The Praśnopaniṣat – Part 17
The mantra 6.6 is explained in the sequel.
The Puruṣa, the Supreme Being, is taught as the one to be realized. An epithet is stated here to identify the Puruṣa. Just as the spokes of a chariot-wheel that are as though dependents on the wheel are fixed at the nave of the wheel, so too are the kalā-s, the various constituents that form the body-mind complex and the entities that form the entire life-activity of jīva-s, are established in the Puruṣa. The Puruṣa is the central Support depending on which these kalā-s even exist. The Puruṣa is the source from which the kalā-s originate, the support on which they exist during their lifetime and resolve into at the time of dissolution. Thus, that Puruṣa is the very self of the kalā-s. Being the cause of the entire creation, the Puruṣa is the one that is to be realized for liberation. The knowledge of the Puruṣa dispels all ignorance pertaining to oneself, the Supreme and the world, in one go. It is the endeavor of every Upaniṣad to clearly specify that One by knowing whom alone there is an end to the transmigratory existence of every being. This is also expressed as the freedom from death. Every birth is essentially attended by death and he who realizes the Puruṣa as non-different from himself will cease to be within the clutches of the cycle of repeated births and deaths. The compassionate Guru says to his sincere disciples: In case you fail to realize this Puruṣa, you will remain miserable. Let that situation never happen to you, where you remain within the clutches of death.
तान्होवाचैतावदेवाहमेतत्परं ब्रह्म वेद नातः परमस्तीति ॥ ७ ॥
तान् To them ह indeed उवाच said एतावत् till this much एव alone अहम् I एतत् this परं Supreme ब्रह्म Brahman वेद know न no अतः beyond परम् the Supreme अस्ति exists इति thus
7. Pippalāda said to them: Thus far, indeed, I know the Supreme Brahman; there is nothing higher than this.
The venerable Āchārya Pippalāda addressed his dear disciples: ‘This much alone I have known about the Brahman that is taught to be known in the Upaniṣads. There is nothing higher than this that is to be known.’ The Āchārya said this with a view to reassure the disciples that the teaching he has given out so far is not incomplete. The purpose of a discourse between the teacher and the pupil is to give the teaching without any remainder. Thus alone will the pupil attain the supreme purpose of life. The brahmavidyā, verily ātmavidyā, makes one free of all limitations and makes him feel immensely blessed. Ignorance leaves him completely. There is nothing else to be accomplished. Sage Pippalāda brought about such an experience of sublime satisfaction in his pupils’ mind that they gave expression to it.
ते तमर्चयन्तस्त्वं हि नः पिता योऽस्माकमविद्यायाः परं पारं तारयसीति । नमः परमऋषिभ्यो नमः परमऋषिभ्यः ॥ ८ ॥
ते they तम् him अर्चयन्तः worshiping त्वं Thou हि indeed नः our पिता Father यः who अस्माकम् us अविद्यायाः of ignorance परं other पारं shore तारयसि take across इति thus नमः Salutations परमऋषिभ्यः to the Great Sages नमः Salutations परमऋषिभ्यः to the Great Sages
8. And they, worshipping him, said: Thou, indeed, art our father—thou who hast taken us across our ignorance to the other shore. Adoration to the supreme ṛṣis! Adoration to the supreme ṛṣis!
Those disciples having received the supreme teaching from the exalted Guru, feeling the greatest satisfaction, not knowing how they can repay the benevolence showered upon them, worshiped the preceptor by offering flowers at his feet and prostrating to him by placing their heads at his holy feet. They also verbally expressed their gratitude saying: ‘You are indeed our Father since you have, by imparting the Supreme Knowledge, given birth to our Brahman-body. What is special with this body? It is eternal, free of fear, old age and death. How do you differ from the biological father? You have indeed ferried us across this massive ocean that is ignorance characterized by erroneous knowledge, filled with the fearful aquatic animals such as old age, death, disease and misery by the raft of Knowledge. Hence it is quite in order to venerate you as our Father. While the biological father gives birth to the mere body and therefore is supremely worthy of reverence in the world, what to say of the Guru who has conferred upon the disciple the realization of the ever-free, never-born Brahman, freeing him from birth altogether!! Salutations to those Great Teachers who have kept the tradition of disseminating this Brahmavidyā alive! The salutation is repeated to indicate the exceeding reverence to the entire community of the Vedāntic Āchāryas.
Here ends the explanation of the Praśnopaniṣat, based on the commentary of Sri Shankaracharya.
Obeisance to the Guru!