Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 7 Chapter 32



Chapter XXXII

On Self-realization, Spoken by the World Mother

1-50. The Devī said:

"Hear, Ye Immortals! My words with attention, that I am now going to speak to you, hearing which will enable the Jīvas to realise My Essence.

Before the creation, I, only I, existed; nothing else was existent then. My Real Self is known by the names Chit, Samvit (Intelligence), Para Brahmā and others.

My Ātman is beyond mind, beyond thought, beyond any name or mark, without any parallel, and beyond birth, death or any other change or transformation.

My Self has one inherent power called Māyā. This Māyā is not existent, nor non-existent, nor can it be called both. This unspeakable substance Māyā always exists (till the final emancipation or Mokṣa).

Māyā can be destroyed by Brahmā Jñāna; so it cannot be called existent, again if Māyā does not exist, the practical world cannot exist. So it cannot be called non-existent. Of course it cannot be called both, for it would involve contradictions.

This Māyā (without beginning but with end at the time of Mokṣa) naturally arises as heat comes out of fire, as the rays come out of the Sun and as the cooling rays come out of the Moon.

Just as all the Karmas of the Jīvas dissolve in deep sleep (Śuṣupti), so at the time of Pralaya or the General Dissolution, the Karmas of the Jīvas, the Jīvas and Time all become merged, in one uniform mass in this great Māyā.

United with My Śaktī, I am the Cause of this world; this Śaktī has this defect that it has the power of hiding Me, its Originator.

I am Nirguṇā. And when I am united with my Śaktī, Māyā, I become Saguṇā, the Great Cause of this world.

This Māyā is divided into two, Vidyā and Avidyā. Avidyā Māyā hides Me; whereas Vidyā Māyā does not. Avidyā creates whereas Vidyā Māyā liberates.

Māyā united with Chaitanya (Intelligence), i. e., Chidābhāsa is the efficient cause of this Universe; whereas Māyā reduced to and united with five original elements is the material Cause of the Universe.

Some call this Māyā tapas; some call Her inert, material; some call Her knowledge; some call Her Māyā, Pradhāna, Prakriti, Ajā (unborn) and some others call Her Śaktī.

The Śaiva authors call Her Vimarśa and the other Vedāntists call Her Avidyā; in short, this Māyā is in the heads of all the Pundits. This Māyā is called various in the Nigamas.

That which is seen is inert; for this reason Māyā is Jaḍa (inert) and as the knowledge it conveys is destroyed, it is false. Chaitanya (Intelligence) is not seen; if it were seen, it would have been Jaḍa.

Chaitanya is self-luminous; not illumined by any other source. Were it so, Its Enlightener would have to be illumined by some other thing and so the fallacy of Anavasthā creeps in (an endless series of causes and effects).

Again one thing cannot be the actor and the thing, acted upon (being contrary to each other); so Chaitanya cannot be illumined by itself. So It is Self-luminous; and it illumines Sun, Moon, etc., as a lamp is self-luminous and illumines other objects.

So, O Mountain! This My Intelligence is established as eternal and everlasting.

The waking, dreaming and deep sleep states do not remain constant but the sense of "I" remains the same, whether in waking, dreaming or deep sleep state; its anomaly is never felt.

(The Bauddhas say that) The sense of intelligence, Jñāna, is also not felt; there is the absence of it; so what is existent is also temporarily existent.

But (it can then be argued that) then the Witness by which that absence is sensed, that Intelligence, in the shape of the Witness, is eternal.

So the Pundits of all the reasonable Śāstras declare that Samvit (Intelligence) is Eternal and it is Blissful the fountain of all love.

Never the Jīvas or embodied souls feel "I am not"; but "I am" this feeling is deeply established in the soul as Love. Thus it is clearly evident that I am quite separate from anything else which is all false. Also I am one continuous (no interval or separation existing within Me).

Again Jñāna is not the Dharma (the natural quality) of Ātman but it is of the very nature of Ātman. If Jñāna were the Dharma of Ātman, then Jñāna would have been material; so Jñāna is immaterial.

If (for argument's sake) Jñāna be denominated as material, that cannot be. For Jñāna is of the nature of Intelligence and Ātman is of the nature of Intelligence. Intelligence has not the attribute of being Dharma.

Here the thing Chit is not different from its quality (Chit). So Ātman is always of the nature of Jñāna and happiness; Its nature is Truth; It is always Full, unattached and void of duality.

This Ātman again, united with Māyā, composed of desires and Karmas, wants to create, due to the want of discrimination, the twenty-four tattvas, according to the previous Saṁskāras (tendencies), time and Karma.

O Mountain! The re-awakening after Pralaya Śuṣupti is not done with Buddhi (for then Buddhi is not at all manifested). So this creation is said to be effected without any Buddhi (proper intelligence).

O Chief of the Immovables! The Tattva (Reality) that I have spoken to you is most excellent and it is my Extraordinary Form merely.

In the Vedas it is known as Avyākṛta (unmodified), Avyakta (unmanifested) Māyā Śabala (divided into various parts) and so forth.

In all the Śāstras, it is stated to be the Cause of all causes, the Primeval Tattva and Satchidānanda Vigraha.

Where all the Karmas are solidified and where Ichchā Śaktī (will), Jñāna Śaktī (intelligence) and Kriya Śaktī (action) all are melted in one, which is called the Mantra Hrīm, that is the first Tattva.

From this comes out Ākāśa, having the property of sound, thence Vāyu (air) with "touch" property; then fire with form, then water having "Rasa" property; and lastly the earth having the quality "smell."

The Pundits say that the "sound" is the only quality of Ākāśa; air has two qualities viz., sound and touch, fire has three qualities sound, touch, form; water has four qualities sound, touch, form, taste; and the earth has five qualities sound, touch, form, taste and smell.

Out of these five original elements, the all-pervading, Sūtra (string or thread) arose. This Sūtrātmā (soul) is called the "Linga Deha," comprising within itself all the Prāṇas; this is the subtle body of the Paramātmān.

And what is said in the previous lines as Avyakta or Unmanifested and in which the Seed of the World is involved and whence the Linga Deha has sprung, that is called the Causal body (Karana body) of the Paramātmān.

The five original elements (Apañchikrita called the five Tanmātras) being created, next by the Panchīkaraṇa process, the gross elements are created. The process is now being stated:

 O Girijā! Each of the five original elements is divided into two parts; one part of each of which is subdivided into four parts. This fourth part of each is united with the half of four other elements different from it and thus each gross element is formed.

By these five gross elements, the Cosmic (Virāt) body is formed and this is called the Gross Body of the God.

Jñānendriyas (the organs of knowledge) arise from Sattva Guṇas of each of these five elements. Again the Sattva Guṇas of each of the Jñānendriyas united become the Antaḥ Karaṇāni.

This Antaḥ kāraṇa is of four kinds, according as its functions vary. When it is engaged in forming Sankalpas, resolves, and Vikalpas (doubts) it is called "mind."

When it is free from doubts and when it arrives at the decisive conclusion, it is called "Chitta"; and when it rests simply on itself in the shape of the feeling "I", it is called Ahaṁkāra.

From the Rajo Guṇa of each of the five elements arises Vāk (speech), Pāṇi (hands) Pāda (feet), Pāyu (Anus) and Upasthaḥ (organs of generation).

Again their Rajo parts united give rise to the five Prāṇas (Prāṇa, Apāna, Samāna, Udāna and Vyāna) the Prāṇa Vāyu resides in the heart; Apāna Vāyu in the Arms; Samāna Vāyu resides in the Navel; Udāna Vāyu resides in the Throat; and the Vyāna Vāyu resides, pervading all over the body.

My subtle body (Linga Deha) arises from the union of the five Jñānendriyas, the five Karmendriyas (organs of action), the five Prāṇas and the mind and Buddhi, these seventeen elements.

And the Prākriti that resides there is divided into two parts; one is pure (Śuddhā Sattva) Māyā and the other is the impure Māyā or Avidyā united with the Guṇas.

By Māyā is meant She, who, without concealing Her refugees, protects them. When the Supreme Self is reflected on this Śuddhā Sattva, Māyā, He is called Īśvara.

This Śuddhā Māyā does not conceal Brahmā, its receptacle; therefore She knows the All-pervading Brahmā and She is omniscient, omnipotent, the Lady of all and confers favours and blessings on all.

When the Supreme Self is reflected on the Impure Māyā or Avidyā, He is called Jīva. This Avidyā conceals Brahmā, Whose nature is Happiness; therefore this Jīva is the source of all miseries.

Both Īśvara and Jīva have, by the influence of Vidyā and Avidyā three bodies and three names:

When the Jīva lives in his causal body, he is named Prajñā; when he lives in subtle body he is known as Taijasa; while he has the gross body, he is called Viśva.

So when Īśvara is in His causal body, he is denominated Īśa; when He is in His subtle body, he is known as Sūtra; and when He is in His gross body, He is known as Virāt.

The Jīva glories in having three (as above-mentioned) kinds of differentiated bodies and Īśvara glories in having three (as above-mentioned) kinds of cosmic bodies.

Thus Īśvara is the Lord of all and though He feels Himself always happy and satisfied, yet to favour the Jīvas and to give them liberation (Mokṣa) He has created various sorts of worldly things for their Bhogas (enjoyments).

This Īśvara creates all the Universe, impelled by My Brahmā Śaktī. I am of the nature of Brahmā; and Īśvara is conceived in Me as a snake is imagined in a rope. Therefore Īśvara has to remain dependent on My Śaktī.

Here ends the Thirty-second Chapter of the Seventh Book on Self-realization, spoken by the World Mother in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam, of 18,000 verses, by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.