The Sūtasamhitā – Part 14
Sūtasamhitā Chāndogya Upaniṣat
In the foregoing it was established that there is naught other than Brahman. Even ajñānam, ignorance, that has been admitted, is not accorded any independent existence and ultimately is unreal, non-existent, having no status apart from Brahman.
तस्मादज्ञानमज्ञानकार्यं च सुरपुङ्गवाः ॥ ९८॥
तस्मात् therefore अज्ञानम् ignorance अज्ञानकार्यं effects of ignorance च too सुरपुङ्गवाः O! Foremost of Gods!
एकं ब्रह्मैव नैवान्यदिति मे निश्चिता मतिः ।
ऐतदात्म्यमिदं सर्वमित्याह हि परा श्रुतिः ॥ ९९॥
एकं one ब्रह्म Brahman एव alone न not एव ever अन्यत् else इति thus मे my निश्चिता definite मतिः conviction ऐतदात्म्यम् this-as-ātman इदं this सर्वम् all इति thus आह said हि indeed परा exalted श्रुतिः Veda
Therefore ignorance and its effect, the world, bondage, etc. are no different from Brahman. Such is the conclusion of the Veda which without mincing words declares emphatically: All that is experienced as the objective and subjective world has Brahman as its Self. That is, Brahman is the substratum on which the entire world of duality is superimposed. That which is superimposed has no separate existence and thus cannot be counted as a second to the substratum.
Objection: The Veda also teaches difference, such as ‘ether emerges from the Self’ (Taittirīya Upaniṣad), ‘let the one desirous of heaven engage in the ritualistic sacrifice’ (Yajur Veda). In the light of such passages how is it justified that the Veda teaches only the sole reality of the Non-dual Brahman?
In reply is said:
साक्षादर्थस्वभावेन श्रुतिः सेयं प्रवर्तते ।
श्रोतुश्चित्ताविपाकेन विषण्णा विवशा श्रुतिः ॥ १००॥
साक्षादर्थस्वभावेन direct meaning श्रुतिः Veda सा this इयं verily प्रवर्तते endeavors श्रोतुः disciple’s चित्ताविपाकेन immaturity विषण्णा regretfully विवशा forced श्रुतिः Veda
The Vedic passage ‘ऐतदात्म्यमिदं सर्वम्’ (Chāndogya upaniṣad 6.8.7) intends to convey directly the prevailing ultimate position, which is Advaitam, non-duality. However, since an aspirant who is not prepared enough to receive such a teaching needs to be first taught those ideas that only allude to his preconceived notions involving difference, bheda. Hence alone the passages such as creation, heaven, the means to that end, etc. are also found in the Veda. The purport of the Vedic teaching is not in establishing difference but only in transcending difference and fixing the Advaitic truth firmly in the intellect of the aspirant. This method is called ‘adhyāropa-apavāda’ which means deliberately superimposing (difference) and subsequently negating it (difference).
क्वचित्कदाचिदन्यार्थं वक्ति च ब्रह्मणः पृथक् ।
साध्यसाधनसम्बन्धकथनं फलभाषणम् ॥ १०१॥
क्वचित् somewhere कदाचित् sometimes अन्यार्थं other thing वक्ति says च too ब्रह्मणः from Brahman पृथक् different साध्यसाधनसम्बन्धकथनं the stating of means and end and their connection फलभाषणम् the fruit
जगद्वैचित्र्यनिर्देशो धर्माधर्मार्थभाषणम् ।
वर्णाश्रमविभागोक्तिस्तद्धर्मोक्तिस्तथैव च ॥ १०२॥
जगद्वैचित्र्यनिर्देशः presenting the variegated nature of the world धर्माधर्मार्थभाषणम् stating the fruit of merit and demerit वर्णाश्रमविभागोक्तिः stating the distinction of caste and stage in life तद्धर्मोक्तिः the duties thereof तथा and एव only च too
शोभनाशोभनोक्तिश्च भूतभौतिकभाषणम् ।
शब्दानां भेदनिर्देशस्तथाऽर्थानां च भाषणम् ॥ १०३॥
शोभनाशोभनोक्तिः talk of good and bad च and भूतभौतिकभाषणम् talk of the elements and elementals शब्दानां of words भेदनिर्देशः pointing to difference तथा and अर्थानां of meaning च too भाषणम् statement
आत्मनोऽन्यस्य सर्वस्य सद्भावोक्तिः सुरर्षभाः ।
मिथ्यात्वभाषणं तस्य मायासद्भावभाषणम् ॥ १०४॥
आत्मनः from ātman अन्यस्य other सर्वस्य everything सद्भावोक्तिः stating of existence सुरर्षभाः O! Foremost of Gods! मिथ्यात्वभाषणं declaring unreality तस्य of that मायासद्भावभाषणम् stating the existence of māyā
मायात्वोक्तिश्च मायाया बन्ध इत्यभिभाषणम् ।
गुरुशिष्यकथोक्तिश्च ब्रह्मविद्याभिभाषणम् ॥ १०५॥
मायात्वोक्तिःstating of māyāhood च and मायायाः from māyā बन्धः bondage इति thus अभिभाषणम् declaring गुरुशिष्यकथोक्तिः narrating episodes of teacher and taught च and ब्रह्मविद्याभिभाषणम् delineating the knowledge of Brahman
शास्त्राणामपि निर्देशस्तर्काणामपि भाषणम् ।
अन्यद्वितर्कजालं यत्तदुक्तिश्च समासतः ।
अन्यार्थेन परं ब्रह्म श्रुतिः साध्वी न तत्परा ॥ १०६॥
शास्त्राणाम् of disciplines अपि also निर्देशः alluding तर्काणाम् of reasonings अपि too भाषणम् stating अन्यत् other वितर्कजालं false reasonings यत् which तदुक्तिः that stating च too समासतः concisely अन्यार्थेन with different purpose परं supreme ब्रह्म Brahman श्रुतिः Veda साध्वी virtuous न not तत्परा that-intended
चित्तपाकानुगुण्येन श्रोतॄणां परमा श्रुतिः ।
सोपानक्रमतो देवा मन्दं मन्दं हितं नृणाम् ॥ १०७॥
चित्तपाकानुगुण्येन as per the mental make up श्रोतॄणां of the aspirants परमा the great श्रुतिः Veda सोपानक्रमतः step by step देवाः O Gods! मन्दं मन्दं gradually हितं beneficial नृणाम् of men
उपदिश्य विषण्णाऽपि पुनः पक्वाधिकारिणः ।
ऐतदात्म्यमिदं सर्वमित्याह परमाद्वयम् ॥ १०८॥
उपदिश्य having taught विषण्णा regret अपि though पुनः again पक्वाधिकारिणः to the ripe aspirants ऐतदात्म्यम् this-as-Ātman इदं this सर्वम् all इति thus आह declared परमाद्वयम् supreme non-dual
The purport of the above verses (from 101 to 108) is:
In this strain are mentioned, the end that is sought, the means for it as also the relation between them, diverse nature of the universe, dharma and adharma, the classification as also the duties pertaining to varṇa-s and āśrama-s, of good and evil, the physical elements and their derivatives, the distinction pertaining to words, and their meanings, the existence of all else other than Ātman.
These are for seekers with feebler equipment. For seekers in the middle range, with better equipment are mentioned –
Illusory nature of the world, existence of Māyā, Māyā as being responsible for illusion, bondage as due to Māyā, episodes relating to the Master and the disciple, Brahmavidyā (as the dispeller of primal ignorance), Mahāvākya-s (sentence proclaiming the identity of the individual Self and the Supreme Self) and reasoning as auxiliary, or, in brief, a host of such other constructs.
All this is for the sake of the respective seekers. The purport of the Śruti, however, is not in these constructs or delineations. She is singularly devoted to the Supreme Brahman which is her own, true svarūpa (essence).
In this manner, the great Śruti, depressed as she was, because of the imperfect equipment on the part of the seekers and having offered instruction leading each gradually, step by step, in his spiritual progress, now unfolds, for the fully equipped, the Non-dual Absolute, in the words – ‘All this is only the Ātman.’
The method of contemplation is stated in two verses:
जगज्जीवेश्वरत्वादिविचित्रविभवं विना ।
केवलं चित्सदानन्दब्रह्मात्मैक्यपरा श्रुतिः ॥ १०९॥
जगज्जीवेश्वरत्वादिविचित्रविभवं the glory that is the world, the jīva, Īśvara, etc. विना bereft केवलं merely चित्सदानन्दब्रह्मात्मैक्यपरा Consciousness-Existence-Bliss-Non-dual-Brahman-specific श्रुतिः Veda
जगज्जीवेश्वरत्वादि सर्वं ब्रह्मैव केवलम् ।
इति स्वपूर्णताज्ञानं परमाद्वैतवेदनम् ॥ ११०॥
जगज्जीवेश्वरत्वादि world-jīva-Īśvara, etc. सर्वं everything ब्रह्म Brahman एव alone केवलम् only इति thus स्वपूर्णताज्ञानं one’s Fullness knowledge परमाद्वैतवेदनम् conviction of the highest non-duality
All this world consisting of the bhoktā (the experiencer jīva), bhogya (the experienced objective world of variety) and Īśvara (the Lord who connects the jīva to the bhogya) is nothing but the Supreme Brahman alone that is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. The Veda teaches us that the Supreme Brahman alone appears as the jagat, jīva and Īśvara. What appears as variety, duality, is actually the One Brahman. This is not just an objective intellectual knowledge but the intimate realization of the aspirant which takes the form ‘I am none other than Brahman that alone appears as the entire world of variety’. This pūrṇatvam, the idea of being the Immanent and Transcendental, is the realization that is crucial to liberation. One must contemplate in this manner. Only then the erroneous notion of one being finite and the equally erroneous idea of Brahman being different from oneself goes forever resulting in the cessation of transmigratory existence, samsāra. The cessation of ignorance marks liberation.
इतोऽन्यद्यत्परिज्ञानं तदज्ञानं न संशयः ।
विचारेणायमेवार्थस्त्वयमेवाविचारणे ॥ १११॥
इतः than this अन्यत् other यत् whichever परिज्ञानं knowledge तत् that अज्ञानं ignorance न no संशयः doubt विचारेण by enquiry अयम् this एव alone अर्थः conclusion तु however अयम् this एव alone अविचारणे by not enquiring
Any knowledge, realization, that is other than the one taught in the foregoing, ‘I am Brahman the All’, is only ignorance. What could be an example for ignorance? ‘I am one and Brahman is another’. One can consider the examples such as ‘this world is different from Brahman’ and ‘the objects are different from each other’. All such perceptions will be in the throes of ignorance alone and not qualify to be called ‘knowledge’ from the ultimate purport of the Veda. In fact the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 1.4.10 makes it very graphic: ‘अथ योऽन्यां देवतामुपास्तेऽन्योऽसावन्योऽहमस्मीति न स वेद’ [‘Now, if a man worships another deity, thinking: “He is one and I am another,” he does not know.’] Whether one engages in the enquiry of the truth or not, the fact that ‘Brahman alone is and everything else is naught’ remains undisturbed.
न कदाचिद्विशेषोऽस्तीत्येतज्ज्ञानं सुदुर्लभम् ॥ ११२॥
न कदाचित् never विशेषः difference अस्ति exists इति thus एतत् this ज्ञानं realization सुदुर्लभम् very rare
Such a realization of the non-dual Truth is extremely rare. Why? It arises only when the aspirant sincerely engages himself in the performance of the duties prescribed for his stage and state in life resulting in the Supreme Lord, Īśvara, being pleased by it and gracing him with the opportunity to tread the path of jñāna under a benevolent Āchārya and finally realize the Truth. The Lord says in the Bhagavadgītā:
मनुष्याणां सहस्रेषु कश्चिद्यतति सिद्धये।
यततामपि सिद्धानां कश्चिन्मां वेत्ति तत्त्वतः।। 7.3 ।।
7.3. Among thousands of men a rare one endeavors for perfection. Even of the perfected ones who are diligent, one, perchance knows Me in truth.
Coming soon…Part 15