V Subrahmanian, Monday, March 14, 2016 1:22 pm

The S?tasamhit? – Part 10

The S?tasamhit? – Ch?ndogya Upani?at

Part 10

Thus, for the reason that – the body, organs, mind etc. are products of the elements and therefore insentient and that they are the not-self and subject to misery, etc. and perish, it is incumbent upon an aspirant of immortality, liberation, to consciously cease to identify with them and fix his attention on his true self that is the witness of all that is not-self and is verily pure consciousness and bliss and eternal. It is only by this exercise that leads to a firm conviction of one’s true nature that anyone can attain to his native state of liberation and not by any other means. This is the method of the Veda.

Verse 75

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

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

???  that ??? this ???????? by the witness ?????? known ??? that ????? all  ?????? Brahman ?????? alone ??? that ????? Real ???????????? impartite consciousness ??? that ???????? is the meaning of ‘tvam, you’ ? no ????? doubt

Thus far in this text the purport of the first part of the Ch?ndogya Upani?ad (6th chapter) has been condensed. Here is a gist: The Upani?ad started with the claim that ‘Brahman, the Sat, Existence, is the only secondless entity’. To prove this, the analogies of clay-clay products, gold-gold products and iron-iron products were presented. The purpose of the analogies is to establish that the material cause alone is real and the effect, that is the products, being mere names and forms, is unreal. Similarly, the effects of Sat, Existence, in the form of the three (five) elements and all that is formed from the elements, are also non-different from the Supreme Cause, the Sat. Thus, all that is seen in the world and also the body-mind complex of the seer, is non-different from Sat, being products formed of the elements, which are also non-different from Sat, being the product thereof.  This seminal teaching of the Ch?ndogya Upani?ad 6.8.7 is given out nine times to ?vetaketu: ? ? ???????????????????? ????? ???????? ? ????? ????????? ????????? [‘This is the subtle ?tman that is what the experienced world is, That is the Truth, all this is the ?tman, you, ?vetaketu, are That’].

Brahman is the extremely subtle substratum, adhi??h?nam, on which the world is superimposed. In other words, just as a piece of shell is mistaken for a piece of silver, so too, Brahman is mistaken for the world.  Thus, the substratum, the locus in which the superimposition is made, is the real and that which is superimposed is the false. Brahman is Satyam, Real, and the world is false, mithy?.  The mithy? derives its satt?, existence, and sphUra?a , shine, from the Real. This Satyam are you, O, ?vetaketu, and not the body-mind complex that appears on the Consciousness, Brahman. The body-mind complex is also fundamentally a product of Sat and hence alone non-different from Brahman.  This truth is articulated as ‘that which was wrongly known or seen as the snake is actually the rope.’

Hence alone the equation: the silver is the shell.  That (shell) which was wrongly cognized as silver is none other the shell. This is called ‘b?dh?y?m s?m?n?dhikara?yam’ which means: the sameness, identity, between the substratum and the superimposed, is struck upon negating, sublating, the superimposed. That which is superimposed has no existence separate from the substratum.  The imagined snake has no existence, during the period of the error persisting, as different from the rope. The rope itself is seen wrongly as a snake. The j?va who is  meant by the word ‘tvam’ (‘you’) is to be understood as non-different from the Absolute Truth, the p?ram?rthika Satyam that is the all-pervading Chaitanyam, and not something imagined like the seen, d??ya. One has to be very clear about the status of the j?va as related to the world.

Objection: The above equation does not hold good.  The word ‘you’ signifies an external entity and the word ‘I’ denotes the sense of self.  Thus being mutually opposed, the two words have quite opposite senses like the words ‘short’ and ‘long’. The other Vedic passage ‘aham brahma asmi’ (B?had?ra?yaka Upani?ad 1.4.10) [‘I am Brahman’] asserts the Brahmanhood of the self. Such being the case, how does this Vedic passage proclaim ‘Tat tvam asi’ (Ch?ndogya Upani?ad 6.8.7 [‘You are That’] by identifying the external entity ‘you’, verily the not-self, with Brahman?

The reply follows: 

Verse 76

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

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

????????????? the you-sense  ?? that ????? is cognized ?? that ???????????? I-sense ?? alone ?? indeed ?? that ???????????? I-sense ????? that is cognized ?? that ????????????? you-sense ?? alone ?? indeed

That which is signified by the word ‘you’ is actually non-different from what is meant by the word ‘I’. And the ‘I’ word denotes not anything other than what is meant by the word ‘you.’ An illustration would make the case intelligible. A person named ‘Devadatta’ is a father to his son and at the same time a son to his own father. Thus Devadatta can be both a father and a son simultaneously from two different reference points. The core entity ‘Devadatta’ does not undergo any change just because of such varied references. What dictates the responses as a father and a son is the way Devadatta is addressed and not anything that is to do with his core identity. Similarly the individual’s experience of his own identity with Brahman finds expression in the sentence ‘aham brahma asmi’ and the same identity (aikyam) of the individual (j?va) and Brahman (param) when instructed to another (by the preceptor or the ?ruti), takes the form of ‘tat tvam asi.’ Thus there is no contradiction involved here since the two Vedic passages have the same meaning for their content. The latter passage is called ‘upade?a v?kyam’ while the former, the ‘anubhava v?kyam’. 

Objection: Be that as it may that the two passages are not contradicting mutually.  However, the words ‘you’ and ‘I’ in the two sentences signify the ignorant, bound j?va while the words ‘That’ and ‘Brahman’ in those two sentences denote the never-bound, Omniscient Lord.  How indeed can there be an identity between the two entities? The next verse is in reply to this question.

Verse 77

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

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

????????????????????? the indirect/indicated meaning of the words ‘you’ and ‘I’  ????????????????????? is the essential innermost Consciousness ??? Supreme ?????????? of the word ‘Tat’ ? on the other hand ??????????? indicated meaning ?? that ?? alone  ? no ???? here ??????? question

The Supreme Reality has been established in the Upani?ads as Satyam (Unchanging Eternal), Jñ?nam (Pure objectless Consciousness), Anantam (Infinite), ?nandam (unalloyed Bliss). It is homogenous, without a second of any kind whatsoever. Contrary to this, the Prak?ti, the inert principle composed of the three gu?as – sattva, rajas and tamas – without a beginning but endowed with destruction upon the arising of the enlightening knowledge of none other than Brahman, is imagined and therefore unreal. This prak?ti is of two types: 1.That which subdues rajas and tamas and emerges as pure sattva is called ‘m?y?.’ 2. Having been subdued by rajas and tamas, the impure sattva is called ‘avidy?.’ That Supreme ?tm? (Param?tm?), reflected in the m?y?-sattva aspect, keeping m?y? in its control, is called ‘Parame?vara’ (Supreme Lord), Sarvajña (omniscient). The very same Supreme ?tm? reflected in the avidy?-sattva aspect, being subjected to it, is bound, imagines itself to be a kart? (doer), bhokt? (experiencer), sams?r? (transmigrating) j?va. Again, that very Supreme ?tm? assuming the up?dhi of tamas-dominant prak?ti, transfigures (vivarta) as the world of experiences produced by the five elements and the elementals (bh?ta-bhautika bhogya prapañcha).  One Param?tm? alone is the material cause of the world through the up?dhi of tamas-dominant prak?ti. With the pure-sattva-predominant aspect of prak?ti as its up?dhi this very Param?tman is the efficient cause of the world. 

Thus it is one Param?tman that is the non-different material as well as the efficient cause (abhinna-nimittop?d?na k?ra?am) and is denoted by the word ‘Sat’ (‘Existence’) by the Ch?ndogya Upani?adic 6.2.1 passage ‘???? ?????????’  [‘O loving one, all this (was) Sat alone’] In that Upani?ad, by the expression ‘???????’ (‘It deliberated’) the efficient cause has been taught of that Sat, by emphasizing Its sentient nature. By the word ‘??? ??????’ [‘I shall become many’] the Upani?ad teaches that this very Brahman, Sat, the Cause, has transfigured as the entire effect, the world of experience. In this manner the Upani?ad has itself taught Brahman, Sat, as the ‘abhinna-nimittop?d?na k?ra?am’ of creation.

It is this Sat that is relevant to the teaching of ‘tat tvam asi’ wherein it (Sat) is the referent to the pronoun ‘tat’. The entire class of j?va (s), represented by ?vetaketu who is that, is verily the Param?tman with avidy? as up?dhi, available as the disciple, is addressed by the father-teacher Udd?laka as ‘you’. 

The words ‘tat’ (‘That’) and ‘tvam’ (‘you’) directly denote respectively the m?y? and avidy? up?dhi-endowed Consciousness.  Since an apposition, identity, of these two entities along with the up?dhis, is impossible, owing to their completely contradictory characteristics, the partial rejecting of the aspects of m?y? and avidy? is resorted to and the sole underlying entity that is the Pure, objectless, Consciousness in both the ‘tvam’ and ‘tat’ alone is indicated and retained. The same mechanism applies in the case of understanding the other vedic passage, ‘aham brahma asmi.’

(Coming soon…Part 11)  


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