The Sūtasamhitā-Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣat (Part 3)
सर्वाधिष्ठानरूपस्तु प्रत्यगात्मा स्वयंप्रभः ।
न कस्मिंश्चित्स्थितः साक्षी सत्स्वरूपः सुरर्षभाः ॥ १८॥
सर्वाधिष्ठानरूपः being the all-substratum तु however प्रत्यगात्मा the innermost self स्वयंप्रभः self-effulgent न not कस्मिंश्चित्स्थितः rooted in anything साक्षी witness सत्स्वरूपः Existence सुरर्षभाः O foremost of Gods!
While all creation is supported, being superimposed, rests on Brahman, the latter itself does not need any abode to rest. It is the witness, the source, of all else. Everything else is dependent on Brahman the substratum for its very being, existence. Brahman itself does not require anything to rest upon. In other words, all that is within creation has Brahman for its support. Brahman being neither an effect of anything nor the cause of anything, does not need any other entity for its own existence.
यस्मिन्नध्यस्तरूपेण स्थितं सर्वं निरूपणे ।
स एव सकलं नान्यदिति सम्यङ्निरूपणे ॥ १९॥
यस्मिन् in which अध्यस्तरूपेण as superimposed स्थितं rests सर्वं all निरूपणे when analyzed स that एव alone सकलं complete न not अन्यत् any other इति thus सम्यक् well निरूपणे proved
Thus far it was clearly established that all the loka-s from pṛthvī up to Brahma loka exist as superimposed only in the innermost Self. Upon further enquiry it will be known that in absolute terms, paramārthataḥ, all these loka-s are non-different from Brahman, the Self. The loka-s have no existence of their own; they only appear to be existing on the borrowed existence of the Existence that is Brahman.
योऽयमात्मा स्वयं भाति सत्तयाऽन्यविवर्जितः ।
स एव साक्षात्सर्वेषामन्तर्यामी न चापरः ॥ २०॥
यः which अयम् this आत्मा Ātman स्वयं itself भाति shines सत्तया by Existence अन्यविवर्जितः exclusive of all स that एव alone साक्षात् directly सर्वेषाम् of all अन्तर्यामी inner ruler न not च indeed अपरः other
Having established Brahman as the substratum of all superimposition, in the sequel, with a view to determine that very Brahman as the inner ruler of all beings, the section of the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad called ‘antaryāmi brāhmaṇam’ is now being condensed here. That Brahman which was shown in the foregoing as the innermost Self of all, is none other than the ‘antaryāmi’, inner ruler, of all beings. The equation ‘Āntaryāmī is Ātman’ is clearly stated innumerable times in that section of the Upaniṣad. This is a mahāvākya that establishes the identity of the Self with Brahman. Normally the Self is understood as the one confined to the body-mind complex. Here, however, it is shown that the One Consciousness that resides in all the body-mind complexes is none other than the innermost Self. Thereby the Upaniṣad is dispelling the erroneous notion of limitation in the jīva.
पृथिव्यामपि यस्तिष्ठन्पृथिव्या अन्तरः सदा ।
यं न वेद सुराः पृथ्वी शरीरं यस्य भूरपि ॥ २१॥
पृथिव्याम् in Earth अपि too यः he तिष्ठन् abiding पृथिव्याः of Earth अन्तरः inside सदा always यं whom न not वेद knows सुराः O Gods! पृथ्वी Earth शरीरं body यस्य whose भूः Earth अपि too
योऽन्तरो यमयत्येतां भूमिं निष्क्रियरूपतः ।
एष एव हि नः साक्षादन्तर्यामी परामृतः ॥ २२॥
यः he अन्तरः inside यमयति rules एतां this भूमिं Earth निष्क्रियरूपतः Immutable एष he एव alone हि is नः our साक्षात् immediate अन्तर्यामी Inner Ruler परामृतः Supreme Eternal
अप्सु तिष्ठन्नपां देवा अन्तरो यं न ता विदुः ।
आपः शरीरं यस्यैता योऽन्तरो यमयत्यपः ।
एष एव हि नः साक्षादन्तर्यामी परामृतः ॥ २३॥
अप्सु in water तिष्ठन् abiding अपां of water देवाः O Gods! अन्तरः inside यं whom न not ताः this विदुः know आपः water शरीरं body यस्य whose एताःthese यः he अन्तरः inside यमयति rules अपः of water एष he एव alone हि indeed नः our साक्षात् immediate अन्तर्यामी inner ruler परामृतः Supreme Eternal
This is what is conveyed by the three verses above:
The Upaniṣad presents Brahman as the one that resides inside as the basis of everything in creation, at all the three levels namely adhidaivam (cosmos), adhibhūtam (certain created entities) and adhyātmam (the body-mind of living beings). However, Brahman is free of all upādhis and is the innermost Self, Consciousness. As the one that lends power, Consciousness, sentience, to all the entities thereby enabling their functioning, Brahman alone is called ‘antaryāmi’ (inner ruler). This is stated by the mantra ‘यः पृथिव्यां तिष्ठन्पृथिव्या अन्तरो यं पृथिवी न वेद ..’ Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 3.7.3. One might think that Brahman the cause is all over and is outside pṛthvī (Earth) and therefore is incapable of impelling the latter. This doubt is cleared by the statement ‘he who is inside pṛthvī’. Since Brahman is the material cause too, its pervasive presence even inside pṛthvī is quite admissible. However, even though Brahman is present inside, the pṛthvī devatā does not realize this as ‘inside me too resides some sentient entity’. Pṛthvī is the body of Brahman, just as a body is a covering, a coat; there is no other body for Brahman. Brahman, the Paramātman, of these characteristics, residing inside pṛthvī (bhūmi), impels the latter in all its activities. This impelling Brahman alone is the antaryāmi (inner ruler or controller/impeller).
Objection: Since Brahman is said to engage in impelling from inside, action on the part of Brahman is inevitable.
Reply: Brahman is niṣkriyam, devoid of any action. This is Its absolute nature, without giving up which It ‘controls’ owing to upādhi.
Objection: Then, being endowed with upādhi, sopādhika, Brahman too, like all of us, is only some jīva.
Reply: No, Brahman is the Supreme Eternal. Since Brahman does not identify itself with the upādhi-born act of impelling, it alone is the immediate, direct, Supreme Being. It is beyond all the transforming entities, untouched by the trammels of samsāra.
What is stated with regard to pṛthvī is to be applied in all the other cases commencing from āpaḥ, water.
The idea is to present Brahman as the central essence of everything in creation so that the peripheral created entities are disregarded and only the essential Reality, Satyam, is grasped by the aspirant as the Self of not only himself but of everything in creation.
एवमग्नेश्च यो नेता चान्तरिक्षस्य हे सुराः ॥ २४॥
एवम् so too अग्नेः of fire च also नेता impeller च and अन्तरिक्षस्य space हे सुराः O Gods!
वायुपूर्वस्य सर्वस्य चेतनाचेतनस्य च ।
एष एव हि नः साक्षादन्तर्यामी परामृतः ॥ २५॥
वायुपूर्वस्य air, etc. सर्वस्य of all चेतनाचेतनस्य sentient and insentient च also एष he एव alone हि indeed नः of our साक्षात् immediate अन्तर्यामी inner ruler परामृतः supreme and eternal
Having explained the presence and purport of Brahman as Antaryāmi in two entities, earth and water, the cases of air and space, etc. are taken up so as to extend the above rule. The Upaniṣad says in mantras योऽग्नौ तिष्ठन्नग्नेरन्तरो यमग्निर्न वेद … योऽन्तरिक्षे तिष्ठन्नन्तरिक्षादन्तरो यमन्तरिक्षं न वेद …(3.4.5,6) with regard to fire and inter-space. The Upaniṣad continues enumerating air, heavens, etc. यो वायौ तिष्ठन्वायोरन्तरो यं वायुर्न वेद … यो दिवि तिष्ठन्दिवोऽन्तरो यं द्यौर्न वेद… (3.4.7, 8). He who impels the entire created universe consisting of sentient and insentient entities is none other than the one that takes the name ‘antaryāmi’ residing within each of us as our innermost being, Self, pratyagātmā. By this mahāvākya the Upaniṣad is equating the all-pervading Brahman, Tat, with the entity that is available in each of us as the innermost self, tvam. Thus, the Tat tvam asi is the instruction in all these mantras.
अदृष्टोऽयं सुरा द्रष्टा श्रोतैवायं तथाऽश्रुतः ।
अमतश्च तथा मन्ता विज्ञाता केवलं सुराः ॥ २६॥
अदृष्टः unseen अयं this सुराः O Gods! द्रष्टा seer श्रोता hearer एव alone अयं this तथा too अश्रुतः unheard अमतः unthought च also तथा thus मन्ता thinker विज्ञाता knower केवलं alone सुराः O Gods!
Question: Why do the deities such as pṛthvī (earth), even as we people, are unaware of this antaryāmi that resides in the Self?
Reply: The antaryāmi is such a unique entity that has certain characteristics such as ‘adṛśyaḥ’. Being devoid of form, it cannot be objectified by the eye (of the deities and of us). However, He himself abiding in the eye, as the very essence of seeing, is the Seer. Hence He is the unseen, unseeable, seer. Similarly, being devoid of sound, He is not an object of the ear, the instrument of hearing. On the other hand, the antaryāmi, abiding in all the ears, being endowed with unceasing hearing ability, is the unheard of Hearer. The mind, manas, is the instrument that engages in desiring and doubting. The Antaryāmi is not an object of the mind either. However, abiding in all the minds, He alone is the power of desiring and doubting, the essence of the organ manas. The intellect, buddhi, also called vijñānam, is the faculty of determining. The Antaryāmi resides in all intellects as the very power of determining and is not an Object of the buddhi.
Part 4 Coming Soon…