V Subrahmanian, Wednesday, June 10, 2015 10:04 am

The Sūtasamhitā – Part 1

The Sūtasamhitā is a part of the Skandapurāṇa and is highly regarded by Advaitins for its delineation of the Vedānta in a very lucid manner.  In the sequel is a rendering of some select chapters from this book.  The text adhered to in this endeavor is the one available in the URL: http://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_giitaa/brahmagiitaaskanda.html?lang=sa.  The commentary available in the book published by the Sri Bālamanoramā Press, Mylapore (then) Madras, in the year 1954 CE is also consulted.

The Essence of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6th Chapter

Part 1

This is the 5th chapter of the section called ‘Yajñavaibhava khaṇḍa’ ‘uttara bhāga’ wherein contains the ‘Brahmagītā’ in the Sūtasamhitā, in verse.  This part has in it a rendering of several Upaniṣads.  The 6th chapter of the Chādogya Upaniṣad is about the teaching of the ‘sadvaidyā’ by Sage Uddālaka to his son Śvetaketu.  This chapter is extremely famous for it contains the seminal Advaitic teaching of ‘Tat tvam asi’. The rendering is in the form of a dialogue initiated by Brahmā:

॥ आदेशकथनम् ॥
[The teaching of the Instruction]

ब्रह्मोवाच ।

1. अतीवगुह्यमादेशमनन्तार्थप्रकाशकम् ।
वक्ष्ये युष्माकमद्याहं शृणुत श्रद्धया सह ॥ १॥

ब्रह्मा Brahmā उवाच said-
अतीव extremely गुह्यम् secretive आदेशम् instruction अनन्तार्थप्रकाशकम् that illumines several meanings वक्ष्ये shall give out  युष्माकम् to you all अद्य today अहं  शृणुत hear श्रद्धया सह with attention

The Teacher Brahmā has embarked on the great endeavour of giving out the most powerful instruction.  It is stated to be very secretive in the sense that it is given out only to those who really yearn for it.  This is because this instruction is about the liberating knowledge.  Several aspects of this truth, that is, aspects leading to the unfoldment of the Supreme Truth are going to be expounded in the delineation of the instruction.  It is thus appropriate that those who are being addressed are to bear the highest concentration and faith, śraddhā, so that the teaching is captured by them and allowed to work inside their mind.

2.    यस्य श्रवणमात्रेण श्रुतमेवाश्रुतं भवेत् ।
अमतं च मतं ज्ञातमविज्ञातं च सत्तमाः ॥ २॥

यस्य of that श्रवणमात्रेण by just hearing श्रुतम् becomes heard एव indeed अश्रुतं that unheard भवेत् becomes अमतं unthought of च too मतं becomes thought ज्ञातम् known अविज्ञातं unknown च as well सत्तमाः O exalted ones.

The nature of the teaching is stated. When this teaching is heard, cogitated upon and finally realized, it dispels the ignorance about all that has not been heard, cogitated upon and realized.  In other words, the truth, the essence, of everything in creation becomes realized by applying oneself to this unique instruction.

3. एकेनैव तु पिण्डेन मृत्तिकाया यथा सुराः ।
विज्ञातं मृण्मयं सर्वं मृदभिन्नत्वतः सदा ॥ ३॥

एकेन by one एव alone तु however पिण्डेन lump मृत्तिकायाः of clay यथा just as सुराः Oh gods विज्ञातं is known मृण्मयं सर्वं all that is of clay मृदभिन्नत्वतः as non-different from clay सदा always

The kind of realization, true knowledge, is stated: By knowing the truth of just one lump of clay all that is made of clay is known to be non-different from the clay which is the material cause.  The determining the truth of the lump of clay as non-different from its material cause that is clay, all that is made of clay, just as the lump of clay, is also deemed, determined, to be non-different from their material cause, clay.  This is the kind of knowledge that is being taught in this dialogue.

Two more analogies are given:

4.    एकेन लोहमणिना सर्वं लोहमयं यथा ।
विज्ञातं स्याद्यथैकेन नखानां कृन्तनेन च ॥ ४॥

एकेन by one लोहमणिना lump of gold सर्वं all लोहमयं that is golden यथा just as विज्ञातं स्यात् becomes known यथा just as एकेन by one नखानां of nails कृन्तनेन cutter च too

5.    सर्वं कार्ष्णायसं ज्ञातं तदभिन्नत्वतः सुराः ।
कार्यं तु कारणाभिन्नं न भिन्नं नोभयात्मकम् ॥ ५॥

सर्वं all कार्ष्णायसं iron-products ज्ञातं are known तदभिन्नत्वतः as non-different from iron सुराः O gods कार्यं the effect तु indeed कारणाभिन्नं is non-different from the cause न not भिन्नं different न not उभयात्मकम् different and non-different.

The Upaniṣad gives two more examples to drive home the nature of knowledge that is being instructed. The first (after the clay-clay products example cited above) is the knowing that the lump of gold is non-different from the material gold, so too all products of gold are non-different from gold. The other, third, analogy is that of knowing the lump of iron is not any different from its cause, iron, so too the iron products having iron as their material cause are non-different from iron. (The Upaniṣad uses the word ‘nail cutter’ just to indicate that it is a product of iron.) The logic the Upaniṣad applies to teach this is: the effect is non-different from its cause.  To establish this first it is considered whether the effect is different from the cause. This is because if the effect is admitted to be non-different from the cause, then since the effect, the world, is experienced to be of a variegated nature, then the cause, Brahman, too, is to be admitted to be so.  This is not desirable. This view is rejected thus: This is not so since the examination of the lump of clay, gold and iron leads to the conclusion that it is non-different from its cause.  Then, is it possible that the effect is different and non-different from the cause simultaneously? This is also not possible since the two situations, difference and non-difference cannot coexist in one locus. Hence the conclusion is that the effect is non-different from its cause.

6.    भिन्नपक्षे तु सद्वाऽसत्कार्यं सदसदेव वा ।
सच्चेत्कारणसत्ता वा कार्यसत्ताऽथवा परा ॥ ६॥

भिन्नपक्षे If the effect is different तु then सत् is it existent वा or असत् non-existent कार्यं effect सदसत् existent-non-existent एव alone वा or सत् existent चेत् if कारणसत्ता is it of the cause वा or कार्यसत्ता of the effect अथ वा or परा anything else?

Having stated that the effect is non-different from the cause and definitely not different or different-non-different, now the question as to the nature of its sattā, exitence, is taken up if the effect is deemed to be different from the cause.  This examination is undertaken in order to set aside the common belief that the effect is absolutely different from its cause.

A.    Is the effect existent?
B.    Is the effect non-existent?
C.    Is the effect both A and B?

If it is A, then –
A1. Is the existence, sattā, of the effect the same as the existence, sattā, of the cause?
B2. Is the existence, sattā, of the effect its own existence?
C.2. Or something else’s sattā?

7.    यदि कारणसत्तैव कार्यसत्ता न चापरा ।
तर्हि कारणसत्तैका कथं सत्ताभिदा भवेत् ॥ ७॥

यदि if कारणसत्ता cause-existence एव alone कार्यसत्ता is effect-existence न च and not अपरा different तर्हि then कारणसत्ता cause-existence एका one alone कथं how सत्ताभिदा different existent  भवेत् be?

If it is admitted that the effect-existence is really the cause-existent alone and not different, then since the exsitence is one only then there being no different sattā, existence, for the effect, it is non-different from the cause. The idea that the effect and the cause have mutually different existence, is refuted here, in these verses, by logic. If one agrees that the existence experienced in the effect is none other than the existence experienced in the cause, then there being no two existences, the effect has to be non-different from its cause.  This is the seminal teaching that one has to appreicate and remember.

8.  सत्तैकाऽपि भवेद्भिन्नं कारणात्कार्यसञ्ज्ञितम् ।
इति वार्ता च वार्तैव कार्यसञ्ज्ञमसत्खलु ॥ ८॥

सत्तैका unity of existence अपि too भवेत् can be भिन्नं different कारणात् from cause कार्यसञ्ज्ञितम् being called ‘effect’ इति then वार्ता such a word/speech च too वार्ता speech एव mere कार्यसञ्ज्ञम् the word ‘effect’ असत् is devoid of truth खलु indeed

If it is objected, based on experinece, that even if same-sattā for both the cause and effect is admitted, since we do give a name to the effect that is different from the (name) of the cause, then the reply is: such a name given to the effect is simply nothing indeed, being a mere word with no real corresponding object that is any different from the cause.

9.  सत्ताहीनस्य कार्यस्यासत्त्वमेव हि युज्यते ।
प्राप्तेऽसत्त्वे तु कार्यस्य सत्कार्योक्तिर्वृथा भवेत् ॥ ९॥

सत्ताहीनस्य devoid of existence कार्यस्य effect असत्त्वम् non-existence एव alone हि indeed युज्यते appropriate प्राप्ते having attained असत्त्वे non-existence तु then कार्यस्य the effect’s सत्कार्योक्तिः name ‘it is an effect of existnce’ वृथा meaningless  भवेत् becomes.

It was pointed out in the foregoing that the existence, sattā, of the effect is none other than that of the cause. Now it is being said that it is but reasonable that the effect without existence is nothing but non-existence.  As a consequence, the use of the words to denote the existent-effect, ‘satkārya’ is a waste. Such an effect, devoid of sattā, is no different from a human-horn, an absolutely non-existent entity, asat. By no means does something derive existence, sattā, from some other thing. In that case, even a human-horn can become existent. Therefore alone in this case (case B under verse 6 above), that is if the effect is non-existent, then the usage ‘the effect exists’ is meaningless.


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