Sūtasamhitā Chāndogya Upaniṣat – Part 18
The discussion on verse 146 where Lord Śiva demonstrates the message of the Chāndogya Upaniṣat: ‘All this created world is verily Brahman.’
What is experienced during the state of Vedāntic enquiry is none but the world that is superimposed on Brahman, just as the various things such as a snake, a water line, a crack on the ground, a garland, etc. that people superimpose on a rope that is the substratum. Upon knowing the truth that the substratum is nothing but the rope, one realizes that what all was superimposed is verily the rope and nothing other than it. Similarly the world of objects, living beings, events, etc. is realized to be none other than Śiva, the substratum. The world has no existence of its own apart from Brahman. It is figuratively said that the world lapses into Brahman since the world is no longer spoken of as an independent entity. A well known statement from the Vedāntin, Śrī Sureśvarāchārya in this regard is:
अधिष्ठानावशेषो हि नाशः कल्पितवस्तुनः [The annihilation of the imagined object is nothing but its remaining over as merely the substratum.] Thus what is ‘all this’ is not this but verily ‘I’ the Pure Consciousness, Śiva. This equating the superimposed with the substratum is called ‘bādhāyām sāmānādhikaraṇyam’ where the equation happens only on the sublation of the imagined entity by realizing the substratum. The Vedic statement ‘idam sarvam yat ayam ātmā’ [‘All this is verily this Self’] (Bṛ.Up.2.4.6) too has this equation alone for its purport.
Verses 147 – 171
These verses describe how Brahman is manifest in the entire cosmos as everything that we experience. The huge variety seen in the world consisting of differences, relationships between persons, cause-effect differences, etc. are all to be realized as so many expressions of One Principle, Brahman. Everything that is at the body-mind level and what all is grasped from the world are all part of this universe that is only an expression of Brahman, through the power called māyā. The Chāndogya Upaniṣad , Chapter 7, teaches Brahman through the conversation between the Preceptor Sage Sanatkumāra and the disciple Sage Nārada. The verses can be accessed here:
The first and the last of the verses above are:
अहं सदाऽधश्च यथाऽहमूर्ध्वं
त्वहं पुरस्तादहमेव पश्चात् ।
अहं च सव्येतरमास्तिकास्तथा
त्वहं सदैवोत्तरतोऽन्तरालम् ॥ १४७॥
अहं I am सदा always अधः below च and यथा the way अहम् I am ऊर्ध्वं above तु indeed अहं I am पुरस्तात् in front अहम् I am एव alone पश्चात् behind अहं I am च also सव्येतरम् other than left (south) अस्तिकाः O Aspirants! तथा also तु indeedअहं I am सदा always एव alone उत्तरतः north अन्तरालम् and middle
The Lord says that whatever is experienced in all directions is nothing but Brahman alone, being the manifestations thereof.
द्रष्टृप्रभेदेन सुसंस्थितोऽहम् ।
सर्वस्वरूपेण सुसंस्थितोऽहम् ॥ १७१॥
दृश्यप्रभेदेन as the variety of observed सुसंस्थितःestablished अहं I am द्रष्टृप्रभेदेन as the different observers सुसंस्थितः established अहम् I am साक्षिस्वरूपेण as the witness self सुसंस्थितः established अहं I am सर्वस्वरूपेण as everything सुसंस्थितः established अहम् I am
The observer-observed-observing triad is also none other than Brahman, for the entire gamut of the world, the experience thereof, is only a vivarta, transfiguration of Brahman.
भातिशब्दपरिभाषितं तथा ।
भानहीनपरिभाषितं च मे
रूपमेव हि न संशयः क्वचित् ॥ १७२॥
अस्तिनास्तिवचनेन words as ‘existing’ and ‘non-existing’ भाषितं spoken of भातिशब्दपरिभाषितं meaning of ‘shining’ तथा and भानहीनपरिभाषितं ‘not shining’च as well मे My रूपम् form एव alone हि indeed न no संशयः doubt क्वचित् anywhere
In the world we refer to things that are not known as ‘not existing’. And those that are known are termed ‘existing’. Further, when something is not experienced, we call it ‘it does not shine’, that is, it does not become an object of my senses. And that which is available for our senses are referred to as ‘it shines.’ This dual-category is called ‘asti-bhāti’, existence and shine with respect to every object. Lord Śiva, Brahman, says that whatever objects are referred to by these terms in the world are all Me alone and nothing other than that. In other words, all these terms are used only in respect of the created world. When an object is created and thus available for our experience, we say ‘it is.’ When, however, that object is destroyed and no longer experienced, we say ‘it is not.’ Both these categories pertain to the world alone and thus are only manifestations of Brahman. These categories belong to the relative realm of experiences through the mind-body apparatus. Brahman, however, transcends this relative realm and cannot be called as either ‘sat’, existing, or ‘asat’, non-existing. ‘Bhānam’, shine, of objects and its absence too, are no more than manifestations of Brahman alone.
शब्दगोचरतया स्थितं सदा
यत्स्थितं तदहमेव सन्ततं
प्रत्ययेऽपि गतिरेवमेव हि ॥ १७३॥
शब्दगोचरतया as known through words स्थितं exists सदा forever शब्दगोचरविहीनरूपतः as not known through words यत् that स्थितं exists तत् that अहम् I एव alone सन्ततं forever प्रत्यये in intellect अपि too गतिः knowledge एवम् thus एव alone हि indeed
Whatever is experienced in the world, there is a name, a word, assigned to it by people. It is stated by the Vyākaraṇa śāstra that a word can be used when there is (a) jāti, genus, (b) kriyā, action, (c) guṇa, attribute and (d) sambandha, relationship. Everything in creation has these four and we use words such as a ‘cow’ (a member of that species), a ‘teacher’ who performs that function, a ‘black cat’, an attribute of the cat and a ‘landlord’ signifying a person who possesses the landed property. However, when it comes to Brahman, none of these conditions of genus, action, etc. apply since Brahman is not of any genus, has no action, etc. since Brahman is no individual entity. So, words cannot really be used with regard to Brahman. Those words are used in the scripture regarding Brahman, are, however, only an aid to point to Brahman. When one has grasped Brahman truly, then there is no more need for words, even of words such as ‘Brahman.’
यस्य नित्यमिति वक्ति वाक् श्रुतेः ।
तथ्यमेव मम नास्ति संशयः ॥ १७४॥
नित्यशुद्धपरिबुद्धमुक्ततां eternal pure consciousness liberation यस्य whose नित्यम् forever इति thus वक्ति says वाक् word श्रुतेः of the veda तस्य his सत्यसुखबोधपूर्णता truth-bliss-consciousness form तथ्यम् Real एव alone मम to me न not अस्ति there संशयः doubt
When the Śruti declares that the genuine liberation that a person secures by direct realization of his own self of the form ‘eternal pure consciousness’, there is no doubt at all that such a realization is true. Such a person experiences real bliss that is non-different from Consciousness.
यत्स्वरूपमिदमात्मनैव तु ।
भाति तत्तु मम चिद्वपुः सदा
भाति नान्यदिति निश्चयो मम ॥ १७५॥
यत् that स्वरूपम् true nature अहमात्मना as ‘I’ तथा and यत् that स्वरूपम् true nature इदमात्मना as ‘this’ एव alone तु however भाति shines तत् that तु indeed मम My चिद्वपुः Essential Consciousness सदा forever भाति shines न not अन्यत् any other इति thus निश्चयः conviction मम Mine
The entire world-experience can be stated to be happening on the basis of a two-fold division: One is the experiencer consciousness and the other is the experienced inert world. The first one is known by the name ‘I’ (ego-ahankāra) and the second one ‘this’. Every world-experience is of this dual nature alone. However it is to be understood that there is no ‘two’ in this but only ‘One’. The One Pure Consciousness, Brahman, alone appears two-fold. That Brahman am I, free of the ego-sense. Such a conviction alone is conducive to liberation. The absence of such a conviction is what is called ‘samsāra’, bondage.
अहं समस्तं मम रूपतः पृथङ्
न किञ्चिदस्तीति सुनिश्चयः कृतः ।
मया तु वेदान्तवचोभिरञ्जसा
पितामहेनापि च सत्यमीरितम् ॥ १७६॥
अहं I am समस्तं everything मम रूपतः apart from My form पृथक् different न not किञ्चित् anything अस्ति exists इति thus सुनिश्चयः firm conviction कृतः is made मया by Me तु however वेदान्तवचोभिः by vedic passages अञ्जसा directly पितामहेन by Brahmā अपि as well च too सत्यम् truth ईरितम् stated
Brahman alone is everything and nothing apart from It exists. Such a conviction is essential for liberation to ensue. This truth has been made clear by the Lord Śiva as well as Lord Brahmā.
भ्रष्ट एव परमार्थदर्शनात् ।
अत्र निश्चयमतिस्तु मुच्यते
कष्टरूपभवपाशबन्धनात् ॥ १७७॥
अत्र in this matter संशयमतिः the doubting one विनश्यति perishes भ्रष्टः fallen एव alone परमार्थदर्शनात् from the Supreme vision अत्र in this matter निश्चयमतिः the firm knower तु however मुच्यते freed कष्टरूपभवपाशबन्धनात् from the trammels of the bondage that is samsāra
This Supreme vision has to be free from the defects of non-perception, doubt and wrong perception. Only such a perfect knowledge is conducive to liberation and not any indecisive understanding.
सूत उवाच ।
एवमुक्त्वा महादेवः साम्बः संसारमोचकः ।
समालिङ्ग्य महाविष्णुं ब्रह्माणमपि सादरम् ॥ १७८॥
सूत Sūta उवाच said:
एवम् thus उक्त्वा stated महादेवः Mahādeva साम्बः Sāmba संसारमोचकः redeemer from bondage समालिङ्ग्य embraced महाविष्णुं Mahāviṣṇu ब्रह्माणम् Brahmā अपि as well सादरम् affectionately
Sūta said: Having thus declared, Mahādeva, the consort of the Universal Mother, Pārvatī, embraced affectionately Mahāviṣṇu and Brahmā.
[Part 19 coming soon]