V Subrahmanian, Monday, February 16, 2015 11:34 am

The muNDakopaniShat – Part 14

Part 14

(Continuing Mantra 3.1.4)

The knower of ?tman sports with the Self and does not find interest in sporting with wife, son, etc. Hence he is called ‘?tmakr??a?’.  And he is ‘?tmarati?’, as he delights in the Self.  While sport, kr???, requires an external object, ‘rati?’, delight, does not require any object; it is just love for an external object.  The knower of the Self is also a man of action: contemplation, meditation, dispassion, etc. are those that engage him constantly.  In any case the epithet ‘man-of-action’ found in the mantra can never mean that he combines scripturally ordained duties like agnihotra along with the knowledge of Brahman. This is because it goes against what the mantra also says: he is the ‘foremost of knowers’.  Only he who has withdrawn from external action can be truly sporting with the Self.  Engaging in action and sporting with the ?tman is akin to the combining of darkness and light.  The two cannot be in the same locus.  Thus, such a Knower of Brahman, who does not indulge in worldly talk, who always sports in the Self, delighted in the Self, is the foremost among Knowers.    

In the sequel the qualities such as adhering to truth that aid the arising of right knowledge is being enjoined:

Mantra 3.1.5


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

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

?????? by truth ????? is attained ???? by austerity ?? indeed ?? this ????? ?tman ????????????? by right knowledge ???????????? continence ??????? constantly ?????????? inside the body ??????????? resplendent  ?? indeed ??????pure ?? whom ???????? realize ???? sanny?sins  ?????????? freed of defects

This Atman, resplendent and pure, whom the sinless sanny?sins behold residing within the body, is attained by unceasing practice of truthfulness, austerity, right knowledge and continence.

By truth, that is, by eschewing untruth, is the ?tman attained. Also by austerity of the form of restraining the senses and the mind as taught in the Mah?bh?rata ??ntiparva 250.4: ‘the rendering the mind and the senses one-pointed is admitted to be the highest austerity.’  This indeed is the most favorable means to Self-knowledge and not the other kind of severe austerity known by the names c?ndr?ya?a etc.  The other essential disciplines one has to inculcate are right knowledge of the Self and continence of the nature of non-cohabitating. All these disciplines have to be practiced and kept aglow constantly.  The Pr?nopani?at says ‘…not for those in whom there is crookedness, untruth and conceit.’ (1.16).

What is the nature of the ?tman that is attained by the above lofty means? That Self that is available for direct realization in one’s own heart, the ‘space’ within the lotus-shaped organ, resplendent, of the golden hue, pure, which those endeavoring sanny?sins who are cleansed of all impurities behold. This Self is attainable only by those who practice the above disciplines constantly and not an occasional adherence to these means such as truth. The eulogy of the great disciplines such as truth is what the mantra does.

Mantra 3.1.6

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

?????? truth ?? alone ???? triumphs ? not ????? untruth ?????? by truth ?????? path ?????  laid out ??????? path of gods ??? by which ????????? proceed ???? the sages ?? indeed ????????? fulfilled desires ???? where ??? that ??????? of truth ???? highest ??????? abode

Truth alone prevails, not falsehood. By truth the path is laid out, the Way of the Gods, on which the seers, whose every desire is satisfied, proceed to the Highest Abode of the True.   

The one committed to truth alone triumphs and not the one who lies. Truth, unless established in a person, does not triumph or lose by itself. It is well known in the world that the one who stands by truth ruthlessly, wins over the liar.  Therefore it is well established that truth is a strong means to attain right knowledge.  The Vedanta describes Brahman, ?tman, as ‘satyam’.  That which never goes out of existence is satyam.  To attain that , to realize that as one’s real nature, is incumbent on one adhering to truth in all his actions.  Further, it is known from the scripture too that truth is a lofty means to attain the supreme good.  To him who steadfastly abides by truth, the path of gods, devay?na pan?h?, is wide laid out constantly.  By this path the exalted ones, the ??is, seers, who are completely devoid of deceit, diplomacy, guile, ego, hypocrisy, untruth and who have risen above longings, attain to the absolute truth, param?rtha tattvam.  That path through which they attain is laid with truth.

What is that absolute truth, what is its nature? 

Mantra 3.1.7

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

????? ? It is vast ??? it is ??????? luminous ???????????? inconceivable ?????????? than the subtle ? ??? it is ?????????? more subtle  ?????? shines ?????? farther than ?????? that which is far off  ??? it ?? here ??????? close ? also  ???????? in the sentient beings ???? here itself ?????? seated ???????? in the cave

That Brahman shines forth, vast, self-luminous, inconceivable, subtler than the subtle. He is far beyond what is far and yet here very near at hand. Verily, He is seen here, dwelling in the cave of the heart of conscious beings.  

That Brahman which is attained by the means such as satyam, is Great as it is all-pervading.  It is self-luminous and is beyond the grasp of the senses.  Hence alone its form, true nature, is impossible to think of.  It is subtler than those that are subtle such as the ether.  Since it is the cause of everything, its subtlety is unsurpassed. It shines variously as the sun, moon and so forth.  Also, it exists farther than the far removed, that is, for those who are ignorant it is impossible to attain.  However, it is extremely close, in this very body, to those who are able to realize it as it is the very self of all.  Also, it is the innermost self as the Veda describes it as being inside space too.  In this world Brahman is established in all sentient beings and is realized as the one that is the seer, hearer, thinker, etc. by the Yogins. Where is it located? In the cave of the heart.  The Upani?ads make it a point to drive home the fact that Brahman can be realized by everyone by turning the attention to that sentient one that enables all activities in the person.  Since such activities cannot happen unless impelled, by a constant force, one can get the realization of it by enquiring on these lines.  Knowers have the direct vision of it in their hearts.  On the other hand, those who are enveloped by avidy?, ignorance, can never experience it, even though it is very much present in their own hearts.

The Upani?ad, finding that the Truth is very subtle and extremely difficult to attain unless the requisite preparation is present, brings to our notice repeatedly the need for equipping ourselves with the necessary means.

Mantra 3.1.8

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

? ??????? not by the eye ??????? is it grasped ? not ??? even ???? by speech ? not ?????? by other ????? senses ???? by austerity ?????? ?? even by action ????????????? by the grace of knowledge ?????????????? the pure hearted one ??? thereupon ?? indeed ?? that ?????? realizes ??????? the partless ????????? in meditation

Brahman is not grasped by the eye, nor by speech, nor by the other senses, nor by penance or good works. A man becomes pure through serenity of intellect; thereupon, in meditation, he beholds Him who is without parts. 

Brahman, being formless, is not grasped by the eye.  Nor words can succeed in grasping it since it is devoid of any name.  Nor can other sense organs reach it.  Even tapas, austerity, that is the means of attaining anything, cannot directly get us the realization of Brahman.  Not even the scriptural actions like agnihotra, that are highly honored, can secure us the goal.  What, then, indeed is the means for its attainment?

It is by the grace of Jñ?na, the Knowledge of ?tman.  Though the self is capable of being realized, yet owing to one giving to distractions from external objects of the senses, having turned his mind towards the world and away from the self, is sullied by attractions of the world and remains ignorant of his own true self despite its being his innermost.  This is akin to the mirror, when smeared with dust, does not reflect the objects in front of it.  This is also like the water covered with the overgrowth of moss, does not reflect objects beside it. When, however, he gains dispassion towards the objects of senses, and cleanses himself of the dross born thereof, his mind becomes as fit as a clean mirror or clear water to grasp the reflection, and settles peacefully, then is it the grace, pras?da, of the ?tman, descends on him.  With this grace, he becomes endowed with an extremely pure mind, fit to have the vision of Brahman.  Then he realizes the Self, devoid of any dividing parts.  When does this vision come about? It is when he is in deep contemplation with the means such as satyam, controlled senses and one-pointed mind. 

Part 1, Part 13, Part 15                  


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