V Subrahmanian, Monday, May 23, 2016 3:15 pm

The S?tasamhit? – Part 12

Ch?ndogya Upani?at

Part 12

The method of generating right knowledge through the instruction of the Mah?v?kya is discussed:

Verse 83:

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

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

????????????? knowledge of oneness  ?????? sentence ? not ????? produce ????????? O Foremost of Gods! ???????????? parlance ??????? ignorance ????? annuls ??????? by knowledge ?? alone ?? however

Objection: Just as the Oneness of the j?va and Brahman has to be understood only on the basis of akha???rthat? and it is not a oneness that is produced by the v?kya of the ?ruti, the Oneness inherent in Brahman is also not something produced by the ?ruti v?kya.  Hence where is the need for the v?kya at all? If the Oneness of Brahman requires to be taught by the ?ruti, then the self-luminous nature of Brahman is at stake.

Reply:    No. Such a defect would not arise. The Upani?adic sentence does not generate the oneness of Brahman. On the other hand, it (the sentence) plays the role of removing the ignorance that envelops the Oneness of Brahman. The sentence has the capacity to generate that v?tti, mode, in the mind that destroys the ignorance that covers one’s natural experience of the secondless Consciousness. Hence the instructive vedic sentence, v?kyam, is not useless.  

Verse 84:

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

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

??? always ???????? understood ?????? oneness ????? by itself ?? alone ?  ? but not ?????? by anything else ??? hence ? not ???????? knowledge ?????? sentence ?????? does ???????????? dispel ignorance

If as averred earlier, there is no role for the vedic sentence in generating the knowledge of oneness, owing to the reason that the Supreme Reality is beyond words, then that ‘Reality’ will be a non-existent entity, no different from the hare’s horn.  A hare’s horn, being a non-object, is not grasped by any pram??a.  So, if the Upani?adic Brahman were to be beyond any pram??a, including verbal, it is but a non-entity.  This objection is met by the verse: Brahman, Pure Consciousness, is forever in our experience, being self-luminous. It is only the objects of the world, which depend for their very existence, on the observer-consciousness, that the Ved?ntin admits, are not an object for a pram??a. This is because, first, in order to be known by any pram??a, the object must exist. This very existence is not there for the created object since it is not self-luminous and has to depend on an extraneous consciousness to illumine itself. Brahman, on the other hand, being self-luminous, does not need another pram??a to reveal It; what is required is only the Vedic instruction that aims at removing the ignorance that envelops It. Once the ignorance is dispelled, there being no more obstructing element, Brahman shines forth to the experience of the aspirant. 

Verse 85:

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

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

??????? actually ? ????? not there ? indeed??????? ignorance ????????????????? as consciousness is inimical to it ??? hence ?????? sentence ? not ? indeed ??????????? dispeller of ignorance  ? really ??????? upon analyzing

Objection: Since ignorance has no real existence, it is not subject to annulment.  Also, since ignorance is non-different from Brahman, if annulment is admitted, the latter too cannot escape that fate. Therefore another entity called ‘ajñ?nam’ is to be admitted in order to make the Upani?adic instruction of mah?v?kya meaningful. If another entity called ignorance is admitted, there will be the defect of duality, since Brahman, along with the second entity ajñ?nam, will make two entities, toppling the fundamental tenet of Advaita.

Reply: In real terms, there is no such entity called ajñ?nam. The light of consciousness being inimical to the darkness called ‘ignorance’, the latter simply never gains the fundamental existence itself. This is akin to the glowing lamp that would not let the presence of darkness in its range.   Then, what is this ignorance that is sought to be dispelled? It is nothing other than the imagined ignorance that has illusorily gained existence from time without a beginning, triggered by the nascent impression formed due to a preceding bhrama, error. To explain, the present ignorance is due to the impression formed of the earlier ignorance, and so on. It is only this seeming ignorance that is sought to be dispelled by the Upani?adic mah?v?kya.  This is what transpires when one enquires into the truth of the entity called ignorance, by resorting to the teaching of the Ved?nta ??stra and the ?ch?rya, along with yukti, logic. Thus, in truth, even the Upani?adic sentence is not a dispeller of the really non-existing ignorance.  It is only in the view of parlance, vyavah?ra d?i??i, that it is admitted that the mah?v?kya dispels ignorance.  

Objection: If the mental mode, anta?kara?a v?tti, having Brahman as its content, that is generated by the mah?v?kya, which dispels the ignorance that envelops Itself (Brahman), just like the other mental modes that have the pot, cloth, etc. for its content, why is it that that Brahman-v?tti too does not illumine/reveal Brahman? The idea is: while the mental modes having pot, cloth, etc. reveal those objects, why not a v?tti that has Brahman for its content reveal Brahman? Why is it said that the v?tti dispels ignorance enveloping Brahman?

In reply it is said: 

Verse 86:

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

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

?????? Oneness ??? which ???? before ???????? was said ??? that ????? by itself ???????? shine ?????? possible ? not ???????? by pram??a ?????? pram??a-s ??????? in It ???????????? become ineffective ?? indeed

The Oneness that is Brahman that was elucidated in the foregoing is not anything that is different from the effulgence that is the very content of the Oneness. This is because It can shine all by itself and is not in need of any pram??a to reveal it. [On the other hand, the insentient created objects such as a pot need a pram??a, a v?tti generated by associating with the eye, for example, to reveal them.] Why is Brahman, the Advaitam, not in need of any pram??a? Any pram??a at the disposal of the aspirant, when attempted to be applied to know Brahman, will be the object of, and therefore illumined by, the effulgence of Brahman itself. This is akin to a lamp that is held to illumine the Sun. Thereby the pram??a-s will become powerless and ineffective in their endeavor. Hence alone it is declared in the Kenopani?at 1.3 ‘na tatra chak?ur gacchati, na v?ggacchati, no mana?…’    [‘The instruments such as the eye, the speech and the mind do not objectify / grasp Brahman…’] 

Verse 87:

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

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

???????????? parlance ???????? ignorance ??? too ?????? Brahman ?? alone ??????? in fact ???????? ‘ignorance’ ??? thus ?????? talk ??? even ?? though ??????????? while deeming to exist ?? alone ?? indeed

That ignorance that is dispelled by the knowledge generated by the Upani?adic mah?v?kya is also Brahman alone in the ultimate analysis. Just as the superimposed objects, like silver, are non-different from the substratum, shell, etc. ignorance too is only superimposed on Brahman and therefore is non-different thereof. The superimposed silver has no existence of its own apart from the existence of the substratum shell. The ignorance that is aimed to be annulled has no existence apart from the existence it derives from Brahman, the substratum. Thus, when the truth/status of ignorance is enquired into, no entity called ‘ignorance’ will remain. When the Substratum Brahman is realized, nothing that is apart from It will ever remain as existent. It will be beneficial to read what Sri Shankaracharya says in the commentary to the Bhagavadg?t? 4.24:

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

???????? ??? ???????? ???????????????????4.24??

4.24 The ladle is Brahman, the oblation is Brahman. The offering is poured by Brahman in the fire of Brahman. Brahman alone is to be reached by him who has concentration on Brahman as the objective.

4.24. ?????? ?????? ??? ????? ?????????? ???? ????? ??????? ??? ???????? ??? ?????? ???? ?????????????? ????? ?????? ??? ??????????? ???????? ?????? ???????? ???????? ????????? ??? ??????? ??? ?????????????

4.24.  Brahma-arpa?am, the ladle, is Brahman: The knower of Brahman perceives the instrument with which he offers oblation in the fire as Brahman Itself. He perceives it as not existing separately from the Self, as one sees the non-existence of silver in nacre. In this sense it is that Brahman Itself is the ladle, just as what appears as silver is only nacre.

Verse 88:

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

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

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

??? Of existence ?? alone ?? indeed ??????? existence (is admitted) ? not ???? of non-existence ????????????? upon examination ???????????????????? ‘free from the categories of existence and non-existence’  ???  thus ?????? statement ? too ????????? to enable realization ??? indeed ? not ??????  shines ???? effulgence ?????? Brahman ????? entity ?? alone ?????? only

(Coming soon…Part 13)


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