[The numbers shown within brackets along with certain subtitles indicate the stanzas of the Atmopadesa Satakam under reference.]





The two anterior positions 2
Guru-Philosophy reconciles the two rival positions 3
A Guru's philosophy is based on personal experience 4
Reason need not counter experience 5
The grand flux of psycho-cosmic becoming (50) 7
Cosmic absorption into the plus side (52) 9
Tree-structure evidence in verse (51) 11
Other instances from Guru-literature suggesting structure 12
Structural limits if speculation and experience 14
The common integrated import of all varieties of wisdom 16



Indian Philosophy more scientific 17
The fuller scientific status of Sankara's Advaita 19
Each verse and topic fits into an overall plan 21
The homogeneous matrix into which the vision of the Self is fitted 23
The nature of proofs 25
Proofs here as valid as science 26
Wonder has a place 27
Ascent implied in the Guru-philosophy 28
Bracketing of the wonder (35, 65) 29



Facing the paradox frontally 33
The 'Oddness' or 'Mystery' of paradox in mathematics and philosophy 36
The place of the paradox fully recognized in Guru-philosophy (94, 33) 37
Subtler paradoxes examined (79, 80, 73) 40
Paradox is transcended by reconciling opposites (96, 97) 43



Psycho-physical ambivalent alternating process 47
Mathematical factors 48
A tensorial psychology and cosmology 52
A space within the heart of the Upanishads and its structural implications 53
An alternative process in the Guru's verses (15, 51 68, 72, 81, 83, 89, 76, 67) 57



The Self placed in its axiological content 62
The Guru's method of laying bare the content of the Self (10, 11, 12) 64
The Self as seen within the context of its axiological counterparts (48) 67
The axiological field of interest analyzed (36-42) 70



One-many, part-whole, big-small are all extraneous 76
Percepts and concepts meet from opposite poles in the universe of discourse 78
Dualities merge in the neutrality of the Absolute Consciousness (89, 73, 36-42) 80


Usual logic falls short of paradox and does not attain the Absolute 93
The compatibility or measurability of the Absolute is summarily rejected (32) 96
Axiomatic and experimental certitude (90) 98
Apperception resides at the core (63, 20) 100
A scientific epistemology is neutral to scepticism and belief (30-33) 102

Crystalline or cryptic language of profound philosophy 107
Hypostatic and hierophantic versions of Reality 109
Examples of verses with structural implications 110
(a) Transcending initial paradox (8) 110
(b) The double domain of concepts and percepts (17) 112
(c) The apperceptive core of conscious becoming (34) 113
(d) The spiritual progress of the Self (69) 114
(e) Three perspectives of the same process (75-77) 115
A living picture of the contemplative process 116



Obligatory injunctions different from free ethical principles 120
A dialectically conceived ethics 121
How aesthetics is derived from philosophy 123
Kindness as the common basis of religion and ethics (25) 124
The non-dual basis of all morality (20) 125
The ego as the epicentre for all conduct (23, 24) 126
The formation of closed static units in society
and their unethical status (21, 22) 126
The One Religion of the Guru 128
(a) All religions have the overall aim of happiness (49) 129
(b) The deep mutual adaptation implied in religious affiliation (48) 130
(c) Rival religions really plead for the same value (47) 131
(d) The nature of the irony implicit in religious rivalry (44-46) 131


"“One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction”" by Narayana Guru
Full text translated from the Malayalam 145




A Guru is a contemplative man of Wisdom. He combines science and mysticism in the neutral value that he represents in his person. He is understandable only in the context of absolutism, his visible aspects being only incidental. We have hitherto spoken about Narayana Guru, but now we shall be turning our attention to the understanding of such a person more definitely in terms of a generalized abstraction of the concrete universal necessarily belonging to the notion of Guruhood. What is concrete and what is abstract merge finally into a neutral notion of the Absolute where duality is absorbed and abolished. Such are some of the leading ideas we shall keep in mind in the pages that follow.

We can insist on seeing before believing, or more simply on believing before seeing. The former is the a posteriori approach of the sceptic while the latter is natural to a man willing to believe. The total knowledge-situation in which both these possibilities lie, when fully and philosophically understood, reconciles both the approaches through simple unitive understanding where the gap between mysticism and science tends to be abolished by an approach of one or the other as it were, from opposite poles.




The philosophy of a Guru corresponds or should correspond to this unitive understanding which alone can banish fear and doubt and help to bring about universal brotherhood. Such truth makes one free and is a pearl of price for humans.


Scepticism and belief are two poles of the total knowledge-situation, and the philosophy that can unite or solve both these antinomies is that of a normal neutral notion of the Absolute. Such a notion would be insipid and seem contentless when not equated to the Self of man.
Guruhood is the notion that gives us meaning to the Absolute. A correct appraisal of Guruhood gives us that final certitude which alone is the significant value that can make life purposeful. By whatever name called or understood, in whichever context, geographical or historical, a Guru marks the meeting point, reconciling two opposing positions which are those of science and scientifically revised mysticism. Modern philosophers like Bertrand Russell stand for what they themselves call a scientific or analytic philosophy which leans on the side of scepticism rather than on the side of belief. They have no use for wholesale solutions
to overall problems of life, but prefer to tackle problems piecemeal by experimental or trial and error methods, rather than relying on the a priori or synthetic approach. They call themselves operationalists, pragmatists, positivists, or logical mathematicians, forgetting that science is linked intimately with mathematics which leans very much on axiomatic thinking fully a priori in status.




The observables and calculables on which science thrives are the counterparts dialectically understood, of the same visible and intelligible aspects within which metaphysics also moves.



Two anterior positions have thus to be taken account of by us in placing the Guru's philosophy, viz. where he fits into the context of modern sceptical thinking and where he starts to make his own contributions to Vedantic and contemplative traditions, coloured by mysticism, natural to the Wisdom of the East. We can grasp the nature of Guru-Philosophy better and more easily if we state here in advance, that we find in it a natural culmination of both modern scientific scepticism and mystical will-to-believe. His was an integral approach in which scepticism and belief cancelled each other out into a neutral unitive notion which was fully human and within the reach of all men.

His philosophy is a prolongation of Vedantic correction and revision of its excesses and vague one-sided accentuations, making of it a unitive and universal science based on a normative notion of the Absolute. Such are some of the claims we have to justify by examples from the work we are directly concerned with here (1) and as also seen in the Guru's philosophy revealed elsewhere.

Scientific scepticism and a revised form of mysticism were the rival positions that he was able to revise and reconcile unitively in the light of a full-fledged and normative Science of the Absolute which his philosophy in fact represents.

1, viz. Atmopadesa Satakam. " One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction", translation and commentary by the present author.

See Contents page on this site.





Experience and experiment are complementary dialectical counterparts belonging to a totally or globally understood knowledge-situation. Inner experience of Truth tends to make a mystic, while factual experiments make a scientific sceptic. Mysticism has been described as the 'cultivation of the presence of God.' Outside events support certitude in science while the mystic's certitude is derived from himself. Both are resultants of a bipolar situation involving scepticism and belief. Where a priorism leaves off, a posteriorism steps in to take over the conduct of the process called human enquiry or understanding, which circulates between ambivalent aspects of the total knowledge-situation.

Analysis and synthesis, induction and deduction, the general and the specific, mark phases, or points in the calculatory course of reason that seeks certitude. All facts or events emerge thus from the homogeneous transparent fluid matrix of thought-stuff which a rich inner zone and poor peripheral aspects, osmotically alternating in a grand cosmo-psychological respiration in which subtle essences from opposite poles are interchanged. A Guru is a man of intuition, who is aware of such pure acts taking place within the Self as the 'unmoved mover' or the 'thinking substance.' Phenomenal and noumenal aspects of the Self or the non-Self keep equalizing essences by such a circulation.

Although such statements might sound strange, too bold or untenable to modern ears, a Guru's philosophy is able to fit all these versions or visions into one unified and integrated organic scheme with a methodology, epistemology and axiology hanging together by a central normative notion in the Absolute Self.




It is experiment as well as inner experience that confirms the normal total central Absolute Truth involved here. Without any implications of vagueness associated with the term 'mysticism' a Guru can be said to be such a contemplative whose inner experience tallies or does not contradict what outer experiment teaches any man through laboratories, observatories, telescopes or microscopes.

Guru-philosophy is thus a science a precise a mathematics and as experimental as physics or biology. The kind of mystical visions that are natural to a Guru are indicated in Narayana Guru's “One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction” (Atmopadesa Satakam) with which we are concerned in presenting here as representing broadly the outlines of his philosophy. Let us, therefore, linger a moment to examine some verses whose mystical content is unmistakeable before passing on to some other of the important distinguishing features of a Guru's philosophy, as correctly representing a natural culmination of Vedanta and a normalized scientific philosophy in a fully modern sense.


One has only to read three of the most central of the “One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction” which we are treating here as outlining the Guru-philosophy for our purposes, to be convinced that the Guru is speaking his own inner experience through them, and that they are of a fully contemplative and mystical order.

At the same time, however, the critical student of philosophy on closer scrutiny finds that the thoughts do not represent just merely a passing mood, a state of emotion, agony, exaltation or trance, often attributed to mystics who cultivate the presence of God in vague sentimental, unsystematic or unscientific terms.




When the student has taken pains to examine the whole series of verses in the light of reason, supplemented by the dialectical approach where what is vaguely classed as intuition plays its part with full play of the critical faculty natural to human reasoning or understanding as employed from Locke to Hegel in the West, he will be able to appreciate that the whole series of verses is fully consequential and conform to the requirements of valid speculation, with a method of orderly doubting like the one introduced by Descartes.

Here we have to part company with those who claim to be uncritical mystics, whether in the West or in the East, and with those interpreters of mysticism who speak in merely sentimental or emotional terms, looking upon contemplative visions as passing moods unconnected with the normal reasoning faculty of man. Bertrand Russell is one such representative modern thinker who writes:

"Belief in reality quite different from what appears to the senses, arises with irresistible force in certain moods which are sources of most mysticism, and of most metaphysics. While such a mood is dominant the need for logic is not felt and accordingly the most thorough-going mystics do not employ logic but appeal directly to the immediate deliverance of their insight. But such fully developed mysticism is rare in the West." (2)

We shall not stop to discuss here the merits of this statement not the case of the 'thorough-going mystics' alluded to here, especially as Russell himself admits that 'fully developed mysticism is rare in the West.'

2 "Mysticism and Logic", by Bertrand Russell, Allen and Unwin, London, 1959. p. 19,



Both in the East and the West there are those who think vaguely of the closed domains of logic and mysticism, and hold that one has to counter, compromise or contradict the other. The Guru-philosophy as presented here, at least, does not fall into such a category. Here criticism, experiment and experience all co-exist integrally at the core of the Absolute which can contain so-called 'empiricism' at one pole and so-called 'idealism' at the other. Both together give content to the central notion representing Existence, Subsistence and Value. The closely-reasoned verses which are prior to the central verses have a contemplative metaphysics not far different from what Bergson has explained in his Introduction to Metaphysics, which differs from usual metaphysics in that it takes an inner view of the total knowledge-situation, and is not satisfied with putting together snaps or clichés, statically understood.
This distinction is a vital key to the understanding of the Guru-philosophy.


The following is Verse 50 from the "One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction":

"With earth and water, air and fire likewise,
Also the void, the ego, cognition and mind,
All worlds including the waves and ocean too,
Do all arise and into awareness change."

'All worlds do rise and into awareness change,' is, it must be admitted, strange-sounding to modern ears unfamiliar with Bergson, Kant, Hegel, and the Upanishadic way, or with the indeterministic nature of the physical world that modern relativism has brought to the forefront of thought in recent years. The mechanistic outlook has to be discarded and the notion of a process included in our vision of Truth or Reality.




Under the verse in question in the commentary we have tried to touch upon some of the accepted philosophical positions supporting such an apparently bold statement that this verse presents. We have also devoted many pages in "The Search for A Norm in Western Thought" (3) to elaborate the same normative philosophical viewpoint persistently kept in mind by Western philosophers, ranging from sceptics or empiricists like Hume and Locke, through rationalists like Descartes, to Kant, Hegel and their modern followers. We have even quoted philosophers of science like Eddington to find just those presuppositions that would lend 'justification' to the apparently too mystical and sweeping statement implied here. Yet, nothing incompatible with modern thought and nothing inconsistent with Vedanta has been stated here.
To recognize this would be our first step in the direction of becoming more fully familiar with the philosophy of a Guru, fully alive to all the modern currents of thought.

We have to take note firstly of the categories mentioned in the verse in graded and methodical order as well as of the schematic or structural features respected by the Guru in writing this verse, which should be quite patent to one who is aware of such implications natural to mystical language, as has been explained by us elsewhere. The series of elementals first mentioned, beginning from the most gross to the most subtle, pass beyond matter with the fifth item in an ascending series of sets, groups or ensembles that belong together to each level as phenomenological existential epochés with a unitive consistency of monads within each, till the implication of both matter and mind merge in the homogeneous transparency of pure schematism in the reference to the waves and the ocean bracketed together.

3. See "Shorter Works" on this site.




Here the waves have the horizontal implications of plurality, phenomenality or a practically manifested analytic aspect which can be called effects rather than causes, or the cause, and the ocean understood globally as a unit comprising the knowledge-situation as a whole represents the pure noumenal or vertical implications of the same situation, both belonging together to the same structural scheme.

In a universe that is subject to expansion and contraction and under the sway of an alternative process of a grand cosmic-psychic respiration within the homogeneous matrix of transparent essences, osmotically exchanged between the plus and the minus aspects, it is not difficult to think of a dialectical ascent and an alternating descent making up together a circulation, such as that of a wheel that the Bhagavad Gita alludes to in Chapter III, Verse 16. Other verses of the Guru also help to confirm this living picture of what takes place at the core of Absolute Self-consciousness. Many passages in the Upanishads are also suggestive of the same interesting content without which the notion of the Absolute should have ever remained empty and insipid.



Without further apology for taking the above view, seeing that we have specifically devoted space already to clarify most of the implications brought together under this one verse here, let us now pass on to the verse after the next, skipping the 51st, to scrutinize for a moment its presentation of the same living picture of the cosmic-cum-psychic dynamic process viewed rather from the plus side than from the minus side as in Verse 50. Verse 52 reads as follows:




"Filled with word-content, that day the firmament shall radiant blaze,
And into it shall be absorbed to extinction all the visionary magic,
Then, too, that small voice completing tri-basic cognition
Shall cease, and, lo! Self-radiance prevails."


This verse may be said to touch the high-water mark attainable to speculation when it manages just to remain still within the scope of philosophy proper, although to practical ears even these bare outlines might still sound strange.

It is evident that here we have a mystic's vision represented, but a closer scrutiny, as with Verse 50, reveals the same process structurally understood as taking place at the core of the significant Absolute in terms of Self-consciousness. The process is one of circulation and becoming, absorbed at unitive, more unitive, and universal levels, whose meanings gain more and more absolute significance or value till all truth, fact or value, gets merged in the highest Value of all. This is like an 'echo and a light unto eternity,' as some English poet has described such a culminating experience. Reason is here not abandoned, but in the ascent of thesis and antithesis cancelling each other out into a synthesis at higher and higher levels in Self-consciousness is a resultant containing the thesis aspect, ever becoming purer or brighter and more significant as a value.

Thus, Existence, Subsistence and Value aspects of the Absolute remain without any taint of inner conflict between any two pairs taken in the ascending scale. Light here represents the visible and sound the intelligible, which fuse together into one ineffable and ultimate Value.





Lest the student should think that these structural and other implications are read into the verses which are really just ordinary mystical effusions as known in the East and also familiar in the context of European mysticism, let us take Verse 51, situated between the two we have cited already.
The subject matter of this verse might seem, at first, to have nothing at all to do with the two verses with which it is bounded before and after. The analogy of the structure of a tree with two ambivalently complementary reciprocal branches, one growing at the expense or at least depending organically on the other, is clearly seen here:


"From awareness, the "I" sense first emerged,
Comes then with it "This-ness" as counterpart beside,
Like branches, these two do overcover
Hiding the whole of the Maya tree."


The tree in mystical language stands for all ramified values, conceptual as well as perceptual, that claim attention or interest in a given field of consciousness at a given time. The stream of consciousness or flux of becoming is like a tree growing and putting out fruits or flowers peripherally and horizontally. The pure process takes place, as it were, vertically in full transparence between the perceptual and conceptual entities both entering the matrix of consciousness. When correctly focussed between the plus and minus, the tree tends to cancel itself out but, when the least tinge of negativism or quality is retained, as between the dual and the non-dual Absolute, the ramified set-structure becomes evident with two zones covering the plus (conceptual) and the minus (perceptual ), both in terms of abstract and generalized intuitions. This takes place alternately in the framework of warp and woof of time and space categories.



The whole field is filled with relation-relate complexes of infinite number, with a harmony pre-established in the overall situation. The multiplicity of monads, thus formed, are implied in the monas monadum which is the normative notion of the Absolute. Bergsonian growth, division and becoming within the core of the eternal flux of the élan vital, phenomenological epochés, monadological, schematic and structural dualities, have all to be elaborated and fitted together integrally and unitively as living like a tree or flowing like a river of Maya, the relativist aspect of the Absolute.


The Guru has a large number of philosophical compositions, mostly in verse, where the same structural scheme is implicit and sometimes even explicitly used. As an instance of explicit reference to structuralism in the Absolute, one can readily use the fourth verse of the common prayer composed in Malayalam by the Guru, called Daiva Dasakam (A Prayer for Humanity):


"Like sea, wave, wind and depth
Let us within see
Ourselves, Maya (relativism), your glory and Thee."


The schematic implications here are unmistakable. When we attempt to paraphrase the above line using the language evolved by us, we can say that the dimension of depth of the ocean, in the analogy consisting of four quaternion factors by which the total situation is intended to be comprised, is the vertical aspect of the Absolute which is, by far, the most fundamental of all. We have elsewhere shown that, in the general context of Vedantism, the material cause gains primacy over all other forms of causes which can be used for speculation.




Upadana Karana, which is its name in Vedanta, is fundamentally basic and inclusive of its horizontalized counterparts. Formal cause, as known in the context of Aristotle, is an extreme abstraction implied within the scope of this master cause of all, which is the vertical principle itself. All pure mathematical equations live within the core of this vertical axis, here compared to the depth of the sea. The water does not wet the depth, nor the wind dry it. The Absolute that is at the base of all phenomenalism is thus attained in this root-principle which is no more or less than a dimension in the total Absolutist situation where alone the notion of the Absolute can properly be said to belong. In the six verses following Verse 36 of the “One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction” which we treat here as presenting us the broad outlines of a Guru-philosophy, the further implications of this total knowledge-situation are seen to be fully elaborated by the Guru himself. We shall have more to say on theses aspects when the proper contexts present themselves. Here what we just wish to underline is that a normative and structurally understandable notion of the Absolute is the key to Guru-philosophy. Verses 50, 51 and 52 of the “One Hundred Verses” are strikingly bold and deserve full scrutinizing on the part of any student who wishes to be introduced into the heart of Guru-philosophy. The total knowledge-situation in which the logical form of Aristotle, the dialectics of Parmenides and Zeno, the antimonies or dichotomies that Kant or Bergson alluded to, the bracketing as understood in phenomenology, and the pre-established harmony of Leibnizian Monadology, with Hegelian absorption of thesis and antithesis into a higher synthesis, will all be seen to be only particular aspects of the way of Guru-speculation, when fully and properly understood.



The recognition of abhava (non-actuality) as a padartha (category) is one of the other important distinguishing features of Guru-philosophy. Bergson's "flux" and his metaphysics that give to becoming and process a fully open and dynamic status, is another feature of a proper Guru-philosophy. The three verses considered together here reveal these broad features implicitly or explicitly, and we shall have occasion to come back to each of the particular
aspect as we proceed.


Experiences, inner and outer, meet in the Guru's person. When speculation is based on inner experience, when no laboratory experimental arrangements are needed, we tend to have literature that resembles metaphysics. Otherwise, it comes under the scope of physics. Physics and metaphysics, broadly understood, belong to the same total knowledge-situation in which inner and outer experience confirm each other to give apodictic or dialectical certitudes. Pure mathematics based on equations lives and moves in this same vertical axis within the range of possible human understanding.

We have, in one of our anterior studies of Vedantism (4) given the instance of how in one of the Upanishads the double value factor called ananda (Absolute Bliss) is pictured structurally as having a head, a right side, a left side and lower part, which last is treated as the most important of all as representing the Absolute. A similar verse (15) by the Guru in his composition entitled Advaita Dipika (The Lamp of Non-Duality) gives us a striking instance
4 See page 122, “Vedanta Revalued and Restated” by the present author, on this site.




where the unity of speculative factors belonging to inner or outer experience are brought together, juxtaposed and integrated to serve as a basis for correct scientific speculation in respect of the Absolute. The verse under reference reads as follows:


"Bliss exists, it looms (in consciousness), it is One alone;
If thought of disjunct from Self, it exists not,
And nothing then can attain consciousness at all;
Then mirage-water, sky-blue would become non-existent
and sky-flower and mirage-sky ultimate value attain."


The above is one of the most complex and complicated verses ever written by the Guru, presenting in compact form a methodological and epistemological problem set in the context of bliss or value factor. To penetrate beyond the reductio ad absurdum method used masterfully by the Guru in his scientifically valid speculation will acquire the knowledge of the same structural secret that we have tried to explain and elaborate all through our writings. Without
such a key hinted at here, most of the validity of the Guru's writings is likely to remain a closed book to a majority of students of philosophy.

Hence the importance of this first chapter, which when grasped will open many doors in the many-apartmented mansion which is Guru-philosophy. We can do no more here, in passing, than to just indicate the nature of the reductio ad absurdum method implicit in the above verse. The two sets of examples are bracketed in a certain way fully respecting structuralism so as to avoid giving to merely nominal or conceptual factors primacy over existential and subsistential ones.





Concluding his composition called Anukampa Dasakam (Scriptures of Mercy) the Guru strikes an important note himself with the following verse slightly retranslated here. (5)


"High scripture-meaning antique, rare,
Or meaning as by Guru taught,
And what the quiet recluse conveys,
Wisdom's varieties of every sort,
Together they are all of one kind,
One in essence, in substance same!"


When the integrated knowledge-pattern implicit in various kinds of wisdom literature is properly understood it will be found that a simple human quality such as kindliness or mercy emerging as a human value can be fitted into a common context of Absolute value or significance.

The Quran, the Dhammapada, the Upanishads, not excluding the Vedas and the Bible, have all their secret contributions to make to the totality of the heritage of human wisdom. The integrative 'structural element' hiding at the core of all such teachings is not different from the structuralism, selectionism and subjectivism that modern philosophers of science like Eddington and Einstein also share and wish to communicate to humanity seeking science or wisdom.

Thus, side by side with Guru's conforming to the prototypes of Guruhood understood in the Vedantic context, it would not be altogether absurd to think of Gurus or wise men of the Western context where science holds the field. The underlying integrative factor is what gives all of them high wisdom content as Guru Narayana evidently wishes to express in the above lines.
5. For a commentary on this work see “The Word of the Guru” by the present author, pp. 355-372, on this site.






Having understood the structural key to Guru-philosophy, as explained in the last section, we have also to discover the over-all plan of the hundred-verse-sequence, to be able to see clearly the scope, limits and amplitude of speculation, within whose four walls, together with the structural reference that we have pointed out, Guru-philosophy is to be understood in living terms.

Then, and only then, will it give up its secrets and become an open book to all, instead of remaining a cryptically compact sequence of verses, succeeding each other without any visible sub-sections, and seemingly without a method or any critically understandable theory of knowledge, respected by the author.

It is natural to expect that philosophy proper must be capable of being critically examined according to recognized norms and standards of reasoning or thought in general, which instrument of human understanding should find full play in any philosophy worth the name. A Guru-philosophy, however, tackles problems wholesale, instead of piecemeal, but this should not detract from its fully scientific status.


How philosophy is to become scientific is a matter about which there could be radically different opinions, even among modern philosophers of the status of Bertrand Russell and Max Mueller.



We are familiar with the views of Russell tending to discredit a wholesale approach to philosophy altogether, and thus Indian philosophy too. Max Mueller, however, thinks that Indian philosophy is more strictly philosophical than modern Western philosophies, with both of which he can be credited as having sufficient familiarity. Comparing Indian and Western philosophies, Max Müller writes:

"We know what an enormous amount of labour
had to be spent and is still being spent in order
to ascertain the exact views of Plato and Aristotle,
nay, even of Kant and Hegel, on some of the most
important questions of their systems of philosophy.
There are even living philosophers whose words often
leave us in doubt as to what they meant, whether
they are materialists or idealists, monists or nihilists,
theists or atheists. Hindu philosophers seldom leave
us in doubt on such important points, and they
certainly never shrink from the consequences of their
theories." (1)


While Hegel condemned Indian philosophy as adolescent or immature thinking, here is a scholar and a philosopher, originating from the same country not many decades later, who has taken the trouble impartially to examine both Eastern and Western philosophies. His unstinted praise helps to counteract the aspersions cast on Indian thought by some Westerners like Edward Erdmann and others. Max Müller's further remarks in the same context above are therefore worth quoting:

"What I admire in Indian philosophers is that they never try to deceive us as to their principles and the consequences of their theories.
1. “Six Systems of Indian Philosophy”, Calcutta 1952 p.x,
Intro. Vol. 1.


"If they are idealists, even to the verge of nihilism they say so, and if they hold that the objective world requires a real, though not necessarily a visible or tangible substratum they are never afraid to speak out. They are bona fide idealists or materialists, monists or dualists, theists or atheists because their reverence for truth is stronger than their reverence for anything else". (2)

A downright apodictic quality has characterized Indian thought and the Six Systems do not err on the side of vagueness or speculation. The definitions, though cryptic in linguistic formulation, are precise and clear-cut when properly understood. No doubt Prof. Max Müller had in mind these systems that have come down to us in clear-cut aphoristic formulations, when he applauds as above the merits of Indian philosophy as against Western philosophical speculation in general.


When we come to the Advaita Vedanta of Vyasa or Badarayana, and especially as restated critically by Sankara, the degree of certainty attains to a more fully scientific status, The Absolute, treated wholesale and whole-heartedly, in downright or frontally facing outright terms of intellectual attack and emotional onslaught, then becomes fully apodictic. The emotions naturally resemble those of a mystic, while the intellectual approach would correspond to the pure vision of a man of dialectical wisdom.

Closely argued ways thus can co-exist in Guru-philosophy without violating the codes of right speculation,
2. Ibid. p.xi




although to minds conditioned by the divorce of speculation and spirituality, as in modern Western thought, such speculation, even when correct, might seem strange, vague or sentimental. The mystical vision too, on the other hand, would be too strong for them to gaze at, compared to twilight worlds of easy or complacent speculation, in which modern philosophy has had to thrive. To the modern Western student, especially in academic life,
philosophy is only one of his many side-interests in life.

In the case of Guru-philosophy, as is only to be expected in the present case, speculation not only becomes red hot but attains to an incandescent white heat and melting point at times, as we shall presently see. All we want to point out in advance here is that this wholesale and frontal character of the approach of Guru-philosophy should not be considered by the modern reader as detracting in any way from its true status of critical and correct speculation. Its value is only enhanced when it conforms to the requirements of a normalized absolutist method, theory of knowledge, and an axiology which does not exclude the over-all human problem of minimizing suffering or bondage and of securing human happiness, individual or collective, from its scope. Lukewarm, piecemeal, trial-and-error, ratiocinative, eristic or sophistic approaches, dabbling in mere opinions and counter-opinions, do not serve the purpose of healthy, wholesale and correct speculation that Guru-philosophy is meant to be.

No apology is therefore needed here for the bold speculative flights found in the verses we are particularly presenting here, which at first might confuse the modern reader in respect of their normality, sobriety or critical validity, from the standpoint of the so-called man-in-the-street.




Besides the key of structuralism which we have to keep in mind in order to appreciate methodically and critically the contents of this sequence of verses, there is the equally important fact of the symmetrically conceived over-all plan within which the speculation lives and moves.

The first verse refers to the seeker for higher Wisdom and the last verse marks the culmination of his search in the realization of the Absolute as an Existent Subsistent Value, as finally equal and non-different from the Self within each man or in human consciousness treated generally.

Between these extreme limits various topics, inclusive of ethics, religion, logic, error aspects of the soul, cosmic-psychic correlation, states of consciousness, alternation between poles, vertical and horizontal value-worlds, epistemological and methodological laws or rules, dichotomy, ambivalence of polarity between aspects of the self or the person, the principle of compensation in spiritual life or in contemplative progress to wisdom, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, adoption and disadoption, the place of the a priori, the limits of logical reasoning, semantic analysis of thought in the core of the Absolute, sublimation of action, participation of mind and matter, are all brought within the scope of the discussion contained in these hundred verses, and there is an innate unity of subject-matter and structure so compact as to constitute and come within the amplitude of one sweeping vision of an awakened Self.




The items are so compactly presented that they defy analytical enumeration, and, as stated in the very first verse, are meant more for meditative purposes, as in the case of a sacred song, chant or scripture. The Vedas and the Vedanta too, in India, are conceived on similar cryptic, protolinguistic, schematic, unitively compact terms of a vision that defies critical scrutiny and verification by norms or human standards of thought and reasoning.

Each verse, or sometimes a sequence of two or three verses, is seen to hang together, harping on the same or a kindred theme. Sometimes the vision given to ascending dialectics is balanced by the same vision stated soon after as seen from the point of view of descending dialectics. There is sometimes a sequence of four or five verses, whose subject-matter is sometimes seen left off to be taken up again in a subtler or improved form at a higher level of speculation at a later stage. The change-over from topic to topic takes place in such a gentle gradation that, unless the reader or student is aware himself of the methodological and epistemological unity kept in mind by the Guru, he will see no reason why a certain thought should follow rather than precede the previous one.

These sets have to be distinguished by the careful student after a first acquaintance with each of the verses separately. Then, when the sets are seen to be interrelated, he will be able finally to appreciate how the work as a whole has been strung together with a sense of symmetrical beauty when viewed megascopically as a whole.

The verses that have been translated and commented upon (3) will be seen to be sufficiently self-explanatory. Here in these remarks our purpose is limited to seeing the connecting links and logical or critical implications as between one section and another, and between one set of verses
(3) See the “One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction”, commentary by the present author, on this site.



that belong together and another similar set elsewhere, and to see also in each verse how the structural scheme of each respects the over-all message that the verses as a whole wish to convey. The verses are transparent in content for each other and all together.

We shall travel from the apparently most mystical verses to those which are more analytically and critically conceived, as we come up against each set or counterpart in later sections. The element of wonder characterizes the former mystical verses, and the emphasis on reason or analysis characterizes the critical group. Mythological imagery belonging to the soil of South India is sometimes advantageously employed by the Guru, as also an appeal made directly to the Upanishads. These however are done in such a way as not to detract or damage the fully critical status that the verses are meant to have as a whole. It is the exigency of language alone that makes the Guru resort to such ideograms rooted in the popular mind of India. Besides ideograms, protolinguistic devices too are seen to be freely employed by the Guru. A strict scheme, semantically correct, is adhered to even here.


Pyschostatics and psychodynamics are terms that are sometimes used to make a distinction between living and still pictures of the working of the Self. As in the case of the “thinking substance” of Spinoza, there is a paradox implied here as between natura naturans and natura naturata.

The very first verse puts its finger on a core (karu) which is the source of all activities, whether thought of in terms of an unmoved mover within, or, in more overt terms, of a cosmological phenomenology. One of these is a counterpart of the other.




When the first few and the last few verses are carefully examined from this standpoint of psycho-phenomenal dynamism, one is able to see how doctrinal items cling together and are set as stones in a homogeneous matrix which is neither mental nor material.

Maya itself, which is the principle of error, illusion, or false value, finds a place in the most central of the verses as at the beginning and end. Maya has plus, minus and neutral aspects, according to the over-all epistemology respected and kept in mind throughout the composition, The gems of doctrine have also to be fitted by us into the matrix made up of pure consciousness so that they stand out and do not stand out apart or differently, in quality at least, from the matrix. Advaita or non-duality implies this rule of homogeneity (samanadhikaranarva) as its inevitable corollary.

The vision of the Self is revealed as meeting at a neutral point between two aspects of the Absolute, a priori and a posteriori, which are represented in each instance, as it were, by two limbs of an equation, one of which is to be understood in terms of the other. The proof of either statement is brought about naturally by the cancellation of a thesis by an antithetical aspect of the same. Analogies are thus equations in which the less familiar is understood in terms of the more familiar. The two limbs always cancel out into the synthetic unity of the homogeneous matrix of the Self and its knowledge, which are dialectical counterparts. A Hegelian methodology is clearly implicit here, though in a more complete and perfected form, perennial and not merely historical, and as understood in the wisdom texts from the time of the Upanishads, through the Buddha and down to our time.




The dialectical approach in our own time has become more or less overlaid and forgotten, except in certain schools such as that of Marx and Engels, who apply it only to limited socio-economic fields, The full-fledged dialectical approach, employed to the best advantage by the Guru here, when discovered by the critical student, will afford him one of the important keys by which he can make the study of these verses most fruitful. Their critical validity will then become fully evident to him.


Critical speculation is best when the arguments are cut and dry without giving room to ambiguity. The experimental method of the physical sciences answers to this purpose. When Newton says that, just as an apple falls to the ground by the force of gravity, there is a law of gravitation applicable to the whole of the physical universe of all bodies, his reasoning is acceptable to the scientist although it is the force rather of an analogy upon which the demonstrable proof rests. Physicists might call it induction, but scrutiny of instances shows the analogical rather than the experimental logic at the basis of the proof.

Here the experimental aspect on which the grand generalization is based is so simple and negligible that it can easily be admitted by men of commonsense from their everyday experience that the proof is not different from an analogical one. The relation between the experimental aspect and the law is one only of comparison between what is familiar and what is unfamiliar, i.e. analogy. No-one can say, strictly speaking, if there are not exceptions to this law, at the central, peripheral or stratospheric limits of the universe. This law however, is today universally respected as an over-all statement of something that is basically and scientifically true.



If we think in terms of equations such as: "momentum equals mass into velocity (M = m x v)", which we easily can prove at any time by calculation and measurement in any given case, the proof is all the same one of equating less general actualities to more general concepts, and when the letters Q.E.D. are put at the end of the calculation, the physicist accepts it as proof. The Pythagorean Theorem is provable both by the actual cutting out and pasting of triangles or squares, or by a blackboard sequence of propositions based on axioms of a graded order, whether known as postulates, riders or lemmas. Whether the a priori is more valid than the a posteriori is not certain. Both together lend validity to the truth.

The nature of a proof has itself been called into question by no less a philosopher of science than Eddington who says, 'Proof is an idol before whom the pure mathematician tortures himself.'(4) It is a form of idolatry or superstition according to him. If the positive sciences are so weak in their proofs how can we expect speculation to be any better?


When we look at the present series of verses we find that it consists of a number of definitions and instructions given to the aspirant in contemplative wisdom of the Self. If the proofs of the modern physicists can rest on such flimsy grounds as analogy or interchangeability of the terms of an equation, then in such a subject as contemplation of the Self, where introspective experimentation of commoner and rarer experiences are alone possible and are the rule, the validity of the proofs for each of the items of Self-instruction contained here should be less open to question by a critical student, however highly developed his critical faculty might be.
3. “The Nature of the Physical World”, (London 1928) p.49




In fact, the more acutely it is developed in him the more he should desist from asking for the more ordinary experimental demonstrations here. Whether experiments prove axioms, or vice-versa is the question. The best proof is what proves itself.


There is no need for science to be cold-blooded. Under what compulsion should it limit itself by excluding the element of wonder, mystery or legitimate inspiration? To be happy and be in a mood to sing a ditty is as natural enough to the man in the street as it is to rare mystics reputed to live in caves of the Himalayas.

If the proper study of mankind is man, and if man must know his environment fully and globally to live in it correctly, a complete philosophy of life which would help him do so, must needs take into account all his subjective traits, and match them with their counterparts in the objective world. Correlations, cosmic, physic or both, counterparts of the Self and the non-Self, innate correspondences, have all to be matched through analogies or equations implying one or the other aspect, or both aspects at once, so as to reveal the full mechanics as well as dynamics of life. The more fluid the resulting truth, the better it would be.

It is such an inclusive way that the Guru-philosophy is expressly meant to represent; and here it is only following and keeping alive in revalued terms the Upanishadic tradition. A healthy, wholesale and wholehearted philosophy, in which dialectical counterparts are juxtaposed, so as to yield a unitive vision of the Self in the light of the normative Absolute, is the task which the series of verses boldly sets before itself.


How far it has accomplished this great task which the span of these verses is the question we have to answer after detailed and critical scrutiny of the verses themselves, sometimes taken in recurring and non-recurring groups of two, three, four or five, as we shall see.


Contemplation implies a form of ascent through intensity of thought, as it were, under high pressure. Passive and lukewarm attitudes are not conducive to yielding the results of true contemplation, where the inertia, the aches and pains of the body, or even love of easy-chair comfort, are to be left behind by the aspirant. There is a factor called tapas (burning up) which presupposes an agony of some sort, and implies intensity in research, full alertness, supported by clear memory, willingness to give full attention to the subject or problem at hand, and power to listen or will to believe on a basis of correct scepticism  which balances belief. Such are some of the known prerequisites here.

The very first verse in this series of verses stresses, in its opening phrase, just this prerequisite on the part of one who wishes to grasp the Guru-philosophy. The same requirements have been enumerated by Sankara and others.


Bergson also says:

"But the truth is that the intelligence can follow
the opposite method. It can place itself within the
mobile reality and adopt its ceaselessly changing
direction; in short, can grasp it by means of that
Intellectual sympathy which we call intuition. This is
extremely difficult. The mind has to do violence to
itself, has to reverse the direction of the operation by
which it habitually thinks, has perpetually to revise
or rather to recast all its categories. But in this way
it will attain to fluid concepts capable of following
reality in all its sinuosities and of adopting the very
movement of the inward life of things." (4)


Contemplative metaphysics therefore has to be approached with a revised attitude about what is to be expected. Bergsonian philosophy comes nearest to it. There are many other features of the Guru-philosophy which we can only touch upon when occasions arise. Here we shall focus our attention in concluding this section, on the element of wonder as admitted into correct metaphysical speculation by the Guru in his philosophy.


The Absolute Self is an enigma and a wonder. It has been called a mysterium tremendum (a tremendous mystery), and the Gita (II. 29) states this unequivocally:


"A certain person sees this as a wonder; likewise
another speaks about this wonder. Another hears
of it even as a wonder, but even hearing no one
understands this at all".


We have in the previous section examined three of the most central verses of the series before us. The rise and circulation of elements of thought at the core of the Absolute were pictured there.
4. “An Introduction to Metaphysics”, (Liberal Arts Press, New
York.) p. 51.




How the visible world itself can be effaced in the full wonder of the Absolute in terms of meaning or sound, was also boldly touched upon in Verse 52. We shall now select two other verses where again the element of mystery or wonder is pronounced.

Verses 35 and 65 are turned in opposite directions like the outer brackets in an algebraic sum. First let us scrutinize Verse 35:


"Like the dawning altogether of ten thousand suns
Wisdom’s function comes, Such verily is what
Can tear asunder the knowledge-hiding impermanent darkness of Maya here,
And, as the primordial Sun on high, prevails


The overwhelming and total nature of Wisdom treated as a wonder here is unmistakeable. By its position in the total series (as Verse 35) we have to take note that this wonder reaches out from the negative to the positive side of the total knowledge-situation. The arrow points upwards to the glorious vision possible to the contemplative. If this verse is taken as the opening of the brackets enclosing the content of general wonder of the Absolute vision of the Self, which is the subject-matter of the series here, we can see that Verse 65 suggests the closure of the same pair of brackets. The arrow is reversed here. Instead of suggesting endless possibility for the contemplative vision, there is here to be imposed a limitation lest too much positiveness of the vision should disperse the unity of the Self that is to be located in its middle neutral ground.




Verse 65 reads:

"There is nothing here that we have not already once known.
Hidden by form, knowledge fails us, wakefully
To know all this there is none at all, limitless as it is,
Oh, who can there be at all to know this wonder dear!”


Here the limitlessness of the wonder is stressed to show that the contemplative can have only such visions as his own self can contain. The Absolute Self is enclosed, as it were, between two opposite tendencies, one that is of limitless expansion to the plus side and another that points its arrow to the core of the neutral zero point of the total knowledge-situation. The position of the verse in the second half of the series, well towards the end, is what alone can justify this seeming contradiction when Self-knowledge and its wonder are understood as the content of the work as a whole, with its plus and minus limiting factors.

Besides these limiting verses there are others in the body of the work which the student would do well to find, and analytically and critically scrutinize himself, according to the context of each.






A philosopher does not merely dabble in information, opinions or rival theories arrived at through trial-and-error methods.

He is interested in finding reality behind appearances, distinguishing truth from falsehood and facts from mere superstitions. He employs experimental reasoning, logic and valid general ideas, for determining what is existent, subsistent or of value in life. The general and wholesale approach is more natural to him than any piecemeal one, and mere possibilities and probabilities cannot satisfy that fully human curiosity or thirst for knowing which distinguishes him as belonging to Homo sapiens.

It is thus that speculative literature differentiates man from the anthropoid apes. He seeks the 'Truth that shall make him free' and that 'pearl of great price' or 'the little leaven that leaveneth the whole lump.' The Bhagavad Gita states the same verity, 'the slightest measure of a way of wisdom alone can save man from great fear.' The 'master-knot has to be cut' and 'doubts sundered in his heart' to liberate or emancipate him.

Unlike the halting methods of inductive scientific disciplines, which are less ambitious in this aspect, the central problem of all philosophising anywhere or at any time by humans has had the same problem or enigma to solve. As the Guru puts it, they can be said to be contained in the primary questions of all philosophy such
as, 'Who am I?' and 'How does this phenomenal world come about?'




A wholehearted and wholesale approach to such problems can alone make philosophy worthy.

From most ancient times the world over speculation has gone on to unravel this mystery, solve this enigma, or save man from the dilemma in which he is caught. His spirit of research cannot rest satisfied till he correctly locates the problem at the core of life. How does matter interact with spirit? How are body and mind articulated? How is the mind inserted into matter? How can there be participation of the inner and the outer factors of life?

All these refer to the same central problem of solving paradoxes. Variously labelled by philosophical schools under couples of terms such as the phenomenal and the noumenal, the visible and the intelligible, the experimental (or observable) and the calculable, form and matter, in endless variety, whether brought under the Self or the non-Self, the subjective or the objective, or under spatial or temporal dimensions in which life has its being or becoming, all the dual aspects have an implied paradox between each of the pair of terms. Mathematically they can be comprised under the vertical (pure) and the horizontal (practical).


The primary task of a philosopher is to face this problem frontally. Modern philosophers like Russell tend to bypass the central problem in the name of a scientific approach. At the same time there are to their credit such doctrines as that of 'neutral monism' which reflects a total or wholesale doctrine or approach. Instead of a total annexation of Truth in terms of an absolutist approach,



The so-called analytic philosophers prefer, in the name of science, to annex bits of a territory at a time, by methods resembling those of experimental science. The hollowness of such a claim has been discussed by us elsewhere more than once. In speculation, relativism and absolutism are terms ill-defined by modern philosophers.

Neither of these terms can have a meaning apart from its dialectical counterpart, for one of them must presuppose the other for them to have any meaning at all. How even the Relativism of Einstein has some Absolute notion at its core is brought out clearly in the following lines which we quote from a recent authority without entering into the discussion here at any length.

After explaining (on page 292), "The consequences of the Einstein theory are that distance and time are relative, and hence measurements of them by another observer need not agree with ours”, and deriving further implications of the Lorentz Transformation, the writer continues; “This means that although time and space are relative, a certain mixture of them is absolute. It is an error to think that because Einstein's theory is called Relativity, all measurements are relative. The mathematician Whitehead chose the name 'separation' for the absolute invariant t2 - x2." (1)

Further light on the status of the velocity of light as an absolute normative notion at the centre of the theory of Einsteinian so-called Relativity is afforded by another statement:
' material body can have a velocity equal to or greater than the speed of light.' (2)
1. “The Mainstream of Mathematics” by Edna E. Kramer, Ph.D. (Fawcett Publication, New York,) 1961 p. 295
2. Ibid. p. 292



Thus there is a paradox hiding even at the core of the meanings of the two terms "relative" and "absolute". If what is absolute is real the relative must be called false because there cannot be two truths. If there are two truths one should either contradict the other or be merely a tautology of the other. In Vedantic parlance the former is an asambhava (impossibility as a contradiction in terms) and the latter is vitiated by the evil of atmasraya (begging the question).

Between accepting tautology or contradiction there hides, at the core of even the most recent of speculation, supported by the strict rules of mathematics used in modern science, a master enigma, dilemma or problem, like a Gordian knot, intricate and difficult to resolve, which has taken all the intelligence of wise men of all times and climes to resolve once and for all.

Modernism mistrustingly looks upon such a solution as resembling the search for a philosopher's stone, or the search for a panacea for all ills. In spite of this modern prejudice in the name of the experimental approach of science, we can see from the above citations that, even at the very core of the theory of relativity, there is hiding a paradoxical absolute element. The Guru-philosophy that we are attempting to present in these introductory chapters attempts to approach this very problem that Einsteinian theorems or theories involve. A fresh and bold approach is warranted by our times and this is exactly what Guru-philosophy as we wish to present in the pages that follow, claims to bring into view, as representing the central problem of all philosophy which cannot be bypassed without detracting from the full dignity and purpose of philosophy itself.




We have just seen how paradox hides at the core of the Relativity Theory. There are certain unresolved paradoxes which are known in mathematics. Leibniz prefers to call them contradictions while Bertrand Russell would dismiss them as mere "oddities." What anyone prefers to call such a paradox is a question of personal temperament.

The sum of the odd numbers in a series must give rise to a different total than the sum of the even numbers, thus giving rise to two paradoxical values of infinity. Whether merely 'oddness' or 'contradiction' is recognized here, the paradoxical dilemma remains to be solved. On their solution, Runes in his “Dictionary of Philosophy” says:


"Russell's solution of paradox is embodied in what is now
known as the ramified theory of types...Because of its
complication this has now been largely abandoned in
favour of other solutions."(3)


No proper solution has been made acceptable, either by logicians or by mathematicians. The dialectical approach of Bradley to logic brings him up to this very problem of the difficulty of transcending paradox when he states:


"And we seem unable to clear ourselves from the old
dilemma. If you predicate what is different, you ascribe to
the subject what it is not, and if you predicate what is
not different, you say nothing at all." (4)


Philosophically, scientifically, logically, and mathematically we are thus finding it still very difficult to transcend paradox.
3. Cf. under “Paradoxes, Logical”, p.224.
4. “Appearance and Reality”, 2nd ed. p.17




Between full paradoxes, dilemmas and enigmas, ranging from mild implied paradoxes to open contradictions. There can be endless grades in the type of paradox we might have to solve, but in order to transcend paradox an absolutist philosophy like neutral monism, which is neither one nor the other but unites both aspects of being or becoming, is inevitable. The Bhagavad Gita states this problem of all philosophy in the following words:


"What is unreal cannot have being and non-being cannot be real,
the conclusion in regard to both these has been known to philosophers
. (II, 16).


In the light of the last part of this verse, any philosopher who does not face this problem with its paradoxes squarely cannot be ranged by the side of philosophers who are fully alive to their problem. As we shall see, it is just because the Guru-philosophy faces this paradox at the heart of all serious speculation that it might appear unusual to moderns who wish to bypass this central question by taking refuge in verbosities or in piecemeal approaches such as Russell seems to recommend. The modern notion of a space-time continuum is an attempt to transcend an implied paradox between space-like and time-like elements.

The subject-matter and the object-matter of philosophy constitute together in Guru-philosophy a master enigmaor wonder in which each is to be understood unitively in the light of the other, and even thus only in its broad outlines and in its most generalized categories, as a totality and as unity in terms of the Absolute.

We have already seen: first how the secret of structure holds the key to the understanding of Guru-philosophy, and how secondly, the Absolute which underlies it is of the nature of a wonder.



The reasoning man is not going to rest with the thought that Truth or Reality is merely a wonder. He wishes to critically analyze it further and break it up, if possible, into its components, subtle or gross, to see how the various aspects hang together to give unity to Truth, without which it would be meaningless in life. Logic, ratiocination,
induction, deduction and the application of the various measures of validity to arrive at conclusions - all of these are ways that have been open to speculation as ordinarily employed by philosophers. The negative method of first determining what aspects of reality are not valid is a more scientific approach than the inductive-hypothetical empirical method of piecemeal experimentation based on experience. The a posteriori approach by itself cannot penetrate into the mystery presented by life. This is evident from the fact that the hand of God or of Nature is still hidden in science. Even such simple questions as sex determination in nature elude scientific clarification. The nature of the Self and its destiny is not within the reach of usual commonsense reasoning. Intuition or dialectical methods, when perfected as instruments of thought, as we can hope they may be in the future, are alone adequate to penetrate behind the mystery that life presents in its totality of the subjective and the objective treated together. In such a wholesale and wholehearted philosophical approach as that of the Guru here, the confrontation of the most central of the problems of all philosophy - which is that of the paradox at the centre of life - is all important. The Guru questions its nature in the work before us, in the following pointed manner:


"As a mixture of what is the world and what is the real,
That which presents itself before us is a great iniquity indeed!
This is what is indeterminate beyond grasp of word or mind;
How can the course of right reason move within its domain?”


This verse, as we notice, occurs at the end part of the series of one hundred verses. This might give room to the question whether the paradox is still valid after all the speculation of Guru-philosophy. Such a conclusion would be both true and false at once, because as we see finally the paradox is transcended. All the preceding verses are meant only to lay the foundations for the final conclusion in fully unitive terms. The method, the theory of knowledge and the value notions, each proper to the finalized position, are clearly indicated in the last verses.

Almost all the verses contain elements of the duality at the base of the paradox, and almost all the verses or groups of them indicate too, how the paradox is to be transcended by the unitive vision given to the philosophy of the Guru. Both the a priori and the a posteriori go hand in hand in Guru-philosophy. Axioms and everyday experience come together to coalesce and give certitude or conviction, as far as is possible in such a domain of pure wisdom. Let us take another verse which suggests more clearly how the paradox is resolved in terms of a dynamic circulation of existence and essences at the core of Absolute Self-consciousness:

"Knowledge, in order to know itself, the Earth and other manifestations became.
In inverted manner thus, now mounting, now changing over
Like a circulating fire-faggot, it keeps turning round.” (6)
5. Atmopadesa Satakam, Verse 94.
6. Ibid. Verse 33.



The dynamism at the core of the unitive vision of the Absolute is thus sufficiently indicated quite early in the series, and after referring to the implications of the same vision stage by stage in a certain methodic order, the Guru refers to the same paradox again at a later stage, to confirm that a form of higher intuitive and dialectically perfected reasoning is needed to get behind appearances to the core of the reality that they hide. There are various contemplative, ethical, aesthetical, logical and common-sense findings or conclusions incorporated in the body of the work, each of which has to be studied in its own context. Here we are concerned with the over-all paradox involved in Guru-philosophy in order to see how, in each of life's problems, the way he unitively resolves paradox is applied by him to arrive at the main guiding conclusions within the scope of contemplative Self-knowledge. It is the Self as the Absolute and as the Highest of human values that should act as the normative reference or regulative principle in all matters of import in life. Such a vision lies beyond the duality of paradox. Between tautology and full contradiction, elements of paradox can hide the truth as a mere dilemma, enigma, doubt or incertitude. All these dual elements, referred to under the head of maya in Vedanta, tend to indeterminism and confusion of right values. Transcending such an 'either-or' or 'neither-nor' situation in favour of both at once is the task that Guru-philosophy boldly sets before itself.


The Paradoxes of Zeno and Parmenides (revalued in Plato's Socratic dialogues) have occupied a central place in Western philosophical speculation from pre-Socratic days.


The one and the many, the big and the small, the part and the whole, the Self and the non-Self, have all been subjected to dialectical treatment, and various attempts have been made to resolve them unitively, sometimes statically, sometimes dynamically, whether in the context of being or becoming. Cosmic or General Self-Consciousness is the unified field or ground on which dialectical revaluations themselves have to live and move. Hegel's thesis, antithesis and synthesis refer to a process of dialectical revaluation on the basis of the Absolute on which they depend.

In Bergson's philosophy of the flux to which the élan vital is subject, we have the same pure dynamism which had been previously discussed in the paradoxes of Zeno and which was given by him a new lease of life after it was nearly forgotten by rationalist speculators in Europe after Descartes. The two verses of the Guru that we quote below are highly reminiscent of the fluid reality that Bergson, based on Zeno's paradoxes, had postulated:


"At birth-time being there is none,
And the one born at another instant cannot be;
However does this exist? Death too is even likewise.
All is but a flux and becoming of the mind-stuff pure.


Contraries like being and becoming, how can they,
Like creation, endurance and dissolution, in one place co-exist?
For these three to pass into, there is nothing either
Thus viewed, the earth and other things are mere words alone."

7. Atmopadesa Satakam, Verses 79, 80.



From the time of Heraclitus, whose famous saying was that one cannot enter into the same river twice, this     doctrine of the flux has been central to many and varied schools of speculation both modern and ancient, Eastern or Western. The difference with Guru-philosophy here is that the Guru is not limited to perceptualism, nominalism, conceptualism or even empiricism schematically understood, but gives due place to them all in a unified manner and even in a methodical order, based on a strict epistemology and axiology. Later chapters will perhaps amplify this and justify this claim further, as we proceed.

While we are on the subject of transcending paradox let us refer to another verse in which the transcending of paradox is accomplished in as delicate a way as in the dialectics of the One and the Many in Plato, who refers to Zeno in his Parmenides where the contention of Zeno is:


"Being cannot be many, because if it were, it would be
like and unlike at the same time, which is impossible." (8)


Here the paradox is not transcended but only a sort of reductio ad absurdum or ad impossibile is arrived at. The Guru, as seen tackling the same problem in the verse below, merges the impossibility into the neutrality or unity of Absolute Consciousness, which is the rare 'secret' clarified in his philosophy elsewhere:


"Of one thing there could be many, as in many objects
One single meaning could reside: by such knowledge we can know
Consciousness as comprising all, differencelessly without any remainder;
This ultimate secret, however, is not given for all to know.”

8. Plato's “Dialogues” translated by B. Jowett, (Random House, New York.) p.88
9. Atmopadesa Satakam, Verse 73



Cubic crystals of common salt or an orchard of apple trees of the same variety and of the same age, when taken as examples, will easily be seen to justify the seeming puzzle of the above verse. What tends to give specificity overtly combines in  meaning innately, and what tends to be generic in meaning, tends to be overtly distinguishable as separate entities. Word and meaning belong to the matrix of pure mind-stuff, where both the mechanistic and the vitalistic aspects co-exist without conflict or contradiction.

This is one of the ways in which the paradox that life presents is seen to be capable of being transcended in the philosophy of the Guru. This kind of approach which is most subtle, as the Guru himself warns, need not be the only way of transcending the contradiction in life. At different levels of the total knowledge-situation, different approaches, some factual, some demonstrable, some logical, intuitive or dialectical, may be seen to be employed, even with the limited range of the hundred verses before us.


If the Unified Field Theory of Einstein, where gravitational, electromagnetic, and geometrically understood space or world-ground, with a common unified schematic basis, in which micro- and macro-cosmos participate, as it were, from opposite poles of the same homogeneous totality of a time-space continuum, has become familiar and acceptable to modern ears; then the heights of Guru-speculation here in the verses before us, need not necessarily have a strange, outlandish or antique ring in our ears either. Its full implications have been explored and scrutinized in our “An Integrated Science of the Absolute”.




Without going into the merits of these verses, we quote below two more verses from the Guru in order to show how his speculation at the beginning of the century echoes and complements those very generalizations to which human minds, more in touch with the physical world than the mental, have been able to attain. The daily newspaper before me today (22nd March, 1965) has, on its front page, a photograph of how two Russians have accomplished the feat of stepping out into space 300 miles from the earth. These conquests might change the complexion of the war situation from one pole, but from the other pole too human speculation has to catch up with such outer victories with equally significant victories of the spirit of man that can attain equal depths more significant for peace. The sublime synthesis of opposites in transcending the paradox of life, even in the domain of concrete universals, and not merely in the world of semantics, is reflected in these verses which we quote by way of conclusion, without comment. The serious student will himself scrutinize them and derive from them all their implications, when he comes to them in more orderly fashion in the text as developed by the Guru.


"The atom and the infinite, thus as being and non-being,
Loom from either side; this experience too
Of being as well as non-being, shall thereafter extinction gain,
And devoid of any basis, shall forever cease to be!



Within the glory of pure knowing the atom bereft of all parts, shall extinct become,
And the infinite too, shall thereafter its own plenitude attain.
Direct experience alone can reveal this boundless
Stuff of Intelligence Pure, this silence-filled ocean of Immortal Bliss.”

10. Atmopadesa Satakam, Verse 96, 97.






This term "Absolute" would be a mere word without any content significant to human life if we did not look at it from the side of the phenomenal world known to us through the senses, supported by our powers of inference, deductive or inductive.

Abstraction and generalization lead us, step by step, to categories of facts, truths or realities of value in life. The lesser values are inclusively covered by the more general and the more abstract. This is the way of speculation known as the via negationis or neti neti of the Upanishads. When the limit of such a negative way is reached, there is a residue still left in the thinking mind which, when understood globally and schematically, gives us the first key to the understanding of Guru-philosophy, as we have tried to explain in the first of these essays.

Beyond this limit of the negative approach from the phenomenal to the noumenal, the Absolute cannot be appraised by the human understanding except as a vague wonder. The wonder or the mystery that the notion of the Absolute thus presents has been dealt with by us in the second section of this series. We have further explained that when critically scrutinized at closer quarters, a paradox lurks at the very core of philosophical speculation in general. We have indicated how Guru-philosophy faces frontally this problem of transcending paradox.


So now the stage is set for us to consider another aspect, which will afford us further ease in following the broad outlines which speculation as understood in Guru-philosophy adopts.

A strict methodology and epistemology are implied in Guru-philosophy which is for the keen student to follow up further when examining the text of the hundred verses. He can also reasonably expect further clarification from our final work on the "Science of the Absolute" based on the Guru's Darsana Mala (Garland of Visions of the Absolute) which attempts a more scientifically systematic treatment. (1)



Like the heartbeat, psycho-physical life presents an alternating ambivalent process between two poles. Guru-philosophy as we are able to understand it gives full recognition to this process. We have travelled far and wide in our other expositions to lay bare the structure and dynamism of this process, and found that this same
structural dynamism is seen implicitly or explicitly referred to in the efforts made by great minds from most ancient times world over. Pairs of dialectically reciprocal counterparts are referred to wherever a subtle intuitive understanding is called for in solving the problems of life. In our section devoted to the problems of transcending paradoxes, we have made it amply clear that there is always a dual aspect present in the basic field on which paradoxes can thrive. This ground whether cosmological, psychological or axiological, or all three of these combined, is lodged at the core of the Absolute.

The very fact that all words representing percepts or concepts can be arranged in two columns of synonyms or
1. See “An Integrated Science of the Absolute”, by the author, on this site.



antonyms shows that there is an antinomian principle, a dichotomy or polarity, which enters into a kind of subtle mathematical intersection in which two elements participate, as when time and distance participate in the notion of velocity. All phenomena are capable of graphical representation as correlated elements into which two antinomian factors enter. Matter and energy are so related that both cannot be measured together without indeterminism getting involved. The Self and the non-Self are also to be looked upon either as proper or improper elements, relation or relata, cause or effect, in respect of each other. Life is a process of such alternating ambivalent factors.


Modern algebra and geometry have many common axioms on the basis of which sums and products of mathematical elements with the laws of commutation, association and distribution obey or answer fundamental axioms accepted by mathematicians. There is a modern branch of the 'algebra of geometry' wherein what are called proper and improper elements enter and reveal the nature of pure space or number.

Such a new mathematical treatment of algebra and geometry together is a branch of the science which has not yet been fully explored. Its promise is, however, great, we have to remember here too, that mathematics becomes real only to the extent that its possible applications become significant in the context of human experience or solve problems in life. New conventions based on old axioms and laws of mathematics, such as referred to above, are permissible in respect of both algebra and geometry.



These two branches can be made to come together to interpret for us the nature of pure space or pure number. Complex numbers as well as pure space, subjected to strict though arbitrary treatments based on axioms or laws, can yield us frames of reference to be expressed metalinguistically or protolinguistically, i.e. algebraically or geometrically. (We have dealt with these possibilities elsewhere.) In order to show that the implications of the new branch of the 'geometry of algebra' has arrived very close to the next step which will bring it to what we want to represent here, it might be helpful for the student to read the following extract translated from the book “Les Nombres et les Espaces” (Numbers and Space) by G. Verriest (2) even if we do not stop here to explain the full implications of the extract:


"In order to give in all possible cases a signification
for the sum and product of two elementals, they have
introduced two new elementals; elemental zero V (or
absence of points, lines or planes) or universal element
U (or the totality of these elements, that is to say,
space). By definition the element zero V is contained in
all elements and it is conventional that it has a negative
number -1 of dimensions. In the same way the universal
element U, contains all elements and three dimensions.
These two new elements are called improper elements,
the others are the proper elements. Let us suppose now
that A and B represent for example two lines which
do not meet in space; we would have A + B = U and
A.B = V, and we can see that the sum and the product
of any two elements represent always an element
which would be either proper or improper."


Dichotomy is thus seen between proper and improper
elements in the science of the algebra of geometry dealing
with numbers and spaces.
2. Collection Armand Colin, Paris pp. 180-181. (Our translation).


It is not difficult to see that the abstractions of space and number implied in this kind of geometry of algebra or vice-versa, set limits of the improper elements V and U, the latter being more philosophical than physical: as when we say with W. de Sitters that there is pure motion in the cosmology of the universe without matter; or with Einstein that there is primacy for matter in the physical world without motion.
The time-space continuum and the Unified Field Theory have some sort of mathematical structure or scheme which is difficult to be visually represented, but which depends on an algebraic abstract language. Philosophers need not give primacy to either matter or motion, and with the attitude of neutral monism, could make an effort to build up, for their own purposes of valid or correct speculation, a mathematical frame of reference that would help in guiding thought especially in the metaphysical rather than in the merely physical aspect of the universe.

The freedom for a correct speculator to invent, if needed, such a frame of reference for the use of the philosophy of science is recognized by two senior mathematicians and scientists of the eminence of O. G. Sutton F:R:S: and Albert Einstein himself. That they envisaged such a frame of reference and even encouraged it may be gathered from the following extracts from each of them respectively. Sutton writes:


"....mathematicians are no respecters of tradition;
but incorrigible heretics who are prepared to change
their ground and invent new systems of thought
as soon as the old is seriously challenged. It must not
be thought that this breaking of rules always leads to
significant advances. To build a geometry on a new
set of axioms demands skill but not necessarily genius.


The chances are, however, that any such geometry will   excite little interest. The true touch of genius appears only when the new algebra or geometry opens up fresh fields of thought and this is a very rare event" (3)


On the need for not discouraging bold speculation in the matter of bridging the gulf between observed facts and axiomatic certitudes, Einstein says:


"Here too, the observed fact is undoubtedly the
supreme arbiter; but it cannot pronounce sentence
until the wide chasm separating the axioms from
their verifiable consequences has been bridged by
much intense hard thinking. The theorist has to set
about his Herculean task in the clear consciousness that
his efforts may only be destined to deal the death blow
to his theory. The theorist who undertakes such a
labour should not be carped as 'fanciful', on the contrary
he should be encouraged to give free rein to his
fancy, for there is no other way to the goal. His is no
idle day-dreaming, but a search for the logically
simplest possibilities and their consequences." (4)

The Unified Field Theory of Einstein was released
to the world only in February 1950, but the freedom with
which he was approaching that task, is already reflected
in the above citation of about 1934. That the logic of
modern mathematics is not rigidly fixed is amply evident
from these citations. Mathematicians like Sutton and
scientists like Einstein, would welcome any bold attempt
to integrate all thought elements on the same lines as in
the Unified Field Theory.
3. “Mathematics in Action”, by Sir O.G. Sutton, Bell, London
1958, p. 36

4. “The Philosophers of Science”, Pocket Book Inc., New York, U.S.A., p. 479




If we now attempt below a simple scheme which respects primary axioms with some ingenuity and fancifulness which is not only allowed but even encouraged by these authorities, in order to give to the otherwise wild speculation that often tends to be lost in verbosity, at least some tangible supporting points of a visible rather than merely intelligible order, as when the geometry of algebra is kept in mind, we hope there should not be any reason for us to be blamed.


Scalar and vectorial spaces as represented in geometrical figures are particular instances (the former more so than the latter) of another kind of geometrical space called tensorial, in which it is easier to represent cosmological models or of psychological stresses and strains which require more than three numbers for their specification. As the present writer is not an expert mathematician himself, at this stage of our discussion he proposes to be guided in mathematical questions by finding support in the writings of modern experts. It might therefore be permissible here to quote from Sutton as before:


" ...there exist certain important quantities
such as stress in an elastic body which require more
than three numbers for their specification. To deal
with these quantities mathematicians have devised
a very general algebra of tensors in which scalars and
vectors appear as special cases. Tensor algebra
is of prime importance in the development of world
models of cosmology." (5)
5. op. cit. p. 33



The same authority further quotes Whittaker and adds:


"It also appears that one such algebra is peculiarly
fitted to deal with another feature of quantum
mechanics, that of indefiniteness or imperfect
description, a fact which Whittaker has called 'one
century.'" (6)


There is also a modern branch of psychology which uses vectorial mathematical language which could be improved on the same lines into tensorial terms to represent stresses and strains of a psychological order.

These significant advances in the language of modern mathematics, as applied to quantum mechanics, cosmology, or psychology, are fully suggestive of great possibilities in the future even in the domain of a scientifically revised philosophical speculation. One more bold step forward in the same direction as these developments, might bring us to a common structural frame of reference in which the dynamics of life as a process need not be sacrificed but included with all its stresses and strains. The simplest desiderata for such a frame, common to all aspects of absolute speculation, are vertical and horizontal axes of reference, to correlate two antinomian elements of any philosophy whatsoever, including theology as a particular instance of it. Cosmology, psychology and theology could be combined under one 'unitive frame of reference.'


Only a running appraisal of our position in respect of a process in a frame of reference is called for here after all our elaborations of different aspects of this problem elsewhere in our writings.

6. Ibid. p.33.




1º Minkowski's contribution of a time-space-continuum implies the same homogeneity of spatial and temporal dimensions which is in essence the same as the principle of samanadhikaranatva (homogeneity as between mind and matter) as recognized also in the doctrine of neutral monism as well as in Vedanta.

2º The limits of the V and U that modern algebra of geometry has fixed in the improper elements spoken of above, refers to a polarity or antinomian ambivalence at the core of Existence, Subsistence or Value. These improper elements could be referred to as belonging to a vertical axis in the domain of the pure noumenal aspect as its limiting poles. In Vedantic parlance we know it as the fourth or the turiya limb of the Absolute Self. It is sometimes referred to in the Upanishads figuratively as the Supreme Person entered into the cavity of the heart and hypostatically located sometimes also in the orb of the Sun.

3º Ambivalence as known in biology is like the double aspects principle, and Ramanuja's Vedanta recognizes this more explicitly than Sankara's where too it is found implicitly in various parts of his comments. The name in Sanskrit for this is ubhaya-linga-adhikarana (the section referring to the double aspect).

4º The horizontal axis consists of all workaday values and interests in ordinary life of a practical nature called vyavaharika, as opposed to the vertical world of values called paramarthika. We shall be quoting below a verse from the Guru which explicitly defines these two value references under bhokta (enjoyer) and bhogya (enjoyed). (7)


5º Existence, Subsistence and Value are three levels of the pure vertical reference of significant values in life. The immanent and the transcendent, the ontological, the propositional (or syllogistic), and the teleological worlds of value, have to find their places in a series both ascending and descending at once, in the total Absolute which has the limits represented by the improper elements of V and U as in the geometry of algebra above.

Einstein's world is slightly prejudiced in favour of a world in which matter has primacy over motion, but W. de Sitter's  version gives motion primacy over matter. These two versions put together unitively will give the two limits, one concrete universal and the other abstract universal, between which all possibilities of manipulations with relation-relata causes and effects, or all such elements in the thinking mind, could be inclusively comprised. All thought-values must lie either in the vertical or the horizontal reference. The former is referred to as the domain of the kshetrajna, and the latter as the kshetra in the Bhagavad Gita. The Guru-philosophy here will be seen to imply the same broad divisions or references.

6º A cyclic process of progressive becoming, whether as ascent or descent in the scale of spiritual values, is implied in the notion of samsara chakra (the wheel of becoming) and the pravartitam chakram (cyclic dynamism of becoming) as in the Gita, III, 14. Microcosmic cycles in orbits and alternations are found in particle physics and in quantum mechanics. Mutations in life cycles and other systolic and diastolic phases in chains of behaviour or of biological synergisms and functionings are all known.
7. Atmopadesa Satakam, Verse 81.


No less an authority than Erwin Schroedinger in his “What is Life?” has given recognition to this common structure underlying mutations in life and quantum pulsations in physics.

7º When two persons are referred to, as in many Upanishadic contexts, as in the right eye and in the orb of the Sun, we have to think of two tensorial models with a one-one correspondence between them, hierophantically understood.

Many other instances could be cited where a unitive, schematic, selective and structural frame of reference can be arrived at by the exercise of a certain intuitive or imaginative method by way of extending or extrapolating the finds of modern higher mathematics, which has already become acceptable and in full use in science. We have elsewhere suggested that the colour-solid itself could give us the basic model for integrating all thought factors in a sort of tensorial continuum where all possible colours differing in tint, brilliance, saturation or shade could be specified by three or four symbols representing dimensions.

Such a colour-solid is actually in use with international colour dealers where the vernacular for each colour is replaced by indices of specification. This solid has a vertical axis grading from black to white with a core which is grey. All colours of the spectrum can be represented on a double cone with their apexes as poles and their bases juxtaposed. As the colour variety range is not unlike the range of other sensations or even shades of thought which underlie them, such a way of correlating thought elements would not be merely fanciful. Whether valid or not, one thing in favour of such schematic model is that it would help to regulate speculation and keep it within recognizable limits.



The following verses from the Guru illustrate the possibilities of a schematic reference of the kind outlinedhere, which is evidently respected in the Guru's writings:

(1) The two ambivalent aspects are contrasted by the Guru in terms of the sense of duration as between pure and practical time, as follows:


"Ten thousand years do a moment make to those favoured ones
Suckled in the milk of the pure transcendent; when knowledge
Is within the scope of relative immanent nature,
Half-a-second would seem a thousand years long."
(Verse 15)


The intersection of the double aspect is quite evident here. (2) Again the same two aspects are brought together in a vertico-horizontal correlation:


"From awareness the "I"- sense first emerged,
Comes then with it "this-ness", as a counterpart beside;
Like twin branches these overcover entirely
Hiding the whole of the Maya tree”.
(Verse 51)

The double aspect of the ambivalent factor is clear here.

The same ambivalence is again stated revealing its fully living process of alternation as follows:

"As the ego-sense enters into the snake-rope forms
Now as knowledge, now as a limbed agent in alternating duality,
It becomes pure now and then again profane,
Thus should he understand, the intuitive man."
(Verse 68)


Sacredness and profanity could alternate in the consciousness of the same contemplative when the ambivalent process asserts itself. Restated in terms of action, which is negative, and knowledge, its own dialectical counterpart, we have again:


"Now there is action which is nescience, and again
There is the pure knowledge, which is science;
Ordained by Maya though these stay divided thus,
The meta-dual attitude, the unitive turiya yields".
(Verse 72)

Nature in which man's destiny is placed has a choice between two cross-purposed worlds, which enter his life-interests alternately as follows:


"Nature dividing one time as the enjoyer
As everything outside, immanent or transcendent in glory looms,
At another time again, by 'this-ness' expanded
It spreads out as the enjoyable universe."
(Verse 81)


(3) The figure-of-eight progression within the ambivalent poles is under reference more evidently in the following:

"Breaking up, staying on, or rising again after a change, ever
To continue, such is the course of the bodily nature here;
Watchful of all the three from its position ultimate
Is the one cleftless Self that free from all change remains".
(Verse 88)




(4) In other verses of the series this duality of reference is more unitively brought together, as in the analogy of sparks of fire which are not different from the fire itself. The underlying scheme, however, is not affected by the change in analogy.


"As out of knowledge, sparks of fire innumerable arise
Asserting the being of non-being so as to make the world emerge.
Know that outside of knowledge not a thing exists;
Such knowing unitive awareness yields."
(Verse 89)


(5) Subtler analogies, in which the duality between the twin aspects is further reduced, are found in other verses of the series. An analogy so rich and graphic in suggestive imagery of the dual process is contained in this verse:


"As with a well into which measureless sand is wafted
By successive gusts, tier on tier, so too
Exposed to the waftings of untruth's hierarchy,
The inner Self, inwardly multitudinous forms it gains."
(Verse 76)


(6) The categorical finality with which the Guru brings strictly under the two references of the absolute or the relative, the infinite or the finite, represented by the vertical and the horizontal references as understood here in mathematical language, all relations, or relate, causes or effects, giving rise to forms, entities or elements known through names, without anything being left over as remainder, is stated in the following verses which we quote here by way of concluding this section:



"One that is beyond all count and the ordinary-
Besides these two what is of other form
In memory, in sleep nor in any city on high
Could such have any existence, indeed!"
(Verse 67)


In other words, the totality of Absolute Reality is comprised completely within these two references, the vertical and the horizontal.




The Self and the non-Self can be treated as dialectical counterparts and both placed in one unitive context of the Absolute.

Fichte, among Western philosophers viewed these in such a perspective, although the dialectical implications of his methodology and epistemology were not quite clear.
In Vedanta it is normal to speak of atma (Self) and anatma (non-Self) as pratiyogis (counterparts) with an intimate bipolar relation (samavaya) between them, and not merely a contiguous relationship (samyoga).

These two can be looked upon as fitting into a one-one relationship in tensorial space, one having its locus here and the other having it in some hypostatic value-world beyond or elsewhere, such as in the orb of the sacred Sun known to the Vedas.

The non-Self can be thought of in a more workaday sense as fitting into a horizontal world of practical values, while the purer Self with its dialectical counterparts, one ontological here, and the other of a teleological or transcendental order elsewhere in the beyond, above or the ultimate or infinity, referring to vertical value worlds, could represent all values possible for the Self to be affiliated to in contemplative life. We have already explained and justified the use of these references in previous studies.




The Self can be thought of as a big fish swimming in midstream in the direction of the current, alternately avoiding the two banks, if we may take an analogy dear to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. The two banks will represent its limits in the horizontal axis of reference while itself and its almost motionless motion would represent the Self, whether thought of as a sphere, ellipse or the tractrix that mathematicians like Lobachewsky have suggested for the structure of space, tensorially understood and independent of size.

The Upanishads often speak of a person, of the size of the thumb and entered into the cavity of the heart, who has his counterpart in the Sun. There is a subtle dialectical equation of these into the unitive terms of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. The Self and non-Self have to be fitted into a schematic structure before what we should understand as the purpose of all scriptures such as the Upanishads can be fulfilled or justified. Such is the scope of this section.


From the time of early Buddhism the one controversy that has raged in the polemical wars in the domain of Indian speculation, has been over the existence of a soul or Self called the atman. Early Buddhism pronounced its verdict clearly against any such substance or entity and distinguished itself from later Buddhist schools by this one feature, referred to by scholars as the anatma vada (the doctrine of the denial of the Self). Brahmanism and Buddhism were ranged in opposite camps, based on this rivalry or contention.

In the three main schools, from the time of Asoka to the Gupta period in Indian history, later modifications, each of five hundred years duration, have turned the


tables against the position of the first five hundred years, and having done so twice over, the present position of Buddhists in this matter is a delicate question balanced between what is generally referred to as the sunya-vada (doctrine of nothingness) and the vijnana-vada (doctrine of mind-stuff).

This latter is of the order of mere simple events understood as being like waves or as a flux of moments in consciousness. There are many sub-varieties even as between the two positions (of sunya-vada and vijnana-vada) according to Vasubandhu, Asanga, Dignaga and Dharmakirti. These polemical battles, involving subtleties, like those which raged before the age of enlightenment in the history of European thought, remain still, in our time, on a basis of thin and airy speculation.

It is hard to determine what kind of content remained as a residue either in Buddhism or in Sankara's version of Vedanta, after all that was extraneous to final or Absolute Reality was subtracted from the given total in consciousness.

Logic of the subtlest kind from one pole of the knowledge-situation, together with yogic intuition, as it were, from the other, has to give us an understanding of the content of Absolute Truth through their combined cooperation or harmonized effort.

In the matter of understanding the Self in relation to its counterpart of the non-Self, as properly belonging to its general context of value, so that we can get a correct perspective and focus our attention on what remains after all extraneous factors have been eliminated, the Guru-philosophy here adopts three distinct measures:

Firstly, it devises a method of experimentation or regulation under selected conditions of common experience, in order to throw explicitly into proper relief the nature of the Self and thereby that of the non-Self also, necessarily, though only implicitly.



Secondly, it undertakes to lay bare the axiological structure of the non-Self aspect or the environment of the Self, so as to enable us to distinguish the stages of spiritual or contemplative progress in the world of interests or values in which life hereunder is cast. And thirdly, it employs the semantic world of the meaning of meanings so as to bring to light the progress of the Self through value aspects, both external and internal treated together, so that a student endowed with some intuition can visualize for himself the various value worlds or stages through which the Self has to pass before it comes to realize itself in terms of full self-knowledge or Wisdom, as marking the point of culmination of the process of emancipation or salvation.

While these sections will be separately touched upon below, with relevant citations from the hundred verses before us, it is for the interested student also to note that the implications of these three topics, with justifications where necessary, overlap other verses in the series. Without such mutual presuppositions this idea of progress to the goal of all Self-contemplation must remain partial or otherwise, as it were, truncated in total consistency or unity. The total vision alone can satisfy scientific curiosity. There is a vertical axis of reference, in which all spiritual progress, which consists of a dialectical descent or ascent, in a scale of values, some positive and others negative, and a horizontal axiological reference which intersects or cuts across its grain. Subtle indications or implications herein will have to be recognized by the student himself as he proceeds.


Experiments, examples, analogies and even common parlance supporting commonsense are pressed into the service of speculation by the Guru, whether called scientific, philosophical or both.



The best experiment conducted under the strictest of selected or regulated conditions still has only a certitude of a hypothetical and inductive status. Theories which are based on degrees of 'expectation' or guesswork are tentatively formulated as laws, often only to be superseded by better-formulated laws of greater abstraction and generality and of more universal applicability in a wider field.

Such is the course of certitude in speculation through the history of thought, anywhere in the world. For the commonsense example of an event as simple as the falling apple, which was the basis for Newton's formulation of the Universal Theory of Gravitation, no laboratory was needed. The experiment and the familiar example come to have a similar value in making a law valid. Analogies, parables, fables or other graphic representations serve the same purpose of making the hypothetical constructions of scientific or philosophical speculations, more firmly grounded in validity. If all these help in the degree of certitude, why not make use of imaginary experiments which tally with common-sense or commonly known experience or facts? This question is legitimate and it is therefore quite in order that the Guru employs, as seen below, a 'supposed' experimental situation in which one human consciousness controls the other, when both are fitted into a darkroom situation to ensure a certain degree of subjectivism, necessary for the experiment to give the requisite certitude.

We shall see at the end of this section how the Guru also uses semantics with advantage to lay bare the structure or dynamism of the Self.




Each word of the precise experimental situation, as conceived by the Guru in the following verses, is important to note. The translation has therefore erred on the side of literalness rather than on the side of the exigencies of  English usage or style on purpose, so that the keen student may not miss the full import and purpose behind these verses.

When two men or persons exchange meaningful words in a bipolar situation in which the Self of the one is the non-Self of the other, and are unitively included in a trans-subjective and inter-physical sense, such as that of the schéma moteur that Bergson speaks of, we have a supposed experimental situation, most suited to examin the content of the Self. What one says and what one hears are both meant to help certitude in respect of the Self, which stands neutral, as it were, between the subject and the object. The darkroom would eliminate the visible aspects which would interfere with pure contemplation for the purposes of laying bare the content
of the Self. We read:


"Who is sitting in the dark? Speak," says one,
Whereupon the other, intent himself to know likewise,
On hearing the first, he asks; "Who may you even be?"
For both of these the word of response is one alone.”
(Verse 10)


"The repeated 'I, I' contemplated from within
Is not many, but one; divergent egoity,
being multiple, in the totality of such
The Self-substance too, continuity assumes."

(Verse 11)


"With skin and bone and refuse and many an inner factor of evil end,
Lo, wielding these, one ego looms;
This which passes is the other; that greater Self which grows to perfection
O, grant the boon, that it may not the ego swell!"
(Verse 12)


The experimental situation of an order in which both the inter-physical and trans-subjective sensori-motor factors come into interplay on a basis of parity, bipolarity or one-one correspondence, is sufficiently real in the first verse above. Both the persons involved ask questions with an earnest desire to know. The replies meet unitively on a ground neutral to both persons involved, in the common situation.

In the second verse the content of the common response of the two people concerned is further analyzed into its vertical and horizontal implications. The horizontal is multiple and the vertical is unitive in status. A warning is however sounded against the mistaking of mere megalomaniac egoism for the pure realization of one's Self.

In the third verse the vertico-horizontal implications within the structure laid bare in mathematical terms in the second verse are further made explicit, so as to bring out factors that help or hinder contemplative life.



When the same structure is extended beyond the limits of the psycho-physical range within which tendencies operate, we reach all the numerous objects of interest, some given to the senses such as colour, and others given to deeper-seated instinctive dispositions, like sex, hunger etc., which make the Self reach out to the external zone where interests can meet their corresponding objects of satisfaction.



Hunger meets food; sex meets the mate of the opposite gender; the eye meets light; the ear meets sound etc. Favourite ideologies too, cluster together into systems of value dear to each man, here or hereafter.

These axiological clusters that belong together, sometimes called religion or at other times associated more closely with tribal or atavistic memory factors, tending to be orthodoxies, establish a bipolarity of the interest-factors involved, as between such value systems on the one side and the Self, equated with it axiologically, on the other. This kind of bipolar affiliation can sometimes bind two lovers and make them enter into a suicide pact. From all these familiar instances, it should be gathered, as the verse below clearly points out, that there is sometimes possible a bipolar affiliation of the 'enjoyer', which is the Self, with horizontal values of the 'enjoyable' world.

The 'enjoyer', as the Self, fits into the vertical reference axis; while the 'enjoyable' world of interests spreads out in multiplicity in space along the corresponding axis that we have distinguished as horizontal. (Refer for this correlation to Verse 81 which we have cited in the previous section). The concerned verse here is:


"The dweller within the body, from its own status in pure being
In respect of each possible thing, treats all
As 'that is mine' or 'this is mine' transcending bodily sense;
All are in reality realized when we think of what this means."
(Verse 48)



In other words, all persons in ordinary life, when they say that a certain object of interest is their own, unconsciously reveal that the pure substance of which the Self consists, is capable of being related in bipolar parity of status with items of interest pertaining to the non-Self pole of the total situation implied in spiritual life.

As such a bipolar link would mean a certain homogeneity or transparency between the Self and the non-Self aspects have merged into unity - which is the essence of the state of Self-realization.

The Guru avers here that the rare stage of spiritual Self-realization is thus found to be familiarly present in common life around us, as when a mother will endanger her own safety for the sake of the child in danger. Suicide pacts exemplify the same truth, as we have already said. The same lesson is intended by many of the Greek tragedies. Here if we add that higher and higher bipolar interests which bind the Self with the non-Self can be imagined: some having proportionately more horizontal values implied in them than others; and some which can rise vertically in the Absolute itself to the limits of purity of fully conscious affiliation to absolutist values - then the modus of spiritual progress will be fully outlined.

Whether such a unitive goal is attained in principle only or whether it is real in the workaday sense is itself a question, which in principle should not arise. On final analysis such a doubt would negate itself by the very principle that is being asserted here. It would be like a man asking for the time of the first train in the morning and then, having got the answer, asking if by chance there is an earlier one. The first answer must cover the second.



There are seven verses in the present series which belong together as pertaining to the semantic analysis of thought processes within the consciousness of the Self, when the Self is related unitively and homogeneously to the non-Self, which could be subjected to analysis through the semantic world of meanings or the 'meaning of meanings' – the possibilities of which, and its employment in Vedanta by Sankara and the Purva Mimamsakas have already been discussed elsewhere. (1)

Just as the elements of the algebra of geometry are divided into 'proper' and 'improper' elements; and all primary mathematical operations refer only to one or the other of these, as we have already explained in the previous section; all propositions in the world of interested or significant discourse in life can refer only to the worlds either of the 'pure' or the 'practical', which correspond to the improper or proper references respectively in the language of modern graphical mathematics, where symbols and figures coalesce. The 'improper' element here is the vertical reference and the 'proper' the horizontal.

Verses 36 and 37 quoted below, arrive at a similar generalization in respect of all possible predications, propositions or postulates. Causes and effects, relations and relata, quantitative and qualitative aspects - all are covered, or meant to be covered, as so many particular instances of sets or classes or categories by the terms 'same' and 'other' (sama and anya) as used by the Guru and brought together into the same unified field of discourse or knowledge-situation in these two verses.
1. See “Vedanta Revalued and Restated” on this site.




This is done in just the same way as time and space dimensions are brought under the same unified field in Einsteinian mathematical physics. The normalized Absolute of the wisdom context can be thought of in the same way as mathematicians will abstract and generalize variables or elements, proper or improper, to cover all contingencies, necessities, probabilities or possibilities.

In the first of the total of seven verses from 36 to 42 (inclusive) the pure epistemological aspect is covered. Then, taking two familiar predications known to the world of discourse in common human life, the Guru establishes a scheme of semantic correlation. Definitions and striking examples follow. Within the scope of these seven verses the Guru accomplishes, at one stroke, what otherwise would have filled verbose volumes. The exposition is crystal clear and would do credit to the best of academically trained professors that I have known. We read:


"The powers of understanding are many; all of them under two sets
Such as the 'same' and the 'other' inclusively can be brought;
Merging into that form of 'other-sameness' of these,
To clarity of vision one should awake."

(Verse 36)


"To subdue, even somewhat, the obduracy of the 'other'
It is hard indeed without understanding's limitless power;
Even by such should one gain mastery over it and thus attain
Close access to Her who is discrimination's anti-sensuous one."
(Verse 37)


These verses are clothed in the language of contemplation and at the end of the second verse there is clear indication of the way of contemplation.


The two aspects named, referring to the vertical 'same' (sama) and the horizontal 'other' (anya) are further elaborated and precisely defined with reference to familiar semantic examples as follows;


"What appraises manifold variety, the 'other' that is;
And the 'same' is whatever unitively shines on:
Thus grasping the situation above, into that state
Which yields sameness, melt and mix and erect sit."
(Verse 38)


Even here, a direction for the contemplative aspirant to follow in his meditations is indicated. The masterly semantic analysis is clarified more elaborately as follows:


"Following up further the said powers, a further bifurcation there is,
One of these is an attribute of the 'same' while the other
Qualifies the harsh 'other' that never detachment gains;
Thus making two kinds of each of these".
(Verse 39)


The recognition of the two axes of reference in these verses is not at all difficult to see. The dynamism by which both these axes come to have, on their plus sides, their own respective specific aspects added on, as it were, as when zero is added on to a number to enhance its value, is indicated in the next verse as follow:


"On to the 'same' as on to the 'other' there constantly alight
Their respective specifying factors; although not proportionate,
Through the spinning phase of these two in all
All predictions whatsoever there are do come to be".
(Verse 40)



Not satisfied with the definitions of the two axes, and indicating their possible respective specificatory factors, the Guru in the next two verses goes on to give concrete examples from the context of semantics. Commonsense sanctions the truth of well-known expressions or vice-versa, just as experiments or experience can support conviction. Untenable or unsound thought cannot endure through generations if it is not based on support even from language, and conversely, what language has long and generally sanctioned can be relied on to give validity to otherwise subtle realities as the Purva Mimamsakas and Sankara in his commentaries have largely relied upon.

The Guru uses this recognized method with full clarity and advantage. Pure semiosis takes place in the vertical axis as in the sentence "This is knowledge", and practical   and pragmatic meanings run between the plus and minus limits of the horizontal axis where there is a multiplicity of possible discrete interests spread out in the world of the 'enjoyable.' The rest of the implications of these two verses are sufficiently clear when they are read side by side with our comments on them. (2)


"In 'This is a pot' the initial 'this' is the harsh
While the 'pot' is what makes its specific attribute;
For the mind with its myriad Indra magic to come,
Understand, that 'this' is the basis of functioning."
(Verse 41)


"In 'This is knowledge' the initial 'this' is the 'same'
While its specifying factor is the cognitive consciousness;
For the mind and all else to be effaced for the good path to gain,
'This' it is that one should contemplate".
(Verse 42)

2, See Atmopadesa Satakam.



The last 'this' can be seen to refer to the bottom of the vertical axis in which pure contemplative values live and move. This pole, although negative in status like the square root of minus-one in geometrical algebra, is the richest of all poles or zones in consciousness generally and abstractly understood. If any aspect of these very subtle discussions is still unclear, further reading of the comments (2), in the light of the mathematical structure of correlation we have developed stage by stage in these pages, may be profitably relied upon by the serious student.
2. Ibid.






“The Word was with God and the Word was God” is the way in which the central normative notion of the Absolute is referred to in the Biblical context in terms of the Universe of Discourse. The Verb, the Logos or the Word and its meaning, thought of together semantically, mark the mathematical core of the notion of the Absolute.

The Guru's own prayer recognizes this verity when it says that, "The word we utter is even Thee" (Verse 7, Daiva Dasakam). The Mandukya Upanishad too gives the word 'AUM' the supreme position of representing the Absolute completely without any remainder. That the notion of the Absolute and the Universe of Discourse are related to each other directly is thus a fully recognized secret in the Hebrew, Greek, Hindu and the Guru contexts, with all of which we are here concerned.

Sankara's philosophical speculations too, lean largely on the semantic polyvalence of words, as we have already examined elsewhere in more than one context. (1) A mathematically understandable schematic universe where thoughts and their linguistic expression overlap or coincide, as when names and forms coincide when we say 'rose' and visualize it, is at the core of the notion of the Absolute, when everything gross or inert and in
1. Cf. Sections IV and V of “Vedanta Revalued and  Restated” on this site.


reality extraneous to the Absolute, comprising or hiding it through degrees of opacity or ignorance, are shorn from its pure luminous and transparent nature. The veil can be thickly or thinly laid on but it is the degree of veiling that makes for all the gradations or apparent manifestation which are, in fact, extraneous to the notion of the Absolute as such.

The Unified Field Theory of Einstein also reduces all the elements, categories or factors of reality - whether material or mental - to one homogeneous space-time-continuum. This matrix is neither mental nor material, but conforms to the requirements of a neutral monism that has become acceptable even to positivists or empiricists of the present day, not to speak of pragmatists like William James. “The Universe of Contemplative Discourse” is only a similar attempt to find a basic ground for all significant thoughts or words.


The world of mechanistic discourse should be first distinguished from that of contemplative discourse. The latter is schematic, selective and subjective, and excludes all quantitative attributes belonging to the horizontal mechanistic world of brute events and inert things that are actual, gross, raw, material, before any abstraction or generalization of mathematical or philosophical thinking has been applied to them. Commercial competitive values of the busy life of towns or shipyards where cranes load and unload merchandise, are farthest removed from the calm contemplative world where peace is the key word.

These aspects do exist within the scheme of the Self as the Absolute; only they do not loom into rival values of conflict or strife between man and man.


Sheer necessities might reduce even a contemplative to a compromise, more or less, with the same mechanistic world in which all men are obliged by absolute necessity to live. It is the aim of the contemplative to orient his spirit in the direction of pure verticalized values where conflicts tend to become minimized till they are finally absorbed and abolished by the highest or most crowning and all-inclusive of human values, which is the Wisdom of the Absolute.

To distinguish these horizontal values in life and treat them as of secondary importance is thus the only task left for the contemplative. When all that is extraneous has been detracted from the universe of discourse in general we get a residual pure world of contemplative discourse where thoughts can freely live and move.
The possibilities of thought, thus to live, are endless in gradation or variety. All semiotics, syntactics and pragmatics of language have in this universe a possibility to live in an inner ordered fashion. The various words in the dictionary find place either in the conceptual or the perceptual half of this universe, the more positive being conceptual in status. Such a pure mathematical space, free from quantitative implications, comes nearest to the tensorial space known to modern mathematics.

When we find references to the space in the cavity of the heart or in the orb of the Sun in the Upanishads, we have to think in terms of this kind of space which is neither big nor small, one nor many, and neither part nor whole. Cartesian analytical geometry has a notion of space, and the vectorial space that is now known to the geometry of algebra is a further abstraction and generalization of it.


If we proceed in the same direction of generalization and abstraction so as to afford a frame of reference or unified field for quantum mechanics or particle physics, or even to accommodate the general or the limited theories of Einstein, we come to a tensorially conceived space. If this idea is further purified for contemplative purposes, we come to a structure of space which belongs to the universe of discourse in the contemplation of the Absolute. As man is the measure of all things, this space is sometimes referred to in the Upanishads as having a size proportionate to the thumb of each man (angusthamatra).


Let us now think of a colour-solid along the lines we have elaborated in our writings. The achromatic colours could be located in a vertical axis, the top plus pole representing the fully brilliant white or lesser tints, while the bottom is its opposite, grading to the shade of fully dark black. Grey occupies the centre of the solid, consisting of two cones stuck together at their bases. On the surface of the cones we can think of all shades or tints of different degrees of saturation or brilliance graded upwards and spiralling centrally, peripherally or downward through each of the specific areas - giving room to each possible colour in graded fashion and merging between the colours of the spectrum at the peripheral circumference of the bases. Now the percepts, being related to the senses given by actual objects seen or otherwise sensed, would refer to the lower cone and all possible shades would be representable there. The lighter tints could be represented on the top cone in a similar spiral succession, grading finally into the brilliance of the white apex of the cone. Where the horizontal surfaces of the bases of the two cones juxtaposed cut the vertical line joining the two apexes of the cones, we can imagine a point of origin where the grey colour is to be located.


Being achromatic it has no status as a surface quality but only as an inner one like pure thoughts or apperceptions; while the chromatic colours like red or green are more actual or practical in their status in the structure, being also most peripherally removed from the origin marked by the grey point at the core of the total structural situation.

Now in order to give definiteness of structure to the universe of contemplative discourse, we should think of the white point or apex at the top of the upper cone as representing the conceptual aspect of thought; while the perceptual is the corresponding point at the bottom of the dark lower cone.
Concepts grade into mere names on the plus side of the total situation; and percepts grade into pure intuitions of actuality on the minus side. The universe of discourse thus gets a structural, schematic, subjective, and selected frame of reference, which has its existence in the core of the normative notion of the Absolute. The justifications for all these statements have been made already in our allied writings elsewhere, (4)

From the neutral point of origin or reference we can imagine innumerable specificatory rays of cognition as emanating in the centre of what we think of as the core of the human power of understanding; just in the same way as we can visualize rays from a central Sun - whether we should think of such a Sun within us or without us, schematically, nominally or both. This distinction of inside and outside should not arise in respect of pure consciousness, strictly speaking, although by habit we sometimes speak of consciousness as being inner or outer.
4. See “Wisdom's Frame of Reference” on this site.


All we have to distinguish here is that the pure immanent-cum-transcendental world of existence, subsistence or value ranges from the bottom of the vertical axis to the top, and that the practical relativistic horizontal factors range peripherally in sets in graded saturation, tint, shade or brilliance. The horizontal reference is to actual objects, whether thought of as universal concretes or discrete individual entities given to the senses. The dialectics of the one-and-the-many can alone resolve this final vestige of paradox.


All semiotic processes take place within the consciousness of man. Communicability of language presupposes at least this truth. Thoughts and the language that expresses them correspond with a one-one parity between them - thoughts being more definite than words, which can be arbitrary and may differ with each vernacular. One name can refer to many discrete objective entities, and many discrete entities given to the senses objectively can all be inclusively thought of as having the form of one meaning-content which would include all the particulars together.

In the world of contemplative discourse and the thoughts that underlie all possible discourses, we have thus the possibility of all percepts and concepts, names or forms, being inclusively comprised schematically and nominalistically, at least in the general consciousness of the absolute contemplative self. This is a high secret which the Guru-philosophy has underlined. Without recognizing this, most of the verses under review will remain a closed book to students of the philosophy intended
by the Guru.



At the risk of possible repetition let us quote here two significant verses which underline this basic verity: that all events that belong to the world of contemplative thought and its resultant discourse have their basis in the common ground or amorphous matrix of contemplative consciousness, which itself can remain formless or even crypto-crystalline in respect of the thought-elements contained in the matrix.


"As out of knowledge sparks of fire innumerable arise
Asserting the being of non-being so as to make the world emerge;
Know that outside of knowledge not a thing exists;
Such knowing unitive awareness yields."
(Verse 89)


Even anterior to this the Guru has gone so far as to say that this is a secret most people cannot get:


"Of one thing there can be many as in many objects
One single meaning can reside; by such knowledge we can know
Consciousness as comprising all, differencelessly without any remainder;
This ultimate secret, however, is not given for all to know." 
(Verse 73)


After thus locating all semantic events or relation-relata consciousness within the matrix or common ground of general consciousness, which itself knows no specificity, the Guru in a sequence of verses elaborates masterfully the content and structural peculiarities of the universe of contemplative discourse.

When studied side by side with a similar series found in the Guru's more mature and more systematically-conceived work on the “Garland of Visions of the Absolute” (Darsana Mala) we can see in this analysis one of the major contributions made by the Guru to Advaita Vedantic speculation.


What Jaimini and Badarayana, and after them Sankara, tacitly took for granted in their grand visions, Narayana Guru has here laid bare more explicitly, both in its analytical and synthetic implications at once. The position this discussion occupies in the later work referred to above further guarantees, by its nearest approximation to the very central position of the symmetrically-conceived series, that the Guru meant it as a kind of keystone to the whole of the speculative superstructure that he had in mind in the monumental vision implied in his work as a whole.

Consciousness itself has here a subjective and an objective aspect. The most intimate equation between them is established in the 50th verse of the Guru's Darsana Mala, (2) in the actual words of the mahavakya (great dictum) known to Vedanta as "aum tat sat" in that most central of verses. This circumstance must be noted by the careful and critical student here to help him to view the secret here alluded to with all the importance that the Guru himself meant to give it at the centre of his later work. Here too, in the Atmopadesa Satakam, the series beginning from Verse 36 to 42, both inclusive, is perhaps the longest section of the series in which a single philosophical aspect is consistently developed by the Guru.
2. yad bhasyate tad adhyastam anadhyastam na bhasyate
yad adhyastam tad asad apy anadhyastam sad eva tat.

“What is object of consciousness, that is conditioned;
What is unconditioned, that is not object of consciousness,
What is conditioned is non-existent
But what is unconditioned, itself THE EXISTENT IS THAT”.


The Guru's major contribution to Vedanta may be said to consist of this analysis of the content of the universe of contemplative or absolutist discourse, in which he gives equal place to the pure and the practical, the phenomenal and the noumenal, and a due place to the relative and the absolute, in a globally, unitively, and neutrally conceived normative notion of the Absolute.

It is also to be noted that a one-one correspondence is implied here between the self and the non-self aspects. In our study of the later work, the Darsana Mala, these implications have been made clearer. (3) In Chapter V of this work, the broad lines of the structure of the universe of contemplative discourse is kept in mind by the Guru. It gives to speculation that scientific status so desirable to Vedanta, which at present is so much steeped in a lingua mystica of its own, both esoteric and cryptic in its secrecy.

Verse 36 of the Atmopadesa Satakam distinguishes the two structural reference axes which we called the vertical and the horizontal, as corresponding to the 'same' and the 'other' respectively. The point of intersection marks the origin of these mutually exclusive aspects that diverge as we go further from their common point of junction within the neutral contemplative Self, here referred to as 'other-sameness'. Except for the Cartesian coordinates that we have introduced for the sake of precise mathematical reference, the implications of the two axes and their common point of participation in the Self are quite evident.

The verse reads:

"The powers of understanding are many; all of them under two sets:
The 'same' and the 'other' conclusively can be brought,
Merging into that form of 'other-sameness' of these,
To clarity of vision one should awake".

3. Cf. “An Integrated Science of the Absolute”, on this site.



In Verse 37 the contemplative implications of these two axes of reference are indicated for the guidance of the spiritual aspirant or the contemplative who seeks full self-realization. The horizontal world of values is not favourable to spirituality or contemplative progress because of the ignorance of which it is the product. The rest of the verse is sufficiently clear:


"To subdue even somewhat the obduracy of the 'other'
Is hard indeed without understanding's infinite power;
Even by such should one gain mastery over it and thus attain
Close access to Her who is discrimination's anti- sensuous one."


In Verse 38 the Guru gives very precise definitions distinguishing the horizontal which has multiplicity from the vertical which is unitive in outlook. In any set of entities, whether perceptually or conceptually understood, the central verity is one, and its semantic implications on the side of the peripheral are many. Unitive factors are ranged along the vertical axis of the total knowledge-situation, and the multiple aspects along the horizontal. To take an example dear to the context of Platonism, beautiful things are horizontal while Beauty with a capital letter is vertical. The same holds true values such as Truth, Justice, etc. God is one and creation many.


The verse reads:
"What appraises manifold variety the 'other' that is;
And the 'same' is whatever unitively shines on:
Thus grasping the situation above, into that state
Which yields 'sameness', melt and mix and erect sit."


In Verse 39 the implications of the two main references or correlates are further elaborated into their respective plus and minus aspects, the more virtual and universal remaining negative and the more actual and particular being brought under the specific (visesa). Each of the two main aspects thus becomes subdivided into two.

In terms of the Cartesian correlates that we have been adopting to clarify linguistic complications, each of these axes can be understood to have its own plus and minus aspects, according to the convention already acceptable to mathematicians who deal with complex numbers. Except for the epithet "never-to-detachment-gains" applied to the horizontal plus aspect of the universe of contemplative discourse, all else is clear in the verse which reads as follows;


"Following up further the said powers a further bifurcation there is,
One of these is an attribute of the 'same' while the other
Qualifies the harsh 'other' that never-to-detachment-gains;
Thus making two kinds of each of these."


In Verse 40 all predications possible in the manifested world of objects, or in the thought world proper to metaphysics, are inclusively and integrally brought under the purview of the two main references with the specificatory factors belonging to each of them. There could be a disproportionate blending of the four elements of the total situation by constant alternating circulation to which all events in consciousness are subject.


Consciousness is a sum-total emergent, the resultant of a process of alternating circulation of thought - whether such an alternation takes place within the span of a split second, or takes its own proper unit of duration, like the rhythm of a heartbeat or a respiratory cycle.

There is also a subtle osmotic interchange of essences, substances of existent factors, conforming to the four-fold pattern in which different proportions come into play to determine the world that is measured out objectively as opposed to the Self which is the measure itself. This bold and sweeping generalization about the emergence of all phenomenal aspects of the world from the inner structural elements which have been analyzed side-by-side, is perhaps a major contribution of the Guru to Vedantic speculation, never before so clearly analyzed. Verse 40 reads:


"On to the 'same' and to the 'other', there constantly alight
their respective specifying factors; although not proportionate. Through the spinning phase of these two in all,
All predictions whatsoever there are do come to be."


Verse 41 and 42, the remaining two verses of this section, give clear definitions of the notions so far indicated in respect of the four divisions in all. We know that the Samkhya philosophy had a scheme based on the theory of the three gunas with Nature and Spirit (prakrti and purusa) as its two poles. When the three gunas attained equilibrium, peace or equanimity would be attained. Improving on such a scheme, the two Mimamsakas had each their own scheme based more on the semantic polyvalence of the Word.


Jaimini and Badarayana both relied on semantics for arriving at the notion of the Absolute, although in the former school this notion was only implicit to the context of the Vedic ritualism.

We have elsewhere (4) devoted sections to this aspect and referred to vacyartha (literal meaning) and laksanartha (indirect figurative analogical meaning), on which Sankara himself, although an anti-ritualistic Vedantin, largely relied.
To analyze the universe of contemplative discourse to reveal the structure of the Absolute, therefore, is not a new departure which the Guru here adopts for the first time in Vedantic speculation. To reject the extraneous and adopt the intrinsic in interpreting the great dicta of the Vedanta such as tat tvam asi (That Thou Art), etc.,
by the method of bhaga-tyaga (rejection of parts), belongs properly to the methodology of Vedantic speculation. The Guru has definitely improved on these ancient methods by giving here a complete structural analysis of the universe of contemplative discourse with every aspect fully defined. He gives indications also of how the contemplative should adapt or adjust his meditation in order to establish himself in the wisdom of the union with the Absolute for spiritual progress, liberation or salvation.
These two remaining verses bear comparison with Verses 2, 3 and 4 of Bhana Darsana in Section V of the Darsana Mala of the Guru (5). Verses 41 and 42 of the Atmopadesa Satakam read:
4. See “Vedanta Revalued and Restated” on this site.

5. sthulam sukshman karanam ca turyam cedi caturvidham
bhanasrayam hi tannama bhanasya pyupacaryate

drsyatam iha kayo'ham gha oyam iti dysyate
sthulam a s y tya yad bhanam sthulam tad iti manyate


atra kayo ghara iti bhanam yat tad visiyate
tathaham aya iti yat samanyam iti ca smrtam




"In ‘This is pot’ the initial ‘this’ is the harsh
While the 'pot' is what makes its specific attribute;
For the mind with its myriad Indra-magic to come,
Understand that 'this' is the basis of functioning."
(Verse 41)


"In ‘This is knowledge’ the initial 'this' is the 'same'
While its specifying factor is the cognitive consciousness;
For the mind and all else to be effected for the good path to gain,
'This' it is that one should contemplate".
(Verse 42)


It would be profitable to note here that the mind in the last verse here belongs to the harsh or 'other' aspect and is therefore one that is to be assigned to the limbo of the horizontal and the absurd in the universe of contemplation. Full contemplation is thus referred to with complete definitions of terms used and full directions given to the contemplative for his guidance to attain the goal in atma vidya or the Science of the Self which is the same as the Science of the Absolute.

"As the concrete, the subtle, the causal and the Absolute,
Basic Consciousness (is) of four kinds
So these names even of basic Consciousness
Are also applicable to consciousness."
(Verse 2)


"Lo here "I am the body, this is the pot"
Depending on the concrete
What looms as consciousness
That is known as the concrete."
(Verse 3)


"Here what is the consciousness of the body
And the pot, that is the specific
Likewise too, what is (the consciousness) of "I" or "this"
Is known as the generic."
(Verse 4)


For purposes of the universe of contemplation, the Self, the Absolute and Supreme Felicity through contemplation are all here treated as interchangeable terms having reference to the same normative notion of the Absolute.

The Guru himself has underlined this interchangeability in Verse 5 of the 8th chapter on bhakti of his later work, the Darsana Mala.(6) The vertical minus zone thus stands revealed as the richest of the aspects of the Absolute known to contemplation according to the universe of  discourse that has been structurally analyzed above.
6. ananda atma brahmeti namaitasyaiva tanyate
iti miscita dhiryasya sa bhakta iti visrutah.


"Bliss, the Self and the Absolute
Are said to be names of this alone.
In whom there is such awareness
He as contemplative is well known."





The Guru-Philosophy is not argumentative or polemical in its approach to its problems. It is a simplified way suited to higher critical as well as intuitive speculation on contemplative values. It is full of precise definitions or definite intuitive personal experiences of the mystic contemplative.

At the same time a certain apodictic certitude is given to the statement made, as it were, from the side of the a priori by appeal to the common experience known to all, meant as general knowledge enshrined in the form of collective experience that can safely be taken for granted. Proverbs and common linguistic usage are seen to be employed to serve the purposes of proof in the arguments of Sankara and in the Upanishads which are his models in this matter. Proverbially known truths have almost an experimental value in that they constitute the experience of mankind, lasting through the tests or corrections possible through generations of usage.

When we say that "the proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof", we rely on such a simple methodology that, instead of questioning such a statement, most people smile assentingly and remain silent. This is because there is nothing to be argumentative or polemical about. The certitude is like hitting the nail on the head and is characterized as downright or apodictic.


Two aspects of reality have merely to be juxtaposed to induce the conviction which silences further questionings or doubts. They tally or become evident together, the one lending certitude to the other, so that the point is made straightaway.

It is only where experience is weak that an elaborate experiment under laboratory conditions becomes necessary. Scientific problems, mostly in connection with the manufacture of articles of trade, may need such elaborate arrangements. But for the main problems of life which have to be faced by all men or women, young or old, there is available a large body of accepted opinion which, when weeded out of rank superstitions, will yield support to verities, particularly those of a general and abstract nature with which metaphysical speculation has most to do.

Just as grass need not be cultivated in a garden or nursery, there is common experience to support many philosophical truths which are significant for wise or intelligent living for man seeking his happiness freely. Eristic, sophistic, syllogistic or propositional calculi, in which induction and deduction move haltingly up or down the scale of generalities or particularities, through middle terms and arbitrary premises, are only important when rival relativistic values tear man's mind this way or that at once, and even at that they are highly questionable. Often there are too many items to be taken into account and sometimes the opposite is also possible by, as they say, "the same token". In the course of higher contemplative reasoning where such rival values of everyday life do not loom large, the polemics of logic or mere ratiocination do not have to play an important part.



As with Spinoza's approach to speculation, which resembles Euclid's in its method of axioms, postulates, etc., proved through theorems or corollaries certified by apodictic verities; speculation with the Guru, when not directly based on the intuition of the man of higher contemplation, is supported by the homeliest of analogies or examples which already exist and are available to any linguistic tradition.

That a child mistakes a mirror image for reality, or treat her doll as if it had life, are examples of such found in the Darsana Mala of the Guru, side by side with generalizations made directly from mystic experiences. Mistaking a rope for a snake or a post for a ghost are classical analogies of the same order used in Indian speculation.

One is meant to clarify, justify, or to give to the other whatever semblance of support might be possible. The certitude is not the effect exclusively of the one or the other but is a natural emergent resultant of both together, as in the case of the theorem of Pythagoras which can be proved in two ways, i.e., by actually cutting and pasting the figures, or algebraically by axioms and riders as the teacher will demonstrate on the blackboard. Analogies certify definitions and vice-versa. No more verification is called for nor is possible.

Guru-philosophy is critically convincing by the mere bringing together of the visible and the intelligible aspects. This is the secret of the methodology of the Guru, which necessarily presupposes an absolutist epistemology of its own which is inseparable from it. The axiomatic and the demonstrable aspects meet here. When we add to these two factors the final regulative requirement that for any truth to be true it must also be of value-significance in human life, the three factors required for the scientific certitude of any vision of truth will be sufficiently guaranteed.


In the particular work we are presenting in this series of introductory essays, the Atmopadesa Satakam, a strict academic treatment is still not respected by the Guru and, as he indicates in the very first verse, he is content to present his contemplative mystical experiences with either definitions or a critical analysis of topics, in a manner of thinking aloud; rather than in the style required for convincing an opponent. Instructions and hints to the contemplative are strewn here and there in the text. His way is to take the disciple by the hand and lead him upward step by step, as Virgil did to Dante in the Divine Comedy. The guesswork is primarily meant to be an aid to the contemplative aspirant in Self-knowledge rather than as a regular textbook on the subject. It is, however, rich in Guru-philosophy proper.



Intuition, and not logic, can attain the Absolute. Even within the scope of logic proper there are two main kinds, viz.: one which recognizes contradiction and excludes the middle ground; and that which is dialectical in approach, which proceeds by cancelling out thesis and antithesis into a central synthesis. The former moves horizontally, the latter vertically. Bain and Bradley represent these rival schools respectively. Aristotelian syllogistic logic has its place in the former kind of textbooks where the forms of syllogisms reveal themselves with their four alternatives of logical form. Logical form opens the door to some mysterious element at the basis of all reasoning, whether inductive or deductive. That they fall within four groups, and four only, must have something to do with the structure of thought itself, fundamentally understood.



Syllogisms ascend or descend through middle terms from major to minor premises: deductively to more particular, or inductively to more general judgments, in this four-fold fundamental fashion. By playing with premises and inferences of different kinds an endless alternation or variety of conclusions becomes possible.

The status of syllogistic reasoning is thus questionable. Its results do not yield to any degree a firm ground of certitude but get lost in the maze of 'ifs' and 'buts', of  'either-or' or 'neither-nor', 'both' or 'none' etc. - all of which come within the range of the possibilities of the propositional calculus. The mechanistic structure of thinking in the world of necessities and contingencies, with multiple and rival claims for truth at a given time, is the region or domain in which such reasoning is called upon to solve problems mostly of minor incidental significance in life. Fundamental questions lie outside its scope. Just as a mechanic has to decide which part of a machine has to be pressed down or raised up, or loosened or tightened in repairing it, these are intricate interdependent clusters of cause-effect propositions to be tackled alternatively or in graded steps, to set right relative aspects of a situation. The total situation itself is beyond the scope of such piecemeal reasonings. Intuition or dialectics deal with more important aspects of human understanding and help in problems of life-and -death significance.

In common with Vedantic methodology, Guru-philosophy bypasses the usual piecemeal instruments of reasoning in favour of overall ones of a truly philosophical


Some of the peculiarities of such a methodology which presupposes its own epistemology can be studied under the heads of: (1) non-being as a negative something (abhava), (2) primacy of cause over effect (sat-karana), (3) primacy of material cause over incidental or efficient cause (upadana karana), (4) the dialectical relation (samanvaya or ubhayalinga), (5) admitting the principle of
indeterminism (anirvacaniya), (6) treating immanent and transcendent as belonging to a homogeneous epistemologically neutral context (samanadhikaranatva), (7) viewing reality without seeing subject, object and meaning disjunctly, i.e. without accepting triputi, and (8) including value (priya) as a final regulative reference for fact or truth as the third, with asti (existing) and bhati (looming in consciousness). This is the same as viewing the Absolute in its entirety as Existence, Subsistence and Value, i.e. sat, cit, ananda. These several items of methodological and epistemological importance in Guru-philosophy are common to Vedanta in general. Even a passing explanation of each of these would take us beyond the scope of our present enquiry.

The elements of pure reasoning employed in Guru-philosophy are inseparable from their own presuppositions and implications in general epistemology and axiology, many of which we have already covered in the present series or in “Vedanta Revalued and Restated”. A more systematic and complete discussion of these items is moreover to be covered in a future work entitled “An Integrated Science of the Absolute” based on the Darsana Mala (Garland of Visions of the Absolute) of the Guru. Here our object being limited to presenting preliminarily the kind of intuitive reasoning that the Guru adopts, which mainly consists of definitions and explicatory analogies, it will serve our purpose to show at least the kinds of reasoning he did not specialize in.


They could be referred to as belonging to pramana sastra (the science of valid reasoning).



The measures applied in the validity of truth in Vedanta are six: viz.: pratyaksa (what is directly given to the senses); anumana (inference); arthapatti (hypothetical postulation); anupalabdhi (impossibility of a conclusion); upamana (analogy); and sabda or agama (scriptural assent). In his Darsana Mala the Guru mentions only three for the purposes of his methodology. These are perceptual (pratyaksa), inferential (anumiti), and knowing through anaology (upamiti). With him, subjective experience which is verified by the last-mentioned measure of validity (analogy), takes the place of sabda, or the authority of the scriptures, accepted dogmatically. The hypothetical inductive approach is omitted by the Guru as ambiguous. All pramanas (measures of validity) which are ratiocinative in status are discredited as being of no use as the final means of knowledge of the Absolute which is behind the paradox of maya's uncertainty principle. He states this unequivocally in Verse 94 of the Atmopadesa Satakam, which should be read with Verse 32, quoted at the end of this essay. Verse 94 reads:


"This which presents itself, as a mixture of the world
And what is real; is a great iniquity indeed;
Indeterminate and unknowable to word or thought,
How could valid reasoning move therein?"


Sankara comes to a similar conclusion at the end of his commentary of the first four verses of the Brahma Sutras.


We have to invert the course of philosophical speculation and take an inner view of flowing truth as a whole as Bergson would put the same difficulty in An Introduction to Metaphysics. Christian mysticism also knows of the via negationis, which is the negative way of approach of neti neti recommended by the Upanishads and adopted by the methodology of Vedanta. The effect is false and the cause which is, as it were, anterior to it, more real. This way is the sat-karana vada, the method of giving primacy to cause over effect, and thus progressively cancelling them out backwards. Backward sublation of effects in reverse series till an epistemologically revised ontology arises by double negation, from the level of immanent realities to transcendent ones where general ideas prevail by double assertion, through dialectical intuition consisting of cancelling counterparts into the unity of absolutist status - such is the complex and complete cycle that Vedantic methodology adopts in its reasoning process.

At the core of the total knowledge-situation is the principle of pure apperception as known in Herbartian psychology, from which point the process of double assertion takes over, and finally brings general concepts to refer to the core of the central normative apperceptive Self. Thought passes through grades of richness or indigence in such a course: sometimes more transparent, sometimes opaque, sometimes dark-splendid or at other times fully self-luminous- according to its position in the alternating process propagated like quantum pulsations in the atom or unit-wave particles. Mystic experience alone can confirm the verity on such matters, just the same way as the physicist has to rely on observation as the final arbiter. The experience of the mystic and the experience of the physicist belong to opposite extremities of the same total knowledge-situation.


Possibilites and probabilites coexist on a neutral ground here; one lending certitude to the other.


Scientific certitude can reside with equal force at two poles of the total knowledge-situation. Metaphysics fixes its faith on axiomatic a priori theoretical certitudes given to the experience of the race or what is given to rare philosophers who have fully benefitted by the heritage or experience of the contemplative philosophical insight of the race through eternal years. As Homo Sapiens, man is born with a right to be wise if not perverted therefrom. General ideas thus forming the human heritage give us a frame of reference for the guidance of speculation. Just as it is difficult for a mariner to guide himself easily if latitudes and longitudes are omitted from a map; it will not be easy for the reader who has some other loosely coherent scheme to follow the line of thought that the Guru develops in his writings, if the total knowledge-situation with the two opposite poles, which we have just referred to, is ignored.

Let us , for example, take Verse 90 of the Atmopadesa Satakam, where reality, based on the experience of the race, theoretically vouches for a world-order called rtam which, with its opposite anrtam, are brought to bear upon the fundamental notion of existence in the observational sense - which latter is to be distinguished as coming under sat (existence). Sat may be said to be physical in origin and anrtam its metaphysical counterpart. Sat would be a kind of essential existence while rtam would be an operationally valid existence. There is running through both these orders of truth or reality the same common principle of verity.



The reader unfamiliar with the different elusive connotations of the words sat and rtam in this verse would find it helpful to keep to the structural plan of the total knowledge-situation in order to follow the two-sided implications of the scheme in the mind of the Guru. Verse 90 reads:


"What has no basis in reality (anrtam) can never hide what exists:
Experience vouches for this, asserting the reality
Of what exists, at every step: by Existence (sat) all is here enveloped
The body and such effects have been made up of Existence."


A block of marble rid of what is extraneous makes for its value as well as its existence as a piece of sculpture. There is assertion of truth on one side of existence, which is complemented on the other by the non-contradiction of what inheres in the world-order. These together give us a vertical axis in which at every level there is pure Existence, Subsistence and Value. The Bhagavad Gita too makes a similar assertion in XVII, 26. Vertically existence prevails, and horizontally the breezes of phenomenal unreality, uncertainty or indeterminism blow, giving rise to an interplay of possibilities and probabilities. The general value-subsistent and existent content of sat is not in reality affected by the hierarchy of falsehood's waftings to abolish truth.

In Verse 76 of the series this same picture is brought out more graphically by the Guru as a process by using the analogy of a well in which gusts of wind continuously waft in sand. Both ascending and descending dialectical reasonings meet from opposite poles of the total situation to give one and the same reality. The reality of the one is proved by the other. By full apperception one coincides with the other.




Such are some of the methodological and epistemological secrets of a schematically unified Guru-philosophy.


If for the purposes of clear visualization schematically understood, for any man at any time and place, we divide the totality of the content of knowledge into two halves by a horizontal line passing through the centre as a diameter dividing the circle representing such a knowledge-situation, giving a top and a bottom half; we can visualize the content of consciousness into two different divisions. The top half would contain 'conceptual' relations or relata, and the bottom half would contain their 'perceptual' counterparts which have a one-one correspondence to the conceptual elements. To give a familiar example, there is a rose that that is conceptual and one that is perceptual.

The latter is more directly related to the actual rose, while the concept of the rose has its reference to a nominal rose which resides in the pole of abstract imaginings of which the human mind is capable.

In other words, concepts are nearer to 'names' while percepts are nearer to 'forms'. These two divisions that cover all relations or relata possible of being contained in human consciousness, schematically generalized and understood for purposes of semantic clarity, interact in the form of apperceptions. There all conceptual or perceptual accentuations or slants in thought are cancelled out and absorbed in neutral terms. Apodicticity resides here.According to the methodology and epistemology of the reasoning employed in Guru-philosophy, certitude results when this kind of union or fusing from opposite poles takes place.


Although this way of looking at the result of contemplation is developed in different contexts of the writings of the Guru, it is in the following verse of the Atmopadesa Satakam that this truth is clearly stated:


"This which is non-distinct from knowledge, then knowing which knowledge
Straightaway, here there is none other to know
As any ultimate knowing beyond; such the supreme secret
Of the most informed of men; who is there to know?"
(Verse 63)


In the name of orthodoxy or heterodoxy men are used to treating the perceptual and the conceptual aspects of knowing as disjunct or dualistic. Both the alternative lopsided positions are wrong. At the core of the total knowledge-situation, direct apperception makes it possible for knowledge to be known without ratiocinative effort or ascetic tortures. Knowing one aspect in terms of the other, in the neutrality of unitive fusion between them, is the supreme secret pointed out. One of these aspects proves the other. Such is the secret of reasoning in the Guru-philosophy.

When read together with another verse in the serieswhere the same is referred to from the standpoint of a 'thing-in-itself' rather than in terms of the apperception of two aspects coming together, we get a further clarification of the central unitive normative notion of the Absolute proper to Guru-philosophy. This other verse refutes the possibility of separate realities in the world of the 'intelligibles' as in Plato; as opposed to the world of 'entelechies' originating in prime matter ontologically as in Aristotle. The central meeting point is the unitive factor where the notion of the Absolute is proved by itself.


Verse 20 reads:

"Another reality this world can have none; contrary assertions
Made by men in the world, lack understanding all;
Although an ignoramus could mistake it for a reptile
Could a flower garland beneficial ever a snake become?"


This 'thing-in-itself' is not known by syllogistic ratiocination but is to be appraised directly by the tallying of its two possible epistemological counterparts: one of which is perceptual, agreeing with the other which is conceptual.


Guru-philosophy accepts the broad outlines of Vedantic epistemology, inasmuch as it does not rely wholly on the pramana sastra (the science of valid measures of reason), while recognizing its findings in a general overall fashion. The man of uhapoha (dialectical intuition) is the proper adhikari (qualified or fit man) to unravel the secrets of atma-vidya or the Science of the Self, i.e., Vedanta. This is categorically stated by Sankara in his Vivekacudamani (Crest-Jewel of Discrimination) in Verse 16. (2)

All the five pramanas are respected only to bring into relief the uncertainty principle of maya or anirvacaniya hiding reality paradoxically at its very epistemological core. Sankara, while voting for the validity of the pratyaksa (observable evidence), tends to emphasise the sabda pramana (the validity of the a priori knowledge implicitly contained in the scriptures).
2. "The superior man of wisdom, well versed and fully socialized
in dialectical intuitive understanding (uha poha) where analogy and
its subject are involved, is one qualified for Self-knowledge."


He tends to think of the Hindu scriptures more particularly than any other scriptures and, to this extent tends to be non-universal in his outlook, though with natural excuse.

The five pramanas (measures of what is valid) are revised and restated for Vedantic purposes in the Vedanta Paribhasa, a recognized textbook for determining the accepted position of Vedanta in this respect. This work, attributed to Dharmaraja Adhvarin, goes into the matter thoroughly. It gives to the pratyaksa (observables) sufficient validity to let it remain consistently homogeneous with an overall epistemological scheme in which all such valid measures of reasoning enjoy equality of status under the aegis of the master notion of the Absolute.

To a scientific epistemologist who tends to give more importance to observables than to mere scriptures which only believers tend to extol, there is, in traditional Vedanta as it is actually handled by its protagonists at present, a touch of orthodoxy in favour of the believer in closed scriptures like the Hindu Vedas. Static and closed
aspects tend to be treated more favourably by them than the fully open Upanishadic outlook which does not support any static religious ideas.

In revising and correcting this asymmetry and giving to Advaita a fuller scientific status, the Guru replaces arthapatti (postulation) and agama (the Vedas and other sastras treated vaguely together) by the third pramana referred to in his Darsana Mala in Section VII, Verse 8, by an inclusive pramana (measure of valid truth) based on analogy which he calls upamiti (knowing by analogy). The language of analogy, parables or protolinguistic representations is widely used in all the scriptures of the world for dealing with a priori aspects of truth.


Mythology arises from the free use of such literary devices.


Mathematics deals with the same a priori through axioms or their corollaries, supplemented by structural verifications when possible as in the quantum and relativistic theories of the present day.

The mathematically revised use of such analogical language has not yet taken its full place in scientific epistemology, although thinkers like Eddington have initiated such an approach. (3)

Such attempts, however, remain still at a tentative stage. This will be sufficiently evident from what Eddington writes on page 88:

"Even in relativity theory which deals with the Absolute (in a somewhat limited sense) we continually hark back to the relative to examine how our results will appear in the experience of an individual observer."

It goes without saying, therefore, that the selective subjectivism and structuralism that Eddington introduced into the philosophy of science needs more revision and adaptation to overcome its tentative status at present.

Vedanta on the other hand has to shed its tendency to adhere to closed, static, traditional scriptures and regain normality vis-à-vis other scriptures of the world, to become universal, dynamic and open - as a scientific epistemology would require. The revisions of the Guru and his neutrality between scepticism and belief, or as between the a priori and the a posteriori, give to it that very normative scientific status that at once puts his metaphysical speculation on a par with that of physics.


3. Cf. Chapters V and VI, “The Philosophy of Physical Science”, by A.E.Eddington, Arbor Paperbacks, University of Michigan Press, 1958.


As we cannot afford to elaborate these aspects except through a fuller treatise, we shall not linger here longer for the present. In the projected work on the Guru's Darsana Mala we shall have another occasion in which we shall go into the same question somewhat more thoroughly.(4)

There are four verses in the present series of a hundred that we are more directly concerned with in the present series of essays, which we shall be content, in this concluding study, just to quote with hardly any comment. A careful scrutiny of these verses will reveal the neutral normative nature of the position that the Guru
maintains in his attitude which he intends to be fully universal and scientific, neither taking the side of the believer nor the sceptic, the orthodox or the heterodox of any traditional context of any time or any part of the world. It is here that Guru-philosophy excels in being fully scientific.

Verses 30 to 32 of the Atmopadesa Satakam read as follows:

"The inert, no awareness can have, awareness no cogitation needs.
Nor does it hold discourse; knowing this awareness to be all,
And giving up all, transparency of spirit one gains,
And in bodily bonds confined, one suffers never more indeed!"
(Verse 30)


"Without prior experiencing, no inference there could be
And this has never before been experienced by the senses
The existence of the operator
Is never given to inferential thought."

(Verse 31)

4. Cf. “An Integrated Science of the Absolute” on this site.



"It is not the operator but the operation that we know;
The said operator being ever unseen, the world and all else
Is nought, while lending it outer semblance of shape.
It is awareness alone that really remains."
(Verse 32)


The overall scheme into which such statements fit is seen from the very next verse;


"Knowledge in order to know itself
The Earth and other manifestations became.
In inverted manner thus, now mounting, now changing over
Like a circulating fire-faggot, it keeps turning round."

(Verse 33)


It is thus an integrated picture of the process of higher reasoning that emerges, instead of any piecemeal methodology as in unit judgements or other ratiocinative elements of thought.





The Unified Field Theory of Einstein was the attempt of a mastermind of our time to bring together under one scheme the gravitational and the electromagnetic versions of the universe, which were beginning to make the universe fall apart into two distinct worlds, one where gravitation operated and the other where electromagnetic waves were given the status of reality.

The theory is said to be of epoch-making importance in the world of physics. An equally needed synthesis of the world of names and the world of forms, one referring to the 'intelligibles' and the other belonging to the context of the 'visibles' has equally held out a challenge to speculators and metaphysicians through the ages, eluding their unified integration in one and the same context in the world of thought, whether physical or metaphysical.


The more profound the philosophy the more cryptic the language it is obliged to employ. Like mathematics, where the main task is to create certitude by bringing together two aspects of reality so that one throws light on another, forming the limbs of an equation revealing a law, a rule of logic or a truth of value - philosophy is obliged to use sign or symbol. The limbs of any equation in mathematics or physics significantly bring together two aspects in the world of absolute discourse.



Experiments, experiences treasured in language in the form of general ideas forming the heritage of humanity from antiquity spoken of as Wisdom in general, are all based on understanding one thing, which is a 'proper' element as known to modern algebraic geometry, in terms of another which is its own 'improper' version. The interplay of proper and improper elements is a matter that modern mathematics has discovered and when analyzed finally consists of the same principle as explaining a deep seated truth with convenient picture language, analogies or parables.

The world of pure mathematics is the one that belongs to the richest zone of the Absolute, which comprises the objective universe, just as a corollary is covered by a theorem, or as an axiom includes all possible postulates that are particular instances of the same generalized fact or principle.

If all men are mortal some men must be necessarily so a priori. This is an epistemological verity which we shall not linger here to discuss in detail. We have had occasion to do so already in several contexts and we shall be doing so again more fully in pages to come in the next work dedicated to the 'Science of the Absolute'. Here we want to indicate only that when thought attains to white heat it tends to become conceptualized into a compact correlated whole in symbolic, cryptic or generalized language which can be said to be the metalinguistic version of the truth expressed in the light of the fundamentals of algebra as a pure science.

When, on the contrary, thought descends negatively into itself through a descending scale, imaginable in and through the vertical axis wherein all thought must move up or down in its dialectical or semiotic process, it tends to become held together in a different way of globality or unity which resembles more a geometrical crystal.


The crystal expresses the 'form' of things mathematically, while the axiomatic togetherness where, by lack of contrast between general ideas, the obverse and converse of propositions imply or presuppose each other, even when understood by different class concepts that exist in the language of any philosophy or religion, we have some notion like that of divinity where all attributes fuse into unity. By whatever name known, it means the same. If we called the Sun the source of heat or the focal point of all light rays, we mean only the Sun. All attributes of the Sun can thus refer to the same object without inner contradiction between any two of them.


There is thus a hypostatic version of truth or reality and a hierophantic version of the same at the other pole. The latter is solid while the former is pure radiance at its origin in the mind of man.

The "I" in man is shared by the other men who use similarly the first personal pronoun in any part of the world at any time. The "I" thus viewed comes to have a status that is universal and eternal, which can be thought of positively and algebraically as belonging to a class of all classes as the "I", or more as a concrete Absolute given to the schematization of pure geometry where, like a crystal, it tends to be existent like a Monad of monads. Here the characteristics are visible rather than intelligible. The colour-solid thought of as a crystal independently of its bigness or smallness would mark the negative second pole.This is the existent ontological aspect of the same Absolute.

These matters cannot be finally discussed except in a work devoted to such aspects as a whole, and we therefore reserve the fuller elaboration of these ideas for a future work.



As we want at present to do is to review the Absolute here summarily in the light of its structural, schematic, subjective and selected implications and possibilities as belonging together.

We are interested here in just the 'togetherness' itself of all possibilities and probabilities. These accord with a secret innate structure where all relations and relata meet with polarities, antinomies, contradictions, middle grounds included or excluded as the case may be, in a correlated global whole. The human mind can think of or visualize this in its best of speculative or mystical moods. The Guru Narayana was one of those fully capable of soaring to such philosophical heights and reaching such depths of mystical self-awareness. The few examples from the Atmopadesa Satakam (One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction) below will throw light on the nature of the immanent and transcendent worlds that came within the scope of his meditations on the Absolute.




As early as the eighth verse we meet with the complex structural figure of speech that is used by the Guru as a literary device with masterful advantage as in the Upanishads to which we have made allusion elsewhere. Instead of establishing one analogy at a time, the Guru is here seen to treat a cluster of analogies together, as given to his global intuitive mystical version. There is no evil of mixed metaphor here because of the organic togetherness implied.


Descartes makes use of the analogy of a complex mechanized fountain found in a Royal Palace where he lived in Sweden with a Princess of that country before he died, to show the mechanistic nature of the human body, and how the spirit is like the pressure of water acting at different levels to produce the variety of phenomena
called life. Instead of understanding this as a figure of speech, most critics of Descartes nicknamed him a dualist who believed "monstrously" that the body was a machine. The manner in which the bones articulated, unmistakably reveal the mechanical character of the body.

The spirit of man is compared here to the vertical aspect of the mobility of water which has its horizontal counterpart in the body as such. The laws to which is submitted are mechanistic, but this does not apply to the spirit, which is like the water circulating inside the machine as in the mechanized fountain. The water is meant to be the real; while the body and its varied phenomena are horizontally derivable from it. The élan vital, of which Bergson spoke much later, uses another analogy. Philosophy has to rely either on the schematic language of mathematics or on analogy to express itself. When the Guru here employs complex systems of organically conceived multiple analogies held together by the unitive epistemological, methodological, or even axiological principle, this would not be considered as outside the scope of critical philosophy as understood in modern times. The mechanistic aspects of life here, in the Guru's analogy of the gun, is itself the means by which the contemplative has to figuratively transcend paradox and gain unitive vision. The duality inevitable to initiate a discussion is abolished by itself as the gun is what shoots down its own peripheral counterpart, the birds.


Verse 8 of the Atmopadesa Satakam reads:

"Eating of the fruits five, such as light,
Perched the while on a shot gun foul-smelling,
Ever in wily change, what can bring down is shreds these five,
Such a lucid inner form-wielding, the Self must brilliant become!"


The world of peripherally alluring values given to the five senses and their corresponding objects, referred to as the five fruits, is what is under reference here. The ends and the means of transcending this world of peripheral mechanistic values are here compared to a gun on which such sensual values are perched. Contemplative life can begin only by a radical attitude to this world of puerile and evanescent values which are in a constant state of whimsical and fanciful change through the variety of interests.

The tragic situation is pictured by making the birds sit on a gun which is the same evil means to transcend all evil in life, in the same way as a thorn could be used to remove a thorn in the leg. Paradox is to be transcended in and through itself; such is the reasoning implied.



In Verse 17 we have another equally complex imagery bringing the two-sided structural aspect of the content of the Absolute, thought of in terms of Self-consciousness. The analogy belonging to the world of mechanics and sense pleasures as such, gives place here to that of a lamp, which suits contemplative life better for the next step in the direction of more non-dualistically conceived self -introspection.



We read:

"Suffering (fire) filled, with petals five and tiers two,
Rotating beginningless, such is the lamp hanging high
Which is the Self burning on in shadow form, with past habits
For oil, and function verily for wick".
(Verse 17)


The Self has two stages which revolve, one as the shadow or reflection of the other. The 'conceptual' world can be said to be made of light while the 'perceptual' is made of shadow, which, however, belongs together with the light coming from above, which is the world of the intelligibles.

Apperception is the flames; each sense having its own, duplicated by afferent and efferent nervous energy circulating between subject and object or the 'Self' and the 'non-Self'.



In the next verse (34) with structural implications, which we shall examine now, the core of the cosmo-psychological ground within the schematically understood structure of the Absolute is ably compared in terms of pure duration as with Descartes and Bergson. We read:


"Half-a-second is what is the prime hub
Of the wheel of the car, mounted whereon, the universe rolls on;
Know this to be the sport of that beginningless One,
Ever growing on in the core of awareness pure".

(Verse 34)


The wheel of phenomenal becoming, ever active but without motion, as the unmoved mover in a pure sense, is a paradox in its 'pure act' - here described as purposeless sport. All life activity is apperceptively situated at the core of consciousness and is centrally understood as infinitesimally small while at the periphery it could be elaborated and multiplied to the limits of the expanding universe of the outermost of the galaxies. This process is beginningless and alternates with is complementary half of negative contraction as indicated elsewhere in the same series in Verse 72.


Here the use of the analogy of the wheel and the location of pure consciousness at the core, and the universe at the periphery, are mainly intended to explain the structure of the Self within which the universe itself is comprised. The theological, the cosmological and the psychological aspects of the Absolute are brought to refer to the same local neutral or central point of all apperceptions, whether of time or of space in an eternal context of causality or absolute becoming.


The same progression of a chariot mounted on a wheel of time is under reference in Verse 69 which elaborates the imagery further;


"With hearing and such as horses linked, while bearing within
The image of the Self, and controlled by the master of faculties,
Is the libido-chariot mounted whereon the ego rides
Dealing unceasingly with each thing of beauty as it proceeds."
(Verse 69)


The complexity of a mixed metaphor cannot be stretched further than in this verse where every word refers conceptually or perceptually to the progress of the Self through the phenomenal universe in life. One is reminded of the analytical psychology of Freud and Jung as well as of the Upanishadic verses (1) where the horses and the charioteer have been used similarly. The tradition started there, has only been completed here.
1. Cf. Katha Upanishad III. 3-9.




Then we have a beautiful series of three verses in sequence of subject-matter, but taking different structural perspectives of the Self in its cosmo-psychological set up. Complex graphical imagery which remains still dynamically true to the flux of life can find no more perfect expression than in these verses.
We read:


"Nature is water; the body, brine; the Self, the deep;
The "I", "I" rumbling within, the magic of the waves that arise.
Pearls they are each flowering of Wisdom within;
And what one drinks of oneself, immortality, verily it is!


As with a well into which measureless sand is wafted
By successive gusts, tier on tier, so too
Exposed to the waftings of untruth's hierarchy
The inner Self inwardly multitudinous forms it gains.


The ultimate is the sky; wind, that power expansive;
Awareness, the fire; water represents the perceptive organs;
What is given objectively to the senses, the earth;
And what thus keeps as five principles burning, has its secret in the One alone."
(Verses 75, 76, 77)


Here schematic thinking of the relation-relata complex, with the psycho-cosmic fore of the Absolute as its content, is treated in fully dynamic terms; not statically as with the rationalists of Europe beginning from Descartes and ending with Leibniz, but fully in living terms revised by Bergson in terms of the élan vital.




The central thinking substance here implies a schéma moteur rather than merely a geometrically conceived static entity. The process of becoming finds its full place in the analogy of the well that is being gradually sanded up as described in the central of the three verses. No aspect of life, abstract or concrete is omitted.


In order to extract correctly for philosophical purposes the implications of these culminating verses bearing on structuralism, subjectivism and selectionism; revealing the process of being and becoming together within what constitutes the cosmological as well as psychological content of the Absolute; one has to keep in mind the following rules and peculiarities of the philosophy of the Guru:

A) The subject and the object are treated unitively here in terms of the same psycho-cosmic dynamism within consciousness. Whitehead spoke of the 'togetherness' of all things and the 'process' which was the basis of his rather Platonic picture of the universe. The pre-Socratic hylozoists, however took another perspective of the totality of the structure of the universe in which the elementals like fire and water played their respective roles within the 'megascopic' and 'microscopic' structure of a Monad of monads. Both these rival perspectives, one hypostatic and the other hierophantic, are treated of in the first and last verses of the sequence of three verses above (i.e., 75, 76, 77). One has to place oneself within the total knowledge-situation without difference of subject or object before the implications here become clear to the student of contemplative metaphysics or of mystically understandable speculation.



B) In all three verses together a normative notion of the Absolute is implied. One looks, as it were, upward from lying down on earth, when viewing the relation-relata complex revealed in the first of the three verses. Ascending dialectics leads one to the world of values like the Supreme Good which belongs to a universal class of all classes in notions such as that of God, or of the attributes of divinity known in theologies such as that of St. Thomas Aquinas, or Ramanuja of the Indian context. The same speculative process can descend into concrete universals of a material ontological status as represented by a crystal such as a dodechahedron or a tetrahedron. Reality, when visualized existentially, gives varied philosophies such as modern existentialism or phenomenologies of the mind.

C) Pragmatic or social values hide in an intermediate zone from these extreme positions. Bergonsonian instrumentalism and the social utilitarian and pragmatic values covered within the scope of the philosophy of a John Dewey or a William James, are comprised within this intermediate zone where uncertain winds, some pluralistic or material in content and others more neutrally monistic in status, can alternately come into play - always implying a principle of inevitable incertitude as found in the work of a Heisenberg. Subject and object have to be fused into one generalized entity before general ideas can be made to ascend again into the world of supreme or idealistic ultimate values.

Utilitarian interests in social life are many at a given time. From the refrigerator to the television set, we can think of various utilities or luxuries between which a pragmatist can be torn every minute in his life of rival and multiple attractions and repulsions.

D) When we think of philosophy in the West it is of course more usual to think in terms of the heritage of




metaphysics or speculation as found in the legacy left to Europe by philosophers like Plato and metaphysicians like Aristotle. There is separation in modern Western Philosophy between ontology and teleology; and subjects that imply any judgement of Value are often relegated to the sections that are separately treated as Ethics or Aesthetics. After Kant much confusion remains between what is analytic and synthetic, transcendental and immanent, a priori and a posteriori, and between phenomenal and noumenal values in life. The divorce of theology and philosophy, which is to be laid directly at the door of the nightmare of the Inquisition and the burning at the stake of "unbelievers" like Bruno, has spoiled the structural unity of Western Philosophy for all time. A God in a theological or Christian sense is outside the scope of the best metaphysicians or methodic speculators like Descartes. The ontological proof of God became necessary because of the repugnance for the dogmatic a priorism of belief in a God, as in the prophetic religions. The Guru-philosophy remains whole and pure and untainted by the fissiparous trends of modernism. The total global situation is thus transparently revealed to his vision.

More of such implications could be derived endlessly from the notion of the Absolute contained in these verses treated together. It is not our purpose here to treat all of them exhaustively. We are interested for the present only in pointing out that, when the core of the 'subject-matter' and the 'object-matter' of philosophy in general are understood unitively from a normative standpoint, such knowledge helps to put much desirable order into both metaphysics and speculation while minimizing mere verbosity.






It is usual in the Western philosophical tradition to treat of ethics and aesthetics, together with a way of life that can be said to be good and based on a right sense of values, as apart from philosophical speculation proper. This separation of all that involved any judgement of value into a kind of appendix to philosophy proper dominated life in the West, where the horrors of the Inquisition have left an imprint on modern thought which refuses to recognize or be reconciled with any value judgement or way of life which resemble religion.

Philosophers like Descartes had to recant, rewrite, or at least suppress, parts of their normal writing for fear of offending the Pope. Bruno was burnt at the stake for resembling a pantheist, and is a martyr to the cause of modern science. Indian philosophical tradition, however, has remained innocent of these dark chapters of the ancient regime in Europe. In the interests of a global, integrated and complete world-philosophy it would be a virtue for modern philosophy to incorporate matters of axiological (i.e. value) import more organically into the total corpus of correct methodic speculation.

Guru-philosophy, as we have seen hitherto, is of a global and synthetic order where mere rationalism sinks into the background, bringing intuition and dialectical reasoning to the fore.


Values in life err rather by being treated separately as something strictly falling outside its scope. The analytical and synthetical tendencies are more equally blended and refer to an overall scheme of the Absolute as a normative value-reference to guide all speculation, while criticism acts still as a corrective throughout. When we come to the question of ethics and aesthetics, we have to remember that value considerations are spread out evenly everywhere in the writings, and the meagre space given to them should not hastily be interpreted to mean that such questions are considered unimportant. A spiritually sound sense of values and way of life are held implicit within its scope, with all value-considerations regulating man's relations with God as well as his relations with fellow man.


The Guru here therefore puts his finger not on conduct as such but on the fundamental principles on which human relations and conduct are based. According to Sanskrit tradition respected through the ages, and respected by the Guru too, jnana (wisdom) and karma (action) above all when they are dualistically conceived, had to be kept apart, while there is open a unitive way in which, without duplicating each other, they can have fundamental aspects that mutually presuppose each other.

The perennial sources of human goodness, relations or conduct are one thing, while changing standards of good behaviour subject to historical fluctuations are another. The latter are treated in smrtis or dharma sastras, of inferior status to Wisdom-texts such as the work before us.



To derive ethics out of a speculative body of doctrines or truths has always been a delicate problem for all philosophers. Thus the categorical imperative of Kant has to depend on the 'thing-in-itself' or on a metaphysics that is both transcendental and immanent at once. When ends and means are treated dualisitically, justifying each other, we have a Machiavellian brand of ethics. There are closed and static religious or ethical attitudes where relativism may be said to prevail resulting in hedonism or in getting lost in teleological aspects rather than stressing the ontological.

Nichomachean ethics is the result of recognizing the specific forms of value whereby life is expressed through matter, through its potent possibilities or entelecheia, in the context of Aristotelian ethics. The Golden Mean is goodness. Platonic ethics would stress the ability to appreciate the True, the Good and the Beautiful, at the level of ideas rather than things. Epicurean and Stoic ethics fall apart by their stress or absence of austerity as a virtue. Vedism in the Indian context has a hedonist and relativist ethics while Buddhism and Vedanta err, if at all, on the side of the opposite tendency of severe austerity. Books like the Bhagavad Gita strike the balance between these opposing trends. In the Bhagavad Gita a subtle axiological interplay of dialectics may be seen to regulate aesthetics and ethics to avoid killing all joy in life. A balanced outlook regulated by a neutral attitude is substituted, dictated by a wisdom of the Absolute understood in a unified perspective, integrating into unity epistemological, methodological and axiological considerations.

The method proper to such an approach is not in ratiocinative reasonings but in an approach based on dialectical treatment together of counterparts.


What is good for the king must by the same token be good for the subjects; and what is good for the servant must also be good for the master. Cause and effect must be capable of being interchanged as limbs in the dialectical reasoning process. If a wife is kept happy the husband has peace in his house; or when the son is famous the father shines too by his reflected glory. Such are some handy examples of the dialectical approach. This can also be called the Yoga Ethics of the Gita.

Dialectical methodology is thus different from the method of simple syllogistic reasoning of Aristotle, which is in reality the domain of the incertitudes of "if", "but", "or", "neither-nor", "both", "neither", "only", "when" etc. - full of hesitant puzzlements in thought. Direct intuitive or imperative certitude is apodictically given by the reasoning that the Guru adopts here, where the two limbs of the same equation, as it were, lend certitude each to the other. In biblical dicta such as "Love thy neighbour as thyself," we have a tacit recognition of this variety of dialectical reasoning which is, in axiological matters, more direct and telling than the hesitant faltering steps of ratiocinative thinking which,   by mistake, some philosophers of the West still insist on assuming belongs to a more philosophical method.

The Socratic analytical approach that eliminates error by questioning the opponent, employing the basis of reductio ad absurdum and the Aristotelian approach through ascending or descending from the particular to the general or vice versa, through syllogisms where the excluded middle implies the principle contradiction, are both inferior to the pre-Socratic approach of a Parmenides or a Zeno, who were the last of the real dialecticians.


Closely scrutinized, the Guru's method gives full recognition to this old-time method of reasoning. It is by bringing together the counterparts of an ethical or religious situation that the Guru makes his conclusions apodictic, necessary or imperative, whether dealing with questions of ethics or of religion. As for aesthetics, the two counterparts are the self and the non-self in cosmo-psychological or spiritual progression through the phenomenal that we have to visualize imaginatively. Every vestige of cosmo-psychic duality becomes abolished here in the non-duality of the self and the non-self in the same Absolute Self.


We have already examined under another section Verse 69 of the Guru as an example of structural imagery. This verse (1) pictures graphically the course of spiritual progress in any man and there is a significant sub-clause to it which we have now to notice. The Self is said to be in constant relation with the world outside in a subtle subjective and dialectically understandable manner. There is a constant interchange of enjoyable essences, a kind of osmosis that everlastingly goes on, between the two aspects - the self and the non-self. This dialectical interplay of value factors from subject to object and vice-versa is, according to the Guru, the source of all joy which covers the best instances of what we call aesthetical appreciation of values. Of course there are grades of joy ranging from pleasures comparable to small change to Absolute Bliss which is that of the gold coin. They are all, however, comprised under the same general law of all-aesthetical joy.

1. “With hearing and such, as horses linked, carrying within
The self-image and ruled over by the master of thinking powers,
Such is the libido-chariot, mounted whereon, the "I" sense
Ceaselessly deals outwardly with each form of beauty as it proceeds”.
(Verse 69)



The very first verse of another composition by the Guru dealing with kindness gives us the key to his method in all ethics. He starts with the most general of the postulates of his absolutist outlook in life by stating that all belong to one common brotherhood in the Self. At the next step he asks, how then we can kill living beings, knowing that they belong to the same content of universal joy that is the essence of this same Truth.

The Good, the True and the Beautiful are lasting values in the context of Abolutism. Hence killing and eating mercilessly of animals is said by him to be untenable on the basis of a very direct reasoning belonging to an imperative order. By hurting another one hurts one's self in a dialectical context; though this aspect may not be so evidently clear in a mechanistic context. This verity isbrought out in so many words in Verse 25 of the Atmopadesa Satakam (“One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction”) as follows:


"What is favourable to one and for another trouble brings,
That conduct is what is against the Self.
That flame of fire that another's suffering great involves
Falls and burns its flame in the ocean of infernal flames."
(Verse 25)

In conversation the Guru has taken even the example of speaking ill of another as a factor that tended to make oneself spiritually weaker.


This subtle law of reciprocity, dialectically and subjectively understood, reveals for use the basis of the ethics that the Guru derived from the first principles of his philosophy.

Ethics, when implicitly understood in its mystical or religious form, is found in almost all the verses of the series. The reader can look for them and find them explicitly or implicitly presupposed everywhere. All religious life presupposes kindness, as the Guru explicitly states in one of his compositions, Jiva-Karunya-Pancakam (Kindness to Life).


"All are of one Self-fraternity,
Such being the dictum to avow,
In such a light how can we take life,
And devoid of least pity go on to eat?"


Guru-ethics can be reduced to its simplest form when we say that, when one serves two masters or accepts a double standard of values, one is following wrong. Truth in life is to be found as existing in and through life for itself, and not as something to be discovered disjunctly in some place 'elsewhere'. This verity is a guiding principle of applied ethics, of which the Guru treats in Verses 21 to 24 inclusive. The fundamental law of ethics is however implied in Verse 20, which introduces this section of ethics consisting of four verses:

"Another reality this world can have none, contrary assertions
Made by men in the world, lack understanding all,
Although an ignoramus could mistake it for a reptile
Could a flower garland beneficial ever a snake become?"

(Verse 20)


Ethics has thus its origin in one's Self where the non-Self is articulated with it or participates non-dually with it.



The moral dictum that says one should do unto others as one should do unto oneself is derived from the same dialectically absolutist ethics that the Guru adopts, as seen in these verses. He puts it however in a form in which duality in the philosophical context is abolished at one and the same stroke as the duality of serving two masters.
Verses 23 and 24 are nearer to the origin of morality than the other two verses, 21 and 22, derived more indirectly. When loving one's neighbour as oneself one avoids the duality between egotistic interests by cancelling out dialectical counterparts. These verses read:


"For another's sake, day in and out
Unstinting strives the generous and kind man,
The niggard, lying prone, whatever frustration's toil undertakes
Is for his own sake alone!”

(Verse 23)


What here we discriminate as this man or that
Is the prime form of the Self alone!
Conduct that for one self-happiness spells
Must another's well-being bring about at once."

(Verse 24)





Many kinds of relativistic preferences are possible in the group-life into which man is born and ekes out his existence necessarily as a gregarious animal. Each group can consider its own interests egocentrically. When a man, for example, wishes that his own caste, tribe, race, sex or nation win over another, he is committing one of the fundamental errors or sins against the interests of a humanity thought of as a unit in the absolutist context. The possible rival claims for relativist unilateral interests are many; while when the same situation is viewed dialectically and unitively, without duality or contradiction between the component units, whether of family or nation, peace and happiness become naturally spelt out.

When understood and applied correctly, the dialectical approach acts as a universal solvent of problems of a competitive character, and makes for orderly cooperation.
The ancient division in India of human society into four varnas (social levels) according to the value-world natural to each, as seen in the so-called 'caste system' has proved a failure, though perhaps based on sociological principles fundamentally valid and well intentioned. The great mistake was that, instead of viewing the matter as fluid and as a process of dynamic formation or everlasting flux, static and closed hereditary caste, rigidly conceived on the basis of watertight groupisms, petrified the whole process and made of the experiment, otherwise theoretically bold, a Himalayan blunder and a monumental failure.

In spite of its failure, however, wise individuals can apply in their lives the dynamism of the open dialectical approach implicit therein in their personal lives, instead of attempting to erect any socio-political system thereon. The mechanistic levelling of personal values at the present day tends to make such a thought impossible. Trying the experiment again would cost India too much. The formation of closed static groups preferred by each member of society as against a rival one is fraught with great danger. In Verses 21 and 22 the Guru points out the origin of the confusion involved, as follows:



"A certain group is dear, that to me is dear,
What is dear to me and what is to another, thus it is
That round each item of value-interest confusions come, know, therefore,
That one's own preference must accord with another's dear desire".

(Verse 21)

"What is dear to the other, that is mine and what I prefer
Accords with the preference of the other man, such is the course
Of discreet conduct, therefore the act that aims the good of a man,
In the love of fellow-man must its motive have".

(Verse 22)


Thus the seal is put here in the last lines above on the dialectical basis of all human conduct involving relations between man and man. Such a scientifically-thought out absolutist attitude can be seen to cover inclusively many features that schools of ethics, from “Machiavellianism” to “Nichomacheanism”, in themselves all partial speculations in ethics, have left out of purview. The Kantian 'imperative' as well as the Bergsonian 'creative' brands are all covered here by the Guru's dialectical absolutist approach.


Of all closed static groupings in society the one most fraught with danger to man is the formation of rival religions on a relativist dualist basis. Conflicts become possible under such conditions. When what contributed to such a life of internal strife between men in the formation of wrongly motivated religious groups is once discovered and eliminated from religious life; all falls into unity, by analogous tendencies becoming revealed in different groups or religious formations.



Moses and Jesus differ in their outlook, as also the Old Testament from the New Testament, through the value-sets implied in each. Vedism likewise differs from Vedantism. Analogously, on the other hand, the obligatory aspect represented by the Ten Commandments can be found in the Pentateuch as well as in the Christian Bible.
Taboos and bans prevail here and there, overtly or tacitly, in all religions, and exclusive fanaticisms are possible in every case where orthodoxies might clash against rival orthodoxies. The delicate way of Wisdom in this matter is discussed by the Guru in Verses 44 to 49 inclusive, which we shall examine here.

In order to be able to lay bare the philosophical implications of the One Religion that is in the mind of the Guru, let us read this sequence of six verses in a selected order of our own. The topics covered by each can be enumerated as follows:



All religions, when viewed horizontally as different from others in expression, reveal many features that make for contrast. When we take a verticalized, inclusive or contemplatively dialectical view of all religions understood together, a mutual agreement or transparency of context reveals itself between them, because the overall aim and end of all religions, however diverse, is none other than happiness in life, here or hereafter, or both.


Verse 49 enunciates this unequivocally as follows:

"Every man at every time makes effort in every way,
Self-Happiness to secure, thus in the world
Know there is this One Religion alone, known thus and
Avoiding evil, one should his inner self attune


When a man accepts or adopts a certain religion as an ideology or as a pattern of behaviour he likes or calls his own, there is a deep-seated fusion of the Self and the non-Self factors which takes place within him. Egoism tends often to fan and exaggerate the disparity of religions, but when the relation is contemplatively bipolar and verticalized, wherein the true Self in man and not the ego participates, adoption does not result in conflict.

The possibility of adopting a religion as one's own is itself, as the Guru points out, only a recognition of the homogenous parity in the participation of the self and the non-self factors involved. By itself this possibility belongs to the pure Self, and when understood in such a pure perspective, is fully dignified and conducive to Self-realization. The danger, however, is that this pure nature of bipolar adoption becomes misapplied. Then adhyasa or superimposition mutually of non-Self factors on to the Self and vice-versa takes place. Herein alone danger lurks.
We read in Verse 48:

"The dweller within the body, from its own status as pure being,
In respect of each possible thing, treats all
As "that is mine" or "this is mine" transcending bodily sense,
All are in reality realized, when we think of what this means."


The possibility of such mutual adoption already implies, in principle at least, a homogeneity between the two aspects of the Self and the non-Self.


We see that the protagonists of any religion dream of uniting all humanity under one faith. Just as a member of a certain nation might want all other nations to come under its sway, there is an error implied in zealots for any particular religious formation. Hindus might want all the world to become Hindu and so on. If each religious zealot only realized that, in this kind of plea, all sailed in the same boat, rival antagonisms could be minimized. This travesty implicit in the unwise rivalry between religious groups such as Unitarians and Trinitarians, causing much trouble that can be avoided, is alluded to with telling effect in Verse 47:


"All plead but for one religion to prevail,
Which the disputants fail to remember withal,
Those wise ones freed from disadoption of another's faith
Can know here wholly the secret of all this."


After understanding the secret mentioned above, the three verses, 44, 45 and 46 can be read and understood without much comment. They read as follows:


"Ignoring that in substance various religions are the same,
Like the blind men in respect of an elephant, fools wander
In this world, imitate not their way,
And not agitated like them, one should calmly settle down!”



One religion is not good enough for another and the doctrine cardinal
Stated in one, according to another's calculations is found defective,
Until that day the unitive secret herein is known with certitude
There shall continue to be confusion prevailing in this world.


Victory by flight is impossible here, one as against one,
No religion by fighting gets exterminated, not knowing this
The opponent of a stranger faith,
His own doom shall be in vain fight for, beware!"
(Verses 44, 45, 46)


Verse 44 underlines the need for taking a global view of religious systems. Treated piecemeal, one tends to compare, as it were, the leg of one with the hands of another. Comparative religion must tend to establish the points of affinity in corresponding structural aspects of religions, rather that stress differences based on aspects torn out of the proper context or perspective. The familiar analogy in the fable of the blind men with the elephant is used advantageously by the Guru here.

Verse 45 stresses the need to see the underlying unity of religions.

Verse 46 underlines the fact that persecution only makes unilateral faith firmer. The martyrs to any deep belief prove the irony of the situation in the history of any religion, and this is contrary to what might be expected by mechanistic reasoning. The apocalyptic touch of the last line above gives a prophetic touch to the Guru's philosophy of religion.







1.0 Guru-philosophy represents a total neutral and normative approach to what is philosophically significant or valuable to human life, from both the existential and the subsistential aspects of the Absolute, to the context of which such a wholesale approach belongs.


1.01 Such an approach involves a regulative action for a way of life as well as a way of understanding facts, truths or reality.


1.02 It calls for initial scepticism as well as full willingness to believe. In other words, the a priori and the a posteriori are equally respected in Guru-philosophy.


1.03 Many other antinomies, polarities, dichotomies or ambivalent factors enter into the structure of the certitude that Guru-philosophy seeks. Such precise and valid forms of speculation tend to make it a science rather than a mere verbose or wild speculation. In other words, there is implicit in it a unitive methodology, an epistemology and an axiology proper to it.


1.04 The phenomenal and the noumenal, the pure and the practical, the perceptual and the conceptual, the quantitative and the qualitative, action and understanding, are pairs of antinomies belonging to different zones or levels of consciousness, within which lie the visible or the intelligible universe given to the eye of to the mind. They belong either to the vertical or the horizontal value-worlds.



1.05 What is given to the senses objectively is the horizontal, and what is given to the self as "I" or "my" or "mine" belongs to the vertical. To categorize the given contemplative data as belonging to these axes of reference, is the first key to the easy understanding of the Guru's philosophy. The enjoyable nature of the spread-out- universe is treated unitively with the Self, while the enjoyer is the vertical counterpart of the same paradoxical dialectical situation.


1.06 Both human nature and cosmological nature-aspects participate herein by a sort of mathematical intersection rather than as a psycho-physical parallelism.


1.07 The vertical component is that of the Self and the horizontal that of the non-Self. The Self which is not given to the senses comprises all possible levels of value from the most immanent to the most transcendent.


1.1 There is a constant osmotic reciprocal exchange of knowledge, as if through a retroactive exchange between the rich and fully transparent aspects of the Self and the non-Self, and this results in presenting value factors and interests that rise and circulate. They comprise psychological, cosmological and theological factors in a constant flux of change and becoming. This process goes on eternally as between these two axes of reference.


1.2 This alternating play of inter-physical and trans-subjective factors tends to horizontal activity at a given moment when nescience prevails, and again gets absorbed into pure verticality of reason at another moment.


1.3 An absolutely and purely active principle of thinking substance lies beyond or behind the paradox of the plus and the minus in the many layers of life-interests, belonging to the four-fold status of the actual, the perceptual, the conceptual or the nominal, which are integrally held together and envisaged in Guru-philosophy



1.4 Such an Existent-Subsistent-Value, when understood in all its secondary implications gives satisfactory answers to major doubts and dissolves conflicts in life. Such knowledge makes one free and yields a peace that passes understanding. Banishing sin, decreasing suffering, being a pearly of great price, or a leaven that can permeate subtly the whole of life - are other known ways of stressing the value of the same science of the Absolute. Even a little of this can banish great fear, as the Gita would prefer to put this same verity.


1.5 Salvation and heaven mean only the same High Value of Wisdom represented by this Science of all sciences.


1.6 Cosmogony, cosmology and psychology, approached phenomenologically rather than merely objectively, ethics and aesthetics, with a chapter that corresponds to theology, together with an eschatology that covers questions pertaining to apocalyptic images of prophetic import in life here and hereafter, all treated unitively in terms of normalized human understanding - such are some of the branches covered in Guru-philosophy.


1.7 It is an inside contemplative view that Guru-philosophy takes. It covers the same ground as some of the world's great scriptures, but in a positive and less mythological, merely theistic or fable-like style of discourse.


1.8 Structural and schematic imagery as a precise protolinguistic device is seen to be retained in the Guru-literature in such a revised and modernized form that it becomes possible to erect a mathematically precise science on the foundations laid by the Guru in his philosophy.



1.9 A veritable Science of the Absolute is foreshadowed in his writings of which the Darsana Mala marks a more culminating point of attainment.


2.0 Vedantic schematism, structuralism and selectionism are further boiled down to reveal the protolinguistic and the metalinguistic patterns underlying the world of discourse, and corresponding to the semiotic, syntactic and pragmatic processes of thought and tendencies within the informative cybernetics of consciousness. Axiomatic thinking reveals its utmost possibilities in the correct mathematical logistic of the Guru. It avoids mere mythology and theology, except where he wishes to clarify some protolinguistic aspect.


3.0 Speculation attains apodictic, dialectical and rhetorical finality in the Guru's writings, so that by one step further one is able to step on the firm land of a veritable Science of the Absolute, still to be formulated in the light of modern knowledge.


4.0 By sight and sound our human intelligence inserts itself correctly and, as it were cybernetically, into a world of automatic and retroactive discourse or semantics, with a surprisingly uniform symmetry of structure that all theories or laws of nature seem to respect; where concepts and percepts equate themselves into circulating processes that are sometimes reversible and at other times not so.


5.0 The living organism fits itself into a universe which is both physical and metaphysical at one and the same time, and what formalism or mechanism belongs to it schematically, has its range of extrapolated applicability in the microscopic and megascopic realities, without being limited by experiment or more than experimental experiences natural to the human race.


6.0 Science in its latest version lends support to Guru-philosophy, and its method and theory of knowledge are beginning to resemble each other.


Some very bold flights of speculation in Guru-philosophy seem now to gain validity which they could not have had from science as understood fifty years ago. (1)


7.0 The physical and the metaphysical aspects of reality are beginning to be treated as belonging complementarily to each other, as the vision of the Guru clearly envisages. A whole hierarchy of classes that can rise perceptually, making for classes of classes analytically or synthetically, is not a matter anymore of mere verbose or vain speculation, either in science or in philosophy at present.


8.0 Science now calls for bolder and bolder speculative flights, instead of the caution that it recommended a few years ago. The task of bridging the wide gap in scientific thought that at present separates axiomatic from experimental thinking, calls for fuller freedom for the philosopher capable of flying very high in pure speculation. It is exactly herein that Guru-philosophy excels and scores where hesitant attitudes that fail to face the situation frontally fail miserably. Such efforts are neither philosophy nor science.


9.0 Instead of failing doubly it is thus that Guru-philosophy succeeds doubly in laying the foundation of a science of all sciences, not merely remaining lukewarm as a philosophy of science or as a science of philosophy.


10.0 The philosophy of the Guru, like mathematical calculations, respects a formalism that it shares in common with all logical or correct thinking. Where common sense fails, a calculus strictly conceived, which makes allowance for tautology as well as contradiction within its scope, regulates its speculative procedures.
1. This was written in 1965.



10.1 When the limits even of such empirical positivist reasoning have been passed, the Guru depends on a dialectical approach where double negation is employed with advantage, as when language makes one "yes" for two "no"s, or when in algebra two minuses multiplied make for a plus.


10.2 Such reasoning transcends paradox.

10.3 The hierarchy of classes, wherein propositions are true or false, whether logically or factually, get neutrally absorbed in the class of all classes from both sides.

10.4 Instead of excluding the middle ground of the syllogistic structure of thought, speculation can ascend or descend at will between alternative values in which subject and object become interchangeable terms.


10.5 In stating the implications of the second law of thermodynamics, we have in the heart of modern physics a bold generalization, which, if it could be thought of as a reversible process, would come nearest to this kind of dialectical ascent or descent in respect of factors of universal import, whether concerned with notions such as
positive or negative entropy, or between heat and work, or any other pair of metaphysical or physical elements or factors, related through complementarity as understood by Niels Bohr, or tending to indeterminism, as in Heisenberg's theory.


11.0 What we wish to underline here is merely the fact that modern laws of physics when they speak of a physical universe, deal with abstractions and generalizations at least as vague as any classical speculator dared to venture.


11.1 Metaphysics and physics are hardly distinguishable in the formalized language that they both use.



11.2 If parables and literal analogies are replaced by a precise mathematical language, one becomes as good or as bad as the other, according to the correctness or arbitrariness involved.


11.3 It is neither experiment nor calculus that should be considered the final arbiter but both as belonging to a normative notion of the Absolute.


12.0 Knowledge seeks to know itself. All things rise and change into pure thought. Pure space would then remain self-radiant. The self and its knowledge together make one reality. The pure thing-in-itself knows no dual alternative. There is no truth other than or dualistically apart from what is given here itself. All things are real in themselves but cancel out when examined as consisting of exclusive classes.


13.0 Semantically all diverse or discrete entities merge in the semiotic entity of the pure Meaning of all meanings.


14.0 Halting speculation that ratiocinates piecemeal with propositional "ifs" and "buts" is a weak instrument for the Guru in his bold, unitive, wholesale, neutral, frontal and global approach and vision of the Absolute.


14.1 Although analyzable into its own structural and schematic elements, the vision is one that is downright and totally convincing. Experienced normally as a wonder or a tremendous mystery, the understanding of this could even strike one down by its powerful onset within the consciousness, prepared by a harmony or transparency established between the Self and the non-Self.


14.2 In the correct and normal mystical state experimental truth is not degraded, nor logical reason effaced, but both exist inclusively at a higher level of dialectical intuition.



14.3 The analysis and the wonder of the Absolute go hand in hand in Guru-philosophy.

14.4 Instead of one gaining a symmetrical primacy over the other, the total knowledge-situation envisaged in its perfectly symmetrical structure thus gives due place to the will to believe as also to the will for critical disposition or systematic doubting.


15.0 Guru-speculation lives and moves in a vertical axis where the Self holds in unity the aspects of Existence (sat), Subsistence (cit) and Value (ananda).


15.1 The evidence of the eye which is experimental cancels here into the evidence of the name or word. The Logos thus meets the Nous of the Socratic and pre-Socratic contents of Western speculation.


15.2 There is a neutral stratum or zone in thought or consciousness of the absolutist context, which is the richest of the stuff that consists of pure human understanding or reason. It is transparent to this double aspect; giving wonder on one side and revealing the schematic structure at the core of the Absolute on the other.


15.3 Wonder may be said to refer to the positive aspect of the vertical axis; and schematic structuralism, into which all mathematically understood elements of the physical world enter as components or ingredients constitutes the negative aspect of the same.


15.4 Speculation is best, not when it is accentuated positively or negatively, but when both of these remain in the neutral ground between the two polarities. When metaphysics and physics are treated unitively without duality between mind and matter, we have two limbs of a universal equation. As with the notion of positive or negative entropy, speculation can proceed irrespective of their reversibility that is free from the mathematics that confines itself only to irreversibility, as in that of Carnot.


16.0 An extrapolated series of ensembles or classes can be subjected to an ascending or descending series of value-factors: in the ascending order of Existence-Subsistence-Value (sat-cit-ananda); or in descending order with value significance first, next, in a reverse series, merging to subsistence, and then spreading out into manifold existences simultaneously manifest, as in ordinary life. Contiguity or
continuity can thus hold together the one and the many.


16.1 The books of nature, truth or value should be capable of being read both ways to abolish all partiality of points of view, so as to yield that neutral Absolute which is beyond all blemish of one-sided predications.


16.2 All values could be Subsistence or Existence interchangeably, to yield one and the same unitive Self.


16.3 Maya, as understood in Guru-philosophy, is the overall philosophical category of all possible errors: starting from simple optical illusions, through the eidetic representations of phenomenalism, to the noblest and subtlest forms of philosophical error that could vitiate wisdom even through such factors as science (vidya) and nescience (avidya), and nominalism or conceptualism.


16.4 All horizontal factors are meant to be covered by this omnibus term (maya), and it stands equally for the negativität of Hegel and the Uncertainty Principle of Heisenberg. It comprises all phenomenological, eidetic, ontological or psychological presentiments.


17.0 Even the faintest vestige of duality as between Self and non-Self, or subject and object, is repugnant to Guru-philosophy.



17.1 Guru-philosophy has a theology that avoids all equivocation in respect of the problem of evil; and instead of trying to explain it away by any solipsism or principle of "the best of all possible worlds", it lays it squarely at the feet of God himself as part of the wonder or tragic element of his creation, which is neither meant to be good nor evil but beyond both.


17.2 God transcends paradox in his most high stature, rising without apology to the heights of his proper absolutism.


17.3 Paradox can be transcended either frontally facing the fact of evil as a contradiction, or bypassing it by a dialectical approach of absorbing all middle grounds.


17.4 An immanent-transcendent absorption in the Self of all possible selves is involved here.


17.5 God then drinks his own poison, inevitable in creation.


17.6 To put the same in different rhetoric, to his sense of comedy or sport, evil is to be treated as a part of the game of creation. Although evil is not explained away, it is included in a larger scheme of reality where good and bad cancel into the sheer Glory of the Absolute. Then the horizontal evil given to human eyes would only crown them vertically with more enhanced goodness by its double negation.


17.7 The last vestiges of the negative taint of maya get abolished in the brave contemplative seeking absolute freedom or happiness through the negation of negation, till, passing through an ascending stage, it touches positive heights of the Value of values. Any name becomes good enough for each value and when universally and expansively understood as the crowning glory of God instead of as the principle of Evil, maya purifies and perfects itself further by a descent into the levels of the universal concrete.


17.8 Both concrete and abstract reside as aspects of the Self that holds all possible antinomies together as one bundled sheaf of corn.




17.9 The paradoxical elements tending to duality in the Absolute might persist till the final vision of a supreme union between the vertical and the horizontal takes place in the contemplative who has correctly and clearly attained his term.


18.0 Then, the atom refuses to be split further. Seeking its own perfection or plenitude from the other pole of the same total situation infinity gains its ultimate fullness of term. Both meet in the high neutral value of the Absolute, which involves neither positive effort nor negative passivity to attain. The knower of the Absolute is the Absolute.


18.1 When the paradox that life presents to a thinking man, whether a philosopher or a mystic, is transcended through a correct method and discipline combined, one being complementarily positive to the other, in a complex four-limbed epistemological quaternion or frame of reference, a high value of happiness, peace, fearlessness or clarity of spirit is attained.


18.2 The hierarchy of men or gods, the alternation of birth and death, are abolished for him. Being and becoming get merged into one inner Self-experience when man attains Peace.


18.3 Horizontalism that yields errors drops its innermost veils, and man stands face to face with the universe in himself.


18.4 Eschatological value-worlds hereafter and apocalyptic visions of a doomsday vanish, self-effaced.


18.5 A simple scientifically understandable cosmogony; a mathematically precise logistic guiding thought and conduct held unitively under the aegis of the overall regulative notion of the Absolute Value; an after-life that leaves behind a corpus of good repute as real and valuable as actual life lived here and now; a transparency and a




perfectly detached equilibrium between rival interests or activities; and the boldness to identify oneself with the Absolute in full reverent non-egoist humility, always with an unlimited kindliness that is present as a corollary to fully sympathetic understanding of the unity of all life; with recognition of all normal values in life at their proper times and places; without any exaggerated unilateral outlook - such are some of the directive characteristics of Guru-philosophy and the way of life it holds high.


18.6 The promise of peace, immortality and the joy of freedom, are all comprised in this attitude that knows no distinction of ends or means or disparity between waysof piety or wisdom.


18.7 Like the notion of a thermodynamic equilibrium with an overall independent autonomous cybernetic system, where action and retroaction cancel out into a zero state of sameness, in a fully reversible process of forward becoming and regression; contemplative life implies a principle of equality or equanimity where all osmotic interchange factors in grand respiration of life come to the pause of Self-identity.


18.8 This is the ultimate secret of the pundit to which few can attain as the Guru himself sadly deplores.


18.9 It is at this point alone that the many manifestations of the One, and the One Supreme Meaning that holds manifoldness in its unified semantic grasp of the Meaning of all meanings, can be realized. There is neither that nor this, nor Existence (sat) different from Subsistence (cit) or Value (ananda). All these aspects fuse to make the grand confection of great value called the Absolute within oneself. Such are other bold conclusions of Guru-philosophy which he himself underlines as difficult to grasp.


19.0 Axiomatic and experimental thinking meet in this wonder!







(The numbers given against certain stanzas show the page
of the present book wherein the stanza is quoted.)



Rising even above knowledge, what within the form
Of the one who knows, as equally without, radiant shines,
To that Core, with the eyes five restrained within,
Again and again prostrating in adoration, one should chant.



The inner organ, the senses, and counting from the body
The many worlds we know, are all, on thought, the sacred form
Of the supreme Sun risen in the void beyond,
By relentless cogitation one should attain to this.



These phenomenal aspects five, such as the sky
Which as emergent from outside is here seen to be,
By contemplation one should bring to non-difference,
As the sea is to the waves that rise in rows thereon.



Knowledge, its meaning known, and the personal knowledge
Subjective, together make but one primal glory,
Within the unrarified radiance of this great knowledge
One should merge and become that alone.



People here on earth, they sleep, wake and think
Various thoughts, watching over all of these with intent eye
There dawns a priceless light, which never shall dim again,
Led onward by this, one should forward wend.



One has to wake, then go to sleep, of food partake, or mate,
Thus do promptings dissipating keep coming round,
Whoever could there be, therefore to wake
Unto that reality's one and changeless form?



To wake never more, ever sleepless to remains, as awareness,
If for this today you are not fit, then in the service
Of those silent ones who ever dwell awake to AUM
Absolved from birth, steadily fix the form.



Eating of the fruits five, such as light
Perched the while on a shot-gun foul-smelling,
Ever in wily change, what can bring down in shreds these five,
Such a lucid inner form, wielding the Self must brilliant become! (112)



He who dwells in contemplation beneath a tree
Whereon climbing, a creeper bears aloft on either side
The blossoms of the psychic states, mark, such a man,
By inferno unapproached ever remains.



"Who is sitting in the dark? Speak!" says one,
Whereupon the other, intent himself to know likewise,
On hearing the first, he asks, "Who may you even be?"
For both of these the word of response is One alone. (66)



The repeated "I, I" contemplated from within
Is not many, but one, divergent egoity
Being multiple, in the totality of such
The Self-substance too, continuity assumes. (66)



With skin and bone and refuse, and many an inner factor of evil end,
Lo, wielding these, one ego looms! This which passes,
Is the other, That greater Self which grows to perfection,
O, grant the boon, that it may not the ego swell! (67)



Unto the Master who dons the ashes of the three modes,
Offering the flower of the inner self, inclining before him,
With all sense interests effaced, divest of all and cool,
Even from the grandeur of loneliness bereft, into glory sink!



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



Ten thousand years do a moment make to those favoured ones
Suckled in the milk of the pure transcendent, but when knowledge
Is within the power of the scope of relative immanent nature
Half-a-second, would seem ten thousand years long. (57)



If an arid desert most expansive would become over-flooded
By river water all at once, such would be the rising symphony
Falling into the ears, to open then the eye, do therefore
Daily become the best of sages endowed with Self-control.



Suffering (fire) filled, with petals five and tiers two,
Rotating beginningless, such is the lamp hanging high
Which is the Self burning on in a shadow form, with past habits
For oil, and function verily for wick. (112)



The "I" is not darkness, were it so blind
Unaware of this 'I, I' we should have remained,
Because of such awareness, the I-consciousness is not darkness
In order to know thus, to one and all declare.



"Bottom, top or tip, reality here, there or that" -
So do conflicts come: Prime Substance is all there is:
The inert here, all change and pass, how could a wave
Apart from the water's form, another reality have?



Another reality this world can have none, contrary assertions
Made by men in the world, lack understanding all,
Although an ignoramus could mistake it for a reptile,
Could a flower garland beneficial ever a snake become? (102, 125)



A certain kind is dear, that to me is dear,
What is dear to me and what is to another, thus it is
That round each item of value-interest confusions come, know, therefore,
That one's own preference must accord with another's desire. (128)



What is dear to the other, that is mine and what I prefer
Accords with the preference of the other man, such is the course
Of discrete conduct, therefore the act that aims the good of man,
In the love of fellow-man must its motive have. (128)



For another's sake, day in and out
Unstinting strives the generous and kind man,
The niggard, lying prone, whatever frustration's toil undertakes
Is for his own sake alone. (126)



What here we discriminate as this man or that
Is the prime form of the Self alone!
Conduct that for one self-happiness spells
Must another's well-being bring about at once. (126)



What is favourable to one and for another trouble brings,
That conduct is what is against the Self
One whose acts another's suffering great involve
Falls and burns in the ocean of infernal flames. (124)



All limbs suppressing and standing as a bolt
The limb-owner mere vapour enshrouds within,
'This' man he takes different from 'that' therefore
Owing to the weakness of unwisdom alone.



What in darkness remains aware, the Self indeed that is,
And knowledge that which as name and form,
As senses with inner organ, as actor and action,
Looms here as everything, like great Indra's magic, lo!



Bereft of bottom as of top, from bottom to the crest
What transparent awareness has, that is turiya consciousness,
The inert no knowledge has, what it cogitating tells
From in-between, is no knowledge at all, do mark!



The mind-blossom plucking, who offers to the Great Master,
No need has he, other works to perform,
Else, let him pluck blossom wild, or otherwise
The Maya-spell let him repeat the Maya goes.



The inert, no awareness can have, awareness no cogitation needs,
Nor does it hold discourse, knowing this awareness to be all,
And giving up all, transparency of spirit one gains,
And in bodily bonds confined, one suffers never more indeed! (105)



Without prior experiencing, no inference there could be
As this has never before been experienced by the senses
The existence of the operator
Is never given to inferential thought. (105)



It is not the operator but the operation that we know,
The said operator being ever unseen, the world and all else
Is naught, while lending it outer semblance of shape,
It is awareness alone that really remains. (106)



Knowledge in order to know itself
The earth and other manifestations became,
In inverted manner thus, now mounting, now changing over
Like a circulating fire-faggot, it keeps turning round. (39, 106)



Half-a-second is what is the prime hub
Of the wheel of the car, mounted whereon, the universe rolls on,
Know this to be the sport of that beginningless One,
Ever growing on in the core of awareness pure. (113)



Like the dawning altogether of ten thousand suns
Wisdom's function comes, such verily is what
Can tear asunder the knowledge hiding impermanent darkness of Maya here,
And, as the primordial Sun on high, prevails. (30)



The powers of understanding are many, all of them under two sets
Such as the "same" and the "other" inclusively can be brought,
Merging into that form of "other-sameness" of these,
To clarify of vision one should awake. (71, 83)



To subdue, even somewhat the obduracy of the "other"
Is hard indeed without understanding's limitless power,
Even by such should one gain mastery over it and thus attain
Close access to Her who is discrimination's anti-sensuous One. (71, 84)



What appraises manifold variety, the "other" that is,
And the "same" is whatever unitively shines on,
Thus grasping the situation above, into that state
Which yields sameness, melt and mix and erect sit. (72, 84)



Following up further the said powers, a further bifurcation there is,
One of these is an attribute of the "same", while the other
Qualifies the harsh "other" that never detachment gains,
Thus making two kinds of each of these. (72, 85)



On to the same as on to the other there constantly alight
Their respective specifying factors, although not proportionate,
Through the spinning phase of these two in all,
All predictions whatsoever there are do come to be. (72, 86)


In "This is a pot" the initial "this" is the harsh
While the "pot" is what makes its specific attribute,
For the mind with its myriad Indra-magic to come,
Understand, that "this" is the basis of functioning. (73, 88)



In "This is knowledge" the initial "this" is the "same"
While its specifying factor is the cognitive consciousness,
For the mind and all else to be effaced for the good path to gain,
"This" it is that one should contemplate. (73, 88)



By Nature's action caught, and turned,
Men of good action too, alas, keep turning round!
Mis-action to counteract, non-action avails not,
Gain-motive bereft, Wisdom one should attain.



Ignoring that in substance various religions are the same,
Like the blind men in respect of an elephant, fools wander
In this world, imitate not their way,
And not agitated like them, one should calmly settle down. (131)



One religion is not good enough for another and the doctrine cardinal
Stated in one, according to another's calculations is found defective,
Until that day the unitive secret herein is known with certitude
There shall continue to be confusion prevailing in this world. (132)



Victory by fight is impossible here; one as against one,
No religion by fighting gets exterminated; not knowing this
The opponent of a stranger faith,
His own doom shall be in vain fight for, beware! (132)



All plead but for one religion to prevail,
Which the disputants fail to remember withal,
Those wise ones freed from disadoption of another's faith
Can know here wholly the secret of all this. (131)



The dweller within the body, from its own status as pure being
In respect of each possible thing, treats all
As "that is mine" or "this is mine" transcending bodily sense,
All are in reality realized when we think of what this means. (68, 130)



Every man at every time makes effort in every way,
Self-happiness to secure, thus in the world
Know there is this One Religion alone, known thus and
Avoiding evil, one should his inner self attune. (129)



With earth and water, air and fire likewise,
Also the void, the ego, cognition and mind,
All worlds including the waves and ocean too
Do all arise and into awareness change. (7)



From awareness the "I" sense first emerged,
Comes then with it "This"-ness, as counterpart beside,
These, like creepers twain, do overcover entirely,
Hiding the whole of the Maya tree. (11, 57)



Filled with word-content, that day the firmament shall radiant blaze,
And into it shall be absorbed to extinction all the visionary magic.
Then too, that small voice completing tri-basic cognition
Shall cease, and, lo! Self-radiance prevails! (10)



That primordial potency that herein resides
Is the seed that gives birth to all here we see;
Merging the mind in that, never forgetting,
Maya-mind to end, ever do contemplation pursue.



The waking state, it obtains not in sleep
And sleep again does not attain consciousness
When awake; day by day these twain are born
Of Maya's womb and keep alternating on.



A long drawn out dream is this, and like sleep each day,
It gets extinguished; dream too likewise!
We can never see extinction thus to this; as it is
Hitched on to the pure aloneness, it goes round for ever.



Like waves instantly arising on the ocean
Each body one after one rises to subside again;
Where, alas, is the term for this? Know this as action
Taking place perpetually in awareness-ocean's prime source.



Within the waveless ocean, there do abide
Endless Maya-traits which as potent configurations that assume
Bodies with such as water and taste remain
As beginningless effects forming various worlds upon worlds.



Thinking not in terms, ever new, of yesterday, today
Tomorrow or even another day, never-endingly
Know, all things we count or measure
As of confusion's making; difference there is none at all!



Apart from awareness I have no being;
As distinct from me awareness cannot remain
As mere light; both knowledge and knower, contemplation
Reveals beyond doubt as of one substance alone.



Even when knowledge to egoism is subject in any prediction
And one is unmindful of the ultimate verity of what is said
Yet as with the truth however ultimate, such knowledge
Can never fall outside the scope of the knowing self.



Outside objects hold the field each distinct from each
With the sense that measures, whose function is nescience,
And these in turn with many sets of names such as that of directions,
Or the sky, keep rising up and into awareness change.



Mere orthodoxy which keeps saying that one should not adopt
As one's own a doctrine belonging to another side, how can it
True knowledge bring? Lip service does not avail;
One has earnestly to contemplate the state supreme.



This which is non-distinct from knowledge, than knowing which knowledge
Straightaway, here there is none other to know
As any ultimate knowing beyond; such the supreme secret
Of the most informed of men; who is there to know? (101)



This which ever prevails, surmounting each interest-item,
One's proper retrospection alone can comprise:
By means of extremely lucid memory, however, the revealing
Of ultimate-wisdom-treasure is still not to be ruled out.



There is nothing here that we have not already once known;
Hidden by form, knowledge fails us; wakefully to know all this
There is none at all, limitless as it is,
Oh, who can there be at all to know this wonder dear! (30)



Earthy factors shall come to be evermore;
One alone remains not subject to becoming;
What we know, what it is, what we are, are that same;
And all others too remain conforming to its form.



One that is beyond all count and the ordinary -
Besides these two what is of other form
In memory, in sleep, not in any city on high
Could such have any existence, indeed! (60)



As the ego-sense enters into the snake-rope forms
Now as knowledge, now as a limbed agent in alternating duality,
It becomes pure now and then again profane,
Thus should he understand, the intuitive man. (57)



With hearing and such as horses linked, while bearing within
The image of Self, and controlled by the master of faculties,
Is the libido-chariot mounted whereon the ego rides
Dealing unceasingly with each thing of beauty as it proceeds. (114)



The one libido it is that as the "I" sense, the senses,
The inner instruments, the body and all these becomes
Unravelled: where is the term to this? The knower remains
Distinct only till knowledge becomes known.



Bereft of becoming none stays here on earth
In equalized state; a beginningless sport is all this!
In its global fullness, when, as a whole, one knows this,
There comes to him unbounded happiness.



Now there is action which is nescience and again
There is the pure knowledge which is science
Ordained by Maya through these stay divided thus
The meta-dual attitude, the unitive turiya yields. (58)



Of one thing there could be many, as in many objects
One single meaning could reside; by such knowing we can know
Consciousness as comprising all, differencelessly; without any remainder
This ultimate secret, however, is not given for all to know. (42, 81)



Particles there are innumerable in a world
As within such a particle a world too abides;
The inert merges thus in the mind-stuff, as the mind-stuff too
Within the body; thus, on thought they are One.



Nature is water; the body, foam; the Self, the deep;
The "I", "I" rumbling within, the magic of the waves that arise;
Pearls they are each flowering of Wisdom within;
And what one drinks of oneself, immortality verily it is! (115)



As with a well into which measureless sand is wafted
By successive gusts, tier, so too
Exposed, to the waftings of untruth's hierarchy
The inner Self inwardly multitudinous forms it gains. (59, 115)



The ultimate is the sky; wind, that power expansive,
Awareness, the fire; water represents the perceptive organs;
What is given objectively to the sense, the earth;
And what thus keeps as five principles burning has its secret in the One alone.



Neither is there death nor birth nor life duration here,
Nor men or gods not others of that order; all name and form!
Like a mirage based on desert sands, is this thing that stands
Nor is it a thing at all with any content, note.



At birth-time being there is none
And the one born at another instant cannot be
How ever does this exist? Death too is even likewise;
All this but a flux and becoming of the mind-stuff pure! (41)



Contraries like being and becoming, how can they
As creation, endurance and dissolution, in one place co-exist?
For these three to pass into, there is nothing either;
Thus viewed, earth and other things are mere words alone. (41)



Nature, dividing one time as the enjoyer,
As everything outside, immanent or transcendent in glory looms
At another time again, by 'this-ness' expanded
It spreads out as the enjoyable universe. (58)



Like the fire that emerges out of churning sticks,
That boundless Wisdom that from within those who seek prevails
As the Sun ascendant in pure reason's firmament supreme
It stays burning and to its flames consuming, fuel everything becomes.



Breaking up, staying on, or rising again after a change, ever
To continue, such is the course of the bodily nature here;
Watchful of all the three from its position ultimate
The one cleftless Self, that free from all change remains. (58)



Because of cognition, if one should say there is
Earthiness as a reality, that is not true; what there is, is sod;
Without stable content all the limitless entities that stand
Are but Nature-configurations abiding within awareness.



No shadow could exist without depending on a model original
Since the manifest world is seen to have no original model anywhere
Neither shadow nor actuality is this; all seen
Like a snake that a gifted artist might cleverly sketch.



The body and other things all have no being one in another,
Thus the converse position becomes untenable;
As from day to day this remains without setting
It gains the status of verity emerging once again.



Each taken by itself all things here do exist; treated mutually
Each class excludes the other; considered in this way
The body and other things are neither real
Nor lacking in verity; they become unpredictable.



All things are real enough; the philosopher, however,
Grasps all things here as One; when not viewed
Through the inward eye, that great tribulation
Which is Maya, yields much puzzlement, indeed!



As out of knowledge, sparks of fire innumerable arise
Asserting the being of non-being so as to make the world emerge,
Know, that outside of knowledge not a thing exists;
Such knowledge unitive awareness yields. (59, 81)



What has no basis in reality can never hide what exists;
Experience vouches for this; asserting the reality
Of what exists, at every step, by Existence all is here enveloped;
The body and such effects have been made up of Existence. (99)



The effort that is made in view of something dear to one
As ordained too, remaining always constant and same
There is a dear value, unborn, unspent, unpredictable,
One and secondless, which ever endures as one's happiness.



As there is the law of energy remaining ever unspent
By outwardly directed action, there must needs be inwardly
A dear value that is inseparable from it, for which here
The action, is merely a symbol of outer recognition.



To one who has cut connection with the changeful body
There is nothing which surpasses in value his own Self;
As the interest that prevails in respect of oneself, as ordained also,
Never-ceasingly endures, the Self, eternal is.



This which presents itself, as a mixture of the world
And what is real; is a great iniquity indeed;
Indeterminate and unknowable to word or thought,
How could valid reasoning move therein? (38, 96)



This expansive display of operative artifice as by Maya ordained
The shining creative principle of the universe is she;
And she, descending here, her limbs they are that become
The crust of the cosmic egg in number ten million.



The atom and the infinite thus, as being and non-being,
Loom from either side; this experience too
Of being as well as non-being, shall thereafter extinction gain,
And devoid of any basis, shall forever cease to be! (44)



Within the glory of pure knowing, the atom bereft of parts, shall extinct become,
And the infinite too, shall thereafter its own plenitude attain.
Direct experience can alone reveal this boundless
Stuff of intelligence pure, this science-filled ocean of Immortal Bliss. (44)



Till now, not a thing have we here known, as we have kept saying.
In every case, that there is something still of greater happiness;
Although the mind and other factors might vanish
The selfhood of the Soul (Atman) must be said to be Wisdom ever unspent.



Knowledge and "I" are both one, for one divest of all veiling curtains;
Another might have reason to argue still;
If the "I" could be taken as other than knowledge
None there is to know knowledge here at all!



Neither that nor this, nor the content of existence and I
But existence, subsistence, joy-immortal; thus attaining clarity
Emboldened, discarding attachment to being and non-being,
One should gently, gently, merge in SAT-AUM.