V Subrahmanian, Friday, July 11, 2014 10:07 am

The muNDakopaniShat – Part 7

Part 7

Mantra 2.1.2

दिव्यो ह्यमूर्तः पुरुषः सबाह्याभ्यन्तरो ह्यजः ।
अप्राणो ह्यमनाः शुभ्रो ह्यक्षरात्परतः परः ॥ २ ॥

दिव्यः luminous हि indeed अमूर्तः formless पुरुषः puruṣa सबाह्याभ्यन्तरः existing within and without हि verily अजः unborn अप्राणः devoid of prāṇa हि indeed अमनाः devoid of mind शुभ्रः pure हि thus अक्षरात् परतः than the great imperishable परः greater

He is the self-luminous and formless Puruṣa, uncreated and existing both within and without. He is devoid of prāṇa, devoid of mind, pure and higher than the supreme Imperishable. 

The Supreme Brahman is resplendent since It is self-luminous.  It needs no luminosity from any other object.  In fact, It is the source of all luminosity of the luminous objects like the Sun, etc. in creation.  It is luminous in the sense that It is in the luminous Self, by Itself.  And Its luminosity is transcendental in the sense that it is not physical.  Hence It is devoid of any form.  It is the Puruṣa, being all-pervasive, filling everything in creation, Full by Itself, not needing anything else to fill It up.  It is called ‘Puruṣa’ because It resides in the body of every being.  It exists within and without. That is, there is nowhere that It is not.  It is unborn.  It is not born of any cause, either by Itself or by another cause since there is nothing apart from, other than It. In the world it is observed that the bubbles, surf, etc. in water are caused by air contacting the water and objects like pot are the causes for the various ‘cavities’ created out of space itself.  Since the entire gamut of transformation (like birth, existence, growth, changes, deterioration and destruction) has for its origin the first occurrence of birth, by negating birth for the Puruṣa, all the other transformations stand negated.  It exists within and without and is unborn, thereby being ageless, deathless and imperishable, constant and fearless. 

It would be interesting to note that to those who perceive the differences created by the body, mind, etc. adjuncts, the Puruṣa, in the different bodies, is wrongly comprehended to be endowed with prāṇa, mind, sense and motor organs and having objects to experience, even as space is wrongly perceived to be characterized with base, dirt, etc.  For those endowed with the right, absolute, vision, however, the Puruṣa is known to be devoid of the prāṇa, the vital force.  In It the principle of motion, air, does not exist.  So too, the Puruṣa is seen as devoid of even the mind which is the abode of the power of a variety of perceptions, resolve, doubt, etc.  By the epithets ‘aprāṇaḥ’ and ‘amanāḥ’ (devoid of vital force and the mind stuff) the upaniṣad is negating all the varieties of prāṇa (prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, udāna and samāna), the motor organs (hands, legs, speech, excretory and reproductive), their objects as also the intellect, mind and the sense organs (eye, nose, ear, tongue and skin) as well as their objects (form, smell, sound, taste and touch).  Thus we have another upaniṣad specifying  ‘dhyāyatīva lelāyatīva’ (‘It meditates as it were, it moves as it were’) Bṛhadāraṇyaka upaniṣad. 4.3.7.

Since the Puruṣa is devoid of these two central limiting adjuncts, the prāṇa and the mind, It is Pure.  All impurities, bodily and mental, occur only through these two adjuncts.  Therefore alone the Puruṣa is greater than the imperishable māyā which is the seed of the name- form dual which is again the seed of all body-mind complexes.  This māyā, which is also known as the unmanifest/undivided, is itself called ‘supreme’ in relation to the effects to which it is the cause.  The Puruṣa, however, is greater than, transcends, this māyā and therefore is free of any kind of upādhi, limiting adjunct. 

In that Puruṣa the transactional ‘imperishable’ (māyā) exists interwoven.  Now we can appreciate as to how indeed the Puruṣa is devoid of prāṇa, etc. thus: If indeed the prāṇa, etc. existed by themselves prior to creation just as the Puruṣa (existing by Himself), then the Puruṣa too must be endowed with prāṇa, etc.  But prāṇa, etc. do not exist by themselves prior to creation like the Puruṣa (who exists even prior to creation).  Therefore the Puruṣa is ever characterized by being devoid of prāṇa, etc. Just as when a son is not yet born, a person is ‘without son’.  As to how the prāṇa, etc. did not exist prior to creation is being stated:

Mantra 2.1.3

एतस्माज्जायते प्राणो मनः सर्वेन्द्रियाणि च ।
खं वायुर्ज्योतिरापः पृथिवी विश्वस्य धारिणी ॥ ३ ॥

एतस्मात् from the Puruṣa जायते are born प्राणः prāṇa मनः manas सर्वेन्द्रियाणि all the organs (sense/motor) च खं also ether वायुः air ज्योतिः fire आपः water पृथिवी earth विश्वस्य धारिणी the supporter of everything.

From Him are born prāṇa, manas, all the sense-organs, ther, air, fire, water and earth, which supports all. 

From this Puruṣa who is endowed with the adjunct, upādhi, of the seed of the name-form dual, is born the prāṇa who is a mere name without any substance of its own, since it is born of avidyā, ignorance.  Says the Chandogyopaniṣad 6.4.1 – ‘vācāraṁbhaṇaṁ vikāro nāmadheyaṁ’ (‘All modification has speech alone as its support; it is unreal’).  Surely, by the ignorance-created prāṇa the Puruṣa will never be endowed with prāṇa just as one devoid of a son will not be deemed to be a father merely because he witnesses a son in a dream.

So too the manas, all the sense and motor organs and their objects (like activity, sound and touch) are born from this Puruṣa of whom the imperishable māyā is an adjunct.  In other words, the ‘pure’ Puruṣa is not the cause of anything; it is only the imperishable, insentient, māyā that is the source of all creation, in association with the Puruṣa.  The association is only to the extent of the Puruṣa’s sentience  for māyā, being insentient cannot by itself be the cause of creation either. 

Since the entire creation is an effect of ignorance, named avidyā/māyā, there being no real creation of anything, the Puruṣa is absolutely devoid of any of the created entities like prāṇa, manas and so on.  Just as these, having had no real existence prior to creation, are ‘born’ from the Puruṣa, so too do they attain destruction (in the Puruṣa).  Just as the sense/motor organs and manas so too the causes of the body namely the elements ether, air, fire, water and earth which supports the created objects, are all ‘born’ from that Puruṣa alone.  The elements are endowed with the attributes sound (in ether), touch (along with sound, in air), form (along with sound and touch, in fire), taste (along with sound, touch and form, in water) and smell (along with sound, touch, form and taste, in earth). 

Having stated in a concise manner the subject matter of the paravidyā, the higher knowledge, the Puruṣa, also called akṣaraṁ, in the mantra 2.1.3 in the foregoing, the upaniṣad commences the discourse on the aparavidyā, the lower knowledge.  While the Puruṣa of the higher knowledge is free of any adjuncts, upādhis, the puruṣa of the lower knowledge is the one attributed.  The purpose of this two-type deliberation of the Puruṣa in a concise and elaborate manner is to facilitate the easy understanding of the Truth just as the sūtra, an aphoristic expression, is explained by the bhāṣya, the commentary for comprehension. 

The virāṭ is born of the first-born hiraṇyagarbha known as prāṇa, the cosmic egg.  Even though the virāṭ appears to be an entirely distinct entity, yet since he is born of this puruṣa alone, he is of this puruṣa-content alone.  This is what is being stated precisely in the sequel.

Mantra 2.1.4

अग्निर्मूर्धा चक्षुषी चन्द्रसूर्यौ दिशः श्रोत्रे वाग्विवृताश्च वेदाः ।
वायुः प्राणो हृदयं विश्वमस्य पद्भ्यां पृथिवी ह्येष सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा ॥ ४ ॥

अग्निः fire मूर्धा is the head चक्षुषी eyes चन्द्रसूर्यौ moon and sun दिशः the quarters श्रोत्रे  ears वाक् speech विवृताः च वेदाः  expanded veda-s वायुः air प्राणः  prāṇa  हृदयं heart विश्वम् universe अस्य from his  पद्भ्यां feet पृथिवी earth हि एष He indeed सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा is the inner Self of all beings.

The heavens are His head; the sun and moon, His eyes; the quarters, His ears; the revealed Vedas, His speech; the wind is His breath; the universe, His heart. From his feet is produced the earth. He is, indeed, the inner Self of all beings.

The word ‘fire’ of the mantra means the heaven region on the authority of the Chandogya upaniṣad 5.4.1 ‘asau vāva loko gautamāgniḥ’ (‘O Gautama, the world is surely the fire’).  The head of the cosmic being is the heaven in the created universe.  His eyes are the moon and sun. His ears are the quarters (spatial directions).  His speech is what constitutes the revealed veda-s. His prāṇa is the air of the created universe.  His manas, the inner organ, is the entire universe.  The entire universe which is a modification, transformation, of the mind alone, is seen to resolve into the mind in deep sleep.  Upon waking, from the mind alone the world emerges just as sparks emerge from a blazing fire.  The entire earth is born of His feet. This divine being, Viṣṇu, the all-pervading, Ananta, the infinite, the first embodied being of whom the three worlds constitute the adjunct is the inner self of all beings.                                

Part 1, Part 6, Part 8 Coming Soon…

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