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Kārikā, verse 2.30

एतैरेषोऽपृथग्भावैः पृथगेवेति लक्षितः ।
एवं यो वेद तत्त्वेन कल्पयेत्सोऽविशङ्कितः ॥ ३० ॥

etaireṣo'pṛthagbhāvaiḥ pṛthageveti lakṣitaḥ |
evaṃ yo veda tattvena kalpayetso'viśaṅkitaḥ || 30 ||

30. This Ātman, though non-separate from all these, appears, as it were, separate. One who knows this truly imagines (interprets) (the meaning of the Vedas) without hesitation.


Śaṅkara’s Commentary

Though this Ātman is verily non-separate1 from these, the Prāṇa, etc.,—like the rope from such imaginary ideas as the snake, etc.,—it appears as separate to the ignorant persons. But to the Knower (of truth), the Prāṇa, etc., do not exist apart from Ātman, just as the snake, etc., falsely imagined in the rope, do not exist apart from the rope. For, the Śruti also says, “All that exists is verily Ātman” One who thus knows truly, that is, from Scriptures as well as by reasoning2 that Prāṇa, etc., imagined in Ātman, do not exist separately from Ātman fas in the illustration) of the (illusory) snake and the rope, and further knows that Ātman is ever pure3 and free from all imaginations,—construes,4 without hesitation, the text of the Vedas according to its division.5 That is to say, he knows that the meaning of this passage is this and of that passage is that. None but the Knower of Ātman is able to know truly the (meaning of the) Vedas. “None but the Knower of Ātman is able to derive any benefit from his actions,” says Manu.


Ānandagiri’s Ṭīkā (glossary):

1 Non-separate—It is because that which is superimposed cannot exist apart from the substratum. Therefore the Prāṇa, etc., which are superimposed upon Ātman, are non-separate from Ātman from the standpoint of Reality.

2 Reasoning— That is, the reasoning stated in the fourth verse of this chapter. That which is accepted on the authority of the Śruti can also be demonstrated by reasoning.

3 Ever pure, etc.—Even while Ātman is imagined by the ignorant as Prāṇa, etc., it is known to the Jñāni (Knower of Truth) as pure and simple and free from all imaginations. For, to the Jñāni such imaginations as Prāṇa, etc., are identical with Ātman. For him Ātman never undergoes any modifications. He knows “All that exists is verily Ātman.”

4 Construes—A Knower of Reality does not follow any fixed rule for the interpretation of the Vedas. “A Knower of Reality is never a slave to the Vedas. But whatever interpretation he gives of the Vedas is their real meaning” (Ānandagiri).

5 Division—That is to say, the Knowledge-portion of the Vedas, viz., the Upaniṣad, directly leads to the non-dual Brahman whereas the Works-portion (/.e., the Karma-kāṇda) explains Reality from the causal or relative standpoint and thus indirectly indicates it.

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