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, Fifth through Seventh Khandas (16 mantras)

Mantra 6.5.1.

1. (Rudra, the deity of) food when eaten, i.e., (nourishing man) becomes three-fold; His grossest portion is called the excrement (because this aspect of Rudra dwells in it), His middle portion is called flesh, His subtlest portion is called mind.—423.

Note.—The Lord Śiva, when entering the body of man, through food, goes to support man in a three-fold way, first as directing the excretory functions, and expelling all noxious and useless particles from the body. This part of the food is called feces, and Rudra also gets this name because it presides over this function, similarly with his middle portion, he builds up the muscles of the body and is called flesh. With his highest part, he builds the mind of man and is called manas.

Mantra 6.5.2.

2. (Vāyu the deity of) water when drunk (and going to nourish man) becomes three-fold. His grossest portion is in urine, the middle is in blood and the finest is in the breath of life.—424.

Mantra 6.5.3.

3. (Lakṣmī the deity of) fire, when nourishing man becomes three-fold. Her grossest portion is in the bone, the middle is in marrow and the finest is in the speech of man.—425.

Mantra 6.5.4.

4. For truly, my child, mind has for its presiding deity Rudra the God of Food, the life-breath has its chief Vāyu (the God of Water) and the speech has its chief (the Goddess of) Fire (namely Lakṣmī).

‘Please sir, instruct me still more,’ said the son. ‘Be it so, my child,’ replied the father.—426.

Mantra 6.6.1.

1. My child, when curd is churned, its subtlest portion, which rises upwards, becomes butter.—427.

Mantra 6.6.2.

2. Thus, my child, verily, (Rudra when going to nourish man through) the food which is eaten causes (his) subtlest portion to rise up and enter into the mind.—428.

Mantra 6.6.3.

3. (Vāyu, the God of) waters when nourishing man, O child, causes his subtlest portion, to rise up, and enter into the breath of life.—429.

Mantra 6.6.4.

4. (Lakṣmī the Goddess of) fire when nourishing man, O child, causes her subtlest portion to rise up and enter into the speech of man.—430.

Mantra 6.6.5.

5. For truly my child mind has for its presiding deity Rudra the God of food, the life-breath has for its presiding deity Vāyu the God of water, and the speech has for its presiding deity Lakṣmī, the Goddess of fire.

“Please sir, instruct me still more,” said the son.

“Be it so, my child,” replied the father.—431.

Note.—The words of this Mantra are exactly the same as those of VI. 5. 4.

The theory propounded in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad that a man if he fasts for 10 (ten) days, taking water only will lose all memory, and his mental activities will bo lessened, because mind depends upon food, is true as a general rule but there are exceptions to it. Experiments have been made lately to prove that man can live without food for a very long period. And that during this period though there is physical weakness the general health is not impaired and mind is more active than usual. We give the following quotation from the Review of Reviews for the month of April, 1910.

Mr. Sinclair’s personal experience.

Mr. Sinclair describes how a natural robust constitution was broken down by irregular eating. He never drank, smoked or used tea or coffee, and was a strict vegetarian. But overwork and carelessness both as to how and when he ate brought on dyspepsia, and he became liable to all manner of diseases. When at last he could not digest milk and cornflour mush, he decided to give the cure a trial. He thus records his experiences during the first four days:—

I am very hungry for the first day; the unwholesome, ravening sort of hunger that all dyspeptics know. I had a little hunger the second morning and thereafter, to my great astonishment no hunger whatever—no more interest in food than if I had never known the taste of it. Previous to the fast I had a headache every day for two or three weeks. It lasted through the first day and then disappeared never to return I felt very weak the second day, and a little on arising. I went out of doors and lay in the sun all day, reading, and the same for the third and fourth days in intense physical lassitude, but with great clearness of mind. After the fifth day I felt stronger, and walked a good deal, and I also began some writing. No phase of the experience surprised me more than the activity of my mind: 1 read and wrote more than I had dared to do for years before.

During the first four days I lost fifteen pounds in weight; something which, I have since learned, was a sign of the extremely poor state of my tissues. Thereafter I lost only two pounds in eight days, an equally unusual phenomenon. I slept well throughout the fast. About the middle of each day I would feel weak, but a massage and cold shower would refresh me.

Mantra 6.7.1.

1. O child, man consists of sixteen parts. For fifteen days do not take any food, but drink as much water as thon likest; for the breath of life is under the Lord of water; and so long as thou drinkest water, thy life will not be cut off.—432.

Mantra 6.7.2.

2. Śvetaketu did not take any food for fifteen days, and then he repaired to his father and said “ What verses shall I recite?” The father said “ repeat the Ṛk, the Yajus, or Sāman verses.” He replied: “They do not occur to my memory, sir.”— 433.

Mantra 6.7.3.

3. The father said to him; “As of a great lighted fire one burning coal, insignificant as the fire-fly in size, may be left, which would not burn much fuel, thus my dear son, one part only of the sixteen parts of you is left, and therefore with that one part you do not remember the Vedas. Go and eat, then thou wilt understand (remember) what thou didst learn from me.”—434.

Mantra 6.7.4.

4. Then Śvetaketu took food and afterwards approached his father. And whatever his father asked him he gave appropriate replies to.—435.

Mantra 6.7.5.

5. The father said to him “As, O child, of a great lighted lire one coal of the size of a fire-fly, if left, may be made to blaze up again, by putting grass upon it, and will thus burn more than this.—436.

Mantra 6.7.6.

6. Thus O child, out of the sixteen parts one part was left to you. That part being invigorated by food, lighted up again. By it therefore, you now remember the Vedas. 0 child, mind lias for its presiding deity Rudra, the God of food, the life breath, has for its chief Vāyu the God of water, and speech has for its presiding deity Lakṣmī the Goddess of Fire.—437.

Mantra 6.7.7.

Note.—In some texts of the Upaniṣad the following verse is also found.

pañcendriyasya puruṣasya yadevasyādanāvṛtam |
tadasya prajñā sravati dṛteḥ pādādivodakam ||

Pañcendriyasya—of the man consisting of five senses; Puruṣasya—of the man; Yad—when; Eva—even; Syāt—becomes, may become; Anāvṛtam—unprotected, uncovered by food; Tat—then; Asya—his; Prajñā—intelligence; Sravati—flows away; Dṛteḥ—from a leathern bag; Pādāt—from the foot; Iva—like; Udakam—water.

7. When the mind of the man consisting of five senses is not supported by food; then his intelligence goes away as the water flows away from the mouth of a leathern bag.—438.

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

Says an objector:—

Still you cannot explain this subject, as if it all applied to the devas; for how will you explain the phrase ‘the middle one became the flesh, etc.’. Does the Devatā become flesh? And the words māṃsa [māṃsam], etc., are well-known names of flesh, etc. This objection is thus answered:—

The words māṃsa, etc., are the names of the Devatās. (The three Devatās called Lakṣmī, Vāyu, and Śiva are called also Māṃsa [Māṃsam], Lohita, and Majjā, etc.) They are so called because by entering into the flesh, blood and marrow, these Devatās regulate these organic parts and nourish man.

But how can you take the words food, water, etc., as meaning Devatās when the Upaniṣad says “the food when eaten becomes flesh, the water when drunk becomes blood.” It can only refer to physical food and water, and not to Devatās, called Anna [Annam] and Apas, etc.

This objection is thus met:—

The word ‘being eaten’ means being used as support of life. (The Devas go to support the organism, so it is said the Devas are eaten, the Devas are drunk).

But if with every morsel of bread, we are chewing a Deva in that bread; and if with every gulp of water, we are swallowing a Deva, then the lives of the Devas must be most miserable. To this the Commentator replies

The Devas do not suffer any pain in this process of being eaten and drunk, etc., because of their lordliness and super-physical power. The Śruti further says these three Devatās having entered the man become each tripartite.

This shows that the Devas enter as living-beings through food, etc., and within the body of the man they divide themselves into three parts. Had they suffered any injury, in the process of digestion and assimilation, they could not have regulated the manufacture of flesh, blood and marrow. The word Jīva has been explained, as meaning the Supreme Lord; to this an objector says:—Why do you explain Jīva in this unusual sense? It would be more appropriate to take the words food, water, etc., in their ordinary sense and then say that this organised body remains insentient, so long as the Jīvātmā does not enter into it. To this the author replies:—

The term Jīva is the appellation of the Lord Aniruddha, as says the following Śruti:—“Prāṇasya prāṇaḥ, etc.” He is the Life of life, the Air of the air, the Jīva of the jīva, Matter of matter. He, the Lord of the fourfold form.” Says another text, “The support of Prāṇa is Hari alone and no one else. The ordinary transmigrating souls are called Jīvas because they are born (=born) and because they transmigrate (va=to go).”

In other words the term jīva, when applied to souls, is a word derived from the roots jan and . “Jan” gives with the affix ḍī, and gives va, with the affix ka. The word jīva thus derived means the transmigrating soul.

Another reason, why the words jīvena ātmana in Mantra 2 of Khaṇḍa 3 cannot mean the ordinary jīvātman, is this:—If the word jīva meant the ordinary transmigrating soul, then the passage under consideration would mean that one jīva entered into a body in which there was already another souk The passage says The Tejas, thought, etc., which shows that the Tejas, etc., are sentient beings, who can think, what was the necessity of another jīva entering into this jīva, in order to develope [develop?] name and form? Oue jīva does not. stand in the need of another jīva to develop name and form.

But the same reasoning would apply to the entrance of the Lord into the soul; what was the necessity of the Lord entering into the human soul in order to develop name and form? The answer to it is, that the jīvas by themselves have not the power to develop names and forms; in other words, the jīvas without the assistance of the Lord cannot bring about creation. As says the following text:—The Lord saw that the creative Powers lay dormant after the cosmic dissolution, (and though alive were unable to create), therfore [therefore?] he entered into these twenty-three creative hierarchies, called the tattvas.

The Lord simultaneously entered into the host of the twenty-three Tattvas, when He saw that their power to manifest creation was dormant and required stirring up. (The Bhāgavata Purāṇa).

The twenty-three creative hierarchies are:—The live devas of sensation, the five devas of action, the five devas presiding over objects of sensation, the five devas of elements, and the devas of Manas and Ahāmkaṃra [Ahaṃkāra?] and Buddhi. But are not these 23 tattvas insentient objects? No. The text of our Upaniṣad shows that they are sentient beings; and the Bhāgavata Purāṇa also says the same

(The devas of the tattvas finding themselves unable to create thus prayed to the Lord):—“We are thine, O Eternal! Thou hast created us in order to further develop this universe, but we being a disorganised mass, cannot fulfil thy purpose, and cannot repay thy debt by creating. O! Unborn! make us capable to bring thee offering (in the shape of creation) in due time; organise us that we may eat food; and adoring Thee and us may the people of the world bring offering to Thee; and undisturbed may it eat food. Therefore O Deva! give us thy wisdom and power, that we may create.” (Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Book Third, Ch. 5, verses 48-49) After this prayer of the Tattvas, the Bhāgavata goes on to say, that the Lord entered into the Tattvas.

The words “jīva” of Mantra 2, Khaṇḍa 3, has been explained by us as meaning the Lord. The same phrase “jīvena ātmanā” occurs in Mantra 1, Khaṇḍa 11. There the word Jīva cannot but mean the Lord, and is inapplicable to the transmigrating soul. That passage refers to the Jīva of the tree.

According to Śaṅkara it is translated thus:—

“If some one were to strike at the root of this large tree here, it would bleed, but live. If he were to strike at its stem, it would bleed but, live. If he were to strike at its top, it would bleed, but live. Pervaded by the living Self that tree stands firm, drinking in its nourishment and rejoicing.” Therefore our author says:—

The passage in 11th Khaṇḍa, Mantra 1, shows that the word Jīva cannot refer to the transmigrating soul but to the Lord. For it says “drinking in its nourishment and rejoicing.” Now who rejoices? Is it the body of the tree or the Jīva in the tree, that rejoices? The tree cannot rejoice, because it is insentient: therefore, the Jīva in the tree rejoices. Now it proves that the Jīva Ātman referred to in that Mantra, which pervades the tree, must be the Lord; because the Jīva of the tree would not be pervaded by another Jīva. Thefore the word Jīva in this passage Mantra 2, Khaṇḍa 3, must mean the Lord. The word Jīva when applied to God, denotes that form of God which is Antaryāmin or the Inner Guide of all souls.

This is the technical name of God as we find in the Tattvaviveka:—

“Jīva is the name given to the Inner Dweller of the enjoyer of pleasure and pain (i.e., the Dweller within the Soul. The same Lord dwelling outside and controlling the eosinic forces (Devatās) is called Sat. He is the Lord, the Highest Spirit,” Thus it is in the Tattva Viveka.

The word Agni is not the primary name of fire; primarily it is the name of God, secondarily it is applied to fire:

Note.— The word nāmadheya means ‘a name,’ the affix dheya has no specific force here. The word Vikāra means “not the primary,” “the secondary meaning.” An objector says:—

“The text (VI.4.1) ‘apāgād agner agnitvam vācārambhanam vikāro nāmadheyam tṛīṇi rūpāṇītyeva satyam’ literally and grammatically means—‘thus vanishes what we call fire, as a variety, being a name, arising from speech. What is true are the three colors.’ Your explanation that the application of the name Agni to any one else than the Triad is a conventional use of speech, is wrong as there is no such phrase ‘as any one else’ in the text, nor it is right to explain tṛīṇi rūpāṇi by a genitive construction trayānām rūpānām.”

To this the Commentator answers:—

The sentence should be construed thus:—

agni nāmāni tṛīṇi rūpāṇi iti nāmadhyam satyam ityādi:

All the names of Agni are the primary names of the Triad; not only the word Agni, but its synonyms also are the primary names of the Triad, and secondarily of others. Similarly the word Āditya and its synonyms’ are primarily applied to the Triad, and are secondarily to the sun and others. The Smṛti (Tattva Viveka) is therefore right in explaining tṛīṇi “by trayāṇam”; for the text cannot be explained without the use of a genitive word. For in paraphrasing it we have to use a word in the genitive case; thus “agnyādi nāmāni teṣām eva mukhyāni”: where teṣām is used.

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