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, Twenty-third Khanda (2 mantras)

Mantra 2.23.1.

1. There are three branches of (the tree called) Dharma. Sacrifice, study and charity constitute one branch; austerity another; and to dwell as a Brahmacārin in the house of one’s preceptor, always mortifying the body, while so dwelling, the third. All these are blessed and obtain the worlds of the blessed. But the God-absorbed alone obtains immortality (Release).

[Note.—Bhavanti, become. With this difference the householders through sacrifice, study and charity go to the Soma world. All ascetics (Kuticaka [Kuṭīcaka?], Bahudaka [Bahūdaka?], Haṃsa and Paramahaṃsa) reach the Sūryaloka through austerity. The hermits (Vāṇastha) go to the worlds of the Ṛṣis by the same means of austerity; while the temporary and the perpetual Brahmacārī by means of service to their teachers attain the world of the Vālakhilyas. Are not these (sacrifices, etc.,) also means of attaining mukti? To this the Śruti answers.]

[Note.—Brahmasaṃsthaḥ (Brahmasaṃstha)—he who is established or firmly grounded in Brāhmaṇ by obtaining direct vision or knowledge of Brahmaṇ. (aparokṣa jñāna [jñānam]) he alone.]

Mantra 2.23.2.

2. Viṣṇu distilled the entire literature. From that distillation flowed out the triple Vedas. He distilled them again. From that distillation were extracted these three syllables Bhuḥ, Bhuvaḥ, Svar. He distilled these again. They being thus distilled, came out OM. As a needle pierces all the leaves, thus by this syllable Om is pierced the entire speech. Om is verily this Full, the Perfect One. Om is verily this Full, the Perfect One.

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

(It has been mentioned before that the worshippers of individual Sāman and of the entire Sāman get Svarga and Release, respectively. This Khaṇḍa shows who got Mukti and who get merely Svarga).

The Māyāvādins say: the duties like sacrifice, study and charity belong to cho householders; the duties like austerities, etc., belong to the Vānaprasthas; the duties of perpetual celibacy and studentship belong to the Naiṣṭhika Brahmacārins. All those three classes of people, attain by means of the aforesaid duties, to the regions of the Virtuous. The remaining fourth not mentioned by name in the Śruti is the Parivrāṭ who stands firm in Brahma, in the right manner, and he obtains immortality, which is something beyond and distinct from the regions of the Virtuous. According to these Māyāvādins the mukti is only for the Sannyāsin.

This view is contested by the Commentator and he quotes an authority to that effect.

So it is said:—“The persons belonging to any one of the four Aśramas, get by the due discharge of their duties, to the regions of the Virtuous. But all these get release, by the knowledge of Brahman alone.”

(The due discharge of Sannyāsa also leads to the regions of the virtuous and not necessarily to Mokṣa. And when a person, whether a Householder or a Sannyāsī gets Brahma-jñāna, he gets Mokṣa).

(The Śruti says that Oṃkāra was distilled from all the Vyāhṛtis. The commentary now gives the reason for the same.)

Oṃkara is the name of Brahman (of the all Full and possessing perfect and excellent qualities). It is the essence (Ātman) of all speech, because by explaining it (analysing and expanding it) All-words are evolved and explained, thus it is the essence of all speech.

(The Śruti says “oṃkāra eva idam sarvam...”. Oṃkāra is all this. The commentary now explains this. The above phrase does not mean that Oṃkāra is this all, for palpably all is not Om, nor does it mean all words are Om, for that also is not quite accurate. So the commentary takes the word idam as qualifying the word sarvam.)

This Oṃkāra, thus praised in the Śruti, is the Sarvam or Full of all excellent qualities, full of all meanings. In fact Sarvam means Full also. (Thus it follows that this Oṃkāra denotes also the fullness of every thing.)

(Says an objector:—The word Sarvam is in the neuter gender and so cannot refer to Om which is masculine. The reply to this is that the change of gender is a Vaidic license. Or the word Sarvam is in the neuter gender, simply because neuter denotes all genders: and so it is taken here in the masculine; and thus there is no anomaly.)

As it is in construction with Sarvam there is no anomaly of gender. Moreover Sarvam also means there superiority. Thus Om is superior to everything else. And this superiority has been praised in the previous passage “yathā śaṅkuna”, it shows that Oṃkāra is praised as superior to everything else.

(Oṃkāra is said to be the essence of the Vyāhṛtis. As the Vyāhṛtis are three so also Oṃ has three letters. As the Vyāhṛtis are the essence of the three Vedas so Om also is the essence of the three Vedas.)

Oṃ is the essence of the Vyāhṛtis; thus “A” is the essence of Bhūḥ “U” is the essence of Bhuvaḥ, “M” is the essence of Svar, respectively

(In the sentence “prajāpatir lokān abhyatapat—trayī vidya samprasrāvat”, the prima facie meaning is that the brooding of Prajāpati and the flowing out are one and the same The commentary removes this misconception):—

As says a text:—The abhitāpana or brooding is the knowledge—this is the essence of that—it does not mean anything else here. Samprasārava means that knowledge, that sight, (seeing a thing as the essence of a thing) of the Supreme Brahman.

(This sets aside the view that the word Prajāpati here means Virāṭ or Kāśyapa on the contrary, it means the Supreme Brāhmaṇ).

(Says an objector:—If by Prajāpati you take the Supreme Brahmaṇ here, how do you say that a certain idea rose in His mind, for His knowledge is eternal, and does not arise at a particular point of time. To this the commentary answers.

As says a text:—“Though the Lord is eternally Omniscient, yet when as a pastime, He manifests that knowledge, then it is said HE brooded over (abhitapat, otherwise it has no other meaning with regard to the Supreme Self.”

(Says an objector“According to your interpretation, only three Āsramas are mentioned, and not the fourth, for you take the word Brahmasaṃstha not as the name of the fourth or the “sanyāsa āśrama”, as we do, but as meaning one who has the Brahma knowledge. How do you get the fourth Āśrama? To this the commentary answers:—)

The fourth or the duties of a Sannyāsin are included in the word Tapas of the first Mantra. It includes both the Vānaprastha and the Sannyāsin.

“All the Āśramins, whether householders, or Vānaprasthas, Naiṣṭhika Brahmacārins, or Sannyāsins, if they are ignorant of the Supreme Brahmaṇ, (but otherwise duly perform the duties of their Āśramas) get the regions of the Virtuous, but those alone who have got the intuitive and direct vision of Viṣṇu, get Immortality, and not otherwise.”

“By sacrifice, study and charity the householder verily goes to the region of the Moon, (Soma Loka.) The Yatis (Sannyāsins) by austerity go to the region of the Sun (Sūrya Loka), especially the four kinds of Sannyāsins, (namely, Paramahaṃsas, Haṃsas, Kuṭija [Kuṭīca?] and the Bahudakas [Bahūdakas?].) The Vānaprasthas by austerity alone go to the regions of the Ṛṣis, the perpetual students (Naiṣṭhika Brahmacārins) by the mere service of their teachers, go to the regions of the Vālakhilyas. But if they see the God Janārdana, directly; then they attain Immortality (Mokṣa), but not otherwise.”

No one gets Immortality (Mokṣa) by mere sannyāsa. As says a Śruti:—“By knowing Him thus alone one gets here Immortality, there is no other way to attain it” (Śveta., III. 8). So also the words of Lord Bādarāyāṇa (Vedanta Sūtras, Ill. 3.48) “Knowledge only is the means of Release as seen from the emphatic statement.” So also the Lord (in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa:) “Nothing compels me so much in granting Release, as Love. The due discharge of one’s duties the Sankhya, the Yoga, the sacred study, the austerity, the renunciation (Sannyāsa) the charitable and religious works, do not bind (oblige) me to give mukti, O Uddhava!” So also in the Gītā—“Nor by mere renunciation (sannyāsa) doth he rise to perfection (111. 3.) So also the Śruti:—“His sons take his inheritance shows that even householders obtain Release, for the above text refers to the division of inheritance left by a mukta person, who was a householder. It also shows that the householders also can get Jñāna. So also says another text:—“The Release is certain for persons of all castes and stages (Āśramas) through knowledge alone, yea even of the out-castes and of the immoveables, but still the Yati (Sannyāsin) is the best, for Renunciation is the means of getting mokṣa specifically.” As says a text “Having well ascertained the true object, through the knowledge obtained from the study of the Vedas and having purified their nature by renunciation of fruits of action and due performance of duties, the Yatis, etc.” (Muṇḍaka, III. 2. 6.)

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