Chandogya Upanishad (Madhva commentary)
by Srisa Chandra Vasu | 1909 | 169,805 words | ISBN-13: 9789332869165
The English translation of the Chandogya Upanishad including the commentary of Madhva called the Bhasya. This text describes in seven sections the importance of speech, the importance of knowledge and the journey towards salvation.. It is one of the largest Upanishads and is associated with the Sama Veda. The Mundaka Upanishad is variously spelled...
First Adhyaya, First Khanda (8 mantras)
Oṃ! May all my bodily organs and senses, those of speech, smell, sight, hearing And Vigour grow in perfection. May the Vedas and the Upaniṣads be my all in all. May I not abandon the study of the sacred lore, may not the sacred lore abandon me. Let there never be any break in my studies, let there never be any break in my studies. Let all the virtues of the Upaniṣads repose in me, repose in me whose sole delight is That Self—(Pāraskara Gṛhya-Sūtra, III. 16.1 partly).
I meditate upon that Hari, whose bliss is pure, infinite, and unmixed with evil, whose knowledge (Jñāna Śakti) is infinite and great (and all-embracing), whose light (flame) of thought is steady (not capable of being distracted from its one-pointed concentration), who is Almighty in His Lordly energy and enjoyment, (whose Icchā and Kṛyā Śaktis are supreme); who is All-powerful (whose Bala Śakti is also infinite): Whose Divine Form is higher than that of Brahimi and of the rest, and who is the essence (Ātman) of all other forms. He is the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. He is the Ruler of the Eternals. He is the Light of knowledge. He is the Liberator from ignorance, darkness and non-release (bondage, Saṃsāra). He is Unborn and Eternal. I worship that Hari alone.
Note.—The first line of this śloka has been explained in several different ways by the Commentator Vedeśa Bhikṣu. This verse is a summary of the Udgītha Upāsanā taught in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad. The Om meaning ‘full of all qualities’ is expressed by the first epithet of this śloka, atyudrikta-vidoṣa-sat-sukha. The word sat-sukha is explained also in various ways, e.g., pure pleasure, or best pleasure, or unending eternal pleasure. Or sat may be a part of vidoṣa, i.e. vidoṣa-sat meaning which is free from evil. A pleasure is said to be free from doṣa or taint when is not conditioned by beginning, etc., beginningless, changeless, endless joy. That knowledge is great which knows everything relating to one’s own and other selves. The word sarva or ‘all’ qualifies ‘lorldly-energy,’ ‘enjoyment’ and ‘power’. This ‘pleasure’ = “a”; knowledge and thoughts = “m”; lordly energy and enjoyments = “u”; Power (bala) = “m”.
The Goddess Ramā praised Ramāpati (Hari) with the verses (of this Upaniṣad) that came out of the mouth of Hayagrīva (Hari). Him whose qualities are all-extensive (declared in all the Vedas and Upaniṣads) and who sleeps on the couch formed by the snake (when the world is dissolved at the time of Pralaya).
Note.—Thus the Chief Ṛṣi of this Upaniṣad is Hayagrīva, the Subordinate Ṛṣi is Ramā, the Devatā is the Śeṣa-śāyin, the Lord sleeping on the couch of the snake of Eternity.
1. Om is the Lord, the nearest (or the eternal joy), the Udgītha, kṣ., the Highest, ihe most Adorable, and the Allpervading. He must be meditated upon: Him the Udgātṛ sings out: as Om. About Him is (this whole book) the explanation.—1.
[Note.—Akṣaram (Akṣara)—this word generally is understood to mean a letter or syllable. It also means indestructible or imperishable, but it has a third meaning when we analyse it as “akṣa + ra” the dweller in the senses. The “akṣa” or eye being typical of all senses and “ra” means sporting or dwelling; that is, “akṣeṣu indriyeṣu ramaṇāt akṣaram” therefore, the word “akṣara” means, the nearest of all. Or akṣa means imperishable, and ra means joy, and so akṣara=eternal and blissful.]
[Note.—Udhītham (Udhītha)—the Lord is called Udgītha, because He is “ud”, the highest of all; because He is “gī (gīḥ)”, sung of, praised of by all; and “tha”, because He is everywhere (sthāna). The whole word (udgītha) thus means the highest Lord, praised in all scriptures and who is all-pervading.]
[Note.—Udgāyati—sings out, that is, that Udgātṛ priest sings out by uttering the syllable Om; therefore, the Om is the name of the Lord.]
[Note.—Tasya—of His, that is, of the Lord who is called here by the names of Akṣara and Udgītha.]
Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:
Om is the name of the Lord and He is called akṣara, because He is the nearest of all, (as dwelling in the senses). He is called Udgītha, because He is high or ut, because He is sung or gīta, and because He is all-pervading or tha. The Lord must be meditated upon as such.
Thus it is said in the Mahāsaṃhitā:—
The Goddess Ramā praised the Lord Ramāpati, with the verses which were first chanted by Hayagrīva, and which commence with the word ‘Om,’ (in this Chāndogya Upaniṣad) and which are sung by the singers of the Sāma Veda.
The meaning of “om” this is thus given in the Samanvaya:—
Let a person meditate upon the Lord as bearing the name Om, fully understanding its meaning and attributes. He is called Om, because He pervades all (ota) because He protects all (avana) and because the three letters “a”, “u”, and “ma” denote supremely excellent (adhika a), supremely high (u=ucca) and supremely wise (māna-mā=jñāna): because “a” means bliss or “ā?nda; u”; means power or “ojas” and “ma” means supporter or protector (bharaṇa).
Note.—Thus “ām (om?)” has a triple significance, and denotes the threefold attribute of the Lord. First, He is All-pervading, All-protecting and All-knowing. Secondly, He is supremely, excellently, High and Wise. Thirdly, He is All-bliss, All-mighty and All-supporting.
The Indestructible Supreme Person should always be meditated upon as Om; because the whole universe is woven (ota [otam]) or contained in Him; and because Tie is supremely excellent (ati=a) and because He is supremely high (ucca=u) and possessed of infinite attributes (ma=guṇa)
Regarding this Om, the Udgātṛ sings out his hymns of the Sāma-Veda clearly by uttering Om; because Om is the name of Viṣṇu and the explanation of Om is the highest of all explanations (books).
The letter “A”, denotes supremely excellent, the letter “U” denotes supremely high, and the letter “Ma” means explained or expressed in all the Vedas. (Thus briefly “Om” means the excellent, the high and the revealed. The glory and the greatness of this Om we shall explain further on).
2. Higher than all beings (like Ṛbhu, &c.) is the presiding deity of the earth, higher than Earth devatā is Varuṇa, higher than Varuṇa is Soma, higher than Soina is Sarasvatī, higher than Sarasvatī is the goddess called Ṛk, higher than Ṛk is the chief Prāṇa, higher than the Prāṇa is Nārāyaṇa himself. That Udgītha is higher than all the highest, higher than even Ramā and is the eighth.—2.
Note.—Nārāyaṇa whose name is Om has been said in the last verse to be the highest of all; to understand clearly this it became necessary to know the gradation of deities, hence this verse.
Note.—This part of the verse shows that Nārāyaṇa is not only higher than the Sāman; but that His greatness is not comparative, like others but absolute and infinite. In fact there is a vast difference between the greatness of God and of any other Being how high soever. In that sense the words paramaḥ parārdhyaḥ would mean supremely great, infinitely high. But parārdhyaḥ has also another meaning which has been given above, i.e., “than the goddess Parārdhī or Ramā.”
If in the above enumeration the speech (Vāk) and the Ṛk be taken as identical, then we have the following gradation:—
Earth (Pṛthivī) higher than Bhūtas beings) — i.e., the Earth is rasa or high.
Varuṇa (water) higher than Earth — i.e., Is rasa-tara or higher.
Soma (plants) higher than Varuṇa — i.e., Is rasa-tama or highest.
Rudra (Puruṣa) higher than Soma — i.e., Is parama-rasa-tama higher thanhighest.
Vāk (including Ṛk) higher than Rudra — i.e., parama-para-rasa-tama, above thehigher than the highest.
Sāman higher than Vāk — i.e., parama-parardha-rasatama over-above-the higher than the highest.
Ramā higher than Sāman — i.e., parama-parārdha-rasatama even-over-above-the higher than the highest.
Udgītha higher than Ramā — i.e., parama-parārdhya-rasa-tama infinitely high.
If, however, the Ṛk and Vāk bo taken separately, then the Ṛk will be parama-parardha-rasa-tama; the Sāman will be parama-parārdha-rasa-tama; Ramā will be parama-parārdhi-rasa-tama; and Udgītha will be parama-parārdhya-rasatama.
Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:
This mantra shows in detail, how this Udgītha is the highest (parama), by giving the gradation (of the Devatas). (The Lord is not only the last in this series of gradations but infinitely high, and therefore, the: Word parama is used). “Those who know the gradation of the Devatas, and who understand the supremacy (infinitude) of Viṣṇu, are known as ekāntinaḥ (monotheists?) and masters of the knowledge of the divine hierarchy. Let those be alone called Ekāntins who know God to be one and the highest. What is the necessity of knowing the hierarchy of Devatās, and calling such knowers also Ekāntins? To this the commentator replies by giving the definition of the word Ekāntin). Since in the above gradation by stating that “this is higher than that,” the Lord Hari stands at the end (anta) of the series, and since He is one (eka) therefore, the Ekāntins (eka and anta) are said to be those who know the Lord to be verily One alone, and as standing at the end of the above series of gradations “this is greater than that? (Hence the knowledge of the series or gradation is necessary to entitle a person to the name of Ekantin. The word Ekānta is thus the name of Hari, for He as one stands at the end of the above series. Those who possess the knowledge of this Ekānta are designated as Ekāntins.)
Admitted that in order to be called an Ekāntin, it is necessary to have knowledge of the gradation of the Devas: but what is the advantage if one becomes an Ekāntin? To this the commentator answers.
Those who know thus the gradation of the Devas and whose sole refuge is always the Lord Ekānta—the one Lord of the Hierarchy—enter (in Release) into the supreme God Narayana tire painless.
But the word Ekāntin means generally the exclusive worshipper or devotee of one God and who does not worship any other, how do you give this meaning to it? To this the commentator says that it is not merely the knowledge of gradation that gives mukti, but the worship of the Supreme God after getting such knowledge is the cause of Mukti.
Let the Bhāgavatas, thus knowing Hari as the highest and coming at the end, worship Hari always, and worship also Lakṣmī and others in their due order.
This shows though the word ekāntin means, in some places, the worshipper of One, to the exclusion of others, for strict ekāntin would not worship even Lakṣmī, &c., yet an enlightened Bhāgavata would worship minor deities also, knowing all the while that the God is one and Infinitely higher than any deity. If so, what becomes of the command tarhi pūjayet na anya devatāḥ, ‘let him not worship any other deity?’ To this the commentator says.
Let them not offer any sacrifice to any Devatā with the idea that they (the Devatās) are independent of the Lord: or that they deserve any independent worship.
Admitted that the Devatās may be worshipped as subsidiary agents of the Lord: but how do you reconcile it with the following text:—“The Manus and Mānavas are to‘be worshipped and never the Devatās under the divisions of castes of Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and Śūdras. This text would show that Manus and sons of Manu like the Ṛṣis, Marīci, &c., divided under different castes of Brāhmaṇa, &c., are to be worshipped and not Devatās. To this the Commentator says:—
The Bhāgavatas worship the Sages called sons of Manu and the Beings called Manu, mentioned in the Śrutis as possessing various castes like Brāhmaṇas, &c., and they do not worship the others. They, worship the Manus and Sages, because they are the fathers of humanity, its teachers, and visible personifications of all attributes of Bhāgavatas. (Compare S. B. H. Muṇḍaka, p. 6).
Note.—The castes mentioned in the Śruti refer to Brahmā, &c. The Beings called there Manus are Brahmā, &c., and the sons of Manu are really sons of Brahmā, i.e., the sages like Marīci, &c. The castes refer to them. Thus the above text teaches the worship of Devatās, for it teaches the worship of Manu, and Manu=Brahmā; and Mānavas does not mean “men” but sons of Manu, i.e., sons of Brahmā, i.e., Ṛṣis like Mirīci [Mārīci?], &c. As has been said “the Devas like Brahmā and the rest are called Manus because they possess intelligence or Manas in a very high degree, and these Devas are divided into four classes, according as they are Brhāmaṇas, Kṣatriyas, etc., their sons called Marīci, &c., are called Mānavas because they are sons of Manu or Brahmā.” Even these Ṛsis are not worshipped as Devas, but because they are fathers and teachers of humanity. The lower Devas should never be worshipped.
The degraded non-Devas should never be worshipped, though they bear the names of Brahma, etc. They are called Devas, because they are poor and miserable.
The word Deva as applied to them is derived from the root √dī from which the word dina is also derived, namely from √di to be poor, to perish.’ The word Deva is a generic term and is applied both to Asuras and Suras while the word Manu is confined to Devas only, in the better sense of that word; and, therefore, in the above verse, the word Manu is used and not the well-known word Deva. But what is the specific sphere of these two words, Devas as Suras, and Devas as Asuras? To this the Commentator replies.
The Vedic Devas (Suras) called Brahma and the rest accept oblations then only, when they are offered to them with devout spirit, while the lower Devas take them when they are not so offered.
Since both Suras and Asuras have got the names of Brahmā, &c., how is it that an oblation offered with the Mantra “Brahmādibhyaḥ Svāhā” will go to the Deva Brahmā and not to the Asura Brahmā? The reaching of the offering to the Deva Brahmā takes place then only, when the sacrificer offers it in the spirit of a Bhāgavata, namely, when he knows the gradation of the Devas, and realises that Viṣṇu is the highest of all; if he does not do so, the Asura Brahmā and the others take such offering.
An objection is raised: it is not proper to say that the means of attaining Mokṣa are the knowledge of (he gradation of the Devas and their mutual differences, and ekāntitva, i.e., knowledge of the Lord by realising Him to be the only refuge. Because both the gradation and ekāntitva may exist in a person and yet the man may be far from Mokṣa. To this the Commentator says:—
By the knowledge of the deva gradation, by ekāntitva and by faultlessness alone, the Mokṣa is insured as a rule, the other (two) means are mere vexation for waste of energy).
The ‘other means’ refer to the knowledge of gradation and ekāntitva. The only unfailing means of insuring mokṣa is acchidratva—faultlessness in action, want of defectiveness in the performance of religious ceremonies and duties. This word appears to be a technical term of the Mādhvas. Vidambana [Viḍambana?]—‘vexation’ or ‘deception.’ means, that they alone are not the means of Mokṣa. Thus having described one means of getting Mokṣa. namely acchidratva (combined with the knowledge of gradation and ekāntitva). the Commentator mentions a second means of attaining release
The highest devotion (bhakti) to Viṣṇu is verily a (specific) cause for the attainment of release.
Not only the bhakti to Viṣṇu is the cause of Mokṣa but bhakti to the immediate devotees of Viṣṇu, such as, Ramā, &c., is also a cause.
So also devotion to his devotees, like Ramā and the rest, in due order, after Viṣṇu, is also a cause of mokṣa.
The Commentator now mentions a third means of acquiring mokṣa:—
The third cause in the attainment of Mokṣa is Vairāgya (dispassion) also. There is no other (fourth) means of getting Mokṣa:—
The word ‘third’ shows that Vairāgya is not equal to the other two—namely, Jñāna (knowledge) and bhakti (devotion), or it may show that Vairāgya is a means of getting the other two. The three means, therefore, are the Jñāna, Bhakti, and Vairāgya. If these be the only means of getting mokṣa, why do the Śāstras enjoin the performance of sacrifices, etc.? To this the Commentator replies:—
Everything other than these (three, namely, things like sacrifices, etc.) is ordained (by the scriptures; verily as a means for the sake of attaining these (three).
If the sacrifices, etc.., be the means of getting Jñāna, Bhakti and Vairāgya, and thus a means of getting mokṣa, what is the necessity of the other three? The Commentator shows that Jñāna, &c., are thecauses of mokṣa, and not sacrifices unaccompanied by these:—
One may even perform all (sacrifices), but if he is devoid of these (three or any of them) verily lie goes to the lower darkness (or to the nether world and darkness).
This shows that a performer of mere sacrifices, who abandons the other three, far from getting mokṣa, goes to Lower Regions of Darkness. But a person may not perforin sacrifices, but if he has any one of the other three, he will get Release.
But he who is firmly established in this (Jñāna, &c.) is verily even a Released Eternal though he may have abandoned the other (sacrifices,
This applies to Jñāna-Yogins like Sanaka and the rest. Human beings should perform sacrifices also.
Therefore I shall tell the gradation of the Devas, (in the order) as mentioned in the Śruti.
The force of ‘therefore’ is, because the knowledge of gradation is a cause of mukti, ‘therefore, etc.’
The Earth is always higher, in all attributes, than all Elements (bhūta).
The elements refer to the Elemental Devas called Ṛbhu, etc. Because “the Ṛbhus merge in the Earth-Deva”—says a Śruti.
The word rasa (translated in the above as vara or ‘higher’) is synonymous with sāra (essence) and vara (better). All three denote the same idea.
Higher than the Earth is Varuṇa; higher than Varuṇa is Soma, the Devatā of plants; higher than that, is Man, namely, Rudra, because he is the Devatā of virility (the generative organ); higher than Rudra is Sarasvatī, the goddess of speech; higher than speech, Ṛk (the goddess of Ṛk); higher than the goddess of Ṛk is Vāyu, called also Sāman. He is called Sāman, because he is same in all beings, and because he is the presiding deity of all Sāman Hymns; higher than Vāyu is Viṣṇu. He is higher than the highest, from eternity.
The sentence “sa eṣa rasānām rasatamaḥ paramaḥ parārdhyo’ ṣṭamo ya udgīthaḥ” is divided into three parts, namely, 1. “sa eṣa rasānām rasatamaḥ”, 2. “sa eṣa paramaḥ”, 3. “sa eṣa parārdhyaḥ”.
The Commentator now explains these three. He takes up the first, namely, Rasānām Ṛasatamaḥ and explains it thus:—
Vāyu, who is higher than the highest (Sarasvatī) is itself inferior to Śrī-tattva, who is called parama; and Viṣṇu is higher than this Śrī herself, He is all-pervading. He is called the parārdhya, because he is accompanied by (or possesses) parārdhi (Śrī). Thus we find in the Sāra-nirṇaya.
The whole of the above is a quotation from the Sāra-nirṇaya.
A doubt is here raised. The combination of “para ridhi” will be parardhi, and not parārdhi; and the secondary derivative from parardhi, would be parardhya, and not parārdhya; how is then parārdhya obtained from parardhi? To this the Commentator answers:—
The force of long “Ā” in parārdhya is to denote superlative degree or Atiśaya. In parārdhya, the meaning of the para is parama or highest. He who has the attribute of having the highest Ridhi is called parama rdhiguṇa. It is a Bahuvrīhi compound. He who possesses parārdhi is called parardhya.
He who possesses the quality of pramardhi [paramardhi?] in the highest degree is called paramaḥ parārdhyaḥ.
The second sentence is “sa eṣa paramaḥ”, and it means ‘he is the highest.’ The word ‘highest’ here is not a separate attribute of Viṣṇu but qualifies ṛddhi. The meaning of parama is ‘in the highest degree.’
An objection is raised that in “paramaḥ parārdhyaḥ” the word paramaḥ cannot be an attribute of ṛddhi. for if it were so, the form would be parama-parārdhyaḥ. But the paramaḥ has the sign of case-affix after it. To this, it is replied, that this is no valid objection. because we have such examples in other places also. Vedeśa Bhikṣu then gives two suchjllustrations.
Or the sentence sa eṣa, etc., may be taken as one sentence, and not three as above; and in that case, its meaning would be what the Commentator next gives:—
Uttamebhyo’py ati-paramottamotamaḥ rasānām rasatamaḥ paramaḥ parārddhyaḥ.
Out of the Best Ones, He is the Best of the best amongst the very High (most excellent) Ones. This is the meaning of the phrase ‘of the essences the best essence, the highest, the top-most.’
The meaning of rasānām is uttamebhyaḥ api, ‘even among the Best Ones;’ the meaning of rasatamaḥ paramaḥ parārdhyaḥ is ati parāmottamottamaḥ, ‘the Best of the best among the Very High Ones.’
He who is higher (ati paramaḥ) than the best ones (uttamebhyaḥ) is called uttame-bhyo’py ati paramaḥ. He who, is higher (uttama) than him, is called uttamebhyo’pyati paramottama. He who is higher (uttama) than him even, is called uttamebhyo’py ati-paramottamottamottamaḥ; i.e., the Best of the best among the Very High Ones. This Being is called the rasānām rasatamaḥ paramaḥ parārdhyaḥ.
Out of the Best Ones, He is the Best of the best among the Very High Ones.
An objection is raised again. The word rasānām is in the genitive plural, how do you explain it by uttamebhyaḥ, a word in the ablative plural. Moreover, each of the words, rasatamaḥ, paramaḥ and parārdhyaḥ, appears to be a separate adjective, qualifying one and the same word, why do you explain them as ati paramottamottamaḥ—“the best among the best among the very high.” To this the commentator replies by saying that the word “sakāśāt” in the ablative is understood after “rasānām”—“Out of the objects of greatness (rasa).” (It is thus that the genitive is explained by an ablative):—
The sense is that out of all the best (rasa) entities even, He is the supremely High (parārdhya) the highest entity. Therefore, he is called the Best of the Best among the Very High Ones.
(The words “rasatamaḥ paramaḥ parārddhya” are not separate adjectives, but one, namely “parama parārddhyaḥ rasatamaḥ=atiparamottamottamaḥ”—“The Best of the Best among the Very High Ones.”)
Another objection is raised again. If the sentence “ta[?] eṣa rasānām” etc., be taken as three sentences, as has been done before, and if each of these be an attribute of the Lord, then the mention of three attributes is superfluous, as all of them denote one idea of greatness. One of them would have sufficed. To this the Commentator replies:—
The superiority of the Lord is not like (or similar) to the superiority of Pranas, etc., over the Elements, etc. On the contrary, there is a vast difference. To indicate this (unique superiority of the Lord over every other being), the multitude of epithets, like rasānām rasatamaḥ, (Paramaḥ, Parārdhyaḥ) have been used (in the Śruti).
Having given the sense meaning of the phrases parama parārdhya rasatama, the Commentator now gives their literal meanings.
The Earth-deva possesses superiority (rasatva) over the Elements; Varuṇa is higher in superiority to Her (rasa-tara-tvam); Soma is highest in superiority (rasa-tama-tvam); Rudra has extremely highest superiority (parama rasa-tamatvam); Vāk has higher than extremely highest superiority (paramardha-rasa-tamatvam), Prāṇa has greater than the higher than the extremely highest superiority (parama-parardha-rasa-tamatvam).
(If Prāṇa is “paramaparārdharasatama” greater-than-the-higher-than the extremely highest superior—then the Lord God being above Prāṇa should be called parama-parārdha-rasatama. The long “ā” in parārdha would show this comparative superiority. But He would not be called parama-parārdhya-rasatamaḥ, which shows a degree higher still. To this the Commentator replies.)
But this Lord is not (immediately) higher than Prāṇa, and therefore He is not called parama-parāddha-rasatamaḥ. Because higher thaṇ Prāṇa is Ramā who is called param-parārdha-rasatamaḥ. The Lord is higher even than Ramā who herself is the essence (rasa) of Prāṇa Himself: therefore the Lord is called parama-parārdhya-rasatamaḥ.
But how do you show from the words param-parārdhya-rasatamaḥ (which is an epithet of the Lord) that He is higher than Rama called parama-parārdha-rasatamaḥ. For there is nothing in the above epithet to show a comparative for “ya” is nowhere a sign of comparison. To this the Commentator says that the letter “ya” in the above is a sign indirectly of the comparative degree.
He who is known through the medium of Parārdha (Śrītattva) is called Parārddhya and therefore Parārdhya is higher than Parārdha), because He is infinitely higher than even this Ramā who herself has an infinity of attributes.
The √yā to know’ takes the affix “ka” with the force of accusative. “parārdha+yā=parārdhya”—“known through-Parārdha.” “ya” therefore is a noun here meaning ‘known.’ The “a” of “dha” elided anomalously. Let it be so: but how the name Parārdhya is exclusively applied to the Lord alone? It may be applied to Brahmā, etc., also, for they are also known through the Parārdha. To this the answer is that He is infinitely higher than this, namely His own Śrī Tattva. This Śrī tattva possessing an infinity of attributes is surpassed even by the Lord. But the quality of being known through this innumerable invisible Parārdha belongs to the multitudes of Jīvas also: why are they not called Parārdhya? To this the answer is that it is applied to the Lord alone who is supremely higher than Śrī tattva.
An objector says. In counting from the Elements upwards through earth, etc., we find that Vāk will be parama-para-rasatama; the Ṛk will be parama-pararddha-rasatama, and the Lord known through this parārdha or Prāṇa will be parama-parārdhya-rasatamaḥ. This would establish, no doubt, the superiority of the Lord over Prāṇa: but not over Ramā who does not come anywhere in the above gradation. To this the reply is that the above explanation was given by taking Vāk and Ṛk as identical and as not two separate classes. But if Ṛk (as Sarasvatī) be taken as separate from Vāk even then the superiority of the Lord over Ramā would be established Therefore, the Commentator says:—
If Ṛk (Sarasvatī) be taken as separate from and higher than Vāk, even then also counting from the elements (bhūta), Prāṇa would be only parama parārdha-rasatama; and not parama-parārddhi-rasatama. (In the case when parārdha is applied to Ramā, we derive it thus). She who is in every way superior (ṛddha [ṛddham]) to the high (para) is parārdha. In this case the word parārdhya would denote the Lord). For he who is known through the innumerable attributes of this Śrītattva (called parārdha) is designated here as parārddhyam, namely the Lord. (In the other case, Prāṇa is only parama-parārdha rasatama and not parama-parārdhi-rasatama). For she who is higher than parārddha (Prāṇa) is called parārddhi (the force of “i” is to denote superiority, because it denotes lordliness Thus Parārdhi is the name of Śrī. He. who is known through the innumerable attributes of this parārddhi is called parārddhyam. Thus the Lord called parārddhyam is even higher than Śrī. Thus is explained the phrase “rasānām rasatamaḥ paramaḥ parārddhyaḥ”.
3. Who is then Ṛk? Who is Sāman? Who is Udgītha? This is the subject for consideration. The Ṛk indeed is Speech, the Sāman is Prāṇa, the Udgītha is the Imperishable, Joyful, Highest alone.—3.
[Note.—Vāk—namely the Goddess Sarasvatī, the presiding deity of all the Vedas. The same who has been mentioned as higher than Puruṣa and Rudra. But the Speech here is to be distinguished from the Speech there, in its functions, Sarasvatī has many forms: one of which is as me presiding deity of all the Vedas. where she has no connection with Prāṇa. The other form is the presiding deity of Ṛk, where she has connection with Prāṇa. All inspirations come from Sarasvatī. As a general inspirer of all scriptures, she is speech of the lower order, as the special inspirer of Ṛk. winch she does in combination with Prāṇa, she is speech of the higher order. Just as Ramā has also two aspects: first as the Essence of the Vedas, second as consort of the Lord. Similary, Vāk as the consort of Prāṇa has a higher aspect than the same Vāk who is not acting as the consort of Prāṇa.]
[Note.—Sāma—Sāman; because he is same (sama) in all creatures, and because he is the presiding deny of the Sāma Veda.]
Note.—The deities like Ṛbhu, Earth, Varuṇa, Soma and Rudra are well known as deities of Elements, Earth, Water, plants and animals (men), and no doubt arise about them: so no question has been put regarding these. But the highest three, the Great Trinity, the Lord, the Speech and the Breath are not so well known. Therefore this question is asked here.
Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:
The Pṛthivī as the deva of the earth, and Soma and Varuṇa as the Devas of plants and waters, and Rudra as the Deva of the generative organ animals) are all known deities; (and therefore, require no further elucidation. But not so the rest. Therefore the Ṛk, etc., alone are here taken into consideration, by asking ‘What is Ṛk, etc.’
But the Ṛk and Sāmnan and Udgītha are also well known terms. Why should they be specifically mentioned hero? To this the Commentator says
Moreover a knowledge of these (Ṛk, etc. produces specific fruit (hence they alone are considered here and not the others).
An old objection, however, remains unanswered, namely, though the knowledge of Pṛthivī, etc., devas does not conduce to any specific result, yet, as the essential nature of these Devas is not well-known, it would have been better had the Śruti given a detailed description of these Devas of the Earth, water, plants and animals also.
Another objection is, because the knowledge of Ṛk, etc., produces specific fruit, therefore, they are mentioned here, so does the knowledge of Vāk also produce specific fruit. Why is it not mentioned here? To this the Commentator answers:
But Vāk being well-known as Sarasvatī, (is not mentioned here.)
On this reasoning, Ṛk etc. also should not be considered here, for they are also well-known. To this the Commentator answers
Vāk and Ṛk are, moreover, identical so Vāk has not been separately enquired into here.
The identity of Vāk and Ṛk is mentioned in the Śruti Vag eva Ṛk. Therefore, the consideration of Ṛk includes the consideration of Vāk also.
The old objection still remains that though Vāk and Ṛk be identical, yet as they are different aspects of the same entity, they ought to have been separately described.
Another objection is raised now. It is not proper to identify Vāk with Ṛk: for it is said in the Śruti “Ṛk is higher than Vāk.” How can a thing which is higher than another be identical with it? One cannot be higher than his own self. To which the Commentator answers:—
Vāk is called Ṛk when she is specifically (and highly) united with Prāṇa. (As the consort of Prāṇa, Vāk or Sarasvatī gets the designation of Ṛk.)
This is shown from the etymology of ṛk. It comes from the √ṝ ‘to go.’ Ṛk literally means ‘gone,’ motion’ ‘combination,’ for motion produces union or combination. Vāk can appropriately unite with Prāṇa only. And as such union of Vāk with Prāṇa, gives to Vāk, a higher aspect, it is called the ‘specific high union.’ Thus the root meaning of ṛk itself shows this combination. Thus the Commentator says:—
From the explanation of the very word ṛk derived from the root √ṝ ‘to go’, we find that ṛktva means ‘union, (marriage)’? (Hence Vāk when married is called Ṛk; when single she is Vāk.)
Similarly, the word Sarasvatī also denotes Ṛk. It is derived from √sṛ, to ‘move’; hence Sarasvatī means possessing sara or motion; or sarga, ‘creation, she, who has the abhimāna (conceit) of creation, or the goddess presiding over creation is called Sarasvatī.’
Vāk is called Sarasvatī because she presides over creation (sarga). The same Vāk is called Sarasvatī when not in this specific union with Prāṇa (and thus in her married state as Ṛk, she is said to be higher than her former single state of Vāk). Thus the same Vāk becomes inferior in her single state, to herself when she is in union with Prāṇa. Thus one and the same Vāk becomes different and has two aspects, first as not in union with Prāṇa, second as united with him.
An objection is raised if Vāk and Ṛk are identical, then it is not proper to say that Ṛk is higher than Vāk. If they are separate, then it is not proper to say ‘that which, is Vāk. is verily Ṛk.’ This objection is also answered by the above considerations; by which Vāk is shown to have a two-fold aspect, as single and married.
Having explained the unity of Vāk, and the union of Vāk with Prāṇa the commentator now shows the identity of Prāṇa and Sāman.
Therefore the Śruti says, ‘Vāk is verily Ṛk and Prāṇa is verily Sāman.’
The phrase “Om ity etad akṣaram udgīthaḥ” is not to be explained as ‘this syllable Om is called Udgītha.’ Its proper explanation is what the commentator now gives
The word akṣaram is a compound of two words “Akṣa” and “Ra”. “Akṣa” means imperishable and “Ra” means bliss; therefore, the whole word Akṣara ‘he whose essential nature is bliss and imperishableness.’ Or it may mean, ‘He who takes delight in Akṣa or senses, i.e., He who is present in the activity of all senses.’ Therefore, it means the nearest. Akṣara, therefore, is the name of Lord Viṣṇu.
He is called Om because he is highest (for Om is equal to Ucca). The word ‘iti’ in the above Śruti has the meaning of excluding all other ideas. Therefore, ‘Om iti’ means ‘the only Highest.’ Thus he is verily alone the highest. The meaning of the word etad ‘this’ in the above Śruti means, ‘this Lord who always dwells in the heart.’ He is called Udgītha because he is always sung as the Highest, He is the Lord, the Puruṣottam.
4. Now Vāk and Prāṇa form one couple, and Ṛk and Sāman another Those couples are joined or become united in the Imperishable Om (when they are in a state of Sāyujya Mukti).—4.
Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:
Vāk and Prāṇa even are a couple (and so also Ṛk and Sāman constitute a couple). They become united in the Lord Janārdana in the state of Sāyujya Mukti.
But in the state of Mukti all get united in the Lord: what is the peculiarity about this couple? To this the Commentator answers:—
But all other (Jīvas) get union in the state of Release in the Lord, only through the grace of this couple (Vāk and Prāṇa——the Word and the Life——), after them; (and) through their mediation only; while Prāṇa alone gets direct union with the Lord Hari.
The Sāyujya Mukti obtained by Prāṇa is immediate and direct, without the intervention of any other being; the same obtained by others is indirect and mediate, always through the grace of Prāṇa through Vāk.
An objection is raised. The Lord called Udgītha has been described as higher than Sarasvatī and Prāṇa, who are named here as Ṛk and Saman. How is this? Their greatness is proclaimed in Śrutis; while here they are made to occupy a subordinate position. To this it is replied that this is no valid objection. The Lord is greater even in comparison to them, for the Lord is their refuge also, though they are Released Ones. Thus Mantra 4 declares that such a high couple, as the Word and the Life, is supported by the Lord, though they are eternal Muktas.
5. When verily these couples are united in the Lord, then they fulfil each other’s desires. He verily becomes a fulfiller of desires; who knowing thus, meditates on the Imperishable Udgītha, i.e., Nārāyaṇa as the Most High—5.
6. That Om, verily, is a word of benediction; when any one blesses another, he says “Om, may Nārāyaṇa do as thou sayest.” Now this (Om of blessing) also denotes gratification (“May Lord gratify your desires.”) He, who knowing this, meditates on the Imperishable Udgītha Om, becomes indeed a person whose blessings fulfil the desires of others and whose own desires also are gratified.—6.
Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:
In mantra 6 it is said that Om is a word of benediction and people use it in blessing. That mantra appears abruptly and prima facie looks irrelevant. The Commentator shows its relevancy now
Therefore by uttering “Om,” these people always give benediction, (because Om is the name of Hari).
Let Om be a word of benediction, why should that be a reason to call it a name of the Lord? To this the Commentator replies:—
For it is said that Om used as a benedictive term means “may the Lord Keśava do even so: as thou hast said,” and the ancients used this word Om with this denotation (of blessing). (Hence Om is a designation of the Lord.)
But how is it that the moderns do not use the word Om, with this denotation “may Lord bless you?” To this the Commentator answers
But the ignorant people use Om to give their own permission (or blessing) and say Om is a term of giving permission.
The Commentator now explains the phrase “eṣaḥ eva samṛddhi, etc.”—“this blessing denotes gratification.”
This word “Om” means (also) Full, because gratification is verily called Om, i.e., fulfilment.
But how Om comes to denote gratification? Says the Commentator:—
Or because “may this thy desire become gratified by Hari w$s the form of ancient benediction, when the word Om was uttered; therefore, Om has come to mean God and gratification given by Hari.
Note.—Thus Om. primarily used for benediction, has come to mean God and Gratification given by Hari.
Om would simply mean “gratification,” “prosperity.” How do you make it “gratification given by Hari?” This the Commentator next explains:
Or (the word Om used as) a benediction may mean “may Hari be the giver of gratification to you.”
Note.—This commentary comes just after the commentary on mantra 3, and before that of mantra 1. No satisfactory reason is given by Vedeśa Bhikṣu for this break in the order, though he mentions it and says “The order of Śruti text is broken for the sake of facility of considering connected topics together.”
Thus Om used as benedictive particle meant either (1) May Lord Keśava cause that to come to pass which thou hast spoken (2) Or may Hari fulfil all they desires.
7. Through that Lord Viṣṇu called Om is revealed ṭhe three-fold sciences; uttering Om, the Adhvaryu priest recites the Āśrāvaṇa mantra, uttering Om the Hotṛ priest recites the Śaṃśana mantras; uttering Om, the Udgātṛ priest recites the Udgāna mantras; all for the glory of that Imperishable ever blissfol Beloved; and for the sake of worship of that Viṣṇu. By the command of that Full and Supremely High Lord called Om, perform ye both His worship, whether ye understand Him thus or ye do not.—7.
[Note.—Trayī—three-fold, (Ṛk, Yajus and Sāman).]
[Note.—Vartate—proceeds, is revealed, promulgated. That is, Om is the concentrated essence of the three Vedas. All the mantras of those Vedas are but explanation or expansion of Om.]
Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:
From that Viṣṇu alone proceeds this three-fold knowledge. (Thus all the meanings of the Vedas are concentrated in Om). By first uttering Om, all (Āsrāvaṇa, &c.) mantras are recited as an explanation of Om: (all these Mantras of the three Vedas are as if, an expansion and explanation of the Highest mantra Om.) All mantras indeed from eternity are for the sake of the worship of Viṣṇu alone, named Om (and of no one else). Therefore, as commanded by Viṣṇu Almighty, the Supreme (lit. Essence), perform both, ye wise and ignorant, all works, whether ye know Him thus or do not know Him so.
8. But the knowledge and ignorance are different (and opposed to each other). The man who worships the Lord, with knowledge, faith and propriety (to the utmost of his capacity, in secret), verily, his worship alone is conducive to endless reward, (not so the worship of the ignorant, whose reward is limited). This is the full explanation of this Ever-present Imperishable Om.—8.
[Note.—Vīryavattaram (Vīryavattara)—more powerful, (means to the acquirement of the unending fruit, viz., Mukti); and after Mukti, such works increase the bliss (of Release).]
[Note.—Upavyākhyānam, explanation of Upa; Upa=nearest, standing in front, i.e., Om, the ever-present.]
8. Let one worship the Lord Udgītha, even in Him who is this Chief Prāṇa; for thus through Him, the other (lower pranas) become fully known.—8.
[Note.—Atha, now (after having described the meditation on the Lord named Om, we shall mention the place where He is to be meditated).]
Note.—This portion is not found in ordinary Upaniṣad texts. Vedeśa Bhikṣu says “This is according to the recension of some teachers.”
Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:
There is no Release for the ignorant, verily it is for the wise alone )(The word) Upaniṣad means ‘according to one’s capacity, appropriate to one;’ (and Vidyā means) complete knowledge. The word akṣara means the Lord Viṣṇu. The word upa means that which is in Hie presence, i.e., the word Om. The word upa-vyākhyā. thus means an Explanation of upa or Om (the ever-presence of the Lord). Thus the great Śruti declares. This is in Tātīrya.
By taking Vāk as separate from Ṛk, four grades have been mentioned, namely; 1. Pararddham, 2. Parārddham, 8. Pararddhi. 4. Parārddhyam. The meanings of these words not being well-known, the Commentator explains them.—
Pararddham is higher than Parama (highest): Parārddham is higher even than Pararddham; Pararddhi is higher than Parārddham; higher than Pararddhi is Parārddhyam.
[The Commentator now quotes an authority for the explanation of these words that he has given.]
Says Śabda Nirṇaya:—Vāyu is called Parārddha; because it is above that who is higher than Parama (the highest). The Goddess Śrī is called Parārddhinī; the Lord Hari is Himself the Parārddhya.