V Subrahmanian, Wednesday, September 3, 2014 5:45 pm

The kenopaniShat – Part 9

Part 9

The Upani?at is proceeding to give the teaching of Brahman in the aspect of a cosmic deity. 

Mantra 4.4

?????? ????? ?????????????? ??????????? ???????????????? ???????????? ? ? ?

???? of that Brahman ?? this is ????? the instruction ??? that ???? which is ???????? of the lightning ?????????? flashed ? ? ??? ??? it is like ?????????? winking of the eye ? ? ??? ????????? with regard to deity.

This is the instruction about Brahman with regard to the gods: It is like a flash of lightning; It is like a wink of the eye. 

The Upani?at is giving a simile to the Brahman that is being discussed here.  Even though there is no analogy to the Upani?adic Brahman, yet in order to instruct about that Brahman the Upani?at itself embarks on an analogy.  What is the analogy?  All people know well the phenomenon of a flash of lightning.  Indeed it is also well known that Brahman does not shine by the shine borrowed from the lightning.  So, the meaning is: Brahman is akin to the flash of lightning. For, such a comparison is made in the B?had?ra?yaka upani?at 2.3.6: ‘yath? sak?dvidyutam’ [‘comparable to a single flash of lightning’]. Indeed Brahman did show Itself to the deva-s and disappeared quickly, like the flash of a lightning, as reported in this very upani?at. 

Or one may supply the word ‘teja?’ (‘light’) in the expression of the mantra to mean ‘Brahman flashed with the brilliance of lightning but once, as it were.’  Yet another analogy is provided by the mantra: ‘Brahman winked, just like the eye winks.’  Even as the eye opens and shuts while perceiving its object, Brahman appeared and disappeared in the upani?adic story. Thus the two analogies accomplish the purpose of showing Brahman as a divine entity.             

Mantra 4.5

??????????? ????????????? ? ??????? ????????????????????? ???????? ? ? ?

?? now the ????????? instruction regarding the self  ??? ?????? which ?????? ?? as though goes ? ??? this mind ???? ? through this (mind) as well ???? ???????? contacts with Brahman ????????? repeatedly ???????? such is the resolve.

5.  Now the instruction about Brahman with regard to the individual self: The mind, as it were, goes to Brahman. The seeker, by means of the mind, communes with It intimately again and again. This should be the volition of his mind. 

Having given out the instruction with the adhidaiva, deity, angle, now the Upani?at goes on to give the same with the adhy?tmam, the context of the self, the j?va, with regard to the individual self that dwells in the body-mind. The mind is as though making Brahman its object.  This is so since it is with the mind that the spiritual aspirant intimately recalls Brahman.  It is with the mind that one even resolves, sa?kalpa.  Since the mind is the limiting adjunct, up?dhi, of Brahman, it is Brahman that gets revealed through any of the functions of the mind like remembering and resolving as though It is becoming an object (of the mind).  Therefore this, that is, the conscious recognition that during all the functions of the mind, it is Brahman that is being experienced, revealed, to the aspirant.  This is the method that the Upani?at instructs the spiritual aspirant to adhere to in order to get the realization of Brahman which is none other than his own innermost self, pratyag?tman. 

One may recall the earlier instruction of this very Upani?at, ‘?????????????? ?? ?????????? ?? ???????….(’Brahman is known when It is realised in every state of mind; for by such Knowledge one attains Immortality. By Atman one obtains strength; by Knowledge, Immortality’ 2.4) that was discussed in the Part 6 of this series, where, too, this method was taught as the means through which one can accomplish the realization of Brahman. 

To sum up the purport of the two kinds of instruction: the adhidaiva (deity-based) and the adhy?tma (mind-function-based) we can say that the former shows that Brahman has the attribute of revealing itself instantly (like the lightning or the winking of the eye), and It is of the nature of manifesting Itself simultaneously with the functions of the mind such as remembering and resolving. 

By these two types of instructions the Upani?at is providing the means to the dull-witted aspirant for realizing Brahman.  This is because Brahman which is devoid of any attributes is impossible for the unrefined intellect to comprehend. 

Mantra 4.6

???? ?????? ??? ???????????????????? ? ? ?????? ?????? ???? ??????? ?????? ??????????? ? ? ?

??? ? that Brahman ?????? ??? is called ‘tadvanam’ ????????? as ‘Tadvanam’ ?????????? one has to meditate ? he ? who ???? this ??? thus ??? knows/meditates ??? ? ??? him very well ??????? all ?????? beings ??????????? desire/love

6. That Brahman is called ‘Tadvanam’, the Adorable of all; It should be worshipped by the name of ‘Tadvanam’. All creatures desire him who worships Brahman thus.

It is indeed that Brahman that, being the innermost self of all beings, is most loveable to all beings.  For, one’s love for one’s own true self surpasses love for all else in creation.  Hence Brahman is ‘vanam’, loveable.  Hence is Brahman well known as ‘tadvanam’ (‘It is most loveable’).  Therefore one has to meditate on It by this very attributed-name ‘Tadvanam’.  The fruit of such a meditation is being stated: whoever meditates on the above stated Brahman, such an aspirant, meditator, becomes the object of love of all beings, just as Brahman, the innermost self, is loved by all beings. 

One can understand the above thus:  When an aspirant endowed with noble qualities engages himself in the meditation of Brahman as ‘Tadvanam’, as the one that is most loveable, he himself becomes the object of such love by all those whom he contacts in life, for this pure love flows from that person towards all creatures naturally.  The person who is devoid of hatred towards any creature has only love to give to the world. Such an absolutely harmless person naturally comes to be loved by all.       

Having thus instructed, the aspirant of this Upani?at addresses his ?c?rya, the teacher:

Mantra: 2.7

??????? ?? ?????????????? ? ???????????????? ??? ? ??????????????? ? ? ?

??????? ?? ?????? ’Teach me Sir, the upani?at’  ??? thus asked, the teacher replied ????? ?? ??????? ‘the upani?at has indeed been imparted ????????? about Brahman ??? indeed ?? to you ???????? the Upani?at ?????? I have instructed’ ??? thus

The disciple said; “Teach me, sir, the Upani?at.” The preceptor replied: “I have already told you the Upani?at. I have certainly told you the Upani?at about Brahman.”

Having been instructed about Brahman by the ?c?rya, the aspirant asked ’O Master, please instruct me the upani?at, the secret, that is to be cogitated upon.’  The Teacher replied ‘I have already told you about the Upani?at’.  What is that? It is about Brahman, the Supreme Self since the foregoing teaching is concerned with Brahman.

What is the purport behind the aspirant’s request as he has indeed heard the teaching about the Supreme Self?  If he is questioning about that which is already taught, then it would be a mere repetition of the past instruction and therefore useless.  If his question were to be directed at knowing that which was left unsaid about the Supreme Self, then the earlier declaration of the fruit of hearing and knowing the teaching as stated in ‘Upon leaving this world they become immortal’ (Kenopani?at 2.5) would be out of place since the fruit indicates the completion of the teaching.  What indeed is then the aspirant’s intention in putting forth that request?

Does the preceding teaching that has been given out require to be supplemented with its residual instruction about the concomitant means for its realization or without it? If it is the former then please give out those means.  If latter, then please confirm, like Sage Pippal?da of the Pra?nopani?at (6.7), that ‘there is nothing more than this’.  This is the idea behind the aspirant’s request.

This is quite reasonable as we know from the ?c?rya’s assertion ‘The upani?at has been instructed already’. 

The ?c?rya, additionally, is going to instruct the disciple on the means to attain brahmavidy? characterized by tapas (concentration), etc. This component is quite different from any attributive constituent of the Upani?at or as an accessory to it.  This is quite reasonable since Brahman-knowledge dispels all ideas of distinction of works, the doer and the results of action.  The Self alone that is the only Truth is what is being taught by the Upani?adic teaching and to attain that knowledge there is no need to attach to the Upani?adic teaching ideas such as attributive constituent.  The idea, however, here is: ‘The secret teaching (upani?at) given out already is adequate to attain the knowledge of Brahman-?tman without depending on anything other than Brahman-?tman.’ And such a teaching of the essential requirement for the attainment of this liberating knowledge is what is given out by the ?c?rya in the sequel.

Part 1, Part 9, Part 10

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