The kenopaniShat – Part 4
In the foregoing the Supreme Reality, brahman, was taught as the entity that is ‘different from the known and greater/beyond the unknown’. Through this teaching the identity of the self, Atman, with brahman was also indicated. Upon hearing this, an aspirant may get a doubt as to how indeed the Self, Atman, can be the same as brahman, the Supreme. For, the self, the individual Atman, is the one who is an agent of action, whether scripturally enjoined or worldly, and contemplations enjoined by the scripture. This agent is also a transmigrating one who engages in the scripturally enjoined actions/contemplations and intends to attain to other worlds like heaven inhabited by various gods, up to brahmA. Therefore brahman the Supreme has to be someone different from the agent, who contemplates on viShNu, Ishwara (shiva), indra, prANa, etc. This is reasonable since the meditating agent being the same as the god contemplated upon is quite opposed to common sense. Just as the logicians, tArkika-s, hold the jIva to be different from the Supreme brahman, so too those steeped in actions hold the god propitiated/contemplated upon as different from the one engaged in those actions/contemplations. Therefore, it is quite reasonable that that which is contemplated upon is brahman which is different from the meditator. The next mantra, taking into consideration the above doubt/question through the expressions, whether facial or verbal, of the disciple, gives the clarification:
यद्वाचानभ्युदितं येन वागभ्युद्यते ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ४ ॥
यत् that वाचा by speech अनभ्युदितं not expressed येन by which वाक् speech अभ्युद्यते is expressed तत् that एव alone ब्रह्म brahman त्वं you विद्धि know न not इदं this यत् which इदम् as ‘this’ उपासते is meditated.
That which cannot be expressed by speech, but by which speech is expressed —That alone know as brahman and not that which people here worship.
That brahman which is Pure Existence-Consciousness is not revealed by the organ of speech. What is meant by this is: the speech organ, by its transformation that is a word, is not capable of pointing to brahman as ‘this is that’. On the other hand, it is the organ of speech that is enlivened by the brahman-Consciousness and enabled to go about revealing various objects in creation. That it is brahman that is behind the speech-organ is made known to us by a number of upaniShadic passages such as ‘The Speech of speech’ (kena.up.1.2), ‘When It speaks it is called the organ of speech’ (br.up. 1.4.7), and ‘He who controls the organ of speech from within.’ (br.up.3.7.17), etc. That brahman which is behind the speech-organ is taught as the Eternal Consciousness in ‘For the speaker’s power of speech can never be lost’ (br.up.4.3.26). Know That alone which is the very Self as brahman, unsurpassed, Great. The significance of the emphasis ‘alone, eva’ is to be understood thus: Know that brahman which, owing to the limiting adjuncts is known as the Speech of speech, the Eye of eye, the Ear of ear, the Mind of mind, doer, experiencer/enjoyer, knower, controller, ruler, Knowledge, Bliss, brahman, etc. in parlance to refer to that which is beyond, free of, all parlance, bereft of attributes, supreme, the same everywhere, by giving up all such parlance.
This brahman is not the one meditated as ‘this’, that is, as something other than the meditator by finitizing it through adjuncts, as the not-self, God, etc. Even after having stressed ‘know That alone to be brahman’, the upaniShad explicitly states ‘that which is not denoted as this’ with respect to brahman with a view to show that all that is not-self is not-brahman, so that there is no choice left to the aspirant other than knowing brahman as one’s own Self. Or it is to exclude the identification of brahman from that which is non-brahman.
यन्मनसा न मनुते येनाहुर्मनो मतम् ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ५ ॥
यत् that which मनसा by the mind न not मनुते comprehended येन by which आहुः they say मनः the mind is मतम् comprehended तत् that एव alone ब्रह्म brahman त्वं you विद्धि know न not इदं this यत् which इदम् as ‘this’ उपासते meditate.
That which cannot be apprehended by the mind, but by which, they say, the mind is apprehended—That alone know as brahman and not that which people here worship.
‘Mind’ is the name of the inner organ by taking the intellect and the mind stuff to be non-different. Mind is that which comprehends and is common to all organs, in as much as it pervades all the objects of the senses. In other words, whenever knowledge of an object occurs, it is due to the mind that reveals that object through the cognitive transformation, vRRitti. The Br.Up. (1.5.3) says: ‘kAmaH samkalpo vichikitsA shraddhA ashraddhA dhRutiH adhRtiH hrIH bhIH dhIH ityetat sarvam mana eva’ [‘Desire, deliberation, doubt, faith, want of faith, steadiness, unsteadiness, shame, intelligence, and fear – all these are but the mind.’] The abode of modes such as those noted above is the mind. With that mind one does not apprehend that Consciousness Principle, brahman, that enlivens the mind and reveals the mind. This is because that Pure Consciousness, being the revealer of the mind, is also the controller of the mind. That Pure Consciousness, being the innermost self of all, the mind does not apprehend it, being the innermost self of the mind as well. The mind derives its power to cognize/think/deliberate, etc. only due to this in-dwelling principle called brahman, Consciousness. It is by this Consciousness the mind gets revealed/apprehended /objectified and pervaded. Thus say the knowers of brahman. Therefore, know that Pure Consciousness alone, which is the impeller of the mind, to be brahman. As said in the previous mantra-explanation, the last part of the mantra is to emphatically drive home the point that brahman is not something that is meditated upon as different from oneself.
यच्चक्षुषा न पश्यति येन चक्षूंषि पश्यति ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ६ ॥
यत् that चक्षुषा by the eye न cannot पश्यति perceived येन by which चक्षूंषि eye(s) पश्यति are seen तत् that एव alone ब्रह्म brahman त्वं you विद्धि know न not इदं this यत् which इदम् as ‘this’ उपासते meditate.
That which cannot be perceived by the eye, but by which the eye is perceived—That alone know as brahman and not that which people here worship.
That brahman is not made an object by the organ eye by invoking the mental modification. In the case of any created physical object, one perceives it through the organ eye by the instrumentality of the mind with the thought: ‘I shall see it’. Such a transaction never happens with brahman as the object. For, brahman is never an object of any instrument/organ, let alone the eye. This is because brahman is not endowed with the necessary objectifiable attribute of colour or form.
On the other hand, it is brahman, the Pure Consciousness, non-different from the Atman, the Self, that apprehends the various thought modifications with the eye as the organ. In other words, whenever one perceives an object with the eye, that ‘I know this object of such and such a form or colour’ is known to the person only with the revealing entity Brahman blessing the entire cognition. brahman reveals/illumines the mental modification. Every thought/comprehension is an object for brahman. The right understanding of this concept would be: brahman, the Pure Consciousness, is all pervading and ever existing. There is no time/place that is bereft of brahman’s existence. Such being the case, whatever happens in the cosmos is in the range of Brahman and in the presence of the right instruments/conditions, the happening is revealed.
यच्छ्रोत्रेण न शृणोति येन श्रोत्रमिदं श्रुतम् ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ७ ॥
यत् that श्रोत्रेण by the ear न not शृणोति heard येन by which श्रोत्रम् इदं this ear श्रुतम् is heard तत् that एव alone ब्रह्म brahman त्वं you विद्धि know न not इदं this यत् which इदम् as ‘this’ उपासते meditate.
That which cannot be heard by the ear, but by which the hearing is perceived—That alone know as brahman and not that which people here worship.
The organ ear has no capacity to ‘hear’ brahman. This is so because brahman has no attribute called ‘sound’ that could become the object of the ear organ. The ear, presided by the deity of space/direction and a product of the element space/ether, with the support/instrumentality of the mind, goes about apprehending sound in any object/locus in creation. But none can, with this ear organ, objectify brahman. On the other hand, it is by brahman that the organ ear, its function and the result of the operation of the function, becomes revealed. It is because of the presence of the conscious illumining principle that is brahman does one hear anything in the creation.
यत्प्राणेन प्राणिति येन प्राणः प्रणीयते ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ८ ॥
यत् that प्राणेन by the breath प्राणिति smelt येन by which प्राणः the breath प्रणीयते is smelt तत् that एव alone ब्रह्म Brahman त्वं you विद्धि know न not इदं this यत् which इदम् as ‘this’ उपासते meditate.
That which cannot be smelt by the breath, but by which the breath smells an object—That alone know as brahman and not that which people here worship.
By the faculty of smelling one can never ‘smell’ brahman, for brahman has nothing in It that can be smelt. On the other hand the act of smelling, which is a combined function of the smelling organ, the nostril, and the mind to support, is revealed by brahman the Consciousness.