The Quintessence of Vedanta
(Sarva Vedanta Siddhanta Sara Sangrah)


The Quintessence of Vedanta (Sarva Vedanta Siddhanta Sara Sangrah) By Swami Tattwananda.
Publisher: Sri Ramakrishna Advaita Ashrama, P. 0. Kalady, Dt. Ernakulam, Kerala State, India

Description of Self-Realization according to Acharya Sankara
866. Speaking of the Atman, the sruti says, 'I am the pure, inmost, Atman, untouched by
ignorance, and ever existent. I am at once tranquil and limitless. I am an ocean of eternal bliss.
867. I have existed prior to all else. I am without beginning. All which may be comprehended by
means of words and by the mind, that I am. I am comprehended only by the sruti. Pure knowledge,
Perfect and indivisible -such is my nature. (That which speech does not illumine, but which
illumines speech, know that alone to be Brahman: not this which people worship here. Kena
Upanishad: 1. 1, 4.)
868. I differ from the known and I am other than the unknown. I am free from mAyA and all its
effects. I am the witnessing consciousness; I am pure knowledge, ever effulgent.
869 I am neither the effect nor the cause of anything: Within me and around me there is nothing
other than the infinite Atman. Old age, decay and death are - not for me. I am imperishable, for I
an, bliss eternal; I am , the one without a second. [He transformed Himself in accordance with each
form: that form of his was for the sake of making him known. The Lord On account of mAyA
notions superimposed by ignorance, is perceived as manifold. This self, the perceiver of everything
is Brahman. (Brihadaranyakaopanishad II 5.19)]
870. I am Brahman which is at once the supreme light, and the supreme reality, and which is in no
way other than the innermost Atman, which is indivisible, and, ever pure, which is of the nature of
satchidananda, and 'which is comprehended only by what the srutti: says.
871. It is in this way that the man of renunciation should meditate through all the diverse
modifications of the mind, upon the nature of pure existence as the sole object of thought, in so far
as it is indirectly presented through the words of the sruti. In the first instance,, one begins with the
following concept: 'I am the witness of. the desires that arise in me.' Then step by step, one comes
to realize, as pointed out by the sruti. 'I am pure.' It is in this way that one should meditate upon
the Atman -with entire devotion. Such is the process by which one attains savikalpa. samAdhi, in
association with the words of the sruti.
873. Where the mind functions no longer, where there are no objects of knowledge, and where the
Atman, the witnessing consciousness, is the sole reality, there arises the experience of nirvikalpa
874. One who has practised savikalpa samadhi for a long time becomes at long last fit to attain
nirvikalpa samadhi, by virtue of the residual impression Of what he, has practised previously, at an
earlier stage.
875. It is certain that one who is solely intent upon the realization of Brahman in nirvikalpa
samadhi becomes the eternal Brahman. For such the vicious cycle of birth and death has come to
an end. Such a person attains the bliss that knows no obstacles, but which is eternal in nature,
changeless and continuous.
876. Rare indeed are the knowers of Brahman; ior they are not other than Brahman. They are not
conscious of anything within them such as the idea'of 'I and mine'; nor are they conscious of
anything outside them such as 'this or that'. They are lost, as it were, in the infinite ocean of bliss, -
which is the bliss of the inmost Atman, and they remain for ever absorbed in a grand silence.
877. They are indeed the most fortunate who have lost their individuality in that Supreme Being.
They alone are liberated, even though they might, seem 'to be embodied beings as far as the others
are concerned.'
878. All these three types of samadhi, the savikalpa, either in association with the objects of
knowledge, or with the sruti, and the nirvikalpa should be practised diligently. By such diligent
observance, all that is within oneself, and all that which is without, become negated; and it is only
then that all duality,comes to an end.
879. I shall now recapitulate briefly the nature of the samadhi. Listen with attention. The Supreme
Brahman is of the nature of existence-knowledge-bliss and is the substratum of all.
880. The universe of name and form seems to exist only in so far as it. is superimposed upon
Brahman. In reality, it is upon the triune nature of Brahman as satchidananda that they have their
881. In addition to these three, two different attributes are added' from the world of phenomena
viz. name and form. All these five entities become blended together. Thus name, form, existence,
consciousness and bliss become intermingled.
882. Those who are unenlightened,, mix together the real and the unreal: and they refer to the
combination of the two as 'this universe'. It is as though one should put together the diverse factors
such as coldness, whiteness, taste, liquidity, and the name 'wave' and describe it all together and
say, 'This is a wave'.
883. It is only by superimposing the name and the form that people say, 'This is a wave'. It is in the
way that people , superimpose name and. form up on rahman also. , But when these
superimpositions are
taken' away, what remains is Brahman alone.
884. Therefore a man of renunciation should separate name and form from Brahman, in order to
realize Brahman Which is of the nature of existence-consciousness-bliss by means of concentration,
885. It is in this way that by merging everything in Brahman that the man of renunciation becomes
convinced, and knows for. certain. 'I am -undoubtedly the -supreme Brahman, non-dual, of the
nature ' of existence-knowledge-bliss, and that which constitutes the substratum of all names and
886. Neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air, nor space, nor their products constitute Brahman.
As for me, I am none other than the non-dual Brahman, who is pure existence, and the substratum
of all.
887. I am neither sound, nor form nor touch, nor smell, nor taste, nor even anything other than
these. I am none other than the supreme non-dual Brahman, who is pure existence and the
substratum of all.
888. Neither the dravyas, nor the gunas, nor the kriyas, nor jati nor visesha, nor anything else
constitute Brahman. Therefore I am none other than the supreme non-dual Brahman who is pure
existence and the substratum of all. [Dravyas or substances, according to vaiseshikas are nine in
number. They are earth. water, light, air, other, time, space, soul and mind. Gunas or qualities are
twenty four in number. They are color, taste, smell, touch, sound, number, magnitude. distinctness,
conjunction; disjunction. remoteness, fluidity, viscosity, tendency, merit and demerit. Kriyas or
actions are f ive. They are throwing upward, throwing down-ward, contraction. expansion and
locomotion. Jati or class distinguishes one object from another object; Visesha is the eternal
distinction, or the inherent nature of each of the nine dravyss]
889. I am neither the body, nor the senses , nor the vital force, nor the mind, nor the intellect, nor
the -thinking faculty, nor, the ego. I am none other than the non-dual Brahman who is pure
existence and the substratum of all.
890. Neither space nor time, nor the directions, nor other things. nor the gross word, nor the subtle
constitute Brahman. I am none other than the non-dual Brahman, 'who is pure existence, and is the
substratum of all.
891- The wise man who is ever absorbed in the practice Of concentration, and to whom the whole
of the external world of knowledge becomes blended in the consciousness of Brahman, knows at all
times, whether he is walking, or-standing or lying down, that in reality the universe of name and
form is none other than Brahman, who alone exists and is the substratum of all.
892- One should therefore meditate in the following manner; 'I am Brahman, the non-dual
Supreme bliss'. One should merge in Brahman' all name and form, for they are superimposed on

893. That unchanging, formless, untainted Brahman, who knows no sorrow and who is without a
beginning and an end, and is all-pervading, That I am; and there is no doubt about it.
894. One should meditate in the following manner: 'I am Brahman, who is taintless, who is free
from fear; and also free from the three kinds of limitations imposed by time, space, and the nature
of things, and who is ever blissful, imperishable and free.'
895. One should therefore meditate in the following manner: I am Brahman who is free from all
attributes, whose nature is not reflected in anything else, who is ever free, who undergoes no
change, and who is of the nature of pure knowledge, and of nothing else, and who is ever existing.'
896 One should therefore, meditate thus: ‘I am Brahman, who is ever pure, who is untainted by
ignorance; who is realizable only by means of the right knowledge of Brahman, who is the supreme,
the inmost and indivisible, the self-effulgent.'
897. One, should therefore meditate, in the following manner: 'I am the supreme non-dual
Brahman, whose nature is very subtle, who is pure existence, the absolute, the greatest of .the great
and ever pure.'
:898. One who thus meditates upon that 'pure reality whose nature is indicated by such expressions
as being devoid of change and the like, has one's mind established in Brahman, the goal.

Source: The Quintessence of Vedanta,   A Translation of Acharya Sankara's "Sarva-vedanta-
siddhanta-sarasangraha" by Swami Tattwananda