The Sūtasamhitā-Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣat (Part 2)
Having thus far taught the Truth that is the innermost of all entities, by the method of svarūpa lakṣaṇa (essential nature) and taṭastha lakṣaṇa (attributed nature), in the sequel all that is other than That is taught to be unreal, mithyā –
अतोऽन्यदार्तं सकलं न सत्यं तु निरूपणे ।
स एव सर्वं नैवान्यदिति सम्यङ्निरूपणे ॥ ७॥
अतः अन्यत् other than That आर्तं unreal सकलं everything न not सत्यं real तु indeed निरूपणे upon examining स he एव alone सर्वं everything न not एव indeed अन्यत् other इति thus सम्यक् well निरूपणे examination
The world that is manifest as effect and that which is unmanifest as the cause, is certainly distinct from Brahman that is beyond the cause-effect duality. Upon examination, this world is seen to be without any reality as apart from the Supreme Truth, for the world derives existence only from the uncaused Existence that is Brahman. Brahman is the substratum for the entire world of cause and effects. When the truth of the world is enquired into, what comes to light is that it is only the substratum that is unsublatably real and the superimposed world is unreal, mithyā, just like the imaginary silver seen in the shell. Thus the world enjoys an existence-reality only in the realm of vyavahāra, transactions. From the transcendental point of view, however, the world is not real at all. The world, on the other hand, has no existence apart from the substratum Brahman since it appears to exist only on the strength of the latter which is the innermost Consciousness of everyone. In other words, the world is a superimposition on Brahman. And therefore, is non-different from Brahman. This is called bādhāyām sāmānādhikaraṇyam. It will be beneficial to read what Sri Shankaracharya says in the commentary to the Bhagavadgītā 4.24:
ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्महविर्ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम्।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना।।4.24।।
4.24 The ladle is Brahman, the oblation is Brahman. The offering is poured by Brahman in the fire of Brahman. Brahman alone is to be reached by him who has concentration on Brahman as the objective.
4.24. ब्रह्म अर्पणं येन करणेन ब्रह्मवित् हविः अग्नौ अर्पयति तत् ब्रह्मैव इति पश्यति तस्य आत्मव्यतिरेकेण अभावं पश्यति यथा शुक्तिकायां रजताभावं पश्यति तदुच्यते ब्रह्मैव अर्पणमिति यथा यद्रजतं तत् शुक्तिकैवेति।
4.24. Brahma arpaṇam, the ladle, is Brahman: The knower of Brahman perceives the instrument with which he offers oblation in the fire as Brahman Itself. He perceives it as not existing separately from the Self, as one sees the non-existence of silver in nacre. In this sense it is that Brahman Itself is the ladle, just as what appears as silver is only nacre.
Having taught that the innermost Ātman is the self of the individual body (adhyātmam), the Upaniṣad proceeds to show that the innermost Ātman is the self of the created universe, adhidaivam, too. This teaching is found in the Gārgi brāhmaṇam of the Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣat [3.6].
यथा पृथिव्यामोतं च प्रोतं च सकलं सुराः ।
तथाऽप्सु सकलं देवा ओतं प्रोतं न संशयः ॥ ८॥
यथा just as पृथिव्याम् in earth ओतं च प्रोतं warp and woof च indeed सकलं everything सुराः O Gods! तथा so too अप्सु in water सकलं everything देवाः O Gods! ओतं प्रोतं warp and woof न no संशयः doubt
In that brāhmaṇam the Upaniṣat demonstrates that the entire created universe, starting from the grossest pṛthvī (earth) up to the subtlest Brahma loka inheres in the tattva that is prior to itself. This is done with a view to show that Ātman is the innermost of the entire creation. By doing this, the Ātman could be shown as the subtlest and the most pervading entity. In the process, the created entities are shown in an order of distinct levels of being higher and lower in relation to one another.
Just as a cloth pervades the threads woven in the pattern of warp and woof, so too the entire product of pṛthvī (earth) inheres as it were in it, the cause thereof. This cause, pṛthvī is subtle and pervading in relation to its products that inhere in it. Similarly this pṛthvī tattva, along with its effects, is situated in the manner of warp and woof in its cause, water. This method of the effect inhering in the cause is to be applied in the entities to be taken up in the sequel too.
आपश्च वायौ हे देवा ओताः प्रोतास्तथैव च ।
अन्तरिक्षेषु वायुश्च लोकेषु सुरपुंगवाः ॥ ९॥
आपः water च in turn वायौ in air हे O देवाःGods! ओताः warp प्रोताः woof तथा एव in the same manner च too अन्तरिक्षेषु in the heavenly वायुः air च too लोकेषु worlds सुरपुंगवाः O foremost of Gods!
Objection: Is not fire the cause of water, on the strength of the Vedic passage ‘agneḥ āpaḥ’ (Taittiriya Upaniṣad 2.1.1)? Hence it should be said that water inheres in fire.
Reply: This is no defect. Since fire, without resorting to either the earth or air, has no independent existence unlike other elements, it is said that fire inheres in air in the manner of warp and woof. It can be appreciated that earth can exist by itself, water, by itself. Air, too, can exist by itself and ether also, without resorting to other elements, can exist by itself. Fire has to resort to firewood, for instance, a product of earth for its existence and manifestation. Hence it is mentioned that water rests in air that is the cause of fire. Vāyu, air, rests in the antarikṣa, heavenly worlds, as warp and woof, since that is the abode for Vāyu’s movement.
अन्तरिक्षाश्च लोकाश्च तथा गन्धर्वकेषु च ।
लोकेष्वादित्यलोकेषु स्थिता गन्धर्वसंज्ञिताः ॥ १०॥
अन्तरिक्षाः च लोकाः the heavens च and तथा also गन्धर्वकेषु च लोकेषु in Gandharva worlds आदित्यलोकेषु in the Āditya worlds स्थिताः rest गन्धर्वसंज्ञिताः the worlds called ‘Gandharva’
चन्द्रलोकेषु चाऽऽदित्यलोका ओतास्तथैव च ।
चन्द्रलोकाश्च नक्षत्रलोकेषु सुरपुंगवाः ॥ ११॥
चन्द्रलोकेषु च in the Chandra loka-s आदित्यलोकाः the Āditya loka-s ओताः rest तथा also एव alone च and चन्द्रलोका: च the Chandra loka-s too नक्षत्रलोकेषु in the Nakṣatra loka-s सुरपुंगवाः O foremost Gods!
देवलोकेषु नक्षत्रलोका ओतास्तथैव च ।
देवलोकाश्च हे देवा इन्द्रलोकेषु संस्थिताः ॥ १२॥
देवलोकेषु in the Deva loka-s नक्षत्रलोकाः the Nakṣatra loka-s ओताः rest तथा also एव alone च too देवलोकाः Deva loka-s च even हे देवाः O Gods! इन्द्रलोकेषु in Indra loka-s संस्थिताः established
Why is the plural used for the word ‘world’, ‘loka’? It should be borne in mind that all the worlds are products of the five elements. Yet, in each loka, the elements themselves, on the basis of the difference in their subtlety, become abodes where higher bhoga-s are enjoyed. That is why in all the bhoga-abodes such as Antarikṣa and Gandharva, the plural is used. It should also be noted that in each loka itself there are many extensions, as it were, where jīva-s with different karma-s experience different levels of bhoga-s which have to be made available to them in distinct places.
प्राजापत्येषु लोकेषु स्थिता ऐन्द्राः सुरर्षभाः ।
प्राजापत्यास्तथा लोका ब्रह्मलोकेषु संस्थिताः ॥ १३॥
प्राजापत्येषु लोकेषु in the Prajāpati loka-s स्थिताः rest ऐन्द्राः Indra loka-s सुरर्षभाः O Gods! प्राजापत्याः तथा लोकाः and Prajāpati loka-s ब्रह्मलोकेषु in Brahma loka-s संस्थिताः exist
विष्णुलोकेषु हे देवा ब्रह्मलोकाः सुसंस्थिताः ।
विष्णुलोकास्तथा ओता रुद्रलोकेषु हे सुराः ॥ १४॥
विष्णुलोकेषु in Viṣṇu loka-s हे देवाः O Gods! ब्रह्मलोकाः Brahma loka-s सुसंस्थिताः established विष्णुलोकाः Viṣṇu loka-s तथा again ओताःrest रुद्रलोकेषु in Rudra loka-s हे सुराः O Gods!
रुद्रलोकाः स्थिता लोकेष्वीश्वरस्य सुरर्षभाः ।
सदाशिवस्य लोकेषु स्थिता ह्यैशाः सुरर्षभाः ॥ १५॥
रुद्रलोकाः Rudra loka-s स्थिताः stay लोकेषु ईश्वरस्य in Īśvara loka-s सुरर्षभाः O Gods! सदाशिवस्य लोकेषु In Sadāśiva’s loka-s स्थिताः established हि indeed ऐशाः Īśvara (Rudra) loka-s सुरर्षभाः O foremost of Gods!
ओताः प्रोताश्च ते लोका ब्रह्मसंज्ञे परे शिवे ।
एवं सर्वे सदा साक्षिस्वरूपे प्रत्यगात्मनि ॥ १६॥
ओताः प्रोताः as warp and woof च also ते these लोकाः worlds ब्रह्मसंज्ञे in named ‘Brahma’ परे in Supreme शिवे Śiva एवं thus सर्वे all loka-s सदा always साक्षिस्वरूपे in witness प्रत्यगात्मनि innermost Self
Prajāpati is the one that has identification (abhimāna) with the gross body at the cosmic level. He is called Virāṭ. The five elements that go to make this cosmic body that gets the bhoga, experience, are called the Prājāpatya loka-s. In these loka-s the Indra loka-s exist. Brahmā who takes the form of Hiraṇyagarbha effects the pañcīkaraṇa (blending up of the five subtle elements in a certain manner) to make the Brahmāṇḍa. These five elements such as the ether alone are the ones known by the name ‘Brahma loka.’ The Brahma loka-s are the causal ones for the Prājāpatya loka-s which reside in the former.
The loka-s finally rest in the Sākṣi svarūpa that is the pratyagātman, the innermost self.
सर्वान्तरतमे प्रोता ओता अध्यासतः स्थिताः ॥ १७॥
सर्वान्तरतमे In the innermost Self प्रोताः ओताः as warp and woof अध्यासतः owing to superimposition स्थिताः exist
The effected loka-s reside in the loka-s that are their causal ones that pervade them being superior. It must be remembered that this resting of loka-s in other loka-s is not real but only a superimposition. By extension, the entire creation consisting of loka-s, along with their occupants, is a superimposition, adhyāsa, owing to Māyā, on the Innermost Self, the Pratyagātman, that is the substratum. While everything in creation needs an abode wherefrom it derives its fundamental existence and shine, Brahman, the Great Support, Itself does not need any other resort. It is self-luminous, self-existent and if anyone asks ‘where is Brahman situated?’, the only reply is: ‘In Its own glory.’
(Coming soon…Part 3)