The Mandukya Upanishad with Gaudapada’s Karika and Shankara’s Commentary
Kārikā, verse 2.6
आदावन्ते च यन्नास्ति वर्तमानेऽपि तत्तथा |
वितथैः सदृशाः सन्तोऽवितथा इव लक्षिताः || 6 ||
ādāvante ca yannāsti vartamāne'pi tattathā |
vitathaiḥ sadṛśāḥ santo'vitathā iva lakṣitāḥ || 6 ||
6. That which is non-existent at the beginning and in the end, is necessarily so (non-existent) in the middle. The objects are like the illusions we see, still they are regarded as if real.
The objects perceived to exist in the waking state are unreal for this reason also,1 that they do not really exist either at the beginning or at the end. Such objects (of experience) as mirage, etc., do not really exist either at the beginning or at the end. Therefore they do not (really) exist in the middle either. This is the decided2 opinion of the world. The several objects perceived to exist really in the waking state are also of the same3 nature. Though they (the objects of experience) are of the same nature as illusory objects, such as mirage, etc., on account of their non-existence at the beginning and at the end, still they are regarded as real by the ignorant, that is, the persons that do not know Ātman.
Ānandagiri’s Ṭīkā (glossary):
1 Also—This is an additional reason for the illusoriness of the waking objects.
2 Decided, etc—The reason for the illusoriness of the objects perceived to be real is that such (illusory) existence is not perceived at the beginning or at the end. If it be contended that a perceived object exists at the beginning as the cause, it will be shown later on that this causal conception is itself illusory.
3 Same, etc.—i.e., illusory. According to Gauḍapāda, illusory objects are those that have no existence at the beginning and at the end. This is exactly the characteristic of objects perceived to exist outside of us Changeability is the characteristic of all perceived objects. Change implies non-existence at the beginning, and at the end. As all perceived objects are of this nature, they are called illusory.
In this Kārikā emphasis is laid on the non-existence of the perceived objects at the beginning and at the end. The ego is the perceiver (Dṛk) of all objects seen. The ego does not change as it is the witness of all changes. The perceived objects are known to be illusory or unreal in comparison with the perceiver.