Sūtasamhitā Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣat – Part 8
The method of attaining the realization of Brahman through knowledge has been taught. What happens to the knower of Brahman?
नैनं पाप्मा तरति ब्रह्मनिष्ठं
सर्वं पापं तरति प्राकृतं च ।
नैनं पाप्मा तपति ब्रह्मनिष्ठं
सर्वं पापं तपति प्राकृतं च ॥ ५०॥
न not एनं this पाप्मा sin तरति subdues ब्रह्मनिष्ठं knower सर्वं all पापं sin तरति transcends प्राकृतं world च and न not एनं this पाप्मा sin तपति scorch ब्रह्मनिष्ठं knower सर्वं all पापं sin तपति scorches प्राकृतं world च and
The result of action performed by the Knower in his pre-realization state will not ever confront him and subdue him. On the other hand, merit (puṇya) and demerit (pāpa) are transcended by the Knower by virtue of his realization of Brahman as ‘I am Brahman that is never a doer of any act in all periods of time, past, present and future.’ Not just the result of action, the Knower rises above the entire manifested world of name-form. His self-realization is of the form: ‘All this observed world is only an illusory appearance of my true nature, Brahman, and therefore has no existence apart from its cause.’ Thus says the Śruti: एतमु हैवैते न तरत इत्यतः पापमकरवमित्यतः कल्याणमकरवमित्युभे उ हैवैष एते तरति नैनं कृताकृते तपतः [‘Him who knows this, these two thoughts do not overcome: ’For this I did an evil deed and for this I did a good deed.’ On the other hand he overcomes both. Things done or not done do not afflict him.’] (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.22). In this passage both aspects have been settled: (1) the Knower transcending the effects of what is performed and what is not performed, that is, puṇya, merit, and pāpa, demerit and (2) the Knower not being affected by merit and demerit. Therefore, here too, in this passage, the term ‘pāpa’ is to be taken as indicating puṇya as well. Both puṇya and pāpa do not affect the Knower since the Knowledge that he has initiated burns both merit and demerit. The Knower not being affected by this pair is stated in the Taittiriya Upaniṣad 2.9.1 as well: एतं ह वाव न तपति । किमहं साधु नाकरवम् । किमहं पापमकरवमिति [Him this does not distress: Why did I not do what is good? Why did I do what is evil?] Also in the Bhagavadgītā 4.37 the Lord has stated that the liberating knowledge burns all sins (puṇya and pāpa):
यथैधांसि समिद्धोऽग्निर्भस्मसात्कुरुतेऽर्जुन ।
ज्ञानाग्निः सर्वकर्माणि भस्मसात्कुरुते तथा ॥ 4.37 ॥
O Arjuna, as a blazing fire reduces pieces of wood to ashes, similarly the fire of Knowledge reduces all actions to ashes.
इत्थं ब्रह्म स्वात्मभूतं विदित्वा
श्रद्धापूर्वं देहमेतं स्वकीयम् ।
अर्थं सर्वं क्षेत्रजातं समस्तं
दद्यादस्मै देशिकेन्द्राय मर्त्यः ॥ ५१॥
इत्थं thus ब्रह्म Brahman स्वात्मभूतं one’s very self विदित्वा having known श्रद्धापूर्वं full of faith देहम् body एतं this स्वकीयम् one’s own अर्थं wealth सर्वं completely क्षेत्रजातं inert समस्तं entirely दद्यात् let offer अस्मै to him देशिकेन्द्राय the foremost Preceptor मर्त्यः man
Upon securing the Supreme Knowledge that results in the aspirant realizing his own true state as the Ever Great Brahman, the summum bonum of human life, verily liberation, the mind naturally thinks of expressing gratitude to the Preceptor who has vouchsafed this Knowledge. What is to be offered to the Guru that would be befitting the benefit received?
The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.23 replies through the words of King Janaka who is expressing his gratitude to his preceptor Sage Yajñavalkya: सोऽहं भगवते विदेहान्ददामि मां चापि सह दास्यायेति [‘Venerable Sir, I give you the empire of Videha and myself, too, with it, to wait upon you.] The Upaniṣad teaches that one has to give oneself, the possessor, along with the possessions, to the Guru. The idea is that the Knowledge conferred by the Preceptor erases all sense of ‘I’ (ego) and ‘mine’. The possession is not confined to what the individual might physically claim to be his own at a particular juncture but the entire cosmos that is the knowable, observable, by the individual. This part is called the ‘kṣetram’, the field, the inert prakṛti as opposed to the Consciousness that illumines even the possessor, puruṣa, the knower, pramātṛ, of the kṣetram, the prameyam. All the instruments of knowledge that constitute the knowing process, too, belong to the inert matter. The knower, individual, who is the one identifying himself as the possessor of the instruments of knowledge like the sense and motor organs, the mind, the gross body, etc. is also a pseudo entity, to be known as unreal.
Thus, the greatest ‘offering’ the Guru would expect of the aspirant-disciple is this complete negation of the not-self. Such a negation will leave the negator-individual as the all-pervading Brahman, the substratum on which the entire not-self is superimposed.
वदुःखं कुर्वन्नमृतं सम्प्रयच्छन् ।
तं विद्यात्पितरं मातरं च
तस्मै न द्रुह्येत्कृतमस्य जानन् ॥ ५२॥
यः he च again आतृणत्ति pierces अवितथेन with truth कर्णौ in the ears अदुःखं painless कुर्वन् doing अमृतं immortality सम्प्रयच्छन् giving तं him विद्यात् know पितरं father मातरं mother च and तस्मै to him न do not द्रुह्येत् harm कृतम् done अस्य his जानन् knowing
The Guru who has bestowed that immensely exalting knowledge that results in the aspirant’s liberation from the greatest misery that is bondage, is to be regarded as one’s parents and no injury to him is ever to be even thought of by the disciple. Yāska’s words are being paraphrased: The Preceptor communicates to the disciple the Absolute Transcendental Truth by piercing the ears of the latter, as it were. In the worldly piercing of the ears (a scriptural sacrament followed by those of the sanātana dharma where the child’s earlobes are pierced so as to be adorned with a pair of golden studs) there is some pain experienced by the child. In this delivery of the Truth into the ears of the disciple, however, there is absolutely no pain involved. Not only there is no pain but there is a bonus too: the amṛtam (literally nectar that keeps the Gods in the heaven free of all bodily afflictions) that renders one immortal, verily the Truth, is being given to the disciple.
Even though the Self is one’s own always, yet owing to the enveloping and the resulting delusion caused by ajñānam, ignorance, it is as though it is lost to oneself. When the Guru gives the teaching of the Self, it is a discovery on the part of the disciple, akin to the necklace that has ever remained on the person’s neck is believed to be lost and when pointed out by another of its presence on the person, it is as though attained anew. He who has bestowed this ‘new birth’ that is the cessation of all physical births, is to be honored as verily one’s parents. While the biological parents give one a bodily birth and enable him to enjoy all worldly pleasures, the spiritual Guru reveals the state of liberation to the disciple. One has to be ever grateful to the Guru keeping in mind the supreme benefit received and never do anything bodily, verbally and mentally that would cause even the slightest harm to him.
स्वदेशिकस्यैव तु नामकीर्तनं
भवेदनन्तस्य शिवस्य चिन्तनम् ।
स्वदेशिकस्यैव तु पूजनं तथा
भवेदनन्तस्य शिवस्य पूजनम् ॥ ५३॥
स्वदेशिकस्य one’s Preceptor’s एव alone तु indeed नामकीर्तनं singing of the Name भवेत् let be अनन्तस्य of the Infinite शिवस्य Śiva’s चिन्तनम् contemplation स्वदेशिकस्य one’s Preceptor’s एव alone तु indeed पूजनं worship तथा and भवेत् let be अनन्तस्य of the Infinite शिवस्य Śiva’s पूजनम् worship
The primary activity the Knower engages in is the glorifying the Name of his Preceptor and worshiping Him by body, mind and word. It is the realization that the Preceptor is none other than Brahman, which is realized that one is always. This worship is done with utmost respect and devotion to that power which the Preceptor is that has bestowed the Supreme Knowledge.
स्वदेशिकस्यैव तु नामकीर्तनं
शिवादिशब्दस्य तु कीर्तनं भवेत् ।
स्वदेशिकस्यैव तु बाधनं तथा
भवेदनन्तस्य शिवस्य बाधनम् ॥ ५४
स्वदेशिकस्य of one’s Preceptor एव alone तु indeed नामकीर्तनं singing of the Name शिवादिशब्दस्य of the words such as ‘Śiva’ तु indeed कीर्तनं glorifying भवेत् amounts to स्वदेशिकस्य of one’s Preceptor एव alone तु indeed बाधनं harming तथा so too भवेत् amounts to अनन्तस्य of the Infinite शिवस्य Śiva’s बाधनम् harming
It was pointed out in the foregoing that the Knower ought not to harbor any ill will towards his Preceptor. Any such harm that one even contemplates will amount to harming the very Lord Śiva. The idea conveyed is that the Guru is none other than God, Śiva.
श्रद्धायुक्तः सद्गुरुं सत्यनिष्ठम् ।
गच्छेन्नित्यं सत्यधर्मादियुक्तः ॥ ५५॥
तस्मात् therefore विद्वान् Knower सर्वम् all एतत् this विहाय leaving aside श्रद्धायुक्तः full of faith सद्गुरुं the Sadguru सत्यनिष्ठम् established in Truth विद्याकोशं repository of Knowledge वेदवेदान्तनिष्ठं following the Vedic and Vedāntic teaching गच्छेत् let him go नित्यं regularly सत्यधर्मादियुक्तः endowed with Truth (Satyam), dharma, etc.;
The Jñānin conducts himself in the utmost respectable way with regard to the Preceptor. The Preceptor is immensely worthy of the highest respect since he is the bestower of the Eternal Truth, never swerves from Truth, a repository of all emancipating knowledge and sincerely adhering to the requirements of the Veda and the Vedānta. The Knower-disciple is to be endowed with truth, dharma, etc. Only then it is possible for him to be worthy of the Preceptor’s grace.
वक्तव्यं सकलं मया परकृपायुक्तेन सङ्कीर्तितं
कर्तव्यं सकलं सुरा न हि मुनेर्ब्रह्मात्मनिष्ठस्य तु ।
स्मर्तव्यं सकलं तथा न हि सदा ब्रह्मैव सच्चित्सुखं
सम्पूर्णं सततोदितं समरसं शश्वत्स्वयं भासते ॥ ५६॥
वक्तव्यं what is to be said सकलं all that मया by me परकृपायुक्तेन endowed with great grace सङ्कीर्तितं praised कर्तव्यं what is to be done सकलं all that सुराः O Gods! न not हि indeed मुनेः of the sage ब्रह्मात्मनिष्ठस्य established in the realization of Brahman तु however स्मर्तव्यं what is to be remembered सकलं all that तथा thus न not हि indeed सदा always ब्रह्म Brahman एव alone सच्चित्सुखं Existence-Consciousness-Bliss सम्पूर्णं complete सततोदितं ever-shining समरसं One Impartite Consciousness शश्वत् always स्वयं by itself भासते shines
Lord Brahmā, the Preceptor, concludes the discourse by paying rich tributes to the Brahma vidyā, the Knowledge, the Sage who has realized this transcendental Supreme Truth and the very Brahman that is the Supremely adorable One. What is to be taught about Brahman, the Goal, and the means to attain It, has been articulated by Me endowed with the supreme grace It has been praised. Nothing remains that is to be done by the Realized Sage. Nor is there anything that the Sage should recollect or remember since Brahman that he has identified himself with, is the All, the Full, is One Impartite Consciousness and forever shining.
Here ends the discourse on the essence of the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad as taught in the Sūta smahitā.
Om Tat Sat
This series ends here