First Lessons in Vedanta

by Swami Sivananda

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Book Code: ES92
150 pages
Book Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 180 grams

Table of Contents

Preface 6
Vedantic Kirtan 7
Vedanta Explains 8

Attributes of Brahman

Upanishad-Jyoti 14


Introduction 27
Three bodies 27
Gross body 28
Subtle body 29
Causal body 29
Five sheaths 30
Gunas 33
Adhyaropa Apavada 34
Avidya 35
How to transcend the sheaths 36
The sheaths are not the Atma 37
Thy real Nature 38


Moksha 39
Three Avasthas 40


1. Anubandhachatushtaya 46
2. Karma and Upasana 46
3. Definition of Brahman 46
4. Maya and Avidya 47
5. Vairagya 47
6. Jahad-Ajahad-Lakshana 47
7. Shravanachat ushtaya 47
8. Evolution of the universe 47
9. Duhkha-parampara 48
10. Pain not the essential nature of the Atma 48
11. Sat-Chid-Ananda are one 48
12. Atma different from the three states 49
13. Uniqueness of knowledge of Brahman 49
14. Brahma-jnana and Moksha 49
15. Adhyaropa and Apavada 50
16. Three Kinds of Satta 50
17. Three Bhavanas 50
18. Shad-Lingas 50
19. Purushatantra and Vastu-Tantra 51
20. Karma and Avidya 51
21. Swarupajnana and Ignorance 51
22. Krama-Srishti and Yugapat-Srishti 51
23. Eternity of the Self 52
24. Jnana-Bhumikas 52
25. Two kinds of Granthas 52
26. Vrittivyapti and Phalavyapti 52
27. Asti-Bhati-Priya-Nama-Rupa 53
28. Avacchhedavada and Pratibimbavada 53
29. Moksha 53
30. Fruit of Nididhyasana 53


Sarvasara Upanishad 54
Niralamba Upanishad 57




Introduction 63
The Categories 63


Seer and the seen 69
Superimposition 69
The two Shaktis 70
Creation 70
Meditation 72
Six Samadhis 72
Analysis of the Self 73
Three kinds of Jivas 73


Introduction 75
Means for Moksha 75
Nature of the world 75
Sthula-Sharira 76
Sukshna-Sharira 76
Adhyasa 77
Ahamkara 77
Neti-Neti Doctrine 78
Vedanta Sadhana 79
Fruits of Self-realisation 79
Vision of a Jnani 80
Jivanmukti 80
Nature of Brahman 80


I. The supreme aspiration – Body is not the I 83
II. Senses are not the I 83
III. Prana is not the I 86
IV. Mind is not the I 87
V. Intellect is not the I 87
VI. Causal body is not the I 88
VII. The Truth behind forms 88
VIII. The Changeless among the changing 89
IX. Qualifications of the aspirant 91
X. The nature of the mind 93
XI.The ‘I’ is the Atma. 93


Introduction 96
Karma 96
Who is a Killer of Atma 97
Renunciation 97


Control of Senses 98
Mind and Its Works 99
Guru and the Disciple 100
Vedantic Ethics 100
Brahman 100
Brahman is Bliss 101
Ishwara and Jiva 101
Maya 101
Projection of the World 102
Sheaths of the body 103
Samadhi 103
Vedantic Sadhana 104
Obstacles in Sadhana 105
The Jnani 106
Vedantic Assertions 106




Vedanta literally means the end, conclusion or the culmination of the Veda. It is comprised of the Upanishads. It deals with the transcendental science of the Atman, or Brahma Jnana. It is the philosophical portion expounding the nature of the Atman, whereas the first portion of the Vedas, the Karma-Kanda deals with ritualistic observances and sacrifices. Vedanta expounds the true nature of the Self, declares that Brahman, the Supreme Self alone is real, the world and the diverse phenomena are unreal, and the individual soul is identical with Brahman. The Upanishads and the Brahmasutras are the most authoritative works on the Vedanta. Upon these intricate texts numerous voluminous complicated commentaries by several great Acharyas like Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, Vallabha, have been written. They are extremely difficult and very lengthy works. And the language too is difficult Sanskrit. Therefore, to give a clear understanding of the basic principles of Vedanta philosophy in easy and simple manner these few lessons are given. They present the truths and the details of Vedanta philosophy in a way that can be read and understood by all and remembered without difficulty. This will give a good idea of the main outlines of the Vedanta philosophy, the details of which could be filled in later through a study of the bigger works. This is a groundwork for detailed Vedantic study. It equips the student with a preliminary knowledge of the Vedanta.



Deho Naham, Jivo naham, Brahmaivaham,
Paramatmaham, Paripoornoham, Siva Evaham.
Brahmaivaham, Brahmaivaham, Brahmaivaham,
Siva Evaham, Siva Evaham, Siva Evaham,
Hamsah Soham, Soham Hamsah, Hamsah Soham Soham Hamsah.
Jagat Kalpana, Jiva Kalpana, Deergha Swapna,
The world is unreal, Jiva is unreal, the world is a long dream,
Tuhne, Tuhne, Tuhne, Tuhne, Tuhne Bolna,
Main, Main, Main, Main, Main, Chodna.


Deho Naham, Jivo Naham, Brahmaivaham,
Paramatmaham, Paripoornoham, Siva Evaham.
Brahmaivaham, Brahmaivaham, Brahmaivaham,
Siva Evaham, Siva Evaham, Siva Evaham.
Hamsah Soham, Soham Hamsah, Hamsah Soham, Soham Hamsah.
Jagat Kalpana, Jiva Kalpana, Deergha Swapna,
The world is unreal, Jiva is unreal, the world is a long dream.
Tuhne, Tuhne, Tuhne, Tuhne, Tuhne Bolna,
Main, Main, Main, Main, Main Chodna!
(Deho Naham…….. )


What is real? How to attain freedom?
How to transcend the body and the mind?
Who am I? Who is Brahman?
Who is a Jivanmukta? Who is a Videhamukta?
Vedanta Explains.

What is the Goal of life? How to reach it?
How to remove the obstacles? How to tear the veil?
How to destroy Dehadhyasa? Where to search for Brahman?
Vedanta Explains.

What is Chaitanya? What is Maya?
What is Avidya? What is Brahma Vidya?
What is bondage? What is freedom?
What is Turiya? What is Turiyatita?
Vedanta Explains.

How to destroy Karmas? How to detach from Upadhis?
How to enter into Samadhi? How to stand as a witness?
How to become bodiless? How to practise Nididhyasana?
How to get the four means? How to do Shravana, Manana?
Vedanta Explains.

The glory of Kaivalya Moksha, the splendour of Brahman,
How to transcend the Koshas and the three Avasthas,
The three Doshas of the mind, the seven Jnana Bhumikas,
The Nature of Avarana and Vikshepa Saktis,
Vedanta Explains.

Meditation on the Mahavakyas and Nirguna Dhyana,
Significance of Om and Soham Dhyana,
Bhaga Tyaga Lakshana, Anvaya Vyatireka,
Neti Neti doctrine, and Adhyaropa-Apavada,
Vedanta Explains.

How to become fearless? How to enjoy Eternal Peace?
How to rest in Swarupa? How to delight in the Self?
How to attain Self-realisation? How to attain Immortality?
How to behold oneness? How to get a balanced mind?
Vedanta Explains.


(Bhuma)-Unconditioned; Full.

(Atitam)-Transcendent; Beyond.

(Paripurnam)-Complete; Plenum.

(Parasamvit)-Supreme Consciousness.


(Jnanaghanam)-Mass of Knowledge.

(Param)-The Supreme.

(Anirdeshyam)-Indescribable; Ineffable.

(Dvandvatitam)-Beyond the pairs; beyond duality or relativity.

(Anavachchinnam}-Unlimited; not separated.

(Nirvishesham)-Without attributes or particularities.

(Akhandam)-Undivided; Indivisible.

(Nishkriyam)-Action less; without agency.

(Kalatitam)-Transcending Time.

(Deshatitam)-Transcending Space.

(Nirvikaram)-Without modification or change.

(Samam)-Equal; Homogeneous.




(Samyam)-All-complete condition of balance and repose.




(Asangam; Asaktam)-Unattached.

(Nirgunam)-Attributeless; Qualityless.

(Nirliptam)-Unattached; Undefiled.


(Anantam)-Limitless; Infinite.




(Achalam)-Immovable; Motionless.



(Avyayam)-Inexhaustible; Unchangeable.



(Amurtam)-Without form

(Atanu)-Without body.



(Apranam)-Without Prana or the vital breath.

(Amanah)-Without mind.

(Atindriyam)-Transcending the senses.


(Satyam)-Existence; True or Truth; Being.

(Shivam)-Blissful; Auspicious.

(Shubham)-Auspicious; Blessed.


(Kantam)-Dear; Beautiful.


(Chaitanyam; Chetana)-Consciousness.

(Chidghanam)-Mass of Consciousness.

(Chinmayam)-Full of Consciousness.

(Chidakashah)-Ether of Consciousness.

(Chinmatram)-Consciousness alone.

(San matram)-Existence alone.

(Tanmayam)-Full of That.

(Amalam; Nirmalam; Vimalam)-Without impurity.

(Avangmanogocharam)-Beyond the reach of speech and mind.

(Nischalam)-Unchanging; Unshaking.


(Nirupadhikam)-Without limitations or adjuncts.

(Niratishayam)-Unsurpassed; Infinite.

(Nirakaram)-Without form.

(Kutastham)-Eternally immovable; Rock-seated.

(Prajnanam)-Consciousness; Intelligence.


(Drashtr)-Seer; Observer.

(Turiyam)-The fourth; Transcendent.

(Vijnanam)-Knowledge; Wisdom; Realization.



(Kaivalyam)-Isolation; Absoluteness.

(Kevalam)-Alone; Absolute.



(Shuddhachaitanyam)-Pure Consciousness.

(Nirdosham)-Without faults.


(Nirvikalpam)-Without thoughts or doubts.

(Svarupam)-Essence; One’s own Form.

(Ekarasam)-One homogeneous essence.

(Aparicchhinnam)-Unlimited; Undivided.

(Trigunatitam)-Beyond the three Qualities of Prakriti.

(Bindunadakalatitam)-Beyond Bindu, Nada and Kala.

(Nishkalam)-Without parts.

(Trividhaparichchedarahitam)-Free from the three kinds of limitation.

(Sajatiya-Vijatiya-Svagata-Bhedarahitam)-Free from the three kinds of difference.


(Nirmoham)-Without confusion or delusion.

(Niradharam)-Without any other support.

(Niralambam)-Without any other support.

(Nirashrayam)-Without any other support.

(Nirdvandvam)-Without pairs or opposites of duality.


(Avinashi)-Undying; Immortal; Imperishable.

(Avyavaharyam)-With which there can be no dealings.


(Alakshanam)-Without distinctive or definitive marks.

(Avyapadeshyam)-Indescribable; unspeakable.

(Prapanchopashamam)-Cessation of phenomena.


(Ajaram)-Without decay or old age.


(Niravayavam)-Without members or parts or limbs.


(Vastu)-Substance; Thing.

(Atma)-Self; Soul.

(Brahma)-The Absolute.

(OM)-The Symbol of the Absolute.

(Tat)-That; Supreme; Transcendent.

(Sat)-Existence; Truth; Being.


The One Being the wise diversely speak of.

The Purusha alone is all this, whatever was and whatever will be.

There was no non-existence, there was no existence, then.

All this is (to be) indwelt by the Lord.

That is called the Adorable; (It is) to be meditated upon as the Adorable.

(It is) smaller than the small, greater than the great.

This syllable (OM), verily, is the Brahman.

(He is) attainable by him whom He chooses.

This is the best Support.

There is nothing greater than (or second to) the Purusha.

Arise! Awake! Obtaining men of wisdom, know (it).

Knowing it, one is freed from the mouth of death.

Knowing the Atman, the hero does not grieve.

All this, indeed, is Brahman.

There is nothing diverse here.

Those who know this become immortal.

This is the support of the Pranas. This is the Immortal, Fearless. This is the final Goal. From this they do not return.

That Eternal is not attained through the non-eternal.

The Non-created is not (attained) through the created.

This universe is the Purusha alone.

He who knows this set in the secret place of the heart, rends asunder, here itself, the knot of ignorance.

Know that one Atman alone; abandon all other speech.

Which (It) shines as the Blissful Immortal.

There the sun does not shine.

After Him who shines, everything else shines.

Brahman alone is this universe, this greatest.

Truth alone triumphs; not falsehood.

He who knows that Supreme Brahman becomes Brahman Itself.

OM-This syllable (the Imperishable) is all this.

OM-This is Brahman.

The knower of Brahman attains the Highest.

The knower of the Self crosses beyond sorrow.

One who is established in Brahman attains Immortality.

Truth, Knowledge, Infinity is Brahman.

In the beginning, the Atman, one alone, was all this.

By which the Unheard becomes heard, the Unthought becomes thought; the Ununderstood becomes understood.

That which is Unconditioned is Bliss; there is no bliss in the small.

Where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else,-That is the Unconditioned.

That which is Unconditioned is Immortality.

He (It) alone is all this.

I alone am all this.

The Self alone is all this.

Pleasure and pain do not touch the Bodiless Being.

Brahman, verily, was this in the beginning.

Existence alone (dear one!) was this in the beginning, one alone without a second.

One should meditate on the Self alone as dear.

He who knows (thus), ‘I am Brahman’,-He becomes this all.

As the Self, alone, one should meditate (on it).

From the unreal lead me to the Real; from darkness lead me to Light; from death lead me to Immortality.

There is no hope of Immortality through wealth.

For the love of the Self does everything become dear.

Lo, the Self is to be beheld, heard, thought over and meditated on.

By the vision, by the knowledge, of the Self, all this is known.

All this is just what this Self is.

Where, to one, everything has become only the Self, then what should one see by what; then, what should one understand by what?

By which one knows all this-It, by what can one know?

Lo, by what should one know the Knower?

He is ‘Not-this, Not-this.’

This is the Self; this is Immortal; this is Brahman; this the all.

This Brahman is without an earlier and without a later, without an inside and without an outside. This Self is Brahman the experiencer of everything.

This is thy Self which is in all things; what is other.

It eats nothing; none eats it.

This Imperishable is the unseen Seer; the ununderstood Understander. There is no seer but That; there is no understander but That.

An ocean, the Seer alone, without duality, does he become; this is the Abode of Brahman.

This is (his) supreme goal; this is (his) supreme treasure; this is (his) supreme world; this is (his) supreme bliss.

That is Light of lights.

As One alone is it to be seen, this immeasurable stable one.

This great unborn Self, undecaying, deathless, immortal, fearless, is Brahman.

(He is) the Controller of everything, the Lord of everything, the Ruler of everything. This is the Lord of all, the Overlord of all beings, the Protector of all beings.

By knowing Him alone one goes beyond death.

By that Purusha is all this filled.

The one God is hidden in all beings.

Consciousness-Bliss is Brahman.

Consciousness is the Support; Consciousness is Brahman.

I am Brahman.

That thou art.

This Self is Brahman.

That is Full; this full. From the Full does the full proceed. Taking the full from the Full, the Full alone remains.


Aparoksha-Brahma-Jnana is direct realisation of the Self through intuition.

Brahmakara-Vritti is generated from the pure mind which is equipped with the four means, by meditation on the Self. Chit is pure consciousness or Knowledge-Absolute.

Dama is restraint of the senses.

Ekamevadvitiyam Brahma: Brahman is one alone without a second.

Faith in the teachings of the Shrutis and the Guru and in one’s own Self is very essential for the attainment of Self-realisation.

Gaudapada was the first systematic exponent of Vedanta.

Hridaya-granthi or the knot of ignorance is annihilated by attainment of Brahma-Jnana.

Ishvara is Sopadhika-Brahman, associated with Maya.

Jiva is identical with Brahman, when its ignorance is destroyed by knowledge of the Self.

Kutastha is Sakshi or silent witness of the mind.

Laya of the mind cannot give you salvation.

Mahavakyas or the great sentences of the Upanishads are four in number; “Prajnanam Brahma,” “Aham Brahmasmi,” “Tat Tvam Asi,” and “Ayam Atma Brahma.”

Nididhyasana is constant and profound meditation on the Self or Brahman, after reflection (Manana).

Om is the symbol of Brahman.

Para-Brahman is Sat-Chit-Ananda-Swarupa, Existence-Absolute, Knowledge-Absolute and Bliss-Absolute.

Quintessence of Vedanta is the identity of Jiva with Brahman.

Rajas is passion which obstructs the dawn of knowledge.

Soham, “I am He,” is a good formula for Vedantic meditation or Ahamgraha Upasana.

Titiksha is power of endurance.

Uparati is satiety or renunciation of works and taking up of Sannyasa.

Viveka is discrimination between the real and the unreal, the permanent and the impermanent.

Wealth of the Atma is real inexhaustible wealth.

X’mas holidays must be well utilised in Vedantic Sadhana.

Yathartha-Brahma-Jnana or real knowledge of Brahman alone can give you Moksha.

Zeal and earnestness are indispensable, if you wish to have quick progress towards Atma-Sakshatkara.

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