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...

Fourth Adhyaya, First Khanda (8 mantras)

Mantra 4.1.1.

1. There lived once upon a time Jānaśruti, a descendant of Putrāyaṇa, who was a pious and charitable (prince) and famous for his hospitality. He built places of sojourn everywhere, thinking “People coming from all sides (will rest here) and partake of my food.”—234.

[Note.—Āsa—was. Was the king in Pratiṣṭhānapura: as we find in the following verse:—“There is a big city called Pratiṣṭhāna on the banks of the Godāvarī. There dwelt the popular king called Jānaśruti”.]

Mantra 4.1.2.

2. Once in the night time (a flock of divine) flamingoes flew over (his palace) and some of them leaving the flock, out-flew the rest. Then (one of the rear) flamingoes addressed the other flamingo (who was in front, saying) O short-sighted one! O short-sighted one! The light of Jānaśruti Pautrāyaṇa has spread over the sky like the day. May it not catch thee (in its rays) and burn thee.—235.

[Note.—Atipetuḥ—flew (through space), came out. As says a verse:—“Then there flew through the sky a flock of flamingoes (deva-haṃsas) lotus-beaked, O! Goddess”. Though they were flying with great swiftness, talking with each other their secrets, yet two or three of them, under the leadership of Bhallākṣa, out-stripped the rest and flew in front more quickly (through, as if, rashness). The flamingoes who were in the rear (expostulated with them) and then spoke to those in front (warning them of the danger).]

Note.—It appears that it was the night of the festivity of the lamps (Dīpāvali or Dīvāli) when these Haṃsas came out for a nocturnal trip. They saw the whole palace ablaze with lamps, making the night equal to the day. The address of the Haṃsa means “why Grossest thou over heedlessly the palace of Jānaśruti, seest thou not his great light, the smoke of whose lamps has blackened the trees of heaven even? Beware of it, lest thou mayst fall into it, while crossing it and get burned.”

Mantra 4.1.3.

3. The (flamingo) in front answered him “O (friend!) didst thou say this with reference to this (Jānaśruti, as if he was) like the saintly Raikva with the car?” The first asked “Now who is this Raikva with the car: what is his greatness?”—236.

Note.— Thy speech is not appropriate with regard to Jānaśruti, but would apply more fitly to Raikva with the car.

Mantra 4.1.4.

4. As (the fruits of the performance of the duties of) the lower (yugas) belong to the one who has conquered (the duties of) the Kṛta (yuga): so whatever good deeds other people perform, belong to that Raikva. Whatever anyone else knows, Raikva knows all that. He is thus spoken of by me.—237.

[Note.—Saṃyanti—come together, belong. As to him who has conquered the kṛta belong all the lower ones. That is, the fruit of conquering the Tretā, etc., belongs to him indeed.]

[Note.—Kurvanti—do, perform. So all good deeds that other people perform belong primarily to him. It is the presence of the holy sage in that country that wards off from it all external evil influences, and thus gives opportunity to perform good deeds without obstruction from the powers of evil: so the fruit of all the good acts of others primarily belongs to the Mahāmuni—the Great Silent Watcher—the guardian wall of whose protecting aura makes the performance of good deeds possible for others.]

[Note.—Veda—knows. The construction of this sentence is: “yaḥ (ko’p yadhikārī) yat (jñātavyam) veda tat (sarvam) sa (raikva) veda”. Whatever anyone knows, Raikva knows all that.]

Mantra 4.1.5.

5. Jānaśrati Pautrāyaṇa overheard all this; and as soon as he rose from his bed he said to his charioteer: “O friend! find out Raikva with the car.” He replied “Did ye say Raikva with the car? Now who and what sort of person is Raikva with the car?”—238.

Note.—The charioteer asks the Prince to describe Raikva more fully, to help him to identify him. The mere description ‘with the car’ was not sufficient, The Prince then describes Raikva in the very words of the flamingo.

[Note.—Are—O! The phrase, “Raikva with the car must be found out,” should be supplied to complete the sentence. But how is he to be found out? By the description given by the flamingo, namely, that he has a car.]

[Note.—Iti—Thus, the flamingo said that Raikva is like one with the car: “yo nu katham sayugva raikva īti”: the flamingo said, “Now what is this Raikva with the car”.]

Mantra 4.1.6.

4. As to the person who has conquered the kṛta, belongs the lower (merits also), so whatever good deeds other people perform belong to that Raikva. Whatever anyone else knows, Raikva knows all that. He is thus spoken of by me.—239.

[Note.—Kṛtāya vijitāya—to the person who has mastered the kṛta yuga, etc. The words of this mantra are identically the same as of Mantra 4.]

Mantra 4.1.7.

7. The charioteer cogitating (that the description was stilḷ not sufficient) returned (and said): “I cannot know him (by this description alone).” Then the Prince said to him, “O friend! search him where the knowers of Brahman investigate (abstruse truths).”—240.

[Note.—Anviṣya—searching, cogitating over it in that very locality, came to the conclusion that the description was still insufficient for purposes of identification of Raikva. So he again appeared before the prince.]

[Note.—Anveṣaṇā—the enquiry about the scriptures. Where the knowers of Divine wisdom hold discourse and assemble to investigate deep truths of scriptures.]

Note.—With these directions to guide him in his search, the charioteer again went out, and proceeded to Benares and other sacred places, but did not find Raikva anywhere. Then ho went to the city of Kashmir, and there found Raikva at the Royal Gate under a car, Raikva was scratching his sores. The charioteer went near him and sat down and asked, “O Lord! art thou Raikva with the car?” Thus adressed, Raikva said, “lam Raikva O! O! O!” The prolongation of “O!” is to indicate that he was suffering from the sores. Then the charioteer asked him, “Why are you sitting here? What do you want?” Raikva replied, “I want nothing, all my desires are satisfied. I require, however, only a smart boy to help me hr scratching my sores.” The charioteer then returned and told the Prince all this.

[Note.—Anviṣya—searching, cogitating over it in that very locality, came to the conclusion that the description was still insufficient for purposes of identification of Raikva. So he again appeared before the prince.]

[Note.—Anveṣaṇā—the enquiry about the scriptures. Where the knowers of Divine wisdom hold discourse and assemble to investigate deep truths of scriptures.]

Mantra 4.1.8.

8. The charioteer (came to a man who was lying) beneath a car and scratching his itches. Approaching him (and after salutation) he sat down near him; and addressing him said: “Sir, are you Raikva with the car?” He answered, “Verily I am.O! O! O!” Then the charioteer returned and said, “I have found him after (long) search.”—241.

[Note.—Kaṣamāṇam—scratching. The charioteer found a person under a car scratching itches. Finding in him the marks given by the king, the charioteer was convinced that this was Raikva. So he respectfully sat down near him.]

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

In the last adhyāya has been described the vidyās like the Madhu and the Gāyatrī. The present adhyāya beaches also the science of the Supreme Brahman in all His aspects, both as the para and the apara Brahman. The Śruti introduces the samvarga [saṃvarga?] vidyā by a story of Jānaśruti.

Bhallākṣa means one whose sight is bad, short-sighted. (The sense is that if you cross the light of Jānaśruti then you will be burned.)

(The words kṛta jita of the text has been explained by Śaṅkara as the throw of the dice called kṛta, whose value is four and which absorbs the other casts. The other casts also bear the names of the yugas. Madhva shows that there is no valid reason why these words kṛta, etc., should not be taken in their ordinary sense of denoting ages.)

The words kṛtāya jitāya, etc., mean lie who has mastered the dharma of the kṛta yuga, (and got the fruit thereof,) has mastered the dharma of the other ages also, like tretā etc., and gets the fruit of those dharmas also. (So when a higher virtue is acquired, the lower is included in it). Similarly, the fruit of the good deeds of persons following the lower dharma belongs principally to this follower of the dharma of the kṛta age (for it is the presence of this high personage which wards off all evil influence from the locality where he resides, and makes it possible for inferior men to perform their dharmas). The words “aṅga are” mean “are aṅga” O desired one! aṅga = iṣṭa. O! friend! Raikva of the oar should be inquired into.

In replying to the question of the door-keeper Raikva said, “aham hi arā, arā, arā”. The last vowel of the word arā is prolated, not as a mark of contempt by the sage, but because he was scratching his itch at the time and naturally spoke loudly (as all people in illness are irritable). (The holy Raikva would be the last person to be contemptuous towards anyone. Śaṅkara’s explanation of the plūta vowel in “ara arā arā” is untenable).

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