by B P Wadia 

© 2003 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö 

"To take the unreal for the real is bondage. Friend, heed this."

Thus, spoke the great Sankaracharya, the Adept-Teacher who was more than a metaphysician and a philosopher. Like his illustrious predecessor, Gautama Buddha, he was a religious reformer, an occultist, and an enlightened man. If his above-quoted saying is true then most men and women living and laboring on this globe are in bondage. Many are unconscious of their bondage; and the "clever" among them would ask: "What is real? Is the food we like and eat unreal? Are the clothes dressing our bodies unreal? Is money unreal, and fame and all the rest of it?" 

Shankara's doctrine of glamor, Maya, has been discussed by generations of logicians and speculative philosophers. But for the understanding of the doctrine of
Maya Glamor and Moha Infatuation, (more generally spoken of as Illusion and Delusion) a better approach is the sight of the heart. Although the practical man aspires to apply the teaching in his life, the cold intellectual analysis and speculation cannot be easily and readily accepted. The flights of the mind may satisfy those who desire merely to comprehend the doctrine but continue to live in the ocean of Maya. The man who desires to see the inwardness of the teaching with a view to improve his life uses his heart-instinct to unlock the door of the mystery of Maya and Moha. He feels that there is truth in this teaching. 

The Vivekachudamani, a small book but one very highly valued by devotees of the spiritual life, from which the above saying is quoted, contains some verses of practical significance which help the man of heart to pierce the shell and get at the kernel of what is the Real lying hidden within the unreal. 

"As a cloud wreath, brought into being by the Sun's shining, spreads and conceals the Sun, so the personal self, which comes into being through the Self, spreads and conceals the true Self."

The simple-minded but honest-hearted man knows that the divine and the demonic jostle each other in his blood and brain. To him the above verse offers an image of a psychological truth he has actually experienced. He is aware that his sensuous cravings glamor and infatuate his mind; also that the sun of his soul-nature is there often powerless to bring the mind to listen to the divine voice within. He seeks the next step:  

 "Cut thy bonds stained with the stains of the world; by strong effort make thy 
manhood fruitful."

A little reflection on this injunction convinces him that his dual nature is triple his sensorium and himself, the Soul, are joined by his mind. The mind is the ambassador of the King Soul in the land of the senses; the mind entangled in the social whirl of the kingdom of the senses forgets his duty to his King. By strong effort, he should make his manhood fruitful. How? 

"The fixing of the heart on sensuous things causes the increase of evil mind images, progressively as its fruits; knowing this through discernment, and rejecting sensuous things, let him ever fix the heart on the true Self."

The control of the wandering heart results in control of mind. The heart's nobler aspirations free the mind, dispersing dark images born of the personal self, and then the Light of the Soul guides the Mind. Having glimpsed the sun let him fix his attention thereon. Having created the knowledge of the Real let him preserve its good effects. There are Those who have attained to this high position permanently and who radiate the Light of the Spiritual Sun. 

"Drawing near to that being whose form is ever stainless, illuminated, and blissful, put far from thee this disguise, inert and impure. Let it not even be remembered again; for, to remember as an object of desire the thing that has been vomited, brings contempt."

These steps are simple and what is required is not knowledge so much as the courage to apply the teaching about glamor and infatuation to the personal self. Machinations of the mind hide from us the weakness of our character; the courageous heart sees his weaknesses and seeks to remove these by the aid of his mind. The mind is our enemy now; it becomes our friend when the desire to improve begins to function.

From "Thus have I heard", pages 222-24. Utgiven av Indian Institute of World Culture, 1959.


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