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...

Eight Adhyaya, Fifth Khanda (4 mantras)

Mantra 8.5.1.

1. Now, that which the wise call Yajña (sacrifice) is verily the Divine Wisdom, through Divine Wisdom, the knower obtains the Lord. Similarly, that which the wise call Iṣṭam is also the Divine Wisdom. For having desired the Self, he obtains the Self.—546.

Note.—The last verse of the last chapter declares that those only reach Brahman who practice Brahmacarya. This word generally means celibacy; but it is not to be taken in this sense here, for Brahmacarya in its restricted meaning is not the only means of obtaining the Lord. The present chapter therefore, explains the true meaning of this word. Brahmacarya means Divine Wisdom, and thus includes Yajña and Iṣṭa. Yajña also does not mean sacrifice here but Wisdom. It comes from the root Ya to go, to understand and Jñam, Wisdom. The whole word Yajña [Yajñam] means that by which the Omniscient is reached, and hence it means Divine Wisdom. Thus Yajña [Yajñam] has literally the same meaning as Brahmacaryam, that by which Brahman is reached. Similarly the word Iṣṭa [Iṣṭam] generally means sacrifice; but here it means Divine Wisdom, and it literally means “that by which one desires (Icchati) to know Brahman.” Thus Iṣṭa [Iṣṭam] means also literally the Divine Wisdom, or as the Śruti puts it—“Iṣṭvā Ātmānam,” “having desired all desires, i.e., having transcended all desires, etc., he obtains the Self.” Thus Iṣṭa [Iṣṭam] also means Divine Wisdom or the instrument of getting rid of all desires.

Mantra 8.5.2.

2. Now what the wise call Sattrāyaṇa is also Divine Wisdom, for by Divine Wisdom alone, he obtains from the True, the salvation of his self. Similarly what the wise call the vow of silence is really Divine Wisdom, for through Divine Wisdom alone, one after knowing the Lord, becomes absorbed in meditation and becomes silent.—547.

Note.—Thus Sattrāyaṇa and Mauna disciplines literally mean Divine Wisdom.

Mantra 8.5.3.

3. Now what the wise call Anāśakāyaṇa or fasting vow, that also is the Divine Wisdom, for this Self does not perish.; therefore it is called Anāśak (non-perishing). Since this Imperishable is reached through Divine Wisdom, it is called Anāśakāyaṇa, namely, that which leads to the Imperishable. Similarly what the wise call “the vow of Forest life,” that also is Divine Wisdom, for Divine Wisdom is called Āraṇyāyaṇa or the leader to the Ara and Ṇya, because it teaches about Brahman, called Āraṇya or the Silent One. Āra and Ṇya are two lakes in the world of Brahman, in the third heaven from hence (Meru). There is a lake where dwells the enrapturing Irā (Lakṣmī), there are the aśvattha trees that shower the Soma juice; there is the city of the Lord called Aparājitā, and in it the throne, built by the Lord, and called Prabhuvimitam, which is all golden—548.

Note.—The existence of the lakes called Ara, and Ṇya, of the tank called Airamadiya and the tree that showers soma, and the city Invincible and the couch called Prabhuvimitam is mentioned in the Kauśitaki Brāhmaṇa Upaniṣad. “In this Brahma loka there are the lake named Aira, (consisting of evil passions), the moments called Yeṣṭihā (destroying the good), the river named Vijarā (giving fredom from old age) the tree called Ilya (like the earth) the city named Sālajya [Sālajyam] (with high banked reservoirs of water), the building named Aparājita [Aparājitam] (impregnable) of which Indra and Prajāpati are gate-keepers, the council chamber called the Bibhu (all-pervading), the throne named Vicakṣaṇa (full of wisdom) a couch named Amitauja (of infinite splendour,) (Brahman’s) consort named Mānasī (the delightful, i.e., Nature) and her reflection Cakṣuṣi (probably the individual soul), who both weave the creatures like flowers.”

Brahmacarya when mental, includes the mental sacrifice or Yajña, the mental Iṣṭa, etc. In fact these words Yajña, Iṣṭa, etc., when analysed lead to the same meaning as Brahmacarya.

The following table shows it:—

Brahmacarya—Leading to Brahmana, i.e., Divine Wisdom.
Yajña—Leading to the Omniscient. Ya+jña.
Iṣṭa—Transcending desire or the object of search (Eṣana or Icchā).
Sattrāyana—Leading to Sat, the Saviour.
Mauna—Meditating (Manana).
Anāśakāyaṇa—Leading to the Imperishable (Anaśaka).
Araṇyāyana—Leading to Ara and Ṇya.

Thus the mental Brahmacarya is Divine Wisdom; and when Yajña, etc., are performed mentally, they must be performed in this spirit. But when Yajña, etc., are performed by deeds and speech, the mental idea should not be absent.

The Śvetadvīpa is the third heaven from the worldly heaven, namely, from Mem. In this Śvetadvīpa are these lakes, trees, places, etc. The word Airam means also consisting of Irā or Lakṣmī, for Irā is another name of Lakṣmī. The word aśvattha means the grove of Aśvattha trees. Soma savana means dripping nectar.

Mantra 8.5.4.

4. Therefore, those who obtain through Brahmacarya these two lakes called Ara and Ṇya, which are in the world of Brahman, they verily get this Brahma world, for them is the freedom of movement in all these worlds.—549.

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

In this Khaṇḍa the scripture teaches that Yajña, Iṣṭa [Iṣṭam], Sattra [Sattram], etc., are said to be Brahmacarya, or Divine Wisdom. The Commentator now shows how the literal meaning of these words lead to the sense of Divine Wisdom.

The words Yajña [Yajñam], Iṣṭa [Iṣṭam], Sattra [Sattram], Mauna [Maunam], Anāśakāyana [Anāśakāyanam], Araṇyayana [Araṇyayanam] all mean the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman, the Divine Wisdom.

In the world of the Supreme Brahman, in the highest region called the Śvetadvīpa, there are two lakes called Arā and Ṇyā, these Divine lakes are full with the sweet waters of knowledge and bliss.

The description of these lakes, as filled with the waters of wisdom and bliss, shows that they are really made up of the essence of Lakṣmī. An objector says, it is not proper to say that the Brahmaloka is the white Island or Śvetadvīpa. Because it is described in this as being the third region from this world, and therefore, this white Island is the Third Heaven of Indra. But the white Island is situated in the Ocean of Milk. How do you reconcile this apparent conflict? Is it in the third Heaven from Meru, namely, is it in the Svarga of Indra, or is it in the Ocean of Milk?

To this the Commentator replies:—

As much as the world of Indra called Svarga is high away from this world, so much higher than the world of Svarga is the Śvetadvipa (from the world of Svarga).

The phrase “Tritiyasyām Itaḥ Divi” means thus in the third Heaven from Svarga, as the Svarga itself is third from this.

In that Śvetadvipa is a tank full of wine and all sorts of eatables. And there are trees called Aśavattha which constantly shower Nectar. There is the Divine city of Viṣṇu called Aparājita. There is the couch of Viṣṇu called Vimita made to the size of the Lord (infinite), made of Divine Gold of mental matter (Cit-suvarṇa), which is in the from of Lakṣmī.

Note.—Is the matter of the Heaven world the body of Lakṣmī? It is called Chit matter or matter made of mentality.

This Viṣṇu, dwelling in the Śvetadvipa, is called Paryaṇka Brahman or the Lord God of the Couch of splendid glory.

Note.—The description of this Couch as given here, and in the Kauśitaki Upaniṣad shows that it was a Drama played in ancient India, something on the lines of modern Free Masonry. The world of heaven is represented, as guarded by the gate-keepers the Inner and outer Guards. The soul cannot enter heaven till it answers properly the questions put by these wardens. The person who gives a right answer to the warden of the Moon (something like the junior warden is allowed to enter). The Upaniṣad says “but if a man does not give the right answer, then the Moon rejects him and that soul is reborn again.” The question which the Moon puts is this. Who art thou? The proper answer to this is given in the Upaniṣad already mentioned, in these words:—

“From the wise moon, who orders the seasons, when it is born consisting of fifteen parts, from the moon who is the home of our ancestors, the seed was brought. This seed, even me, they (the Gods mentioned in the Pañcāgnividyā) gathered up in an active man, and through an active man they brought me to a mother. Then I, growing up to be born, a being living by months, whether twelve or thirteen, was together with my father, who also lived by (years of) twelve or thirteen months, that I might either know it (the true Brahman) or not know it. Therefore, O ye seasons, grant that I may attain immortality (knowledge of Brahman). By this my true saying, by this my toil (beginning with the dwelling in the moon and ending with my birth on earth) I am (like) a season, and the child of the seasons.” “Who art thou?” The sage asks again. “I am thou,” he replies. Then he sets him free (to proceed onward). The Svetadvīpa is the place where all must go in order to get their initiation from the great Master.

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