V Subrahmanian, Monday, October 13, 2014 6:54 pm

The muNDakopaniShat – Part 10

Part 10


How is one to really ‘contact’ Brahman? The method is being delineated here:

Mantra 2.2.3:

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

???? bow ???????? having taken ??????? of the upani?ad ????????? the great weapon ??? the arrow  ?? indeed ??????????? sharpened by meditation ?????? place upon (the bow) ????? drawing back ?????????? with charged  ????? mind ??????? goal ??? that  ?? alone ?????? Imperishable  ?????  dear one ?????? strike

Take the Upanishad as the bow, the great weapon and place upon it the arrow sharpened by meditation. Then, having drawn it back with a mind directed to the thought of Brahman, strike that mark, O my dear, that which is the Imperishable.

An imagery is adopted by the Upani?ad to help one understand and implement the method of realizing the Atman.  Aiming at a target and shooting it with an arrow is the imagery.  The bow here is the knowledge derived from the study of the Upani?ad as to the nature of the Atman, the means to be practiced to become eligible to put in efforts to realize the Atman, etc. and the method of gaining the direct realization thereof.  The upani?adic bow is the Great Weapon which is to be employed in this endeavor.  Upon the bow has to be mounted the arrow that is sharpened by constant meditation.  The focusing that results from such an exercise is essential for this endeavor.  Having mounted the arrow one has to get ready to shoot it.  This is the drawing the bow-string towards oneself.  It is the withdrawing / restraining the sense organs along with the mind from the objects of the senses and the mind.  Such a mind has to be concentrated on the Self, Brahman, which is the target just as one would aim at the target before shooting the arrow.  The withdrawing of the senses and the mind is not possible by using the hand just as one would draw the bow string.  The mind has to be pre-occupied with Brahman, the Imperishable, verily the Self of the aspirant. 

Now, a further description of the bow-analogy is given.

Mantra 2.2.4:

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

?????? Om is the ???? bow ??? the arrow ?? indeed ????? is the ?tman ?????? Brahman ??????????? its target ?????? is stated ?????????? with undistracted mind ????????? to be struck ????? like arrow ?????? one with it ????? has to become

‘Om’ is the bow, the ?tman is the arrow, Brahman is said to be the mark. It is to be struck by an undistracted mind. Then the ?tman becomes one with Brahman, as the arrow with the target. 

The pra?ava, ‘Om’, is the bow.  Just as the bow is the launching pad for the arrow, the pra?ava is the platform from which the ?tman has to be directed to Brahman the target.  When one refines the mind by the committed practice of meditation on the pra?ava, with its support there arises the propensity to remain fixated in Brahman without hindrance.  This is likened to the arrow, released from the bow, hitting the target and remaining fixed there.  The arrow is the Self that is conditioned by the reflection in the mind.  This ‘conditioned’ Self is no other than Brahman that has entered the mind, as it were, as the witness of all the modes of the intellect.  This is just as the reflected sun seen in water being no different from the original sun, etc.  This conditioned Self is made to consciously fixate itself only on the Brahman-consciousness just as the arrow gets fixed on the target upon hitting it. Therefore is Brahman said to be the goal, target, of the Self-arrow. This is what those who are intent on concentrating the mind by self-absorption on the chosen goal/object do.

This being so, one has to be ever vigilant in not being swayed by the desire to engage/indulge in external, sense, objects. This entails freedom from desire for the objects of the senses basically. This is accomplished by the mastery over one’s senses.  Concentration on the goal is a natural result of such an all-round restraint.  The targeting of Brahman demands such a preparation on the part of the aspirant. Upon striking, contacting, Brahman, one has to remain fixated in It.  It is not sufficient if a sporadic contact of Brahman consciousness is had. Just as the arrow becomes one with the struck object, in the sense of its remaining stuck there, the self, the one conditioned by the mind adjunct, has to become one with Brahman, being non-different from It.  This translates to not entertaining identification with the body-mind complex and its related thoughts but experiencing the unbroken flow of the Brahman-current.                    

Since it is extremely difficult to keep Brahman as one’s unbroken target, the Upani?ad makes repeated attempts to render it easy to accomplish:

Mantra 2.2.5:

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

??????? In whom ????? heaven ?????? earth ? and ??????????? space ??? woven ??? mind ?? along with ??????? ? the organs too ?????? all ??? that ?? alone ??? one ???? know ???????? ?tman ?????? other ???? speech ???????? give up ??????? for immortality ?? this is ????? the bridge

In Him are woven heaven, earth and the space between and the mind with all the sense-organs. Know that non-dual Atman alone and give up all other talk. He is the bridge to Immortality. 

The Teacher addresses all his disciples:  Know that alone to be the ?tman in whom the entire creation consisting of the heaven, earth, space, the mind and the sense organs are located.  The ?tman is the support of all creation, both cosmic and individual.  This ?tman is one only without a second.  By saying that, the Upani?ad implies that the created world is only a superimposition on that ?tman.  Certainly the superimposed snake cannot be counted as a second to the substratum rope.  By asking one to give up all other talk the Teacher is only emphasizing that the creation is not worth contemplating upon, being a non-entity.  Since the experienced world has no existence apart from the sentient ?tman, the way to realize It is to give up the idea of reality one assigns to the world erroneously.  The central teaching of all the Upani?ads is this alone: the effect has no existence apart from that of the cause. 

Having realized the Cause, as the innermost essence, Self, of oneself and all others, giving up all talk of the not-self which is verily the lower, apar? vidy?, along with all means to attain the ephemeral fruits of thereof is what the Teacher advices.  Since it is this realization that constitutes the immediate means to Immortality, it is spoken of as a bridge that takes one from one end to the other of this ocean of sams?ra.  Thus does the ?vet??vataropani?ad 3.8 says:

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

[‘Knowing Him alone one goes beyond death; there is no other path than this to proceed by.’]

Mantra 2.2.6

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

???? ?? like spokes ?????? in the navel of the chariot wheel ?????? fastened ???? where ?????? arteries ?? He ??? this one ????? inside ???? moves about ????? manifold ??????? being born ??? ??? ??? as Om ?????? meditate ??????? ?tman ??????? Hail ?? to you ????? cross over ???? darkness ???????? beyond

He, the ?tman, moves about, becoming manifold, within the heart, where the arteries meet, like the spokes fastened in the nave of a chariot wheel. Meditate on Atman as Om. Hail to you! May you cross beyond the sea of darkness!

Just as spokes converge on the navel of the wheel of a chariot, so too are the innumerable arteries, n??i-s, that are spread all over the body, are converged on the heart of the individual.  In this heart resides the Self that is the witness of all the transformations of the mind/intellect.  It is this sentient being that appears as though traversing the middle of the body, giving expressions to and experiencing the variety of transformations such as seeing, hearing, thinking, knowing, and manifold emotions such as anger and joy.  Since the Self, though by nature unattached, unattachable, to anything whatsoever, yet by the erroneous association with the mind/intellect apparatus, appears to undergo these transformations all by itself.  So do the people say ‘he has become angry, joyous’ and so on.  This Self, free of these transformations, though, has to be meditated upon with the support of the pra?ava Om. 

The above method of identifying the Self, as the one who appears to bear all these transformations, thoughts and emotions, is the Upani?adic one to aid the aspirant to engage in the s?dhana.  For, while the entire body-mind complex is matter, being a product of the inert elements, the distinguishing of the sentient Self is the first step in s?dhana to realize the ?tman. 

Part 1, Part 9, Part 11             

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