V Subrahmanian, Monday, July 25, 2016 3:12 pm

The Sūtasamhitā-Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣat (Part 4)

Part 4

Continuing verse 26:

The Upaniṣad has shown that the Antaryāmi is the unseen Seer, etc.

By saying so, the mantra अदृष्टो द्रष्टाश्रुतः श्रोतामतो मन्ताविज्ञातो विज्ञाता (3.4.23) of the Upaniṣad is alluded to. The Upaniṣad makes a very profound instruction by pointing out that the Antaryāmi, the inner ruler, is the one that is the true seer, hearer, thinker, determiner, etc. and He is not any different from the seer, thinker, etc. that the individuals think themselves to be. In other words, we consider ourselves to be the seer, hearer, etc. whenever such functions happen.  We also think, erroneously, though, that we are a finite entity performing the thinking, hearing, etc. functions. This error is what is corrected by the Upaniṣad by teaching us that we are not any finite being located in the body, doing the hearing, etc. but the infinite Brahman that is what is actually hearing, seeing, etc. in all the bodies.  It is Brahman alone that is performing the role of seeing, etc. in all the bodies and there is no jīva who is distinct from It. This is what is taught in the mantra नान्योऽतोऽस्ति द्रष्टा नान्योऽतोऽस्ति श्रोता नान्योऽतोऽस्ति मन्ता नान्योऽतोऽस्ति विज्ञातैष त आत्मान्तर्याम्यमृतः (3.4.23) (Other than that Internal Impeller there is no seer, no hearer, no thinker, no knower, he is your Immortal Internal Impeller) in conclusion. 

Objection: The jīvas who are samsārins that experience joy and misery (in the states of waking, dream and deep sleep) are distinct from the Antaryāmī.

The next verse comes in reply to this objection: 

Verse 27:

रविसोमाग्निपूर्वेषु विनष्टेष्वयमास्तिकाः ।

चित्तसाक्षितया भाति स्वप्रकाशेन केवलम् ॥ २७॥

रविसोमाग्निपूर्वेषु sun, moon, fire, etc. विनष्टेषु are absent अयम् this आस्तिकाः O believers! चित्तसाक्षितया as the witness of the mind भाति shines स्वप्रकाशेन by own shine केवलम् alone

In order to impress upon the objector that the jīva is non-different from the Antarāymin the section of the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.3 called ‘jyotirbrāhmaṇam’ is condensed here. This brāhmaṇam deals with these aspects:

Asangatvam, unattaching nature, of Ātman: Even though the Ātman is present in all the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep, and is engaged in all transactions involving the body-mind-sense complex and objects, yet It (Ātman) is unattached to any merit or demerit arising out of such vyavahāra.

Svyamjyotiṣṭvam, Self-effulgent nature, 

Niratiśaya ānanda svabhāvatvam – the nature of being unsurpassed bliss and other such properties

Among the above, the Ātman’s self-effulgent nature, being the witness of the three states of waking, etc. is elucidated by the mantra 4.3.6 अस्तमित आदित्ये याज्ञवल्क्य चन्द्रमस्यस्तमिते शान्तेऽग्नौ शान्तायां वाचि किञ्ज्योतिरेवायं पुरुष इत्यात्मैवास्य ज्योतिर्भवति [‘ “When the sun has set, Yājñavalkya, and the moon has set and  the fire has gone out and speech has stopped, what serves as  light for a man?”  “The self, indeed, is his light, for with the self as light he sits, goes out, works and returns.”] Even when the external lights such as the sun have ceased to be, the Ātman remains as the witness of the mind, manas.  The Self does not need any external light to be luminous.  In such contexts, the word ‘luminous’ is not to be mistaken for any physical light. It is the consciousness that is meant. With this, the waking state stands explained. 

Verse 28

चित्तव्यापारनाशे तु तदभावं सुरर्षभाः ।

स्वप्रकाशेन जानाति सुषुप्तौ वेद तामपि ॥ २८॥

चित्तव्यापारनाशे on the mental activity ceasing तु however तदभावं its absence सुरर्षभाः O foremost of Gods! स्वप्रकाशेन by the self-effulgence जानाति knows सुषुप्तौ deep sleep वेद knows ताम् that अपि too

In the dream state when the sense organs have resolved, the mind too ceases to take the external forms of objects and remains solely assuming the forms of the dream objects. Then the Ātman, devoid of any external luminous aid, witnesses the dream state. When, however, even the mind, just like the other sense organs, has lapsed into its cause, ajñānam, the ignorance that is of a positive nature (that is, it is not any non-existent entity like a hare’s horn) then, ensues the deep sleep state. The Ātman, by its native consciousness, witnesses this state too, which is marked by the absence of (activity of) the mind and other sense organs, and is of a completely ignorant nature. It is to be noted that the state of deep sleep is characterized by (1) the absence of any knowledge of both the outside world of objects and the internal dream world of objects and experiences of joy, sorrow, etc. and (2) the presence of bliss that is native to the sleep state. It is only because such a perception of this twin-aspect is had during sleep, does the person expresses, recalls, upon waking: ‘I slept happily, I did not know anything.’ This recollection proves that there has been an experience in the sleep state and that there has been a sentient entity that had the experience.

Verse 29:

आविर्भावतिरोभावरहितस्तु स्वयम्प्रभः ।

भावाभावात्मकं सर्वं सदाऽयं वेद केवलः ॥ २९॥

आविर्भावतिरोभावरहितः he who is devoid of arising and setting तु  indeed स्वयम्प्रभः self-effulgent भावाभावात्मकं existent and non-existent सर्वं completely सदा always अयं he वेद knows केवलः sole entity

The Ātman is present in all the three states as the witness thereof.  While the states themselves keep alternating, arising and giving place to the other state, the Ātman neither rises nor subsides. This characteristic of remaining always without any change is unique to the Ātman and is never applicable to the three states and the contents of the three states.  Hence alone this Self, the Eternal Consciousness, Self-effulgent, is the witness of the objective world consisting of the existent (in waking and dream where there is the manifestation of the name-form) and the non-existent (in the deep sleep where there is no manifestation but only the unmanifest, the seed of the world of objects). This idea is graphically depicted in the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad where the three states are shown as the cause (deep sleep) and effect (waking and dream) and the Fourth State, the Chaturtham, is transcendental to the three, untouched by the manifest-unmanifest duality. It is the realization of this State as non-different from oneself that constitutes the liberating knowledge. 

Verse 30

भावाभावात्मना वेद्यं समस्तं सुरपुङ्गवाः ।

वेत्तैवायं न चैवान्यदिति सम्यङ्निरूपणम् ॥ ३०॥

भावाभावात्मना  as existent and non-existent वेद्यं to be known समस्तं everything सुरपुङ्गवाः O foremost of Gods! वेत्ता knower एव alone अयं he न not च indeed एव alone अन्यत् another इति thus  सम्यक् well निरूपणम् proven

Everything is known as both jñātam and ajñātam, ‘known’ and ‘unknown’. What is ‘known’ is the one grasped by a sense organ and then becomes a perception. That which is ‘unknown’ is one grasped by the witness, sākṣī.  The former is some object that is manifest and the latter is ignorance, ajñānam. There is a pithy sentence that says: ‘sarvam vastu jñātājñātatayā sākṣichaitanyasya viṣaya eva.’ 

The Ātman is self-effulgent and hence without the need for any external illumining agency, it is the one that illumines all the three states of waking, etc. While the states themselves alternate, the Witnessing Self remains in and through the states without ceasing to exist.  For this reason alone the Self is transcendental to the three states.  In the final analysis, the knower, the Self, alone remains, exists and nothing other than it, even the ‘known’, the three states, do not exist, being of a variable nature. And hence alone they are mithyā, unreal. That which is inconstant has no existence and only that which is constant exists. The Ātman alone qualifies to be ‘existent’ while the anātman, the non-Self, is non-existent.

Verse 31

एवं द्वैतं विचारेण स्वात्मना वेद यः पुमान् ।

स योगी सर्वदा द्वैतं पश्यन्नपि न पश्यति ॥ ३१॥

एवं thus द्वैतं duality विचारेण by enquiry स्वात्मना as Self वेद knows यः he पुमान् the jñānī स  he योगी yogī सर्वदा always द्वैतं duality पश्यन् अपि though perceiving न does not पश्यति see

The purport of the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad mantra 4.3.23 यद्वै तन्न पश्यति पश्यन्वै तन्न पश्यति न हि द्रष्टुर्दृष्टेर्विपरिलोपो विद्यतेऽविनाशित्वात् । न तु तद्द्वितीयमस्ति ततोऽन्यद्विभक्तं यत्पश्येत् [23. “And when it appears that in deep sleep it does not see, yet it is seeing though it does not see; for there is no cessation of the vision of the seer, because the seer is imperishable. There is then, however, no second thing separate from the seer that it could see. ] is stated here.

In the manner delineated in the foregoing, he who realizes the self-effulgent Ātman that is the witness of the three states and yet the one that transcends them as no different from oneself, is a yogi. Even though he witnesses duality in all the states, yet owing to the power of realization of the non–dual Self, Brahman, as oneself, he sees only the non-dual Self as the one underlying all the experiences of duality. He sees duality and yet does not see it. What this means is that the realization that the apparent duality, grasped by the senses and mind is actually only an object to the Self.  In other words, the Self is the witness of the entire gamut of seer-seeing-seen phenomenon.  The duality of the world is illumined by the Self. It is just like the duality of the dream is illumined by the Consciousness and is realized to be mithyā upon waking. In the case of the Yogi, however, even while perceiving the duality he knows that it is mithyā; he the seer alone is the Satyam.

Part 5 Coming Soon…

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