(Introduction by Sri Bhagavan)
Brahma (the four-faced god) brought by his power of thought four sons, named Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatsujata and Sanatkumara. He asked them to attend to the work of creating the world, preserving it, etc., but they were not interested in it, being completely detached. They wandered about in search of peace and tranquillity. As they were extremely dispassionate and fit (to receive spiritual instruction), Siva, the great God of compassion, manifested himself before them in human form as Dakshinamurti (god facing south) under a banyan tree. He sat silently absorbed in himself, his right hand showing the gesture known as chinmudra.1 The four seekers were drawn to him even as iron is drawn to a magnet. They sat before him and, like him, were absorbed in the Self. Even advanced spiritual aspirants cannot easily understand this state of silence. The world, the seer and the awareness which enables it to be cognized stand as obstacles in their way. But since it is the single power (Sakti) which manifests itself as these three and again withdraws them into itself, everything is that power which is the Self. Shankaracharya has expounded this truth in the following hymn.
1Chinmudra: literally, the gesture of Pure Consciousness, is indicated by making
the thumb and the index finger touch each other and spreading out the remaining fingers. This gesture not only symbolises unity behind multiplicity but also the identity of the individual self and the supreme Self.