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...

Third Adhyaya, Seventeenth Khanda (8 mantras)

Mantra 3.17.1.

1. When (the aspirant) hungers, thirsts and abstains from pleasures, let him meditate (imagine) that he is undergoing (the travails of) initiation.—217.

Note.—The aspirant typifying Sacrifice is compared to initiation, because it is preliminary to the performance of the sacrifice, or because it is a state of pain, from which the sacrifice releases the person. Since every act of the aspirant must be a sacrifice, this Khaṇḍa shows what act resembles what part of the sacrifice. This is a mental method of performing a sacrifice.

Mantra 3.17.2.

2. When (an aspirant) eats, or drinks or enjoys pleasures let him meditate that he is performing the Upasadas.—218.

Mantra 3.17.3.

3. When an aspirant amuses another, or feeds another, or gives delight to another by his company, (let him) meditate that he is singing the stutas and reciting the śastras.—219.

[Note.—Stuta śastraiḥ—with the “Stuta śastras”, praise chants sung in sacrifices. Stutas are the singing of the Sāman hymns; and Śastras are the reciting of eulogistic verses. The laughing, etc., of the aspirant are likened to this part of the sacrifice. The similarity consists in the utterance of sound. As laughing, eating, etc., are accompanied by sound, so also the hymns and recitals.]

Mantra 3.17.4.

4. Austerity, charity, simplicity, kindness and truthfulness form his fee. (Let the aspirant have these as his fee in the mental sacrifice).—220.

[Note.—Dakṣiṇaḥ (Dakṣiṇa)—fee, as no sacrifice is complete unless the fee is paid to the officiating priest, so all human activities, if not accompanied by tapas, dāna [dānam], etc., are imperfect and produce no merit.]

Note.—The first three verses described the three sorts of activities; the first verse described tile activities of repression, not eating (fasting), not drinking, and generally renouncing all delights. The second verse described the activities of expression—eating, drinking and enjoying pleasures or self-seeking activities. The third verse describes the altruistic activities, making others happy. The fourth verse now describes the higher spiritual activities of man.

Mantra 3.17.5.

5. Therefore when they say “she will give birth” or “she lias given birth,’ that is his rebirth. His death is the last sacrificial bath.—221.

[Note.—Satram (Satra)—sacrificial session. In this sacrificial session he gives himself as fee. These words are found in the Madhva’s text as printed in the Kumbakonam series. But these are not found in other editions of the Upaniṣad, nor has the Commentator explained it.]

Note.—In a sacrifice when the soma juice is extracted, expressions like soṣyati “will be extracted,” asoṣṭa “has been extracted,” are used. What are the correspondences to this in Man-sacrifice? The correspondences consist in the birth of an actual son to the Man. When a son is going to be born to a man, people say, “His wife will give birth soṣyati.” When a son is born, they say “asoṣṭa she has given birth.” Thus there is a similarity of expression. The birth of the son is really the rebirth of the man, for he is reproduced in his son. In actual sacrifice, people say “Devadatta will pour out (soṣyati) soma,” and when soma is extracted they say “Devadatta has poured out (asoṣṭa) the soma.” The very same words are used here also. The birth of a man from his father is his first birth; his begetting a son is his second birth, punar-utpādana [utpādanam], reproduction, for the son reproduces the father. The body of the son is a portion of the body of the father.

But what corresponds to the Avabhṛtha bath? When a sacrifice comes to an end the sacrificer bathes: this last bath is called Avabhṛtha. The Death of the Man corresponds to this final bath; as the bath is the culminating point of the Yajña; so death is the culminating point of a Man’s life.

Mantra 3.17.6.

6. Ghora of the clan Aṅgirā having communicated that and this to Kṛṣṇa the son of Devakī—and lie never thirsted again for other knowledge—said: “Let a person when his end approaches, meditate on these three attributes of the Lord: (saying) “Thon art the Imperishable, Thon art the unchangeable, Thou art Sweeter than life itself.” On this subject are the following two Ṛk verses.—222.

[Note.—Apipāsaḥ (Apipāsa)—without thirst (for other methods), fully satisfied. Another reading is “pipāsaḥ eva”, he became thirsty.]

Note.—To make this clear, a story is related to illustrate how this meditation was taught and practised by other sages also.

Mantra 3.17.7.

7. Through His grace alone, (the wise ones) see that pleasant Light of the Ancient Blissful Lord, which shines beyond the Heaven.—(Ṛg Veda VIII. 630).—223.

[Note.—Vāsaram (Vāsara)—the Home of Delight. Literally He who gives delight (ra) by Dwelling (vāsa) within the Soul.]

Mantra 3.17.8.

8. We seeing fully the higher Light, the delightful higher Light, have come out of darkness. We have obtained the Goal of the Wise, the God of gods, the Highest Light, called Ut, yea the Highest Light. (Ṛg Veda I. 50. 10.)—224.

[Note.—Ut—the High one: the Light called Ut. See Mantra 1, 6, 7 of Part I, where Ut is described as the name of the Lord. If taken as a particle it is to be construed with “aganmaḥ”; i.e., “udaganmaḥ”.]

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

Note.—Man has been compared to a Sacrifice. In an ordinary sacrifice, there is Dīkṣā or initiation—the performer has to fast and abstain from all worldly pleasures the day before—after initiation there is the ceremony of the Upasadas when the performer breaks the fast and takes food, then in ordinary Yajña there are music, singing of hymns and the recitation of Sacred Books (Stuta Śāstra); then gift is made to the officiating priests (dakṣiṇā). When Soma juice is going to be extracted in the actual sacrifice, the exression [expression?], soṣyati “will be extracted or will give birth” is used. Similarly, when it has been extracted the word “asoṣṭa” “has been extracted or has given birth” is used. Lastly, when the sacrifice is completed, there is the finishing bath called the Avabhṛtha. In the allegory of the Man as the Sacrifice, what things correspond to these various acts and expressions of an ordinary sacrifice? The present Khaṇḍa answers that. Madhva explains this Khaṇḍa by an extract from the Sat Tattva.

It is thus in the Sat Tattva:—In the allegory of Man as Sacrifice the Initiation (Dīkṣā) corresponds to the state when he is hungry, thirsty and enjoys no pleasures. The Upasada is said to be the state when he eats, drinks and enjoys himself. The “stuta śastra [śāstra?]” (the chanting of hymns and reciting the scriptures) is when he amuses, feeds and is in union with another. The fee is the austerity, charity, the straightforwardness, kindness. the truthfulness. When his wife is enciente, people say soṣyati “she will give birth,” when a child is born, they say asoṣṭa, “she has given birth thus these correspond to the use of such expressions in the actual ajña. The birth of a son is in fact the second birth of the man, his first birth being from his father. Inasmuch as the son reproduces him, he is said to be his second birth. The final sacrificial bath corresponds to the death of the Man which puts an end to the life—the sacrifice.

When his death approaches, let the man thus meditate on the Lord, uttering these three sentences; “Thou art Imperishable,” “Thou art Unchangeable, full of all perfect qualities which never change,” “Thou art always more delightful than life itself.” Thus it is in the Sat Tattva.

(Mantra 7 explained): The words “ādit” consisting of “āt” (from Him) and “it” (alone) mean “from him alone,”” through His Grace alone.” Pratnasya means “of the Ancient,” “of the Beginningless, the Eternal.” “Of the Lord.” Retasa [Retasaḥ] means “of the delightful—of Him whose form is delight.” The wise see the light of the Ancient delightful Lord. Vāsara means “He who delights by dwelling”—the joy-giving Dweller within. “Beyond the heaven,” that is, in Vaikuṇṭha: He who shines beyond the Heaven, in the Vaikuṇṭha. Iddhyate means both “shines,” and “is manifest in His highest glory.” It has already been mentioned before that the Vaikuṇṭha is beyond the Dyu Loka or the Heaven world. Seo “atha yad ataḥ paraḥ”, etc. (Chāndogya Up. III. 13-7). This Ṛk verse is not applicable to the Sun; for the Solar orb is not “beyond the Heaven.”

Note.—Prof. Max Muller in his note on this verse says that it originally applied to the Sun. It is taken from a hymn addressed to Indra, “who after conquering the dark clouds brings back the light of the sun. When he does that, then the people see again, as the poet says, the daily (vāsara [vāsaram]) light of the old seed (pratnasya retasaḥ) from which the sun rises, which is lighted in heaven.” He translates “paraḥ yat iddhyate diva” by, “which (yat) is lighted (iddhyate) in heaven (paraḥ divā).” But paraḥ divaḥ cannot mean “in heaven,” but “beyond heaven”; for the word paraḥ nowhere means in. From the most ancient times this verse has been taken to apply to the Supreme Light: and not the Solar orb.

Verse 8. This verse should be thus construed: “uttaram jyotiḥ paśyantaḥ svar”, “(ananda rūpam) pari paśyantaḥ vayam tamasaḥ udaganmaḥ”—“Seeing the higher light (or rising light), seeing fully this delightful (light) we have come out of darkness.” This “uttaram jyotiḥ”—the higher Light—is itself the light of joy, it is the Svar. The repetition (“uttaram jyotiḥ paśyantaḥ”, and “svar paśyantaḥ uttaram”) is explanatory, showing that the Light referred to is not the physical light, but svar or joy.

Note.—The Commentator now gives another explanation of this mantra. He first took “Ut,” as a participle or adverb qualifying the verb “aganmaḥ”. Now he takes it as a substantive. Ut is a substantive also meaning the Lord, the Most High.

The verse also means: “We have learnt from Darkness the existence of this Highest Light called ‘Ut’, the Most High.”

Aganmaḥ=we have learnt. The Darkness is the Revealer of this Light. It is the name of Durga. She is the Teacher of Divine wisdom. See Kena Upaniṣad where Umā teaches Indra.

(See Chāndogya I. 6, 7, where it is distinctly said that “Ut” is the name of the Lord the Most High.)

The phrase “devatra devam”—the deva par excellence—the God of gods, among Devas the Deva. The Lord is called Sūrya, because He is the goal of the Sūris or Wise, of the Mukta Jīvas.

These two Ṛk verses have been explained in the Nārāyaṇīya also in the same way. Thus it says, “The seer of this Ṛk meant this: The joy-giving (retasa=rati rūpam), Highest Light of the Beginningless, (pratnasya=anādeḥ) Lord Keśava, the Wise see through His grace in their heart. This Light is called Vāsara “the joy-giving Dweller,” because by dwelling in the heart it gives all joy. He shines as all-full, always in Vaikuṇṭha, which is beyond the heaven. We have fully seen this Light called “Ut”, having come out of darkness. He is Light, Bliss and Existence the HIGHEST of the highest among the highest. He is the God of gods, indeed the goal of the Wise (Sūri), the Highest Path. Him called Vāsudeva have we attained.” This is what the seer of these two Ṛks meant. Thus it is in the Nārāyaṇīya.

Note.—If this quotation from the Nārayāṇīya [Nārāyaṇīya?] is a genuine one, then Madhva simply follows the old traditional Vaiṣṇava interpretation of these two Ṛks. The three words Uttaram, Uttaram and Uttamam mean, according to the Nārāyaṇīya Uttamottamasūttamam—the Highest among the highest of the highest.

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