Pratah Smaranam – Sloka 1

Adi Sankara has given 3 beautiful verses which summarizes the essence of Advaita Vedanta. These verses are also contemplation mantra (not meditation). Contemplation is on the self and true nature where is there is no duality. We look at the first part of the prayer below.

प्रातः स्मरामि हृदि संस्फुरदात्मतत्त्वं (1)
सच्चित्सुखं परमहंसगतिं तुरीयम् (2)
यत्स्वप्नजागरसुषुप्तिमवैति नित्यं (3)
तद्ब्रह्म निष्कलमहं न च भूतसङ्घः (4)

I remember in the morning the self which shines in my heart, which is existence, consciousness and bliss (sat-chit-ananda) which is the goal to be attained by the paramahamsa sanyasis, which is called the fourth state because it beyond the 3 states of waking, dream and deep sleep. I am that Brahman which is indivisible and not the aggregate of the five elements i.e. ether, air, fire, water and earth.

प्रातः स्मरामि हृदि संस्फुरदात्मतत्त्वं (1)

Early in the morning when I get up, I contemplate on the pure essence of the Atma that is pure consciousness in my heart.
· Pratah- Early in the morning (when I get up)
· Smarami – I remember or I contemplate on the self, the truth of everything and is pure consciousness.
· Hrudhi – In my heart
· Samspurad-Atma-Tattvam – Sphurathi means to shine. The pure essence of Atma shining. Samspurad means glitter or shine, Atma is consciousness and Tattvam relates to the essence.

सच्चित्सुखं परमहंसगतिं तुरीयम् (2)

The goal to be attained by the paramahamsa sanyasis which is sat-chit-anandhaha and knows how to discriminate between the real and unreal i.e. satyam and mitya.

· Sat – means existence or being.
· Chit – means knowledge (nature of knowing). Knowing is not an action, but a swarupam of consciousness. Just like the nature of the sun is to illumine, the nature of consciousness is knowledge.
· Sukham – Happiness or limitlessness. Aham purnaha is the meaning here. Being limited is unhappiness or identity with body mind, sense complex is dukham. But identity with the self is happiness.
· Paramahamsa Gatih Turiyam – Paramahamsa means sanyasis or men of great discrimination. Those who are clear about knowledge and whose commitment is towards moksha only. The word Hamsa denotes a swan. The swan has a discriminative power of only sucking the milk out of a solution that contains milk and water. It has a special feature in its beak and uses it to discriminate it. Just like that, the wise person or mumukshu knows to discriminate between what is real and unreal. Hence they are called paramahamsa. He is the person who knows the limitations of the 4 purushartha.
· Gatih – Also called Gamanam or going or destination. Ultimate destination. The Atma is supposed to be the ultimate destination after which there is no re-birth. Because in knowledge all their karmas get burnt.
· Turiyaha – It is like the 4th state but not really the 4th person. E.g. we have 3 states of experience i.e. sleeping, waking and dream state. In all the 3 states, the atma is there as sakshi. To witness the 3 states of experience there should be the atma like the 4th person.

यत्स्वप्नजागरसुषुप्तिमवैति नित्यं (3)

I contemplate on that consciousness which is ever present in all the 3 states.

· Yad – Which knows
· Swapna – In the dream state
· Jagra – in the waking state
· Sushupti – In the deep sleep state.
· Avaiti – Avaiti means understands or knows or Janati. Kim janati? Swapna, jagra, sushupti janati. Nityam means it is always there.

That consciousness which is always present in the all 3 states as pure knowledge. How do I know that consciousness exists?
The jagath has a status of being known only when it comes to light. For the one who is asleep, there is no jagath for him, no body, no pain, and no sukham or dukham s there. Because the knowledge that ‘I am there’ is also resolved. Even the mind is resolved. (Sushupti avastha). For anything to be known, the knower must be there. In deep sleep state the knower is not there, but the existence of knowledge resides in consciousness. E.g. our eyes become the illuminator from the stand point of light. From the stand point of the mind, the consciousness becomes the illuminator. The knowledge that ‘I am’ is the dead end of the mind, and is also a thought. What is that without which no thought is possible? That is the knowledge that ‘I am’. E.g. when we say that I slept well, or did not sleep, how do you know this? This is because of consciousness being present. If there was no consciousness we would not wake up from sleep i.e. death. But every day we wake up and the knowledge that I slept well or did not, had a dream etc. becomes known to us. Who is this power? That is consciousness.

तद्ब्रह्म निष्कलमहं न च भूतसङ्घः (4)

I am that Brahman which is indivisible and not the aggregate of the five elements that this prakruti is made of.
· Tad – That
· Brahma – Brahman
· Nishkalam – is Indivisible, part less whole.
· Na cha – I am not that
· Bhuta sangha – belong to the five elements combination i.e. earth, space, fire, water and ether.