the empirical, and the meta-microscopic. Sree Narayana Guru highlights in this verse for a unitive view, which is where from inside you see it all as part of one awareness, one experience. Then alone are you transcending the limits of the three modes of the physical world. What we are asked here is to feel from within the unity of the external world and the unity of the internal world. Both these unities are to be found only in a mystical state; they cannot be arrived at intellectually.

Certain schemes to become a true yati are given to us by the wise-people. One is ‘Amaanitvam’, meaning - you do not say “I am better than you”. You should not think of yourself as a separate reality; you are belonging to the commonality. Another one is ‘Adambhitvam’. Here, we experience an egoistic thrust, saying “this is what I can do”. We should curb this pride. Then there is ‘Aarjavam’. This is to straighten up your mind, be vigilant, wakeful and upright. Do not compromise when it comes to truth. You have to intellectually appreciate truth and emotionally sustain it. In other words, ends and means in spirituality have to fall in the same straight line of truthfulness or straightforwardness.

The wise ones who have gone before us are still sharing their wisdom with us through their recorded experiences given in scripture, poetry, literature, and historic chronicles. Derive light from them; be benefitted by spending some hours in study, pondering, meditating, passively contemplating. These methods are given in some form in all religions by all the masters. So we do not lack for advice, we have only to clear our desks and put things in the right places and start. Then we progress day after day.

In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, it says ‘satyam’ means truth. This word has three component parts, ‘sa’, ‘ta’ and ‘ya’. ‘Sa’ means that which is, ‘ya’ means that which is, and ‘ta’ means that which is not. Thus, on one side is truth, on the other side is truth, and in the middle is untruth. The word ‘satyam’ is structured with truth on both sides, and untruth in the middle. It says that if there is truth on either side, untruth cannot remain there, so don’t bother about it. Our world is structured like this. There is a great truth; and there is a great truth in us. These two truths can abolish whether untruth occurs in our everyday life.
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