Mandukya Upanishad (Gaudapa Karika and Shankara Bhashya)

by Swami Nikhilananda | 1949 | 115,582 words | ISBN-13: 9788175050228

This is verse 1.9 of the Mandukya Karika English translation, including commentaries by Gaudapada (Karika), Shankara (Bhashya) and a glossary by Anandagiri (Tika). Alternate transliteration: Māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad 1.9, Gauḍapāda Kārikā, Śaṅkara Bhāṣya, Ānandagiri Ṭīkā.

Mandukya Karika, verse 1.9

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

भोगार्थं सृष्टिरित्यन्ये क्रीडार्थमिति चापरे ।
देवस्यैष स्वाभावोऽयमाप्तकामस्य का स्पृहा ॥ ९ ॥

bhogārthaṃ sṛṣṭirityanye krīḍārthamiti cāpare |
devasyaiṣa svābhāvo'yamāptakāmasya kā spṛhā || 9 ||

9. Others think that the manifestation is for the purpose of enjoyment (of God) while still others attribute it to mere diversion (on the part of God), Rut it is the very nature of the Effulgent Being (Ātman) (for), what other desire is possible for Him whose desire is always in the state of fulfilment?

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

Others think that the purpose of manifestation is only the enjoyment (by God of the objects so created), that creation is merely a diversion of God. These two theories are refuted (by the author) by the single assertion that it is the very1 nature of the Effulgent (Brahman). Thus taking this standpoint (the nature of the Effulgent Being) all2 the theories (of creation) herein (stated) are refuted3 for the reason indicated by: “What could be the desire for manifestation on the part of Brahman whose desires are ever in a state of fulfilment?” For the rope, etc., to appear as snake, no4 other reason can be assigned than Avidyā.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Very nature—According to Gauḍapāda, what others see as the created universe, is nothing but the very nature or essence of Brahman. Brahman alone exists. What others designate as the universe of names and forms—subject to birth, change, death, etc.—is nothing but the non-dual Brahman. That one sees the world of duality instead. of the non-dual Brahman and seeks its cause is due to Avidyā or ignorance.

2 All the, etc.—The following theories of creation have been stated in the preceding Ślokas of the Kārikā:—

  1. Creation is manifestation of the divine power of God (K. 6).
  2. Creation is manifestation of the nature of dream or illusion (K. 6).
  3. Creation is manifestation of the Divine Will which cannot but be fulfilled (K. 8).
  4. Creation is manifestation which proceeds from “Time”. Īśvara is indifferent about it (K. 8).

The above four theories of creation may be classed as cosmological. The following two theories which may be designated as teleological are given in Kārikā 9:

  1. Creation is for the purpose of the enjoyment of God.
  2. Creation is an act of God’s sport.

Now all these theories are refuted by the simple statement that Brahman, whose desires are always in a state of fulfilment, cannot create the world for any purpose whatsoever. No causal theory can explain the relation of the appearance of the world to Brahman. The assumption of will, desire, enjoyment, diversion, etc., as the causes of creation is due to Avidyā or ignorance of the human mind regarding the real nature (ātmakāmatva, āptakāmatva, akāmatva) of Brahman. It only reveals the ignorance of the human mind in regard to the origin of the world which is one of the objects displaying God’s superhuman powers. Those who look upon the act of creation as real and then explain it as of the same nature as dream and illusion, forget that dream and illusion are, after all, unreal and hence they cannot explain the supposed reality of the act of creation. Therefore, manifestation is not an act of creation. No will can be the cause of creation because a will implies an effort at gratifying some unsatiated desire. Brahman is Bliss which means the absence of all wants. Therefore the Divine Will Cannot be the cause of the universe. The human mind, subject to Māyā, ascribes will, diversion, etc., as the cause of creation. This ascription is itself Māyā. Therefore it stands to reason that if.anybody sees creation, it is only due to Māyā. Therefore all theories regarding creation are in fact māyāmayī, that is, due to the ignorance of the mind that sees it. Viewed from the relative standpoint this Māyā inheres either in Brahman or in the perceiver. Assigning a substratum for Māyā depends upon one’s standpoint. Viewed from the Avidyā standpoint Māyā has its locus in Brahman.

3 Refuted, etc.—The two theories implied by the first line of the Kārikā are refuted simply because “enjoyment” and “diversion” cannot be proved to be the object of creation. Creation or manifestation implies some adventitious or external factor, which idea is refuted by the statement of the Scripture that “it is the very nature of the Effulgent Brahman”.

4 No other reason—Comp, the Scriptural passage. “ātmanaḥ ākāśaḥ saṃbhūtaḥ”—which means that it is the Ātman that appears as Ākāśa. The appearance is due to Māyā and no external cause

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