The Mandukya Upanishad with Gaudapada’s Karika and Shankara’s Commentary
Kārikā, verse 2.12
कल्पयत्यात्मनाऽऽत्मानमात्मा देवः स्वमायया |
स एव बुध्यते भेदानिति वेदान्तनिश्चयः ॥ १२ ॥
kalpayatyātmanā''tmānamātmā devaḥ svamāyayā |
sa eva budhyate bhedāniti vedāntaniścayaḥ || 12 ||
12. Ātman, the self-luminous, through the power of his own Māyā, imagines in himself by himself (all the objects that the subject experiences within or without). He alone is the cognizer of the objects (so created). This is the decision of the Vedānta.
The self-luminous1 Ātman himself,2 by3 his own Māyā, imagines4 in 5himself the different6 objects, to be described hereafter. It is like the imagining of the snake, etc., in the rope, etc. He7 himself cognizes them, as8 he has imagined them. There9 is no other substratum of knowledge and memory. The aim of Vedānta is to declare that knowledge and memory are not without, support as the Buddhistic nihilists maintain.
Ānandagiri’s Ṭīkā (glossary):
2 Himself— There is no extra-cosmic creator of the universe who, like the potter, is separate from his creation.
3 By his own Māyā—When one looks upon the creation as a fact. and seeks its cause, Māyā or ignorance is pointed out as such cause. The Māyā inheres in Brahman as viewed from the same causal standpoint. It is like the ignorance which, inhering in the perceiver, makes him see his own mind appearing as various dream objects. The causal ignorance of the knowledge of the mind’s act of imagining which makes Ātman appear as the manifested manifold, is here called Māyā.
4 Imagines—There is no actual creation. It is an imagination due to the perceiver’s ignorance.
5 In himself— From the causal standpoint Ātman is both the I material and the efficient cause of the universe. There is no inert matter or anything else, separate from Ātman, which he has fashioned into the universe.
6 Different objects—All perceived objects consisting of the ego and the non-ego.
7 He himself—Ātman creates this world with his own Māyā and then he himself being reflected in Buddhi (mind), appears as Jīva who perceives the objects.
8 As he, etc— Agency, etc., associated with Ātman, are not absolutely real. It is because Ātman imagines himself, owing to Māyā, as an agent, that he is looked upon as the subject.
9 There is, etc.—Knowledge and memory, categories of relative perception, inhere in Ātman (Self from the subjective standpoint) and in the creator (Brahman from the objective standpoint). Brahman and Ātman are identical.
This illusory Jīva, Īśvara and the world last as long as ignorance (Māyā) lasts. Solipsism cannot be a charge against Vedānta. For, according to Vedānta, the ego is not the creator of the non-ego. They come into existence together. One cannot exist without the other. From the relative standpoint both ego and non-ego are the products of the mentation of Īśvara or the cosmic mind.
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