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...

Second Adhyaya, Tenth Khanda (5 mantras)

Mantra 2.10.1.

1. Now then let one meditate on the seven-fold Harmonious, whose forms are equal to each other, and who is deathless. Hiṅkāra has three syllables and Prastāva has also three syllables. Therefore, both these forms (Pradyumna and Vāsudeva) are equal to each other (in knowledge, bliss and power).—123.

[Note.—Ātmasammitam, self standard, one that cannot be compared to anything else than its own self, as gagana or space has nothing else to compare it with than itself. Or it may mean equal to each other. Uniform to itself.]

Mantra 2.10.2.

2. The word Adi has two syllables and the word Pratihāra has four syllables, taking one syllable from the last and adding it to the first, both become tri-syllabic. Therefore Varāha and Aniruddha are equal (in knowledge, bliss and power).—124.

Mantra 2.10.3.

3. The word Udgītha has three syllables, the word Upadrava has four syllables. The three and three are equal, the one syllable (of upadravaḥ) which is left over, is also tri-syllabic; therefore, it also is equal to the other names, (like Hiṅkāra, Prastāva, etc., and it is the name of Kṣirābdhiśāyin).—125.

Mantra 2.10.4.

4. The word Nidhana has three syllables; therefore, this name of the Lord is also verily equal to the other names. Thus altogether there are twenty-two syllables.—126.

Mantra 2.10.5.

5. By the knowledge of the twenty-first (Kalki), a man reaches the sun (Kalki residing in the sun); for Kalki is verily the twenty-first from here (Keśava in the forehead). By the knowledge of the twenty-second, he attains what is beyond Kalki. He is the Griefless and He is the Destroyer of grief (of His devotees).—127.

Mantra 2.10.6

6. He who meditates on this seven-fold form of the Harmonious thus, knowing each to be equally (great and) uniform with the other and Deathless, attains (not only) here the form residing in the earth, etc., hut reaches (Kalki in) the sun, and indeed a higher attainment than the reaching the sun (viz., reaching Kṣīrābdhiśāyin).—128

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

The Śruti now teaches the meditation on the seven-fold Lord called Sāma, by showing that when thought of with regard to the attributes of knowledge, bliss and power, there is always difference in Pradyumna, etc., which are the forms of the Lord. All these forms have this peculiarity, and differ from all other entities in this, that while the latter differ from each other in the possession of the quantity and quality of knowledge, bliss and power, wisdom, intelligence, joy and activity; yet these Divine Forms are absolutely equal to each other, so far as these three qualities are concerned.

The old view is that this Khaṇḍa relates to the well-known Sāma Veda. That is wrong. For it is impossible for any scripture or for the Sāma Veda, which consists of mere words, to possess the attributes of being “Ātmā Sammita,” “uniform with itself, or of “leading beyond death.” Such, however, are the attributes given to it here. The qualities moreover of being “griefless,” etc., are inapplicable to any scripture. But, says an objector, “even if it be taken as applying to the Lord, how can the Lord be said to be “uniform with itself,” because differences appear in the various forms that He assumes from time to time. For though the words “Gau” and “Go,” both denote the same thing, namely, “a cow,” yet they are not the same, so far as the words are concerned. Therefore, the epithet that the Lord is “uniform-in-itself” is not appropriate. To this the Commentator answers by quoting an authority:

He who has no one else equal or like unto Him, and whose forms are all equal and of the same kind, He is called “Ātmā Sammita; such is Viṣṇu. He is called “beyond death,” because He is deathless. That Viṣṇu exists seven-fold, having seven forms called Pradyumna, Vāsudeva, Varāha, Nārāyaṇa, Aniruddha, Nṛsiṃha [Nṛ Siṃha] and Saṅkarṣaṇa. All these forms, however, are equal in knowledge, bliss and power.

According to old commentators the words Hiṅkāra and Prastāva are called equal, and are said to be the names of Sāma Veda. This is an erroneous explanation; and is due to not understanding the full significance of the words “Tat Sāma which occur so many times in the Khaṇḍa. The Commentator shows that all these names Hiṅkāra, Prastāva, etc., when analysed, resolve themselves into three syllables each, and that those which have a syllable less or more, become tri-syllablic by adding a syllable from another name, or rejecting one. Thus we have eight forms and names mentioned In this Khaṇḍa, each of which is the name of the Lord, and denotes the possession of the three attributes of knowledge, bliss and power.

The following table will make it clear:—

Name. Knowledge. Bliss. Power.
1. Hiṅkāraḥ Pradyumna... Hiṅ raḥ
2 Prastāvaḥ Vāsudeva...... Pra stā vaḥ
3. Ādipra Varāha Ā di pra
4. Tihāraḥ Aniruddha Ti raḥ
5. Udgīthaḥ Nārāyaṇa Ut thaḥ
6. Upadra Nṛsiṃha U pa dra
7. Nidhanam Saṅkarṣaṇa.. Ni dha nam
8. Vaḥ Kṣīrābdhiśāyin V a

According to Madhva, Vaḥ denotes the eighth form of the Lord (the form that sleeps on the cosmic ocean.)

The three syllables of all the names Hiṅkāra, etc., belonging to the various forms of the Lord, always denote the three attributes, namely, knowledge, bliss and power, syllable by syllable. (Thus, every form not only possesses these three attributes, but its very names also denote the same fact).

Though Ādi has only two syllables yet taking the syllable Pra, from the beginning of the word Pratihāra and joining it to the name Ādi (which thus becomes Ādipra), we get both names of the Lord tri-syllabic (one as Ādipra and the other as Tihāra.)

The word Upadrava has four syllables. Its last syllable is taken separately, as making one word (and itself consisting of three letters Vaḥ.)

Though in Upadravaḥ the syllable “vaḥ” is left off as excessive, yet it is also the name of Nārāyaṇa, and designates that form of His, which sleeps on the ocean of milk. But in the case of this word, instead of syllables, we take the three letters vaḥ as denoting the three attributes, knowledge, bliss and power: thus this vaḥ becomes the name of the Sleeper on the ocean of milk, and is also expressive of knowledge, bliss and power; and thus the Supreme Person is denoted by this word also. He who knows the meaning of the word vaḥ attains the Lord, sleeping on the ocean of space. But by knowing Him in the remaining twenty-one syllables, the Lord presiding in the solar orb is obtained.

This verily Lord Viṣṇu thus becomes possessed of twenty-two forms, of which twenty-one consist of triads of three syllables while the last consists of one syllable only (vaḥ); and designates the Sleeper on the ocean of milk- Thus the Lord has twenty-two forms.

The four forms Pradyumna, Vāsudeva, Varāha and Nārāyaṇa have each a triad in it, and thus they become twelve (3 x 4 = 12). They are rulers of twelve months and dwell in those months and these presiding deities of the months have the twelve names beginning with Keśava and the rest.

The fifth Aniruddha has three forms, the sixth Nṛ Simba is also a triad; the triad of Aniruddha and the two forms of Nṛsiṃha form a pentad; and this pentad presides over the five seasons in the form of fish, etc.

The third form of the triad of Nṛsiṃha (two already have been appropriated by the seasons), resides in earth and is called Jāmadagnya. The triad of the seven namely of the Saṅkarṣaṇa consists of three forms, namely, Rāma, Kṛṣṇa and Kalki which exist in the sky, heaven and the sun, respectively. By knowing any one of these twenty forms of the Lord, one goes to that form of the Lord which resides in that particular locality: that is, one goes to that Loka on which that form presides. By knowing the twenty-second form, called the Lord-sleeping-on-the-ocean-of-milk, one attains the indestructible form, the highest Mukti.

This incidentally shows that Mukti is not attained until the Yogī reaches the Śvetadvīpa where sleeps Kṣīrābdhiśāyin.

This twenty-second form is called Nākam, because it is free from all sorrow and grief. “K” means happiness, “aka” means absence of happiness. Naka means negation of the absence of happiness, that is, positive joy. The double negative shows the intensity of joy; because He is essentially full of intense bliss. He is called Viśoka because He destroys all the sorrows of “His devotees.” Thus in the Sāma Saṃhitā.

It has been mentioned above that the worship of any particular form of the Lord takes the worshipper to the loka on which that Lord presicles. An objector says: this assertion is not absolutely correct, because it has also been said that the worshipper of the form of the Lord presiding over earth, gets to the Solar world also, because all forms are uniform to each other. This objection is answered by the Commentator by taking up the sixth Mantra of this Khaṇḍa and explaining it.

The phrase “He obtains here victory over the Sun” is next explained. The word here means that even if he has reached that form of the Lord which presides over earth, he attains also that form which is in the Sun; since all forms are uniform and are one in their community of power and bliss and knowledge. The phrase “To Him accrues a victory higher than the victory over the Sun,” is now explained. After attaining to the Lord who is called Aditya and who resides in the Sun he obtains a higher victory, namely, he obtains another form of the Lord called Sleeper-on-the-ocean-of-milk.

For this the Commentator quotes an authority. “Though it is true that one by worshipping a particular form of Viṣṇu can attain that form, and he thereby can attain all other forms of the Lord; because of the uniformity of all forms; yet the worship of other forms is not a redundancy; because by such worship there accrues increase of happiness to the devotee; therefore, it is always good to worship as many forms of the Lord as one can.

And there is attainment of the twenty-second form more easily. The word “victory” of the text has been explained by the Commentator as attaining the Lord. He next quotes an authority for this interpretation.

The word Jaya, ‘victory’ here means attainment; just as we find it in the following Mantra of the White Yajurveda, XV. 8:—

Iman no deva savitar yajñam praṇaya devavyam sakhividam sattra jitam dhanajitam svarjitam.”

God Savitar speed this God-loved sacrifice of ours, friend-finding, ever-conquering, winning wealth and heaven.

As in the above mantra the word Jaya means attainment, so here also.

Next the phrase ‘verily twenty-first is that which is in the Sun.’ This shows that the Lord in the Sun is twenty-first in order and that this counting begins from here “itaḥ”. But the word ‘here’ is ambiguous. To what does it refer? If it refers to the form in the earth, namely to Jāmadagnya, then the form in the Sun is not twenty-first from it. The Solar form Kalki is twenty-first, if counted from Keśava. This does not refer to their being in the months or seasons but it refers to Keśava, etc., presiding over the various organs of the body commencing with the forehead.

Therefore, the Commentator says:—

The twenty-first is to be counted from the form of Keśava presiding on the forehead and so on, namely:—

On the forehead Keśava; stomach Nārāyaṇa; heart Mādhava; throat Govinda; right side of the stomach Viṣṇu; on the right arm Madhusudana; ear right Trivikrama; left of the stomach Vāmana; left of the arm Śrīdhara; left ear Hṛṣīkeśa; back Padmanābha; shoulder Dāmodara.

But the Śruti says the twelve months, the five seasons and the four Lokas constitute twenty-one. How do you reconcile your explanation with the text?

To this the Commentator answers:—

Hari himself is known by the twelve names of the months. He is called the Caitra because He brings about the union of the moon with Citra Nakṣatra, and so on for other names. He is called Loka because He is all-resplendent (āloka equal to light).

He is called Āditya because He eats up (Ādana) or evaporates all waters by his rays.

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