Vedanta: Concepts

27. Om - Symbol and Name of Brahman

Br.up.5.1.1.S.B - - - yadyapi brahma - aatmaadis'abdaa brahmaNaH - - - - - -

Although the words 'Brahman', 'Atman', etc, are names of Brahman, we understand from the upanishads that Om is Brahman's most intimate appellation. Therefore it is the best means for the realization of Brahman. It is so in two ways -- as the symbol of Brahman and also as Its name. Just as the image of Vishnu or any other god is looked upon as the god himself and worshipped, so also, Om is to be looked upon as Brahman. Brahman is pleased with one who uses Om as an aid, because the upanishad says -- "This is the best help and the highest". (KaTha up. 1.2.17). (See also Pras'na up.5.2 , MuND. Up. 2.2.6).

Br.up.5.1.1.S.B -- katham omkaaraH brahmanaH pratiikatvena - - - - - - - - - saadhanatvena pratipattavya iti.

Om is declared to be a symbol of Brahman by the statement 'Om is the ether - Brahman (om kham brahma)'. Now Om is being praised as the Veda, for the entire Vedas are but Om. They all issue out of it and consist of it. Another reason why Om is the Veda is that through it one knows whatever is to be known. Therefore, Om being so important, it should be used as the means to Self - realization.

taitt.up.1.8.S.B -- paraaparabrahmadr.shtyaa upaasyamaana - - - - - pratimeva vishNoH.

Though Om is a mere word, it becomes a means for the attainment of the supreme Brahman or of hiraNyagarbha, depending on the idea with which it is meditated on. Just as an image is a symbol of Vishnu, Om is a symbol for the conditioned as well as the unconditioned (apara and para) Brahman.

Ch.up.2.23.2.S.B -- prajaapatiH viraaT kas'yapo vaa - - - - - vyaahr.tayaH.

Prajaapati meditated with regard to the worlds, in order to get their essence. Then the three Vedas flashed in his mind as the essence of the three worlds. He meditated further on the three Vedas and got as their essence the three vyaahr.tis, bhuuH, bhuvaH, svaH.

Ch.up.2.23.3.S.B - - - taani aksharaaNi - - - - - - omkaaraH sampraasravat tat brahma.

He meditated with regard to the three vyaahr.tis and got as their essence Om. That Om is Brahman. (Thus Om is the essence of all the worlds).

Ch.up.2.23.3. tadyathaa s'ankunaa - - - - - eva idam sarvam.

Just as all leaves are permeated by the ribs of the leaves, so are all words (speech) permeated by Om. Verily, Om is all this.

MuND. up. 2.2.4 says -- Om is the bow, the soul is the arrow and Brahman is the target.

The MaaNDuukya upanishad deals elaborately with Om.

References to Om are found in Srii Sankara's Bhaashya on Bhagavad - gita ch.7.8, ch.8.13, ch.9.17 and ch.17.23,24.

Patanjali's Yoga suutra I.27 says that Om is the name of iisvara.

28. Mahaavaakyas

Statements in the upanishads declaring the identity of the jiiva and Brahman are known as Mahaavaakyas. S'rii S'ankara says in Viveka chuuDaamaNi, verse 251 that there are a hundred (i.e. innumerable) such statements in the s'ruti. Out of these, four statements from the four Vedas are well known. They are: -

prajnaanam Brahma - Ait.up. 3.13 - - - R.g Veda,

aham brahma asmi - Br.up.1.4.10 -- Yajur Veda,

tat tvam asi - Ch.up. 6.8.7 -- Saama veda,

ayam aatmaa brahma - MaaND.up. 2.

The meaning of tat tvam asi

V.C. - Commentary of S'rii Jagadguru Chandras'ekhara Bhaarati on verses 243 to 251 --

The word tat stands for Brahman as qualified by the functions of creation, sustenance and dissolution (i.e.iis'vara). The word tvam stands for the aatmaa as qualified by the mental states of waking, dream and deep sleep (i.e.jiiva). These two are of mutually opposed qualities, like the glow - worm and the sun, like the servant and the king, like the well and the ocean and like the atom and the earth (verse 244). There can be no identity between these two, which are the literal meanings (vaachyaartha) of the words tat and tvam. The identity is only between their implied meanings (lakshyaartha). The opposition between the literal meanings is due to the upadhis, since the literal meaning of tat is Brahman with the upadhi or limiting adjunct of maayaa and the literal meaning of tvam is aatmaa with the limiting adjunct of the five sheaths. When these limiting adjuncts, which are not real, are effectively removed, there is neither iis'vara nor jiiva. The two terms tat and tvam (That and Thou) are to be understood properly by their implied meanings in order to grasp the import of the absolute identity between them. This is to be done neither by total rejection of their literal meaning nor by total non - rejection, but by a combination of both.

Implied meanings are of three kinds -- jahallakshaNaa, ajahal - lakshaNaa and jahadajahallakshaNaa.

jahallakshaNaa - The literal meaning is to be rejected and some other meaning consistent with it is to be adopted. An example is -- gangaayaam ghoshaH, the literal meaning of which is -- a hamlet on the river Ganga. Since there cannot be a hamlet on the river itself, it is the bank of the river that is meant. Here the literal meaning of the word 'Ganga' has to be given up completely and the implied meaning 'bank' has to be adopted.

ajahallakshaNaa - Without giving up the literal meaning of the word, what is implied by it is also adopted to get the meaning intended to be conveyed. An example is -- "The red is running", which is intended to convey that the red horse is running. Here the literal meaning of the word 'red' is retained and the implied word 'horse' is added to get the correct sense of the sentence.

jahadajahallakshaNaa - Here a part of the literal meaning is retained and the other part discarded. The sentence "This is that Devadatta" is interpreted by using this lakshaNaa. The meaning intended to be conveyed by this sentence is that Devadatta who is seen at the present time in this place is the same as the person who was seen earlier in another place. The literal meaning of the word 'this' is Devadatta associated with the present time and place. The literal meaning of the word 'that' is Devadatta associated with the past time and some other place. Since this sentence purports to convey the identity of the person seen in different places at different times, we get this meaning by discarding the reference to the place and time conveyed by the words 'this' and 'that' and retaining the reference to Devadatta. This is also known as bhaagatyaaga - lakshaNaa. The meaning of the sentence tat tvam asi is obtained by using this method. Just as in the sentence "This is Devadatta" the identity is stated by rejecting the contradictory qualities, so also in the sentence "That thou art" the contradictory qualities (namely, the limiting adjuncts) are rejected. Thus it follows that the jiiva and Brahman are in essence one when the limiting adjuncts, maayaa and the five sheaths, are rejected.

The above view, that jahadajahallakshaNaa is to be applied for getting the meaning of this Mahaavaakya, is the traditional and the most widely accepted view. But the author of Vedaanta Paribhaashaa says, after stating this view, that according to him it is not necessary to resort to implication (lakshaNaa) at all (Chapter IV - Verbal testimony).

In Samkshepas'aariirakam, I.169, the adoption of jahallakshaNaa is mentioned as a possible alternative, but the author has given an indication in this verse itself that he is not quite in favour of it.

How knowledge arises from the Mahaavaakya -- two theories.

According to one theory, known as the prasankhyaana theory, attributed to MaNDana Mis'ra, the knowledge which arises from the Mahaavaakya is relational and mediate, like any other knowledge arising from a sentence. Such a knowledge cannot apprehend Brahman which is non - relational (asamsr.shta) and immediate (aparoksha). Meditation (prasankhyaana) gives rise to another knowledge which is non - relational and immediate. It is this knowledge that destroys nescience.

The view of Sures'vara is the opposite of the above. Knowledge of Brahman arises directly from the Mahaavaakyas. According to him also, meditation is necessary, but it is only for perfecting the hearing. The difference between the two theories is that, while, according to Sures'vara, the knowledge which arises from the Mahaavaakya is immediate and non - relational, according to the other theory this knowledge is only mediate and relational. For an elaborate discussion Sures'vara's Naishkarmyasiddhi may be referred to.

Following the view of MaNDana, Vaachaspati Mis'ra holds that the mind is the instrument for the attainment of Self - knowledge. Following the other view stated above, Prakaas'aatman, the author of VivaraNa says that the Mahaavaakya itself is the instrument, though the knowledge no doubt arises in the mind.

The Mahaavaakya gives rise to Self - knowledge by making the mind take the form of Brahman. The question arises - - since Brahman has no form, what is meant by saying that the mind takes the form of Brahman (akhaNDaakaaravr.tti)? This is explained by Vidyaranya in Jivanmuktiviveka, chapter 3 by taking an example. A pot made of clay is full of the all - pervading space as soon as it is made. Filling it afterwards with water, rice or any other substance is due to human effort. Though the water, etc, in the pot can be removed, the space inside can never be removed. It continues to be there even if the mouth of the pot is hermetically sealed. In the same manner, the mind, in the act of being born, comes into existence full of the consciousness of the self. It takes on, after its birth, due to the influence of virtue and vice, the form of pots, cloths, colour, taste, pleasure, pain, and other transformations, just like melted copper, cast into moulds. Of these, the transformations such as colour, taste and the like, which are not - self, can be removed from the mind, but the form of the self, which does not depend on any external cause, cannot be removed at all. Thus, when all other ideas are removed from the mind, the self is realized without any impediment. It has been said - "One should cause the mind which, by its very nature, is ever prone to assume either of the two forms of the Self and the not - Self, to throw into the background the perception of the not - Self, by taking on the form of the Self alone". And also -- "The mind takes on the form of pleasure, pain and the like, because of the influence of virtue and vice, whereas the form of the mind, in its native aspect, is not conditioned by any extraneous cause. To the mind devoid of all transformations is revealed the supreme Bliss". Thus, when the mind is emptied of all other thoughts Self - knowledge arises.

The meaning of the Mahaavaakya 'aham brahma asmi'

This Mahaavaakya is explained by Sures'vara in Naishkarmyasiddhi, 2.29 thus: - - Just as in the sentence, "This post is a man", the earlier cognition that there is a post is sublated by the subsequent cognition that it is a man (and not a post), the cognition "I am Brahman" removes entirely the cognition as "I". Sures'vara explains the statement aham brahma asmi, ( I am Brahman), through what is known as baadhaayaam saamaanaadhikaraNyam. In a sentence in Sanskrit, words which, having the same case - endings, denote one and the same thing are said to be in samaanaadhikaraNam. The relation between the words is called saamaanaadhikaraNyam. This relation is of two kinds, mukhya saamaanaadhikaraNyam and baadhaayaam saamaanaadhikaraNyam. In the former, the objects denoted by the words will have the same ontological status (or the same order of reality). For example, in the sentence, the pot - space is but the great (outer) space, the space within the pot and the great space are both empirically real (vyaavahaarika satya). The difference between them is only due to the upaadhi in the form of the pot. When the upaadhi is removed, they become one, which they really are, even earlier. But if the words of a sentence, having the same case - endings, denote objects which have different ontological status, and if they purport to convey only one idea, they are in baadhaayaam saamaanaadhikaraNyam. For example, in the statement "This post is a man", the words "post" and "man" have different ontological status. Since what exists is a man and not a post, "man" is empirically real (vyaavahaarika) and "post" is only apparently real (praatibhaasika). Thus, just as the idea that what is seen is a post is removed when the person hears the statement "This post is a man", the wrong cognition of the form 'I am a man', 'I am happy' etc, is removed when a person realises that he is Brahman on hearing the statement aham brahma asmi.

The same explanation of this Mahaavaakya is given also in Panchadas'i, 8.43.

The statement sarvam khalu idam brahma (Ch.up.3.14.1) -- All this is only Brahman -- is also explained through baadhaayaam saamaanaadhikaraNyam in B.S. 1.3.1. S.B - - sarvam brahmeti tu saamaanaadhikaraNyam prapanchavilaapanaartham - - - - - - - - iti ekarasataas'ravaNaat - - - - - The use of the words 'all' and 'Brahman' in apposition in the text 'All this is but Brahman' is intended to eliminate the conception of the universe (as a reality) and not for establishing heterogeneity (in Brahman). For we hear of homogeneity in ' As a lump of salt is without interior or exterior, entire and purely saline in taste, even so is the Self without interior or exterior, entire and pure consciousness alone' (Br.up..4.5.13).

29. Means to Self - Realization

Br. up. 2.4.5. S.B - - - tasmaat aatmaa vai are drashtavyaH dars'anaarhaH - - - - - - - - - - - - - - na anyathaa s'ravaNamaatreNa.

Therefore, the Self should be realized, i.e. is worthy of realization or, should be made the object of realization. It should first be heard about from a teacher and from the scriptures, then reflected on through reasoning and then steadfastly meditated upon. It is only thus that It is realized -- when these means, namely, hearing, reflection and meditation have been gone through. It is only when these three are combined that true realization of the oneness of Brahman is attained, not otherwise, by hearing alone.

The meaning of the terms 'hearing', 'reflection' and 'meditation' -- s'ravaNam, mananam and nididhyaasanam.

Vedaanta saara,ch.5, para 182 -- Hearing is the determination, by the application of the six characteristic signs, that the purport of the entire Vedanta is the non - dual Brahman. The six signs are -- (1)the beginning and the conclusion, (2)repetition, (3)originality, (4)result, (5)eulogy and (6)demonstration. The Sanskrit terms for these are, respectively, upakramopasamhaara, abhyaasa, apuurvataa, phala, arthavaada, upapatti. Each of these terms is explained below.

Vedaanta saara,ch.5. para 185 -- The term ' the beginning and the conclusion' means the presentation of the subject matter of a section at the beginning and at the end of the section. For example, in the sixth chapter of the Chhaandogya Upanishad, Brahman, which is the subject - matter of the chapter, is introduced at the beginning with the words, "One only without a second", etc. (6.2.1). At the end of the chapter Brahman is again spoken of in the words, "In It all that exists has its Self",etc. (6.8.7).

Para 186 -- Repetition is the repeated presentation of the subject - matter in the section. In the same chapter, Brahman, the One without a second, is mentioned nine times by the sentence "Thou art that".

Para 187 -- 'Originality' means that the subject - matter of the section is not known through any other source of knowledge. For instance, the subject matter of the above section, namely, Brahman, cannot be known through any source of knowledge other than the s'ruti.

Para 188 -- The 'result' is the utility of the subject - matter. For example, in the same section, we find the sentences" One who has a teacher realizes Brahman. He has to wait only as long as he is not freed from the body; then he is united with Brahman". (6.14.2). Here the utility of the knowledge is attainment of Brahman.

Para 189 -- Eulogy is the praise of the subject - matter. The words in this section, "Did you ask for that instruction by which one knows what has not been known, etc" (6.1.3) are spoken in praise of Brahman.

Para 190 -- Demonstration is the reasoning in support of the subject - matter, adduced at different places in the same section. An example is -- "My dear, as by one lump of clay all that is made of clay is known, every modification being only a name, and being real only as clay" -- (6.4.1). This shows that the universe has no reality except as an apparent modification of Brahman, the only Reality.

Para 191 -- Reflection is the constant thinking of Brahman, the One without a second, already heard about from the teacher, by making use of arguments in a constructive manner.

Para 192 -- Meditation is keeping the mind fixed on the thought of Brahman, uninterrupted by any other thought.

The result achieved by 'hearing' etc.

'Hearing' removes the doubt whether the upanishadic text which is the pramaaNa purports to teach about Brahman or about some other entity. This doubt is known as pramaaNa - asambhaavanaa, or the doubt about the pramaaNa itself.

'Reflection' removes the doubt whether Brahman and the jiiva are identical or not. This doubt is called prameya - asambhaavanaa.

'Meditation' is intended to keep off wrong notions such as " The universe is real; the difference between Brahman and jiiva is real", which are contrary to the teachings of the upanishads, by developing concentration of the mind. Such wrong notions are known as vipariita - bhaavanaa.

Thus the purpose of hearing, reflection and meditation is the removal of obstacles in the form of doubts and wrong notions that stand in the way of the origination of Self - knowledge.

30. Four Preliminary Requisites [SaadhanachatushTayam]

In order that hearing, reflection and meditation may be fruitful, the aspirant should have acquired the four preliminary qualifications mentioned below.

B.S.1.1.1.S.B - - - tasmaat kimapi vaktavyam yadanantaram brahmajijnaasaa upadis'yate. - - - - - - - - - mumukshutvam cha.

The four requisites are -- (1) discrimination between the eternal and the non - eternal (nitya - anitya - vastu vivekaH), (2) detachment towards all enjoyments in this world as well as in higher worlds like heaven (iha - amutra - arthabhoga - viraagaH), (3) possession of the six virtues commencing with control of the mind (s'amadamaadisaadhanasampat), and (4) yearning for liberation (mumukshutvam). Each of these is explained in VivekachuuDaamaNi as below.

V.C. Verse 20 - - - The firm conviction that Brahman alone is real and that the universe is illusory (mithyaa) is discrimination between the eternal and the non - eternal.

V.C. Verse21 - - - Detachment is revulsion towards all objects of enjoyment in this world as well as in higher worlds, including one's own body.

The six virtues starting with s'ama are - - - s'ama, dama, uparati, titikshaa, s'raddhaa, samaadhaana. These are explained below.

V.C. Verse 22 - - - Withdrawing the mind from all sense - pleasures by realizing their harmful nature, and making it rest on one's objective (namely, the Self),is s'ama.

V.C. Verse 23 - - - Restraining the organs of sense and of action (jnaanendriya and karmendriya) is known as dama.

V.C. Verse 24 - - - When the mind ceases to function through the external organs, that state is uparati.

V.C. Verse 25 - - - Enduring all adversities without lament or anxiety and without seeking to counter them is titikshaa.

V.C. Verse 26 - - - Firm conviction about the truth of the scriptures and the teachings of the Guru is s'raddhaa.

V.C. Verse 27 - - - The mind remaining firmly fixed in the attributeless Brahman is samaadhaana.

The fourth requisite, mumukshutvam is explained in V.C. verse 28 as the yearning to become free from nescience and its effect, bondage, by the realization of one's true nature. In the Bhaashya on Gita,4.11 S'rii S'ankara says that it is impossible for a person to be a seeker of liberation and also a seeker of the fruits of action at the same time. From this it is clear that only a person who has attained total and intense detachment can be called a mumukshu. The definition of yogaaruudha in Gita 6.4 as one who is free from attachment to sense - objects and actions and does not even think of them indicates that both these terms have the same meaning.

Of these, detachment and the yearning for liberation are the most important. Only if these two are strong, will the others like s'ama, etc, be fruitful -- Verse 30.

31. Scope of Reasoning (Tarka)

Reasoning, by itself, is not sufficient for attaining knowledge of Brahman, but reasoning which does not run counter to the upanishadic texts is useful as a help.

B.S. 1.1.1. S.B - - - tasmaat brahmajijnaasopanyaasamukhena - - - - - - - - - - - - prastuuyate.

Therefore, beginning with a statement of the desire to know Brahman, there is begun an enquiry for the ascertainment of the meaning of the Vedaanta texts, with the help of reasoning not inconsistent with those texts, the object being liberation (through knowledge).

B.S.1.1. 2.S.B - - - vaakyaarthavichaaraNaadhyavasaananirvr.ttaa - - - - - - - - dars'ayati.

The realization of Brahman results from the firm conviction arising out of deliberation on the upanishadic texts and their meaning, but not from other means of knowledge such as inference, etc. With regard, however, to the texts that speak of the origin, sustenance and dissolution of the universe, even reasoning, not opposed to these texts, is not ruled out as a means of reinforcing the meaning of these texts. In fact, the upanishads themselves accept reasoning as an aid. For instance, it is said, "The Self is to be heard about, to be rflected on" (Br.up.2.4.5). And also the text, "A man, well - informed and intelligent, can reach the country of the Gandharas; similarly, a man who has a teacher attains knowledge" (Ch.up.6.14.2), shows that the texts rely on the aid of the human intellect also (i.e. they give importance to reasoning).

B.S.2.1.6.S.B - - - yadapi s'ravaNavyatirekeNa mananam vidadhat - - - - - - - - brahmaavyatirekaH ityevamjaatiiyakaH.

It was also claimed that by enjoining reflection over and above hearing, the Br. up. itself indicates that logic also is to be accepted. Though this is so, mere empty logic cannot be given a place here merely because of this; for, logic conforming to the upanishads is alone resorted to here as a subsidiary means to help realization. The logic that is acceptable is of the following nature. Since the states of sleep and wakefulness contradict each other, the Self is not identified with either of them; since the individual soul dissociates itself from the world in the state of deep sleep to become one with the Self which is Existence, it must be the same as the transcendental Self; since the universe has originated from Brahman and since the principle is that cause and effect are non - different, the universe must be non - different from Brahman; and so on. It is reasoning of this kind that has been used in VivekachuuDaamaNi to conclude that none of the five sheaths can be the self (verse 156 onwards).

B.S.2.1.11.S.B - - - itas'cha na aagamagamye arthe kevalena tarkeNa - - - - - - - - - parasparavipratipattidars'anaat.

For this reason also one should not, on the strength of mere logic, propound something that has to be known only from the Vedas. Reasoning that has no foundation in the Veda and springs from the imagination of persons lacks conclusiveness. Man's conjecture has no limits. Thus it is seen that an argument put forward by one learned person is proved to be unsustainable by another learned person. That again is proved to be untenable by yet another person. The result is that no argument can be accepted as conclusive. It is well known that even great men like Kapila and kanada hold divergent views. (Therefore, only conclusions firmly based on the scriptures and supplemented by proper reasoning can stand scrutiny).

KaTha up. 1.2.9.S.B - - - ato ananyaprokta aatmani - - - -

This wisdom about the Self, as presented in the Vedas, that arises when instruction is given by one who has become identified with It, cannot be attained through mere argumentation, based merely on one's own intellect.

B.S.1.1.2 S.B - - - na dharmajijnaasaayaamiva s'rutyaadaya - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - brahmajnaanasya.

The scriptures, by themselves alone, are not the means for Self - knowledge. The scriptures have to be supplemented by reasoning and actual experience, unlike in the case of performance of rites, where the scriptures alone are the authority. In the case of rites there is no question of direct experience, since the result is to be attained only at some future time, whereas in the case of knowledge of Brahman actual experience is the culmination.

32. Two Kinds of Vision

\Vision is of two kinds -- phenomenal and eternal. The former is a modification of the mind when it stretches out through the eyes. It is dependent on the objects perceived. It has a beginning and an end. But the latter is the very nature of the Self, just as heat and light are the very nature of the sun. The Self is said to be a seer, hearer, thinker, etc, only when it it is associated with the respective limiting adjuncts such as the eye, ear, mind, etc.

Br.up.3.4.2.S.B - - - dr.shtiH iti dvividhaa bhavati laukikii paaramaarthikii cha - - - - - - - vidyate iti cha.

Vision is of two kinds, phenomenal and real. Phenomenal vision is an action of the mind when connected with the eye. It is an act and has therefore a beginning and an end. But the vision that belongs to the Self is like the heat and light of fire, being the very essence of the witness; it has neither beginnig nor end. The ordinary or phenomenal vision, however, is coloured by the objects seen through the eye. It begins when the eye comes into contact with the object and ends when the contact ends. The eternal vision of the Self is only metaphorically spoken of as the witness. It is a witness only when it is looked upon as associated with the limiting adjuncts, namely, the mind, body, etc. By itself it is only pure consciousness and cannot be described even as a witness.

33. Process of Visual Perception

The process of visual perception, according to Advaita Vedanta, is described in chapter 1 of Vedaanta Paribhaashaa thus. Just as the water in a tank, issuing through a hole, enters, through a channel, a number of fields and assumes the shapes of those fields, so also the luminous mind, stretching out through the eye, goes to the space occupied by objects and becomes modified into the forms of those objects. Such a modification is called a vr.tti of the mind. The same fact is also stated in Panchadas'i, 4.27, 28 and 29, based on Sri Sankara's Upadesasaahasrii, Metrical portion, chapter 14, verses 3 & 4. The whole process of visual perception consists of the following steps:

(1) The mind stretches out through the eye, reaches the object and takes the form of the object. This is called a vr.tti or mode of the mind.

(2) The mental mode removes the veil of ignorance that hides the object.

(3) Consciousness underlying the object, being manifest through the mental mode, illumines the object.

(4) The mental mode associates the object - consciousness with the subject - consciousness.

(5) The subject perceives the object.

Consciousness manifest through the mental mode coincident with the object serves as the knowledge of the object.

This is known as phala (fruit), being the resultant knowledge.

The mind has three main divisions in this process, namely,

(1) the part within the body,

(2) the part that extends from the body to the object perceived,

(3) the part that coincides with the object.

The first part above is known as pramaataa and the consciousness manifest in it is called pramaata - chaitanya. This is the perceiver. The consciousness manifest in the second part is called pramaaNa - chaitanya, or the means of knowledge. The consciousness manifest in the third part is pramiti - chaitanya or percept.

The object perceived is called prameya. Since the third part of the mind mentioned above coincides with the object, prameya - chaitanya, or the consciousness underlying the object and pramiti - chaitanya become identical. The point to be kept in mind here is that all objects in this world are superimposed on Consciousness, i.e. Brahman. All objects are covered by a veil of ignorance, which has to be removed for seeing the object. It is only consciousness that reveals the objects, since the objects themselves are non - luminous.

34. Upanishad - Meaning

KaThopanishad. S.B. Introduction - - - saderdhatoH vis'araNa - - - - vidyaa uchyate.

The word 'Upanishad' is derived by adding the prefixes 'upa' (near) and 'ni' (with certainty) and the suffix 'kvip' to the root 'sad' meaning ' to destroy, to go to and to loosen'. By the word 'Upanishad' is meant the knowledge that destroys the seeds of worldly existence such as ignorance in the case of those seekers of liberation who, after cultivating detachment towards all enjoyments, approach (upa,sad) this knowledge and then deliberate on it with steadiness and certainty (ni). Though this knowledge is the primary meaning of the word, it is used also to denote the book that contains this knowledge, in a secondary sense.

Br.up.1.1.S.B.Introduction -- saa iyam brahmavidyaa - - - - upanishad uchyate.

The knowledge of Brahman is called 'upanishad' because it entirely removes this relative world together with its cause from those who take to this study; for the root 'sad' prefixed by 'upa' and 'ni' means that. Books also are called 'upanishad' as they have the same end in view.

There is no contradiction between the upanishads and the ritualistic portion (karma kanda) of the Vedas.

Br.up.2.1.20.S.B -- tasmaat na brahmaikatvam - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - pramaaNaani s'rotraadivat. Therefore the Vedaanta texts that teach the oneness of Brahman are not antagonistic to the ritualistic portion. Nor are the latter deprived of their scope by the former. Neither do the ritualistic scriptures, which are based on differences such as the factors of an action, take away the authority of the upanishads as regards the oneness of Brahman. For the means of knowledge are exclusively powerful in their respective spheres, just as the ear alone has the power to hear sounds and the eye alone to see forms, etc.

The ritualistic portion of the Vedas ceases to apply only after a person has attained Self - knowledge and has become liberated from the cycle of birth and death. Till then it remains applicable.

35. Mind, Vital Force and Speech

Ch.up.6.5.1.S.B -- Food, when eaten, becomes divided in three ways. The grossest portion of the food turns into faeces. The medium constituent becomes flesh. The subtlest part, having reached the heart, enters into the fine nerves named hitaa, becomes transformed into the mind - stuff and nourishes the mind. It therefore follows that the mind is made of matter. It is not considered as eternal and partless as defined by the Vais'eshikas. (It is of the size of the body -- madhyama parimaaNa).

Ch.up.6.5.2.S.B - - - Water (or any liquid) when drunk becmes divided in three ways. The grossest portion becomes urine. The medium constituent becomes blood. The subtlest part becomes the vital force (praaNa). Ch.up.6.7.1 says -- "The vital force is made up of water. It will depart from him who does not drink water".

Ch.up.6.5.3.S.B -- Butter, oil, etc, when consumed, become divided in three ways. The grossest portion becomes bone. The medium constituent becomes marrow, the greasy substance inside the bones. The subtlest part becomes the (subtle) organ of speech (vaak). It is a well - known fact that by the consumption oil, butter and the like, speech becomes clear and powerful.

Ch.up.6.5.4.S.B -- Therefore the mind is made of food, the vital force is made of water and speech is made of tejas or fire (i.e. butter, oil, etc).

36. Upaasanam (Meditation)

B.S.1.1.12 . - - - evam ekamapi brahma apekshitopaadhisambandham nirastopaadhisambandham cha - - - - - - - upadis'yate.

Thus the same Brahman is taught in the upanishads as associated with limiting adjuncts to be meditated on and as devoid of limiting adjuncts to be realized.

B.S.1.2.14.S.B - - - nirguNam api sadbrahma naamaruupagatairguNaiH - - - - - - - - - - tatra tatra upadis'yate.

Even though Brahman is without attributes, it is taught in the upanishads as possessed of the attributes of name and form for the purpose of meditation.

B.S.1.1.20.S.B - - - syaat parames'varasya api - - - - - - - saadhaka - anugrahaartham.

The Supreme Lord may take forms at will by His power of Maayaa for blessing spiritual aspirants.

B.S.4.1.1.S.B - - - vdyupaasyoH cha - - - - - - - - prayogaH dr.s'yate.

The verbs 'vid' and 'upaas' are seen to be used interchangeably in the upanishads. See Ch.up. 3.18.1, 3.18.3, 4.1.4, 4.2.2.

taitt.up.1.3.S.B - - - upaasanam cha yathaas'aastram - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - s'aastroktaalambanavishayaa cha.

Meditation consists in a continuous flow of one and the same thought as laid down by the scripture, uninterrupted by other thoughts and fixed on some perceptible object as prescribed by the scripture.

taitt up. 1.6.S.B. brahmaNaH saakshaat upalabdhyartham - - - - - - s'aalagraama iva vishNoH. - - - The s'ruti declares that the hr.dayaakaas'a, the bright space in the heart, is the proper place for the contemplation and immediate perception of Brahman.

Br.up.1.3.9.S.B - - - upaasanam naama - - - laukikaatma - abhimaanavat.

Meditation is mentally approaching the form of the deity as it is presented in the eulogistic portion of the Vedas relating to the objects of meditation and concentrating on it, keeping out all other thoughts till one becomes as completely identified with that form as the ordinary man is with his own body.

Br.up.1.3.16.S.B - - - 'tam yathaa yathopaasate - - - - - tadeva bhavati'.

"One becomes exactly as one meditates upon Him". (S'atapatha BraahmaNa - X.5.2.20).

Different kinds of upaasanaas.

B.S.1.1.12.S.B - - - - - tatra avidyaavasthaayaam - - - - sa sa iis'vara ityupaasyatayaa chodyate.

It is only in the state of nescience (ajnaana) that Brahman can be considered as coming within the range of empirical dealings comprising the object of meditation, the meditator, the act of meditation etc. Among such meditations, some are for the attainment of higher worlds, some for making rites more efficacious and some for the attainment of liberation by stages (kramamukti). Those that lead to higher worlds are those meditations that are based on symbols, such as "One who meditates upon name as Brahman becomes independent so far as name reaches" (Ch.up.7.1.5), which are referred to in B.S.4.3.15 &16. These lead to higher worlds upto the world of lightning mentioned in

Ch.up.5.10.2 and not beyond that. An example of an upaasanaa which increases the efficacy of rites performed is the udgiita upaasanaa described in Ch.up.1.9.2. The meditations which lead to kramamukti are s'aaNDilya vidyaa in

Ch.up.3.14, dahara upaasanaa in Ch.up. 8.1 and ahamgraha upaasanaas, based on self - identification in which the individual thinks of himself as Brahman.

These meditations differ in accordance with the qualities (e.g. Brahman as possessed of particular attributes), or conditioning factors (e.g. Brahman meditated on as being in the heart, etc). These are elaborated in B.S.3.3.58.S.B. Although the same Brahman is to be meditated on as possessed of different qualities, the results differ, depending on the quality meditated on, as stated in the S'ruti, "One becomes what one meditates on".

B.S. 1.1.12 S.B - - Although it is the same Self that remains hidden in all beings - - moving or stationary - - there are differences in the degree of manifestation of glory and power, caused by the gradation of the minds by which the Self is conditioned. This is the significance of Bhagavad - gita, Ch.10.41 -- "Whatever being there is, which is great, prosperous or powerful, know that to be a product of a part of my splendour". It is enjoined in this verse that wherever there is extraordinary greatness, etc, it is to be worshipped as God.

Meditation on saguNa brahman leads to realization of nirguNa brahman.

Kaivalya Up. 7 -- "Having meditated on the highest Lord (S'iva) who is powerful, has three eyes and a blue neck and is the consort of Umaa, the sage reaches Him who is the source of all, the witness of all and beyond avidyaa.

Vedaanta Kalpataru of Amalaananda Sarasvati -- Gloss relating to Brahmasuutra 1.1.20 - - - When their minds are brought under control by meditation on Brahman as possessed of qualities, that very Brahman will directly manifest Itself divested of the superimposition of limiting adjuncts.

37. Deva and Asura - Meaning

Br.up.1.3.1.S.B -- devaas'cha asuras'cha - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - atyanta - yatna - saadhyaa hi sa.

The devas and the asuras are the organs of speech, etc, of Prajaapati himself. They become devas when they shine under the influence of thoughts and actions as laid down in the scriptures, while those very organs become asuras when they are under the influence of natural thoughts and actions, based only on perception and inference and directed merely towards visible, material ends. They are called asuras because they delight only in their own senses, or because they are other than gods (or suras). The devas are fewer in number than the asuras, because, as we know, the organs have a stronger tendency towards thoughts and actions that are natural than towards those that are prescribed by the scriptures, for the former lead to visible, material ends. The tendency to adhere to the prescriptions of the scriptures is rare, because it is attainable only by great and sincere effort.

Ch.up.1.2.1.S.B - - - devaaH diivyateH dyotanaarthasya - - - indriyavr.ttayaH eva.

The word 'deva' is derived from the root 'div' in the sense of shining. (This root has many meanings). It therefore means the functions of the organs when they are illumined by the scriptures. The asuras are the natural, unillumined (ignorant) activities of the organs, opposed to the devas, because of being engrossed in the enjoyment of sense - objects. From time immemorial a war, as it were, has been going on in the minds of all individual beings, between the gods and the demons, with each side intent on defeating the other.

iis'aavaasya up. 4. S.B -- dyotanaat devaaH - - -

Here the word 'devaaH' means the organs of knowledge such as the eyes.

Br. up. 5.2.3.S.B - - - athavaa na devaa asuraa vaa - - - - - - - - - - - - kruuraaH cha dr.s'yante.

Or, there are no gods or asuras other than men. Those among men who are lacking in self - control, but are otherwise endowed with many good qualities, are the gods. Those who are particularly greedy are men, while those who are cruel and given to injuring others are the asuras. So members of the same species, man, are given the titles of god, man and demon according to the predominance of the three gunas in them. The instructions given by Prajapati in this section are therefore meant for all men.

38. Parinaama and Vivarta (Transformation and Transfiguration)

When the cause and effect are of the same order of reality, the effect is a transformation or parinaama of the cause, as for example, when milk turns into curd. When the cause and effect belong to different orders of reality, as when a rope appears as a snake, the effect is called a vivarta or transfiguration of the cause.

Mandukya Karika - III.6. Bhashya - A gold ornament is a transformation (vikara or pariNaama) of gold and foam, bubbles and ice are of water.

But in the Bhashya on Ch. up. 6.2.2 it is said that pot, etc are merely different configurations (samsthaanamaatram) of earth, etc. This is compared to a rope appearing as a snake i.e. vivarta. So it appears that pot is only a vivarta of clay and not a parinama. The same is stated in Anubhootiprakasa on Aitareya up.

The author of Samkshepas'aariirakam says that the theory of transformation of Brahman as the universe serves as the prelude to the theory of transfiguration. In II.56 it is said that the author of the Brahmasuutras puts forth the doctrine of transfiguration (vivarta) as his final conclusion. In II.64 it is said that the theory of transformation is advanced as a preliminary to the theory of transfiguration.

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