Vasishtasangrah sarga 22: aatmaiva paramodeva

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue May 2 14:49:51 CDT 2000

[The next section of this chapter is entitled aatmaiva paramodeva -- The
Atma is the highest God.  Atma is usually translated in English as
Self.  While this is literally true,it is the source of msch confusion
amongst people who do not read carefully.  What Advaita Vedanta means by
Atma is different from, say, the person called Jaldhar who is writing this
email.  It is sometimes translated soul, but this word carries overtones
of something purely spiritual.  Rather, Atma should be described as the
real essesnce of a person. As there is no exact equivalent, I'm leaving it

maheshvara uvaacha

Maheshwar[1] Said:

na devah pundareekaksho na cha devah trilochanah || 17 ||

Pundarikaksha[2] is not God, neither is Trilochana[3] (17b)

na devo deharupi hi na devah chittaroopadhrk |
akrtrimam anaadyantam devanam deva uchyate || 18 ||

The body is not God neither does God take the form of the mind.
That power which is unmade and without beginning or end is called God.(18)

ajnaatadevatattvaanaam aakaradyarchanam krtam |
yojanaadhvnyashaktasya kroshaadhvaa parikalpyate || 19 ||

The worship of forms etc. has been designed for those who do not
understand the true nature of God.  For one who cannot walk one yojana[4],
a distance of one krosha[5] is prescribed[6]. (19)

shamabodhaadibhih pushpaih deva aatma yadarchyate |
tattu devaarchanam viddhi naakaaraarchanamarchanam || 20 ||

Worship of God is that in  which the Atma is worshipped with the flowers
of tranquility, knowledge etc.  Worship of the form is not worship. (20)

shamabodhaadyabhaave hi pushpadyairarchanam smrtam |
samvit sarvakalaateetaa sattaasaamaanyaroopinee || 21 ||

In the absence of tranquility, knowledge etc. worship with flowers etc. is
laid down by the shastras.[7]  Pure consciousness which is devoid of parts
and of the form of the general characteristic of existence. (21)

mahaasattaa'tmataam praaptaa devashabdena kathyate |
deshakaalaadishakteenaam ullaasaih valitaa kramaat || 22 ||

extending to the limits of existence is known by the word God.
Tossed about on the waves of the power of time and space[8] it gradually

jivo bhootvaa bhavatyaashu buddhih paschaat aham tatah |
manastvam samupaayaataa samsaram avalambate || 23 ||

becomes the individual jiva, then the intellect and then the ego.  Having
assumed the role of the mind, it clings to samsara. (23)

iyam asmeeti bhaavena dehastha dukhamashnute |
pushtam samkalpamaatrena yadidam dukhamaagatam || 24 ||

By this notion "I am" it experiences pain while in the body.
This pain has come, fed only by mere intention[9]. (24)

tat asankalpamaatrena ksheeyate naatra samshayah |
svasamkalpanakalushyam nivaarya chaatmanaa'tmanah || 25 ||

That is destroyed only by the absence of intentions of this there is no
doubt.  Banish the turbulence of your intentions through your own atma (25)

param prasaadamaasaadya paramaanandavaan bhava |
sarvashaktimayo hyaatma sarvam aasaadayatyalam || 26 ||

and having reached the highest grace, enjoy the highest bliss.  This Atma
is truly possed of all powers. Everything is accomplished through it.

esha devah parashchaishah poojya esha sadaa sattaam |

That is God.  And that is the Highest. He is always worshipped by the

[to be continued]

[1] The Great God.  I.e. Shiva Bhagawan.

[2] The Lotus-eyed. I.e. Vishnu Bhagawan.

[3] The Three-eyed. I.e. Shiva Bhagawan.  (A pretty startling admission
from Shiva Bhagawan Himself!)

[4] A distance of about eight miles.

[5] A quarter of a yojana or approximately 2 miles.

[6] Prescribed by who?  Is this a reference to the parikrama of some tirth
where there are longer and shorter routes?

[7] These shlokas reiterate the Advaita position on the role of
karma.  Until one has taken sannyasa and is eligible for Jnana the various
prescribed karmas must be performed.  Only the sannyasi may give them
up.  Note meditation is considered karma not jnana.

[8]  I'm not sure I've translated this part properly at all.

[9] samkalpa is the intention to do something.  It relies onthe notion
their is something to be done.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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