V Subrahmanian, Monday, November 10, 2014 1:28 pm

The muNDakopaniShat – Part 11

Part 11

In the previous mantra it was said that Brahman is beyond the darkness of avidy?, ignorance. The enlightened Teacher has given the instruction to his disciples.  The disciples too, who have committed to the realization of Brahman, the object of par?, higher, vidy?, are free of actions involving the attainment of the worldly goals, apar?, lower, vidy?.  The benevolent ?c?rya wholeheartedly wishes them unhindered success in their committed endeavor. So, He utters the benediction ‘Unhindered may your journey to the other shore (of the ocean of ignorance) characterized by the realization of the Self, verily Brahman, free of ignorance.’

In the next mantra, the ‘location’ of Brahman is stated:

Mantra 2.2.7

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

?? He who ???????? knows all ???????? understands all ???? whose ?? this ????? glory ???? in the world ?????? in the effulgent ?????????? abode of Brahman ?? indeed ?? He ??????? in the heart space ????? this Self ??????????? is established

He who knows all and understands all and to whom belongs all the glory in the world — He, Atman, is placed in the space in the effulgent abode of Brahman, the body.

That Brahman which constitutes the goal of all meditation towards attaining the liberating knowledge is All-knowing, sarvajña, one who knows everything in general.  It is also the knower of everything in particular too.  Such a being is endowed with immense glory.  What is that glory? Within the Lordship, Rulership, of Brahman do the heavens and the earth remain firm.  In the governance of Brahman alone the sun and the moon rotate incessantly like a fire brand.  In the cosmic supervision of Brahman the rivers and oceans do not transgress their banks.  So too do the moving and unmoving beings remain controlled. The seasons, the equinoxes and years do not miss their cyclic occurrence. And those who engage in actions and the results of actions too do not give up their regularity. This constitutes the glory of Brahman. What is conveyed through this description of the glory is that behind the order perceived in the world there is a sentient being that lends sentience, the power, to the insentient world while it itself is not in need of that power from any other source.  Also is embedded in such descriptions the dependence of the world on Brahman and the implication that such dependent existence is the mark of the unreality of the depending entity and the sole reality of that on which it is dependent.

That Brahman is ‘located’ in this body which is called ‘brahmapuram’, the abode, city, of Brahman. What does this mean?  Again, it is the body which is the locus where there is this activity that reveals sentience, consciousness, like thinking, seeing, smelling, etc. It is as though illumined by these perceptions and hence the Upani?ad specifies the body where Brahman is housed. And all these perceptions are experienced in the cave of the intellect where it is specified that there is a ‘space’ in which Brahman is available for realization.  Certainly, the all-pervading Brahman cannot be said to be ‘located’ in a finite enclosure.  Brahman transcends all exiting, entering and remaining localized.

Mantra 2.2.8

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

?????? He assumes the form of the mind  ????????????? leads the actions of the pr??a and the body,  ??????????? ????? He dwells in the body ????? having the heart ??????? as the abode ???????????? by realizing Him  ??????????? look upon ???? the knowers  ?????????? the blissful form ????? immortal ??? ?????? which shines.   

He assumes the forms of the mind and leads the body and the senses. He dwells in the body, inside the heart. By the knowledge of That which shines as the blissful and immortal Atman, the wise behold Him fully in all things. 

The ?tman, verily Brahman, is known, experienced, recognized, by all, whether consciously or otherwise, through the mind alone.  This happens because all perceptions, experiences, are activities of the mind.  Hence, owing to the limiting adjunct that is the mind, Brahman is called ‘manomaya?’, the one with the mind as Its chief abode/instrument.  The pr??a that is the vital power of the body is itself activated by the Super Sentience, Brahman.  Brahman is established in the subtle body that is different from the gross body.  Though Brahman is all-pervading, yet in order to draw the attention of the aspirant to the source where It can be realized, the Upani?ad specifies the subtle body where the mind/intellect is the primary, vital, characteristic as the region where Brahman is established. Thereby the Upani?ad emphasizes that the gross body is not the place where one ought to look for It for the purpose of contemplation/realization.  Those rare discriminating ones endowed with the non-negotiable qualifications such as restraint of the mind and senses, meditation, renunciation and supreme dispassion, coupled with the grace of the teaching of the ?c?rya and the scripture, ??stram, realize Brahman through the special knowledge generated thereby and succeed in perceiving, realizing, Brahman everywhere, within and without. What is the nature of that Brahman they realize? It is ?nandar?pam, that pure bliss untainted by all maladies born of the activities of the world.  It is am?tam, Immortal, never to come to an end, which is experienced in the mind always, incessantly.

?r? ?a?kar?c?rya in the commentary above reminds one of the effort that is needed in realizing the Self directly.  The mantra has specified the effort in the foregoing and in the current mantra is only mentioning the fruit of the realization.  That such a magnificent fruit is attainable only through committed perseverance is what is stated above in the commentary.  That alone is explicitly stated in the sequel.

Mantra 2.2.9

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

??????? broken ???????????? fetters of the heart ????????? cease  ?????????? all doubts ????????? extinguished ? also ???? his  ??????? actions ??????? when That ?????? has been realised ?????? the high and low

The fetters of the heart are broken, all doubts are resolved and all works cease to bear fruit, when He is beheld who is both high and low. 

What is meant by ‘the knot, fetters, of the heart’? All desires have their abode, support, in the impressions, v?san?s, that have their root in avidy?, ignorance. So says the ?ruti (Ka?hopani?at 2.3.14 and B?had?ra?yaka upani?at 4.4.7) ‘k?m? ye asya h?di ?rit??’ (‘those desires that reside in the heart’). Ignorance, and its product, desire, have their locus in the heart, the mind-stuff, and not the ?tman. This is a very important point to be noted by the aspirant.  Never should one entertain the erroneous idea that ignorance is an attribute of the Self, the ?tman.  It is the mind that carries the notion of ignorance, desires, impressions of actions, etc.  These get destroyed.  All doubts cease to be.  What are these doubts?  These are the ones that continue, like the flow of the river Ga?g?, to baffle the j?v? till death.  Unless one comes to Ved?nta and gets to realize the truth, one will have these doubts about the true state of the j?va, the state after death, etc.  For this aspirant whose avidy? has been annulled, doubts have been set at rest, all those actions performed in the previous births and those in this birth up to the point of attaining the direct realization, called sañcita karma, which have not commenced bearing their fruit, too, get extinguished.  Of course, those actions the Jñ?n?, the realized person, would perform subsequent to his realization, till the fall of the body, will also not bear fruit.  The reason for this is that those actions will be performed without the ‘I am the doer’ notion as the ignorance that creates such a notion is no more for him.  Hence, these, known as ?g?mi karma, cannot bear fruit giving him further births.  Birth is caused only by actions which have ignorance as their basis.  Self-realization does not have the power to annihilate those actions that have already begun to give their fruit, pr?rabdha karma, just as one would have no power to withdraw or stop an arrow that has been released from the bow.  It will stop only upon hitting its target.  Similarly, the pr?rabdha karma, signified by the commencement of the present body (in which the aspirant has consummated his s?dhana for self-realization), which is the last body/birth, will not be put an end to by vidy?, Knowledge.  This last body will live out its course and upon its fall no more births will be there for the Jñ?nin.

Part 1, Part 10, Part 12


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