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Essence of the Kathopanishad

by Swami Sivananada

Om. May That protect us both (teacher and pupil). May That cause us both to enjoy the bliss (of Mukti). May we both exert to find out the true meaning of the scriptures. May our learning be brilliant. May we never quarrel with each other!

Om Peace! Peace!! Peace!!!

1. Revelation or direct intuition (Aparoksha-anubhuti) is the source of the knowledge of the Atman or the Supreme Self.

2. This Atman is difficult to be known. It is very subtle. It cannot be obtained by arguing.

3. A Self-realised Guru is necessary to lead the aspirants in the spiritual path.

The Pleasant vs. The Good

4. One is good while another is pleasant. Blessed is he who, between them, chooses the good alone (Sreyas); but who chooses what is pleasant (Preyas) loses the true end.

5. Sreyas is the good, the Supreme Self, the knowledge of which leads to Moksha or the final emancipation.

6. Preyas is that which is pleasant. It is sensual pleasure.

7. The individual soul is essentially identical with Brahman. Through illusion or ignorance he imagines that he is bound, is doing actions and is attempting to get deliverance or emancipation.

8. He who treads the path of truth, who accepts the good, attains immortality and eternal bliss; but he who chooses the pleasant, i.e. sensual pleasures, loses the goal of life, undergoes various sorts of miseries, sorrows and troubles, and is caught in the wheel of births and deaths.

9. Sreyo-Marga is the path of knowledge. Preyo-Marga is the path of ignorance or the path of pleasure.

10. You will have to abandon sensual pleasures ruthlessly if you wish to attain the everlasting bliss of the soul or Atman.

11. The good and the pleasant take hold of man. The wise man examines and distinguishes them. The wise man prefers the good, but the ignorant man chooses the pleasant for the sake of the body.

12. The path of knowledge and the path of pleasure are thrown open to a man. He can choose any path he likes.

13. Just as the swan separates the milk from a mixture of milk and water and drinks, milk alone, so also the wise man separates the good in life, and follows the good alone.

14. Wise men know that the Sreyo-Marga leads to the attainment of immortality, freedom and eternal bliss, and the Preyo-Marga to transitory sensual enjoyments and bondage. Therefore they prefer the good to the pleasant.

15. But the foolish or the ignorant who have no intelligence to discriminate between the good and the pleasant, who have no idea of the goal, the means of attaining it and its fruits, choose the pleasant through greed for fattening and preserving the body and for the sake of enjoying pleasures.

16. The two paths are certainly opposing and wide apart. They lead to different results. They are opposite like light and darkness.

17. Avidya or ignorance is the path of the pleasant. It leads to misery, grief and bondage.

18. Vidya or knowledge is the path of the good. It is beneficial. It confers freedom and final emancipation.

Marks of Delusion

19. The ignorant who live in the middle of darkness but fancy themselves as wise and learned go round and round, deluded, in many crooked ways, like the blind led by the blind.

20. Those men who live in Samsara are in the midst of ignorance or thick darkness. They have neither right understanding nor discrimination.

21. They are held and bound by a thousand and one ties of expectations. They are entangled in a thousand and one meshes formed of attachment for children, wife, wealth, property, house, etc.

22. They are ignorant, but regard themselves as intelligent and well-versed in the Sastras.

23. They do not attain salvation. They are caught again and again in the wheel of births and deaths.

24. They undergo the pains and miseries of Samsara, such as birth, old age, disease, sorrow, pain and death.

25. Just as the blind led by the blind on rough and uneven roads suffer, even so the ignorant undergo suffering.

26. The way to the Hereafter is not apparent to the ignorant one who is foolish, deluded by the delusion of wealth. This is the world, he thinks, there is no other. Thus he falls again and again into the net of death.

27. Wealth is the most powerful of intoxicants in the world. It generates pride and vanity. It produces turbidity in the mind and clouds the understanding. It veils the intellect.

28. The necessary means for attaining liberation are not apparent to the careless man who is ever thinking of his sons, wife and wealth and who is enveloped by the darkness caused by wealth.

29. Sensual pleasure is the goal of the worldly man. Money is his God and goal. Eat, drink and be merry,this is his supreme philosophy.

30. Many are not even able to hear of the Atman. Many, even, when they hear of the Atman, do not comprehend it, because their minds are not purified.

The Glory of Brahma-Vidya

31. Wonderful is the man who is able to expound the Self. Wonderful is he who comprehends the Self, when taught by an able teacher

32. Brahma-Vidya is the most wonderful science. This is the science of sciences.

33. What is that supreme spiritual science which being known all other worldly sciences become known. It is Para-Vidya or Brahman-Vidya, by which the Immortal Atman is known.

34. Wonderful must be the teacher who teaches Brahma-Vidya. Wonderful must be the disciple also.

35. Brahma-Jnanis and qualified aspirants are very, very rare in this world.

36. He who is equipped with the four means is fit to tread the path of Jnana-Yoga.

37. Of thousands who have heard this Atman, who seek God, some one alone becomes the knower of the Atman.

38. This Atman cannot be easily known when taught by an inferior person who is not a knower.

39. This Atman cannot be realised by arguing or by reasoning, because it is transcendent, beyond the reach of reason and intellect.

40. The intellect is a finite instrument that is conditioned in time, space and causation. We cannot come to a final and definite conclusion by merely arguing.

41. A man of inferior intellect will be defeated by a man of superior intellect.

42. Arguing is mere jugglery of words. It is intellectual gymnastics and lingual warfare.

43. He who spends his life in mere arguing is caught in the thick jungle of darkness and ignorance.

44. Give up arguing and become silent, introspective and meditative.

45. This Atman is realisable through silent meditation only.

46. Brahma-Jnana or knowledge of the Self cannot be obtained by mere reasoning or argument. One has to feel and realise the Brahmic consciousness through spiritual experience or direct intuitive perception.

47. It is easy to understand and realise Brahman when taught by a teacher who beholds no difference, who has attained Self-realisation.

48. The Eternal is not obtained by things which are not eternal.

49. The Eternal or the supreme treasure of the Atman which is constant, cannot be attained by the inconstant, i.e., by Karma which is impermanent in its nature.

50. The state of Hiranyagarbha, also, is nothing when compared to the eternal life in Para-Brahman.

51. This Atman is very subtle and immanent. It is hidden in the cave of the heart. So it is very difficult to know this Atman.

52. The wise man withdraws the mind from external objects, realises this Atman by means of meditation on the inner self and renounces both joy and grief.

53. This Atman is beyond pleasure and pain, joy and grief. It is an embodiment of bliss. It is Satchidananda-Svarupa.

54. Pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow are modifications of the mind only.

Upanishadic Sadhana

55. The wise sage, by means of meditation on the Atman, realises the Ancient who is difficult to be seen, who is unfathomable, who is hidden in the cave of the heart, who dwells in the abyss, who is lodged in the intelligence, and renounces joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain.

56. The aspirant hears all about this Atman from his able and competent preceptor and comprehends its true nature.

57. He then separates the Atman from the body and mind through discrimination between the real and the unreal, meditates on the Atman and realises it through direct intuitive perception.

58. This world is upheld by Dharma or righteousness. Brahman is the very centre of all Dharmas.

59. Why does a man lead a life of righteousness? Because he wants to attain Brahman or the Self wherein alone he can rejoice really.

60. The Svarupa or essence of Brahman is bliss.

61. Sensual pleasure is a mere fleeting sensation caused by the friction or excitement of nerves. There is reaction here.

62. The Brahmic state is all-full, homogeneous, everlasting. It is an absolute unchanging state.

63. Brahman is other than virtue and vice, other than cause and effect, other than past and future.

64. Virtue and vice, past and future are mental creations only.

65. Time is a mode of the mind. Time also is a mental creation.

66. In Isvara or the Lord, there is simultaneous perception. Everything is present only. Everything is now only.

67. Brahman is eternity. It is beyond time.

68. The goal which all the Vedas speak of which all penances proclaim, and wishing for which the aspirants lead the life of Brahmacharya, that goal is OM.

69. The practice of penance and Brahmacharya, leads to the realisation of Brahman.


70. OM is also known by the names Pranava, Ekakshara, Omkara.

71. OM is a Pratika or symbol or substitute for Brahman. It is Sabda-Brahman.

72. OM is the basis of all sounds. It is the first manifestation of Brahman.

73. OM is the most appropriate sound or symbol of Brahman. It consists of three letters, A, U, M.

74. Sound, word or name is inseparably connected with thought or idea.

75. OM is verily Brahman. OM is verily the highest. He who knows the word OM obtains, verily. whatever he desires.

76. OM is Brahman itself. OM and Brahman are inseparably associated. OM should be meditated upon as Brahman itself.

77. OM is a symbol for both Saguna and Nirguna Brahman.

78. If one meditates on OM with Saguna-Bhava, one will attain the Saguna or the manifested Brahman.

79. If one meditates on OM with Nirguna-Bhava, one will attain the Nirguna Brahman.

80. The manifested Brahman should be reached. The unmanifested should be known.

81. OM is the best prop or support. It is the best means to attain the manifested or Saguna Brahman and the highest or Nirguna Brahman.

82. He who meditates on Brahman becomes identical with Brahman and becomes fit to be worshipped like Brahman.

83. The knower of Brahman becomes Brahman.

84. OM is the highest support. He who knows this support is worshipped in this world as Brahman. He is worshipped like Brahman.

The Nature of The Supreme Self

85. The Atman is birthless and deathless. It did not spring from anything. It is eternal, everlasting and ancient. It is not slain, though the body is slain

86. Brahman is not produced like a pot out of clay. It is causeless. It is free from all modifications which are incidental to things which are formed.

87. Brahman is undecaying and unchanging. Brahman never decays as it is everlasting.

88. Changes and developments do not take place in Brahman as it is unchanging and everlasting. Therefore it is ancient (Purana).

89. Just as the ether in the pot is not affected even though the pot is broken, so also this Atman is not destroyed or affected though the body is slain.

90. This Atman is extremely subtle. It cannot be slain by the sword.

91. Ignorant people think that the body is the Atman, and identify the soul with the body.

92. If the slayer thinks: I slay, mistaking the body for the soul; if the slain thinks: I am slain, then both of them do not know the Atman. Both of them are ignorant. The soul does not slay, nor is it slain.

93. The Atman, subtler than the subtle, greater than the great, is seated in the heart of each living being. He who is free from desire, with his mind and the senses composed, beholds the majesty of the Self, and becomes free from pain and sorrow.

94. The soul of an ant is the same as the soul of an elephant. There is only one Common Consciousness in all beings.

95. The basis or support for all objects of this world is the Atman.

96. The whole world is superimposed on the Atman, Just as the snake is superimposed on the rope.

97. This world has no independent existence apart from the Atman or Brahman.

98. Sitting, the Atman goes far; lying it goes everywhere, because it is all-pervading and infinite.

99. The Atman rejoices and does not rejoice. It enjoys the world in its relative aspect, but it is the silent witness in its absolute nature, and so it does not rejoice.

100. Able aspirants who are endowed with a subtle, sharp and pure intellect, with learning and the four means, can know the Atman.

101. The wise sage who knows the Atman as bodiless, seated firmly in this perishable body, great and all-pervading, does never grieve.

102. The Atman is bodiless within the bodies; it is unchanging among changing things.

103. The sages who have attained Self-realisation, i.e., who have known the Atman through direct intuitive perception (Aparokshanubhuti), do not grieve.

Who Gets Atma-Jnana

104. This Atman cannot be attained by studies of the Vedas, nor by intelligence, nor by much hearing. He whom the Self chooses, by him the Self can be attained. To him this Atman reveals its true nature.

105. This Atman can be attained only by him who is free from desires and who seeks to know it. The Atman reveals its real form or true nature to him.

106. The Self of him who is desirous of knowing it, reveals its own truth.

107. The Atman is attainable by that aspirant alone who seeks the Atman.

108. The Atman is attained by him alone whom God chooses, i.e, on whom God shows His grace, with whom He is pleased.

109. But he who has not turned away from bad conduct, whose senses are not subdued, whose mind is not concentrated, whose mind is not purified, can never obtain this Atman by mere knowledge.

Metaphysics of Man

110. There are the two, the Paramatman (the supreme soul) and the Jivatman (the individual soul). The former is the light and the latter is the shadow.

111. The Paramatman has no concern with works and their fruits. He is always the silent witness.

112. The opposite shore of Samsara is Moksha or release.

113. The body is a chariot, the Atman is the Lord of the chariot, the intellect is the charioteeer; the mind is the reins, the senses are the horses; their objects are the roads. The Atman, united with the senses and the mind, is the enjoyer.

114. The pure Atman is actionless (Nishkriya). It is a non-doer (Akarta).

115. The Atman appears as the agent or enjoyer when it is united with the mind, the senses and the body, through Avidya or ignorance.

116. The mind acts and enjoys through the senses and the body.

117. The attributes of the mind, senses, Prana and body are transferred to the pure Atman and the attributes of the Atman are transferred to the mind ad the body. This is called mutual superimposition (Anyonya-Adhyasa).

118. Through the superimposition, the insentient mind seems to be intelligent, and the impure and insentient body is mistaken for the pure and sentient Atman

119. The pure Atman puts on the appearance of the Jiva on account of this superimposition created by Avidya, and undergoes, apparently the pains of Samsara, birth and death.

120. The Jiva, in essence, is Satchidananda-svarupa.

121. When Avidya is destroyed through the knowledge of the Self, one becomes identical with Brahman or Paramatman.

Importance of Self-Control

122. He who has no discrimination and whose mind is always uncontrolled;his senses are not controllable like the vicious horses by a driver.

123. If anyone is not endowed with the power of discrimination between the real and the unreal, if he is not able to discriminate what is to be done and what is not to be done, if his mind is not controlled properly, he becomes an incompetent driver of the body-chariot.

124. But he who has understanding, and whose mind is always controlled,his senses are under control, like the good horses of a driver.

125. Just as a competent charioteer controls the horses of a chariot by skilful manipulation of the reins, so also a competent driver of this body-chariot keeps the senses under proper restraint, through right understanding, discrimination and will-power.

126. The senses can be controlled through the control of the mind.

127. Control of the senses is an indirect means to attaining the goal or Moksha.

128. But he who has no discrimination, whose mind is not under control, and who is always impure, does not reach that goal, but enters into the round of births and deaths.

129. But he who has understanding, who has his mind always under control, and who is pure, reaches that Goal, whence he is not born again.

130. But he who has a discerning intelligence as the driver and a well-controlled mind as the reins reaches the end of his journey, that highest state of Vishnu.

131. Just as a man can reach his destination, the end of his journey, when the driver of his chariot is clever and when he drives the chariot carefully, by controlling the horses by means of the reins, so also the Jiva can reach its end by the road of Samsara, i.e., can attain the highest place of Vishnu or the nature of the all-pervading immortal Brahman, only when the discerning intelligence or discrimination controls and guides the mind and the senses.

The Inner Order of Priority

132. Here is given the ascending degree of the subtlety of things. Beyond the senses are the rudiments of objects, beyond rudiments is the mind, beyond the mind is the intellect; beyond the intellect is the Cosmic intellect.

133. Beyond the cosmic intellect is the unmanifested (Avyaktam). Beyond the unmanifested is the Purusha; beyond the Purusha there is nothing; that is the end; that is the highest goal.

134. Superiority is graded in accordance with the subtle nature of things. A subtle thing is superior to a gross thing. A subtler thing is superior to a subtle thing.

135. The Atman is the most subtle Vastu (substance). It is superior to all.

136. The cause is subtler and more pervasive than the effect.

137. The five rudiments of matter are superior to the senses, because the senses are formed out of the rudiments of matter.

138. The mind is superior to the rudiments, because it is subtler and is formed out of the subtle Tanmatras or Sukshma-Bhutas in their finest states.

139. The five great elements are the effects of the Tanmatras or Sukshma-Bhutas.

140. The mind is the perceiver (Drik), the objects are the perceived (Drishya).

141. The mind is more internal than the senses. Therefore mind is superior to the objects.

142. The intellect is superior to the mind, because the intellect is subtler, greater and more internal than the mind.

143. The mind passes on the concept to the intellect. The intellect determines, decides and comes to a definite conclusion.

144. The intellect is the prime minister to the Atman. It acts as the chief justice of the supreme court. It is very near to the Atman.

145. The mind is only an instrument. It works through the intelligence reflected in it.

146. Hiranyagarbha is the Mahat-Atman. He is cosmic intelligence. He is universal life. He is the sum total of all individual souls. He is the first born of the Avyakta or the unmanifested.

147. The Avyakta or Mulaprakriti is the seed of all the worlds.

148. Just as a tree exists in a potential state in the seed, so also, the world exists in a seed state in the Avyakta.

149. The three Gunas are in a state of equilibrium in the Avyakta.

150. Matter, energy and sound are in an undifferentiated or potential state in the Avyakta.

151. In the state of Pralaya the whole world gets itself involved in the Avyakta.

152. The Avyakta enters into Para-Brahman as warp and woof. It is the combined state of the potentialities of all causes and effects.

153. The Purusha is the cause of all causes. He fills all. Hence he is called Purusha.

154. The Atman is the end or the supreme Goal of life or summum bonum. Here is the end of subtlety and greatness.

155. He who attains the Purusha is not born again in this Samsara. He attains Moksha or the final emancipation.

156. This Atman is hidden in all beings and does not shine forth, but it is seen by seers through their sharp and subtle intellect.

157. On account of influence of Avidya or ignorance, man, though in essence he is Brahman, is not able to grasp the truth: I am Brahman although he is instructed.

158. But he thinks he is the son of such and such a person, although he is not instructed.

159. Mula-Prakriti, Pradhana, Avyakta, Avyakriti, Maya, are synonymous terms.

The Inward Path of Yoga

160. The ignorant worldly man mistakes the body for the pure Atman and walks deluded in this Samsara. How mysterious is Avidya! How deep and unfathomable is Maya! How marvellous and inscrutable is Moha!

161. This Atman does not shine for those who have an impure, dense or gross intellect, but it is seen i.e., felt or realised, by those who have a pure. sharp and subtle intellect.

162. This intellect is rendered pure and sharp by constant hearing, reflection and meditation on Brahman.

163. Let the wise one sink his senses into the mind, the mind into the intelligence, the intellect into the cosmic intellect and the cosmic intellect into the peaceful Atman.

164. Withdraw speech and the other organs into the mind through the process of abstraction (Pratyahara) and self-restraint (Dama).

165. Merge the mind into the intellect, into the cosmic intelligence or Hiranyagarbha.

166. Merge Hiranyagarbha into peaceful Atman (Santa-Atman) i.e., the pure unconditioned Para-Brahman, the substratum or support for everything, which is changeless, which is the inner Self of all and which is the witness of all the modifications of the intellect. This is the process of involution. This is the method of Self-realisation through Laya-Chintana method.

167. Practise introspection and self-analysis. Control the lower mind by the higher. Stop all the activities of the senses and focus the consciousness on the mind. Afterwards withdraw the consciousness from the mind and fix it on the intellect. Withdraw the consciousness from the intellect and fix it on the cosmic intelligence. Finally withdraw the consciousness from the cosmic intelligence and fix it on the Absolute Consciousness or Brahman or the Absolute.

168. Just as the limbs of the tortoise are withdrawn into its body, so also all the senses are withdrawn into the mind.

169. The intellect is called the Mahat-Atman because it pervades the mind and the senses. It is their internal principle.

170. Merge the intellect into the Mahat-Atman, i.e., Hiranyagarbha. Make your intellect as clear and pure in its nature as that of Hiranyagarbha.

171. Arise, awake; having reached the great teachers, learn, realise the Atman. Like the sharp edge of a razor is that path difficult to cross and hard to tread thus the wise say.

172. Having thus merged the senses, mind and intellect and the Mahat-Atman in the Supreme Self or Para-Brahman, one enjoys eternal bliss and everlasting peace and attains Moksha or final emancipation. One gets true knowledge of the Self.

173. Just as the water in a mirage, the serpent in a rope and the blue colour of the sky vanish by one's seeing the real nature of the mirage, the rope and the sky, so also the illusory world of names, forms and actions, which is produced by false knowledge and which is of the nature of action, agent and fruits, disappears when one attains knowledge of the Atman.

174. Arise, O, man, from the quagmire of Samsara, turn towards the acquisition of spiritual knowledge or knowledge of the Atman or the Supreme Self. Give up thinking about worldly objects.

175. Awake from the slumber of ignorance. Destroy the sleep of ignorance, the seed of all miseries.

176. Approach the excellent teachers, Brahma-Nishtha, Brahma-Srotriya Gurus, who have realised the Atman. Realise this Atman taught by them. Feel I am He, Soham.

177. He who has known that which is without sound, without touch, without form, without decay, without taste, eternal, without smell, without beginning, without end, beyond the intellect, and unchanging, is freed from the jaws of death.

178. This Atman is transcendental, i.e., beyond all sense-perceptions. It is beyond matter. It is pure Spirit. It is absolute consciousness.

179. The Atman is beyond the reach of mind and speech. It does not possess the properties of matter, such as sound, touch, taste and smell.

180. The Atman is of the nature of pure bliss and knowledge.

181. This earth is gross. This body is gross. But the Atman is subtler than the subtle.

182. The attributes of matter such as sound, etc. do not exist in the Atman or Brahman. Therefore it does not decay. It can neither increase nor decrease.

183. A thing that decays is ephemeral. Therefore the Atman is eternal.

184. That which has a beginning is an effect. lt is absorbed into its cause. Therefore it is not eternal.

185. But the Atman has no cause into which it could be absorbed. As it is the cause of all, it is not an effect. As it is not an effect, it is eternal.

186. Decaying objects like trees, flowers, body, etc., have a beginning and an end but the Atman is beginningless and endless, as it is eternal.

187. Do not neglect this. This is your foremost duty. This is your primary duty.

188. As the Atman is very subtle, the path of knowledge that leads to it is difficult to travel.

189. The aspirant who treads the razor-path must be very cautious, vigilant, diligent and intelligent.

190. It is quite clear that a Guru is absolutely necessary.

191. The Upanishads are records of the intuitive experiences of the great sages and seers.

192. The Atman is distinct in nature from the intellect, because it is the silent witness of all, Knowledge-Absolute and the inner-Soul of all objects.

193. Only That which is changeless can be said to be eternal.

194. Having realised the Atman, one is released from the jaws of death. He is liberated from the bondage of birth and death. He is freed from the bondage of ignorance, desire and action. The three knots or Granthis, viz., ignorance, desire and action are rent asunder. He attains Immortality.

Philosophy of Sense-Hankering

195. The self-existent (Brahman) created the senses with outgoing tendencies. Therefore, man beholds the external universe and not the internal Self (Atman). But some wise man with eyes averted from sensual objects, with his senses turned away from objects, desirous of immortality, sees the Atman within.

196. It is not possible to have light and darkness at the same time and at the same place. Even so it is not possible to enjoy sensual pleasures and bliss of the soul at the same time or to revel in sensual objects and behold the inner self at the same time, or to worship God and mammon simultaneously.

197. The ignorant run after external objects of desire and fall into the snares of the wide-spread death. But wise men, knowing the nature of immortality, do not covet the fleeting unstable objects here.

198. The two obstacles that stand in the way of attaining Self-realisation are the natural tendency of the senses to run towards external objects and the desire for enjoyments of this world and the next.

199. The senses run towards the external objects on account of Vikshepa-Sakti or Rajas.

200. Not only the eyes but all the organs have to be withdrawn from their respective objects.

201. The cause of desire is ignorance. Desire is born of Avidya.

202. If the Rajas in the senses is squeezed out by increasing the Sattva, the senses will be absorbed in the mind. They will not run outwards.

203. Man has forgotten his essential divine nature on account of ignorance, and so his mind runs after sensual pleasures.

204. Ignorant men who have no right understanding and discrimination run after external objects and so they fall into the meshes of the wide-spread death.

205. The Atman neither increases nor decreases. It is constant and is immortal.

206. The wise who enjoy the eternal bliss of the Atman do not care for these little sensual pleasures.

207. The sum total of the pleasures of this world is a mere drop when compared to the bliss of the Atman. The Atman is the ocean of bliss.

208. Desire for sensual objects is opposed to Self-knowledge. It is opposed to Self-realisation.

209. Will any man attempt to eat black sugar and beer-fruit when sugar-candy and mangoes are abundant?

210. To the Self by which one knows form, taste, smell, sound, touch and the pleasures, nothing remains unknown. This verily is That (Brahman).

211. The Atman or Brahman is Knowledge-Absolute. It is Absolute-Consciousness.

212. What is there unknowable to the Atman in this world? Everything is certainly knowable by the Atman.

213. The mind and the intellect, also are insentient. They borrow their light or intelligence from the Atman only, just as the moon borrows light from the sun.

214. The mind, intellect and senses perform their functions through the light of Atman.

215. The Atman is at the back of all sense-perception, mind and intellect.

216. Just as iron filings move in front of a magnet, so also the mind, intellect and senses move or do their functions in the presence of the Atman.

Beyond Fear and Grief

217. This verily is the Atman which is distinct from virtue and vice, cause and effect, which is the highest place of Vishnu, and beyond which there is nothing.

218. The wise man, when he knows that by which he perceives all objects in dream or in waking is the great omnipresent Atman, grieves no more.

219. The state of Turiya or superconsciousness transcends the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states.

220. The Atman is the silent witness of the three states. Hence it is called Turiya.

221. Through the intelligence of the Atman alone one is conscious of the dreaming and waking states.

222. He who knows the eternal Atman becomes absolutely fearless.

223. Fear manifests itself only when one is attached to one's body, when one identifies oneself with the physical body.

224. He who identifies himself with the physical body attempts to protect his body.

225. Wherever there is attachment, fear and anger co-exist.

226. When one knows the Atman which is one without a second and eternal, through Self-realisation, then, who would wish to protect what and from whom?

227. The sage beholds the Self alone everywhere.

228. The sage is above body-consciousness. He becomes absolutely fearless.

229. To know the Atman is to realise the Atman.

230. To know the Atman is to become the Atman.

Unity of Brahman, Man and World

231. Brahman appears as the Jiva through Upadhi or a limiting adjunct, viz., Avidya.

232. Brahman appears as Hiranyagarbha through the Upadhi or limiting adjunct of Maya.

233. The sum total or aggregate of Jivas (Samashti) is Hiranyagarbha.

234. The Jiva is a microcosmic aspect of Brahman.

235. When the limiting adjunct drops, Hiranyagarbha and Jiva become identical with the transcendent Brahman.

236. Hiranyagarbha is the first manifestation of Brahman through Tapas or penance or meditation.

237. Brahman called, Hiranyagarbha came into being.

238. Hiranyagarbha is cosmic Prana or cosmic intelligence.

239. All the Devas are fixed in Brahman like the spokes of a wheel in its nave. All the Devas depend on Brahman.

240. Just as a wave is not essentially different from the ocean, just as a golden ornament is not essentially different from gold, so also this manifested world is not essentially different from Brahman.

241. The difference is in name only. Just as a rope appears as the snake, so also Brahman appears as this world of names, forms and actions (Nama, Rupa, Kriya) through Avidya (ignorance) or Maya (illusion).

242. He who thinks: I am different from Brahman, is again born and dies; but he who feels; I am verily the all-pervading immortal Satchidananda Brahman, attains immortality.

243. Brahman is an embodiment of dense, eternal knowledge (Nitya-Vijnanaghana-Svabhava).

244. Brahman is free from the attributes of all Samsara (Sarva-Samsara-Dharma-varjitam).

245. The supreme Soul is identical with the individual and with all creation.

246. Failure to comprehend and realise the essential unity of being is the cause of rebirth.

Mind-Culture for Self-Knowledge

247. By the mind alone could this Brahman be obtained; there is no difference here at all. He goes from death to death, who sees any difference here.

248. The mind is of two kinds, viz., Suddha-Manas or the pure mind, and Asuddha-Manas or the impure mind which is filled with Vasanas, egoism, greed, etc.

249. Brahman can be attained only by the mind purified by the study of scriptures by the instructions of the preceptor, by the practice of the fourfold means and constant meditation on the inner Self.

250. When one attains Self-realisation, Avidya or ignorance is totally removed.

251. The knower or Sage realises that there is Brahman alone, and nothing else exists, and this world is only the manifestation of Brahman, and is not essentially different from it.

252. But he who sees difference, with eyes dark with ignorance, proceeds from death to death.

253. The person (Purusha) of the size of a thumb, resides in the middle of the body, as the Lord of the past and the future, and henceforward, after knowing Him, the sage fears no more. This, indeed, is That.

254. The Purusha or Atman dwells in one's own heart. One Atman is called Purusha, because it abides in the city (Puri) of the body, or because all is pervaded by it, the whole world is filled by it.

255. The Atman is limitless, but the size of the thumb is given for the faculty of meditation only for the beginners.

256. To begin with, aspirants meditate on the Atman as a Jyoti or light of the size of a thumb, in the cavity of the heart.

257. After knowing the fearless, immortal Atman, one fears no more, and does not wish to protect himself afterwards.

258. Brahman is the perfect Purusha. It is the inner soul which always abides in the heart of every man. It is the ruler of knowledge. It is concealed in the heart and mind. He who knows it becomes immortal.

259. Brahman is like a flame without smoke. It is the Lord of the past and the future. It alone is even today, and will be, verily, tomorrow. This verily, is That.

260. Brahman is eternal, immortal (Kutastha) and constant.

261. Brahman exists in all living beings now, and it will certainly exist tomorrow also.

262. Just as rain water that falls on the top of a mountain quickly runs down and becomes dispersed in the valleys and is lost, so also the ignorant man, who beholds differences in life, who thinks that there are different selves in the different bodies, who thinks that the world is different from Brahman and the individual is distinct from the Supreme Soul and other souls, who sees things as different from the soul, who has not realised the substratum of all, who has not cognised the non-dual Brahman, the one real, eternal, immortal, immutable underlying unity, runs down quickly to darkness, i.e., is caught in the round of births and deaths.

263. Just as pure water poured into pure water becomes of the same quality, so also the individual soul who has been purged of impurities and who has cognised the supreme Self through direct intuitive perception, who has destroyed the perception of differences by knowledge of the Atman, who beholds the unity of Self or oneness of the Atman everywhere, becomes identical with the Supreme Soul.

264. The aspirant should have an unshakable faith in the teachings of the Srutis. If there is no faith there is no prospect of attaining Self-realisation.

The Inner Ruler

265. The city of the unborn (Brahman), whose knowledge is eternal, has eleven gates or openings. Adoring Him, one does not grieve and liberated from all bonds of ignorance, one becomes free. This, verily, is That.

266. The two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and the mouth make up the seven openings. The navel and the two lower openings make up ten. The eleventh is the Brahmarandhra at the crown of the head.

267. Just as a city belongs to a king who is independent of the city and who is not mixed with it, so also the city of the body belongs to a king (Atman) who is independent and not mixed with the body.

268. He who meditates on Brahman and has attained Self-realisation does not grieve. He is liberated from all bonds of ignorance and becomes free from the round of births and deaths!

269. A sage is freed from all desires and ties of Karma produced by ignorance. He becomes absolutely fearless. He does not take a body again. He merges himself in Brahman.0

270. Brahman sends up the Prana and throws the Apana downwards. That adorable one, seated in the centre, all Devas worship.

271. There are five principal kinds of vital energy known as Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana. There are five minor Pranas, sub-Pranas or Upa-pranas. The one Mukhya-prana or chief Prana or vital energy assumes the ten forms according to the function done by each Prana (Vritti-bheda).

272. Prana does the work of respiration; Apana the function of excretion; Vyana the function of circulation of blood; Udana the function of voice, deglutition, etc. Samana the work of digestion.

273. Prana is not breath. Prana is vital energy. Breath is only one of the various manifestations of Prana. The function of Prana is connected with breath.

274. The senses and the mind adore their Lord, the Atman, by discharging their allotted duties properly.

275. They propitiate their Lord the Atman, by bringing in the different sensations of forms, colour, sound, smell, taste, touch, just as the subjects please and serve the king by giving him offerings.

276. The senses, mind and Prana are ever active in serving and pleasing the Atman.

277. Atman alone directs the mind, senses and Pranas to do their respective duties.

278. The five organs of knowledge gather experiences from the external world and present them to the Atman. This is their true worship.

279. As soon as the Atman leaves the body, the whole body decays and disintegrates, as in the case of the inhabitants of a city, when the king of the city is driven out of it.

280. Not by Prana, not by Apana does any mortal live, but it is by some other on which these two depend for their life.

281. The real source of life is the Atman. The Prana, Apana, etc. cannot be the source of life. Their work conjointly for the benefit of the Atman only, which is distinct from them.

282. The body is destroyed by the exit of Prana and Apana, and the withdrawal of the consciousness of the Atman within.

283. A house exists for the benefit of the owner who is distinct from the house and who is the director. Even so the Prana and Apana etc., and the senses and the mind, exist for the benefit of the Atman which is distinct from them and which directs them.

284. The Prana and Apana depend on the Atman for their life.

285. They perform their allotted duties in harmony for the benefit of the Atman, their Director.

286. The highest and the principal support of all beings, of Prana, the senses and the mind, is the Atman. It is absolutely independent.

287. Like corn the mortal decays and like corn he is born again.

288. Some Jivas enter the womb in order to have a body; others go into inorganic matter, according to their Karmas and knowledge.

289. The Jiva takes a body according to his Karma performed previously and in accordance with the nature of knowledge acquired by him.

290. He may become Indra or even Hiranyagarbha. He may hold any office in the cosmic hierarchy. He may take his final birth as a man and become a Jivanmukta or a liberated sage.

291. He may become a Muni, a Tapasvin or a Yogi, if he has very good spiritual Samskaras.

292. He may also become a tree or some inorganic matter, according to his Karmas.

293. Brahman is the silent witness of the three states viz. waking state, dreaming state and deep sleep state.

294. The Purusha or Brahman is awake and does not sleep when all, i.e., Prana, senses and the mind are asleep, as He is the witness (Sakshi) of everything.

295. Brahman is ever pure, immortal.

296. It is the cause of all worlds. All the worlds depend on it alone. It is the prop and support for all the worlds. In it all worlds are contained.

297. In deep sleep you rest in Brahman. You actually come in contact with Brahman then, but there is the veil of ignorance. Therefore you are not able to be actually conscious of Brahman.

298. In Samadhi this veil is rent asunder. There is perfect awareness and you are one with the Absolute Consciousness.

299. When the mind and all the senses are at rest during deep sleep, you do experience the true bliss of Brahman.

300. That is the reason why you say, when you come back to waking consciousness; I slept happily, I did not know anything.

301. This memory of bliss goes to prove that Brahman exists, that it is non-dual and it is of the nature of bliss.

Omnipresence of Self Clarified

302. As the one fire, after it has entered the world, though one, takes different forms according to whatever it burns, so does the eternal Atman of all living beings, though one, takes a form according to whatever it enters and is outside all forms.

303. Many argue in order to exhibit their vast learning or erudition and to get victory over others. They do not argue in order to arrive at Truth.

304. Honest and sincere discussion with great souls in order to remove doubts and to get light and clarity is highly desirable.

305. Sincere aspirants may discuss amongst themselves knotty and abstruse problems. This is very helpful for their growth and right understanding.

306. The knowledge of the oneness of the Atman, though supported by authority and even after reiteration, is not firmly grasped by the aspirants. Therefore the Srutis explain the Truth of the Atman in a variety of ways, with diverse illustrations, similes and analogies.

307. The Atman is ever pure and separate from the forms. It is not in the least affected by the forms, because it is without attributes and extremely subtle, is pure consciousness or soul or spirit.

308. How can there be any connection between matter and spirit?

309. The Atman puts on diverse forms through the Upadhis or vehicles or limiting adjuncts viz., the mind, the senses, the Pranas and the body, and is at the same time beyond all names and forms.

310. This Atman is a mysterious Vastu or Tattva or Principle or Being.

311. As the one air, after it has entered the world, though one, takes different forms according, to whatever it enters, so the internal Atman of all beings, though one assumes forms according to whatever it enters, and is outside all forms. It is transcendent, and beyond all names and forms.

312. As the Sun, the eye of the whole world, is not contaminated by the defects of the eye of external things, so the one internal Atman of all beings is not contaminated by the misery of the world arising from desire and Karma, it being external to everything.

313. Just as the snake is superimposed on the rope when seen in dim light, just as silver is superimposed on the mother-of-pearl, so also this world and body are superimposed on the Atman or Brahman, on account of Avidya or ignorance.

314. Just as the rope is not affected by the snake seen in its place, so also the pure transcendent Atman is not in the least affected by the superimposition.

315. Action, agency and fruits (Kriya, Karta, Phala) are falsely attributed or superimposed on Atman, on account of ignorance. These are all false notions only, like the erroneous notion of snake in the rope.

316. The Atman is non-doer (Akarta) non-enjoyer (Abhokta). It is unattached (Asanga, Nirlipta).

317. Brahman is one. It is the Ruler, the internal Atman of all living beings. It is not contaminated by the misery of the world, being external to it.

318. Brahman is the Lord of all, all-pervading, independent. There is none other equal to or greater than it.

319. It makes itself, though one, being manifest by the differences of impure conditions of name, form etc.

320. The wise who behold it within their Self enjoy eternal bliss.

321. The worldly-minded persons who are engrossed in external objects, who are not endowed with discrimination, cannot enjoy this eternal bliss of the Atman. This Atman is concealed for them by ignorance.

322. The wise who behold the Self as the eternal among the transcient, as conscious amongst the conscious, who, though one, grants the desires of many, as dwelling in their selves, to them belongs eternal peace, not to others.

323. The Atman is eternal, permanent and unchanging. This world of names and forms is non-eternal, impermanent and changing.

324. Body, mind, senses and Prana are all included in the term world.

325. This world is like a fleeting shadow.

326. The very idea of change implies that there is a basic substratum which is ever unchanging and permanent.

327. Changes or phenomena can take place only in an unchanging being or noumenon.

328. The screen in the cinema show never changes but the pictures come and go on the screen. Brahman represents the screen and this universe of fleeting forms the pictures.

329. Just as hot water borrows its heat from the fire, so also the intellect borrows its intelligence from the Atman, the source of everything.

330. He who beholds the Atman seated in his heart, enjoys eternal peace. Others who are ignorant are subject to the miseries of Samsara.

331. The sages who are absolutely desireless perceive that indescribable highest bliss as This is That.

332. The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon and the stars, nor do lightnings shine and much less this fire. When He shines, everything shines after Him: by His light all these shine.

333. The Atman is self-luminous. It shines by itself.

334. A self-luminous thing is that which is not in need (Nirapeksha) of any extraneous light for its own shining or effulgence.

335. If you say that the Atman receives its light from some other light, then that light should have another light for its illumination. This will land in Anavasthadosha or regress ad infinitum. So the Atman must be self-luminous.

The Tree of Samsara

336. There is that ancient Asvattha tree, whose root is upward and branches are down. That indeed is pure. That is Brahman and that alone is called immortal. Upon that all the worlds depend and no one goes beyond that. This, verily, is That.

337. You can know the nature of Brahman, the source of the tree of Samsara (Maya-Vriksha) by finding out the nature of the effect, the tree of Samsara.

338. This world has its root in Brahman. From Brahman only the whole universe proceeds.

339. Just as the tree is cut down by the axe, so also the tree of Samsara can be cut down by the axe of non-attachment or the sword of Atma-Jnana or knowledge of the Self.

340. This tree of Samsara receives its sap from its source, Para Brahman or the supreme Self, and grows from the seed of ignorance.

341. Hiranyagarbha or the Karya-Brahman is its sprout. The subtle bodies of all living beings represent its trunk.

342. This whole universe evolved from Brahman moves in the Prana (the highest Brahman). That Brahman is a great terror, like an uplifted thunder-bolt. Those who know this become immortal.

343. Prana means here Brahman. Brahman is the source of this world. He is the Lord of creation. Man becomes immortal by attaining knowledge of Brahman.

344. The statement that the world has come out of nothing is quite absurd. It has come out of Brahman. It moves or vibrates in Brahman. It rests in Brahman. It dissolves in Brahman.

345. Brahman is the bed-rock or substratum for this changing world.

346. Brahman is ever changeless and motionless.

347. Motion or vibration can take place only in something that is motionless. That immovable something is Brahman.

348. Just as servants obey commands at the sight of their master with the thunderbolt raised in his hand, so also this world obeys the universal law.

349. Nothing can escape that law which is unrelenting and inexorable. No one can transgress it.

350. Everything is under its strict control. Creation, preservation and dissolution are governed by an unalterable divine law which no one can violate or break. Therefore, Brahman, working as this Law, is called a great terror like the uplifted thunderbolt.

351. Those who know this highest Brahman, the witness of all our mental activities or modifications or Vrittis, who know that Brahman is the cause of the origin etc. of the universe, and that it guides the world from within, through definite laws, attain immortality.

352. From fear of Brahman the fire burns, from fear the Sun shines, from fear Indra and Vayu and Death do their duty.

353. If Brahman does not exist as the controller or Governor or the Protector of the world, as one with the thunderbolt raised in His hand, this world will not run smoothly and harmoniously in a perfect orderly manner, and a well regulated activity of the Jivas or guardians of the world (Loka-Palas) will not be possible.

Realise The Self Now

354. If here, in this life, one is able to comprehend Brahman before the death of the body, he will be liberated from the bondages, of the world. If one is not able to comprehend it, then, he has to take a body again in this world, of creation.

355. Therefore a sincere attempt should be made to realise this immortal, eternal, self-luminous Brahman, before the falling of the body.

356. Just as one perceives his own image in a mirror very distinctly, so also Brahman can be seen very distinctly in one's own intellect.

357. The perception becomes indistinct in the world of forefathers, they being engrossed in the enjoyments of the fruits of Karma, just as the perception is indistinct in dreams.

358. Just as the image of oneself reflected in water is indistinct, so also the perception of the Atman in the world of Gandharvas is indistinct.

359. But in Brahmaloka the Atman is realised as distinctly as light from shadow.

360. But it is hard to reach Brahmaloka. Special Karma or worship is needed to attain it.

361. Therefore one should attempt to realise the Atman in the intellect itself while here (in this world).

362. A wise man, having understood that the senses separately produced are distinct from the Atman, and also having known their rising and setting, grieves no more.

363. The senses such as the ears. eyes, etc. originate separately from their causes, like Akasa, etc., for perceiving their respective objects.

364. The Atman is pure, stainless, self-luminous, and independent. The nature of the senses is absolutely dissimilar to the nature of Brahman.

365. The senses function during the waking state. This is the rising of the senses. They are absorbed during deep sleep. This is the setting of the senses.

366. There is neither rising nor setting for the Atman.

367. The Atman has neither a beginning nor an end.

368. The senses and the mind which are changing can be clearly distinguished and separated from the Atman which is pure, changeless, eternal, all-pervading, indivisible, beginningless and endless.

369. Having understood the senses as distinct from the Atman, and also their rising and setting, their waking and sleeping, as belonging to them and not to the Atman, a wise man does not grieve.

370. The knower of the Atman crosses grief and is established in bliss.

The Supreme State

371. Higher than the senses is the mind, higher than the mind is the intellect, higher than the intellect is the cosmic intellect. Higher than that is Avyakta, the unmanifested.

372. Beyond the Avyakta is the Purusha the all-pervading devoid of linga (indicative sign). He who knows Him is liberated, and attains immortality.

373. As the senses are distinct from the Atman, the latter cannot be perceived externally by the senses, for it is the most internal of all things.

374. The knowledge of this gradation is necessary for attaining immortality or the final emancipation.

375. During Pralaya the whole world is withdrawn into the Avyakta. Beyond Avyakta is the all-pervading Purusha, the cause of Akasa etc.

376. That by which a thing is reached, known or understood is called linga, such as intellect, mind, etc. He who has not these is alinga.

377. He who knows Him both from the preceptor and the Sastras, and through direct intuitive perception in his own intellect, attains immortality or the final emancipation. He is freed from the knots of the heart, such as desire, ignorance and action.

378. His form is not to be seen. No one beholds Him with the eyes. By controlling the mind with the intellect and by incessant meditation, He is revealed. Those who know this Brahman become immortal.

379. The Atman cannot be seen by the physical eye, because it is transcendental, i.e., beyond the reach of the senses and mind.

Scriptures and Guru

380. He who knows that dwelling in the ether of the heart, by the pure intellect, becomes immortal.

381. When the five organs of knowledge are at rest, together with the mind, and when the intellect ceases functioning, that they call the highest state.

382. Man acquires the knowledge of the world through the five senses of perception.

383. The senses gather the experiences of this world and present them to the Atman through the mind and the intellect.

384. When the five organs are withdrawn from the external objects and merged in the mind, when the mind is centred or fixed in the Atman, when the intellect characterised by determination is not active or does not function, that state they call the highest.

385. When the senses are quietened, when the emotions are controlled, when the intellect ceases to function, that is the supreme state. This is called Yoga.

386. Yoga is the highest path and goal, because it leads to Moksha or the final emancipation.

387. The firm control of the senses, they regard as Yoga. At that time one should be careful, for Yoga is acquired and lost.

388. The senses are restrained and the mind is fixed in the Atman through steady concentration and meditation.

389. At this time the Yogi becomes careful or watchful. He becomes vigilant, for Yoga comes and goes.

390. Yoga comes and goes, if the mind is not rendered quite steady, if the senses are not properly controlled, if dispassion wanes. if there is slackness or irregularity in meditation.

391. Perfect vigilance is necessary when one has started Yoga practice.

The Two Eyes of A Sadhaka

392. The Atman cannot be reached by speech by mind or the eye.

393. Any amount of argument or metaphysical ratiocination will not help the aspirant to attain Brahman.

394. Maharshi Vyasa and Sri Sankara dispensed with mere argument and ratiocination and established their doctrine mainly on Sabda-Pramana which is quite infallible.

395. Place implicit faith in the words of the Srutis and the seers who have actually realised the Atman through direct intuitive perception and who positively assert that the Atman exists.

396. Sabda-Pramana, the Srutis, Apta-Vakya, or the words of the seers is of utmost importance.

397. If you wish to attain the Atman, have faith in the words of the Guru who has actually realised the Self, and follow his instructions.

398. The Atman has to be known from the Guru who knows that the Atman exists.

399. If the Atman cannot be known by speech, mind or the eye, how is he to be known? It is known only through the instruction imparted by a Guru, who knows directly that it exists.

400. It should be known to exist and, also as it really is. Of these two, to him who knows it to exist its true nature becomes manifest.

401. To him who meditates on the pure Brahman, after equipping himself with the four means, the real nature of Brahman becomes revealed.

Renunciation: The Prerequisite

402. When all the desires that dwell in the heart cease, then the mortal becomes immortal, and here one attains Brahman.

403. The condition for immortality is the renunciation of all desires and attachment.

404. The worldly desires are renounced only when the fetters of false knowledge are cut asunder.

405. Mind is the seat of desire. There is no desire in the Atman; it is ever pure and taintless.

406. Desire is the cause of pain and bondage.

407. When all desires are destroyed by the attainment of the knowledge of the Self, one who was mortal before, becomes immortal subsequent to the attainment of this knowledge. He becomes Brahman even here, while living in the body. He is freed from the bondage of Karma.

408. When all the knots of the heart are severed here on earth, then the mortal becomes immortal.

409. Ignorance, desire and action are the three important knots. Egoism, hatred, lust, jealousy, pride born of ignorance are smaller knots.

410. The beliefs, I am this body, This is my property, I am Brahmana, I am the minister are also knots.

411. These are destroyed by the rise of the contrary belief in the identity of the Atman with Brahman, in the form I am certainly Brahman.

Knowledge of Nadis

412. There are hundred and one nerve-currents (Nadis) of the heart. One of them, Sushumna, penetrates the crown of the head. Moving upwards by it one, at the time of death, attains immortality. The other nerves lead to various other courses.

413. The Jivanmukta who has attained Self realisation goes nowhere. His Pranas do not go out anywhere. Being Brahman, he attains Brahman. He attains Kaivalya-Mukti.

414. Those who have not attained Kaivalya-Mukti, who have not realised the absolute Brahman but who have realised the lower Brahman or Saguna Brahman with attributes, go by the Sushumna-Nadi for the solar place and thence through several other planes to Brahmaloka where they dwell till the end of the cycles of creation. In Brahmaloka they enjoy incomparable happiness. When the cycle terminates they merge in Brahman along with Brahma (Creator). This is known as Krama-Mukti or progressive emancipation.

415. The other Nadis are of various courses. They, at the time of one's death, lead to different ways. If the soul passes through these nerves, it is born again in Samsara. It assumes various bodies according to its Karma and desire.

416. The Sushumna-Nadi is also known by the name Brahma-Nadi.

417. The Purusha of the size of the thumb, the inner Self, is always seated in the heart of all living beings. One should draw Him out of one's own body with steadiness, as one draws the pith (stalk) from a reed. One should know Him as pure and immortal.

418. You will have to draw or take out the essence i.e., the Atman from the five Kosas or sheaths, patiently and boldly through Vichara or discrimination and meditation. You will have to separate the Atman from the body.

419. Nachiketas, having acquired this knowledge imparted by Yama, and also the whole teaching about Yoga, attained Brahman, having become free from all impurities and from death. Thus it will be with others also who thus know the nature of Brahman.

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