Panchikaranam by Adi Shankara
Panchikaranam work Adi Shankara talks about manifestation through the
five elements, various bodies and the process leading to the realization of Atman, the
1. AUM. . The VIRAT is
said to be the sum total of all the quintuplicated five elements and
their effects. This is called the gross body of the Atman (soul).
Waking is that state, where the senses give rise to the knowledge of
objects. The Atman, which identifies Itself with both the waking state
and the gross body, is known as the VISHVA
These three (the gross body, the waking state and the VISHVA)
together are represented by the first letter 'A' in the syllable 'AUM'.
2. The five unquintuplicated rudimentary elements and their effect,
the subtle body, both together constitute what is called the
HIRANYAGARBHA. The material subtle body has seventeen parts, viz. the
five vital forces, the ten organs of perception and action, the mind and
the intellect. This is said to be the subtle body of the Atman (soul).
3. When the sense-organs are quiescent or withdrawn, the knowledge
arising out of impressions of the waking state and the imaginary objects
there perceived, are together called the dream state. The TAIJASA is the
Atman which identifies Itself with both the dream state and the subtle
body. These three, i.e. &endash; the subtle body, the dream state and
the TAIJASA &endash; are represented by the second letter 'U' in 'AUM'.
4. Bound up with reflection of Pure-consciousness, the Nescience,
which hides the Atman and is the cause of both the gross and the subtle
bodies, is called the 'AVYAAKRTA' or undifferentiated. This is the
causal body of the Atman. This is neither existent nor non-existent, nor
even both existent and non-existent; neither different from, nor
identical with, nor both different from and identical with, the Atman.
This Nescience is neither composite, nor non-composite, nor both
composite and non- composite, but removable by the knowledge of the
identity of Brahman and the Atman alone.
When all thoughts cease and the determinative intellect, too, lapses
into its causal condition, the state of deep-sleep appears. The
personality appropriating these two, i.e., the causal-body and the deep-
sleep state is described as 'PRAJNA'.
These three (the causal-body Nescience, the deep-sleep state and the PRAJNA) are symbolised by the last letter 'M' in 'AUM'.
Now, 'A' the waking-personality, should be resolved into 'U', the
dream-personality, and the 'U' into 'M' i.e., the deep-sleep
personality. Again, the 'M' should be reduced into 'AUM' and the 'AUM'
into 'I'. I am, the Atman, the Witness of all, the absolute of the
nature of Pure Consciousness; I am neither Nescience nor even its effect
but I am Brahman alone, Eternally Pure, Ever Enlightened, Eternally Free
and Existence Absolute. I am the Bliss Absolute, One without a second
and the Innermost Consciousness.
Remaining in this state of absolute identification is what is called
'SAMADHI' or the Super-conscious state.
'Thou art That', 'I am Brahman', 'Consciousness-Bliss is Brahman',
'This Self is Brahman', etc. &endash; all these Srutis, i.e., the
Upanisadic sayings (known as Mahavakyas or the great dictum) are direct
evidences to the identity of the Atman, the individual soul, and
Brahman. This is what is called 'PANCHKARANAM' or quintuplication.
Here ends the small treatise named 'PANCHIKARANAM' by Bhagavan Sri
[Note: 'Quintuplicated': A particular process
by which the five elementary constituents of the universe are said to be
compounded with one another to form grosser entities that serve as units
in the composition of the physical universe.]
A small treatise on Vedanta
By Sri Sankaracharya
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