Sutasamhitā Chandogyopaniṣat – Part 8
The text is delineating the creation of the world:
इदं सर्वं जगत्सत्यमिव भातमपि स्वतः ।
कारणव्यतिरेकेण नास्त्येवात्र न संशयः ॥ ५७॥
इदं this सर्वं all जगत् universe सत्यम् real इव as though भातम् shines अपि yet स्वतः by itself कारणव्यतिरेकेण apart from the cause न अस्ति is not एव alone अत्र in this न no संशयः doubt
In the foregoing, by the three analogies of clay-clay products, gold-gold products and iron-iron products the Upaniṣad has established that the effect is non-different from its cause. With a view to reiterate and strengthen this idea the Upaniṣad has stated that the visible world made up of the ‘tri-folded’ (grossified) elements is non-different from the un-tri-folded (basic) elements viz., tejas (fire), āpāḥ (water) and annam (earth), that constitute the fundamental cause (of the world). This has been presented by the Upaniṣad by four analogies in the section consisting of the passage ‘यदग्ने रॊहितं रूपम्…..’ (Chāndogya Upanṣad 6.4.1) [This will be explained in the sequel]. The entire world which is the effect of the quintuplication (pañcīkaraṇam) of the five basic elements – ether, air, fire, water and earth – though appears to be real with the names and forms, is actually non-different from its cause that are these subtle elements. Thus, at the first stage, the teaching of the Upaniṣad is to enable the seeker to see beyond the apparent name-formed world and appreciate the fundamental cause at the elemental level. So, instead of taking the world as it appears to the senses, one ought to view the world as nothing other than the five elements.
The non-difference of the manifest world from its causal elements is now demonstrated:
यदग्ने रोहितं रूपं तद्रूपं तेजसः सदा ।
यच्छुक्लं तदपां रूपं यत्कृष्णं भौममेव तत् ॥ ५८॥
यत् that अग्नेः of fire रोहितं red रूपं color तत् that रूपं color तेजसः of fire सदा always यत् that शुक्लं white तत् that अपां of water रूपं color यत् that कृष्णं black भौमम् of earth एव alone तत् that
In the tri-folded (grossified) elements that are fire, water and earth, the three colors red, white and black are present. Of the three colors, red belongs to the subtle, non-tri-folded, element tejas. The white in agni is that of the subtle, non-tri-folded, element āpaḥ (water). The black color is that of the subtle, non-tri-folded, element earth, bhūmi.
Objection: In the face of these colors belonging to others, why can’t there be the element agni by its own as a substantive? The reply is in the sequel:
नास्ति रूपातिरेकेण सदा सोऽग्निः सुरर्षभाः ।
वाचारम्भणमात्रो हि विकारो वह्निसंज्ञितः ॥ ५९॥
न अस्ति not there रूपातिरेकेण apart from the color सदा always सः that अग्निः fire सुरर्षभाः O foremost of Gods वाचारम्भणमात्रः commenced by word alone हि indeed विकारः transformation वह्निसंज्ञितः called ‘fire’
त्रीणि रूपाणि हे देवा एव सत्यं न चानलः ।
यद्भानो रोहितं रूपं तद्रूपं तेजसः सदा ॥ ६०॥
त्रीणि three रूपाणि colors हे O देवाः Gods! एव alone सत्यं real न च not indeed अनलः fire यत् that भानोः of the sun रोहितं red रूपं color तत् that रूपं color तेजसः of fire सदा always
यच्छुक्लं तदपां रूपं यत्कृष्णं भौममेव तत् ।
नास्ति रूपातिरेकेण सदाऽऽदित्यो न संशयः ॥ ६१॥
यत् that शुक्लं white तत् that अपां of water रूपं color यत् that कृष्णं black भौमम् of earth एव alone तत् that न not अस्ति is रूपातिरेकेण apart from color सदा always अदित्यः sun न no संशयः doubt
These three elements alone (fire, water and earth) combined get the names agni, āpaḥ and annam (pṛthvī). Apart from these names there are no real entities. The idea is that apart from their causal elements, there are no objects that can be really shown as ‘effects’ of these causal elements.
Objection: We do experience objects like fire, water and earth that serve the purpose of heating, cooking, etc. How can these be denied? Reply: Apart from the causal triad of colors, that which are perceived as effects by the names fire, water and earth are no real entities. They are merely only an effect-state of their causes. These effects alone are spoken of by the names such as ‘fire’. Apart from the names there are no real entities that can be proven as different from the causal states.
भ्रान्त्या केवलमादित्य इत्याहुरविवेकिनः ।
एवं चन्द्रश्च विज्ञेयो विद्युच्च सुरपुंगवाः ॥ ६२॥
भ्रान्त्या illusion केवलम् merely आदित्यः ‘sun’ इति thus आहुः say अविवेकिनः the deluded एवं thus चन्द्रः’moon’ च and विज्ञेयः to be known विद्युत् lightning च too सुरपुंगवाः exalted Gods!
The worldly parlance of considering the effect as different from the cause is owing to delusion. What the Śruti has elaborately taught by the statement ‘yat chandramaso rohitam rūpam’ (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.4.3) [‘the red color of the moon…’], is shown here extending that logic. That is, in the case of agni and āditya, it was shown in verses 58 and 60 above, that they are non-different from their basic color-borne elements. This same logic is extended in the case of Chandra, the moon and vidyut, the lightning. In all these cases it should be known that the effects that we perceive are mere names for the causes alone that they are.
घटकुड्यादयो भावा भूतानि भुवनानि च ।
सर्वं ब्रह्मातिरेकेण नास्ति ब्रह्मैव सत्सदा ॥ ६३॥
घटकुड्यादयः pot, wall, etc. भावा objects भूतानि beings भुवनानि world च as well सर्वं all ब्रह्मातिरेकेण apart from Brahman न अस्ति not existent ब्रह्म Brahman एव alone सत् Existence सदा always
Now, what has been demonstrated in the cases of a few effects that we perceive, a generalization is made to cover the entire objective world. Just as these – fire, sun, moon and lightning – are non-existent apart from their causes – tejas, āpaḥ and annam (tri-folded, grossified, fire, water and earth) – so too, the entire world consisting of beings sentient and insentient making up the whole world, is non-existent apart from Brahman the cause of creation. Now, we are able to appreciate that the avowed purpose of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad is to enable the aspirant to appreciate the only Truth that underlies the experienced, perceived, world of manifold nature. The aim of Vedānta is to reduce the entire multiplicity to a unified Reality which cannot be further reduced to anything else. This Reality called Brahman, Sat, etc. is the only reality. It would not be correct to specify it as even the cause since after negating the existence (as a separate entity) the entire world of variety, there will be no purpose served by holding on to the ‘cause-of-the-world’ tag to Brahman.
All the above was stated with a view to provide the background to the seminal teaching of the mahāvākya, ‘tat tvam asi’, where the jīva, the aspirant, is taught to be non-different from Brahman the ‘all-cause.’ How indeed does the jīva that is non-different from Sat, Chit, Brahman, experience the notion of ‘I’ in the body-mind complex that is only a non-existent effect of the unreal elements? This is answered in the next verse.
पूर्वपूर्वभ्रमोत्पन्नवासनाया बलेन तु ।
देहेन्द्रियादिसंघातेऽहंमतिर्जायते दृढम् ॥ ६४॥
पूर्वपूर्वभ्रमोत्पन्नवासनायाः owing to the impressions of the preceding delusions बलेन power तु however देहेन्द्रियादिसंघाते in the mind-organs complex अहंमतिः the idea of ‘I’ जायते is born दृढम् firmly
The delusion that ‘I am the body, mind, etc.’ has its root in the impression, vāsanā, born of the delusion (of the same I-notion in the body, etc.) in the earlier birth. This is the situation in the earlier birth as well and thus such precedence is to be known to come down from time without a beginning, anādi. When understood thus, there will be no need to postulate an infinite regress.
देहेन्द्रियादयो भावा नाहमर्था निरूपणे ।
भौतिकत्वाच्च भूतांशैः सदैवाप्यायितत्वतः ॥ ६५॥
देहेन्द्रियादयः body, organs, etc. भावाः objects न not अहमर्थाः the meaning of ‘I’ निरूपणे upon analyzing भौतिकत्वात् elementals च and भूतांशैः with aspects of elements सदा always एव only आप्यायितत्वतः loved
The Chāndogya Upaniṣad [6.5.1 to 6.6.1] has specified that the food consumed transforms into the body, mind, speech, etc. organs (of knowledge and action), flesh, blood, marrow, etc. This body, etc. complex is only an effect, kāryam, of the three elements that are inert and therefore inert. Since the ‘I’ is the subject matter for Consciousness alone and not the inert body-mind, etc. complex, the former can never be an object of the latter. This is shown in the above verse in a concise form. It is only due to delusion one thinks that the body, etc. are the subject matter of the ‘I’. On analysis it is proved that the body-mind complex of a person is a product of the food consumed by his parents. When one consumes food, his own body, etc. grow, by the inputs from the elements tejas, āpaḥ and annam. What actually increases in size, volume, etc. are the feces, flesh and mind as a transformation of the gross, middling and subtle aspects of the food. It is a trick of māyā that makes one think that the body, etc. is oneself. This is called the handiwork of avidyā-adhyāsa, the enveloping and projecting powers.
Coming soon…part 9