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Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad, verse 3

How1 four quarters are said to indicate Ātman is thus2 explained:—

जागरितस्थानो बहिष्प्रज्ञः सप्ताङ्ग एकोनविंशतिमुखः स्थूलभुग्वैश्वानरः प्रथमः पादः ॥ ३ ॥

Jāgaritasthāno bahiṣprajñaḥ saptāṅga ekonaviṃśatimukhaḥ sthūlabhugvaiśvānaraḥ prathamaḥ pādaḥ || 3 ||

3. The first quarter (Pāda) is Vaiśvānara whose sphere (of activity) is the waking state, who is conscious of external objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and whose experience consists of gross (material) objects.


Śaṅkara’s Commentary

Jāgaritasthāna, i.e., his sphere3 (of activity) is the waking state. Bahiṣprajña, i.e., who4 is aware of objects other than himself. The meaning is that consciousness appears, as it were, related to outward objects on account of Avidyā. Similarly Saptāṅga, i.e., he has seven5 limbs. The Śruti says, “Of that Vaiśvānara Self, the effulgent6 region is his head, the sun his eye, the air his vital breath, the ether (Ākāśa) the (middle part of his) body, the water7 his kidney and the earth his feet.” The Āhavanīya fire (one of the three fires of the Agnihotra sacrifice) has been described as his mouth in order to complete the imagery of the Agnihotra sacrifice. He is called Saptāṅga because these are the seven limbs of his body. Similarly he has nineteen mouths. These are the five8 organs of perception (Buddhindriyas); the five9 organs of action (Karmendriyas); the five10 aspects of vital breath (Prāṇa, etc.); the mind (Manas); the intellect (Buddhi); egoity (Ahaṃkāra); mind-stuff (Chitta). These are, as it were, the mouths, i.e., the instruments by means of which he (Vaiśvānara) experiences (objects). He, the Vaiśvānara, thus constituted, experiences through the instruments enumerated above, gross objects, such as sound, etc. He is called Vaiśvānara because he leads all creatures of the universe in diverse ways (to11 the enjoyment of various objects); or because he comprises all beings. Following the grammatical rules regarding the compound which gives the latter meaning, the word that is formed is Viśvānara, which is the same as Vaiśvānara. He is the first quarter because he is non-different from the totality of gross bodies (known as Virāt). He is called first12 (quarter) because the subsequent quarters are realized through him (Vaiśvānara).

(Objection)—while the subject-matter under discussion treats of the innermost Self (Pratyak Ātmā) as having four quarters—in the text, “This Ātman is Brahman”—how is it that (the external universe consisting of) the effulgent regions, etc., have been described as its limbs such as head, etc.?

(Reply)—This, however, is no13 mistake; because the object is to describe the entire phenomena, including those of gods (Adhidaiva) as having four quarters from14 the standpoint of this Ātman known as the Virāt (i.e., the totality of the gross universe). And in15 this way alone is non-duality established by the removal of (the illusion of) the entire16 phenomena. Further, the one Ātman is realized as existing in all beings and all17 beings are seen as existing in Ātman. And, thus alone, the meaning of such Śruti passages as “Who sees all beings in the Self, etc.” can be said to be established. Otherwise,18 the subjective world will, verily, be, as in the case of such philosophers as the Sāmkhyas,19 limited by its (one’s) own body. And if that be the case, no room would be left for the Advaita which is the special feature of the Śruti. For, in the case of duality, there would be no difference between the Advaita and the Sāmkhya and other systems. The establishment of the identity of all with Ātman is sought by all the Upaniṣads. It is, therefore, quite reasonable to speak of the effulgent regions, etc., as seven limbs in connection with the subjective (individual self, Adhyātma) associated with the gross body, because of its identity with the Adhidaiva (comprising the super-physical regions) universe from the standpoint of the Virāt (the totality of the gross physical universe). This is further known from such characteristic indication (of the Śrutí), as “Thy20 head shall fall”, etc.

The identity (of Adhyātma and Adhidaiva) from the standpoint of the Virāt indicates similar identity21 of the selves known as the Hiraṇyagarbha and the Taijasa 22 as well as of the Unmanifested23 (Īśvara) and the Prājña. It is also stated in the Madhu Brāhmaṇa, “This bright immortal person in this earth and that bright immortal person in the body (both are Madhu).” It is an established fact that the Self in deep sleep (Prājña) is identical with the Unmanifested (Īśvara) because24 of the absence of any distinction between them. Such being the case, it is clearly established that non-duality is realized by the disappearance (of the illusion) of all duality.


Ānandagiri’s Ṭīkā (glossary):

1 How, etc.—The reason for doubting is that Ātman is without parts.

2 Thus, etc.—Four quarters are merely assumed to facilitate understanding by the unenlightened.

3 Sphere, etc.—It is because the Self identifies itself with the experiencer in the waking state.

4 Who is aware, etc.—Consciousness (Prājña), really speaking, is identical with Self. It cannot be related to external objects because nothing exists outside consciousness. Owing to Ajñāna (ignorance), the Buddhi Vṛtti (mental modification) objectifies itself into what are called material entities, ego and non-ego. These material objects do not possess any independent existence. Both the Vṛtti and its objects are imagined in Ātman. From the standpoint of Ātman it does not experience any object external which is totally non-existent.

5 Seven—This assumption is based upon scriptural authority. Cf: Chāndogya Upaniṣad, 5. 18. 2.

6 Effulgent, etc.i.e., Dyuloka or the sky with its luminary ibodies such as the sun, the moon, the stars, etc.

7 Water—The word “Rayi”, meaning “Food” and “wealth”,.also indicates “water” by which whatever is “food” grows, bringing in its turn “wealth”.

8 Five organs, etc.—namely, the organ of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

9 Five organs, etc.—namely, hands, feet and organs of speech, generation and evacuation.

10 Five airs or humours, etc.viz., Prāṇa, Apāna, Samāna, Vyāna and Udāna.

11 To the enjoyment, etc.—He makes people enjoy pleasure and pain according to their virtuous or vicious deeds.

12 First—The word does not denote any priority of creation. It is called first because from the standpoint of Vaiśvānara or the waking state alone one can understand the other states, i.e., as has been pointed out under the first Upaniṣad, we see first how from the waking state the dream state and the state of dreamless sleep are known.

13 No mistake—The subjective is known as the Adhyātma. The Adhidaiva comprises the objective universe including the spheres of the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. Adhyātma is non-difierent from Adhidaiva because both these, as has already been pointed out, are but ideas imagined in Ātman. Hence there is no mistake in assuming Adhidaivika members as forming the limbs of the Adhyātma.

14 From the standpoint, etc.—The gross physical aspects of both Adhyātma and Adhidaiva, known as Virāt (i.e., the totality of all (physical bodies), form the first quarter of the Ātman or Brahman. The subtle or Sūkṣma (namely, the Apañcīkṛta) aspects, known as the Hiraṇyagarbha (i.e., the totality of the subtle), form the second quarter of the Ātman or Brahman. The Kāraṇa or causal aspect known as the Avyākṛta (unmanifested) or the Īśvara comprising both the Adhyātma and Adhidaiva is the third quarter. And the transcendental (Turīya) which is beyond all causal relations and which is the ultimate substratum of all appearances, viz., Virāt, Hiraṇyagarbha and Īśvara, is the fourth quarter. In all these instances there is non-difference between the Adhyātma and Adhidaiva. Therefore there is no mistake in applying the limbs of Adhidaiva to Adhyātma.

15 In this way alonei.e., by merging each of the three states step by step, in the Turīya or the transcendental.

18 Entire, etc.i.e., from Brahmā or the highest cosmic being to the mere blade of grass.

17 All beingsi.e., they are seen as mere imagination upon Ātman. Compare the following couplet from the Manu Smṛti:

सर्वभूतस्थमात्मानं सर्वभूतानि चात्मनि ।
संपश्यन्नात्मयाजी वै स्वाराज्यमधिगच्छति ॥

sarvabhūtasthamātmānaṃ sarvabhūtāni cātmani |
saṃpaśyannātmayājī vai svārājyamadhigacchati ||

18 Otherwisei.e., by admitting the duality of Adhyātma and Adhidaiva.

19 Sāṃkhyas—The Sāṃkhya doctrine admits the plurality of souls as based upon manifoldness of experience. The Vedāntin explains the plurality to be due to Avidyā.

20 Thy head, etc.i.e., if thou worshippest the effulgent region which is but a part of Vaiśvānara as the Vaiśvānara itself.

21 Identityi.e., in the spiritual plane.

22 Taijasa—The individual self while dreaming is called Taijasa.

23 The Unmanifested, etc.—The identity of Īśvara and Prājña. The individual self in the state of deep sleep (Suṣupti) is called Prājña.

24 Because, etc.—The Prājña or the causal self withdraws into itself at the time of deep sleep all distinctions of objects as well as the objects themselves experienced in waking and dream states. The Īśvara (the cosmic soul) too at the time of dissolution withdraws into itself all distinctions experienced in the planes of Virāt and Hiraṇyagarbha which correspond respectively to the waking and the dream states of the subjective.

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