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Teachings From Siddhanta Bindu

Siddhanta Bindu of Madhusudana Saraswati is a commentary on Dasasloki of Adi Sankaracharya.

When a person says 'I am so and so', 'I live in such and such a place', etc., he is referring to the aggregate of the body, mind and senses as 'I'. Actually, the body, senses and mind are insentient and, like any object outside the body, they deserve to be referred to only as 'this'. The self, which is pure consciousness, can alone be rightly denoted by the word 'I'. This failure to discriminate between the self on the one hand, and the body, mind and senses on the other, is the reason for every one attributing to himself the sorrows, etc., which pertain only to the body, mind and sense organs. The scriptures point out that the individual self is different from the aggregate of body, mind and senses and is identical with the supreme Self or Brahman, which is the indwelling self of all beings. A person, who, as a result of this knowledge, dissociates himself from the body, etc., is free from all sorrow.

The knowledge of the self can be acquired only from the Mahavakyas in Vedanta (the Upanishads) such as 'That thou art' (Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7), 'I am Brahman' (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10). A sentence conveys its meaning only through the meanings of the words in it. The meanings of the words in the above sentences which would be in consonance with the sense of the sentence as a whole can be known only from the scriptures and not from any other source.

It is true that Vedantic statements, being by themselves authoritative, can give rise to the direct realization of the unconditioned Self. But because of the obstruction caused by the doubts arising from the contradictory views of various schools, the Vedantic statements are not able to destroy the ignorance of those whose minds have not attained the necessary maturity. By enquiry the doubts are removed and then cessation of ignorance invariably results. Therefore enquiry is undertaken for the refutation of the contradictory views which are the cause of the doubts.