Sūtasamhitā Chāndogya Upaniṣad – Part 16
The discussion is about the right realization that is free of any superimposed perceptions.
इन्द्रियाकारभासा सा विषयाकारभासनम् ।
क्रीडया देवता भुङ्क्ते स्वत इत्यर्चनं मतम् ॥ १२२॥
इन्द्रियाकारभासा of the form of the sense and motor organs सा that विषयाकारभासनम् taking the form of objects क्रीडया as a sport देवता Consciousness भुङ्क्ते experiences स्वतः by itself इति thus अर्चनं worship मतम् admitted
Objects are experienced by the sentient Ātman by the activating of the sense and motor organs and the mind. The object lying outside is contacted by the sense organ by the presiding-over mind. Consciousness however experiences the objects by illumining the components involved in such perceptual experience. The theory admitted by Advaita is that Consciousness in association with the mind passes through the mode, vṛtti, and contacts the object outside. Then the perceptual knowledge is had by the person. This happens just as a sport to the Consciousness. Contemplating on these lines is really a worship of the Supreme self by the aspirant/Knower.
परमाद्वैतविज्ञानमिदं भवभयापहम् ।
भवप्रसादतो लभ्यं भावनारहितं परम् ॥ १२३॥
परमाद्वैतविज्ञानम् the knowledge of Supreme Advaita इदं this भवभयापहम् dispeller of fear of bondage भवप्रसादतः by the grace of Śiva लभ्यं attained भावनारहितं free of imagination परम् Highest
The very purpose of engaging in Vedānta sādhana, spiritual practice, is to be free of the fear of bondage. The culmination of this sādhana is in the acquiring the firm conviction that there is no bondage in real terms. It is only wrongly conceived to be there. This erroneous notion is dispelled by right knowledge. It is the grace of the Lord that such knowledge arises. However, is this knowledge a result of any fancying like a person getting to have a vision of a dead son of his? No. Such a vision is only a result of deep imagination and when the power of imagination fades, the vision too ceases to have any real effect. Vedānta vichāra, on the other hand, is seeking the Truth with the aid of the instruction and guidance of the scripture and the Master. The cessation of the erroneous notion of bondage is a real one, not sublated by any other power at any time.
Śrī Sureśvarācārya has said in the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi:
It should not be thought that the result of meditation as well as that of action is permanent like relation among the Dravidians. [3.93]
Question: If the non-dual knowledge of Brahman-Ātman is experienced by the Jñānin-s even when they are engaged in action, why is it that everyone is not able to comprehend that Advaitic knowledge?
यथा नक्तन्दृशः सूर्यप्रकाशो नावभासते ।
तथेदं परमाद्वैतं मनुष्याणां न भासते ॥ १२४॥
यथा just as नक्तन्दृशः to the owl सूर्यप्रकाशो sunlight न not अवभासते visible तथा so too इदं this परमाद्वैतं Supreme Advaita मनुष्याणां to people न not भासते known
During the day even though the sunlight is visible to humans, etc., yet the owl is unable to experience it. Similarly the Advaitic knowledge is quite easily comprehended by the Knowers while those who are not free from ignorance do not experience it. This is very graphically explained in the Bhagavadgītā:
या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी।
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः।।2.69।।
English Translation Of Sri Shankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary By Swami Gambhirananda:
2.69 yā, that which; sarva-bhūtānām, for all creatures; is niśā, night which being darkness (tamaḥ) by nature, obliterates distinctions among all things; what is that? That is the Reality which is the supreme Goal, accessible to the man of steady wisdom. As that which verily appears as day to the nocturnal creatures is night for others, similarly the Reality which is the supreme Goal appears to be night, as it were, to all unenlightened beings who are comparable to the nocturnal creatures, because It is beyond the range of vision of those who are devoid of that wisdom. Samyamī, the self-restrained man, whose organs are under control, i.e. the yogin [The man of realization] who has arisen from the sleep of ignorance; jāgarti, keeps awake; tasyām, in that (night) characterized as the Reality, the supreme Goal. That night of ignorance, characterized by the distinctions of subjects and objects, yasyām in which; bhūtāni, the creatures, who are really asleep; are said to be jāgrati, keeping awake, in which night they are like dreamers in sleep; sā niśā, it is night; paśyataḥ, to the seeing; muneḥ, sage, who perceives the Reality that is the supreme Goal, because that (night) is ignorance by nature.
Question: How indeed does the Supreme Truth shine even to the Jñānin-s?
प्रसादादेव रुद्रस्य श्रद्धया स्वस्य धैर्यतः ।
देशिकालोकनाच्चैव कर्मसाम्ये प्रकाशते ॥ १२५॥
प्रसादात् by grace एव alone रुद्रस्य of Rudra श्रद्धया faith स्वस्य one’s own धैर्यतः courage देशिकालोकनात् by the grace of Guru च too एव alone कर्मसाम्ये when karma subsides प्रकाशते shines
For the dawn of Self-knowledge there has to be the grace of God, Īśvara. In order to even commence the spiritual sādhana one has to be endowed with unshakable faith in the words of the scripture and the Guru. Faith is of the firm conviction: This is how it is. Courage is the unwavering nature of the mind. When all these are had in right measure, one’s adverse karma ends its force and becomes favorable for the aspirant to proceed further. When all these happen the mind becomes attenuated. The Self, verily the Advaitic Truth, without any concealment, shines forth.
बहुप्रकारं बहुशः श्रुतिः साध्वी सनातनी ।
एवमेतं महायासादर्थं वदति दुःखिनाम् ॥ १२६॥
बहुप्रकारं in myriad ways बहुशः often श्रुतिः Veda साध्वी noble सनातनी ancient एवम् thus एतं this महायासात् owing to much torment अर्थं purport वदति says दुःखिनाम् of the afflicted
The seminal purport of the Veda which is the identity of Brahman and Ātman has been stated in the foregoing. Even though the essential message of the blemishless Veda has been conveyed once, yet considering the great torment people suffer owing to their attachment to the non-Ātman resulting in bondage, the Veda, out of immense concern, brings out the Truth in myriad ways multiple times. The Chāndogya Upaniṣad, in the sixth chapter teaches the mahāvākya ‘Tat tvam asi’ nine times, each time giving out different analogies to state the identity of Tat and tvam.
When the aspirant-son Śvetaketu was taught by the Preceptor-father Uddālaka that you are that Brahman which the jiva attains to in the state of deep sleep, transmigration, etc., the former questions: Why do jīva-s not recognize the identity with Brahman when they have attained to It in deep sleep?
The reply: Just as it is impossible to identify the various tree-sources of juice the honey bees have collected and deposited as one undifferentiated mass in the honey comb, the identity of jīva-s with Brahman during sleep, etc. is not possible. Having thus clarified, Uddālaka teaches the supreme identity of ‘Tat tvam asi’ yet again by specifying ‘Tat’ as that Supreme Cause, and therefore the essence, of the entire creation.
‘Then,’ Śvetaketu queries, ‘It is reasonable that in the absence of instruments in deep sleep it is not possible to have the distinct identity. However, upon waking why do people not know that we have emerged from Brahman?’
Reply: Water from the ocean that is absorbed by the clouds is again showered back and attains the ocean as rivers having distinct tastes. It is difficult to know that they have originated from the ocean (as they have distinct tastes) and that they are non-different from the ocean. Similarly jīva-s that have emerged from Brahman (from deep sleep), being distinct from Brahman (now, in the state of waking) do not know ‘we have been Brahman alone during deep sleep and now have woken up’.
Having clarified thus that very mahāvākya ‘Tat tvam asi’ alone is instructed again as was done before.
Then Śvetaketu inquires: If in deep sleep the jīva is rendered free of instruments (of action and knowledge as also the mind), it is no different from the destruction of the waves, etc. of the ocean (and hence the jīva is as good as perished).
The reply: Just as when a tree is cut by an axe the sap oozes indicating life therein so too since blood is seen even in the body that is asleep, there is no destruction of the jīva.
Again, as in the earlier occasion, the mahāvākya ‘Tat tvam asi’ is what is instructed by reiterating the universal causehood of Sat, Brahman.
Once again the aspirant questions: How does the gross universe emerge from the subtle Brahman?
Reply: Just as the huge banyan tree is present in the tiny seed in subtle form, the gross world can emerge from the subtle Brahman.
Again the instruction as before is given: You are That Brahman which is the Cause of this entire universe.
Question: Why is Brahman the Cause is not perceptible?
Reply: Just as salt dissolved in water though not perceptible to the sense of touch and sight is indeed comprehended by the sense of taste, Brahman though not perceptible to the senses, is certainly known to exist by observing the effect. The idea is, since every effect has a cause that indeed exists, so too the world that is an effect does have a cause that exists. Just because the cause is not perceptible to the senses it is not to be concluded that it is non-existent.
Part 17 coming soon…