The Sūtasamhitā-Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣat (Part 5)
Sūta Samhitā Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad
It was stated in the previous verse that the Yogi who knows the true nature of duality, dvaitam, does not see it even if he is perceiving duality. How is that possible? This is explained in the sequel.
द्रष्टुर्दृष्टेर्न नाशोऽस्ति दृश्यमेव विनश्यति ।
तच्च द्वैतं दृशेर्दृश्यं नास्ति द्रष्टाऽस्ति केवलम् ॥ ३२॥
द्रष्टुः knower’s दृष्टेः vision न no नाशः loss अस्ति exists दृश्यम् seen एव alone विनश्यति perishes तत् that च verily द्वैतं duality दृशेः of consciousness दृश्यं seen न not अस्ति exists द्रष्टा seer अस्ति exists केवलम् alone
The seer-Atman’s seeing power which is none other than pure Consciousness has no extinction. Just as heat that is the very essential nature of fire will exist till fire exists, the cognizing power of Ātman is eternal, never to go extinct. Therefore, no one needs to doubt the extinction of this power. This explains the passage न हि द्रष्टुर्दृष्टेर्विपरिलोपो विद्यतेऽविनाशित्वात् [‘there is no cessation of the vision of the seer, because the seer is imperishable’] Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣat 4.3.23.
Question: If the cognizing power of Ātman, the seer, is eternal, why can’t the seen world shine always by that cognizing power alone?
Reply: The cited Upaniṣad mantra says: ‘Since that cognizing power does not cognize the seen world of duality.’ The world of duality gets sublated, resolved into, the substratum Brahman owing to the right knowledge secured by the knower. The non-cognition is only due to the absence of the objective world and not due to the extinction of the cognizing power, the Consciousness. Hence the world of duality does not shine during the states of samādhi (absorption), deep sleep, etc. During those states only the seer, Consciousness, alone remains without any break in continuity. Thus, the portion न तु तद्द्वितीयमस्ति ततोऽन्यद्विभक्तं यत्पश्येत् [There is then, however, no second thing separate from the seer that it could see.] of the Upaniṣad stands explained.
What is to be understood from the above explanation is: The world of duality is indeed available to the senses. The enlightened man knows that the visible world is not real; it is only an appearance created by māyā. The perceiving senses derive their power to perceive only from the Consciousness. While the seen world is not perceived in the states of deep sleep, absorption, etc. the Seer Consciousness never goes out of existence. Even after the enlightened man dies, that is, when the body dies, there is no more perception of the world but the Eternal Consciousness that is Brahman continues to exist. It is Existence, Sat, that can never be destroyed by any power in creation.
एषाऽस्य परमा सम्पद्गतिश्च परमाऽस्य तु ।
एषोऽस्य परमो लोक एतद्धि परमं सुखम् ॥ ३३॥
एषा This अस्य his परमा highest सम्पत् wealth गतिः goal च too परमा supreme अस्य his तु however एषः this अस्य his परमः highest लोकः world एतत् this हि indeed परमं supreme सुखम् bliss
The Upaniṣad teaches the greatness of the enlightened person. The passage एषास्य परमा गतिः एषास्य परमा सम्पदेषोऽस्य परमो लोक एषोऽस्य परम आनन्द एतस्यैवानन्दस्यान्यानि भूतानि मात्रामुपजीवन्ति (‘ This is its supreme attainment, this is its supreme glory, this it its highest world, this is its supreme bliss. On a particle of this bliss other creatures live.") Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.3.32 explains this.
What is the supreme glory? The state where nothing different from the Self is seen, heard or known is indeed the supreme glory. All other glories being produced and therefore ephemeral, the eternal, secondless Ātman-vision being established in Brahman, alone is the unique glory. Also, this alone is this enlightened one’s supreme attainment. All other attainments starting from the state of being Brahmā up to the state of being the smallest creature, being products of ignorance, avidyā, are lower alone. Also, of the Jñānin this (Self) is the supreme, parama, ‘world’. All other loka-s, worlds, that are attainable through action are a-parama, inferior, finite. The establishment in the realization of Brahman-Ātman, however, being natural, ever-existing, not attainable through any action, is unsurpassed and is clearly experienced. Hence alone it is called ‘paramaḥ lokaḥ’. This indeed is the supreme bliss which is characterized by being established as verily the unsurpassed Brahman-bliss. Compared to the eternal Brahman-bliss, the object-dependent bliss being ephemeral and only a tiny reflection of the Supreme Brahman-bliss, is worth rejecting.
अहिनिर्ल्वयनीं मुक्तां यथाऽहिः स्वात्मना पुनः ।
न पश्यति तथा विद्वान्न देहेऽहम्मतिर्भवेत् ॥ ३४॥
अहिनिर्ल्वयनीं slough of snake मुक्तां cast away यथा just as अहिः snake स्वात्मना as its own पुनः again न not पश्यति thinks तथा so too विद्वान् enlightened one न not देहे in the body अहम्मतिः feeling of ‘I’ भवेत् holds
He who has realized himself to be non-different from Brahman does not again consider the body-mind complex as himself. An analogy is given by the Upaniṣad: तद्यथाहिनिर्ल्वयनी वल्मीके मृता … ("Just as the slough of a snake lies, dead and cast away, on an ant-hill, even so lies this body.) Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.7) A snake periodically castes off its slough as a matter of course in an ant-hill (which it has made a home for itself). Having shed the slough the snake no longer considers it as a part of itself. In the same way the Knower of Brahman too no longer identifies himself with the body-mind apparatus which he has known to be the not-self.
All of Vedānta sādhana is only to culminate in this realization: I am not the body-mind but Brahman. This is the ultimate attainment, parama puruṣārtha, of bodily existence. Once this is had, there is no longer the continuity of bodily existence. The period for which the Jñānī lives in the body is called jīvanmukti. After the body falls, that is, death of the body, there is no individuality of the person; Brahman alone is.
सर्वाधारे स्वतःसिद्धे शिवसञ्ज्ञे तु निर्मले ।
प्रत्यग्रूपे परानन्दे नेह नानाऽस्ति किञ्चन ॥ ३५॥
सर्वाधारे in the support of all स्वतःसिद्धे self-existent शिवसञ्ज्ञे known as ‘Śiva’ तु and निर्मले blemishless प्रत्यग्रूपे innermost self परानन्दे supreme bliss न not इह in this नाना multiplicity अस्ति exists किञ्चन a wee bit
The notion of one being the body, etc. is based on difference, bheda. However, there is no evidence for bheda. There is no pramāṇa that establishes bheda. Hence, the Śruti that negates bheda is cited: नेह नानास्ति किञ्चन [‘There is no multiplicity whatsoever in Brahman’] (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.19 and Kaṭhopaniṣad 2.1.10). What is the locus in which multiplicity, duality, is negated by the Veda? It is Brahman that is the support, ādhāra, of all duality in creation. Brahman is the substratum in which the world of duality appears. Someone might argue: just like the world of duality is superimposed why not its support, the substratum, too be superimposed? The reply is: No, the substratum of all superimpositions is that entity which is self-established, svataḥ-siddham. It does not require any other support and thereby be contingent upon the existence, sattā, of that other support. In other words, the superimposed snake ‘exists’ on the borrowed existence of the rope. While the rope alone really exists, the illusory snake appears to exist on the existence of the rope. Brahman, however, does not require any other entity’s existence to exist. The word ‘nirmala’, pure, blemishless, in the verse negates māyā. It is māyā, owing to the guṇas, tha taints. Brahman is asaṅga, unattached, and hence no māyā-born impurity can ever touch It. It is called ‘Śiva’, the Auspicious. It is not anywhere outside of, different from, oneself but verily oneself, the innermost Self. In Brahman of such description, there can never be any trace of duality.
If this Vedāntic Unity, Advaitam, is not admitted, the consequence is stated:
मृत्योः स मृत्युमाप्नोति इह नानेव पश्यति ।
तस्मादध्यस्तमज्ञानं तत्कार्यं चाऽऽत्मरूपतः ॥ ३६॥
मृत्योः from death सः he मृत्युम् death आप्नोति attains इह here नाना multiplicity इव as though पश्यति sees तस्मात् therefore अध्यस्तम् superimposed अज्ञानं ignorance तत्कार्यं its effect च too अत्मरूपतः as Ātman
Whoever sees difference, multiplicity, in Brahman which is verily the innermost Self, in the form ‘I am different, the world, Īśvara, etc. are different’, he, being enslaved by ignorance, goes from death to death; he keeps taking birth after birth. Birth and death is the cycle from which he never frees himself owing to the notion that the multiplicity is real. Therefore the Vedāntic Unity delineated in the foregoing alone is the highest Truth. Since absolute difference is not true, ignorance and its effect in its entirety such as the elements namely ether, air, etc., and the material world are only a superimposition in Brahman which is without a second of any kind. Therefore the best vision one ought to have is that ‘All this observed universe of apparent multiplicity is verily non-different from the substratum Brahman-Ātman.’
एकधैव महायासाद्द्रष्टव्यो हि मुमुक्षुभिः ।
अयमात्माऽप्रमेयश्च विरजश्च महान्ध्रुवः ॥ ३७॥
एकधा as one एव alone महायासात् with great effort द्रष्टव्यः to be seen हि indeed मुमुक्षुभिः by aspirants अयम् this अत्मा Ātman अप्रमेयः is not an object च also विरजः pure च and महान् Great ध्रुवः firm
Coming soon…Part 6