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...

General commentary of Sixth Adhyaya, Khandas Eight through Sixteen

The words “Svam Apīto Bhavati” have been explained “he reahes Viṣṇu” An objector says, this is wrong; the word “Svam” is a Rudhi word and its conventional meaning is one’s own self.’ The phrase ought to be translated “he merges into his own self.” The rule of interpretation is that the conventional meaning of a word prevails over the Etymological meaning. The Commentator shows that the word “Sva” means Viṣṇu in the conventional acceptation of that term also.

Brahmā is called Svayambhu, because He is born of Viṣṇu called Svayam (thus here Svayam popularly means Viṣṇu). You cannot say that Svayam. here means self and Svayam-Bhu means self-born; for then Brahmā would be born of Brahmā. But Scriptures nowhere say that Brahmā is self-born. On the contrary it is said “He who in the beginning created Bralunā” (i.e., Brahmā was created by the Lord).

But Brahmā is called Ātmabhu also, which also means self-born. The Commentator says that this is not so.

The word Ātman means the Lord Viṣṇu; he who is born of the Ātman is called Ātmabhu. In the following line the word ātmā clearly means Viṣṇu “Dattam Durvasasam Somam Ātmeśa Brahmā Sambhavān.”

The compound word Ātmeśa-Brahma-Sambhavān means “born of Viṣṇu Śiva (Isa [Īśa?]) and Brahmā.” But Brahmā is called Aja also or birthless. This shows that he is not produced by any one, but is self-born. To this the Commentator says that Aja also means born of Viṣṇu.

The Scriptures say that the word (A) means Brahman, he who is born of “A” is called “Aja”—A-Born. That is Brahmā. Thus the word “Aja” also means born of Viṣṇu “aḥ iti brahmetyādiśruteḥ”:

The text quoted by you shows that means Brahman, and not Viṣṇu and so Aja ought to be translated born of Brahman and not born of Viṣṇu.

To this the Commentator says:—

The word Brahman is not applied primarily to any one but Viṣṇu. And so Brahman is the same as Viṣṇu. Thus the word svam is a well-known name of Viṣṇu; therefore Svamapitobhavati means “he reaches Viṣṇu.”

But Apīta does not mean ‘reaches,’ it means ‘becomes identical with.’ For if mere reaching was intended, then the word ‘itaḥ’ would have been enough; what is the force of the preposition api in apītaḥ which is made of two words api plus ita. This is however, not a valid objection. For according to Advaita also, the api is redundant. Do you say that the word Apīta as a whole denotes becoming identical, or do you say that its separate parts denote identity. This is the question that you must answer.

To meet this objection the Commentator says:—

The root api plus i or api plus aya, as “Apyaya” means entering into a thing unconsciously (involuntarily).

As we find in the following text of Śabda Nirṇaya:—

‘The involuntary and unconscious entrance is called “Apitam” i.e., when a thing enters into another, without knowing that other or without retaining its own consciousness, as the rivers enter into the Sea, or as the living creatures enter into Viṣṇu at the time of great dissolution (Pralaya).

If it were a fact, that the Jīva gets the condition of Brahman in sleep or in Pralaya, then it can be conceded that the word Apīta rightly means to become identical with. But the Jīva never gets the condition of Brahman in those states.

Moreover the Jīva never gets the condition of Brahman in deep sleep or dissolution. For a Jīva when it arises from deep sleep, retains the recollection ‘I slept soundly.’ Similarly when it attains Mukti, it remembers its past, and says “I was in the misery of the world once (Saṃsāra.)”

This distinctive recollection of the Jīva shows that he never attains the nature of Brahman. Brahman has no memory; all knowledge is ever present in his consciousness. There is never any forgetting in Brahman, so there can be no recollection in Brahman. Brahman never says, like the Jīva ‘I slept very soundly,’ I was once in the misery of the world, now I am free.’ In the Omniscient, there cannot exist any such recollection. Says an objector, ‘but how do you show, that a man released from Saṃsāra, remembers the misery which he suffered in it? Is there any authority for it?

To this the Commentator answers as follows:—

Brahmā on attaining release cried out “Aham Viśvam Bhuvanam Avy Abhavām;” “I had become the Lord of the entire world.” So also the text “remembering the sorrows that they had suffered from birth up to death, the Released ones rejoice exceedingly at getting freedom from pain.” Moreover there is no recollection, on awaking from deep sleep, that one was Brahman when in sleep. The following text of Scriptures, also shows, that in the state of deep sleep, there is not identity with Brahman:—“Embraced by the Intelligent Self, the soul in deep sleep, does not remember any thing which is outside or which is inside” (Bri. Up. IV. 3. 7.) Moreover Lord Bādarāyaṇa in his Vedānta Sūtras says the same. In I.3.42, he says; “He who is in Brahman in deep sleep is distinct from it, both in the state of sleep and in departing.” (Thus in deepsleep, the Sutra says there is distinction of Bheda between the soul and Brahman).

The whole teaching of Uddālaka to his son Śvetaketu also shows that Abheda is nowhere taught. If we analyse the nine illustrations, we shall find nowhere any example of Abheda. (1) The first illustration says:—‘O child, all living creatures have Sat for their root, they dwell in the Sat they rest in the Sat.’ (Which shows that Sat is different from the creatures). (2) The second illustration also declares that all these creatures when they become merged in the Good (Sat), in deep sleep, they know not that they are merged in the Good (Sat). This also shows that the Sat is different from the creatures, which merge in Him and who do not know Him. (3) The third illustration also says that all the creatures when they have come back from the Good know not that they have come back from the Good. This also shows that the Good is different from creatures. (4) The fourth illustration also says “pervaded by the living Lord, the Jīva of the tree stands firm drinking in its nourishment and rejoicing.” This also shows that the Jīva of the tree that rejoices, is separate from the Living Lord who pervades it. (5) The fifth illustration is about the seed. The son says these seeds are almost infinitesimal; the father says break one of them The son says “it is broken, sir.” The father asks “what do you see there?” The son replies “nothing, sir.” Thereupon the father says “my son that Subtle Essence which you do not perceive there, of that very Essence (Aṇiman) this great Nyagrodha tree exists.” This also shows that the Subtle Essence is different from the tree. (6) The sixth illustration also is to the same effect. The father says to the son; “Place this salt in water, and then wait on me in the morning.” The son did as he was commanded. The father said to him: “Bring me the salt, which you placed in the water last night. The son having looked for it found it not, for of course, it was melted. The father said: ‘Taste it from the surface of the water. How is it?’ The son replied: ‘It is salt.’ ‘Taste it from the middle. How is it?’ The son replied: ‘it is salt’ ‘Taste it from the bottom. How is it?’ The son replied: ‘It is salt.’ The father said: ‘Throw it away, and then wait on me.’ He did so, but salt exists for ever. Then the father said: ‘Here also in this body forsooth, you do not perceive the Good (Sat) my son; but there indeed it is That God is the Essence and Ruler of all that exists, the desired of all and known through the subtlest intellect. He the Good controls and pervades all, and is full of all perfection. And thou O Śvetaketu art not it.” This also shows that salt is different from water, and retains its difference when it is not visible. (7) The seventh illustration is that of a person being directed to go to Gandhāra, he was told to go in a particular direction, it is Gandhara. This also shows that Gandhara is different from the person who goes there. (8) The eighth illustration also does not establish Abheda, for it says “when the Tejas merges in the Highest God, then he knows them not which also shows the difference and not identity. (9) The last illustration of the thief also does not establish identity; for it shows that the heated hatchet is certainly different from the hand that clutches it, for if the hatchet and the hand were identical, it would not burn the hand of the thief

Thus repeatedly, by these nine illustrations, it is taught that by not knowing the true distinction between the Self and the Higher Self, there results great calamity. The distinction (Bheda) is so subtle and so difficult of perception that ordinarily people are liable to overlook it. All these nine illustrations are meant to show, that one must not see identity between objects, on a cursory view of them. There is no illustration given showing identity. Neither the illustration of the string and the kite, nor the illustration of the flowers of different trees and the juice, nor that of rivers and the sea, nor that of the Jīva of the tree and the Living Lord, nor that of the seed and the Subtle Essence, nor that of the salt and the water, nor that of blindfolded man and Gandhāra, nor that of absolute knowledge and dependent knowledge, nor that of the thief and the hatchet, establishes identity.

Moreover, if it be taken that these illustrations establish identity (Abheda), then they would contradict the highest purport of all Scriptures. For the Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa has himself declared, that the highest aim of all these Scriptures is to establish the Supremacy of Viṣṇu over all, and that all authorities go to prove that assertion. In the Gītā it is thus written (XV. 16 to 20):—“There are two energies (Puruṣas) in this world, the destructible and the indestructible; the destructible is all beings, the unchanging is called the indestructible. The highest energy is verily Another, declared as the Supreme Self, He who pervading all sustaineth the three worlds, the indestructible Lord. Since I excel the destructible, and am more excellent also than the indestructible, in the world and in the Veda I am proclaimed the Supreme Spirit. He who undeluded knoweth me thus as the Supreme Spirit, he, all-knowing, worshipped! Me with his whole being, O Bhārata. Thus by Me this most secret teaching hath been told, O sinless one. This known, he hath become illuminated, and hath finished his work, O Bhārata.”

Further on, it is again said (V. 29) ‘Having known Me, as the Enjoyer of sacrifice and of austerity, the mighty Ruler of all the worlds, and the Lover of all beings, he goeth to Peace.’ further on it is said (VII. 2) ‘I will declare to thee this knowledge and wisdom in its completeness, which, having known, there is nothing more here needeth to be known.’ Further on (VII. 7) ‘There is naught whatsoever higher than I, O Dhanañjaya. All this is threaded on Me, as rows of pearls on a string.’ So further (IX. 12) ‘Kingly Science, Kingly secret, supreme Purifier, this intuitional, according to righteousness, very easy to perform, imperishable. Men without faith in this knowledge, O Parantapa, not reaching Me, return to the paths of this world of death. By me all this world is pervaded in My unmanifested aspect; all beings have root in Me, I am not rooted in them. Nor have Beings root in me; behold My sovereign Yoga! The support of beings yet not rooted in beings, My Self their efficient cause.” Further on (IX. 11) “The foolish disregard Me, when clad in human semblance, ignorant of my supreme nature, the Great Lord of beings. Empty of hope, empty of deeds, empty of wisdom, senseless, partaking of the deceitful, brutal and demoniacal nature. Verily the Mahatmas O Pārtha, partaking of my divine nature, worship with unwavering mind, having known Me, the imperishable source of beings.” Farther on (X. 3.) ‘He who knoweth Me, unborn, beginningless, the great Lord of the world, he, among mortals without delusion, is liberated from all sins.” Further on (XIV. 1.) ‘I will again proclaim that supreme Wisdom, of all wisdom the best, which having known, all the sages have gone hence to the supreme Perfection. Having taken refuge in this wisdom, and being assimilated to My own Nature, they are not reborn, even in the emanation of a universe; nor are disquieted in the dissolution. My womb is the great Eternal; in that I place the germ; thence cometh the birth of all beings, O Bhārata. In whatsoever wombs, mortals are produced, O Kaunteya, the great Eternal is their womb, I their generating father.”

So far these quotations from Gita do not establish Abheda or identity. On the contrary, they show that Mukti or release consists in knowing the Lord as separate from one’s self Further, in another book, it is thus written “I, the God of all gods, am reached by them alone, who know me as full of all auspicious qualities, and whose faith in me is never shaken, but not by others am I to be found. The release is easy of attainment, as if it was already in one’s grasp, to those who constantly remember me and have their minds fixed steadily with love and knowledge on all the perfection and fullness of my qualities. But those who think that my qualities are not fu;;, verily go to darkness. They are not dear to me, nor do they love me, but he who knows that 1 am full of all perfection, he necessarily attains perfection and reaches me, because I am dear to him and he is dear to Me. All authorities, proofs and evidences and all arguments and reasonings establish this, that I am the greatest. Any reasoning or authority which is against this, is fallacious and but a semblance of argument.”

Since the knowledge that the Lord is full of all qualities is the means of pleasing the Lord, and thereby attaining release, therefore all authority and reasonings must be so construed as to establish the Supremacy of the Lord. All scriptures have this great aim before them, namely, to produce the knowledge that the Lord is full of all perfection, and the knowledge of the Lord is the key to Mukti. The following texts also show the same

“The Devas worshipped Him as Bhūti (or perfect bliss and fullness), so they became (blessed and) perfect. Therefore, even now a man who sleeps, breathes in and breathes out, making the sound ‘Bhur Bhur’ (blessed perfection, blessed perfection). But the Asuras worshipped the Lord as Imperfect (abhūti) hence they were defeated.” (Ait. Ar. II. 1. 8. 6-7.) Another verse says “Supreme God is to be worshipped as Bhūma (Full and Infinity), for the non-full (abhūmā) cannot give the rewards of action to his votaries; therefore, verily this bhūmā (infinity) is pre-eminent among all qualities as the sacrifice called Kratu is pre-eminent among all religious rites” So also in the Ṛg Veda (I.176.4 “Throw into deserving darkness, O Lord! every one who offers no sacrifice to Thee, who is a miserable wretch and hard of heart; he who is not full of Thee; and does not acknowledge Thy pre-eminence. Give to us the knowledge of Thy supremacy, for the wise alone can get rid of the miseries of this world.”

“Asunvatam”, non-sacrificing one, who does not worship the Lord, Ṣamam, deserving equal to his demerit. Jahi, slay, throw into darkness. Dūṃśām, hard of reaching, hard of heart, miserable. Yaḥ, who. Na, not. Temayaḥ, full of thee. Asmabhyam, to us, who, worship thee. Asya, of that greatness of Thine. Vedanam, knowledge. Daddhi, give. Suris, the wise. Cit, only. Ohate, gets rid (of the saṃsāra).

Similarly in Ṛg Veda (VIII. 3. 4):—“He with his might enhanced by Ṛṣis thousand-fold, hath like an ocean spread himself. His majesty is praised as true, at solemn rites, his power where holy singers rule.” So also Ṛg Veda IX. 90. 3.):—“So Mighty is his greatness; yea, greater than this is Puruṣa.” All creatures are one-fourth of him, three-fourths eternal life in heaven.

So also in the Svet. Up. III. 8. “By knowing Him alone one crosses over death, there is no other path to go upon.” Similarly the following verses declare that God is the Highest goal:—creation, sustenance and dissolution, necessity, knowledge and transmigration (ignorance, bondage and release are the eight things described in Śāstras in order to magnify the glory of the Lord and to declare his pre-eminence.

That is God creates, maintains and destroys the universe. He is the Great Law of necessity; He gives knowledge, he withholds knowledge, he is like bondage to the sinners and Mukti to the pious.

To magnify whose greatness, and spread whose knowledge among mankind, is the sole object of all the Vedas, and the arguments, for by knowing His glory and by nothing else, does the man get release. That Lord Hari is the supreme. So also in the Ṛg Veda (VIII. 3. 8.) “And living men to-day, even as of old sing forth their praises to His Majesty.”

Thus all these texts of the Vedas and Smṛtis declare that the whole object and the highest purport of the scriptures consist in glorifying the Majesty and pre-eminence of Viṣṇu. So also in the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa:—“All texts and arguments, found scattered everywhere in the scriptures, are for the object of declaring the greatness and pre-eminence of Viṣṇu. That is their chief aim.”

The Holy Bādarāyaṇa thus says in his Vedānta Sūtras, showing thereby that Viṣṇu, is the Chief object of all the Scriptures (III. 3. 59):—

The attribute of perfectness being present with, i.e., modifying every other attribute is the most important, as Kratu (is of all the sacrificial acts); thus Śruti declares; (hence the attribute of perfectness is to be contemplated by all).

Similarly (IV. 1. 5):—

Ātman is to he contemplated as Brahman (the perfect); for (this) is the best i.e., to contemplate Him as perfect is the best means of gaining His perfect grace).

These words of Lord Bādarāyaṇa established that God is perfect and that by meditating on Viṣṇu as perfect one gets mukti.

There is no proof here that the object of the scriptures is to establish the non-difference (Abheda) between the supreme self and the embodied self. This we learn from the fact that the word “Atat Tvam Asi” have been repeated nine times over, showing that “Thou art not that,” and thereby establishing the difference between the Jīva and Īśvara. Moreover the Vedānta Sūtras also establish this Bheda, as the following five aphorisms say (I. 3. 5) On account of the declaration of difference.

The view of absolute identity cannot be taken; for the text “He who sees the Lord worshipped by the gods as different from himself and understands His glory,” declares the difference (between the soul worshipping and the Lord worshipped). So also (1.1. 21).

And he is a different one, (also) from the indication of difference. So also (1. 2. 3) (On the, other hand) the (All-pervading) is not the embodied soul, as it is quite impossible (to predicate omnipresence of him). So also (I.2.20):—(Nor) is the embodied soul (The Internal Ruler); for both speak of the soul as distinct (from the Ruler within). So also (II.3.28):—The soul is separate from (not one with, Brahman), from the statements in Scripture.

These and other aphorisms also show that the Lord Bādarāyaṇa everywhere has established the difference of the Jīva from the Lord.

But an objector says “how do you reconcile the theory of Bheda with the following Śruti of the Ṛg Veda. “The Supreme person is all this.” This Śruti does not mean that the Lord is everything. It means this

The phrase “Puruṣa Eva Idam Sarvam Yadbhūtam Yat Ca Bhāvyam” (Ṛg Veda X. 90. 3.) means “by the Lord is pervaded everything, that exists, whatsoever that exists whether in the past or present or future.” It does not mean that the Lord is all that exists, for then would arise the absurdity that He is a cow or a man, etc. This is a false notion that everything is the Lord, whether it be a tuft of grass or cake of dung. As the phrase “curd Śaktu,” “butter rice,” do not mean that the curd is the same as the Śaktu, or the butter is the same as rice; but it means “the curd pervades Śaktu,” and “butter pervades rice,” and we supply the word pervade, though it is not used in the phrase, so in the phrase “Puruṣa Eva Idam Sarvam” we supply the word “Vyāptam”, in order to give it a rational meaning; and therefore we have explained this as meaning “by Lord is pervaded all this,” and not that “the Lord is all this.” For the phrase Dadhi—Sakatavaḥ [Śaktavaḥ?] or Ghṛtaudanam is not translated as the ‘curd is Śaktu’ or ‘the butter rice,’ but it means ‘curd mixed with Śaktu,’ or rather ‘Śaktu mixed with curd,’ and ‘the rice mixed with butter.’ On this analogy, the Ṛg Veda text should be analysed as, “by the Lord is pervaded all this, whether it exists in the present or in the future.”

Therefore, all authorities establish the pre-eminence of the Lord and the highest aim of all scriptures is to establish that pre-eminence; consequently, if the scriptures were to establish the identity of the embodied soul with the Lord, they would contradict themselves, and would make the embodied soul equal to the Lord.

But how do you show that those who hold that the Jīva and Īśvara are one and identical, derogate the pre-eminence of the Lord? Why should it be considered derogatory to the Lord, if one says, “I am one with the Lord.” To this the Commentator replies by quoting an authority

Those who think that they are Viṣṇu the ever-wise and blissful, really think that He is neither wise nor blissful, but full of ignorance and pain. For according to them, all knowledge of the embodied Jīva is based upon ignorance and pain; and as the Jīva and the Lord are identical, all knowledge of the Lord is also due to ignorance and pain. Thus they really have a very low conception of God. Those who thus derogate from the glory of the Lord Viṣṇu, have never any happiness. Those who believe the God of Gods to be something different from what He really is, has committed the highest sin possible, for he is a thief, who steals the very god-head of the Lord, by saying ‘I am identical with God.’ The unskilled in the interpretation of the scriptures, not fully understanding their true purport, say that the Lord and the Jīva are identical, and that the Atmā is one only. But it is a mere dogmatic assertion of theirs, for they have misunderstood the true meaning of the scriptural passages, like “Aham Brahmāsmi” etc. Such persons are overpowered by lust and wrath, slave to their egotism and thief of Brahman, joyless and of immature mind, and are always unfortunate. They do not know the right meaning of the scriptures, and hence they are, as if, the robbers of scriptures. They think that the Jīva and the Lord are without qualities (Nirguṇa), and thus they see wrongly and do not know the right qualities of the Lord. Such souls have their bodies of darkness (Tamas) and they go into the darkness. Because the Lord is different in his essential nature from the Jīva (one is finite, the other is infinite), different in kinds (One is Jīva the controlled, the other is Īśvara), different according to the teachings of the scriptures also (for they say two birds on the same tree, etc.,) and because their objects are also different (one is ever conscious, the other is not), therefore how can it be true that the Jīva is identical with the Lord; (for all these reasons show the incongruity of holding Jīva and the Lord to be identical, on the strength of a single stray text like Aham Brahma Asmi).

Moreover the Mahābhārata also shows the same:—

Janamejaya said “O regenerate one, are there many Puruṣas or is there only one? Who, in the universe, is the foremost of Puruṣas. What, again, is said to be the source of all things. You are worthy of telling me that.” Vaiśampāyana said “O thou support of the race of Kuru, the wise do not wish to assert that there is but one puruṣa in the universe. In the same manner, in which the many Puruṣas are said to have one origin in the Supreme Puruṣa, it may be said that this entire universe has its origin in that one Puruṣa of all superior attributes” (Mahābhārata, Śānti Parva, Section 351. Mokṣa Dharma and also Vana Parva).

Now the Commentator takes up the two well-known phrases “Aham Brahma Asmi” and “Yo’sau So’ham Asmi,” The Advaitins explain these sentences as meaning “I am Brahman” and “I am that which is He.” The Commentator shows that the word “Aham” does not mean “I” but it means the Supreme, the indestructible.

“Ham” is the name of the Jīva, because it is liable to destruction (Ham, to kill, to destroy). He who is not liable to destruction, is called “Aham”, the Non-Jīva hence it is the name of Viṣṇu the indestructible.

The word “Asmi” also does not mean ‘I am’ but it is a compound of “A” not and “Smi” meaning small, i.e., He who is not small, Big, Full.

“Smi” is the name given to the Jīva, because it is small and because it is perfectly measurable (su + mita = smi well measured). The Lord is called “Asmi”, because it is not small nor is He measurable. On account of His fullness, He is called Asmi; He is called Brahma, because He is allfull. Thus the phrase “Aham Brahma Asmi” means “the Non-des-tructible Brahman is the Supreme Immeasurable,” thus the whole phrase is an epithet of Viṣṇu, when he is looked upon as dwelling within the Jīva, and Brahma here means ‘full’; being derived from the root √bṛh ‘to grow,’ ‘to expand.’

The second phrase “yosau sohamasmi” refers to Viṣṇu, in His cosmological aspect. That (asau) Lord Viṣṇu, residing in the sun and far away from us is called Asau, meaning “dwelling in Asu or life, dwelling in the sun which is life.” Therefore this phrase means “He who is in Asu or the sun, is called Aham or the indestructible.” The aspect of the Lord Viṣṇu dwelling in the Jīva is called Aham, because it is always above anything which can be discarded (Heya).” Thus it is in the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa.

Thus the above saying that the Lord in the sun and the Lord in the Jīva are identical is refuted. This also proves that He is the Most Eminent Person, in the universe; and that all authorities have as their highest aim to establish the unique supremacy of the Lord. Moreover the phrases like “Tattvam Asi”, etc., do not establish the identity of the Jīva with the Lord. If they were to do so, they would contradict the innumerable texts, which establish the difference between the Lord and the Jīva. Had it been the case, that these texts establishing difference were few in number, we might give them a subordinate position, and say that the chief object of the scriptures was to maintain the identity of the Lord and the Jīva. But as a matter of fact, the so-called Abheda Vākyas are few in number, while those on the other side are overwhelming in their frequency. Consequently, in order to give a consistent explanation of the scriptures, it is necessary that we should explain these apparent identity-texts, in such a way, as not to conflict with the distinction texts. The Commentator, therefore, quotes a number of texts, to show, that distinction or Bheda is the primary teaching of the Upaniṣads. Nor can you say that these distinction or Bheda Vākyas apply only to the phenomenal existence, and not to the highest truth) i.e., there is apparent Bheda between the Jīva and the Īśvara, in the world only; but they are identical in the state of release or Mukti. The author, now quotes texts to show that in the state of Mukti also, the Jīva retains his separateness from the Lord.

Thus in Ch. VIII. 3, 4 it is said “now he who gets the grace of the Lord, having risen from out his final body, and having reached the Highest Light, appears in his true form. This is the self.”

This shows that in the state of Mokṣa also, the Jīva retains its own form, separate from the Lord.

In Ch. VIII. 12, 3, “now he who gets the grace of the Lord, having risen from his final body, and having reached the Highest Light, attains his true form. He is the highest person. He moves about there eating and playing, and rejoicing, be it with women, carriages, or relatives, never conscious of persons standing even near to him.

This also shows that the state of Mukti is a state of separate individual existence, and not of loss of consciousness or identity with the Lord. ‘Rejoicing with the relatives’ means rejoicing with other Mukta Jīvas in Heaven, ‘rejoicing with the non-relatives’ means rejoicing with the Muktas of the past Kalpa.

Similarly is Ch. VIL 26, 2 “the Muktas do not see death, nor illness nor pain, he who sees this sees everything and obtains everything everywhere. He can assume many forms, he is one, he becomes three, he becomes five, he becomes seven, he becomes nine, etc.” Similarly in Taitta. H, 2:—“He who knows the supreme Brahman as dwelling in the cavity of the heart, the highest space, he enjoys all objects of desire along with the omniscient Brahman.”

This also shows that the Mukta retains his separateness from Brahman, because he enjoys all desires along with Brahman and not becoming Brahman.

So also in Taitt. III, 10, 5, it is said “the Mukta Jīva leaving this world reaches the Ānanda Maya (the Supreme Lord consisting of bliss) after having travelled through these regions, eating whatever he likes to eat, and taking whatever form he wishes to take sits down singing this hymn.”

This also shows that the Mukta Jīva reaches the Lord, but does not become the Lord.

So also in Br. Ar. I, 4, 15:—“He who meditates on the Ātma alone, never gets his Karmas exhausted, and whatever he wants from the Lord (Atman) that he creates.” (This also shows the difference between the Lord and the Mukta Jīva). So also in the Ṛg Veda I, 164, 50. “By means of sacrifice the Gods accomplish their sacrifice; these were the earliest ordinances. These Mighty Ones attained the height of heaven, there where the Sādhyas, Gods of old, are dwelling.”

“The height of heaven” here means Mokṣa, for the word in the original is Nāka [Nākam], which literally means Non-non-happiness, i.e., supreme happiness. The gods of old called Sadhyas are the Mukta Jīvas of the past Kalpa. This also shows that the Muktas are not absorbed in Brahman, but retain their identity.

Similarly in Muṇḍaka III, 1, 3:—“When the Jīva sees the golden coloured Creator and Lord, as the person from whom Brahmā comes out, then the wise, shaking off virtue and vice and becoming free from Avidyā, attains the highest similarity.”

And Katha. IV, 15:—As pure water poured into pure water becomes like that, O Goutama, so the Ātmā of the Muni, who knows, becomes like that with Brahman).

The following texts also show that in Mokṣa the Jīvas retain their separate individuality.

In Mukti, the Jīvas though separate from each other are yet related to each other in manifold ways, yea even at that very time, when they are in the state of Mukti. They are free from all organs of senses made of Prākṛtic matter. They remain in their own-form called the Svarūpa Deha (i.e., the only organ which they possess. It is not made of ordinary matter and is the universal sensory). They have no connection with Prakriti, these Muktas have no such connection, because they have seen the Truth (Tattva).

Does Prakriti bind again a Mukta Jīva in her meshes? To this the reply is in the negative.

A Jīva once Mukta, does not again draw the attention of Prakriti towards him, and as Puruṣas are many, Prakriti has her scope with them, who are not free, and she leaves the Mukta Jīvas alone, and even at the time of creation of a new world system these Muktas do not fall into the snare of Prakriti. So also in Gītā XIV, 2 the Lord says that the Muktas do not come back into the Saṃsāra, even at the time of a new creation, nor are they disturbed at the time, when the dissolution sets in; and that they reach the Lord and attain similarity of nature with him.

This also shows that in Mokṣa, the Muktas retain their separateness and have the same nature as the Lord, but do not become identical with the Lord.

So also:—“Where Maya (Prakṛti) does not exist, what to say of other lower things? Where dwell the servants of the Lord Hari honored by Devas and Asuras.” All these texts of Śruti and Smṛti declare that even the Muktas or Released souls remain separate, in the state of Mokṣa, from the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.

Note.—The above text also shows that Asuras also dwell in heaven. The Asuras therefore do not mean demons, but a separate race of beings. The Commentator now shows that “Tattvam asi” of this section does not mean identity, for then, it would contradict the whole context.

The passage begins with the statement that “all these creatures, 0 child, have the Good as their cause, the Good as their support, and the Good as their stay.” Entering into the Good they do not know that, they have entered the Good.” “Coming out of the Good they do not know that they have come out of the Good.” This also shows, that difference is here established between the creatures and the Good. (Ch. VI. 8, 6).

Similarly “these rivers, my child, rise from these seas and go back to the sea, but the sea ever remains the sea, and does not become the river.” This also shows that the rivers never become the sea, though they enter into the sea. The phrase “Sa eva samudraḥ Bhavati” means that the sea remains even the sea, and does not become the river, nor do the rivers become sea. This also shows that difference is the main topic of the scripture.

Note.—‘Rising from the sea’ means rising from some natural or artificial lake. The word ‘Eva’ in the text VI, 10, 1 shows that the sea alone remains the sea, and not that the rivers become the sea.

The last illustration of the thief also shows the same.

If a man were identical with Brahman, whether he knew it or not, he could not be said a thief. No man is said to be a thief of a thing which belongs to him. Even an ignorant person cannot be called a thief of Brahman condition. But if a person is not essentially a Brahman, and assumes falsely, the condition of Brahman, such a person can appropriately be called the thief of Brahman condition, for he has taken up that which does not belong to him. Moreover according to Advaita, every man is essentially Brahman, whether he knows it or not. So, if a man, who is essentially, Brahman, says “I am not Brahman,” he cannot be said to have stolen Brahma-hood; on the contrary, he is like that foolish person, who throws away his own birth-right or wealth. As no one calls a spendthrift or a squanderer of his own riches to be a thief; why should a man who says ‘I am not Brahman’ be called a thief. He only is the thief, who takes away the property of another. That man is a thief who assumes God-head, the property belonging to God, and God alone. Therefore, when the scripture says “this man has taken away something, this man has committed theft” it means that the man not essentially being Brahman, falsely arrogates to himself Brahmanhood. Thus this illustration of the thief, also establishes difference. The properties of Brahman are freedom from sorrow, full and perfect knowledge and joy, perfect independence, etc. A man who does not really experience these states in his consciousness, but asserts that he is Brahman, is really a thief and takes up the qualities belonging to the Brahman. He who assumes the qualities of another is called a pretender. He who takes away the property of another is called a thief. Both these words, the pretender and the thief, are used in this illustration. So also in the Tattva Viveka it is written, “he who takes up the attributes' and the properties of another is called a pretender and a thief. The person who thinks he is identical with Brahman is ever destroyed by Brahman.”

The Advaita says this illustration of the thief is intended to show that a man suffers according to his belief. If a man firmly believe that he is not guilty, he will not be burnt, by the heated axe. But if he has not this firm faith in himself, he will be burnt. Whether a man is really a thief or not, he is burnt, or not burnt, according to the firmness of his conviction. This objection is not valid. The Commentator answers it thus

This illustration is not given in order to show the greatness of faith. For the text says that the burning or not burning does not depend upon one’s faith, but upon the fact, whether he has committed theft or not. For it says, “if he has committed the theft, then he makes himself a liar; and being addicted to untruth, and covering himself by a lie, he grasps the heated axe, he is burnt, and he is killed; if however he has not committed the theft, then he makes himself true; and being attached to truth, he grasps the heated axe, he is not burnt; he is let off and delivered.” This shows that death or release, is the consequence of the theft and non-theft; and not according to one’s belief. Otherwise the text would have been “if he is not firm in his faith, lie is killed; if he is firm, he is released.” Nor can you say that this illustration teaches the importance of truth and the danger of falsehood. The thief is punished, not for his falsehood, but for his commission of theft. The innocent man is released not because he has spoken the truth, but because he has not committed the theft. Had the illustration intended to teach the beauty of Truth, and the danger of falsehood then it would have said “he is killed, because he has spoken the falsehood, he is saved because he spoke the truth.” But the scriptures say that the killing or saving depends upon the commission and non-commission of theft, and not upon one’s faith.

Therefore, this illustration shows that there is great danger of spiritual destruction, for the person who believes in identity, while the man who believes that he is not Brahman gets release. A person who is separate from another can get excellence and pre-eminence, but a person who is already identical with the highest is not capable of getting any excellence, because he is overpowered by ignorance and sorrow.

There is a class of Philosophers who hold the theory of Bhedā-Bheda. They say “admitted that all scriptures prove the Supreme excellence of Viṣṇu, still why should there be any conflict, if we admit that every man is identical with Brahman. In the theory of difference pins identity, all text, can be easily reconciled.” To them the Commentator says

Excellence can belong only to him who is different from others (for where every one is equal, there is no excellence of one over the other). Therefore, where there is no difference, how can there be any excellence. Moreover, if there is no difference between the Lord and the Jīva, then the lord necessarily becomes inferior, because the ignorance and the sorrow, will then be attributed to him. Man is ignorant and suffers from sorrow, he is identical with God, therefore God is also ignorant and suffers from Sorrow.

The objector says though Brahman is identical with Jīva, yet there is no detraction from his excellence. It is through illusion that sorrow and ignorance are attributed to Brahman. Jīva has not sorrow and ignorance essentially appertaining to it. The junction with sorrow, etc., through illusion, does not take away the inherent (Paramārthika) excellence of the self. For if this were so, then Avatāras like Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, whom all admit to be Viṣṇu were temporarily in conduction with sorrow and ignorance and so could not be God. To this we answer, this is not so. For if the Lord were identical with Jīva, and the Jīva were essentially full of sorrow, then it would naturally follow that the Lord also would be essentially full of sorrow. If, however, the Jīva is not essentially full of sorrow, but it is only an illusory connection, still the Lord being identical with Jīva, would be liable to this temporary obscuration, and would therefore not be supremely excellent. A person suffering from illusion, may get rid of it in some future time; but for the time being, his pain and sufferings are extremely real. As a person who has really lost a son, and a person, whose son is alive, but who has heard the false news of the death of his son; both suffer equally from the sorrow of the loss, and for the time being there is no difference in their suffering. Therefore the Commentator says:—

In this theory, there is no difference for the time being between the person who has a real cause of sorrow, and the person whose sorrow is illusory. For the sorrow is equally keen, for the time being, in both persons. Moreover, the very fact of illusion, shows that the man is not independent. If illusion could attack the Lord Viṣṇu also, then he would not be independent, for no being who is independent would like to be under illusion. Nor it can be said, that the Lord by his own will combines himself with illusion, for illusion does not arise from one’s own will. The Avatāras Rāma and Kṛṣṇa acted a stage part. “Knowing himself to be the Supreme Viṣṇu the Lord Rāghava showed himself, us if he was ignorant, and was suffering from sorrow, so that the Daityas may become deluded.” Thus it is in the Padma Purāṇa.

Moreover the venerable Bādarāyaṇa has definitely settled it in his Brahma Sūtras that the Released souls are different from Brahman, in the matter of Lordliness and glory. For he says (IV. 4. 17) “with the exception of world energy; on account of leading subject-matter and of non-proximity.”

The text says; “He has become immortal and attained all his wishes” (A. A. II. 5, 4) still the text should be understood to mean that the Released obtains all wishes, other than those regarding the creation of the world, etc.” Why (this exception)? and because Jīva (the soul) is the topic of the passage and is far away from (such power).

For the passage deals with the individual soul and such powers are very far from his reach. This is said in the Varāha: “There arises no wish in the released for obtaining bliss more than what is allotted to each of them or for certain other activities; all other wishes they realise; for they never possess such high capability with regard to anything. Even though he may be a released soul, he does not obtain anything beyond his fitness, nor would he desire such a thing.”

But cannot this aphorism be explained as applying to a released soul in the secondary sense of the word release, i.e., not to the fully released, but to the partially emancipated. To this the Commentator answers

The Vedas and the rest should all be construed, in accordance with the rules of interpretation laid down in the Brahma Sūtras; but not so the Brahma Sūtras. They should not be construed different from what is their plain and apparent meaning. Thus it is in the Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa.

The illustration of the thief shows that he who has the belief of being identical with the Lord goes to the darkness, but he who knows that the Lord is supreme and separate from him gets release, like the person who is innocent of theft (Ibid).

It has been said the Vedas and the rest are to be construed in accordance with the maxims laid down in the Brahma Sūtras. How will you explain, according to those Sūtras, which establish that the Jīva is different from the Lord, the well-known texts like “Tat Tvam Asi”, which shows conclusively that the Jīva is identical with the Lord. To this objection, the Commentator gives an answer in the words of the authoritative book, called the Sāma Saṃhitā, where this famous passage “sa ya eṣaḥ”; etc., “Sa Ya Eṣa aṇimā, Aitadātmyam Idam Sarvam, Tat Satyam, Sat Ātmā Tat Tvam Asi”, is thus explained

He is called “Sa” because he is the essence (sāra), he is named “Ya” because he is all-knowledge (jñāna) he is called “Eṣaḥ” because he is desired by all (iṣṭaḥ); he is called “Aṇimā” because he is the impeller (aṇaka) of all that exists (He is called “Aṇimā” because he is the aṇaka or impeller or propeller of every Devatā which presides over māna or knowledge, i.e., He is the inner controller of every deity which presides over functions of knowledge). He is called “Tat” because he pervades all, he is called “Aitadātmyam” because he is the ruler (ātmā) of this all the universe (etad). He is called “Satyam” because his form is all goodness; He is called Ātmā because he is full, he is called “Sa” because He destroys (sanada) everything (or because he is a home of everything). Gautama nine times repeats to his son the phrase “Atat tvam asi”—“thou art not that O son,” giving illustration, showing that the Lord Keśava is separate from everything. Salutation be therefore to the Lord, who is above all matter and souls, who is the Puruṣottama, the Highest Spirit, the supreme God, the perfect bliss, and fullness.” Thus it is in Sāma Saṃhitā.

Thus it is established that the Lord Puruṣottama the Highest Spirit is full of all qualities, is the Highest of all, is separate from all souls, and matter, sentient and insentient objects.

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: