THE SVETASVATARA UPANISHADSwami Bhaskareshwaranandas Elucidation of Shankaracharyas Commentary on the Upanishad
By Swami Vedananda
Foreword By Swami Prabuddhananda
THE SVETASVATARA UPANISHAD
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THE SVETASVATARA UPANISHAD copyright © 2001 Swami Vedananda
The Upanishads are a great mine of strength. Therein lies strength enough to invigorate the whole world; the whole world can be vivified, made strong, energized through them.
The Upanishads are the philosophical portions of the Vedas. They speak of the oneness of all existence. The real nature of man is shown essentially as divine and identical with the infinite Impersonal God. The way to that realization is shown by the Rishis who themselves realized the truth spoken of in these Upanishads. The subject matter of the present work is the Svetasvatara Upanishad, on which the great Shankaracharya of the eighth century A.D has written a commentary in Sanskrit. Swami Bhaskareshwarananda elucidated this commentary and other Upanishads in depth at his classes at the Nagpur centre of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, under whom I studied for a long time. This work is unique for its great clarity in understanding the intricate philosophical points involved in grasping the nature of Reality, which is extremely subtle. It will be a great boon to the students of Vedanta Philosohy all over the world. In my opinion such a book on the deep and intricate Advaita philosophy of this Upanishad with great clarity has not yet been published .
I am pleased to acknowledge the help that I received from persons mentioned below in bringing out this book. First of all I wish to thank Swami Prabuddhananda of the Vedanta Society of Northern California, San Francisco, USA, for generously welcoming me to the Vedanta Retreat at Olema, where this work had its inception. The Swami also graciously agreed to write a Foreword to this book. By the grace of Sri Ramakrishna the following chain of events took pace: Swami Vedananda, also of the San Francisco Vedanta Society, had a desire to study the Svetasvatara Upanishad, a desire he conveyed to me, knowing very well of my regular visits to the USA. I readily agreed, and for a few months we studied the Upanishad together at Olema with the help of Revered Swami Bhaskareshwaranandas class notes. This effort ultimately crystallized in the form of the present work. In this way Swami Vedananda assisted in the preparation of the initial draft manuscripts pertaining to Shankaracharyas introduction to the Upanishad and the first three chapters, and later assisted in the final proof reading of the whole book. Another sannyasin, whose name I wish to publish later after receiving permission, did the proof reading of the book at the drafting stage. I am also obliged to a friend of mine (who does not wish his name to be published) for all the help that I received in typing and proof reading of the Sanskrit verses and their transliterations. My heartfelt thanks go to Mr. John P. Kennedy, a friend of mine, for his generous contribution towards the publication of this book.
Lastly my thanks to Srimati M. Jayalakshmi, Ms. C.Subhashini, Ms.T Meena and Ms. Shailaja Kasinadhuni all of Hyderabad, India, for working on the manuscripts on the Computer. Lastly my thanks to all others who contributed in bringing out this book in many other ways.
List of Abbreviations
This is a summary of the Introduction to the Commentary by Sri Shankaracharya. The student may come across repetitions in this introduction as well as in the explanations to the Upanishad. He is requested to bear with them, as in the expounding of the Vedanta, such repetitions have been found necessary. The main trend of this upanishad is Advaita bhakti (devotion); namely, this upanishad inculcates the understanding that sadhaka (the spiritual aspirant), sadhana, (the spiritual practice), and siddhi (the attainment of perfection in the sadhana) are all the Lila of the supreme reality (that is, it is all the supreme reality alone, but appearing in these guises). This is expressed in a personal way by devotees as it is all His lila. This is what is termed advaita bhakti.
Thus the Vedas as well as the Smritis speak of the phenomenal world of names and forms as unreal. It is unreal because it constantly changes and finally disappears. In Brahman there is no grossness or subtleness, so the gross objects like the earth which are finite cannot exist in Brahman, which means this gross concrete world is not real. It is as unreal as seeing two moons where only one moon exists in reality. Therefore the existence of the world can only be thought of as the luminosity of Brahman or as its lila but not as a separate existence from Brahman.
SVETASVATARA UPANISHAD PEACE CHANTS
OM. THAT (ABSOLUTE BRAHMAN) IS INFINITE, AND THIS (RELATIVE UNIVERSE) IS INFINITE. THE RELATIVE (INFINITE) IS PROJECTED FROM THAT ABSOLUTE (INFINITE). THE
Sri Sankaracharya has elaborated the trend in the peace chants in his commentary on this Upanishad. The peace chants convey the fundamental spirit of the Upanishad in a nutshell. There is a definite connection between the peace chant and the lifes goal and the means of attainment. The nature of Brahman and the nature of the world are both essential for reaching the goal and these are revealed in the Shanti Path. Brahman and the universe, Nirguna and Saguna (Brahman without qualities and with qualities), Nirakara and Sakara (the formless and that with form) are all one and there is no difference (abhedha). This idea which will be elaborated in this Upanishad has its genesis in the peace chant. Moksha is the result of Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma (All this is verily Brahman) practiced either through Bhakti (feeling) or through jnana (knowledge) but with transcendent immanent consciousness in both. The peace chants corresponding to the above truth in the Upanishad prepares the corresponding psyche of the sadhaka, in which the transcendent immanent consciousness can play.
OM. PURNAMADAH PURNAMIDAM = That (absolute Brahman) is infinite, and this (relative universe) is infinite. The meaning is, that which is the Absolute is the Relative in lila. Whatever exists is the one Brahman, which evolves without any change in it. Seeing evolution that appears to take place should not carry one away. Purnam means there is no duality in the reality. But in the ignorant there is this imperfection of duality, which carries one away from the truth. Therefore it is the purna consciousness alone that can take one Godward. Sri Ramakrishna explained this truth through the illustration of the ocean in waves and the calm ocean. They both are one and the same ocean. Therefore the Absolute (calm ocean) and the Relative (ocean in waves) are one and the same reality. Purnamadah means every one and every thing is essentially that infinite being. (Therefore every one has the drag within to attain perfection). PURNAMIDAM= The sun, moon, stars and men, women (the Idam) are merely forms or waves on that ocean of existence and hence are in essence that Ocean or Brahman itself. The idea is there is no world there but Brahman alone is. This should bring tremendous Vairagya for the world in the sadhaka and automatically all attraction and repulsion for the world will disappear. The ocean is unaffected whether the waves arise or the waves disappear. No addition or subtraction to the ocean takes place. So also the ocean with waves is that very same Absolute infinite Brahman which the calm ocean is. Sri Ramakrishna expressed this as follows. That which exists when the eyes remain closed is the same God that one sees when the eyes are opened. The idea is when one perceives the snake it is nothing but the rope that he perceives and that is knowledge. Thus there are really no distinctions like the secular and spiritual, as all is one life. PURNAT PURNAM UDACHYATE ==From the infinite and self-effulgent Brahman, the universe rises (is projected). Since it is a projection without any change in the infinite, there is no reality of the projected (the Universe) except that of Brahman (the infinite) anywhere. Udachyate means projected through Maya. PURNASYA PURNAMADAYA =Having come from that infinite this relative (the universe) remains as the infinite. This is the absolute truth where the snake is seen as identical with the absolute Brahman (the rope), since there is no such thing as the snake really existing there. If one feels that he does not exist nor does the world, but that they are both appearances like the waves on the ocean which alone exists, then he has the right intuition corresponding to the nature of Brahman under discussion. PURNAM EVA AVASHISHYATE== The realized souls perceive this world as that infinite Brahman and rationally also it is the truth. Even though today one perceives the world as such due to ignorance, when knowledge will arise he will see it only as the rope (Brahman) everywhere. In samadhi as well as in Vyuthan (descent) he will see only the Brahman. OM! PEACE! PEACE! PEACE=The above knowledge will give real peace. The repetition three times indicates that misery (Ashanti) is three fold which will all be removed by this knowledge. Any thing other than this knowledge only apparently appears to give enjoyment. This peace chant (shanti path) reveals a state where all is one and therefore nothing exists to ask for. This is the real Advaita Bhakti where there remains nothing to ask for. Who is to worship whom when all is one?
MAY HE PROTECT US BOTH (THE TEACHER AND THE TAUGHT) TOGETHER (FROM DANGERS AND OBSTRUCTIONS TO INTUITION) MAY (THAT KNOWLEDGE) FULFILL US BOTH. MAY WE HAVE FITNESS AND VIGOUR FOR (KNOWLEDGE). LET WHAT WE STUDY BE REVEALING. MAY OUR RELATIONSHIP BE UNDYING. OM. PEACE! PEACE! PEACE!
SAHA NAAVAVATU= The guru and disciple are mentioned showing thereby knowledge can come only through a competent guru from whom it has to be heard. May the teacher and the taught be protected from the obstructions and dangers in the spiritual path. The idea is let not our intuition be obstructed by any chance. It is not mere protection for leading a happy life, but let our knowledge be protected
HARIH OM; THOSE SEEKING TO KNOW BRAHMAN QUESTION, WHAT IS BRAHMANS NATURE THE CAUSE (OF THIS WORLD)? WHENCE ARE WE BORN? BY WHAT DO WE LIVE AND (AT DISSOLUTION) WHERE DO WE EXIST. O KNOWERS OF BRAHMAN! IMPELLED BY WHOM ARE WE ENGROSSED IN JOY AND SORROW. (M 1)
Those deeply interested in the nature of reality assemble together to discuss its nature. Since the world is experienced by all, the question is asked who is the cause of creation, how does it continue to exist and where does it exist at the time of dissolution. Many apparent causes are discussed and will later be shown as not the real cause. The world includes the questioner, therefore the relationship of the questioner and the world, with the Reality is to be enquired into and this mantra deals with this. When the nature of the origin, the Brahman, is known then the nature of its products (I and World) will flash. Therefore the question about the nature of Brahman. BRAHMA VADINAH VADANTI- KIM KARANAM BRAHMA Ñ Those accustomed to deliberate on Brahman, ask, what is the nature of that Brahman who is the cause of this world? The sadhaka must know his position in relation to the origin, by knowing this, he will be convinced that he and the world are zeros and that only Brahman is. This will lead to absolute surrender and ultimately the realization of Brahman through the Brahma-lila consciousness, which will dawn on him. Brahma-lila means the appearance of Brahman as the world without really becoming that, just as the rope appears as the snake without really becoming the snake. So the snake is the lila of the rope and in this very sense every thing is held to be the lila of Brahman. Is Brahman the source and what is its nature? An inquiry into the nature of Brahman will reveal there is no I or world in it. The first question, is about TAT (the reality) the Brahman? Next it pertains to IDAM, the phenomenal world about its birth, continuance and dissolution. Both these questions when properly addressed and enquired into will bring us to the truth, that really there is no birth, no continuance nor dissolution and only Brahman alone exists. Sankaracharya specifically points out that in every such spiritual question the answer lies hidden in the question itself. This is further clarified in the explanations to the questions below. KUTAH ASMA JATAH Ñ Where from are we born? Where have I & the world come from? Ñ A critical study of this question will show that in Brahman, which is the origin there is no I or world. So the knowledge will flash that world and I are mere appearances and are zeros. Later it will be seen that the origin, the absolute, being one without a second (EKAM EVA ADVITIYAM), the second and third observed to exist in It are all MITHYA (illusions) and can be viewed only as Brahman in lila. Thus the nature of I and the world is revealed by questioning their origin. Similarly in the question KUTAH ASMA JATAH from where are we born? the position of born is questioned. This will lead to the answer that no one is ever born as there can be no second and third in the Absolute that could come out of It. Thus Brahman is not only the origin of the sadhaka but also of all the other phases of the world (SRUSHTI STHITI PRALAYA Ñ Creation sustenance & dissolution) that are questioned and shown to have no existence. The queries How are I and the world maintained and where do we go at the time of PRALAYA (dissolution) will be answered as the lila of His. Your STHITI (Existence) is in Him. So I and the world at once cease to exist, because He existing, you, your mother, father etc appear to exist. So surrender yourself completely through this inquiry. Since by myself I do not exist, I have no individuality, nor does the world exist. This understanding will lead to transcendental absorption in Brahman. Then NISHTHA (Steadiness) in that, through JNANA (Knowledge) or BHAKTI (devotion) will lead to MOKSHA. I and mine appear from, and disappear in that reality and nowhere else. ADHISTITHAH KENA SUKHETHARESHU VARTAMAHE? Ñ Impelled by whom are we engrossed in happiness and misery. In our lives both happiness and misery are experienced. He is the background of this and it is His lila. Relatively due to ignorance I experience happiness and misery but from the absolute standpoint it is all Brahma lila. By knowing this, one can proceed towards the transcendental truth. So both the relative and absolute phases are the expressions of Brahman and Brahman alone. These questions are for understanding the basic consciousness and the basic illumination necessary for leading a spiritual life. Otherwise what disciplines (sadhana) will a sadhaka be able to undertake without this basic understanding? The underlying light in all these questions is that everything is the Brahma lila. (end M 1)
TIME, INHERENT NATURE, FATE, CHANCE, THE ELEMENTS AND THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL AS THE SOURCE (OF THIS WORLD) NEEDS DELIBERARATION. THEIR COMBINATION TOO IS NOT THE SOURCE, BECAUSE THAT IS FOR (THE BENEFIT OF) THE SOUL , THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL IS ALSO NOT THE SOURCE, BEING A SLAVE TO JOY AND SORROW. (M 2)
For grasping the relation between sadhaka and Brahman many questions were asked in the first mantra. In answer it will be shown that there is no other cause than Brahman for all of them. Thus this world which is nothing but I and mine is shown to be one with Brahman and that there is no real cause for it, as only Brahman exists. KALA, SVABHAVAH, NIYATI, YADRUCCHA, BHUTANI, YONI, PURUSHA ITI CHINTYA = Time, Inherent Nature, Destiny, the elements and the individual soul, as causes require further reflection. KALA = Time. Every thing in the world changes and time is a factor, so one thinks time to be the cause and not Brahman. Accordingly one digresses from truth. Therefore time, the elements etc are shown as not the cause. In reality Brahman is also not the cause. because if the world be real, then only can a cause exist. Therefore Brahman is only the apparent cause of an apparent world. SVABAVAH = Inherent nature. A man struggles to go beyond, but fails again and again, so he concludes, alas! everything is inherent nature, which is insurmountable and can never be overcome, and gives up sadhana. This is another digression, which takes one away from the truth. NIYATI = Destiny. Man feels he is destined to remain as he is, whatever he may do, because he feels his karma has created his destiny, which is insurmountable. So God as a reality of everything disappears and destiny as a reality occupies its place in his life. YADRUCCHA = Chance. A man feels that everything takes place by chance. A man is rich or poor merely by chance, because he feels, I did so much but got nothing whereas the other has become rich in a day Thus he digresses and does not proceed toward God who is the reality of himself and chance as well. BHUTANI = Elements. A man reads some scientific book and thinks the elements are the cause of the world. This is another digression, which takes him away from God who is the real cause. PURUSHA ITI = An intelligent principle behind everything. A man thinks there is an intelligent principle behind this world, just as in ourselves intelligence guides us, so he concludes that this intelligent principle (purusha) is the cause. This again contradicts the lila of Brahman, which is the truth and is another digression. So the conclusion is that one should relate oneself to Brahman the only reality and not to these illusory causes such as time, chance, etc. At the same time one should know that all these relative causes are the expressions of that One Brahman in lila who is the only cause. ATMA API = Jiva or the individual soul is also not the cause. The jiva (individual soul) is also not the cause because it is not independent. Its non-independence is because it is a slave to happiness and misery and further it has no power of regulating creation and therefore cannot be the cause. (End M 2)
THEY THROUGH THE YOGA OF MEDITATION DISCOVERED THE MYSTERIOUS (CREATIVE) POWER OF THE DEITY, HIDDEN WITHIN ITS OWN GUNAS (EFFECTS). THAT NON-DUAL ONE RULES OVER ALL OTHER (RELATIVE) CAUSES, FROM TIME UP TO THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL. (M 3)
Reason has value since it removes the scum of emotional understanding. But reason alone cannot take one to the Truth unaided by transcendental intuition. It is by the help of transcendental intuition that the truth is realized. The sadhaka commences his journey of enquiry, with a belief in the separate existence of himself, the world and Brahman. This is contradictory to the nature of truth and thus leads him to many a false notion about the Truth. Since reason is within the cobweb of subject-object realism or consciousness it cannot take one to the truth which lies beyond. When the identity of sadhaka and world with Brahman and their having no separate existence apart from Brahman is grasped, then the the nature of Reality becomes revealed. This unique relation of the sadhaka and the world with Brahman, the rishis realized through DHYANA YOGA (meditation) and expressed this truth in the words The mysterious Power of Brahman lying hidden within its own gunas. DHYANA YOGA = The yoga of meditation. The meditation here refers to the correspondence between the means and the goal, the means must be subject-objectless, since the goal, the Brahman is subject-objectless. So the meditation must be of a subject-objectless nature; Not in the form I am one with Brahman, but in the form there is no I at all, Brahman alone is. Through such meditation the rishis discovered the nature of the world, and the nature of the cause of the world, the Brahman. Intellect or reason was exercised to the extent possible, but reason being within the realm of subject and object, could not take them to the Transcendental truth. Therefore they resorted to DHYANA YOGA which provided them with the intuitive light enabling them to realize the truth. What is DHYANA? It is the one pointedness of the CHITTA, the mind. Normally the CHITTA vibrates in hundreds of forms of subject-object consciousness. All these thought waves are to be tranquilized and given one direction. They are to be tranquilized by knowing the relation between them and BRAHMAN, that they are in fact the lila of Brahman. This correspondence between the Chitta and Brahman felt through meditation gave them the one pointedness and tranquility of mind in which the intuition of the transcendental Brahman took place. Dhyana yoga therefore also means the correspondence between the goal and the means. This correspondence may be said to be the yoga part in meditation. This transcendental intuition obtained through meditation ripens into realization. Just as a lovers love, vibrates through his whole being and is not outside his being, so also it is necessary to feel the questions in mantras one and two and their answers in mantra three through ones whole being with one pointedness of mind which forms a phase of the Dhyana Yoga. This was how the rishis attained to the knowledge of Brahman. The questions should be felt very intensely and a crying need felt for their answers. This is implied in the statement they discovered the truth through Dhyana yoga. As regards feeling the questions intensely, there is an example. What is my relationship with the creator? I have hands, legs, feet, face, mother, father and I experience this world. Where have all these come from? What is the nature of that which is the cause of all these? Have they all come from time? (Since Time brings in causality, the truth of causality is also questioned as follows). Is He beyond cause or is He the cause or is He not the cause? Or is He the efficient cause? Or the material cause, or both? Thus several questions were raised in mantras one and two. The questions have been answered in mantra three, not intellectually but by the light of intuition obtained through DHYANA YOGA. The sadhaka has to realize the vast difference between light of understanding through meditation and that through mere intellectual cogitation of scholars etc. For example everyone knows intellectually that KARMA YOGA brings in purity, but to feel it through the being as Swami Vivekananda did through the experience of ADVAITA SAMADHI of Ramakrishna and his own advaita experience and then declaring to the world in the words SHIV BHAVE JIVA SEVA, meaning service to man as God is service to God Himself, is quite a different vision of karma yoga . The Shruti here is stressing this very important point when it points out that they discovered (APASYAN) the import of all the questions and their answers through the yoga of Dhyana and not through reason or intellectual cogitation. The need for all sadhakas to follow the same principle in seeking the truth is being stressed. YAH KARANANI NIKHILANI TANI ÑADHITISHTHATI EKAH = Who rules over all relative causes from time to the individual soul. So long as one is in ignorance, there is an origin of the world and relative causes like time, destiny, chance and other relative causes of the world, which are valid. But when the absolute knowledge dawns, all these disappear. So the Shruti to explain this position is stating that all these relative causes are also He Himself in lila, He being the supreme cause of all these. The rishis discovered all these through DHYANA YOGA. The question KIM KARANAM (is Brahman the cause) itself does not arise when knowledge dawns because it would be like questioning about the son of a barren woman who does not exist. Thus there is no KARANAM (cause) of the world since from the absolute standpoint the world does not exist. So really He is not the cause of the world but appears as relative cause like Time etc. through UPADHIS (adjuncts). In the same manner He is the efficient and material cause of the world. DEVATMASHAKTIM SVAGUNAIH NIGUDHAM = The power of the Lord remains hidden within His own gunas. What is this maya? It is DEVA ATMA SHAKTI. DEVA means self luminous reality, It is one without a second and its SHAKTI has no ATMA (self) of its own. So the shakti of Brahman is identical with It. Just as fire and its burning power are identical and the Sun is identical with Sunlight, so also is Brahman (the Deva) identical with its power the shakti (the universe). This power, the universe that is like the rays of the Sun, relatively is made up of the gunas Ñ the satva, rajas and tamas, the matrix of all phenomena. This phenomenon made up of the gunas hides the reality (the noumenon) and reality is not perceived thereby. When the rope is seen as the snake, no longer the rope is seen, as the snake hides it. This is the sense of hidden within its own gunas. The world as such is SHUNYA (a zero), but its reality is Brahman and this MAYA (the world) or the DEVA ATMA SHAKTI is neither existence nor non-existence, but the DEVA itself fundamentally. This they saw in SAMADHI. In the expression YAH KARANANI etc, the rishi shows that Brahman plays the lila as world, as time, as nature etc. Your birth after birth continuously which is according to your karma is His lila. Thus he becomes KARANAM or cause in lila, at the same time He is AKARANAM or not the cause as there is no change in Him really. Even though the world does not exist still we feel, it is there. That is His lila-the DEVA-ATMA-SHAKTI. Thus the real light is given here. The above idea in an aphoristic form has been expressed as DEVA ATMA SHAKTIM SVA GUNAIH NIGUDHAM here. In a subsequent mantra the details of this aphoristic statement will be told. Thus ADVAITA is the fundamental foundation not only of the world, but also of sadhana , moksha, heaven etc. Even though the SAKAMA SADHAKA (aspirant with desire) may not understand the full Truth of ADVAITA, yet advaita is the background of his desire for heaven and also his sadhana for that. This idea Sri Ramakrishna expressed when he said keep the advaita jnana in your pocket and do whatever you like. This means advaita consciousness when grasped even if it be very little, it works through the subconscious and becomes the cause for the gradual evolution of the sadhaka. Thus by just keeping the advaita consciousness in his pocket (in his being) which is the truth, the sadhaka makes tremendous progress. (end m 3)
THEY SAW HIM AS THE ONE RIM (OF THE WHEEL), WITH THREEE TIERS, SIXTEEN ENDS, FIFTY SPOKES, TWENTY FASTENERS, HAVING SIX VARIATIONS OF EIGHT EXTENSIONS, ONE BONDAGE OF INFINITE FORMS, THREE DIFFERENT PATHS AND THE TWO (VIRTUE AND VICE) WHICH CAUSE DELUSION. (M 4)
In 4 & 5 mantras, Brahma lila in detail is described. Mantra 4 commences depicting the relative existence of Brahman in the form of a rotating wheel and in mantra 5 in the form of a river. If Brahman alone were to exist, in its Absolute state of Existence, Knowledge and Bliss, then there would be no world, no bondage, no sadhaka, no sadhana and no transmigration. In the absence of wordly existence, there would be no bondage or liberation and there would be no ordinary person to attain liberation. This would be the position if Brahman was only the Absolute and not also the relative. But Brahman is not only transcendent but is also immanent as the world. Therefore liberation from bondage by sadhana etc is possible in the relative or immanent state of Brahman. Even though it is true that everything is the lila of Brahman, to enable the sadhaka to grasp this Truth in all its practical bearings, the subtle and detailed particulars of this lila have to be stated. The sadhaka is confronted with hundreds of varieties of the world experiences and he has to become aware that everyone of these is Brahma lila with no exception. So these phenomena which the sadhaka experiences are divided into distinct categories such as the Ruler aspect, the three constituents of nature, 16 transformations, such as earth, water, mind, sense organs etc, misconceptions numbering 50, such as disability, satisfaction, success, delusion etc. Then the real idea is brought into focus that all these are Brahma lila. By this illumination the sadhaka will realize that every moment whatever is happening in his life or in the world is all Brahma lila. Thus he will be able to feel the lila of Brahman, at every instant in every phase of his life and of the world. Merely stating everything is His lila is not enough. The Shruti therefore describes everything that is taking place in the sadhakas life and then shows all that as the lila of Brahman in this Mantra. The world as such is zero, but in itself it is Brahman. If the sadhaka is convinced of this, then it will result in absorption in Brahman, then to total surrender and finally realization. The sadhaka must have the above consciousness, in the background of all his sadhana. Then, there are many psychological forces which are the reactions of wrong perceptions and these forces are also Brahman in lila. These reactions are 50 in number and form the spokes, which support the wheel of samsara and keep it moving. The sadhaka has to transcend all these psychological forces by the knowledge of Brahma lila. Knowledge of the nature of these forces, which drags one to samsara, has tremendous value for the sadhaka to overcome them. The sadhaka will know that they are mere appearances of Brahman and thus transcend them. BRAHMA CHAKRA = Wheel of Brahman. It is so called, because Brahman is the reality of everything within the wheel. CHAKRA or wheel is used to denote that everything in it is moving or in a state of constant flux. Repeated cycle of birth and death is like a rotating wheel and so shruti and Sankara call it Brahma Chakra. From infinite time this rotation is going on and PRALAYA means the end of this lila. So every one who is in the Chakra will have to move or rotate constantly. The emphasis is on movement or motion. By this the sadhaka will be convinced of the need for negation or NETI, NETI or VAIRAGYA (Renunciation), as the first requirement for stopping this movement. Not only everything is the lila of Brahman, but also if the lila is taken to be real as in the case of the ordinary person in ignorance, then it becomes a spoke or support to the wheel of rotation. Thus by looking upon it as lila, the entire wheel disappears in Brahman, and this is Moksha. Contrarily looking upon it as real sustains the wheels eternal rotation resulting in bondage. To help the sadhaka attain this consciousness, the description of Brahma Chakra in mantra four is commenced. TAM EKA NEMIN = Him they saw as the one Main Rim, Support of the wheel. The whole world phenomenon of effects (the KARYA JAGAT) has MAYA (also called the Unmanifest, Nature, Nescience etc) of the Supreme Non-dual Self as its source. It is called the Rim, because it is the one background or support of millions of effects, just as the rim supports the many constituents of a wheel. This is the similarity here of Maya (Brahman) with the Rim. Thus the whole world phenomenon is the lila of that Non-dual Brahman and has no reality of its own. The rishis saw this truth in samadhi. TRI VRUTAM SHODASA ANTAM = Covered by three gunas and having sixteen transformations or manifestations. The entire gamut of samsara lies within these three gunas of SATVA, RAJAS, & TAMAS, and sixteen transformations comprising the five elements, viz. earth, water, fire, air and space, and the eleven consisting of, the mind, five sense organs and the five organs of action. Whatever is called the world lies within the extent of these. All these different manifestations are to be known as the lila of that Supreme One, and to know and assert this truth is sadhana. Merely doing some actions is not sadhana. So the sadhaka has to be convinced that world means all these, and all these are Brahman in lila. The basic consciousness of lila is being demonstrated through the illustration of the wheel of Brahman. An alternative interpretation of TAM EKA NEMIN : World is viewed in a different way, as cause and effect. World means all these (16 transformations) manifestations Ñ the effects, of which the undifferentiated is the cause (the one rim). So here also every thing as the lila of the One is impressed. So give up the falsity and see the Truth of lila. Renunciation means to see it as lila. So give up all the spokes by the knowledge of Brahma lila. All this is the DEVA ATMA SHAKTI SVA GUNAI NIGUDHAM (The power of the Lord remaining hidden in His own Gunas). So illumine the sense organs and the objects (which represent the deva atma shakti) as all Maya, but as the lila of Brahman. PRAKRITI ASHTAKAIH = the eight (ingredients) of Nature which create bondage. Bondage is caused by the contact of sense organs with the sense objects. For example the organs are always eager and restless to contact their objects. What are the organs and objects constituted of? They are of the lower PRAKRITI (B. Gita, Ch.7/4), nothing but earth, water, fire, air, intellect etc., but man foolishly thinks he is deriving satisfaction and pleasure from contact with objects, while the fact is that he is bound and fastened to the wheel of Samsara thereby. This is one of the bondages of PRAKRITI ASHTAKA, involving elements and matter. Then there is DHATU ASTAKAM: The contact of organs with objects is viewed differently. The constituents of contact are mere skin flesh, blood, fat, bone, marrow etc. So in reality these filthy things are binding you fast whenever contact of organs and objects occur. Then there is the bondage of AISHWARYA ASHTAKAM. The yogic powers of becoming very small etc. bind you to samsara by not allowing you to know your infinite nature. These are the psychological forces, which bind and cause one to rotate in samsara. Some of the other bondages under this heading have been included under fifty spokes for convenience. SHATARDHARAM = FIFTY SPOKES which are the misconceptions, are elaborated in Shankaras commentary in great detail. Below, some of these misconceptions are summarized and explained. The principle to understand here is that a misconception not only diverts the sadhaka from pursuing the goal but also binds him fast to Samsara. TUSHTI (Satisfaction) Ñ These are the vibrations of mental pleasure (intelligence), arising out of contact of senses with their objects, which are the bondages. One is deluded by thinking that he is getting pleasure and satisfaction from such contacts because the senses and their objects when analyzed are observed to be made up of the 8 elements the DHATUS, which cannot produce pleasure. But yet these contacts with objects like man or woman, along with the subjective idea, I am the enjoyer with a body, create pleasure and satisfaction binding one fast to samsara. Thus the senses cheat you day and night in this manner creating bondages. These bondages rotate you in the Chakra. By the knowledge of lila, the spokes and the twenty fasteners the nails, will fall and release you from samsara. So all these are the expressions of the 50 spokes, they are the outcome of contact of sense organs with objects and are therefore Maya and have to be transcended. The contact of the sense organs with objects is the chief cause of their intensification and this contact is to be avoided initially and later illumined as the lila of the One. ASHAKTI = Handicap or disability. A man with the disability of stammering feels it all his life, so also is the case with blindness or deafness etc. He thinks this inability will prevent him from many endeavors including God Realization and thus it becomes an obstruction or a spoke. MAHA MOHA = Deep delusion. A man develops fascination for a thing, (a girl, wealth etc.) and it further develops into attachment and clinging. This is another psychological force or a spoke binding him. ANDHA TAA-MISRA = Psychological frustration. A man has abundance of wealth, which remains unutilized, and he is suddenly struck with paralysis resulting in great frustration. This psychological force is a spoke. TUSHTI = Satisfaction. A man remains totally satisfied for example with knowledge of agriculture, biochemistry, fossils etc. This satisfaction prevents him from enquiring into God. This type of satisfaction is an obstruction or spoke. SUHRD PRAPTI = Friendscompany. Some are lost in company of friends, without them they are nowhere. This is another spoke, taking one away from God. VAIRAGYA = Renunciation is extremely necessary to perceive the Brahma Chakra as lila. Without this the sadhaka will perceive it as JAGAT or Samsara Chakra and revolve with it with all attendant peacelessness. The eight SIDDHIS = The eight successes. SHABDA = Instinctive knowledge or psychic power, acquired in past lives is awakened in this life by a little training or study. Such knowledge is a spoke, which takes one away from the Truth. In another form of this Siddhi one may be born with a wonderful tendency for science or music and at a young age becomes a sensation in the world. The fame and success in that field takes him away from the real goal Ñ God, and therefore is a spoke. ADHYANA = Power of intellectual study. For example a man with a high intellectual capacity who can read whole libraries in a short time is lost in that itself taking him away from God. So the eight siddhis are spokes. For example what greatness is there if one has developed the power, say, to hear from London while in New York without the help of any material gadget, when this can be accomplished through telephone or radio? So these siddhis are bondages as they take one away from God. DEVATA PUJA. Then there is the bondage of devata worhsip, because there also there is subject object contact, which contact does not allow one to transcend and go to God. EIGHT GUNAS = eight qualities. Then there are the eight qualities, which are the bondages. e.g. A man thinks, I will do good Sri. Ramakrishna said while coming down to the normal plane from Samadhi, Who are you to do good to the world? Doing good with dualistic consciousness is within bondage. VISHWA RUPAIKA PAASHAM = One fundamental basic universal bondage is the desire or vasana or emotion of loveÑwhen that is there, all the other bondages follow in its train, for example love for the opposite sex, son, wealth, when these are there, all the other bondages follow. DWINIMITTAIKA MOHAM = The delusion that is caused by two factors (virtue and vice). The delusion or desire to plunge into the world is caused by good and bad actions performed earlier with dualistic consciousness or the realism of the subject and the object or of I and mine. So one has to remove the consciousness of I and mine by knowledge. TRI MARGA BHEDAM = The three paths of righteousness, unrighteousness and knowledge. The knowledge referred to lies within the limitation of subject and object such as the knowledge of secular sciences etc. When there is lack of absolute illumination, man is compelled to live in the dualistic plane of ignorance taking subject object KNOWLEDGE of world as real and accordingly lives a life either of righteousness, unrighteousness or of knowledge. All these falling within ignorance does not take him to God directly. So one has to transcend the life of DHARMA and ADHARMA (righteousness & unrighteousness) and also the life of pursuit of ordinary knowledge to reach the goal of freedom. BHAVA ASHTAKA signifies the subject-contact both in a life of DHARMA and also in a life of ADHARMA Ñ e.g. a life of mere vairgya or aloofness from the world without illumination is also a bondage since he believes in the separate existence of himself and the world which he wishes to avoid by means of renunciation. VINSHATI PRATYARABHI : Man is not conscious that he is in bondage when his sense organs are perceiving their objects like sound, form, taste, etc. Swami Vivekananda says that the eyes are compelled to see; the ears are compelled to hear; these are also spokes. Perceptions themselves are bondages because they perceive things other than the reality. In the KATHA UPANISHAD it has been shown that the very nature of the sense organs is to perceive the outside phenomenon and not the reality within (PARANCHIKHANI). So all these bondages are to be transcended by the lila consciousness. (END M 4)
WE KNOW THE (RIVER) THAT HAS FIVE CURRENTS OF WATER, MADE TURBULENT AND WINDING BY THE FIVE ELEMENTS, WHOSE WAVES ARE THE FIVE ORGANS OF ACTION, WHOSE ORIGIN (MIND) IS THE ROOT OF FIVE PERCEPTIONS, WHICH HAS FIVE WHIRLPOOLS AND WHOSE RAPIDS ARE THE FIVE FOLD MISERY. FURTHER IT HAS FIVE PAIN BEARING OBSTRUCTIONS AND (TOTALS) FIFTY VARIATIONS. (M 5)
Brahman, which was presented in the form of a wheel in mantra four, is now described in the form of a river. The idea is to cater to a variety of temperaments and therefore the same idea is expressed in the form of a river, which may appeal to some. The sadhaka is conscious of himself and a world. By critical observation of the essential nature of the sadhaka and of the world, through illustration of a river, the illumination that sadhaka and world are essentially Brahman will be brought to light. Brahman, the cause, is itself the sadhaka and the world, which are its effects, and this identity is to be grasped and therefore the description in the form of a river commences. (a) PANCHA SHROTAH = Five currents of water. The perceptions taking place through the sense organs are the five currents of the river. The sense perceptions deviate one from the Truth of the one without a second. That is, when the perceptions (with realism of subject-object) are experienced they drag one away from the transcendental Truth, like the currents of the river. Thus seeing, hearing, touching etc in the unillumined person takes him away from the Truth. Thus he continuously transmigrates and suffers various other reactions in life. So change of perception is the way. Do not see the world as the world, but see it as God. That is, do not see it in the form of subject and object but see that at the core it is the subject-object-less Reality and the subject-object form of vision is apparently superimposed on Brahman, the reality. This will put a stop to the incorrect world perception, which is the cause of bondage. Thus the divinisation of all perceptions is the way to the Truth. (b) PANCHA PRANA URMIM etc = The waves are the five organs of action. It also could mean the five pranas (vital forces) prana, apana etc. PANCHA PRANA URMIM is taken up now even though in the text it comes third, as it is more psychological to take it up here. The subject-object perceptions in (a) give rise to reactions or waves of five pranas. The prana, apana, etc. forces get energised, meaning that the reactions of perceptions take gross physical and mental shape, the karma and jnana indriyas get energised, and gross action is committed by the sadhaka. So change or spiritualisation of perceptions is the way to avoid all this. The subject-object perception gives rise to a reaction, which is called the wave here. Seeing a woman as a woman is the initial subject-object empirical perception, which gives rise to other reactions. The effect of these is to energize the pranas, goading the person to commit gross physical action, if he is not able to control the reactions in their early stages. So instead of the ordinary perception, I am the subject and woman is an object of enjoyment one has to transcendentalise his perception and see the one Brahman appearing as both the subject and the object. Alternatively if the five pranas in the text are taken to mean the five organs of action, the empirical perception energizes the five organs of action resulting in gross action and bondage which is not desirable (c) PANCHA YONI = The senses and their objects are made of the five elements. So all constituents of perception are made of elements and since they are constitutionally so, they can never reach or even allow one to see Brahman but on the contrary will always drag one away from Brahman the Unity. If one thinks let me just taste a little of this world (and has worldly perception) he will be dragged into it. So change of perception means seeing everything as the lila of Brahman. This is the only way. (d) PANCHA BUDHYADI MOOLAM = The nature of perceptions depends on the mind which is their source. The organs receive sensations from the world. But that receiving depends on the nature of ones mind. If there is God in the mind then the perceptions will be Godly. If the mind is demonic then perceptions will be demonic. So spiritualize the mind, then the perceptions through the organs will also be spiritualized. The whole world is based on mind. Whatever one sees is nothing but the states of his own mind, because when the mind ceases to function, duality is no longer perceived. (Mandukya karika 3-31) (e) PANCHA AVARTAM = The five whirlpools. The river of life has five whirlpools, the five objects such as sound, touch etc are comparable to whirlpools, since creatures get drowned in those objects being fascinated (as has been explained under b). (f) PANCHA DUKHA OGHA VEGAM = The speeding rush of five sorrows. This is observed towards the end of life. From birth to death life is not only moving, but is moving through these five painful states of being in the womb, birth, old age, disease and death. The flow of the river, its waves, its whirlpools and its rapidity is symbolic of the sorrowful life of creatures, whose pain rapidly increases as it proceeds. As Buddha said, life is full of sorrow (sarvam dukham). Really in life all momentary happiness is tinged with pain. (g) PANCHA PARVAM = The five stages of pain bearing obstructions. The five pain bearing obstructions add to the intensity of the painful states described in (f) above. For e.g. AVIDYA or cloudiness of mind is one such obstruction. A person becomes egoistic and that is another obstruction. Attachment and repulsion, jealousy and clinging to life are the other obstructions. These reinforce the flow of life in the form of birth and death. Tremendous attachment to life itself is another form of obstruction. The Root cause of all these is the mind, MANAH EVA BANDHA MOKSHA KARANAM (mind alone is the cause of bondage and liberation). PANCHASHAD BHEDAM = Fifty different flow patterns. Shankara has omitted this. It means in these fifty different ways the life flows. In the text only the prominent ones, PANCA SROTA etc have been enumerated, but these other fifty represent their reactions. Even SUKHA (Happiness) is a form of DUKHA (pain) because as you go on enjoying, it will always end in pain; that is pleasure (sukha) changes into pain (dukha). When you will know that He appears as all these then you will attain to Supersensuous (ATINDRIYA) perception. The River of Samsara will then be perceived as Brahma lila. (End M 5)
IN THIS GREAT WHEEL OF BRAHMAN, ALL LIFE EXISTS AND IN THAT IT FINALLY DISSOLVES, IN IT THE JIVA ROTATES CONSIDERING ITSELF AS SEPARATE FROM BRAHMAN (THE CONTROLLER). WHEN HOWEVER IT ADORES (IDENTIFIES WITH) GOD, IT BECOMES IMMORTAL. (M 6)
So far in mantras four and five Brahman was revealed through the two illustrations of wheel and river. But there is the danger of a pantheistic understanding when the Brahmic Consciousness is described through illustrations. Usually the understanding takes the form; Brahman exists along with world phenomena (SA PRAPANCHA), where the duality of world and Brahman still remains. This being an error requires further illumination and this is the theme of mantra six. PRUTHAK ATMANAM PRERITARAM MATHVAÑBHRAMYATE BRAHMACHAKRE = The jiva considering himself as separate from Brahman rotates in the wheel of Brahman. It is shown that the cause of Transmigration or Rotation in Samsara is because of the wrong belief I am a (Jiva), separate from Brahman my Controller. So long this belief prevails in ones sadhana one is bound to rotate in this Samsara. However if one does sadhana with the belief in the unreality of I and world even though they appear to exist and identifies oneself with Brahman, then there is no more rotation or birth for one in samsara. One attains MOKSHA or identity with the Reality. The illustrations of the wheel and river are to be understood in the sense of One Transcendent and Immanent Reality appearing as all, like the rope appearing as the snake, and not in a pantheistic sense. Then only they lead to Moksha. So spiritual life means change of perception and not just some good habits or religious observances. Here is a quotation: He who worships God thinking, He is one and I am another, does not know. He is like an animal to the gods (Brh. Upanisad 1.4.10) Accordingly the perception of duality leads to Samsara and he who believes all as the One Self attains to Moksha. (end M 6)
BRAHMAN IS TAUGHT (IN THE UPANISADS) AS SUPREME (BECAUSE IT IS BEYOND THE TOUCH OF THE PHENOMENAL). IN THAT UNCHANGEABLE, THE TRIPLE PHENOMENA (THE ENJOYER, THE OBJECT AND THEIR CONTROLER) HAVE THEIR FIRM SUPPORT. THE KNOWERS OF BRAHMAN UNDERSTANDING THIS, MERGE IN BRAHMAN BY BECOMING ONE WITH IT AND ARE FREED FROM BIRTH. (M 7)
In mantras four and five the illustrations of the wheel of Brahman and that of a river were employed to illustrate the truth. This can lead to a false understanding, that Brahman has really become the wheel of samsara, which however is not the truth. This point is clarified in mantras six and seven. The right perception that Brahman appears as the phenomenal was indicated through the two illustrations. But because of misunderstanding, the sadhaka feels that the phenomenal universe has been explained as existing along with Brahman. Accordingly he feels identification with Brahman (which is moksha) is not possible. But the Shruti however has said in mantra six that By identifying with Him Immortality is achieved. The sadhakas misunderstanding arises from his belief in the separate existence of the phenomenal universe along with Brahman. The Shruti knowing that its earlier instructions have been misunderstood clarifies in strong and categorical terms that Brahman is Absolute and no universe exists along with it or in it as follows. BRAHMAN IS TAUGHT (IN THE UPANISADS) AS SUPREME (BECAUSE IT IS BEYOND DUALITY WITH NO TOUCH OF THE PHENOMENAL). By saying that Brahman is beyond the Shruti shows its right implication to mean an absolute consciousness with no touch of the world. To attain this state, meditation on SAGUNA BRAHMAN (Brahman with maya) is only a step. In the Saguna Brahman consciousness there remains some realism of the world which contradicts the truth. But Advaita asserts that the universe is a mere appearance, or a misreading of Brahman. In reality Brahman alone exists, but is misread as the universe, just as the rope which alone exists, is misread as the snake. UDGITAM = Brahman has been proclaimed to be. We have to recall to memory what objective is being achieved by mantra seven. The Truth is, the Absolute (Brahman) is itself the Relative (Universe). In mantras five and six the right perception of the Relative (Samsara), as the Absolute (Brahman) was shown. But that is usually misunderstood in the sense that the Absolute and Relative may exist together and that the Relative has also a separate existence. By the terms UDGITAM, PARAMAM and SUPRATISHTA AKSHARAM the Shruti wants to clarify that the One Absolute alone exists and there is no separate universe, even though in the stage of sadhana and in the process of merging in the Absolute, the universe has a relative existence, so long one is in ignorance. This relative existence vanishes when the Absolute is reached. To convince the sadhaka of this Absolute nature of Reality Shankaracharya has quoted from many Upanishads about this distinct nature of Brahman. The word distinct implies the complete Transcendence of Brahman over the world. Brahman has no touch with the world, as the world does not exist, just as the rope has no contact with the snake imagined in it. In this connection it will be observed that even some great philosophers have felt it necessary to maintain the existence of the subject-object world, obstructing the merging in that Absolute subject-object-less consciousness. So the Shruti comes down on such notions by declaring that Brahman is Udgitam (distinct from the world). Tremendous uncompromising Vairagya for the world, is the other implication of Udgitam. So Udgitam means that the Truth is Beyond this subject-object based world which is a false superimposition on Brahman and Shankaras many scriptural quotations confirms this truth. PARAMAM: Brahman has no connection with the world. If it has connection then it is not Supreme (PARAMAM) at all, because then it will be affected by the qualities of the world. Brahman is also Paramam because it is proclaimed as Transcendent in the scriptures. From the characteristics of Brahman, viz, its having no touch with the universe some philosophers wrongly conclude that the scriptures imply that the universe can exist as a separate entity. This is clarified below. TASMIN TRAYAM = In that absolute is this world of enjoyer, enjoyment and God their controller. What is this world we experience? It is nothing but I and mine and God the third, or I the enjoyer, the enjoyed and the enjoyment. The Shruti says that you feel your I and mine as real, even though they have no existence because with death they disappear. To the question how are these three taken to be real then? The answer is, Just as the rope appears as the snake, Brahman appears as the three (The Trayam). Therefore the reality of these three is Brahman and as such the three do not exist in reality. This is the meaning of Transcendent-Immanent Brahma lila where everything else other than Brahman is a mere appearance. Brahman being beyond means, the world is a zero. SUPRATISTHAKSHARAM: It means well or excellently established in Brahman which is changeless. Man usually feels his existence (or support) in himself, as also existence of the world in itself. This support may be called CHALAPRATISHTHITA or a temporal support that disappears. This temporal Pratishtha being within maya has to be illumined by the knowledge that their real Pratishtha or foundation is in Brahman, which implies they (I and the world) have no existence at all. This perfect understanding will lead to a life of real surrender of ones personality to God by knowledge and not by emotion, where traces of individuality remain hidden. This is the stable Pratishtha in Brahman; this is the view expressed by the Shruti. Now some philosophers have the idea that since the world is changing, Brahman, its foundation must also be changing. If Brahmans changeless nature is thus altered, it can easily be sustained that Brahman can transform itself really into the world like milk transforming itself into curd. The Shruti says that this is not the truth because the triad of phenomena namely the individual soul, the world and God are Supratishthitha in Aksharam, that is they have their foundation in the Changeless. Without any real change Brahman appears to change into these three, which have no existence. LINA BRAHMANI TAT PARAH YONI MUKTA = Remaining absorbed they get merged in Brahman and become freed from birth and death. This portion of the text refers to sadhana. The subject-object gross, subtle and psychological layers of the personality of the individual and of the world are all appearances, so also all the cosmic layers. One has to bring the consciousness of Brahman in all of them and illumine them as Brahman and Brahman alone and that is sadhana. In sadhana one has to be sure that the means (sadhana) corresponds to the goal. TAT PARAH indicates that you must be lost in Brahman and not merely have some intellectual ideas about Brahman. Brahman appearing as all, must vibrate in sadhana, then only it may be said the means (sadhana) corresponds to the goal. To execute the means correctly the control of organs and unwavering concentration are to be practiced leading to Samadhi or Self Absorption. (end m 7)
THE UNIVERSE A COMBINATION OF THE MANIFESTED PERISHABLE AND THE UNMANIFESTED IMPERISHABLE WHICH ARE INHERENTLY UNITED, IS SUSTAINED BY BRAHMAN. BY ACCEPTING ENJOYERSHIP (JIVA) BECOMES HELPLESS AND BOUND. KNOWING THE DEITY HE IS FREED FROM ALL FETTERS. (M 8)
In mantra seven it was said the knowers of Brahman get merged in Brahman. A question or doubt arises in respect of merging. Because merging is possible only where there are two, one who will merge and another entity in whom he can merge. So the objection is that the identity of the individual soul and Brahman claimed in Advaita is not true since the shruti itself recognizing a difference speaks of their merging as above. The questioner asserts, merger implies that Advaita or Nonduality is not true, but that an integral unitary consciousness where the Jivas and Brahman exist together is more appropriate. The Upanishad having the above apprehension in view clarifies the position in this mantra. The Shruti shows that Brahman through Maya or Upadhi (adjunct) appears as the Jiva and the world. In this appearance or the state of ignorance or Maya or Upadhi, the apparent separateness of jiva and Brahman is felt. This apparent separateness makes the merging of jiva and Brahman possible in the sadhana stage. So this apparent merging in the state of ignorance, which the Shruti is referring to, does not disprove the truth of Advaita which speaks of the identity of Jiva Brahman. Further Jiva and Brahman being in essence one, their merging is possible. In other philosophical systems (BHEDA ABHEDA) where the Jiva and Brahman are held to be fundamentally different entities merging will be impossible. This idea is clarified through an illustration later below. Therefore merging does not imply that Jiva and Brahman are two distinct entities as the questioner imagines. Vedanta affirms JIVO BRAHMA EVA NA APARA which according to the Advaitic view implies that the Jiva and Brahman are one and there is no Jiva at all different from Brahman at any point of time excepting through upadhi or lila or vivarta. For example the space in a jar becomes one with the all pervading space, when the jar is broken. The merging referred to in the mantra is in this sense. But the water in a jar cannot merge with the all-pervading space, for the reason, they are fundamentally different. Accordingly if Jiva and Brahman were fundamentally different, merging would be impossible. Since the shruti speaks of their merging, the conclusion is, they are identical. Now again the same question is asked in another form, If Jiva and Brahman are already identical why then does the shruti talk of merging when there has never been any separation at any time of Jiva and Brahman according to Advaita. It is here that Sankara throws light. He says even though Jiva and Brahman are absolutely identical, in the state of sadhana or ignorance, because of Upadhi, an apparent difference between them is experienced by the sadhaka, and this apparent difference is the basis of all sadhana, and merging is possible only due to this apparent difference and by no other way. The Advaitic view that Jiva and Brahman are identical is thus not affected in any way by the apparent process of merging mentioned in the mantra. Rather it upholds the truth of their identity. Therefore Upadhi, (Limiting adjunct), provides the apparent realism required for merging. The merging is a process, in which actually there is no merging, but apparently it appears like merging. From this it is concluded that Upadhi is the real answer, (for the apparent difference), not that Brahman really transforms itself into Jiva and world. In the gross state of Maya the Jiva experiences almost an infinite variety of objects like father, wife, son, wealth, rivers, mountains etc., taking him away from the truth of Oneness. His concentration and attention is dissipated among these many objects. Therefore for proceeding from Maya or multiplicity to Brahman the unity, the first step is to reduce the multiplicity to two and shift ones concentration from the many to the two. This the Shruti speaks of in this mantra and categorizes the entire multiplicity of the world into two, the Jiva (the KSHARA and the VYAKTA the perishable and manifest) and ISWARA (the AKSHARA and the AVYAKTA the imperishable and unmanifest). Iswara is the whole, the original cause from which all individuals (jivas) have come out. In the jiva category is included every thing like men, women, rivers mountains etc. Individuals are changing and tangible, but Iswara is intangible and immutable. Iswara means the reality (Brahman) within jivas and the world. The Brahman in lila is Iswara and jiva, when there is no lila, it itself is Brahman the Nirupadhic Iswara. So ultimately there are only these two things in the world, Iswara and Jiva. Beyond these two is the Absolute Brahman who sustains them. The idea is Brahman through Maya appears as the unmanifest world called Iswara, in whom the manifested world remains in unmanifest form. That unmaniifest world becomes manifest, as this world of multiple jivas. The unmanifest lila of Brahman is called Iswara and the manifested lila is called Jivas. Thus Iswara and Jiva are two different names of one and the same Brahman. So one has to feel this whole world as jiva and Iswara and then feel Jiva and Iswara as Brahman. Further AKSHARA and AVYAKTA the indestructible and unmanifest signifies Iswara. KSHARA and VYAKTA the destructible and manifest signify Jiva. Brahman is beyond the two and is called the PURUSHOTTAMA, which appears as the Iswara and the Jiva. In the GITA (chapter 15 slokas 16, 17) this has been well clarified. The significance of the terms KSHARA and manifest, describing the Jiva, is that the jivas nature (yours) is constantly changing, yet everyone says I, I, due to ignorance, even though the I is passing away and has no existence. So the jiva should seek refuge in Iswara from whom he has come and who is indestructible, this is the idea. So the idea is, from multiplicity or variety in which the ordinary person always dwells, let him categorize the multiple worlds of many into two (Jiva and Iswara) and ultimately from these two to their unity the Absolute Brahman called as Purushottama in the Gita. These three are not three different things but one and the same reality that assumes different limiting adjuncts. The text describes the transition of the supreme Brahman (ISHAH) into Iswara and Jiva. All this is the lila of that Supreme Brahman. Brahman itself is being called by different names (to denote different states of His lila). The stages of Sadhana are from gross body and world, to consciousness of Jiva and Iswara; from Jiva and Iswara to Brahman. The world of multiplicity is to be reduced to Two and the Two to the unity, Brahman. SAMYUKTAM ETAT KSHARAM AKSHARAM CHA = The destructible the manifested; and the indestructible the unmanifested, are inherently united. Samyukta means that they are inherently united: the Jiva and Iswara. The individual soul (jiva) can never be separated from Iswara, and God can never be separated from jiva, because they are one Fundamental Reality appearing as two. The individual should know from all this that he is potentially God and his Godhood becomes only veiled and the veil is removed by knowledge, as above. Thus by knowing Brahman the jiva is freed from all fetters. BHARATE VISVAM ISAH = The One Supreme Brahman (Isah) is the support of the Two (jiva and Iswara) which comprises the universe. So sadhana is to feel that both Jiva and Iswara exist in one Transcendent and Immanent Reality, Brahman. Merging is possible only in ignorance but in the state of JNANA no merging is possible. It is Upadhi that creates the apparent distinction of Sadhaka, Sadhana and Siddhi (the goal), enabling merging in Brahman. (end m 8)
THEY ARE BOTH BIRTHLESS, THE ALL-KNOWING AND ALL-POWERFUL (ISWARA) AND THE (JIVA) OF LIMITED KNOWLEDGE AND POWER. THE BIRTHLESS ALONE IS (THROUGH MAYA) THE ENJOYER, ENJOYMENT AND THE OBJECT. THE INFINITE ATMA OF INUMERABLE FORMS IS NOT THE AGENT. WHEN THE THREE (ISWARA JIVA AND NATURE) ARE KNOWN AS BRAHMAN (ONE IS LIBERATED). (M 9)
The sadhaka was told to merge in Brahman. But due to his frailties of lust, greed and desires for enjoyment etc, it is not possible for him to merge in God even though he may wish for that. The sadhakas usually are not aware that all these frailties are first to be illumined and removed. They connive at these frailties and try to merge in God and fail in their attempts. They also wrongly imagine that, since the Scriptures declare Jivas as essentially Brahman, no sadhana for the removal of frailties etc. is needed. Such sadhakas lead a life of hypocrisy constantly succumbing to their frailties. As this is against the truth, the Shruti in this mantra shows the great difference that exists between the jiva in ignorance and the Iswara. It also shows that these frailties of the jiva are true so long he is in the relative life of ignorance. It is only when knowledge is attained that they disappear. Since the need for their removal, before one can merge in God, is fundamental it is highlighted in this mantra. The shruti, apprehending the above view, affirms the existence of a relative life where sadhana and merging is possible. In the Absolute life of course, there is neither sadhana nor merging. That there is the existence of a relative life is described in the text below. AJA HI EKA BHOKTRU BHOGYARTHAYUKTAH = The Birthless one has indeed become the enjoyer and enjoyment (or the relative life) through Maya. The idea is that there is a relative life of many frailties today, where sadhana is possible and rather very necessary. Usually a sadhaka in ignorance is not aware of his own limitations as compared with the Goal. To make him cognize his own frailties the text states. JNA AJNAU DVAU AJAU ISA ANISAU = God (Iswara) is the all knowing and powerful, the Jiva is ignorant and powerless, but both are birthless. The great disparity between the individual and God is shown. He, Iswara, is all knowing as he is CHIT or Consciousness by itself whereas the individual soul being conscious of father, mother, girl, wealth, I and mine, and their reactions becomes helpless and powerless. When the sadhaka becomes aware of this great disparity then he will become conscious, that if he is to merge in God, he must give up all these limitations and become I-less, My-less and pure. DVAU AJAU = The individual soul and God are both birthless. This is because He, the birthless, is the Reality of both. In your real essential nature you are the birthless, not that you are totally nothing or helpless. How will you transcend your limitations? By the illumination that He is you, the world and everything of you. If the sadhaka thinks that today as he is, he is the nondual Brahman and behaves accordingly, there will be great danger ahead for him. The story of the mahout Narayana and the elephant Narayana related by Sri Ramakrisna clarifies this very point. The existence of a Relative life and an Absolute life is indicated by the story. One has to be aware of this and do sadhana observing care and caution till the frailties are gone. Again due to engaging oneself in sadhana in the Relative life, the idea comes that the world as such, has some existence (apart from Brahman). Accordingly the sadhakas wish to cling to their life of sadhana eternally, but the world has neither Relative reality nor Absolute reality; Brahman being the only existence. It is our ignorance, which interprets Brahman as the world. To point out this truth the text says as follows. ANANTASCHA ATMA VISVAROOPAH HI AKARTA = The infinite Atma itself is the innumerable forms of the world and indeed is not the agent. It is due to Maya that the man in ignorance experiences the ROOPA (form) of his father, mother etc as such, but the man of realization sees them as the (ROOPAS) forms of the One without a second, the Atma. That means, he sees no world at all, but only the Brahman in its place. That is, he sees the snake as the rope itself. In sadhana we feel, I do, I enjoy, I walk etc; instead, all these feelings are to be felt as the appearances of the One. This is the meaning of the Infinite Self manifests itself in lila in many forms as the universe and is not the agent. The enjoyer and enjoyment in it are unreal and unsubstantial, being appearances. Therefore even though the universe is the Selfs manifestation, the infinitude of the Self-remains unaffected. This Relative (Viswaroopa) has as its underlying reality the infinite Brahman and therefore it is called infinite. The famous illustration of the rope and snake can throw more light on this. The snake (Viswaroopa} if taken as totally sunya or nothing will lead to the sunyavada of Buddhism. If taken as SAT or real will lead to Pantheism. But the truth is the snake is the rope itself having neither existence nor non-existence as the snake. This is the vivartavada of the shruti. Thus the relative life in the world, where sadhana is posssible, is due to ignorance. All reactions and world experiences are relatively true and they disappear only in the state of Jnana. TRAYAM YADA VINDATE BRAHMAM ETAT = When the soul realizes that the enjoyer, the enjoyable and the enjoyment do not really exist apart from Brahman and are appearances of Brahman itself, then it attains to Absolute bliss and continues in a state of identification with Brahman. When name and form are transcended as appearances then Brahman alone remains. (End m 9)
NATURE IS PERISHABLE, THE SUPREME GOD IS IMPERISHABLE. BOTH NATURE AND SOUL ARE GOVERNED BY THAT ONE (SUPREME) DEITY. REPEATED MEDITATION CORRESPONDING TO THE TRUTH AND ABSOLUTE UNION WITH HIM, CULMINATES IN THE CESSATION OF MAYA IN THE FORM OF THE UNIVERSE. (M 10)
In the earlier mantras the subjective side of man, the enjoyer and enjoyment were shown as the lila of Brahman. Now the objective side pertaining to the world is illumined. Man has to live in the world, do sadhana and work in the world. What is the relation of this world with God? That is to be known. World as such is not Brahman because it is KSHARA (destructible). KSHARA PRADHANAM AMRTA AKSHARAM = The world (Nature) is destructible but God is indestructible. The idea being impressed is that the world as such cannot be Brahman as it is destructible. KSHARA ATMANAVISHATE DEVA EKAH = The world and the individual soul are ruled by the One Deity, the Non Dual Brahman. The sadhaka, including himself in the world, should feel the One without a second as the reality of Nature, Iswara (God) and the jivas. Here the sadhakas constitutional nature is to feel the Reality through the objective side. The sadhaka has to transcend not only himself, his body etc, but also the world being experienced by him. He has to feel within himself that the world and I as such, are zeros but in themselves are the reality. TASYA ABHIDHYANAT YOJANAT TATVABHAVAT BHUYASCHA = By repeated meditation on Him corresponding to the truth and identifying with Him. Not only one has to meditate, but meditate with consciousness corresponding to the truth and Absolute union, in the form I am Brahman where no I and mine or subject-object remains. This is the right type of meditation which will take one to Realization. VISWA MAYA NIVRITI = The universe as such disappears and the one Brahman alone is seen everywhere. There is no more sorrow, delusion, happiness etc, the dual throng, as the One Non- Dual Reality alone is perceived. (End m 10)
KNOWING THE DEITY ALL BONDAGES FALL, WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF BONDAGES, COMES THE LIBERATION FROM BIRTH AND DEATH. BY MEDITATION ON HIM COMES THE THIRD, THE DIVINE POWERS, AFTER THE FALL OF THE BODY. (RENOUNCING THOSE POWERS) HE ATTAINS TO ABSOLUTE-SELF-FULLFILMENT. (M 11)
Mukti means full illumination of individuality or I. Till then no moksha is possible. In that state of spiritual evolution where the I is not completely transcended one attains to Divine powers and Godhood only, but not to moksha. The effect of a trace of individuality remaining (Godhood), is contrasted with the complete loss of individuality (Moksha), to enable the sadhaka to transcend the I completely. JNATVA DEVAM ETC. = Knowing the Reality. In the first two lines of the mantra, the result of perfect knowledge in which no trace of individuality remains is shown. This is moksha, the ultimate goal, which the sadhaka has to strive for, the absolute cessation of individuality by illumination . But before he reaches that high state, the yogi meditating on God with a trace of I remaining attains to the state of Godhood which is marked by VISWA AISVARYAM, the full Divine Glory and Power, but not to Moksha. It is a state indicated by I do not want to be sugar, but want to eat sugar, in the Bhakti scriptures. He goes to Brahma Loka (heaven) because of a trace of individuality remaining. Of course he comes back again and renouncing all yogic and divine powers of that God state, becomes APTA KAMAH free, and attains to MUKTI. The renouncing of all yogic and divine powers indicates the total loss of individuality and the complete renunciation of desire. Thus by contrast the effect of perfect knowledge (jnana) resulting in Moksha is here shown, and also shown is the effect of traces of desire or I or individuality remaining as the state of Godhood. TASYA ABHIDHYANAT TRITIYAM DEHA BHEDE VISWAISVARYAM = By the meditation on Him comes the third, the divine powers and glory, after the fall of the body. What is Dhyana? Meditation means struggle between a meditator and a goal of meditation within the realm of subject and object. This means, there is desire or I-consciousness still in him. This trace of I or desire in his meditation takes him to Brahma Loka or the God state and not to freedom. But again it is the right Dhyana or meditation alone that will lead to Mukti. The I-lessor subject-objectless meditation, where the meditator, the meditated and the goal of meditation are known to be the one Brahman alone brings us to the real JNANA or Moksha. So this perfect Dhyana alone, can lead to absolute knowledge. The gist of the whole mantra is that I and mine has to be transcended completely for MOKSHA. If they remain even in their most subtle form, they can only lead to Divine power or glory or to the state of Godhood but not to MOKSHA. Transcending individuality completely and becoming one with Brahman is the theme of this mantra. But this is to be achieved gradually through Karma Yoga and through meditation step by step and not by a jump. (end M 11)
THIS (BRAHMAN) THAT DWELLS IN ONES HEART IS TO BE KNOWN WITH GREAT REGULARITY. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE (WORTHY OF) KNOWING THAN THIS. THE ENJOYER, ENJOYMENT AND THEIR RULER, SPOKEN OF AS THREE DIFFERENT THINGS (ARE TO BE KNOWN) AS THE (ONE) BRAMAN. (M 12)
What that Brahma lila consciousness is, was told from various angles. In this mantra sadhana is being emphasized, because to have just a clear idea of Brahman is not enough. Nor is it enough merely to know the details of sadhana. Rather one has to plunge into sadhana to make it part and parcel of ones being and that is being emphasised. NITYAM EVA ATMA SAMSTHAM = With regularity giving up all worldliness, feelingfully through ones whole being sadhana is to be done. Nitya indicates that regularly and on principle sadhana is to be performed, not haphazardly and halfheartedly. ATMA SAMSTHAM indicates that worldliness should go. You should feel within your being that world and I are illusory as such, and they are Brahman in lila. This vairagya should permeate your sadhana. NA ATAH VEDITAVYAM HI KINCHIT = This means, you should also feel deeply that there is nothing else worthy of being known or requiring your attention and that all other things are vain and momentary. This should constantly be brought to awareness. In sum and substance it means you should have tremendous Vairagya for the world and become ATMASAMSTHAM (established in God). Thus you have to make great effort to be lost in Brahman through Sadhana. In this connection the tremendous Sadhana into which the first disciples of Sri Ramakrishna plunged, after his passing away to make the Truth their own, expresses the meaning of this mantra. Also one may go to places of pilgrimage for Sadhana, but the real place or locus is within, because realization takes place within and not outside. ETAT JNEYAM = This should be known. The emphasis is on realizing what has been told. When the desire to actually realize is intense then concentration and the understanding of the Brahma lila consciousness will automatically dawn. Sankara has two interpretations for the first two lines of the mantra. The first interpretation stresses the immanental aspect of God, which is Advaita Bhakti, surcharged with jnana. Feeling is more predominant. The sadhaka feels that the reality of me and the world is His immanence and attains to the subject-object less Reality. In the second interpretation the constitution of Transcendence (ADVAITA Jnani type) is elaborated. Here the sadhaka feels directly the zeroness of himself and the world and Brahman as the reality of the two. Since he is transcendental and thoughtful, this type of transcendental approach to reality is constitutional for him. APAROKSHAH means there is no subject-object in the Reality and this sadhakas constitutional psyche corresponds to that as he is transcendental. Sadhana can take the above two forms; that is the idea. BHOKTA BHOGYAM PRERITARAM CHA = The three, the enjoyer, the enjoyment and the Supreme Lord. The Knowledge that all these are the three different forms of the one Brahman in lila is common to both the Advaita Bhakta and the Advaita Jnani. Feeling is predominant in the Bhakta and knowledge in the jnani. (end m12)
THE FORM OF FIRE WHEN LATENT IN ITS SOURCE (THE WOOD) IS NOT VISIBLE, YET ITS INVISIBLE LATENT EXISTENCE IS NEVER LOST AND BECOMES VISIBLE BY REPEATEDLY RUBBING ITS SOURCE (THE WOOD). AS IN THE CASE OF THESE TWO (FIRE IN VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE FORMS) CAN THE SELF BE REALISED IN THE BODY WITH THE HELP OF OM. (M 13)
MAKING ONES BODY THE LOWER PIECE OF WOOD, OM THE UPPER PIECE AND BY THE PRACTICE OF MEDIATION SIMILAR TO RUBBING, REALISE THE GOD WHICH IS HIDDEN, AS IT WERE. (M 14)
A rare few sadhakas have the capacity to feel the one transcendent immanent consciousness directly, either through jnana or through Bhakti. For others meditation on a symbol of the transcendent immanent reality is more constitutional. The symbols such as OM, the avataras such as Ramakrishna, Christ etc and ones Guru are some of the symbols for the meditation on Brahman. Meditation on symbols is not in anyway inferior to the direct meditation on Brahman. It is merely a question of constitution. But vairagya and the consciousness of Brahman within the symbol, or without, are common to both types of sadhakas. The symbol has to be looked upon as the absolute reality and accordingly meditated upon. Thus meditation on any incarnation like Sri Ramakrishna, Christ etc can take one to the goal if one has the right Brahmic Consciousness about them and not otherwise. The right consciousness is, that they are in essence the Supreme Brahman itself in human form, not a saint, a superman, nor even a prophet. The first two lines of the mantra show that the Truth lies hidden, although only apparently and therefore one should never be disappointed if he fails a few times to get it. He should be convinced that truth lies within him and he will get it even though he cannot see it today. Repeated rubbing or sustained sadhana till the goal is reached is indicated in the text by SA BHUYA EVA etc. As Christ said in this connection knock and it shall be opened. As in the case of an Avatara, the symbol OM by its very construction should be known as indicating the Supreme Brahman and then meditated upon repeatedly. SVA DEHAM ARANIM KRITVA PRANAVAM CHA UTTARAARANIM = Making ones body the lower wood and OM the upper piece of wood. Just as when two pieces of wood are rubbed the friction brings out the latent fire already existing within, so does repeated meditation brings out the truth already within. The Avatara or OM represents one piece of wood and our personalities represent the other piece. Meditation represents the rubbing and God who is already within, manifests like fire from the rubbing of wood. NA LINGANASHAH = Fire even though not visible in wood exists in its invisible form inside. The idea is God is there ever within in invisible form and never void, only repeated effort is required for His manifestation. (end m 13 & m 14)
AS OIL IN SESAMUM, AS BUTTER IN CURDS, AS WATER IN UNDER GROUND STREAMS, AS FIRE (HIDDEN) IN WOOD (IS PERCEIVED), SIMILARLY THE ATMAN WITHIN ONESELF IS PERCEIVED, THROUGH TRUTH AND CONCENTRATION. (M 15)
Many illustrations have been given showing that the Truth is already within and, though apparently not visible, can be seen by repeated sadhana. By these illustrations the sadhaka should overcome all depressions and disappointments which he is bound to experience during his sadhana. He should never give up sadhana because the truth is already within, as shown by these many illustrations. SATYENA ENAM TAPASA YO ANUPASHYATI = By him who practices moral and ethical values and who controls the mind and sense organs resulting in concentration and one pointedness of mind, is this Self realized. Further if sadhana is to be successful it is important to practice moral and ethical values and concentration along with sadhana. By concentration or Tapas is meant control of the mind and sense organs to make them extremely one pointed. Further Atman is to be realized within ones own self and not in anything else outside. So everything else other than Atman has to be transcended. The Atman appears to be covered by the physical sheath, mental and vital sheaths. These sheaths which are mistaken as the Atman are obstructions to the manifestations of the real nature of the Atman and so have to be transcended. He who practices the moral and ethical virtues along with control of mind, sense organs and meditation,alone attains the goal. (end m 15)
THAT WHICH IS THE SOURCE OF SELF KNOWLEDGE AND CONCENTRATION AND IN WHICH LIES THE HIGHEST GOOD, THAT ALL PERVADING SELF IS KNOWN, JUST LIKE (KNOWING) THE ALL PERVASIVENESS OF GHEE IN MILK. (M 16)
Whatever exists is He, is shown by the all pervasiveness of the Atman. SARVA VYAPINAM ATMANAM = The Self which is all-pervasive. The emphasis is on the nature of Atman, which is all-pervasive. The sense of all pervasiveness is as in the upanishadic shloka He shining everything shines after Him etc. He being there everything is and if He is not, nothing exists. All pervasiveness means His is the only existence and nothing exists apart from Him. In this sense the indivisible Atman pervades the gross, the subtle and the causal personality of the sadhaka and the world. An illustration of this is given. Just as clarified butter (ghee) pervades milk through and through, the Atman pervades every thing. ATMAVIDYA TAPO MOOLAM = The reality which is the source of all merits. The merits of the sadhaka like self knowledge and deep concentration including his Bhakti, Jnana, Vairagya and a life of Tyaga and austerity is indicated by ATMA VIDYA and TAPAS in the text. Now it is being pointed out that the sole cause or source of these merits of the sadhaka is the indivisible All Pervading Atman and not the sadhaka. In other words Brahman is the background and essence of all these in lila. That being so, the sadhaka should never think that these merits are his own. Such egoistic feelings will bring about his downfall. Knowledge of this metaphysical truth that all merits are His expressions or reflections, will lead to total surrender and knowledge of Brahman. Another interpretation is that for the revelation of Brahman, Atma vidya (self knowledge) and concentration (Tapas) are the causes (moola) or means. In this interpretation sadhana or self effort is being stressed rather than self surrender. Shankara has combined the essence of both interpretations as follows : The sadhaka should make self effort through concentration and self knowledge and should also combine this with self surrender based on the metaphysical truth that all his merits and achievements have Brahman as their source, lest egoistic ideas concerning them cause his downfall. BRAHMA UPANISHAD PARAM = In which lies the highest good. The all pervading Brahman which is the highest good is realized by one who constantly makes effort and not by one who identifies himself with the various sheaths like the food sheath, the mental sheath etc. which are unreal and within limitation. The idea is, the sadhaka who runs after the conveniences and comforts of his body taking it as real will never realize the Truth. Rather he should practice continence, truth (moral virtues), concentration and knowledge constantly transcending the unreal and the limited, being aware of the Real. (End m 16 and chapter 1)
O SAVITA WHEN I COMMENCE TO MEDITATE ON THE SELF, RESTRAIN THE OUT GOING POWER OF MIND AND ORGANS AND CENTRALISE THEIR POWER WITHIN (MY) BODY, TO ATTAIN KNOWLEDGE. (M 1)
In the earlier chapter the force of knowledge and the force of spiritual morality for God realisation were indicated. Now the force of prayer is shown in spiritual life. But prayer also should accord with the nature of reality or the goal. AGNIR JYOTI = The power of the mind and organs to perceive external objects. As long as they function the Self remains hidden, therefore the prayer for their control and going inward so that energy is not dissipated. The sadhaka has understood (through Chapter 1) that Brahman alone is real and all else is illusory or unreal. But when he attempts to bring this Truth in practical life he is confronted with innumerable digressions, thoughts and actions contrary to it. These antithetical currents flow through the mind and organs. They carry him away to the world. What are these currents? They are the cosmic power or Shakti (Savita) expressing itself through mind and organs in the whole world. Today the Shakti of the sadhaka is going outside and is being dissipated, accordingly no concentration takes place. By prayer to the Sun, the symbol of cosmic Shakti, the outgoingness will stop, get centralized and go inside. Savita is the cosmic Shakti, the power of all powers, the Brahman with Shakti, the power even of all the Devatas. NICHAYYA = Centralize all powers and make the personality ingoing which is always outgoing. So before commencement of meditation this prayer to Savita. Oh, Savita it is your power alone that is expressing through mind and organs and there is no other power besides. So be gracious, restrain the power from dissipating through mind and organs and centralize the power within my body and organs. For what purpose? TATTWAYA = For knowledge of the Self. Thus by such prayer which is in accordance with nature of reality the vibrations of the mind will be tranquilized and the sadhaka will be anchored in ATMAN and undisturbed meditation will take place. So the prayer is a dedicated surrender to the power of all powers, which will be later shown as Brahman itself. Transcendental intuitive personality will be obtained by prayer and all digressions will stop. The transcendental nature of reality will also dawn in the sadhaka by right prayer. (end m 1)
WITH THE BLESSINGS OF THE DEITY (THE SUN), OUR MINDS JOINED TO THE SUPREME SELF, WE STRIVE THROUGH MEDITATION FOR THAT SUPREME BLISS (OF BRAHMAN) ACCORDING TO OUR ABILITY. (M 2)
Earlier SAT and CHIT aspects were stressed upon, now in this mantra the ANANDA aspect is being stressed in the words SUVARGEYAYA SAKTYA, meaning, let us struggle for the bliss of Brahman. The reason for stressing the Ananda (bliss) aspect of Brahman, is because in the world it is the urge for pleasure or bliss that is the driving force plunging one in worldly activities. But the joy of Brahman is the real joy and worldly joy is a mere shadow, a spark, a mere reflection of that Infinite bliss. So the new point in this mantra is, let us through meditation and by the grace of Savita, strive for that Brahmananda which is the real joy itself, and whose mere sparks are the worldly joys. SUVARGA or heaven here stands for the Supreme Brahman, as it alone is of the nature of absolute bliss and in which all other joys are included. DEVASYA SAVITUH SAVE = With the blessings of the deity Savita, signifies the need for I less sadhana for the knowledge of Brahman. (end m 2)
THE MIND AND SENSES WHICH ARE NOW UNITED WITH BRAHMAN AND ARE UNCOVERING HIS EFFULGENCE AND CONSCIOUSNESS, MAY THEY BY YOUR COMPASSSION OH SUN, NOT RELAPSE (TOWARDS WORLDLINESS AGAIN). (M 3)
The prayers correspond to the states of evolution of the sadhaka, in the spiritual realm. In the earlier mantra the prayer was for stilling the outgoing mind and sense organs, the sadhaka being at the lowest rung of the spiritual ladder. Accordingly the mind has attained tranquillity. Now the prayer is that they may not relapse into worldly ways again. Because there is every possibility even at this stage to break off and deviate to the world. YUKTVAYA = The illumination that One Reality alone is inside and outside is experienced, and his mind has become tranquil and intuition or SAMYAK DARSHANA is being experienced. The prayer now is for maintaining this state of tranquillity of mind and organs, because at this point there is every possibility of the mind relapsing or going away from the ideal towards the world. Since the mind is subtle now, hidden samskaras surface suddenly and drag the sadhaka away towards Samsara. SUVARYATAH = The mind and senses are now intent on the Supreme Self and not on objects like sound, touch etc. BRIHAD JYOTI DHIYA DIVAM KARISHYATAH = The light, effulgence and consciousness of the Brahman that is great, is being uncovered (by mind and senses). So the prayer to Savita at this stage is, Oh, Savita my mind and senses are now proceeding towards that Bliss of Brahman through the light of intuition, let them not relapse and proceed again towards sense objects. Let me not by any chance relapse to the world. Let my sense organs and mind remain tranquil. I am now convinced God alone is True and the world illusory. Let me merge in Him fully. (end m3)
A GREAT PRAISE OF THE DEITY SAVITA IS NEEEDED BY THOSE BRAHMINS WHO UNITE THEIR MIND AND SENSES (WITH THE SELF), SINCE HE IS THE ORDAINER OF ALL RITES, IS EXCEEDINGLY ALL PERVASIVE, IS OMNISCIENT AND HENCE FULL OF WISDOM AND IS NONDUAL. (M 4)
The sadhaka now has evolved further. Earlier he could not conceive Savita as Brahman. He could only feel Savita as the power or Shakti. The prayer now corresponds to a further evolution of the sadhaka, where he can feel Shakti as Chaitanya (Consciousness). So he prays thus, Oh Savita you are the all pervading One without a second reality, and You alone are the Shakti manifesting in all Yagnas (sacrifices). HOTRA VIDADHE = The One itself has become all the powers and the rites in the world (in lila). The sadhaka can now feel Brahman and rites are identical and not two. Oh Savita, you are Para Brahman . The whole world is your manifestation (lila). You are not only the Consciousness and Reality of the world but the power in all the rites, the bestower of the fruits of rites, and you are all the powers of the world in lila. You are the Existence of all existences, the Consciousness of all consciousness and the Power of all powers. The terms VIPRASYA, BRIHATAH and VIPASCITAH meaning, all pervading, great, and omniscient, respectively, express the above idea of Sakthi (Power) now perceived as Brahman. VIPRAH = (Brahmin). Here by Brahmin is indicated the sadhaka who on account of purity is able to feel the Brahma lila consciousness. He is now exhorted to pray very deeply and intensely to the Deity Savita for the absolute intuition so that he may realize the truth of the One appearing as the many (including Power) in lila, and thus fully merge in the ocean of Brahman. The nature of that deity is again elaborated below. VAYUNAVIT = The witness of all knowledge and nondual in nature is that Savita to whom one is exhorted to pray. Thus intense prayer is being stressed by the Shruti, as at this point the sadhaka is coming to understand that Savita, the only reality, is expressing itself as all the rites, and their fruits etc. That is, Consciousness itself is appearing as the whole world. By this prayer right meditation will follow and intuition will develop into perfect knowledge. HOTRA = All powers of the world. The deity is the power of all powers. Through power the sadhaka has to come to CHAITANYA or Consciousness and from consciousness to reality or Brahman. Deep and intense prayer brings about this transformation. So the sadhaka is exhorted to pray now. By prayer he will realize the SHAKTI as the lila or vilasa of Brahman. SAVITA, now is not a material Shakti or power, It is Consciousness or Chaitanya. Power merged in Chaitanya and that in Reality itself. The sadhaka is now able to conceive Shakti as the lila of Brahman. From now on the real meditation or Dhyana will start. Since the sadhaka is realising the power of all powers, the Savita, as the very lila of Brahman; intense prayer is prescribed for its culmination at this psychological point. By this deep prayer the intuition will culminate in Jnana and the sadhaka will be lost in the ocean of Brahman. (end m 4)
O SENSES AND MIND SALUTATIONS BE TO YOU, WHOSE (SOURCE) IS THE (VERY) ETERNAL BRAHMAN WITH WHOM I UNITE. MAY THIS HYMN OF MINE WHO AM ON THE PATH OF THE WISE GO FORTH IN ALL DIRECTIONS. MAY THE SONS OF BRAHMA WHO REIGN OVER HEAVENLY REGIONS HEAR. (M 5)
The final result of ATMA VIDYA TAPO MOOLAM practiced by the sadhaka was the experience of Samadhi. The sadhaka now describes the final stages as it were which brought him to Samadhi and even the state of VYUTHAN the coming down to the relative plane after Samadhi. YUJE VAM BRAHMA PURVYAM NAMOBHIH = Salutations to sense organs and their deities by whose grace I am able to concentrate, and thus attain to right intuitive flash of Brahman. Vam refers to mind and organs and PURVYAM to Brahman. Mind and organs means the whole subjective and objective empirical world order. The sadhaka salutes the mind and organs, and their Presiding Deities, since by their attaining to tranquillity, he has successfully been able to intuit the Transcendental Brahmic Consciousness. Had the mind and organs not come under complete control, the flash of Brahmic Consciousness would not have been possible. With that flash of intuitive knowledge, he now feels that the mind and organs viz. the whole empirical subjective and objective phenomena as the manifestation of Brahman in lila. No longer do, mind, senses and the individual remain as separate existences. This illumination dawns because of the complete tranquillity of mind and organs. Therefore the path of tranquility of mind and organs is the path for the ancients and the moderns as well. That is the golden thread by which the sadhaka goes from the beginning of sadhana to the end. Since this sadhakas psyche was feelingful (Bhakti) at the begining of sadhana, the flash of intuition of Brahma lila also takes a devotional turn at the time of final plunge in samadhi, and also after samadhi. Accordingly the devotional type sees everything through feeling or Bhakti (the Immanence of God) and this is Advaita Bhakti. However by the same control and tranquillity of mind the Jnani (philosophical) type sees the transcendental aspect of God beyond name and form, where thought and reason is predominant. Thus the Truth of Oneness is realized either through the predominance of knowledge or Bhakti depending on the constitution of the sadhaka. Shankara interpreting YUJE VAM BRAHMA PURVYAM has indicated the above two types. In both cases the control of the mind and organs and their tranquility is fundamental and common. From that controlled and tranquil state alone Samadhi is reached. SRUNAVANTU VISHWE = Oh those who reside in the Universe hear me. Here the state after Samadhi of the sadhaka is described where he feels everything in the world as Divine. He emphatically declares I have seen in Samadhi that everything is the manifestation (lila) of Brahman; let the world hear this Truth which I have seen in Samadhi. So up to now the Shruti has shown all the gradual stages from the beginning of Sadhana to Samadhi. In the beginning the sadhakas mind and organs were always running outward and restless. Next they attained to tranquility and finally to Samadhi and thence to the Immanence of God or VYUTHAN or coming down from Samadhi to the relative world : a prayerful attitude pervaded the whole process. Prayer in an advanced state itself becomes meditation (DHYANA). NAMOBHIH (salutations to you) indicates this. AMRITASYA PUTRAH = Sons of immortality The sadhaka now realizes the entire human race as divine and addresses them as sons of immortality (Swami Vivekananda elaborated this very mantra and idea at the Parliament of Religions Chicago 1893). ETU PATHI EVA SUREH = I am on the same path as that was trod by the Ancient Rishis. As did all Bhaktas and Jnanis who have merged in God in the past I am also today on the same path, namely the path of complete tranquilization of mind and organs. SHLOKA VI ETU : Let this hymn in the form of prayer of what I have realized, become intense and spread over the whole world. (end m 5)
WHERE FIRE IS KINDLED BY RUBBING, WHERE THE AIR IS RESTRAINED, WHERE SOMA IS DRUNK EXCESSIVELY, THERE THE MIND BECOMES ATTACHED. (M 6)
Prayer to Savita was shown as the fundamental basis of all stages of Sadhana beginning from control of mind and organs to Samadhi and thence to descent or VYUTHAN. The theme of the prayer was thou art the only Reality everywhere. (Not I but Thou as Sri Ramakrishna put it). Thus the essential attitude to be maintained in Sadhana from beginning to end was shown. In this mantra the same thing is put in a negative way, namely, if right attitude is lacking then Samsara or a life of enjoyment will be the result. If there is the right attitude behind all Sadhana then Samadhi or mukti will be gained. Philosophically speaking, if subject-object consciousness (I & mine) remains in Sadhana the result is Bhoga or enjoyment. If subject-object less consciousness or attitude is brought into Sadhana then it leads to Samadhi or Mukti. So the tremendous importance of proper attitude or right consciousness in spiritual life is impressed upon the sadhaka, by condemnation of the attitude based on ignorance. Shankara in the first interpretation of the text shows that the sadhana performed without the right consciousness or attitude will engross the sadhaka in Samsara. This is the effect of performance of work, believing the world to be true as such and with no spiritual consciousness behind the work. The second interpretation shows the effect of right perception or consciousness in Sadhana. These are actually not two interpretations but the two phases of Divine and ignorance consciousness which have different results. AGNI YATRA ABHIMATHYATE = Where by rubbing, fire is produced. Agni (fire) is the Supreme Self because by its knowledge all ignorance is burnt away, just as fire burns all trash. The Brahma lila Consciousness is equated with Agni here. Rubbing signifies the performance of work. This Consciousness or attitude functioning in work becomes the cause for his purification at all stages of sadhana from the lowest to the highest stages of Samadhi. The idea is that Pranayama and Dhyana performed with the above consciousness will result in Samadhi and if performed without such attitude will only improve the bodily health and lead to a life of enjoyment or samsara. Dhyana becomes Dhyana and Pranayama becomes Pranayama only when the right consciousness is behind them, otherwise it is a mere physical and mental exercise. VAYUH YATRA ADHIRUDHYATE = Where the air is restrained. Only by such Pranayama with proper consciousness will the ANAHATA-DHVANI or cosmic sound be heard. In this state of Anahata dhvani the consciousness of all individuals of the world vibrates in the sadhakas consciousness. This is the state of undifferentiated consciousness. SOMAH YATRA ATIRICHYATE = Where the sacrifice is unselfish. This indicates all Karma such as SOMA, YAJNA (sacrifices) and DANA (Charity) etc should transcend the limitations of individualism, selfishness and sectarianism etc. Only then will the mind be purified by those Karmas. So purity is not gained by doing much or big works or even by good works but by the right consciousness in work. It also implies that ideal Karma is that which is done with great sincerity and extreme attention to the minutest detail, if purity is to result and lead to Dhyana. Dhyana is not a karma to be done for some hours. It is deepening of the consciousness of Not I but thou, so also Japa and Pranayama. For realizing that consciousness one performs Dhyana, Japa, Pranayama, Tapas, Yajna etc. which are not ends in themselves. But all these are to be done with that basic consciousness of the One appearing as these many to realize that very consciousness. (End M 6)
ONE SHOULD WORSHIP THE ETERNAL BRAHMAN AND GET ABSORBED IN HIM ONLY AFTER OBTAINING THE BLESSINGS OF SAVITRA (THE SUN). THUS THE SCRIPTURAL WORK WILL NOT BIND YOU. (M 7)
We have seen that in the last few mantras the idea about Savita was expanding and in this mantra by Savita is implied Brahman itself. The blessings of Savita (SAVITA PRASAVENA) = The idea is one should become aware of the truth that the manifested world of doer, doing, and deed is He himself, and this consciousness should pervade all Karma and perceptions of the sadhaka. However Maya can produce a false attitude whereby a sadhaka thinks: Well, there is no need of worrying about right consciousness etc, just go on doing work and that is all that is needed. When the right consciousness is not there, its opposite, the delusive perception of man, woman, as such, and I and mine will be the basis of the sadhakas perceptions and actions. The sadhaka will then always seek for bodily comforts, and a life of enjoyment and becomes self centered and thus fall into Samsara. This is a psychological truth and it will and must take place when the imperfect consciousness or attitude remains. This position will lead the sadhaka gradually deeper into samsara or bondage. So the Shruti shows the right attitude by which he will not get bound by the karmas enjoined by the scriptures. SAVITRA PRASAVENA = The right consciousness of Savitra, as the producer of ANNA the world phenomenon. This indicates that right consciousness or perception is to be gained and karma performed accordingly. That right consciousness being the YONI (source) of Samadhi or Mukti, the sadhaka is exhorted by the Shruti to concentrate on that consciousness and become one with it as below. TATRA YONIM KRINAVASE = Concentrate and get absorbed in that Brahman. NA HI TE PURTAM AKSHIPAT = Those works enjoined by the scriptures will not create bondage or attachment and lead to Samsara. The Shruti is showing the effect of right consciousness, which is to burn all actions along with their seeds to ashes by knowledge (see Gita Chap 4-37 echoing the same thought). So as a corollary it follows that where the right consciousness does not exist, the opposite namely bondage, attachment, enjoyment etc will follow as a matter of course even though one may do holy works ordained by the scriptures. Thus the mantra is emphasizing the importance of performing work with the right consciousness as opposed to merely performing work taking the world and the work to be true as such. Right consciousness also means right perceptions. e.g. if you perceive a woman as a woman the reactions are different than when you perceive her as manifestation of the Divine; the one leads to bondage and the other to Moksha. (End m7)
THE WISE ONE, HOLDING THE UPPER THREE PARTS OF HIS BODY ERECT, WITHDRAWING THE SENSES INTO THE HEART BY THE MIND, SHOULD CROSS OVER THE FEARFUL TORRENTS (OF RELATIVE EXISTENCE) BY THE RAFT (OF BRAHMAN CONSCIOUSNESS). (M 8)
In the previous mantra sadhaka was exhorted to concentrate on the consciousness that the One Brahman appears as all (the many) in lila. This was to be brought into practical life through Karma Yoga, by bringing the above consciousness in Karma. Now in this mantra in addition to Karma, Dhyana or meditation should also be practiced. This is being told by the Shruti below. TRIRUNNATAM STHAPYA SAMAM SHARIRAM HRIDI INDRIYANI MANASA SANNIVESHYA = Sitting with the head, neck and chest erect and withdrawing the senses by the mind within the heart. Asana or sitting posture helps Dhyana or concentration of mind, because, the physical, psychological and metaphysical aspects of personality are the three phases of the lila of the One Reality. The physical affects the psychological and metaphysical phases of the personality. Therefore sitting straight with the head, neck and chest erect, creates a stability on the physical plane that will ward off Tamas or lethargy on the mental plane. Otherwise if one sits carelessly he may go to sleep rather meditate on God. So the need for sitting erect is stressed. But sitting erect alone is not sufficient, one must be aware that the purpose of sitting erect is for meditating on God; otherwise the sadhaka may pass into LAYA or sleep after some concentration even while sitting erect. For strengthening the conviction of the Brahma Lila consciousness the study of scriptures is an important aid to be practiced in addition to meditation. BRAHMA UDUPENA PRATARETA VIDWAN = With the help of the consciousness of Brahman which is like a float the wise one crosses the ocean of samsara. The next step is the merging of the sense organs in the mind, which implies the stilling or tranquilizing of the mind. This will automatically take place if the sadhaka has the consciousness of Brahma lila established in his heart through Bhakti or Jnana. The Brahma lila consciousness thus becomes the float, or boat for achieving the tranquility of the mind. Where this consciousness is absent it becomes the cause for digressions of the mind. The idea is, the mind and organs come under control easily if the sadhaka has grasped the Brahma lila consciousness, and concentrates on that either directly or through symbols. The Brahmic consciousness can be felt directly by some, but for those who cannot directly conceive the Transcendental Brahman an ALAMBANA or symbol is of great help, Avataras like Christ, Ramakrishna etc are the symbols. But the symbols are not to be meditated upon as such but as representing the very Absolute Brahman, so proper consciousness about the symbol is needed in this method. The sadhaka usually faces innumerable digressions due to lack of concentration. These digressions are offset by meditation on the symbol with the right Brahmic Consciousness and the digressions will naturally subside. Thus the Consciousness of Brahman directly or through symbol becomes the means for concentration and control of the senses and also the means for attaining to Moksha by crossing the river of samsara. BHAYA-VAHANI = The terrible currents of relative existence. Samsara is a terrifying and painful current; this is the meaning. If one is convinced of the painful nature of relative existence, that conviction helps one to crossover to freedom. The cause of the painful relative existence is the absence of Brahma lila consciousness in the sadhaka, and the means of attaining to freedom is the practice of Brahma lila consciousness. So cognizing the world as full of pain takes the sadhaka to freedom (as in the case of the Buddha). (end m8)
One who is duly restrained IN HIS ACTIONS should, having fully CONTROLLED the VITAL FORCES in this body, EXHALE THROUGH the nose when the vital force HAS BECOME POWERLESS. The UNERRING WISE MAN SHOULD HOLD HIS MIND UNDER CONTROL, LIKE (KEEPING UNDER CONTROL) A CHARIOT to which is yoked AN UNRULY HORSE. (M. 9)
On Mantra 9 Shankara has made a long commentary as introduction to this mantra which deals with Pranayama. In these notes only the essential principles have been touched upon. Shankaras Commentary (Brief extract) follows.
LET CONCENTRATION ON THE SELF BE PRACTICED IN A CLEAN AND LEVEL SPOT, FREE FROM PEBBLES AND DUST, SHELTERD FROM FIRE, WATER (RAIN), NOISE AND WIND, PLEASING TO THE MIND AND EYE AND NOT FREQUENTED SUCH AS A CAVE. (M 10)
In the previous mantra details of the practice of Pranayama with spiritual consciousness were described. In this mantra a suitable place for the practice of Pranayama is delineated to offset any eccentricity in this regard. For example a man may get an idea, that he must sit on a seat of nails or on hard pebbles. Such ideas being digressions and detrimental are to be avoided. A convenient and pleasing location without external disturbances of noise, fire, wind, etc and pleasing to the eye is recommended, so that there are no disturbing reactions on the mind. Neither should one seek comfort nor should one become eccentric in determining the physical environment for sadhana. The main thing is to concentrate the mind on Brahman in a peaceful environment. (end m 10)
VISIONS OF MIST, SMOKE, THE SUN, WIND, FIRE, FIREFLIES, LIGHTNING, CRYSTAL AND THE MOON APPEAR FIRST BEFORE BRAHMAN IS REVEALED IN THE PATH OF YOGA. (M 11)
Certain visions which the sadhaka experiencesces, being the forerunners to the revelation of Brahman in the path of Yoga are being described. Mainly these may take place for those following the path of Pranayama. They are but secondary indications of his progress on the spiritual path. The main thing desired however is the change of character for good whether visions occur or not. Also visions may or may not occur to all. In other paths the Ishta (chosen Ideal) may become more radiant and effulgent. Still in others the nature of God (God Consciousness) will dawn and become even clearer. In Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master Swami Saradananda has said that visions alone are not the criterion of progress but the change in ones character for good is the main indication. The idea is that if one has many visions but no change or transformation in character those visions are as good as useless. The main thing to observe is whether those visions enhance ones God vision or not. (end m 11)
WHEN THE SUBTLE ESSENCE OF THE FIVE ELEMENTS, EARTH, WATER, FIRE, AIR, SPACE BECOME MANIFEST, THEN NO LONGER THERE IS DEATH, NOR DISEASE, NOR OLD AGE FOR THE YOGI WHOSE BODY STANDS (PURIFIED) BY THE FIRE OF YOGA. (M 12)
In this and the next mantra (13) the emanation of subtle powers of the sense organs due to the gross personality becoming subtle, by the practice of yoga are being described. Since the sense organs have become subtle, the powers like smell of the earth are experienced. The whole personality becomes subtle and a good body, relatively free from disease, suitable for sadhana is attained. This shows that the sadhaka has now transcended his gross personality. The sadhaka should not pay attention to these subtle powers, but instead positively concentrate on the goal, the attainment of God, which is his main objective. As explained in the previous mantra the standard of judgment, is the attainment of God consciousness whether subtle powers come or not. Also these subtle powers may not be experienced by sadhakas in all paths, but the important criterion is that the character must change for good in all paths. (end m12)
THE FIRST SIGNS OF ENTERING YOGA THEY SAY ARE LIGHTNESS AND HEALTHINESS OF BODY, NONCOVETOUSNESS, A CLEAR COMPLEXION, A BEAUTIFUL VOICE AND MEAGRENESS OF URINE AND FAECES. (M 13)
In the previous mantra it was mentioned that those commencing the practice of the yoga of Pranayama awaken the subtle powers of the sense organs. In this mantra the effects on the body, such as lightness, health, clearness of complexion etc as the first indications of entering into yoga are mentioned. The Shruti however cautions that Pranayama by itself is not the goal as stated below. YOGA PRAVRITIM PRATHAMAM = The first indications of entering yoga. These are just the beginnings or the preliminary indications for those practicing Pranayama, which is only one of the purification methods. The implication is that one should not consider Pranayama as the goal. One should rather be aware that there are higher stages of sadhana such as Dhyana and Samadhi, which are to be reached. Accordingly at the end of Sankaras commentary on mantra 7 (Chapter 2) it has been well pointed out that the main aim is concentration and self absorption in Brahman (TATRA YONIM KRINAVASE M7), and for this, the process of purification through Pranayama is one of the means. (end M 13)
JUST AS A GOLDEN DISC COVERED WITH MUD SHINES BRILLIANTLY AFTER SCRUBBING WELL, (SIMILARLY) THE EMBODIED SOUL INTUITING HIS NATURE (AS SELF), BECOMES THE (EFFULGENT) NONDUAL BRAHMAN, FULLFILLED AND FREE FROM SORROW. (M 14)
The sadhakas attainment of Samadhi and thence his descent to the relative world (VYUTTHAN) has so far been described. Concluding the topic, a description of that realization which is preceded by the stages of impurity and purity before its final attainment is made explicit in this mantra. A gold disc that is dull at first, when covered with dirt, becomes resplendent and shining after repeated rubbings when the dirt is removed, is an apt illustration for the attainment of Samadhi, from the state of ignorance. By Sadhana, when the impurity of subject-object realism goes, then the real nature of the subject-object-Less Atman shines. Avidya or subject-object realism is the dirt and the Sadhana of Atma Tattvam, Tapas, Pranayama and other auxiliaries removes it. ATMA TATTVAM PRASAMIKSHYA = By reflection and intuition of the nature of Atman. The sadhaka within ignorance feels the subject, I, and the world, the object, as two real distinct entities and deals with them accordingly and that is the impurity. However by intuiting the nature of the Atman which is of a subject-object-less nature, which is synonymous to the process of purification in the illustration, he attains to the nondual subject-object less perception, the goal. VITA SHOKO BHAVATI = Becomes free from all sorrows. Purification means the illumination of subject object realism. To the extent one feels the unreality of the world, to that extent one is pure in the spiritual realm. The sadhaka realizing the nondual nature (subject-object-less nature) of the Atman becomes fully satisfied and free from all sorrows, because the world of subject-object perception is the cause of all sorrows and misery in life. In conclusion it can be said that Absolute purification is Absolute realization. (end of m 14)
WHEN THE YOGI REALISES THE IDENTITY OF HIS REALITY THE SELF, WITH BRAHMAN WHICH IS BIRTHLESS, UNCHANGING AND UNTOUCHED BY EFFECTS (CREATED BY) OF IGNORANCE AND WHICH REALIZATION IS COMPARABLE TO (THE NATURE) OF A LAMP, (THEN) KNOWING THE DEITY HE IS FREED FROM ALL FETTERS. (M 15)
The state of realization or Samadhi experience has two phases. We may call the phase of purification by knowledge, as the negative phase as described in mantra 14. Here in mantra 15 the positive phase is told. This refers to the absolute identity of the sadhaka with Brahman transcendentally. What happens when the sadhaka is absolutely purified by knowledge? The answer is he simultaneously realizes his identity with Brahman. For this an analogy, the luminosity of a lamp, is cited. Luminosity is the very nature of the lamp. That is, the lamp and its luminosity are identical. So the universe and the sadhaka (the luminosity of Brahman) are identical with Brahman (the Lamp). Luminosity is one with the lamp, so also Brahman and its power are one and that is being illustrated by the analogy of the lamp. Further identity of the sadhaka and Brahman is not attained but is their very nature: an eternal fact only cognized in Samadhi. By absolute purification all differences vanish, and the one Existence alone shines. Absolute purification is therefore absolute realization. Pure mind and pure Atma are one and the same. So the realization dawns in the sadhaka in samadhi that he was never different from Brahman at any time. Just as the lamp and its luminosity were never different, so also Brahman and the sadhaka (jiva) were never different and there was never a sadhaka really. This is what Sri Ramakrishna meant by Shuddha (pure) mind and Shuddha Atma is one and the same, the obverse and reverse of the same coin. In mantra 14, Shuddha mind is shown and in mantra 15, Sudha Atma is depicted. In the last two lines of the mantra the real nature of the sadhaka as birthless, unchanging and untouched by anything is shown and when he realizes this, his real nature, he becomes free of all sorrow and bondage. Samadhi means transformation or change of the sadhakas consciousness, leading to identity of the sadhaka and Brahman. This identity is not achieved or attained, but was always there and only becomes revealed to the sadhaka. (end m 15)
THIS VERY DEITY IS ALL THE DIRECTIONS AND THE INTERMEDIATES AS WELL. HE WAS THE FIRST BORN. HE IS IN THE WOMB, HE IT IS THAT IS BORN AND HE THAT WHICH SHALL BE BORN. HE EXISTS IN ALL BEINGS WITH HIS FACES EVERYWHERE. (M 16)
In SHRINAVANTU VISVE (M 5) a description of the sadhakas coming down to the relative plane (VYUTTHAN or descent), from the plane of samadhi was told. In this mantra it is made explicit by a description of the relative world, which is now perceived as the absolute by the sadhaka. The sadhaka now sees the world in a different way. Earlier in the state of ignorance he was experiencing I am, there is a river, a mountain my wife etc., all separate from him. But now he sees all relative things of the world as that very Brahman itself. This is the real vision, which the sage attains to; the Brahma lila Consciousness that becomes a fact in his life after Samadhi. He sees the gross world of individuals and the cosmic subtle world as all the lila of Brahman. SA EVA JATA = He alone is born. We say that a person is born but the realized soul sees that as the lila of Brahman. So also all happenings of the world he sees as Brahma lila whereas we see them as such. We see an earthquake as a physical disaster or happening, but he sees it as the lila manifestation of Brahman. So from these statements of the Shruti we should develop implicit faith in the Truth of Brahma lila which is an actual experience and vision of the realized soul. Initially All is Brahman formed the background of his sadhana. This has now become a fact in his life. In this mantra the sadhaka is giving a detailed description of his experience of this very world after attaining to Samadhi. The birth of individuals in the past, present and the future (the cycle of birth and death) is now perceived as Brahma lila. So also everything that is perceived by human consciousness is seen as Brahma lila. The Truth has become a fact in his life and this is called Samyakdarshana. (End m 16)
HE WHO IS IN FIRE, IN WATER, WHO HAS ENTERED THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE (HIS CREATION), AND HE WHO IS IN THE PLANTS AND THE TREES, SALUTATIONS TO THAT DEITY AGAIN AND AGAIN. (M 17)
The description of his vision after he descends to the relative world from Samadhi is continued in this mantra, where he sees the relative as the Absolute. The emphasis earlier was on salutation as an auxiliary to sadhana. Now the salutation is after attaining the goal. Salutation or adoration is an expression of Bhakti and faith in the existence of the reality and the importance of these two for realization is being stressed. No dualistic salutation is however meant here, but a salutation in which the saluter, the saluted and the salutation, all three are the one Brahman. The importance of salutaton is being emphasized by one who has realized the highest truth, so that all sadhakas may be convinced of the need of that. This God-man points out that the same God who is in the fire, water, and pervades the whole world, is in the plants and also in the big trees, in sum and substance, everywhere. He salutes such a God again and again, showing thereby that there is nothing other than God anywhere including himself and his salutations. The repeated salutations express his deep experience of the truth of Not I but Thou and Thou alone. This is Advaita Bhakti. The sadhaka should realize that these are not intellectual speculations but direct realizations of Truth and thereby develop firm faith in the teachings of the Shruti. YOH VISHVAM BHUVANAM AAVIVESHA = Who has entered the whole world projected by Him. When the universe is perceived as the lila of Brahman, His entering into it and sustaining it is all perceived as His lila. Thus even though salutations express Advaita Bhakti of the sadhaka, the whole background of sadhana is perfect Jnana; since lila means there is no universe apart from Brahman anywhere. (End m 17)
THE UNCHANGEABLE ONE WHOSE IS THE NET (OF MAYA), IS (ALSO) THE CONTROLLER AND THE LAWS OF CONTROL. HE, IT IS THAT CONTROLS ALL THE WORLDS WITH HIS LAWS OF CONTROL, WHEN THEY COME INTO BEING AND DURING THEIR CONTINUANCE. THEY WHO KNOW THIS TRUTH BECOME IMMORTAL. (M 1)
The description of Brahma lila Consciousness is continued in this mantra. We observe in the world the phenomenon of control and controlled. An officer controls the subordinate, father the son, and so on in society. In the physical world the suns are controlling the planets, millions of objects are rotating at enormous speeds but without colliding against each other through certain laws of control. The planets are revolving perfectly through laws such as gravitation which exercise the control over them and keep them in perfect orbit. Thoughts control and hands work according to the thoughts within. This duality of control and controlled existing everywhere is His Lila. This the Shruti wants to illumine through this mantra. YAH EKO JAALAWAN ISHANIBHIH = The One nondual being Himself is the net of maya and the control and controlled are His divine powers (in lila). He is the controller, the controlled, and the control in lila. So all this duality of controlling and controlled is His lila. He himself lets himself be caught in the net of control and controlled and gets bound. The whole phenomenon of control and the bondage of all beings are his lila. He is both the efficient and material cause of this phenomenon. A wife controls the husband or vice versa but it is He who has become the force of control there as also the wife and husband. None can escape his net, because He has become the net and all those bound. So He is called the Jalavan, the possessor of the net. Not only does Brahman get caught in the net of maya and become bound, but it is Brahman alone who cuts his own net and gets out of it. None else does that. It is again He who controls all laws of destruction and construction and is the co-ordinator everywhere. The main point of emphasis is that even though all this is seeming to take place, involving wives and husbands, suns and planets etc., there is no sadhaka, wife, sun nor husband there except the One Brahman. Nothing in reality takes place as it is all the appearance of Brahman. In the world, the phenomenon of controller and controlled creates a sense of realism of the world. To remove that deep realism this mantra illumines the phenomenon of control and controlled as the mere appearance of Brahman or its Lila. (End m 1)
NONE ELSE BUT HE THE ONE RUDRA, CONTROLS THESE WORLDS WITH HIS OWN POWERS,AND BEING INFINITE, THERE IS NO SECOND (RULER). HE RESIDES IN ALL BEINGS, MANIFESTING THE WORLDS, BECOMES THEIR PROTECTOR AND AT THE END WITHDRAWS THEM DURING DISSOLUTION. (M 2)
The emphasis in this mantra is to show that there is no actuality in lila or appearance, since a poetic tendency in the world looks upon creation as real, leading to disastrous consequences. EKO HI RUDRA = The one Deity Rudra alone (exists) indeed. Being infinite and nondual, nothing other than Him can exist. Since it is so, there is no real existence of rivers, mountains etc. because He alone is everywhere and there is no other to Him. Thereby the poetic tendency attributing realism to the world is removed. So also there is no actual bondage like one being caught in a net, for the same reason. The rulership of the Lord (ISHATE) is also lila or appearance. This is the Consciousness with which the perfected souls see the universe and all its happenings, its laws of control etc. SANCHUKOCHA ANTAKALE = Withdraws at the time of dissolution. Dissolution is also His lila. It is as if a drama has come to an end. A person lives about 70 years and dies. There is nothing actual in that as it is a mere appearance of Brahman. This is going on eternally. The Lord himself appears as both the efficient and material cause of the universe in lila. (End m 2)
THE ONE DEITY HAS HIS EYES, HIS FACE , HIS ARMS AND FEET EVERYWHERE. IT IS HE WHO INSTILLS FLIGHT IN BIRDS AND MOVEMENT IN HUMANS WHILE PROJECTING HEAVEN AND EARTH. (M 3)
How does the perfect man see this very world after coming down from the plane of samadhi is the topic being delineated. SARVAM KHALVIDAM BRAHMA = The One without a second reality experienced in samadhi is the very reality of all things, happenings and laws etc of this world in all its phases, in lila. This is the experience of the perfect man. He sees the Relative as the Absolute. In this mantra it is shown that the will, the urge in the sense organs, to see, to hear, to smell and to touch is also the lila of Brahman. The will and the urge in the organs to see, hear and touch do not belong to the organs or to the individual but to Brahman; this is the idea. So also the urge causing movement in the hands and legs of humans, and the urge in birds to fly is the lila power of Brahman and not that of the hands or wings themselves. We out of ignorance think my will, my power, I see, I hear, I walk, etc. But the fact is all is His apparent manifestation. He willing, everything moves including the sun, moon, mind and organs. This shows that things are not real in themselves as they appear to be, but are the lila expressions of Brahman. DHAMATI = Energizes. The idea is that wherever in the world seeing, walking, flying, thinking etc, is taking place, it is all He, (The Brahman) appearing like that. The will and energy seen in the world behind all phenomena is He appearing in lila, including the physical, psychological and the vital aspects of personality. (End m 3)
MAY THAT ONE RUDRA WHO IS THE SOURCE AND POWERS EVEN OF GODS, WHO PROJECTED HIRANYAGARBHA IN THE BEGINING, WHO IS THE GREAT SEER AND PROTECTOR OF THE UNIVERSE, ENDOW US WITH RIGHT INTUITIVE UNDERSTANDING. (M 4)
WHO IS THE SOURCE AND POWERS ... AND PROTECTOR OF THE UNIVERSE = The God to whom he prays is the Supreme Being the reality of everything, including the sadhaka. None exists beyond His purview, because He is one without a second and nondual. So far the Shruti showed in all phases of the world, the very Brahman as the reality. With this illumination which has gone deep into his heart the sadhaka understands fully that I and Mine, the world and individuality are mere appearances. Also that his individuality cannot reach the Truth. Accordingly he has come to the understanding that complete surrender and prayer at the feet of Reality is the only way left now. This is the after effect of the illumination by the preceding mantras, describing the perfect vision after samadhi of the realized soul. Prayer and surrender to the Reality is based on the above knowledge of the Shruti and not on mere emotion. For Moksha, intuitive experience or knowledge is required which the sadhaka desires intensely now. So to whom will he pray for that? To that Deva (Lord) who is the very source of the Virat, Hiranyagarbha and Isvara and who is the power of all Devatas and without whom nothing can exist. The idea is that since He is the only source and Reality of all these, He is also the cosmic person to be prayed to. So this prayer is to the God of gods for granting the proper Buddhi or Psyche through which one will realize the Transcendent-Immanent one without a second Reality. Without this Buddhi how can one realize? So the Shruti is showing that one should attain to the proper Buddhi or Psyche, knowing ones individuality to be a zero. For that, prayer or appeal is extremely necessary. The prayer is for actualizing the Truth of Brahma Lila described by the perfect man after attaining to samadhi. The prayer shows the intense agony of heart due to lack of capacity within the sadhaka and his great thirst for realizing the Truth, the truth of Not I, but Thou practised for a long time. It implies that all sadhakas need to make a comparable effort to achieve this result along with prayer. (End m 4)
O RUDRA THROUGH THY BENIGN PLEASING SINLESS AND CALM FORM THAT IS REALLY YOURS, O GIRISHANTA PLEASE LOOK AT US. (M 5)
In the previous mantra the sadhaka prayed for that intuition or Buddhi through which the real nature of Brahman may flash in him. But intuition is only the means and has to ripen into realization. In this mantra therefore the prayer is Let my intuition mature into direct realization. Absolute realization means going beyond the phenomenal world perception, which is full of the differences of man, woman, the dualities created by name and form. It implies seeing the reality beyond name and form; beyond the realm of subject and object. YA TE RUDRA SIVA TANU AGHORA APAAPAKASHINI = Oh Rudra, I pray for thy Transcendental, real, pleasing form (nature) and not your terrible Mayic form, which is the world full of incongruities.The Maya roopa or form is terrible. But that O Lord is not your real nature. Maya roopa refers to perceiving the world of man and woman and things as such, which brings terrible reactions in its wake and is the cause of all misery. The moment one sees oneself as separate from another and different from him that very moment misery has already commenced because the Truth of Oneness or unity is violated. This is the subject-object consciousness or ignorance in which ordinary men live and pass their whole lives. But that through which Moksha or Liberation is attained is the subject-object-less consciousness. In that lies all freedom, all auspiciousness, all fearlessness and peace. But in the other are fear, bondage, misery and suffering. So the sadhaka prays for the revelation of the subject-object-less form of the Lord. He prays for that form of the Lord beyond name and form, because the empirical vision of name and form is creating many fears, miseries and sufferings. The prayer is for Advaita knowledge in the language of Bhakti. The theme of the Upanishad, it must be remembered is Advaita Bhakti. ABHICAKASIHI = Look at me, wearing your real form. Until I experience your Absolute subject-object-less nature I will not be able to see God in everything or everything as the lila of God. The idea is that first one has to realize that Advaita Brahma Consciousness beyond name and form and only after that one can perceive the real immanence of God in the world. For this, Vairagya for the world as such is the first step. The sadhakas desire to perceive the reality beyond the phenomenal world shows his intense vairagya for the world. Sri Ramakrishnas teaching First tie the knot of Advaita in your cloth and then do whatever you like, is echoing the above truth of this Upanishad. Such simple sayings of Sri Ramakrishna establish the deep and profound truths of the Vedas and since he arrived at the truth without reference to the Vedas, it is said that he came as almost illiterate in order to establish the truth of the Vedas in this age. (End m 5)
O GIRISHANTA THE ARROW WHICH YOU HOLD FOR THROWING, MAKE THAT (ABSOLUTELY) PURE, LEST YOU INJURE ANY PERSON (OF OURS) AND THIS WORLD. (M 6)
Brahman is not only Nirguna (without qualities) but is also Saguna (with qualities). What is Nirguna appears as Saguna. It is not that there are two separate realities. There is only one. To remove the antithesis between Nirguna and Saguna this mantra is commenced. That which is Nirguna is Saguna in lila. This is the perfect Brahma Jnana or Mukti. Only Nirguna realization is a partial realization because the Saguna (the phenomenal world) remains unexplained in such a realization. Sri Ramakrishna taught this very truth to Totapuri, his guru, in recent times. Totapuri had achieved the realization of Brahman as Nirguna only (partial truth) and therefore denied the appearance of Brahman in Saguna form. Later coming in touch with Sri Ramakrishna he realised the complete truth, that Brahman the Nirguna is Saguna in lila. That which is Brahman is the Avatara and Jagat in lila. The formless is with form in lila. MA HIMSIH PURUSHAM JAGAT = Do not injure this phenomenal world. In mantra 4 the Shruti revealed the Nitya Brahman or Nirguna aspect of Brahman. In this mantra the prayer is for right intuition or right perception of the lila Brahman (the Saguna) to make the realization complete or whole as this is real Mukti. The prayer is, If you do not show me the truth about your lila aspect, then you will kill me or injure me and the world by throwing the arrow of incorrect perception of the world at me due to which I will perceive the world as such and not as immanence of the Divine. SIVAM GIRITRA TAM KURU = Oh Lord, make that Arrow of perception transcendent and immanent. The prayer is for that intuition or perception by which he can see the whole world as Brahma lila. Since the sadhaka in mantra 4 prayed for the Nirguna aspect of Brahman by negating the world of phenomena, the truth about the world of phenomena remains still a mystery to him. So the prayer is for complete realization whereby he will realize the noumenon (Nirguna) itself to be the phenomenon (Saguna). Further it is to be understood that without realizing the Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the Nirguna aspect first, the lila aspect of Brahman cannot be perfectly realized. The sequence of mantras 4 & 5 illustrates this point. So complete Brahma Jnana is only possible when both aspects are realized by the sadhaka. This is the perfect state where the sadhaka perceives the entire world of phenomena as the very divine after descending from the plane of Samadhi. Sri Ramakrishna explained this through a beautiful simile. A person negates the steps of a staircase while ascending the roof, and while descending observes the steps to be made of the same material as the roof, showing thereby that the noumenon (the roof) and the phenomenon (the stairs) are one and the same reality. (end M6)
THEY BECOME IMMORTAL BY KNOWING HIM WHO IS BEYOND THE UNIVERSE (THE GROSS) AND BEYOND HIRANYAGARBHA (THE SUBTLE) AND (YET) WHO IS GREAT BECAUSE OF PERVADING THE UNIVERSE AND BEING THE ONE HIDDEN REALITY OF ALL FORMS AND SHAPES. (M 7)
Prayer for right intuitive understanding of the two aspects of Brahman, the Nitya and the Lila (the Absolute and Relative) was the content of the mantras 5 & 6. But emotional prayer is not enough to sustain one till the goal is reached. The truth of SARVAM KHALU IDAM BRAHMA (Whatever exists is God) has to be rationally and convincingly understood. For instance that the sadhaka himself has no existence apart from Brahman is not apparent to the sadhaka. The Shruti in this mantra aims to bring about a rational conviction of what the sadhaka is seeking through prayer. A rational explanation of the nature of Brahman and the universe through the philosophy of cause and effect is put forth before the sadhaka. The idea is to solidify the understanding of the sadhaka attained through prayer, by knowledge, as the basic understanding of the Truth has to be very adamantine for sustaining the sadhaka in his spiritual path. Otherwise regress is possible. AMRITA BHAVANTI = The sadhaka becomes immortal (freed from all fetters) by knowing that Supreme Lord (the ISHAM), who is (TATAH PARAM) beyond the universe, meaning that He the Brahman is Transcendent over the universe, being its Transcendental cause. Therefore the universe and individuals are Brahmans effect and that the effect is the cause itself in another form is a rational observation. By thinking deeply on this philosophical truth one will realize that in reality the universe is nothing but Brahman itself the cause and has no separate existence. The rational understanding and conviction that there is no universe apart from Brahman is a fundamental prerequisite for the success of sadhana. The Shruti brings about this understanding and conviction in this mantra and solidifies the understanding attained through earlier prayer. The Shruti explains this in BRAHMA PARAM BRIHANTAM. Brahma param means Brahman is Transcendent over Hiranyagarbha, the universe which is its effect. Brihantam means, it is great because it pervades all its effects being their cause. VISHVASYA EKAM PARIVESHTITARAM = He the One pervades the whole universe. Since Brahman the cause pervades the whole universe its effect, it itself is the effect known as the universe. Just as the desert is itself the mirage its effect, which it pervades. The mirage and desert are identical. Similarly Brahman and the universe are identical. This is the sense of all pervasiveness. GUDHAM means it lies hidden within as the reality of the infinite variety of forms. When name and form creating the illusion of variety goes, the One Reality alone remains. From these rational statements of the Shruti, the sadhaka is to be fully convinced that there is no universe apart from the Transcendent Immanent One without a second Brahman. Thus the conviction attained through prayer is reinforced by the knowledge of cause and effect. This reinforcement by knowledge here is synonymous to the MANANA and NIDIDHYASANA aspects of sadhana. The triple sadhana being SHRAVANA, MANANA and NIDIDHYASANA. Hearing, reflecting and meditating are the three phases in the realization of Brahman according to Vedanta. (End m 7.)
I HAVE REALISED THIS GREAT BEING WHO IS EFFULGENT LIKE THE SUN AND BEYOND ALL DARKNESS. KNOWING HIM ALONE ONE TRANSCENDS DEATH AND THERE EXISTS NO OTHER WAY. (M 8)
The conviction of Brahman-Lila consciousness or the consciousness of the One appearing as the many was reinforced by knowledge in the previous mantra. The same conviction is being reinforced in this mantra through the authoritative statement of one who has realized the above Truth. His realization and declaration is the authority for all to be convinced that the truth is as stated by the Shruti in the earlier mantras. ADITYA VARNAM = Self Luminous like the sun. He the Brahman is itself the subject and itself the object and thus He is the subject-object-less reality beyond ignorance. Ignorance means attributing realism to the subject and object as two separate real entities. TAMASAH PARASTAT = Beyond darkness. So long as a person dwells within the realm of subject-object consciousness that person is said to dwell in darkness because the Truth is hidden from him. The Truth being subject-object-less in nature is said to be beyond darkness, which is characterized by the realism of subject and object. NA ANYAH PANTHA VIDYATE AYANAYA = There is no other way or path than this. The idea is that all paths such as Karma; Bhakti, Jnana, Yoga etc become paths only if the Brahma lila consciousness functions in them. Therefore this Brahma lila consciousness is said to be the only path. The idea is that forms of sadhana may differ but the consciousness behind them is only one. This is the authoritative statement of the rishi after Realization. Therefore sadhana is all a question of consciousness or attitude. (End m 8)
THERE IS NONE SUPERIOR OR INFERIOR TO HIM, NONE LARGER OR SMALLER THAN HIM, IMMOVABLE LIKE A TREE AND FILLING THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE THE ONE INFINITE RESIDES IN HIS OWN GLORY. ( M 9)
At the end of mantra 8 it was said that by knowing Him alone one transcends death, and there is no other way than this. The significance of this is clarified in this mantra. YASMAT PARAM NA APARAM ASTI KINCHIT YASMAT NA ANIYO NA JYAYO ASTI KASCHIT = There is none superior or inferior to Him, none larger or smaller than Him. In Brahman, which is the goal, there is no subject and object. It is SVAYAM, meaning it itself is the subject and the object. There is no other to Him. By showing that there is no superior or inferior, greater or smaller in Brahman, the infinite nature of Brahman is being pointed out. VRIKSHA IVA STABDHO DIVI TISHTHATI EKAH TENEDAM PURUSHENA SARVAM = Like a tree immovable He stands alone filling the entire universe. This implies that there is nothing like a universe separate from Brahman, since all that exists is Brahman and Brahman alone. Philosophically speaking the effect is the cause in another form and so the universe being an effect disappears into its cause, the Brahman. This is spiritual reason, which indicates that there can be no universe separate from Brahman. Whatever exists is Brahman and Brahman alone. Just as a tree stands unmoving so is Brahman unmoving and unchangeable and the universe of change is merely apparent. Brahman stands in its own glory being the one without a second Transcendent and Immanent reality having no other to it. It has been said earlier that there is no other way than this to reach Brahman. It is so because Brahman being the only Reality nothing other than it can exist. And whatever else is seen to exist can only be mere appearance. It is only by bringing this consciousness in sadhana that Brahman can be reached. Contrarily if anything other than Brahman is imagined to exist like the world or the individual and then sadhana is performed, one will not be able to reach the goal; this is the idea. Here a question crops up, how then do the scriptures speak of four paths of Jnana, Karma, Bhakti and Yoga? The answer is that the forms or paths may be many but the consciousness underlying all of them is one and the same. The consciousness in the means (the paths) must correspond to the nature of the goal if the paths are to take one to the goal; this is the great idea being conveyed. (End m 9)
THAT HIGHEST STATE COMPARED TO THE WORLDLY STATE IS FORMLESS AND FREE FROM MISERY, THOSE WHO KNOW THIS BECOME IMMORTAL, WHILE THE REST GET ONLY MISERY. (M 10)
Reinforcement of conviction is very necessary and is continued in this mantra. One has to constantly remember the nature of the goal which is subject-object-less. On the other hand if one accepts the world of subject and object as true and does sadhana then samsara will be the result and not Moksha; this is the idea. That is, if one runs after name and fame, or seeks ones personal interests while doing sadhana, and is attached to kith and kin, then it will become a sadhana performed with subject-object realism with no correspondence with the nature of the goal. The Shruti shows the contrast of results of sadhana performed with these two different attitudes and exhorts the sadhaka to follow the right attitude. Brahmans nature being Absolute Transcendence, beyond all cause and effect, formless, beyond the realm of misery, this is the consciousness which will give Immortality or Moksha. Alternatively all other consciousness within the realm of subject-object realism like my father, my name, my wealth etc. will lead only to sorrow and misery. It is for bliss or ananda that man runs after this world. But the Shruti shows the real happiness or bliss lies in mans own transcendent nature. Instead of seeking for that Immortal Bliss he seeks temporal sense pleasures and gratification which only bring more misery in their train. The sadhaka should therefore totally renounce all worldly drags and struggle for Immortal Bliss. By feeling the contrast of the results obtained by these different attitudes the sadhakas unconscious drags to the world, lurking within will get destroyed leading to a deeper absorption (NIDIDHYASANA) in God. The sadhaka should seek for bliss in that Transcendent world and not in this world. Give up this world completely without a lingering longing look behind is the message being conveyed. (End m 10)
HE THE LORD IS ALL THE FACES, HEADS AND NECKS AND RESIDES IN THE INTELLECT OF ALL BEINGS, HE IS ALL-PERVASIVE, AND HE IS THE GREATNESS AND POWER IN BEINGS AND HENCE THE OMNIPRESENT SHIVA. (M 11)
Brahman is the inherent reality of the sadhaka and the world, and hence in reality there is no sadhaka and world as such anywhere excepting Brahman. This being a fact, if one does sadhana with the above conviction corresponding to the nature of reality, the Truth must flash in him. The false consciousness, which attributes realism to I and the world, is the obstruction. That has to be removed by transforming ones consciousness by bringing in the Brahma lila consciousness in sadhana. For bringing this right consciousness the Shruti enlightens the sadhaka by showing that, all faces, all heads, all necks in the entire world are all His. It is He who dwells as the intellect in all. Further he pervades the entire universe. This is the SARVAM KHALU IDAM BRAHMA consciousness, which the sadhaka has to bring into his life by transforming his present consciousness of world realism, which is opposed to it. SA BHAGAVAN TASMAT SARVAGATA SHIVA = It is the Lord who expresses himself as all powers and virtues in beings and therefore is the omnipresent Siva. The idea being conveyed is that wherever power or greatness is manifested in individuals or even in nations, it is the lila expression of Bhagavan and not those of the individuals or nations. We out of ignorance say Napoleons power or the power of a Nation not knowing that it is God Himself manifesting as that power. Ignorance of this, makes man run after power, name and fame in the world, not knowing that they belong to God. Sri Ramakrishna said in this connection that wherever greatness is seen in individuals it is the power of God manifested in the form of greatness there.
THE INFINITE LORD INDEED IS THE PROPELLER OF MIND TOWARDS THE SUPREME TRANSCENDENTAL ATTAINMENT. HE THE IMPERISHABLE IS (ALSO) THE RULER AND THE LIGHT (OF THAT ATTAINMENT). (M 12)
The conviction that everything taking place in the sadhakas secular and spiritual life is the lila of Brahman, is an essential necessity. Ordinarily all these are viewed as expressions of the individuality. The Shruti is making the sadhaka conscious that they in reality pertain to Brahman and not to the sadhaka. In this mantra the urge to merge in Brahman, in the sadhaka as he advances in the spiritual realm, is shown as the lila of Brahman and that it does not pertain to the sadhaka. SUNIRMALAM IMAM PRAPTIM = For the attainment of the transcendental perception, the impulsion is from Brahman and not from the sadhaka. This subtle truth is pointed now at the appropriate time of the sadhakas evolution as he has attained to a deep conviction of the Truth of the Oneness of Existence, his mind having become subtle. The general principle followed by the Shruti is to reveal the Truth corresponding to the level of evolution attained by the sadhaka. The sadhaka can now feel that his intuition and urge to merge in Brahman are the lila of Brahman and not his. The sadhaka will no longer be able to perpetuate his individuality. SUNIRMALAM PRAPTIM = Supremely pure (transcendental) attainment. Here the purity of subject-object-lessness is meant, The idea is that the sadhakas mind is powerfully drawn as it were into the transcendental realm of Brahman from the empirical consciousness. This urge of being drawn is shown as the lila of Brahman. The idea is that Brahman itself manifests as intuition, since the sadhakas I has ceased to exist because of illumination. We have to understand from this that sadhana has to become absolutely Iless. We may say that the sadhakas faith and conviction in Not I but Thou is becoming absolute as his I is vanishing completely as it were. ISHANAH JYOTI AVYAYAH = He the imperishable is the ruler and the light behind this supreme attainment of the sadhaka. The idea is it is all the lila of Brahman, as the sadhaka has no existence in the state of realization. (End m 12)
THE PURUSHA, AS THE INDWELLING SELF IS EVER SEATED IN THE HEARTS OF MEN OF THE SIZE OF A THUMB (THE PSYCHIC BEING). HE THE LORD OF INTUITION REVEALS (HIMSELF) IN THAT TRANSCENDENTAL MIND (WHICH IS HE). THOSE WHO KNOW THIS BECOME IMMORTAL. (M 13)
The urge in the sadhaka for merging (the prerana), to be one with Brahman was shown as the lila of Brahman in mantra 12. In this mantra the psyche (its locus and form) where that urge takes place is shown as Brahma-lila. By HRIDAYE this transcendental psyche within is referred to and devotionally stated to be lying deep within ones heart. The experience of ALL IS BRAHMAN does not take place in the sky, but within ones being, the Hridaya. That being is not a separate reality from Brahman, but is Brahman itself in lila and this the mantra aims to show. This Hridaya is further described in the text as follows: ANGUSHTHA MATRAH PURUSHAH ANTARATMA SADA JANANAM HRIDAYE SANNIVISHTA = The Purusha of the size of the thumb ever resides in the hearts of men. The idea is, the psychic being where God is felt, is deep in the heart where He is ever residing. This implies that the psychic being is God Himself in lila and this is the point of emphasis here. The size of a thumb is from the physiological point of view only and has reference to the size of the cave of the heart where He resides and is not to be taken literally. The indwelling Purusha is ever seated within all; this means that it is not left to the choice of men, to have Him or not to have Him. Further it is the locus where the urge to merge in Brahman functions and is described as the Purusha or Brahman in lila. When the mind of the sadhaka becomes subject-object-less (transcendental) it becomes identical with the Purusha. In that enlightened mind knowledge is possible. Thus the subject-object-less state of mind of the sadhaka is called HRIDA and becomes the intuition for the revelation of Brahman. The feeling or communion of the sadhaka with Brahman is not to be felt dualistically but transcendentally. It means the sadhaka, his feeling of communion with Brahman are all the lila of One Reality. However before he is fully established in the subject-object-less state, the I of the sadhaka may persist in a subtle form. Due to that the realization takes the form I am one with Brahman. This is still a mental modification (vritti) and not the perfect realization of Brahman. The perfect realization occurs when the VRITTI becomes the DIPTI (illumination), where no longer the I remains. The sadhaka by the illumination in the first two lines of the mantra becomes aware of this subtle I lurking in his realization, and attains to the perfect Dipti realization by transcending this subtle I as indicated in the second two lines. HRIDA MANVISHA MANASA = The subject-object-less mind is referred to by HRIDA MANASA, where the intuition of Brahman takes place. MANVISHA = The Lord is the Ruler or Prabhu of that knowledge or intuition (and not the sadhaka) indicating the need of I-less sadhana. The idea is that intuition; knowledge and realization are all the manifestations of Brahman, the individual having absolutely nothing to do but to get out of the scene at every stage. Everything is Brahman in lila; this is the theme. ABHIKRLIPTA = He the Brahman is Revealed in that subject-object-less intuition. YAH ETAT VIDUH AMRITA TE BHAVANTI = Only the DIPTI realization as above leads to perfect Immortality. (End m 3).
THE PURUSHA HAS THOUSAND HEADS, THOUSAND EYES AND THOUSAND FEET. PERVADING THE UNIVERSE IN AND OUT HE REMAINS TRANSCENDENT OVER IT BY TEN FINGERS BREADTH. (M14)
In the 13th mantra it was mentioned that the Purusha is ever seated in the hearts of men, implying that Truth has to be felt within. A limited understanding of this can take the form as God within the individual; thus the subtle I of individuality remains in realization. But God is not only in the individual but everywhere and in all, since reality alone exists, there can be no existence of the individual and world. Therefore there is no you or all as the Reality is One without a Second and all Pervasive. If the understanding of God were limited to ones heart, then God as my support in a dualistic sense will result. The dualism of pervader and pervaded or the support and supported is to be avoided as that violates the truth of Oneness of Advaita. Brahman never really becomes the Jiva or you and hence there is no question of it existing within you or pervading you. The you or Jiva is an illusion on Brahman, just as the snake is an illusion on the rope in the famous illustration in the Vedanta. To reinforce the above right understanding the Upanishad clarifies what is meant by realization taking place within you ATYATISTHAT DASHANGULAM = He remains transcendent over the universe by ten fingers breadth as it were. He the Reality or Purusha has become infinite heads, infinite eyes and infinite feet by His lila, but in reality He ever remains transcendent over his lila creation, which means there is no real creation. By Dashangulam is shown that the infinite is ever transcendent over everything, it being subject-object-less. That means you and all are mere illusions and the reality (or rope) alone exists. Thus Brahman is shown to be transcendent, immanent, One without a second Reality. Brahman is in you but not confined to you, but He is in all. He is in that you which is free from I and mine. But in actuality there is no you and all as Brahman is the only Reality. Therefore the Antaratman or Inner Self is to be felt in this subject-object-less way. It is true that at one stage in sadhana, Brahman is felt within as the Antaratman, in a limited way leading to the imperfect realization I am one with Brahman, where the subtle I of the sadhaka still persists in his realization. This is the Advaita vritti realization, which matures to Advaita Dipti realization by further illumination when the I completely disappears and Samadhi is reached. The mantra aims at bringing about the above perfect Advaita Dipti realization through illumination. (End m 14)
PURUSHA INDEED IS ALL THAT WAS IN THE PAST, THAT WILL BE IN THE FUTURE, AND ALL THE PRESENT THAT GROWS THROUGH FOOD. BESIDES HE IS THE ORDAINER OF IMMORTALITY. (M 15)
In the previous mantra it was mentioned that Atman has to be realized within. This idea of within can create a real existence of an individual, within whom realization can take place. But it was earlier shown that Brahman alone exists; therefore no individual exists, wherein this realization can take place. In this mantra, the idea that Brahman is the support of a real individual in whom realization takes place is illumined. There is no real ADHARA (supporter) and ADHEYA (supported) in Brahman as it is all one. In the state of ignorance, He appears as you and the world and not in a real sense. PURUSHA EVA. The emphasis by Eva is to show that Purusha alone has become the past, present and future in lila sense. That means apart from Brahman there is no past, present and future even though they appear real, to those in ignorance. The growth of bodies by the intake of food, observed in the world may create a sense of realism of the universe, but that growth (change) also is shown as the lila appearance of Brahman. The idea of Oneness of Existence is being stressed to remove the possibility of any duality in comprehending the Truth. UTA AMRITATVASYA ISANAH = Besides he is Immortality and its lord. This shows that there is nothing like Moksha as a real entity separate from Him. Nor is there sadhana in a real sense. Both Sadhana and Moksha are His lila appearances. He himself is the sadhaka, the sadhana and the goal. All this sadhana, Moksha etc. are to be understood in the lila sense, for the realization of that Transcendental Brahman. When it is said that He is all of the past, the present and the future and all that grows, a pantheistic dualistic idea that God has really become all these may delude the sadhaka. This mantra aims to remove this pantheistic dualism. The Ultimate truth is Brahman through maya or lila becomes the many but not in reality. (End m 15).
IT HAS HANDS, FEET, EYES, HEADS, FACES AND EARS EVERYWHERE AND EXISTS PERVADING EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE. (M 16)
IT APPEARS AS IF POSSESSED OF THE QUALITIES OF THE SENSES, EVENTHOUGH DEVOID OF THE SENSES. IT IS THE LORD OF ALL, THEIR CAUSE AND THE REFUGE. (M 17)
The mantras 16 & 17 are taken together as they indicate one idea. We have seen in mantras 14 & 15 that the One Purusha in lila appears as the whole world. The idea of Adhara and Adheya i.e. the dualism of support and supported was illumined. The same illumination is again reinforced in these two mantras. The mind of the sadhaka having become subtle can comprehend the subtle Truth being explained. The Truth is One without a Second in which there is no experiencer separate from Brahman. This truth percolating through the human personality constituted by the sense organs of knowledge and action etc. causes the sadhaka to feel it in the form Thou art my support. This is called the Advaita Vritti realization, which may be termed as a mental modification. This Vritti experience has to reach the Advaita Dipti or full illumination. For this experience the human personality, the medium of experience has to be transcended completely by illumination. The I lurking within this Advaita Vritti is very subtle and difficult to transcend and hence the need for repetition in these mantras. With this in view the Shruti shows in mantra 16 that all karma indriyas, the organs of action are the lila of Brahman. Further since Brahman pervades all, Brahman is the only reality of all the karma indriyas. Thus the karma indriyas are illumined as non-existing and Brahman as the only existence. In mantra 17, the Jnana indriyas, the sense organs of knowledge and their functions of seeing, hearing, thinking etc are shown as the limiting adjuncts (the upadhis) of Brahman in lila. Thus the human personality as a whole is shown to be the lila of Brahman, hence not real and therefore has to be transcended completely. By this illumination the realization will become perfect. No trace of the human personality will remain there (in the form of subtle I) any longer in that realization and Brahman alone beyond thought and speech will be realized. The physical personality and sense perceptions of human beings as entities do not exist as such, but are the appearances of that One non-dual Brahaman; this is the idea. Thus the sadhaka attains the Advaita Dipti experience of samadhi by understanding the limitation of his Advaita Vritti experience, limited by his human personality. (End mantras 16 & 17)
THE LORD OF THE ENTIRE WORLD OF THE MOVING AND THE UNMOVING GETS EMBODIED IN THE CITY OF NINE GATES (THE BODY), AND MOVES OUTWARD (TO GRASP EXTERNAL OBJECTS). (M 18)
Realization is not attained by a jump. A deep samskara or conviction regarding the nature of Reality is required. For this, repeated sadhana of an illumined type is needed. A sadhana, in which sadhaka, sadhana and siddhi (the goal), are all known as Brahman in Lila and where the I is completely dissolved in Thou, is the illumination referred to here. I am not Thou alone appearest as my sadhana, siddhi and as myself is the consciousness to be maintained in sadhana. Thus the Shruti following the above principle repeats the same Truth in different forms in these various mantras, as the truth is extremely subtle. The idea in repetition is that repeated illumination is needed before the highest samadhi is reached. Otherwise one can get stuck in the stage of He is my support which is within ignorance. LELAYATE BAHIH = The embodied soul moves outwards to grasp objects. The idea is the Supreme Soul in its state of embodiment, is constantly struggling to grasp the outer objects, assuming the limiting adjuncts of body, mind and sense organs. This embodied state can only be transcended, when viewed as the lila of Brahman. The same thought of Brahma lila taking place everywhere as indicated in mantras 14 to 17 is also reinforced in this mantra in the text by LELAYATE BAHIH. Just as in mantra 14, Brahman becomes in lila infinite faces, infinite eyes etc and in mantra 15 Brahman in lila is the past, present and future and in mantra 16, Brahman in lila becomes infinite hands, ears etc everywhere, in this mantra Jivahood accompanied by acts of perception and enjoyment of objects is shown to be the lila of Brahman. Another equally convincing interpretation of the text is as follows: The Supreme Soul even though being the Lord of the whole universe, is constantly deviating from its real nature by assuming the limitations of body, mind and sense organs and experiencing the external objects. This is the state of its bondage and misery. Therefore repeated sadhana is needed to get back to its original Supreme state. The inborn tendency of grasping external objects by the embodied soul is highlighted by the Shruti for emphasizing the need of repeated sadhana. The idea is, this maya is so terrible that it does not go away easily. Sri Ramakrishna describes the following scene: A person pushes the sedge growing on a pond of water, but the very next moment the sedge covers the water again. Just so ignorance constantly veils the soul again and again even though knowledge unveils the truth temporarily. So the need for repeated sadhana is emphasized by the Shruti itself. (End m 18.)
WITHOUT HANDS AND FEET HE MOVES AND GRASPS, WITHOUT EYES HE SEES, WITHOUT EARS HE HEARS. HE IS THE KNOWER WHEREVER THERE IS KNOWING, BUT THERE IS NO KNOWER OF HIM. THEY SPEAK OF HIM AS THE FIRST, THE PURUSHA AND THE GREAT. (M 19)
The nature of Brahman is again focussed for the final plunge or samadhi. The newness in this mantra is to inspire the sadhaka to struggle for the final plunge by showing its result. What is Moksha, your ideal? And what is samsara in which you dwell at present? A critical understanding of these at this psychological point of plunging in samadhi is the context. Samsara is movement from birth to death. There is always change in ones state of bliss, calmness, peace, existence etc. Nothing is permanent in samsara. Whereas Moksha is eternal bliss, unchanging existence, eternal Peace and Blessedness. Not that you will be in bliss today and tomorrow in sorrow. It is eternal bliss and peace beyond all understanding, in which there is no coming and going at all. You will attain this unchanging position and this is Moksha. So give up samsara which is momentary, to gain the eternal unchanging Bliss of Moksha; this is the context. For this the nature of the goal (Moksha) is focused, so that the sadhaka may lose himself totally in Brahman. The last vestige of realism of I, which may linger in the Brahma-Lila consciousness, will disappear by this illumination. A strong push for merging in the reality will be generated in the sadhaka for the samadhi experience. APANI APADA = Without hands and feet. He is without these, yet he appears to move and grasp things. He is so, since He is the One Transcendent Immanent Consciousness, which in lila appears as the phenomenon of moving and grasping things with physical hands and feet. PASHYATI ACHAKSHU = Sees without eyes. The whole process of perception including eyes is appearances of Brahman; Brahman appears as the seeing consciousness. So also He hears without ears, is to be understood as Brahman appearing as the hearing consciousness. SA VETI VEDYAM = He is the knower wherever there is knowing. Wherever there is subject object knowing, He is the relative knower there in Lila. That is, He appears as the knower, the knowledge and known in all relative knowing. There is no real sadhaka there, excepting the Chit Brahman appearing as all those factors of knowing etc. This real swaroopa or nature of Brahman at the time of final plunging into samadhi is shown, since no trace of the sadhaka or his I can remain in samadhi . The mantra is for inspiring the sadhaka to take the final plunge into samadhi, by totally losing his individuality to gain the highest bliss of Brahman. So the Shruti exhorts one to take the final plunge into that Brahman, by giving up the present consciousness of samsara. You will gain the Eternal by losing the ephemeral. The sadhaka is inspired to take the final plunge without any lingering longing look towards samsara. (End m 19)
SUBTLER THAN THE SUBTLE AND GREATER THAN THE GREAT, IS THE SELF THAT RESIDES IN THE HEARTS OF ALL. ONE BECOMES SORROWLESS, BY SEEING HIM THE DESIRELESS AND GLORIOUS (AS ONESELF) THROUGH GODS GRACE. (M 20)
So far knowledge that everything is the lila of that One Brahman was told. To attain to that, Absolute Purity based on moral and ethical life is extremely necessary. Also purity, moral values and control of mind are to be based on the nature of Brahman or spiritual consciousness and not on mere empirical or emotional grounds. This is stressed in this mantra. Equal emphasis on absolute purity along with equal emphasis on spiritual knowledge for attaining to the goal of Brahman is stressed. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God, echoes the same idea. The purity of subject-object-less consciousness is referred to here. AKRATUM = Him (Brahman) the desireless. He being so, you cannot attain to him without purity. So no trace of impurity should be there. The least subject-object consciousness means impurity. So one has to become completely I less and my less and that is the subject-object-less purity. Mere knowledge without purity has no value in the spiritual realm. ANORANIYAN MAHATO MAHIYAN = He is the smallest and also the greatest, such is the Atman who resides in all. The goal, the nature of Brahman is again described to make the sadhaka aware of the need to become absolutely I less. Since He has become the smallest and also the greatest there is no other to Him and hence He is all; this is the idea. DHATU PRASADAT = By the grace of the Supreme Lord. When the Supreme Lord becomes favourable there arises the knowledge of His true nature which is One without a Second. The dawning of this knowledge in the sadhaka is called Gods grace, as it is not the outcome of the individuals effort. This knowledge however dawns only when the individuals consciousness corresponds to the nature of the One without a Second Reality, in whom there are no such ideas as man opposite to woman, but only He appearing everywhere as man and woman. Such purity of perception, being the outcome of knowledge of His nature is called His grace. Thus I-less effort and purity based on spiritual consciousness precedes divine grace. In this manner he realizes his own Glory as God and becomes free from grief. An alternative interpretation of Dhatu Prasad is as follows. Divine Grace or Dhatu Prasad means the tranquillity that comes after control of mind and senses based on knowledge. Since Dhatu also means organs and only when they come under control is realization possible, here Dhatu prasad means by the tranquillity of the mind and senses (by their grace). (End m 20.)
I KNOW THAT ANCIENT ONE, OF WHOM THE KNOWERS OF BRAHMAN SPEAK AS ETERNAL AND BIRTHLESS, WHO IS UNDECAYING AND THE SELF OF ALL AND IS OMNIPRESENT BY VIRTUE OF PERVADING ALL. (M 21)
The chapter is concluded by an authoritative statement of a Rishi who declares that he has realized this very truth under discussion. Therefore the truth is not mere subjective imagination, but a direct perception which can be experienced by all. The after effect of such perception is Ajaram and Janma Nirodham i.e. free from all changes such as decrepitude, birth, death etc. Moreover by virtue of all pervasiveness He is the Self of all and is omnipresent and accordingly there is no other to Him. The Rishi realizes that Transcendent Immanent One without a Second Reality where nothing other than Brahman exists. BRAHMA VADINO VADANTI = It has been realized not by one but by all knowers of Brahman. Sri Ramakrishna said in this connection All jackals howl alike, meaning all knowers of Brahman speak of the same truth, in all religions and climes after realizing the truth. From the above statements of the Rishi, the sadhaka will be inspired to merge fully in the reality, transcending the relative illusory consciousness of samsara, which has been obstructing his merging in the Absolute. (End m 21.)
THAT DEITY WHO IS ONE WITHOUT A SECOND, WHOSE PURPOSE IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE, BRINGS ABOUT THE WORLD OF THE MANY INTO BEING IN THE BEGINING BY HIS POWERS AND WITHDDRAWS IN THE END (INTO HIMSELF). MAY HE ENDOW US WITH RIGHT UNDERSTANDING. (M 1)
The truth by its very nature is profound and very difficult to grasp. The difficulty to its understanding is compounded as it were by samskaras or instincts in man. The idea that this world as such is true is the effect of impressions of many past lives. Man has been running after enjoyments for many lives in the past and their effect on him is the samskara or impression which makes him believe this world is true as it is. Inspite of hearing the truth many times, this samskara or instinct works against that understanding. Therefore there is a great need for repetition of the same truth, which is the context of this and the next two chapters. The newness in this chapter is to make the sadhaka aware, that in spite of the truth having been made explicit by the guru and the scripture, his instinct will overwhelm that understanding. So he has to exercise great care and caution in life till realization is reached, and constantly counter the force of Samskara.
INDEED THAT IS FIRE, THAT IS THE SUN, THAT IS AIR AND THAT IS THE MOON; THAT INDEED IS PURE, THAT IS BRAHMA, THAT IS WATER AND THAT IS PRAJAPATI. (M 2)
This world is a mere appearance or lila of Brahman was shown in mantra 1. A purposeless creation is possible only when it is lila or appearance. That being the truth, in the next 3 mantras, all the particular objects of the world both sentient and insentient are shown as Brahman itself having no reality of their own. Thus creation arises from Brahman rests in Brahman and disappears in Brahman. The sadhaka has to gain the knowledge that whatever he perceives as the objects of the world are in reality Brahman and Brahman alone, and whatever perception of form and shape of objects are observed are mere forms or appearances. (End m 2)
THOU ART THE WOMAN, THOU ART THE MAN, AND THOU ART THE BOY AND THE GIRL TOO. THOU ART THE OLD MAN TOTTERING ON A STAFF. THOU ART BORN WITH FACES EVERYWHERE. (M 3)
A beautiful description of the same lila continues. The human forms confronting man in his daily life are taken up and shown that He alone is the essence of all these forms of men and women. The idea is there is no man and woman there but the Brahman and Brahman alone.
THOU ART THE BLUE BEE, THOU THE GREEN PARROT WITH RED EYES; THOU ART THE CLOUD, THE SEASONS AND THE SEAS. THOU ART WITHOUT BEGINING, THOU ART THE OMNIPRESENT FROM WHOM ALL THE WORLDS HAVE SPRUNG. (M 4)
The same lila description continues but stressing the beginningless aspect of Brahman. ANADI = Beginningless. Since Brahman is omnipresent and beginningless, all forms, having sprung from Him, have no beginnings of their own: and hence have no reality of their own. Therefore it is Brahman alone that appears, as the parrot, the seas and the seasons in lila, is the conclusion. (End m 4)
ONE PRODUCING MANY OFFSPRINGS OF ITS OWN KIND, OF RED, WHITE AND BLACK COLOURS IS A SHE GOAT (NATURE), WITH WHOM A HE GOAT (JIVA) ENJOYS AND SLEEPS: ANOTHER HE GOAT AFTER LEARNING FROM ENJOYMENT RENOUNCES HER. (M 5)
The absolute state is indeed most profound and worthy of realization. But man forgets that, unless the relative life, in which he dwells today, is illumined and removed through vairagya. Otherwise that absolute state cannot be attained. He desires to retain the present and also realize the Absolute which is impossible. Therefore the Shruti says ENAM JAHATI, meaning that he who gives up this false relative life of enjoyment, he alone becomes free. The need for total renunciation of falsity is being stressed. The individual soul is compared to a he goat who sleeps or enjoys with a she goat comparable to Nature or Maya and becomes bound thereby. When the individual soul renounces this life of maya, knowing it to be false through experience and illumination, it attains to freedom. The absolute state of realization was described in mantra 4; here it is shown that unless one renounces his thirst and clinging to the relative life of enjoyment, through illumination and the bitter experiences of the life of enjoyment, he cannot attain to the absolute. The idea is that without Tyaga or renunciation based on illumination, the truth cannot be attained. The white, red and black colours indicate satva, rajas, and tamas, the gunas of Nature, which bind the soul. JUSHAMANO ANUSHETE = Enjoys along with attachment and identification. This category of Jiva will never realize the truth, as he is deeply immersed in worldliness. Who then realizes? JAHATI ENAM BHUKTA BHOGAM = He who gives up everything and becomes transcendent over the world after experiencing the futility of enjoyment, is the other category of Jiva who will realize the truth. Thus the need for tremendous vairagya for the world is stressed. (End M 5)
TWO BIRDS OF BEAUTIFUL FLIGHT, EVER TOGETHER AND KNOWN BY THE SAME NAME, HOLD ON TO THE SAME TREE. OF THESE ONE EATS THE FRUITS OF VARIOUS TASTES, WHILE THE OTHER (MERELY) LOOKS ON WITHOUT EATING. (M 6 )
In mantra 5 the importance of the life of renunciation in comparison with the life of enjoyment as a step to realization was told. But tyaga or renunciation alone is not enough for realization. The intrinsic relationship between sadhaka and Brahman has also to be known. This mantra reveals this relationship, and the efficacy of renunciation through a simile of two birds sitting on the same tree. The supreme soul and the individual soul (the two birds) live on the same tree, the body. The tree represents the body since it perishes like the body. The same tree signifies in one and the same life. In this very life both have their being or abode.
THE DELUDED JIVA, DROWNED (IN LIFES OCEAN), FEELS POWERLESS AND MOANS. WHEN HOWEVER HE PERCEIVES, THE BLESSEDNESS AND MAJESTY OF THE OTHER, THE LORD, ON THE SELF-SAME TREE, HE IS FREED FROM SORROW. (M 7)
Brahman the goal is fully transcendent over the world. The sadhaka however, is fully entangled in the world today. His perceptions which are of a subject-object nature are totally antithetical to the nature of reality. One has to feel intensely this disparity in the sadhakas perceptions of the world in comparison with the perceptions of a perfected soul, for proceeding to the spiritual goal. Advaita bhakti is intense love for the ideal of oneness in which there can be no I and mine, and the higher bird represents this ideal. For attaining this Advaita bhakti it is of utmost importance to cognize the nature of reactions taking place in the life of ignorance. ANISHAYA SHOCHATI MUHYAMANAH = Moans on account of a feeling of total helplessness. Shankaracharya has elaborated at length the nature of this helplessness, as this has to be felt deeply. On account of ignorance, the jiva takes the body and relative existence to be real, and engages in various desires and actions with attachment and a sense of I & mine, lacking discrimination. Finally, when the death of kith and kin overtakes him, and the fear of impending death haunts him at every instant and old age and disease overtakes him, he becomes utterly helpless and frustrated. After repeatedly suffering thus, through many lives, ultimately with the help of a gurus instructions, he practices self control, truthfulness, control of mind and renunciation, realizes in meditation the supreme soul (the higher bird) untouched by the effects of ignorance, and is released from all sorrows. Thus he realizes the transcendent supreme lord and becomes free from all sorrows. It is then alone that he realizes the manifested world as a form of the Lord. An alternate interpretation is as follows. Earlier the sadhaka was to transcend everything and get absorbed in Brahman. Here the sadhaka has to look upon this relative existence as the very lila of Brahman. This enables him to see the immanent aspect and get absorbed in the immanence of God. Thus realization of Brahman is possible either through absorption in the transcendental aspect or through absorption in the immanental aspect. It depends on the constitutional make-up, temperament and feeling of the sadhaka as to which path he would adopt. (End m 7)
(SINCE) THE VEDAS AND ALL THE GODS ARE ROOTED IN THAT SUPREME IMPERISHABLE RESEMBLING THE SKY, WITHOUT KNOWING THAT BEING, WHAT CAN BE ACHIEVED THROUGH THE VEDAS? (THEREFORE) ONLY THOSE WHO KNOW HIM THUS, REMAIN SELF-FULFILLED. (M 8)
This mantra suggests that one should concentrate on the great self-fulfillment that comes after realization. Because man enamoured of the world of relative existence struggles for temporal results and never attains to eternal self-fulfillment. RICHO AKSHARE PARAME VYOMAN YASMIN DEVA ADHI VISHWE NISHEDUH = The Vedas and all the gods are rooted in that supreme imperishable who is like the sky. The vedas (karma kanda or work portion) are the guiding force for the performance of sacrifices, rites etc. which lead to heavenly enjoyments and to the position of gods. But these enjoyments and positions are temporary and can never give eternal self-fulfillment. Further they are the lila manifestations of that One Absolute. So the Shruti exhorts the sadhaka not to be lost in them but to struggle to be merged in their very source the Absolute, by knowing whom alone, one attains to eternal self-fulfillment. KIM RICHA KARISHYATI = What can the mere observances of the Vedas achieve? The sacrifices and other rites mentioned in the Vedas only lead to ephemeral results and not to eternal self-fulfillment. Therefore one should not get lost in the mere glamour and results of these, forgetting the goal. Rather one should concentrate and get absorbed in the Reality which alone leads to eternal self-fulfillment and for which disinterested work is the means. The idea is that the goal should not be lost sight of. The results of work, like the attainment of heaven and the positions of the gods, are temporal, like the disappearing waves, on the ocean of existence which is their support. The idea is all other pursuits are vain as compared to realizing Him who is their very source and support. So comparing the end results, one should choose that which will give eternal self-fulfillment, which is knowing Him. (End m 8)
THE LORD OF MAYA PROJECTS THE VEDAS, SACRIFICES, RITES, VOWS, THE PAST, THE FUTURE, THE PRESENT AND ALL THOSE WHICH THE VEDAS SPEAK OF. HE PROJECTS THIS WORLD AND GETS BOUND IN IT BY BECOMING ANOTHER ENTITY (JIVA) THROUGH MAYA. (M 9)
If all is Brahman how then is this world experienced? This question lies deep within, in spite of many earlier explanations. Secondly the sadhaka feels I am, and I am entangled in this world. These are the two major obstructions to realization, which are illumined in this mantra. Whatever we see, and whatever we experience, is all maya of the mayi. Mayi the unchangeable, through maya or His mysterious power appears as the phenomenal world, but not in reality, just like the mirage in the desert. To convince the sadhaka of this fact, the mantra states as follows. CHANDANSI YAJNAH KRATAVO VRATANI BHUTAM BHAVYAM YAT CHA VEDA VADANTI = The world in its past, present, and future, the sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas, all actions, vedic and non-vedic, and the vedas themselves are all the lila appearances of that Brahman. Therefore one has to be convinced, that the world being mere appearance, has to be transcended, in spite of its appearing as real. One feels I am, and I am entangled in woman, wealth and many other things of the world. But one has to be convinced that this I, and its entanglement is also the appearance of Brahman. The next question is if all is maya, how is it I am powerfully attracted to mother, wife, wealth, name and fame? So they must be true. In answer the mantra says. ASMAN MAYI SRIJATE VISHVAM ETAT TASMIN CHA ANYO MAYAYA SANNIRUDDHAH = This lord of maya projects this world and becomes bound in it, by becoming as if different (as a jiva). He is both the material and efficient cause of the universe. That means, He in lila becomes the mother, wife etc. including oneself but not in reality. By this knowledge, the sadhaka has to be convinced, that there is really no I nor its entanglement nor the objects of the world even though apparently they seem to exist, and thus be merged in Brahman the only reality who appears as all these. (End m 9)
KNOW NATURE TO BE MAYA, AND THE SUPREME LORD THE REALITY OF MAYA. INDEED BY OBJECTS WHICH ARE HIS OWN EFFECTS, THIS ENTIRE UNIVERSE IS PERVADED. (M 10)
Granted the absolute is unchangeable, the question arises, whence has come this changeful universe, the individual, and its entanglement. It is through maya that all these have come into existence was the answer. This answer creates a doubt in sadhaka, that this maya may be a real entity. Accordingly he thinks, there could be the existence of a mayic jiva, a mayic world, and mayic entanglement. This mantra illumines this subtle mayic realism of the world experienced by sadhaka, in the words below. MAYAM TU PRAKRITIM VIDYAT MAYINAM TU MAHESWARAM. He the lord, is the mayi, of this maya, in the sense of the rope and the snake, in the illustration in Vedanta. The rope is the Mayi, and the snake the Maya. Thus the snake comprises the universe, the jiva, and its entanglement in it; and Brahman the rope. Accordingly, there exists, neither a false or real universe, but Brahman and Brahman alone. It is Brahman, that gives reality to the universe, which as such does not exist. This is called superimposition. TASYA AVAYABHUTAISTU VYAPTAM SARVAM IDAM JAGAT. Brahman the cause becomes all the effects or objects which constitute the universe, and in virtue of being their cause, pervades all of them which are its effects. Just as the desert pervades all objects of the mirage and every object in the mirage is the desert and desert alone. This means the jiva, the world, and jivas entanglement in it are really not there, and what exists is Brahman and Brahman alone. Maya is a subjective error, of one in ignorance, in which state the reality, the rope is taken to be the snake (the universe). The idea of the many vanishes for him who has attained to knowledge. In conclusion, when it is said this universe is maya, it means it is Brahman. (End of m 10)
HE IS THE ONE SUPREME, WHO PRESIDES OVER ALL PHASES OF NATURE, FROM WHOM ALL THIS (UNIVERSE) ARISES, AND IN WHOM IT MERGES. REALISING HIM THE LORD, THE BENEFICIENT, THE ADORABLE AND THE EFFULGENT, ONE ATTAINS TO THE SUPREME PEACE. (M 11)
It is normally understood that God is the background of this world. This subtle duality of world and God its background is illumined in this mantra, because Advaita or Oneness is the truth. YO YONIM YONIM ADHITSHITHATI EKAH = Although one without a second and nondual He is the ruler of all phases of Nature. He is the transcendental background of Nature, since no universe exists apart from Him. He without the least change in Him appears as both the ruler and ruled, in lila, showing His absolute transcendence and independence. It is He who imparts substance and appearance to all forms of Nature without the least change in Him. This is how He rules and becomes as it were the substratum of the world, in lila. SAM ETI VI ETI CHA = Into whom the world merges at the time of dissolution and from whom the world emerges at the time of creation. The idea is Brahman appears as the background during creation and not during dissolution, because then there is no longer the world. That means He is not the background always. Therefore He is the transcendental background and not a real background of a real world. He is the background in lila sense, and not really. As for example the desert is the transcendental background of the mirage, but not its eternal real background, as the mirage is an illusion on the desert, or to be more exact the desert is the mirage itself. The conclusion is, Brahman is not the background of the world, but what we call, as the world is Brahman itself. EKAH = He the nondual one without a second, appears in lila, as the world, its background and as the individuals. The deep sleep state gives us a glimpse of the subject-objectless nature of that reality. He who realizes that Brahman which has no duality in it as above, through the instruction of the scripture and the guru, alone attains to real peace. (End m 11)
RUDRA WHO IS THE ORIGIN OF THE GODS, AND MANIFESTS AS THEIR DIVINE POWERS, THE PROTECTOR OF THE UNIVERSE, THE GREAT SEER, AND WHO AT THE BEGINING SAW HIRANYAGARBHA BEING BORN; MAY HE ENDOW US WITH RIGHT UNDERSTANDING. (M 12)
The sadhaka has come to the real understanding that in the reality there is no I Ñ the individual, nor the world, nor its background, as He alone appears as all these in lila. Since this is the truth, there is no other way, but the complete surrender of the individual at the feet of reality. The mantra is an appeal by the sadhaka through an illumined prayer, for the perfect manifestation of intuition corresponding to the nature of Brahman. The reality is seen as the supreme source even of gods, their divine powers and of the many in lila, in the prayer. YO HIRANYAGARBHAM PASHYATA JAYAMANAM = The great seer Rudra, the protector of the universe, who at the beginning gave birth to Hiranyagarbha. The idea is, He appears as, Rudra, Hiranyagarbha, the I, the world and its background. Pashyata means that he actually saw the truth of this lila. So this advaitic prayer based on knowledge will lead to realization and has the attitude of total surrender. Since He is all, there is no other way, but appealing through prayer and surrender, for realization. (End m 12)
TO THAT BLISSFUL DEITY, WHO IS THE LORD OF THE GODS, ON WHOM THE WORLDS ARE SUPERIMPOSED AND WHO RULES THE WORLD OF TWO LEGGED AND FOUR LEGGED (CREATURES), WE OFFER OUR SERVICE WITH OBLATION. (M 13)
Prayer alone is not enough for right understanding, Karma without I and mine consciousness, is necessary for purity and attaining the right understanding. The text first describes the nature of the deity, to whom the karma as offering is to be made. Because the act of offering must correspond to His nature, who is the goal to be realized.
KNOWING SIVA, WHO IS MORE SUBTLE THAN THE SUBTLEST, EXISTING IN THE MIDST OF IMPENETRABLE MAYA (THE WORLD), THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE OF INNUMERABLE FORMS, WHO EVER REMAINING ONE, PERVADES THE UNIVERSE (OF MANY), ONE ATTAINS TO THE SUPREME PEACE. (M 14)
Since the sadhaka has attained to psychic fitness, the prayerful attitude of mantras 12 and 13 is reinforced by knowledge, in this mantra. Without knowledge the emotional psychic fitness attained through prayer may disappear. JNATVA SIVAM = Knowing the nature of Siva. The one without a second appears as the relative chain of cause-effect. The subtle becoming the gross etc. is all His lila. His nature is further described in the passage below. SUKSHMAT ATI SUKSHMAM = He is the most subtle; this is the idea. The one without a second appears as all the relative causes and the relative effects in lila. The elements are subtler than the gross universe. The gross, the subtle are all His lila. This subtle knowledge about Him is being emphasized, as by knowing His nature alone ones sadhana can be successful.
HE ALONE, WAS THE PROTECTOR OF THE UNIVERSE IN THE PAST AGES. HE IS THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE AND RESIDES IN ALL BEINGS. IN HIM THE BRAHMARISHIS AND GODS REMAIN IDENTIFIED, KNOWING HIM THUS, IS ONE FREED FROM THE CLUTCHES OF DEATH. (M 15)
Reinforcement of the previous idea continues, by showing that the Rishis of the past attained the truth through this very way. Every one also, can attain, if he follows this way. The way is identification with Him by giving up I and mine completely. SA EVA KALE BHUVANASYA GOPTA VISHWADHIPAH SARVA BHUTESHU GUDHAH = He in the past ages, was Himself the karma and fruit of all beings, their ruler and indweller. This is so because all this is His very lila. Therefore sadhana has to be I-less and my-less, and identification or non-difference with Him should be the watchword and background throughout sadhana. JNATVA = Knowing directly as I am Brahman. They knew that they had no separate individuality even while performing sadhana, for they knew that their I, their karma and its fruit, was the lila of His. YASMIN YUKTAH = With whom the Brahma rishis and gods remained identified. The rishis of the past attained the truth, through the consciousness of identity with the reality. So also one destroys the bondages of death by this consciousness of identity with Him. (End m 15)
LIKE THE FINE FILM (ESSENCE) THAT SURFACES ON BUTTER (WHEN HEATED), IS (THE WAY TO) KNOWING THE EXTREMELY SUBTLE SIVA (BRAHMAN), HIDDEN IN ALL BEINGS. KNOWING THE ONE DEITY ENCOMPASSING THE UNIVERSE, ONE IS FREED FROM ALL FETTERS. (M 16)
Just as by heating butter you get its delightful essence, so also by penetrating the world, you get to its essence, the infinite bliss of Brahman. The idea is that one has to get to the essence, to get bliss in both cases. JNATVA SIVAM SARVA BHUTESHU GUDHAM = By knowing Siva who is the essence in all beings. Thus Knowing Siva alone, who is the hidden essence in all, does one become blissful. Therefore burn away the world of ignorance, based on I and mine, the world of, lust, greed, father, mother, wife and wealth, by the fire of knowledge, to get to the essence, the infinite bliss of Brahman. So heat the world by the fire of knowledge of Siva to get to its essence. Otherwise leaving the essence man runs after the falsity due to ignorance and suffers. VISHWASYA EKAM PARIVESHTITARAM JNATVA DEVAM = Knowing the deity to be the One all pervading reality of the universe, is the fire of knowledge by which to burn the world away. So the Shruti says He pervades the world. Just as in the illustration of the mirage and desert, the mirage is illusory and the desert pervading the mirage alone is true. So also He alone is true and the world pervaded by Him being illusory has to be renounced. This is the idea. He is the one transcendent and immanent reality, and knowing Him to be thus, one is freed from bondage. The significance of pervading all and knowing the Deity one is freed from all fetters has already been explained in mantra 15 of chapter 2 and mantra 7 of chapter 3. (End m 16)
THIS NONDUAL DEITY WHOSE WORK IS THIS UNIVERSE, EVER ABIDES IN THE HEARTS OF MEN. HE IS REALISED THROUGH INTUITION OF THE TRANSCENDENTAL, DISCRIMINATING INTELLIGENCE AND SUSTAINED CONTEMPLATION. THOSE WHO REALISE THIS TRUTH BECOME IMMORTAL. (M17)
Brahman is that infinite joy and the sadhaka has been inspired to realize that Brahman. What is that Brahman? Where and how to realize Brahman is told in this mantra. MAHATMA = He is the one without a second the nondual reality, ESHA DEVAH VISHVA KARMA SADA JANANAM HRIDAYE SANNIVISHTA. He the One without a second has become the whole universe in Lila, and exists as the abiding reality of all beings. Thus the sadhaka and Reality can never be separated. He is to be realized in the Hridaya, the heart or intuitive being, because He resides there as the very reality of the individual. The heart is where one feels, and is the locus where He has to be realized. HRIDA = Is the real instrument of sadhana, the subject-object-less intuition of the transcendental reality, attained through Neti Neti, the negation of the phenomenal, based on the nature of the transcendental Reality, as taught in the scriptures. MANISHA = The intuition referred to above is not to be attained emotionally, but through VIVEKA or discriminating intelligence that distinguishes the real human goal from its opposite, based on the discrimination between the Self and non-Self. MANASA = The continuous reflection or contemplation, based on the above intuition leads to the knowledge of Brahman. It refers to the sadhana, the dwelling in that transcendental intuition continuously till the goal is reached. The four vedantic disciplines* precede this sadhana. Those who realize the truth in this manner become immortal, by knowing their infinite nature; this is the idea. [*The four Vedantic disciplines are: the discrimination between the real and the unreal, the giving up of all enjoyments here or hereafter, the control of the mind and senses, detachment and a hankering for liberation.] (End m 17)
WHEN IGNORANCE IS GONE, THEN THERE REMAINS NEITHER DAY NOR NIGHT, NO EXISTENCE OR NON EXISTENCE, BUT SIVA ALONE THE ABSOLUTE AND IMPERISHABLE. FROM HIM PROCEEDED THE ANCIENT WISDOM. THAT SAVITA (INDEED) IS WORTHY OF ADORATION. (M 18)
This mantra illumines the subtle ignorance of I, lurking within the sadhaka, prior to the attainment of the highest state of samadhi. After transcending the subtle I of ignorance, the sadhaka will be lost in the Reality. The text calls that state as ATAMAH where no darkness of ignorance exists. When a little knowledge of truth flashes, it is called day and when this knowledge becomes dim, it is called night. This waxing and waning of knowledge does not take place in the state of realization as oneness or unity has been reached. It also indicates that there can be no attainer and attained in that state of nondual realization. NA SAT NA ASAT SIVA EVA KEVALAM = In that state of realization there is neither existence nor non-existence. But what exists there is the self-luminous absolute subject-objectless being Siva, of the nature of eternal illumination. There remains no superimposition of anything like existence or non-existence in that absolute state. This is the state of samadhi where there is no attainer, nor is there the waxing or waning of illumination. It is eternal self-illumination. Samadhi is not a subject-object attainment of the individual, but the spontaneous manifestation of the Reality; this important idea the Shruti wishes to stress in this mantra.
NONE CAN GRASP HIM FROM ABOVE, OR ACROSS, NOR IN THE MIDDLE. HE HAS NO PARALELL, WHOSE NAME IS GREAT FAME. (M 19)
Earlier it was said, that there could be no attainer attaining to realization, as the reality is subject-object-less. This is being further emphasized in this mantra. NA ENAM URDHVAM NA (TIRYAM) NA MADHYE PARIJAGRABHAT = No body can grasp Him from above, nor across, nor in the middle. He cannot be grasped in a subject-object way, as is possible with things in the world, as He has no parts. Therefore realization is possible only by absolute subject-objectless consciousness and by no other means. YASYA NAMA MAHAD YASHAH = Whose name is great fame. The absolute reality is glorified by pointing its unique characteristic of fame. In the world fame is dependent on the existence of the subject and the object as two separate entities. But Brahmans uniqueness is because of its unique subject-objectless nature, as there is no other to Him. Though He is only one, yet He appears as innumerable beings in millions of variegated forms, and that is His unique mysticism or great fame. So meditate deeply on this unique mysticism of His; even though being the one unchangeable, He becomes the many in Lila. By this you will get rid of the subtle I, still lurking within you; which is an obstruction to the final experience of samadhi. Nobody ever realizes Him. But realized persons are there, which means, realization dawns, when the I completely dies and He manifests Himself. Complete surrender at the feet of reality with I-less sadhana, is therefore the way to realization. NA TASYA PRATIMA ASTI = There is nothing similar to Him anywhere, since He is one without a second. This implies, there exists nothing besides Him, anywhere in the world. This being His essential nature, to attain Him, I-less Sadhana is the only means; this is being stressed. (END m19)
HIS VISION IS NOT WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE SENSES, NONE SEES HIS FORM WITH THE EYES. THOSE WHO THROUGH NEGATION, A PURIFIED INTELLECT AND MIND, SEE HIM WITHIN, GAIN IMMORTALITY. (M 20)
It was told in earlier mantras that negation or Neti, Neti, is the way to realize the Truth. The sadhaka feels well, if I and the world and everything are negated then what remains may be a void. Out of this fear he may give up sadhana and even avoid the samadhi experience. This mantra shows that negation of everything does not lead to a void but to a positive state. But that positive state is beyond sense perception. NA SANDRISHE TISHTHATI ROOPAMASYA = It has no form such as seen in the world, but TISHTHATI indicates it is not a void, but that it has a distinct perception of its own, a form which is beyond the subject-object finite category. The eyes can perceive an object, but That, being subject-object-less, the eyes cannot perceive. The idea is it is a formless positive state (AROOPA ROOPA) beyond the forms of perception of the senses, but not a void. When I & mine is transcended completely by knowledge, then that positive superconscious state flashes. This may be described as Transcendental Absolute Positivism. HRIDA HRIDISTHAM MANASA = Through the transcendental intuition gained through negation (NETI NETI) of the phenomenal, as taught in the scriptures. This has to be felt within (Hridistham) in the heart, not outside oneself and by continuous contemplation through the mind. When by renunciation and knowledge, the consciousness of I and world is crushed, it is then that the positive state is perceived everywhere. It is then, that the real Brahmic individuality flashes, when the present false individuality disappears through knowledge. YAH ENAM EVAM VIDUH AMRITA TE BHAVANTI = Thus knowing Him, is immortality attained. Immortality does not mean living long; It means the perception of Brahman as the only real, eternal existence everywhere. The first two lines of the text show the impossibility of perceiving truth through the senses. The second two lines show that it has to be realized within, through the complete negation of the phenomenal world (by Transcendence), accompanied by purity of mind and intellect (the four disciplines of sadhana). In this connection it is interesting to note that Swami Vivekananda quoted this very mantra in his lecture Unity in Diversity. The translation of the mantra is reproduced here for the benefit of the reader. None sees Him with the eyes. It is in the mind, in the pure mind, that He is seen, and thus immortality is gained. (Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda volume 2, page 185 in 1997 Edn). Swami Vivekananda quoted this mantra to stress the point of purity of mind as the main requirement. Seeking a change of place, and running here and there for a better environment is of no avail until the mind is purified. The idea is that the whole energy has to be spent on purifying the mind alone. (End M 20)
THOU ART UNBORN, AND SO A RARE PERSON STRICKEN WITH (SPIRITUAL) FEAR TAKES REFUGE IN THEE. O RUDRA, PROTECT ME FOREVER WITH THAT BENIGN FACE OF YOURS. (M 21)
AJATA ITI EVAM KASCHIT BHIRU PRAPADYATE = Thou art unborn and so a rare person stricken with (spiritual) fear takes refuge in thee. One more important point for leading the spiritual life is revealed in this mantra. Only a rare soul, who has understood that the reality is never born, will have spiritual fear, for he experiences a real world in front of him, which has been denied in the words Thou art unborn. By the single word that the reality is unborn, the sadhaka has understood the unreality of worldly existence, and hence his experience of fear that the world will overwhelm him. It is a rare sadhaka alone, who knows that a life of I & mine, taking the world to be real as such, is opposed to that birthless Reality which is beyond birth, old age, hunger and thirst. This psychological fear of getting lost in the world, by being overpowered by I and mine consciousness, is an asset in the life of a spiritual sadhaka. Just as discrimination and renunciation are essential for spiritual life, so also is spiritual fear a necessity. So prayer to that One without a second Reality, out of fear of getting lost in the world, is shown as a necessary step in the spiritual path. RUDRA YAT TE DAKSHINAM MUKHAM TENA MAM PAHI NITYAM = O Rudra protect me forever with thy benign face. I am full of desires, of I and mine, where as, thou art transcendental and beyond this mire of duality. So protect me with that transcendental consciousness, which is your very nature; this is the prayer. Why prayer? Because, where is the sadhaka? When it is all Thou and Thou alone there cannot be any sadhaka who can protect himself. So there is no other way than complete surrender at the feet of reality, and knowing this, he prays. So this is a knowledgeful prayer, based on illumination seeking for Divine grace. This is Bhakti, where there is no my in sadhana, no I of my own. It is all Thou and Thou alone. Thou alone shall protect me. That is the out come of Divine grace, which manifests when I and mine is completely transcended by prayer. In conclusion, the lila consciousness described so far, will be replaced fully, by the Advaita Bhakti Consciousness of total surrender at the feet of Reality. In this state, the sadhaka totally disappears, and the Divine manifests itself fully. (End m 21)
OH RUDRA DO NOT DESTROY OUR SON, GRANDSON, OUR LIFE, OUR CATTLE AND OUR HORSES. OUT OF ANGER DO NOT KILL OUR HEROIC SERVANTS. WE ALWAYS INVOKE THEE THUS WITH OUR OFFERINGS. (M 22)
In the previous mantra absolute surrender to the Reality was prayed for. But this is possible only when purity is attained. For purity performance of Karma with yoga consciousness is a necessity. In the relative world, performance of Karma requires many facilities like a calm place to stay food and many other secular requirements. The prayer now is for granting, protecting and maintaining the appropriate environment, in which Karma Yoga may be performed without any disturbance. In ancient times, sons, grandsons, cattle, horses and servants were the tools sustaining a life of karma yoga. So also in modern times, with some difference. If the sadhaka were a sannyasin he would pray for an Ashrama or a similar facility, where he could perform Karma Yoga, for the benefit of self and the world. For example Sri Ramakrishna prayed for a sadhana enclosure, in a lonely spot in the panchavati, during the period of his sadhana, and the Mother granted his prayer. So the prayer is for a protected environment, and favorable circumstances, for performance of Karma undisturbed. (End m 22)
THE TWO, KNOWLEDGE AND IGNORANCE, LIE HIDDEN IN THAT INFINITE IMPERISHABLE HIGHER THAN BRAHMA. THE PERISHABLE IS IGNORANCE AND KNOWLEDGE IS (LIKENESS OF) IMMORTALITY. BUT HE WHO RULES KNOWLEDGE AND IGNORANCE IS DIFFERENT (FROM BOTH). (M 1)
In the psychic being where the falsity of the subject-object world is felt, the sadhaka feels his oneness with Brahman. That this manifestation of oneness takes place by Brahmans grace was indicated in mantra 18 of chapter 4 (from Him proceeded the ancient wisdom). The idea is that the flash of intuition is Brahmans expression and not that of the sadhaka. But in this intuition the sadhakas subtle I, as the feeler of oneness, remains and this state is accompanied with tremendous joy, deluding the sadhaka to believe he has attained the supreme goal. This subtle I can become gross any moment and drag the sadhaka into samsara again. There is therefore the necessity of illumination at this stage as to why this wonderful blissful state (called Anandamaya kosha) has to be transcended by the sadhaka. Because even though it is a very high state of achievement, compared with the goal (Brahman), it is no better than the gross state of subject-object consciousness of ignorance in which the ordinary man dwells, as both states are within Maya (within subject-object consciousness). The Shruti points that out in this mantra.
HE IS THE ONE, WHO PRESIDES OVER ALL POSITIONS (OF NATURE) AND OVER THE INFINITE VARIETY OF FORMS AND COLOURS (IN NATURE). IN THE BEGINING OF CREATION, IT IS HE WHO WITNESSED THE SAGE KAPILA BEING BORN AND IT IS HE WHO FILLED HIM WITH KNOWLEDGE. (M 2)
The Vidya and the Avidya of the previous mantra are to be transcended for the knowledge of Brahman. How and by what means are they to be transcended? For this a deeper knowledge of Brahma-lila is reiterated in this mantra to enable the sadhaka to transcend both Vidya and Avidya.
THE SUPREME DEITY, SPREADS OUT THE NETS OF INDIVIDUALISED MAYA ON THIS FIELD (OF SAMSARA) AND WITHDRAWS THE SAME (IN THE END). THE GREAT LORD THROWS AGAIN THE (MAYIC) NET OF THE RULERS OF THE WORLD AND HOLDS SWAY OVER THEM ALL. (M 3)
The description of the lila of the One becoming the many continues in this mantra. He casts the net of samsara consisting of men, women, animals, insects etc. their karmas, aspirations and fruits of karma. Brahman Himself becomes all these, the net, the individuals and their karmas. In this cyclic net which lasts many ages, men perform work and transmigrate according to their karma, taking their individualities to be true and get bound in the net by the fruits of their karmas. Even though the whole series is Brahmans lila, the individuals taking their limited individualities to be true (and not as lila) experience bondage and transmigrate.
JUST AS THE SUN ILLUMINES ALL DIRECTIONS, ABOVE, BELOW AND ACROSS THROUGH HIS LIGHT, IN THE SAME WAY, DOES THE ONE EFFULGENT AND ADORABLE GOD RULE OVER ALL OBJECTS BEING THEIR VERY SOURCE. (M 4)
The understanding that everything in the world is Brahman is given through 3 phases of illumination in this mantra. The illumination proceeds from Brahman to world. The three phases are dealt under a, b, c, below.
THE ONE CAUSE OF THE UNIVERSE, WHO MANIFESTS AS NATURE OF THINGS AND AS TRANSFORMATIONS IN ALL MUTABLE THINGS, IT IS HE WHO INSTILLS THE QUALITIES IN THINGS AND THE ONE (NONDUAL) WHO RULES THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. ( M 5)
VISWA YONI = The source of the universe, meaning the cause of all objects in the universe. In mantra 4, Yoni Svabhavan referred to the objects such as the Earth, which are the effects of Brahman, their cause. By the dual terms Visva Yoni and Yoni Svabhavan is implied that He is the cause-effect mystery of all objects in the world. The cause becoming the effect and the effect becoming the next cause and so on. What then is this cause-effect mystery? It is the lila of the Nondual One; and this cause-effect chain has no realism of its own.
THAT (NATURE OF SELF) LIES HIDDEN IN THE UPANISHADS, WHICH ARE THE REVELATIONS OF THE VEDAS. BRAHMA KNOWS THAT WHICH HAS THE VEDAS AS ITS BASIS. THE ANCIENT SEERS AND GODS WHO KNEW IT, INDEED BECAME ONE WITH IT AND ATTAINED IMMORTALITY. (M 6)
YAH PURVAM DEVAH RISHAYASCHA TAD VIDUH = The truth which the past sages of the world realized. To impress the truth upon the sadhaka the text states, that Brahma and all the rishis of the past realized this very Truth. This is said so that the sadhaka may not digress, and so that he may be convinced that this truth, enshrined in the Upanishads (which will include all revealed scriptures) is a universal truth which many sages all over the world have realized in the past. It is the only thing to be realized in life and there is nothing else worthy of pursuit. When he is convinced thus, all digressions will vanish and he will get absorbed in the truth.
THE JIVA HAS MASTERSHIP OVER PRANA AND ENGAGES IN ACTION SEEKING ITS FRUIT, SWAYED BY THE THREE GUNAS, ACCORDINDLY FOLLOWS THE THREE PATHS; ENJOYS THE FRUITS OF ACTIONS DONE, RESULTING IN MANY FORMS (OF BIRTH) AND TRANSMIGRATES BECAUSE OF HIS OWN KARMA. (M.7)
Attention is being focussed on the nature of the Jiva and the reactions it experiences in the world. Unless these reactions of jivahood are deeply felt, the nature of the Absolute, namely, that all is Brahman, cannot be grasped nor can it be realized. The idea is that the sadhaka has to observe his present personal position of jivahood in comparison with that of the Absolute, which he has to attain. Many are not conscious of their jivahood, but feel themselves as I am John or I am Sita. To feel the state of Jiva is higher than feeling I am John and is the first step to a higher evolution and therefore the mantra describes the jiva consciousness so that one may become aware of that.
OF THE SIZE OF THE THUMB, BUT BRILLIANT LIKE THE SUN, ASSOCIATED WITH VOLITION, EGOISM, THE QUALITIES OF THE INTELLECT AND THE BODY (IS THE JIVA); WHO CONSIDERS (HIMSELF) TO BE DIFFERENT (FROM BRAHMAN) AND IS (SUBTLE) LIKE THE TIP OF A GOAD. (M 8)
The nature of Jiva as such and its Reality, Brahman, are together depicted in this mantra. The idea is to describe the empirical and transcendental positions together and then to show their identity or nondifference. Brahmans descent to Jivahood and Jivas ascent to Brahmanhood are both Brahma-Lila. That the jiva and the phenomenal world he experiences are false (the empirical position) has to be transcended.
KNOW THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL TO BE, AS SUBTLE AS THE TIP OF A HAIR SUBDIVIDED HUNDREDS OF TIMES. HOWEVER (IN HIS REAL NATURE) HE IS THE INFINITE. (M 9)
THIS ONE INDEED IS NOT A WOMAN, NOR MAN, NOR NEUTER. WHICHEVER BODY (GENDER) IT ASSUMES, IT BELIEVES THAT TO BE (ITS GENDER). (M 10)
Another very strong delusion of Jivahood is the ingrained notion of male and female consciousness. Not only one has the false consciousness of being a body mass, but also that mass of a body is felt as male or female. This mysterious delusion is a subjective error and pertains to the empirical self, to the mind and buddhi and not to the Atman. This error is universal in the state of ignorance. Never does one feel I am just a body, but one always feels I am a male or female. This ingrained delusion is the seat of tremendous mischief, the cause of lust and undesirable reactions in the world. Therefore the Shruti in this separate mantra illumines this mysterious delusion in the Jiva, to show that no such distinction exists in the Atman, but yet the body gender is superimposed on the Atman due to Avidya. The idea of sex difference is not in the Atman but in the empirical self, in the ego, intellect, mind and body, which are to be transcended to reach the Atman.
AS BY FEEDING FOOD AND DRINK, THE BODY GROWS, SO DOES THE EMBODIED SOUL ATTAIN VARIOUS FORMS (BODIES), IN APPROPRIATE PLACES (WOMBS), ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS (THE FOOD), ACCOMPANIED BY DESIRE, CONTACT, ATTACHMENT AND DELUSION. (M 11)
In this mantra a graphic description of the cause of transmigration is given. The sadhaka becoming aware of the causes of transmigration can thus control the cause of repeated births and deaths and get merged in the birthless Brahman, by renouncing the drag for enjoyment. The food and drink causing repeated births are the psychological drags (samskaras), which develop every time a sadhaka enjoys and which drag him further to repeat the enjoyment when circumstances become favorable. Thus becoming a slave to enjoyment, the sadhaka is lost to the ideal of freedom, the goal, and rotates in the cycle of birth and death, without any rest. All these miseries can be avoided, if the psychological drags which cause this rotation are cognized and not allowed to function. So the text points out this in SAMKALPANA SPARSHANA DRISHTI MOHA = Desire, touch, sight and delusion. Motivated actions are preceded by the above. Desire (Samkalpa) or the drag for pleasure is the first which precedes touching, seeing, hearing and smelling and is the primary cause for the encasement of the soul in various bodies.
THE EMBODIED SOUL, CHOOSES GROSS, SUBTLE AND MANY OTHER BODIES, BASED ON HIS OWN TENDENCIES. THE NATURE OF ACTIONS AND TENDENCIES OF MIND, ARE OBSERVED TO BE THE CAUSE FOR FURTHER EMBODIMENT IN OTHER BODIES. (M 12)
The renunciation of enjoyments was the theme of the earlier mantra. In this mantra, the drag for enjoyment is shown as the cause that brings about the connection with another body. Therefore to stop future embodiment this drag for enjoyment has to be cognized and given up.
THE BEGININGLESS AND INFINITE EXISTS IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS (THE WORLD) AND IS THE PROJECTOR OF THE UNIVERSE OF VARIOUS FORMS. REALISING HIM, THE ONE WHO PERVADES THE UNIVERSE, ONE IS FREED FROM ALL FETTERS. (M 13)
ANADIANANTAM KALILASYA MADHYE = The beginingless infinite, exists in the midst of chaos (the world). The world is to be given up, not because grapes are sour, but because it is a false superimposition on Brahman, which alone exists. So giving up or transcending the world and living in God, is the only way to peace. The context here is that man wishes to cling to the world and enjoy it for the present, thinking, sometime later, or in some other life he shall give it up and realize God. This is wishful thinking, as enjoyment will only take him deeper into the mire of samsara, from where it will be difficult to come out. So unless one makes a round about turn, here and now, and determines to transcend the world by giving up enjoyment, real peace is impossible.
THE BODILESS (TRANSCENDENT OVER CREATION), WHO IS GRASPED BY TRANSCENDENTAL INTUITION, WHO CREATES AND WITHDRAWS, THE PURE ONE WHO PROJECTS THE ELEMENTS (PRANA ETC.); REALISING HIM, THEY ARE FREED FROM (BONDAGE OF) THE BODY. (M 14)
In concluding the chapter, the way of grasping that supreme, through the transcendental intuition (consciousness) in which there is not the least trace of the world is being shown. Simultaneously the nature of reality is also being described to indicate that the intuition to grasp Him should correspond to the nature of reality. That is, to realize Him one has to make ones consciousness correspond to His nature. For that, His transcendental nature is described first in the text, so that the sadhaka may transform his empirical consciousness to correspond to that.
SOME INTELLIGENT ONES SPEAK OF INHERENT NATURE (AS CAUSE). OTHERS SIMILARLY UNDER DELUSION, SPEAK OF TIME. HOWEVER IT IS BECAUSE OF THE GLORY OF GOD, THAT THIS WHEEL OF BRAHMAN ROTATES IN THE WORLD. (M 1)
The sixth chapter is a conclusion of the whole Upanishad, being further reflections on all previous concepts with some new points as well. The world is Brahma lila, was the thought in all the five chapters and particularly in the last chapter (mantra 14), where it was mentioned that He creates the Prana etc.(the sixteen elements or parts). But the question as to how He creates or does the lila is the new point taken up here. For the first time the word VIVARTA (superimposition) appears in the Upanishad in mantra two of this chapter. This word further reinforces the idea of Brahma lila. The empirical causes of creation, like Time and inherent nature discussed in chapter one, are addressed again to show that they are not the real causes of the Brahma Chakra (the world phenomenon).
BY WHOM ALL THIS IS PERVADED CONSTANTLY, WHO IS THE KNOWER EVERYWHERE, THE CREATOR OF TIME, (THE SOURCE OF) ALL GOODNESS, WHO IS OMNISCIENT, AT WHOSE DIRECTION, EARTH, WATER, FIRE, AIR AND SPACE (CALLED) THIS WORK, APPEARS THROUGH SUPERIMPOSITION. (ONE SHOULD) MEDITATE ON THIS. (M 2)
CHINTAYAM = He (of the nature as depicted in the above mantra) is to be meditated upon. In mantra one it was told that all this (creation) happens through his glory or Mahima,. It is now made more explicit by the term Vivarta or superimposition. That the world phenomenon is superimposed on Brahman is the idea conveyed by Vivarta, just as the snake is superimposed on the rope in the famous illustration of Vedanta. Vivarta is an explanation as to how the One appears as the many, without really becoming the many. The example of dream demonstrates adequately this sense of Vivarta. The whole dream is the Vivarta or appearance of the One without a second, the Brahman. So also the world is the Vivarta of the One without a second.
AFTER CREATING THAT WORK WITHOUT ANY CHANGE IN HIM (WITNESSING), AGAIN BRINGS ABOUT UNION (OF SELF) WITH ONE, TWO, THREE OR EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF NATURE: WITH TIME AS A FACTOR AND SUBTLER QUALITIES OF MIND AS WELL. (M 3)
The Vivarta is told in detail with practical bearing on life. Brahman is Vivartate as the world, just as the rope appears as the snake. The constant identity of appearance (world) and reality (Brahman) is the point being stressed in this mantra.
HAVING PERFORMED ACTIONS UNDER THE SWAY OF GUNAS, HE WHO SURRENDERS THEM AND ALL INCLINATIONS OF HIS MIND (TO GOD); IN THEIR ABSENCE, THE EFFECTS OF ACTIONS DONE GETS DESTROYED. WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF EFFECTS OF ACTIONS, HE GETS LOST IN (BRAHMAN), WHICH IS DISTINCT FROM NATURE. (M 4)
In the earlier mantras the Brahma lila or the Vivarta consciousness was shown as the basis for realizing the Truth. But mere emotional understanding of this lila is not enough. It has to be understood rationally through a well-prepared transcendent psyche by the sadhaka. Such an understanding will arise only through purity that is attained through the proper performance of karma with yoga consciousness. In this mantra the need for karma yoga is being emphasized. This was touched upon in the interpretation of mantra 3, but the Shruti itself is making it explicit in this mantra .
HE IS THE ORIGIN OF EVERYTHING, THE CAUSE OF CONJUNCTION (WITH BODY). HE IS SEEN AS BEYOND THE TRIPLE CONCEPT OF TIME AND BEYOND ALL PARTICULARS. HIS ARE THE INFINITE FORMS, THE ADORABLE ONE WHO RESIDES IN THE HEART AND WHO HAS BECOME THE WORLD, IS TO BE MEDITATED PRIOR (TO KNOWLEDGE). (M 5)
Until now Vivarta consciousness was stressed upon, which brings the sadhaka to the understanding that everything is the appearance of Brahman. The repeated stress on appearance results in a separate existence of appearance as an entity, in the mind of the sadhaka. He feels appearance as having a separate existence from Brahman. This mantra aims at removing this error, experienced by many a sadhaka. A fit sadhaka (Adhikari) after visualizing the Vivarta consciousness would get totally lost in Brahman, the Real; but since all sadhakas are not so transcendentally fit, they succumb to the above error concerning appearance. With this end in view the Shruti now emphasizes Brahman as the only positive Existence everywhere. The consciousness that precedes the real knowledge of Brahman is now described.
FROM WHOM PROCEEDS THIS WORLD, WHO IS BEYOND THE FORMS OF TREE (OF SAMSARA), TIME AND DIFFERENT (FROM THEM). KNOWING HIM AS THE BASIS OF GOODNESS, THE DESTROYER OF WICKEDNESS, THE LORD OF GREATNESS (OF DIVINE POWERS ), THE INDWELLER, AND THE IMMORTAL Support of the UNIVERSE (ONE BECOMES Liberated). (M 6)
The emphasis on Brahman as the only Existence everywhere is continued in this mantra. Mere negation of the world, emphasizing only nothingness or appearance or Vivarta, will result in imperfect renunciation. Because the Truth is, everything is He and nothing separately called appearance exists... As was said earlier, Vivarta sadhana should not end with everything as nothing or appearance, but should lead to a positive state, where whatever exists is realized as Brahman. For grasping this nature of truth, the relative existence is described and, side by side, it is shown that the relative is none other than He the Absolute.
WE KNOW HIM, THE SUPREME LORD OF LORDS, THE SUPREME GOD OF GODS, THE RULER OF RULERS, HIGHER THAN THE MOST HIGH, THE MOST ADORABLE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE. (M 7)
VIDAMA DEVAM = We know Him. The same emphasis on Brahman as positive existence continues. The authority of the Rishis who realized Him is quoted to bring about conviction. The Rishis realized truth by asserting the positive existence of Brahman everywhere and not by stressing on nothingness, or mere appearance. This is known from their expression VIDAMA. (we know Him) which is positive. Accordingly the text begins with an emphasis on (tam) Him and concludes by We know Him (vidama), stressing His existence everywhere.
HE HAS NEITHER BODY NOR ORGANS; NONE IS SEEN EQUAL OR SUPERIOR TO HIM. HIS SUPREME POWER IS HEARD TO BE OF VARIOUS KINDS, KNOWING AND CONTROLLING IS IN HIS VERY NATURE (M 8)
In this mantra the supremeness of the Reality the Rope is shown to emphasize His positive existence. His unique qualities are enumerated to establish that.
THERE IS NONE WHO LORDS OVER HIM IN THIS WORLD, NONE CONTROLS HIM, (THERE IS ) NO SIGN TO INFER HIM. HE IS THE CAUSE (OF ALL), THE LORD OF THE LORD OF ORGANS, NONE BRINGS HIM INTO EXISTENCE AND NONE HIS OVERLORD. (M 9)
The emphasis on Him as the only existence everywhere, continues in this mantra. Because He is subject-objectless by nature, there is no ruler over Him, so also there is no ground of inference (LINGAM) regarding Him. Because if He comes within the purview of inference, no longer does He remain Infinite. So also there is none who is His creator. From these characteristics of His, it is being emphasized, that there can be no existence other than Him anywhere and being the Supreme Existence, He is the only one worthy of realization. The emphasis is on Him as the only positive Existence. (End m 9).
THE ONE DEITY WHO COVERED HIMSELF WITH EFFECTS OF HIS OWN PRADHANA (PRIMAL MATTER) SPONTANEOUSLY, AS A SPIDER COVERS ITSELF WITH ITS OWN THREADS, MAY HE GRANT US ONENESS WITH BRAHMAN. (M. 10)
The world of names, forms and actions arising out of the unmanifested ( PRADHANAJAIH), are the effects of PRADHANA and are mere appearances of Brahman. Pradhana refers to primal matter in its undifferentiated (Pradhana) state, the first entity to evolve. Therefore fundamentally everything is He. This truth is illustrated by the example of the spider and its web. The threads of the web emanate from the spider and therefore are in essence the spider itself. Further the spider remains covered by its threads. So also all names, forms and actions, which emanate from the unmanifested Brahman, cover Brahman and have no reality of their own. Therefore Brahman is the only existence.
THE ONE DEITY IS HIDDEN IN ALL BEINGS AND IS ALL-PERVASIVE AND THE INMOST SELF OF ALL. HE IS THE SUPERVISOR OF ACTIONS, RESIDES IN ALL BEINGS, THE WITNESS, THE CONSCIOUSNESS (IN BEINGS), THE ABSOLUTE DEVOID OF THE QUALITIES. ( M 11)
The emphasis on Brahman or the Rope continues. But there is a subtle difference in that the sadhaka is now directly experiencing the Truth of Brahman. Wherever the snake is perceived he sees only the rope (Brahman) and describes the same as in the text below.
THE ONE INDEPENDENT (BRAHMAN) DIVERSIFIES THE SINGLE SEED OF THE MANY ACTIONLESS (JIVAS). THE WISE ONES PERCEIVING HIM AS EXISTING WITHIN THEMSELVES ATTAIN TO THE ETERNAL BLISS AND NOT OTHERS. (M 12)
The sadhaka is inspired to merge in Brahman by pointing out the Absolute Joy of Realization, the Bliss aspect of Satchidananda. Thereby the sadhaka will be eager to merge in Brahman, visualizing the Absolute Joy of that state. Further a deeper understanding of the Vivarta consciousness is revealed by the text in the words THE ONE INDEPENDENT WHO DIVERSIFIES THE SINGLE SEED OF THE MANY ACTIONLESS (JIVAS). Millions of Jivas seem to emanate from that One along with their aspirations, actions, bodies, and their life here and hereafter. All this is His Vivarta or appearance. He is independent because He is subject-objectless by nature. The seed is Maya or the subtle elements and this seed diversifies into the aspirations, actions, bodies etc of millions of jivas through the principle of Vivarta. So the idea is that millions of individuals, their actions, their desires and their very lives are the Vivarta of the One Brahman. This is the vision of the wise ones which has to be brought by sadhana into practical life by all others.
HE IS THE ETERNAL OF THE ETERNALS, THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE CONSCIOUS (BEINGS): THE NONDUAL ONE WHO AWARDS THE DESIRED ENJOYMENTS TO THE MANY. BY KNOWING THAT DEITY, WHO IS THE CAUSE (OF ALL) AND WHO CAN BE KNOWN THROUGH SANKHYA AND YOGA ONE IS RELEASED FROM ALL FETTERS. (M 13)
The point of stress in this mantra is the correspondence between the means and the goal which is an essential requirement for realization.
THERE THE SUN DOES NOT ILLUMINE, NOR THE MOON NOR STARS; NOR THESE FLASHES OF LIGHTNING ILLUMINE. HOW CAN THIS FIRE ILLUMINE? HE SHINING EVERYTHING SHINES AFTER HIM. IT IS HIS LIGHT THAT ILLUMINES ALL. (M 14)
The emphasis on Brahman as the only Reality continues with a little difference in presentation. When we see an object, we feel it exists and also simultaneously knowledge about that object arises. This knowledge of the object is called Bhati or prakasha which may be translated in English as shining or revealing. Brahman is the basis of all these prakashas of various objects. He shining, all this particular relative consciousness like sun, moon etc emanate from Him; this is the idea. Therefore it was said in the previous mantra that He is CHETANAH CHETANANAM Ñ The consciousness of all consciousness, like sun. moon, wall, pot and other objects.
IN THE MIDST OF THE UNIVERSE IS THE ONE SUPREME SELF, HE HIMSELF IS THE FIRE THAT ABIDES IN THE WATER (THE BODY) , BY KNOWING HIM ALONE ONE GOES BEYOND DEATH; THERE IS NO OTHER PATH TO REACH THE GOAL. (M 15)
HAMSA = SAMYAK DARSHAN (right perception) is called here Hamsa and also FIRE as they both destroy ignorance. The Brahma Consciousness is called Hamsa and fire, because fire and not ice is the only way to burn anything.
HE BRINGS THE UNIVERSE INTO EXISTENCE, IS THE KNOWER OF THE UNIVERSE, THE SELF AND SOURCE OF ALL, THE KNOWER EVERYWHERE, THE CREATOR OF TIME, THE PERFECT ONE, THE OMNISCIENT; THE RULER OF THE UNMANIFEST AND THE JIVA, THE LORD OF THE QUALITIES AND THE CAUSE OF TRANSMIGRATION, RELATIVE EXISTENCE, BONDAGE AND MOKSHA. (M 16)
The only way to Moksha is to attune oneself with Brahman the subject-object-less consciousness. For this purpose the various forms of subject-object consciousness that constitute relative life are being enumerated in this mantra and simultaneously it is being pointed out, that it is the One Brahman alone who is appearing in lila in all these forms of consciousness. With this illumination the sadhaka will realize that whatever he is experiencing is Brahman and Brahman alone and get lost in Brahman, the goal. The various phases of Jiva and the world are split up, and shown as the Vivarta of that One. The sadhaka feels his existence, his consciousness, his inmost self (his I), his knowership, his enjoyership and his gross, subtle and material aspects, and the world . He also feels his bondage, relative existence, Moksha etc. All these phases of Jiva and the world in the minutest details are shown as the Vivarta of the One, so that the sadhaka may be fully convinced that the jiva and world inside and outside are nothing but Brahman. These phases of the sadhaka and the world are just like the snake on the rope (in that beautiful illustration of the Vedanta). That every part of the snake is the rope (the Brahman) is the illumination being conveyed.
HE IS THE SOUL OF THE UNIVERSE, THE IMMORTAL, THE RULER FROM WITHIN (THE UNIVERSE), THE KNOWER, THE OMNIPRESENT PROTECTOR OF THIS UNIVERSE AND WHO RULES THIS WORLD ETERNALLY. NO OTHER AGENT EXISTS WHO RULES (THE WORLD). (M 17)
In this mantra two additional phases of Brahma lila are told in addition to those in mantra 16.
HE WHO CREATED BRAHMA IN THE BEGINING AND WHO INDEED DELIVERED THE VEDAS UNTO HIM, IN THAT VERY DEITY, THE ILLUMINATOR OF THE SELF, I, CRAVING FOR LIBERATION, SEEK REFUGE. (M 18)
YO BRAHMANAM VIDADHATI PURVAM YO VAI VEDANSCHA PRAHINOTI TASMAI.
(IN THAT) PARTLESS, ACTIONLESS, TRANQUIL, FAULTLESS, TAINTLESS, THE SUPREME BRIDGE TO IMMORTALITY AND (WHO IS) LIKE THE FIRE OF A BLAZING LOG (I TAKE REFUGE). (M 19)
The Truth is extremely subtle because there is not the least trace of I and world in it. Until now the truth was told superimposing the phenomenal world on the Reality and showing it as the lila of the Reality. This emphasis on lila makes the sadhaka believe in a subtle existence of lila, which is an obstruction to the merging in the Absolute Brahman. To remove all traces of reality of I and world, that may linger in understanding lila or appearance, the Shruti describes now the Absolute nature of reality with no touch of the world phenomenon in It; the Reality in itself, in its Nirvikalpa (manifestationless) state. Since the real import of the lila consciousness can only be grasped after descent from the samadhi experience, the nature of that absolute state is being described, where, no trace of I, world, or anything called appearance, exists, with a view to illumine the sadhaka.
WHEN MEN WILL (BE ABLE TO) ROLL UP THE SKY, LIKE HIDE, THEN WILL THERE BE THE END OF SORROW, WITHOUT KNOWING THE DEITY. (M 20)
Just as it would be an impossible feat for men to roll up the vast sky as if it is a piece of hide, so also without the knowledge of Brahman, it will be impossible to get rid of sorrow. The stress here is on the impossibility of getting rid of sorrow by any other means than by the knowledge of Brahman. So understanding this, one has to struggle to realize Brahman and be convinced there is no other way to get rid of sorrow. Sorrow is caused by ignorance which in essence is taking the body and mind as real and as the Self. But the Self is bodiless and beyond mind. Therefore it is only the knowledge of the subject-object-less Self, that can bring about the end of sorrow and no other means exists for that. The sadhaka has to be convinced about this truth and try his utmost to realize that subject-object-less Brahman in his life.
THE RISHI SVETASVATARA BY THE POWER OF AUSTERITIES AND BY THE GRACE OF GOD REALISED THE SUPREME BRAHMAN AND FULLY TAUGHT THIS SUPREMELY HOLY TRUTH, CHERISHED BY THE RISHIS, TO THE HIGHEST ORDER OF MONKS. (M 21)
The Rishis are the real revealers of the transcendental truths of the Vedas (scriptures) concerning the Self. Svetasvatara himself a Rishi, expounds this supreme truth, being a vidwan (one who has realised the truth) and not a mere Pandit (having bookish knowledge). He realized the truth by the power of austerities (karmayoga) which made him fit for the transcendental meditation on the truth. The power of austerities (sadhana) performed was through the instructions of a guru. So the truth can come only from a man of realization and not from mere scholars; this is the idea. The need for tremendous faith in the scriptures being the revelations of the Rishis, for realizing the Truth is being stressed. The truth comes from a guru who has transcended his human personality and become one with truth and not from others howsoever great they might be in the relative world.
THE SUPREMELY MYSTERIOUS KNOWLEDGE IN THE UPANISHADS WAS TAUGHT IN THE PREVIOUS CYCLE. IT IS NOT TO BE GIVEN TO ONE WHO IS NOT SELF CONTROLLED, NOR TO ONE WHO IS NOT A SON, NOR AGAIN TO ONE WHO IS NOT A DISCIPLE. (M 22)
Earlier the emphasis was on the right consciousness, now the requisites for realization are being emphasized.
HE WHO HAS SUPREME LOVE TO GOD AND EQUAL LOVE TO HIS GURU, TO THAT GREAT SOUL INDEED, THESE TRUTHS (THAT HAVE BEEN) SPOKEN BECOME REVEALED. (M 23)
The emphasis again is on the intense love required of the disciple for his Guru. He must have as much love to the Guru as to the Supreme Lord. He must see God Himself in the guru and love him. A sadhaka may have fitness, but if he lacks love for the ideal (God) and Guru, then realization is hard to achieve. So the tremendous importance of a loving relation with the Guru is stressed. It is only then the knowledge of Brahman will flash in the sadhaka. Shankara illustrates the type of intense love required. Just as a man whose head is on fire runs straight to the nearest source of water without any side glances to the right or left, so also does the sadhaka run to the Guru to quench the fire of ignorance, that has been tormenting him. Tremendous Vairagya for the world realizing its utter voidness and intense desire to know the Truth from the Guru is implied. It is then only that realization flashes. This of course, is characteristic of the ideal sadhaka, but all others also have to struggle to approach this ideal gradually. (End m23)
May He protect us both (the teacher and the taught) together (from dangers and obstructions to intuition). May (that knowledge) fulfill us both. May we have fitness and vigor (for knowledge). Let what we study be revealing. May our relationship be undying. Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
GLOSSARY OF TECHNICAL TERMS
A number of philosophical terms that appear frequently in these notes, and that may require some additional clarification, are listed together in this technical glossary for the convenience of the reader.
1. Brahma Lila: This has reference to the phenomenal universe, perceived by all as such. The theory of Maya is one of the main pillars on which Vedanta rests. It proposes that the Absolute Brahman, the One without a Second, indirectly described as Existence-Consciousness-Bliss but wholly beyond mind and speech, is the only reality. This Absolute perceived through time, space, and causation (or name and form) appears as the universe. Time, space, and causation are like the lens through which the Absolute is seen. So, the universe as such is merely an appearance of Brahman. By Brahma Lila consciousness is meant this appearance of Brahman as the universe. As opposed to this, the universe perceived as a real entity constitutes ignorance. Brahma Lila consciousness is the real and correct perception. Using Shankaracharyas snake-rope analogy, it means to see the universe (analogous to the snake) as an appearance of Brahman (here analogous to the rope). Brahma Lila consciousness is not an intellectual proposition, but is the outcome of purity, and is to be actually felt in ones being. Furthermore, one cannot feel this Brahma Lila consciousness without a deep conviction of the falsity of the world as experienced. Only those who know in their heart of hearts that the subject-object world experience is false will be able to feel this. So renunciation (vairagya) and purity are indispensable for feeling this Brahma lila consciousness. One will then feel that this subject-object world experience, which is absolutely false as such, is really but the appearance of Brahman. This is the Brahma lila consciousness. Without first feeling that God alone is real and all else is illusory, this Brahma lila consciousness cannot be felt.
2. Subject-Object Consciousness and Subject-Objectless Consciousness: This is a unique way of explaining the consciousness of ignorance and the consciousness of knowledge. This was Swami Bhaskareshwaranandas approach in teaching the truths of Vedanta and his entire teachings seem to center around this method. We can trace this method of approach in Shankaracharyas commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads as well. Even Sri Krishna in the Gita has stated that all mankind proceed to the truth through these two types of consciousness. For example in verse 3 of chapter III of the Gita, the Lord mentions that these two nishthas or paths of consciousness were in vogue from time immemorial. He calls one of these, the way of work (Karma), whose approach is characterized by subject-object consciousness, and calls the other the way of Jnana, or knowledge, whose approach is based on subject-objectless consciousness. A person under the spell of ignorance will find himself compelled to follow the path of karma. Such a person believes in the duality of existence; namely, the subject (himself), and the world (the object). He wishes therefore to interact with the world and that is karma and is natural for him. On the other hand, a person who has spiritual knowledge (jnana) believes the subject to be the reality and the object to be also the same reality. There is therefore in him no desire for the subject to interact with the object. Because he has understood through his whole being that all is one, therefore his mind gravitates towards the realm of subject-objectlessness, since he has understood that to be the truth. The process of evolution to the highest truth is through these two forms of consciousness, or paths, and there is a categorical difference between them. The whole of the Vedas has been divided between these two, namely the karmakanda and the jnanakanda. This shows that there are two paths. Are there then two separate goals to be reached? No, the one goal of both is the subject-objectless state, but the vedic sages, knowing that the vast majority of mankind dwell in the realm of subject-object consciousness, have provided a gradual path (karma) leading to the higher state of subject-objectlessness the realm of jnana.
3. Advaita Bhakti: When advaita (Oneness with the Reality) is realized through feeling, that is called Advaita Bhakti, as distinct from Advaita jnana realized through knowledge or reasoning through the intellect. We can thus differentiate two paths, but there is really no difference since the goal of both is Oneness. May be the advaitist following bhakti makes himself extremely humble, and uses such expressions as I am nothing, I am the dust of your feet, Thou art everything etc. Thus he loses his I completely and attains to oneness with God. In his sadhana he emphasizes love to the Divine based on the non-existence of his I or his individuality and existence as belonging only to the reality. The advaita jnani, as distinct from the advaita bhakta, on the other hand, identifies himself with the Absolute, expanding his I to the highest extent until it becomes one with the only existence, Brahman. Here also the apparent I disappears as only the infinite remains. In both cases the apparent individuality or I disappears in Brahman. Therefore, Sri Ramakrishna said that pure bhakti and pure jnana are one and the same. This purity is attained when the I of ignorance, which makes the sadhaka feel separate from God, vanishes totally. This happens in both cases, only the method is different. The greater the loss of individuality, the greater is ones purity in the realm of the spirit. This purity indicating the loss of individuality is common to both bhakti and jnana.
4. Illumination of subject-object consciousness by subject-object-less consciousness (refers to sadhana). Absolute subject-objectless consciousness is realized only in samadhi, when one realizes ones identity with Brahman. This is the highest degree of subject-objectless consciousness. But there are lower degrees of this before realization is reached, which may be called as the intuition of the Absolute. This subject-objectless consciousness is, as Sri Ramakrishna explained, naham, naham, tuhum, tuhum, not I, not I, but Thou and its extreme form is samadhi, but there can be lower subtler forms where the I is to a great extent attenuated, and known as unreal but not totally non-existent. In that state one feels Thou alone art. This lower degree of understanding which is an intuitive knowledge of the Absolute is also called the subject-objectless consciousness because it reflects the nature of Brahman. The subject-object consciousness of ignorance is illumined, when this subject-object-less consciousness dawns in the sadhaka. It is just like saying that the not I but Thou consciousness illumines the consciousness of I and mine. So we may say that the functioning of the subject-objectless consciousness in the sadhaka purifies him or enables him to illumine the false subject-object consciousness of ignorance being experienced by him. The perception of sameness everywhere (samyak darsana) is the means and also the goal. When it becomes a fact in ones life it is samadhi, but till such time it remains as the means. In this sense subject-objectless consciousness is the means for the illumination of subject-object consciousness, (or the ignorance consciousness) and also the goal. Therefore samyak darsana (perception of sameness) means subject-objectless consciousness. The ancient seers of the shruti have said sarvam khalvidam Brahma, (Everything here is that very Brahman). It follows that in Brahman there can be no subject and no object because everything is one. So Brahman is of the nature of subject-object-less consciousness. Whom does this statement of the scriptures benefit? It is for those who dwell in ignorance within the realm of subject-object consciousness. Therefore, for the dawning of illumination it is necessary to struggle to achieve this subject-objectless consciousness. This struggle becomes karma yoga, when the karma is done with this subject object-less consciousness, in spite of subject object consciousness prevailing, while performing karma. So also the same subject object-less sadhana has to be brought in Bhakti yoga, Jnanayoga and Raja Yoga for realizing the truth through those Yogas.
5. Vyutthan: This is the state of descent to the relative world after samadhi. The Incarnations of God are called avataras. The word avatarana means to descend. The avatara is one who has descended from his absolute, natural state to a state of manifestation. One must understand that the state of manifestation in normal individuals is in ignorance and is a state of bondage, since they are not aware of their higher state, the Absolute, which is their true nature. The avataras, as also certain other categories of realized souls, can come down from the Absolute State, however their manifested state remains fully illumined, unlike that of the ignorant, because of their experience of Samadhi. This coming down again to the realm of I and mine the relative, after full illumination or Samadhi is called Vyutthan. It must be admitted, however, that from the highest standpoint, ascent or descent, manifested or unmanifested states, ignorance or wisdom, are all terms within the domain of Maya. Brahman alone is, one and totally without any second entity; there is not the least trace of multiplicity here (Ekam eva advayam brahma; neha nanasti kincana).
6. JNANA NISHTHA: Steadiness in spiritual knowledge or consciousness. It refers to the state just before the attainment of samadhi. The sadhaka commences his spiritual journey with an inkling of jnana or knowledge, but along with it functions his ignorance as well. But as he advances in jnana, ignorance gradually diminishes and jnana alone becomes predominant. The consciousness of jnana then flows like the unbroken and continuous stream of oil, poured from one vessel into another. The vibrations of ignorance completely disappear. No other object or consciousness other than Brahman remains in his mind. The subject objectlessness of jnana prevails. Thus this state called jnana nishta precedes the samadhi experience, before he becomes one with Brahman. In the state of Jnana nishta he is totally convinced that Brahman is the only existence, but he has yet to realize that truth which is only in the form of unwavering conviction. The obstruction to that realization is his subtle I through which he feels his identity with Brahman. That is to say the feeler of identity or the subtle I remains in the state of Jnana nishta, and for that reason it is not yet realization.
7. BHAKTI NISHTHA: Steadiness in (Advaita Bhakti). Through love the sadhaka, attains to the oneness of existence instead of through knowledge, the other steps as indicated under Jnana nishtha, till realization is reached will equally apply here.
8. UPASANA: Means, literally sitting near. It also can mean mentally approaching an ideal. The Vedas are divided into two parts the Karma Kanda and the Jnana Kanda. Upasana we may call that which bridges these two. The largest portion of the Vedas is the Karma Kanda dealing mainly with rites and duties and is of the nature of Sakama or motivated actions. Jnana is the other end of the Vedas representing the highest human goal characterized by absolute non-attachment and absolute desirelesness. It is Upasana that brings about the evolution from the state of Karma Kanda to the state of Jnana. Upasana may be described as a kind of mental activity (meditation) auxiliary to karma yoga , which will transform the motivated actions (rites and duties) of the Karma Kanda bringing about purity in the sadhaka, gradually evolving him into higher states up to the Saguna Brahman. Upasana (meditation) is a continuos flow of similar mental modifications of the mind in relation to some object (indicated by the scriptures). Upasana also means meditating on the forms of God like Sri Ramakrishna, Christ etc. To feel God within is an act of Upasana. Upasana will also mean love and adoration of the forms of Deities; singing praises of the Lord etc. It also means the bringing together of the diversified chit (mind) into single unified continuous thought current. As a matter of fact the whole effort of sadhana from the gross Karma kanda up to the attaining of Saguna Brahman can be termed as Upasana. This purifies the mind and evolves the sadhaka in the grasping of higher ideas up to the Saguna Brahman. The mention of Saguna Brahman does not imply that there are two, Saguna and Nirguna, it is because the sadhaka cannot conceive the Nirguna Brahman in his present stage of evolution. Upasana even though falling within the realm of subject and object contains some knowledge of the subject-objectless Brahman, which is the cause for evolution. Here is a quotation from the sricptures. By rites and duties one attains the world of manes, through Upasana the world of Gods.
9. ADVAITA VRITTI: Advaita means the oneness of existence. Vritti indicates a mental modification of mind through which the individual is experiencing the oneness with Brahman. This is a very high state of achievement no doubt, just below the Nirvikalpa Samadhi, accompanied with immense joy, but is not perfect realization. That is to say, the I of the individual still remains in that realization. The sadhaka can fall to lower levels even from this high state. Describing this state Sri Ramakrishna said, it is just like looking at the flame of a lantern through the glass covering. One is prevented by the glass to touch the flame (the Brahman) and become one with it, even though one is eager to do so. That glass is the I obstructing realization.
10. ADVAITA DIPTTI: The sadhaka understands through the light of knowledge that his I is obstructing the perfect realization. Through further sadhana by the light of illumination he removes all traces of I and becomes lost in the Nirvikalpa Brahman and thus attains to perfect realization.
About Swami Bhaskareshwarananda
From Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works (1997 Edition), Volume III, page 182:
The thoughful men of the West find in our ancient (Hindu) philosophy, especially in the Vedanta, the new impulse of thought they are seeking, the very spiritual food and drink for which they are hungering and thirsting. And it is no wonder that it is so.
About the author
Born 4 Feb 1925. Graduated in Mechanical Engineering, University of Madras, India 1945. Served under the Government of India, in various Departments as an Engineer and resigned the service in 1970 to devote to an exclusively spiritual life. While in service was living in close touch with his spiritual teacher the Swami Bhaskareshwarananda at Nagpur, attending his Scriptural classes. Was initiated into spiritual life by Revered Swami Sankarananda in 1952, the then President of the worldwide Ramakrishna Vivekananda movement, India. Later came in close touch with Revered Swami Bhaskareshwarananda, president of the Ramakrishna Spiritual Center, Nagpur, India in 1953. Studied the Vedanta Philosophy under him for eighteen years practicing spiritual disciplines under his guidance till his passing away in 1976. Took the spiritual vow of Sanyasa in 1987 from Kailash Ashram Rishikesh, India.