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, Eighth Khanda (8 mantras)

Mantra 1.8.1.

1. There were three men well versed in Udgītha, viz., Śilaka born in Śālāvatī, Caikitāyana of Dālbhya gotra, and Pravāhaṇa, descendant of Jaibila. They said to each other “We are well skilled in Udgītha, let us have a talk about Udgītha.”—61.

Mantra 1.8.2.

2. They said ‘let it be so’; and sat down. Then Pravāhaṇa Jaibili said “You two, respected sirs, speak out first, for I wish to hear what two Brāhmaṇas have to say.”—62.

Mantra 1.8.2 (continued).

2. Then Śilaka Śālāvatya said to Caikitāvana Dālbhya, “with your permission I will ask you.” “Ask,” said Dālbhya.—63.

Mantra 1.8.3.

3. “In what does Agni merge in mokṣa,”? “In Varuṇa,” he answered. “In what does Varuṇa merge”? “In Sūrya.” “In what does Sūrya merge.”? “In Dakṣa,” he replied. “In what does Dakṣa merge.”? “In Indra,” he answered.—64.

[Note.—Sāmnaḥ—of Sāman, namely of Fire, the presiding deity of Sāman and called also Sāman, because it equally (sāmyāt) burns that which is good and auspicious, and which is bad and inauspicious]

[Note.—Uvāca—he replied. Āpaḥ means Indra, because he fully protects all (ā-pālana) and because he is the presiding deity of water.]

Mantra 1.8.4.

4. “In what does Indra merge, hi mokṣa?” He replied “in Rudra, (the Intelligence that merges in Life or Prāṇa, and is the presiding deity of svarga).” “In what does Rudra merge?” He replied: “let no man think, that there is any higher than Rudra, for we recognise that the Sāma Veda expounds Rudra alone, because its hymns are songs in praise of Rudra alone.” 65.

[Note.—Iti ha uvāca—he said, ‘that Loka or the Light, or Intelligence or illuminator (ā-loka) dwelling in Asu, the chief Prāṇa.” “Asau lokah”, therefore, means “he who dwells in Asu or life, and is illuminator (loka); the name of Rudra”. “Asau loka” does also mean “that world”, or “heaven”, because Rudra is the presiding deity of “that world”.]

[Note.—Svargam (Svarga)—Rudra. Svar is the name of Vāyu or Chief Life; so called because he takes delight in sva or independent or Viṣṇu. He who takes delight in Viṣṇu is called Vāyu or Svar, he who goes (ga=gaccati) to svar or Vāyu in mukti is called Svarga (svar=merging). It is thus the name of Rudra.]

[Note.—Iti ha Uvāca—he said, i.e., let know one think that there is any being higher than Rudra. Though the Ṛṣi Dālbhya knew that Hari is higher than Rudra, yet he calls Rudra here the highest, in order to bring out, through discussion, the Glory of Hari.]

[Note.—Abhi-sam-sthāpayāmaḥ—we know as establishing the worship or expounding the worship of Rudra.]

[Note.—Svarga-saṃstāvam—the extoller of Rudra, the presiding deity of svarga.]

Mantra 1.8.5.

5. Then Śilaka Śālāvatya said to Caikitāyana Dālbhya “O Dālbhya, thy idea of the highest taught in the Saman is imperfect and incomplete. (Thy blasphemy is a mortal one) and if any one were to say, may your head fall off (may you be humiliated); surely your head will fall off” (You will be humiliated).—66.

[Note.—Te—thy, of thee who sayest that there is no higher than Rudra. The sin of thy blasphemy is so great, that if any one were to say to thee, “may your head fall off;” surely it would now fall off. If any one were to say: “You must bow down your head in shame,” you will have to do so.]

[Note.—Vipatiṣyati—surely fall off. The sense is, because I love thee, therefore, I shall not say so. I will not humiliate thee.]

Mantra 1.8.6.

6. Then Dālbhya said “well then, let me learn this from your venerable self.” “Learn it,” said Śālāvatya. “What is the goal of Rudra?” He replied “Brahmā.” “What is the goal of Brahmā?” asked Dālbhya. He replied: “Let no man think that there is any higher than Brahmā, for we recognise that the Sāma Veda expounds Brahmā alone, because its hymns are songs in praise of Brahma alone.”—67.

[Note.—Lokaḥ (Loka)—the Intelligence, i.e., Brahmā, whose name is “Ayam Loka”, because ayam loka also means this world, viz., earth, because Brahmā is the presiding deity of the earth. He is called ‘Ayam’, ‘this, because he is inside of all the Devas—subtler than they.]

Mantra 1.8.7.

7. Then said Pravāhaṇa Jaibili to Śilaka Śālāvatya “O Śilaka Śālāvatya! your idea of the highest taught in the Sāman is finite. (Thy blasphemy is a mortal one) and if any one were to say, ‘May your head fall off,’ surely your head will fall off.” Then Śālāvatya said “Well then, let me know this from you, Sir.” “Know it,” replied Jaibili.—68.

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

The Lord called Udgītha has been described as the best of all. This is illustrated now by a story, in the form of a discussion, in the next two Khaṇḍas. In this Khaṇḍa, the words Sāma, Svara, Prāṇa, Āpa and Dyu, are used, one higher than the other, and they generally mean the Sāma Veda, the tone or articulate sound, breath, food, water, and heaven. The Commentator shows, by quoting an authority, that these words have different meaning here.

As it is in the Nivṛtta:—“Agni is the presiding deity or has the abhimāna of the Sāman (and is denoted by the word Sāma). Svara or articulate sound denotes Varuṇa, i.e., the essential nature of Varuṇa is Svara; and Sūrya is described as the presiding deity or has the abhimāna of the lower Prāṇa (that is, of respiration); Dakṣa is the presiding deity or has the abhimāna of food; Indra has the abhimāna of water; and Śiva, of heaven; each succeeding is higher than the one preceding it. (The word ‘gati’ in Mantras 1.8.3, etc., does not mean here ‘going’; but gradual mukti.) They get Mukti, gradually, in the order mentioned above.

Each attaining the one higher gradually, in the order mentioned above; each merging into the one above it in order, when it gets release.

(The Sāman is identified with Agni) because Agni is the essence (Ātman), of the Vedic speech and Lord of the organ of speech, (and the singing of Sāma depends upon speech, thus Agni is said to be the Lord of Sāma).

The Svara or articulate sound manifests different letters, from different places, such as throat, palate, teeth, etc., by the tongue coming in contact with the waters of those places, and no articulate letter ean be pronounced if there ho no moisture in the mouth.

(Therefore) Varuṇa is identified with articulate sound or Svara, because tone depends upon water.

Food is identified with the Prajāpati Dakṣa and breath with the sun, because of the following ruti [Śruti?].

“Sun verily is Prāṇa and food is Prajāpati.”

Water is identified with Indra and heaven with Rudra, because of the text.

“Apa eva Indra Dyau Vāva Rudra” water is Indra and heaven is indeed Rudra, etc.

Every Ṛṣi knows that Viṣṇu is the highest, how is it then that these two Ṛṣis, Dālbhya and Śilaka, praise Rudra and Brahmā as the Supreme, in these two chapters? We find the reason of it thus given?

Says the Brahma Tarka:—“Though Devas and Ṛṣis know (in a general way) that Hari is the Supreme, yet they sometimes describe others, as the Highest Self, in order to learn specifically and in more detail, the knowledge of Brahman.”

In the sentence “svargam vayam lokam sāma abhisainsthāpayāmaḥ”, the word svarga may mean either heaven, or Indra, the Lord of heaven, and it may be translated as “we recognise the Sāman as identical with svarga or Indra.” Lest one should fall into (his natural error, the Commentator explains that svarga here means Ṛudra.

“We recognise that the Sāma Veda expounds Rudra alone, because its hymns are songs in praise of Rudra alone.” This is the proper translation of the above sentence; because Rudra is the presiding deity of svarga. That is to say, the Sāma Veda is verily in his praise.

The sentence “murdhā to vipatiṣyati iti mūrdhā to vipatet” should be construed as mūrdhā te vipatet iti yah kaścit brūyāt cet vipatiṣyati”. In other words, ‘vipatet’ should be taken first and ‘vipatiṣyati’ in the future tense, as the last; and it should be translated thus:—

If any one were to say ‘may your head fall off,’ surely your head will fall off.”

The word “ayam loka” means Brahmā, because he is the presiding deity (Ātman) of the earth (which is ‘this world’ par excellence.)

Note.—Moreover if the word ‘Svarga’ in this chapter be taken in its ordinary meaning as ‘Heaven;’ then the following incongruity will arise:—In answer to the question “what is the substratum of that world,” the Ṛṣi says “This world.” Thus this earth would become the substratum of heaven, which is an absurdity. If it be said, “this world (earth) supports that world (heaven) by means of sacrifices, gifts, offerings, etc.,” then this is also not a fact, for that world is not nourished by sacrifices, etc. If it be urged that the; Śruti says‘Thus the devas live upon gifts.” And so this world supports that world; or if it be argued that it is a well known fact that this earth is the support of all creatures and therefore it is the support of that world also; we reply that by ‘this world’ you also then do not mean ‘this earth,’ but sacrifices, etc., done here. You have recourse to lakṣaṇā interpretation; which is to be resorted to in extreme cases only. Your second argument about perceptible fact is self refuted; for though ordinary creatures all are supported by the earth; we do not see heaven to be so supported. If you say “that which is below, supports that which is above it, (as the floor supports the table) and so the earth supports the heaven”, we reply, “Your argument is based on false analogy and it contradicts this Upaniṣad as well”. For when asked “what is the support of this world”, the Ṛṣi answers “ether”. Thus ether which is above the earth is said to be the support of the earth which is below it. The incongruities in Śaṅkara’s interpretation are these (1) Earth is made the support of heaven. (2) Ether is made the support of earth. (3) Recourse is had to lakṣaṇā. All these difficulties are removed by the above interpretation of Madhva.

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