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Verses on the Mind and Meditation II

Viveka Chudamani, Verse 383

Perceiving One's Own Perfection

The Viveka Chudamani (Crest-Jewel of Discrimination) is attributed to Adi Shankaracharya, a revered sage who introduced the teachings of Advaita Vedanta throughout India in the eighth century. This scripture, a seminal text of the philosophy, expounds the central teaching that a person’s innermost Self is one with the Absolute—and is, therefore, inherently perfect. It also addresses how a seeker can attain this exalted experience through a steady practice of meditation. Once the mind becomes still, it comes to rest in the true Self.

Viveka Chudamani, v. 383; trans. Swami Madhavananda, Vivekachūdāmani of Śri Śaṅkarācārya, 8th ed. (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1970), p. 145.

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As I offer morning puja with devotion to Gurumayi, the experience evolves into pure unity consciousness. The small “I” dissoves into the big “I,” leaving me with an experience of serenity, love, and bliss. In this nonduality, I am both the Witness and pure Consciousness; the illusion of duality dissolves into the perfection of both being and observing divine awareness. From this Truth arises in me the confidence of moving through my day both as that Consciousness and in service of that Consciousness; as one with my Guru, and grateful for my Guru and the miraculous path of devotion.

California, United States

I love this verse, the colors chosen for the image accompanying it, and the symbol of the blooming flowers illumined by the sun’s rays.  I am deeply touched by how precisely and simply the verse points the way to the experience of my own perfection. By allowing my mind to experience stillness, I can perceive my own perfection—this immense experience seems attainable.

Unterlangenegg, Switzerland

These verses are so beautiful. As I looked at the simple, golden image and read the words, I was immediately drawn deep inside. It happened in an instant, yet I still feel this state. It feels like a delicate, golden sensation of grace and love.

Ludlow, United Kingdom

Shortly after I first began my practice of meditation, one morning my meditation seemed spontaneously prolonged, and very deep. When I finished meditating, I went to get ready for the day ahead. As I looked into the mirror at my own face, I experienced a totally unexpected feeling. I felt, from deep inside myself, that I was infinite. There was no other word to describe this feeling that I had never experienced before.

This acute awareness of my own infinitude stayed with me for a good part of the day. Even though I was unable to clearly explain to myself what that word really meant—infinite—the feeling of infinitude was very strong and clear. It totally changed my understanding of who I really was. Even when my habitual state came back, I knew, and still know, that infinite being is still there, deep inside. 

 Laval, Canada

In my gentle, regular practice of Siddha Yoga meditation, I have sometimes perceived and experienced oneness with my inner Self. At times this has come in the form of a sensation of pure love, or a feeling of deep contentment, peace, and velvety stillness. At other times, I have experienced the presence of beloved Gurumayi so close to my heart.

Nairobi, Kenya

For me, the words of this verse are filled with hope. They have a soothing and calming effect on my being, as though a positive outcome is assured. This new level of perception feels benevolent and protective.

New York, United States

I greet every morning with sweet meditation. Meditation allows my mind to find repose in my Heart, where it is reminded of its divine nature. I experience peace and rest.

Ville St. Laurent, Canada

Last night as thoughts swam in my mind, I repeated the mantra. I experienced my mind coming to rest in the stillness of the Self. I knew it was the mantra that brought my mind to find repose in the boundless ocean of Consciousness within. I felt sublime!

Montreal, Canada

The more I am aware of my gestures, my thoughts, my words, my actions, and also the silence which envelops everything, the more I am aware of an inner presence that is loving and tranquil.

When I am aware of this Witness, which is full of simplicity and quietude, I feel I am in contact with the purest part of myself, which knows what to do, and how to do it. I have the feeling that all solutions are found in the present moment, all joys are in the present moment. When my mind experiences the energy of Consciousness, I feel complete.

This verse inspires me to create a field of quietude, within and without, in all circumstances, and to let my mind be full of attentiveness.

Ramonville-Saint-Agne, France

I am so grateful for these sublime words!
I awoke this morning feeling an inner battle raging within me. I sat to meditate, focusing on stillness and silence. Before long, calm and serenity soothed me back into myself, and a resplendent delight filled me.
When I opened the Siddha Yoga path website and read this scriptural verse, I felt so blessed and guided by the Guru’s pervasive love and care. 
Once again I was drawn into a state of perfect stillness. Sitting quietly, I felt Gurumayi’s presence, and I was filled with gratitude as I watched the splendor of silence unfold within me.

Sydney, Australia

How perfectly the artwork expresses the meaning of this verse. I find myself entranced by the way the beams of golden light silhouette the leaves of the young shoot. I gaze at the elegant font in which the words are written, and revel in the way the light catches the letters and in the perfect placement of the words on the page. Then I move on to read the meaning of the verse and recognize that, simply by spending time with the image, I am already in the Witness state. My mind is still, and the fullness of the moment that I experience is an experience of my own perfection.

I am so grateful for the richness and beauty of the Siddha Yoga path website.

Corsham, United Kingdom

With the reading of this verse from the Viveka Chudamani, my mind stopped momentarily, and I experienced an expansive stillness. Moments later, thoughts started to arise again, yet they were contained within this expansive stillness. As I reread the verse, I experienced the “I” that was looking through my eyes.


Washington, United States

After reading the aphorism, I looked at the swan in the circle beneath the text. The swan is perfectly reflected in the quiet water of a lake.
In the same way, by focusing my mind on the hamsa mantra, I extract the “milk of Consciousness” from the water of the world’s lake. As the waves of the lake gradually subside, I will see my inner blissful true nature reflected outside.
This beautiful aphorism encourages me to practice mantra japa all day long. 

Rodez, France

When I read the scriptural verse in “Perceiving One's Own Perfection,” I smiled. It was an answer to my internal question: how am I aligned with Gurumayi today? Just a little earlier, as I was sitting in meditation, the words, “I am deeply loved. I am deeply appreciated. I am so happy to be in this physical form,” had arisen within me. For the first time I had not resisted, doubted, or created counter arguments and instead, simply accepted those feelings and delighted in them. Reading the scriptural verse, I understood that my experience had been one of perceiving my own perfection; and I smiled because I felt I was in alignment with the Guru’s teachings.

New York, United States

I appreciate the three-step order in which this verse guides us to perceive our own perfection. Rather than saying we have to begin by making our mind still, it teaches us that the first step is to allow our mind to rest in Witness-Consciousness. As we do this, thoughts naturally subside, allowing the mind to become still. In that stillness, we can perceive the perfection of the Self.

I had a direct experience of this teaching when I first embarked on the Siddha Yoga path. For years before that, trying to still my mind was, for me, an exercise in frustration. It was a revelation to hear Baba teach that instead of trying to suppress my thoughts, I could simply witness them as forms arising and subsiding in Consciousness. Once I stopped resisting the thoughts and simply observed them, the thoughts lost their power, and my awareness was free to flow toward the stillness in my heart. And only then did I begin to discover what was meant by the bliss of the Self.

a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher

I sat for meditation this morning only to find my mind racing with thoughts, the way it used to do years ago. But then my awareness naturally and effortlessly shifted from the thoughts in my mind to the space behind the thoughts. I have learned over the years that if I make the effort to sit for meditation, my own inner Self, my own light, and my own shakti guide me to the Witness behind and beyond the thoughts.
I am grateful for the Guru’s grace to perceive this.

Iowa, United States