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Verses for Introspection

Shloka 31 vishuddha-sattvasya gunaah

Ma Gurupriya

  • Shloka 31 vishuddha-sattvasya gunaah

    Ma Gurupriya

State of Supreme Purity

विशुद्धसत्त्वस्य गुणाः प्रसादः
स्वात्मानुभूतिः परमा प्रशान्तिः ।
तृप्तिः प्रहर्षः परमात्मनिष्ठा
यया सदानन्दरसं समृच्छति ।।
– विवेकचूडामणिः ११९

viśuddha-sattvasya guṇāḥ prasādaḥ
svātmānubhūtiḥ paramā praśāntiḥ |
tṛptiḥ praharṣaḥ paramātma-niṣṭhā
yayā sadānanda-rasaṁ samṛcchati ||
– Vivekacūḍāmaṇiḥ 119

Translation:

The characteristics of pure being are placidity of the mind, experience of the Self, supreme peace, contentment, exhilaration and wholesome abidance in the supreme Self, by virtue of which is begotten the taste of bliss continuously.

Points for Introspection:

This is a wonderful śloka and every seeker should do intense manana on each and every word characterizing the viśuddha-sattva state.

At any time, the mind is an admixture of three qualities (guṇas): sattva (the pure enlightening aspect), rajas (the activity-oriented aspect), and tamas (the inertia and ignorance aspect). These three guṇas belong to Nature (Bhagavad Gita 14.5). Sometimes, sattva prevails dominating over rajas and tamas; sometimes rajas rules over sattva and tamas; and again sometimes tamas overwhelms sattva and rajas (BG 14.10). When all the sense organs in the body are adorned by the brilliance of knowledge, then surely it is because of the elevation of sattva (BG 14.11).

In Vivekacūḍāmaṅi, Adi Shankaracharya has mentioned about miśra-sattva and viśuddha-sattva states. From miśra-sattva, arise virtues like ‘amānitvam’ etc. as explained in BG 13.8-12; niyama, yama, śraddhā, bhakti, mumukshutva, various Godly virtues and withdrawal from the unreal. Subsequently Shankaracharya describes the magnanimous viśuddha-sattva state which transcends the hold of the three guṇas – sattva, rajas and tamas.

What is the state of viśuddha-sattva?

Shankaracharya describes the viśuddha-sattva state as that where a seeker attains some excellent spiritual qualities. The seeker experiences ‘prasāda’— placidity or pleasantness of the mind. This placidity is not that which one is familiar with, like what one experiences when any expectation is fulfilled or periods of time when one does not encounter any major problem in life. This placidity graces the mind effortlessly, without any cause or interaction with any outside object or situation. It is spontaneous in nature and is eternal.

Also, in the viśuddha-sattva state, one experiences the Self (Ātmā) within oneself (svātmānubhūtiḥ). The Ātmā is no more hunted or sought in meditation or samadhi. The experience of the Self becomes natural, continuous and all-enveloping.

This experience of the Self leads the seeker to a state not only of ‘prasāda’, but the seeker’s mind is graced simultaneously with ‘paramā praśāntiḥ’ – supreme peace, ‘tṛptiḥ’– contentment, ‘praharshaḥ’– exhilaration and ‘paramātmanishṭhā’– wholesome abidance in the supreme Self. ‘Paramātmanishṭhā’ is that state where one is full and complete in ātmā. A seeker’s abidance in this state is exclusively in the ātmā and in nothing else. The seeker’s life then carries on, led by this ‘nishṭhā’, soaked in the understanding that everything is Self and Self alone. Whatever the seeker does now, he is never disconnected from the Self at any time.

The Self is experienced in a pure and transparent mind when it is rid of all desires and expectations which are the root cause of agitations in the mind. Just as in the absence of fuel, fire gets completely extinguished, in the absence of desires, the mind becomes supremely calm forever. In the viśuddha-sattva state, every quality is opposed to desires; desires simply fly away. As a result, over the calm foundation, the inherent qualities of the Self start reflecting and filling the mind.

When one reaches a viśuddha-sattva state, a state which is ‘sahaja’- natural, all sādhanā stops. The joy that one is looking for arises effortlessly from within, not depending on any object outside.

Now, how do we reach that state? Is it possible? What should be our effort to imbibe these qualities characteristic of the viśuddha-sattva state?

One must read the śloka again and again, chant it repeatedly understanding the meaning and depth of each word. With deep yearning, try to feel in oneself the import of that beautiful state which these words are representing. Try to absorb and assimilate it. How one reads, how much one rejoices in the meanings and how much one absorbs will depend on one’s sincerity of aspiration to reach the state. One must rub one’s personality with these words. Purity will dawn automatically. And, frequently, one must assess, “am I like this?”, “when am I going to be like this?” The real effort to reach this supreme state is in understanding and wanting…. A burning desire, mumukshutva is necessary.

Even if one does not reach the state fully, reading, chanting and contemplating on the meanings of the words lovingly and with a burning aspiration will make a seeker gradually get soaked in these qualities and bring about in his mind peace, contentment and ātma-nishṭhā.

Word Meaning:

विशुद्धसत्त्वस्य (viśuddha-sattvasya) = of pure being; गुणाः (guṇāḥ) = qualities, characteristics; प्रसादः (prasādaḥ) = placidity of mind; स्वात्मानुभूतिः (svātmānubhūtiḥ) = experience of the Self; परमा (paramā) = supreme प्रशान्तिः (praśāntiḥ) = peace; तृप्तिः (tṛptiḥ) = contentment; प्रहर्षः (praharṣaḥ) = exhilaration; परमात्मनिष्ठा (paramātma-niṣṭhā) = wholesome abidance in the supreme Self; यया (yayā) = by which; सदा (sadā) = always; आनन्दरसं (ānanda-rasaṁ) = taste of bliss; समृच्छति (samṛcchati) = is attained;

अन्वयः

विशुद्धसत्त्वस्य गुणाः प्रसादः, स्वात्मानुभूतिः, परमा प्रशान्तिः, तृप्तिः प्रहर्षः, परमात्मनिष्ठा, यया सदा आनन्दरसं समृच्छति ।

viśuddha-sattvasya guṇāḥ prasādaḥ, svātmānubhūtiḥ, paramā praśāntiḥ, tṛptiḥ praharṣaḥ, paramātma-niṣṭhā, yayā sadā ānanda-rasaṁ samṛcchati.

Verses for Introspection

Shloka 31 vishuddha-sattvasya gunaah

Ma Gurupriya

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