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...

Sixth Adhyaya, Second Khanda (4 mantras)

Mantra 6.2.1.

1. The Sat (Good) alone, O child! existed in the beginning (of this creation) one only, without an equal. About this others say, the Asat (Void) alone existed in the beginning of this creation, one only without a second, from that Void (Asat) was produced the Plenum (Sat).—408.

Note.—The word “Sat” may be translated as the True, the Good, the Plenum. The word “Asat”, refers to the theory of Śūnya Vāda which maintains that in the beginning was Nothing, was Void, from which came out everything.

Mantra 6.2.2.

2. ‘But, O child, how could it be thus,’ said the father. ‘How from the Void should be born the Plenum. Therefore, the Sat (the Good) alone existed, O child, in the beginning of this creation, one only, without an equal.—409.

Mantra 6.2.3.

3. He thought ‘I shall assume many forms (in order to govern the world) and create beings.’ He created Fire. The Goddess of Fire thought, ‘I shall assume many forms and create beings.’ She created the Waters (Vāyu). Therefore, wherever and whenever any body weeps or perspires, water comes out; for it is from lire that water is produced.—410.

Mantra 6.2.4.

4. The (God of) water thought ‘may I multiply and create beings. He created (Rudra the God of) Food (Earth). Therefore, wherever and whenever it rains, much food is produced; therefore from Water alone is produced all food fit for eating.—411.

Note:—Apparently this is a geological conception clothed in mythological language.

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

The creation of the world is now being taught, in order to establish the greatness of the Lord. The second khaṇḍa begins with the famous passage:—“Sad eva somya idam agra āsit ekam eva advitīyam”. This is the key-stone of the advaita edifice, and naturally Madhva takes pains to refute the wrong interpretation of the Advaitins. Śaṅkara takes the three words ekam, eva and advitīyam, as negativing the three sorts of Bhedas, namely the svagata, the sajātīya, and the vijātīya, Bhedas. Thus in a tree, the difference that exists in it, between its branches, leaves, etc., is a svagata bheda or difference inter se. There is no such difference in Brahman. It is homogeneous. The difference that exists between one tree and another of a different class, such as between an apple and a mango tree is sajātīya bheda or class difference. There is no class difference in Brahman. As is the difference between a tree and a stone, things belonging to different classes altogether and which is vijātīya difference, or extreme difference, there is no such difference in Brahman. The word eka or one shows, that Brahman is the sole cause of the universe, and not like the clay which is the material cause of the pot, but whose efficient cause is the potter and the instrumental cause is potter’s wheel, etc. Brahman is the material and the efficient cause as well. The word advitīyam shows that there is no other substance in existence than Brahman. It is the only substance that exists. This view of Śaṅkara is set aside by our Commentator

The words ekam eva advitīyam mean that the Lord is free from svagata bheda, i.e., He is homogeneous; and is free from sajātīya bheda, that is, He has no one equal to Him. He is one homogeneous substance and is peerless. As says the text:—“He is called ‘ekam eva advitīyam’, because He is devoid of any equal or superior, and because, He has no differences inter se, being a homogeneous mass. Such is the Eternal Brahman.” This is in the Pravritta [Pravṛtta?].

“The word ‘eva’ is used in order to exclude the theory of bhedā-bheda (which teaches that Brahman has difference and is differenceless also). The word ‘advitīyam’ shows that He is free from equality and superiority:—for there is no one equal to Him or superior to Him. (Had the word ‘eva’ not been used, then ‘ekam advitīyam’ would have meant one and peerless, which need not be homogeneous, as one pot, etc. For so far as the pot is concerned, it is one, but it has differences in its various parts. The bhedā-bheda theory would have come in, but for the word eva. Therefore this Śruti sadeva, etc., says that the Lord Nārāyaṇa is ‘ekam eva,’ ‘one only.’ The word dvitīyam means ‘equal’. This word is used in the sense of ‘equal’ in the Mahābhāṣya.

Tho Mahābhāṣya reference is:—“asya gor dvitīyena bhāvyam iti ukte sadṛśo gaur eva up ādiyate na aśvaḥna gardabhaḥ”. This shows that dvitīyam has the meaning of sadṛśa or equal also.

‘The word advitīyam, therefore, means without ‘equal.’ How can any one be superior to Him, when no one can even come up to Him. Thus this great text shows that the Lord is one and peerless. Thus it is in the Sāma Saṃhitā.

Nor is the absence of vijātīya bheda a well-known thing; (for no one has ever seen a thing which has not its contrary). Moreover there is no proof of the existence of such an absence of vijātīya bheda. The word advitīya does not mean the absence of vijātīya bheda. As says another text:—“When it is said the Lord is ‘eka eva advitīya’ it means that there is no one equal to Him or greater than He.” So also another text:—‘The Lord is one, there is no one equal to, or greater than, Him.’

If it be said there is nothing else than the Lord and all that exists is the Lord, and so there is no such thing as vijātīya, and consequently the absence of vijātīya bheda is the most natural thing in the world; then the whole context becomes absurd.

For the question put by Uddālaka is what is that thing by knowing which, the unknown becomes known. If there exists no other thing than Brahman, the knowledge of Brahman will give us the knowledge of nothing, and not of every thing; for nothing else exists. Therefore the Commentator says:—

If there exists no vijātīya object, but all is Brahman, then the very question of Uddālaka becomes purposeless, for he asks what is that by knowing which every thing else becomes known, by which we hear what cannot be heard, by which we perceive what cannot be perceived, etc. The very question takes for granted the existence of other things which are to be heard or perceived, etc. And since every thing is Brahman, the knowledge of any thing, (of a pot even) would be the knowledge of Brahman. Not only this, but ignorance would be as good as, nay the very acme of knowledge; for there being no vijātīya difference, ignorance and knowledge is one and the same. Nor would remain there any such difference, as truth and falsehood; for the recognition of such difference amounts to the giving up of the advaita position; and admission that vijātīya bheda is not a fiction of the moralists but an absolute something.

Moreover the difference between truth and falsehood being a fiction, it follows that their identity is not a fiction, but a truth and a reality. The true and the false being thus identical, the phrases like these “this is truth; this is false” cease to have any meaning, so it is as much true to say that the Jīva and Īśvara are identical as to say that they are different. In other words, the proposition that the Jīva and the Īśvara are different is also true. Your position, therefore, that the Brahman is the absolute reality and everything else is false becomes untenable.

Another absurdity of this position is that Brahman itself becomes false, for there being no difference between truth and falsehood, it is as much true to say that Brahman is; as to say that it is not. Even if we admit that this Great Text “ekem eva advitīyam” declares that there is no bhedas in Brahman, whether svagata or sajātīya or vijātīya, we explain it in this way

This text prohibits sajātīya and svagata bheda and that kind of vijātīya bheda which asserts the existence of any vijātīya object greater than Brahman. (In other words, Brahman is a homogeneous substance, has no svagata bheda; He is unique,—has no other substance of his class, has no sajātīya bheda; and lastly there is no one greater than Him, and thus He has no vijatīya bheda also, in this sense only; that is there is no vijātīya object greater than He.

The Commentator now explains the whole Khaṇḍa in the very words of a well-known book.

The Lord Nārāyaṇa Hari is called Sat; because He is the best of all; (the Good par excellence). He created (emitted) in the beginning (the chaste Goddess Śrī) the eternally existing Shining One called Tejas or Light. (She is the presiding deity of Fire or light). She is called tejas either because she resides in the All-pervading (“tate” in the all-pervading) and is Unborn (aja, unborn; te + aja). Or She is called tejas because the creation (ja) is by her, with the Lord (tata) as efficient cause. In other words She is called Tejas because Her creative form, called vidyā, is born (ja) from the Lord Hari (ta).

From Her is born even the Prāṇa called also Manu, and named also water or Apas. From Her also comes out the Lord Brahmā, the presiding deity of the four-castes of Brāhmaṇas, etc.

In fact, the birth of Prāṇa and Brahmā is simultaneous and Prāṇa always in turn becomes Brahmā, therefore, the birth of Prāṇa is said first. Moreover Prāṇa is more important of the two. Therefore His creation is mentioned first.

From Prāṇa is born the Lord Hara, who is called anna [annam] or Food.

These three Devatas—Śrī, Prāṇa and Brahmā, and Hara are called here by the names of three elements—light, water and earth, and they are the presiding deities of these. In fact, this Khaṇḍa teaches the creation of these three Devatās and of these three elements as well.

That Shining One—Śrī dwells in light, and Prāṇa even dwells in the water, therefore from heat (tejas) comes out water, (as perspiration). The Lord Hara dwells in food, and so food comes out of water (as Hara comes out of Prāṇa). In fact, the earth is the food of this passage, for all food is but a form of earth.

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