Mandukya Upanishad (Gaudapa Karika and Shankara Bhashya)

by Swami Nikhilananda | 1949 | 115,575 words | ISBN-13: 9788175050228

These are verses 2.20-28 of the Mandukya Karika English translation, including commentaries by Gaudapada (Karika), Shankara (Bhashya) and a glossary by Anandagiri (Tika). Alternate transliteration: Māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad 2.20-28, Gauḍapāda Kārikā, Śaṅkara Bhāṣya, Ānandagiri Ṭīkā.

Mandukya Karika, verse 2.20-28

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

प्राण इति प्राणविदो भूतानीति च तद्विदः ।
गुणा इति गुणविदस्तत्त्वानीति च तद्विदः ॥ २० ॥

prāṇa iti prāṇavido bhūtānīti ca tadvidaḥ |
guṇā iti guṇavidastattvānīti ca tadvidaḥ || 20 ||

20. Those1 that know only Prāṇa,2 call It (Ātman), Prāṇa, those3 that know Bhūtas call It Bhūtas,4 those5 knowing Guṇas call It Guṇas,6 those7 knowing Tattvas, call It Tattvas.8

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Those—e.g., the Vaiśeṣikas and the worshippers of Hiraṇya garbha, etc.

2 Prāṇa—They hold Prāṇa, i.e., Hiraṇyagarbha or extra-cosmic God, to be the cause of the universe. This is mere imagination of the mind. There is no rational proof of the reality of an extra-cosmic God or Person as the cause of the world.

3 Those, etc.e.g., the Cārvākas or the atheists.

4 Bhūtas—They designate the four elements, such as, earth, water, fire and air, which are directly perceived by them, as the cause of the universe. The insentient elements cannot be the cause of the sentient beings. Therefore, this theory also is an imagination.

5 Those, etc.e.g., the Sāṃkhyas.

6 Guṇas—According to the Sāṃkhyas, the state of equilibrium of the three Guṇas, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, produces Mahat, etc., and through them the universe. This is also mere idea.

7 Those, etc.i.e., the Śaivas.

8 Tattvas—The Śaivas enumerate three Tattvas or categories,. viz., Ātmā, Avidyā and Śiva as the cause of the universe. This is also an imagination and hence untenable. For, Śiva being an entity separated from Ātman, becomes an object like a pot, etc.

Mandukya Karika, verse 2.21:

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

पादा इति पादविदो विषया इति तद्विदः ।
लोका इति लोकविदो देवा इति च तद्विदः ॥ २१ ॥

pādā iti pādavido viṣayā iti tadvidaḥ |
lokā iti lokavido devā iti ca tadvidaḥ || 21 ||

21. Those acquainted with the quarters1 (Pādas) call It quarters; those2 with objects, the objects3; those4 with Lokas, the Lokas5; those6 with Devas, the Devas.7

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

These different conceptions of Ātman are nothing but imaginations of the mind.

1 Quarters—e.g., Viśva, Taijasa and Prājña. Ātman, being, without parts and also unrelated, cannot be really divided into quarters or parts.

2 Those, etc.i.e., thinkers like Vātsyāyana, etc.

3 Objects—Such as, sound, colour, etc., i.e., the objects perceived by the different sense-organs. The objects, on account of their changeable and negatable nature, cannot be the Ultimate Reality.

4 Those, etc.i.e., the Paurāṇikas or the believers in Mythology.

5 Lokas— Such as Bhūh, Bhuvah and Svah. These being three in number are limited.

6 Those, etc.i.e., the Karma Mimāmsakas or the believers in the Karma portions of the Vedas.

7 Devas—Such as Agni (Fire), Indra, etc. According to this theory, Agni, Indra, etc., the various conscious deities, though not occupying the actual position of God (Īśvara), apportion the results of our various works. The conception of a separate God is not necessary. They cannot be the Ultimate Reality.

Mandukya Karika, verse 2.22:

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

वेदा इति वेदविदो यज्ञा इति च तद्विदः ।
भोक्तेति च भोक्तृविदो भोज्यमिति च तद्विदः ॥ २२ ॥

vedā iti vedavido yajñā iti ca tadvidaḥ |
bhokteti ca bhoktṛvido bhojyamiti ca tadvidaḥ || 22 ||

22. Those knowing the Vedas call It the Vedas1; those2 acquainted with the sacrifices, call It the sacrifices3 (Yagna); those4 conversant with the enjoyer, designate It as the enjoyer5 and those6 with the object of enjoyment, call It such.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Vedase.g., the four Vedas, Rig, Yajus, Sāma and Atharva. These Vedas cannot be the Ultimate Reality inasmuch as they are sounds.

2 Those, etc.i.e., sages such as Bodhāyana and others who are adept in the performance of sacrifices.

3 Sacrifices—The upholders of sacrifices and rituals like the Yagnas think that sacrifices, such as Jyotiṣṭoma, etc., constitute the Highest Reality. But this is also an illusion. For, according to them, the sacrifice signifies the object (offered), the deity and the act of offering. Any one of these, singly, does not constitute sacrifice. Again three of them, combined together, do not constitute any real entity.

4 Those, etc.—viz., the Sāṃkhyas.

5 Enjoyer— According to the Sāṃkhyas the Ultimate Reality as the Puruṣa who is not the agent or doer but a mere enjoyer. This theory is not rational; for enjoyment means some change in the enjoyer which thus Contradicts the idea of his being eternal and changeless. If enjoyment be predicated as the inherent nature of Puruṣa, then the conception of extraneous objects, conducive to its enjoyments, is inconsistent.

6 Those, etc.—That is, the cook, to whom the only reality appears to be delicious dishes.

Mandukya Karika, verse 2.23:

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

सूक्ष्म इति सूक्ष्मविदः स्थूल इति च तद्विदः ।
मूर्त इति मूर्तविदो'मूर्त इति च तद्विदः ॥ २३ ॥

sūkṣma iti sūkṣmavidaḥ sthūla iti ca tadvidaḥ |
mūrta iti mūrtavido'mūrta iti ca tadvidaḥ || 23 ||

23. The Knowers1 of the subtle designate It as the subtle,2 the Knowers3 of the gross call It the gross,4 Those5 that are familiar with a Personality (having form) call It a person,6 and those7 that do not believe in anything having a form call It a void.8

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Knowers—i.e., those who believe (or take) the Ātman to be subtle like an atom.

2 Subtle—This theory is irrational: for, we feel consciousness simultaneously all over the body.

3 Knowers—A sect of materialists who believe the gross body to be real.

4 Gross—The gross body cannot be the Ultimate Reality as a dead or sleeping man, in spite of the body being in existence, is unconscious. Any single limb of the body is insentient. Therefore even their aggregate cannot constitute the conscious Reality.

5 Those, etc.—i.e., the Āgamikas who believe a person, e.g., Śiva with a trident or Viṣṇu with a disc, to be the Ultimate Reality. These are also imaginary.

6 Person—This is also an illusion.

7 Those, etc.i.e., The Buddhistic ritualists.

8 Void—The idea that the Ultimate Reality is an absolute void is also an illusion, as a void also should have a knower, and so cannot be the substratum of the positive fact of the empirical universe.

Mandukya Karika, verse 2.24:

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

काल इति कालविदो दिश इति च तद्विदः ।
वादा इति वादविदो भुवनानीति तद्विदः ॥ २४ ॥

kāla iti kālavido diśa iti ca tadvidaḥ |
vādā iti vādavido bhuvanānīti tadvidaḥ || 24 ||

24. The Knowers1 of time call It time2; the Knowers of space (ether) call It space (ether). Those versed in disputation call It the problem in dispute and the Knowers of the worlds call It the worlds.3

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Knowers, etc,—Such as the astrologers (astronomers).

2 Time—This theory is also fallacious as time is divided into various parts as moment, minute, hour, etc. Time is also an object (thought) of the perceiving mind.

3 Worlds—This is also an illusory conception.

Mandukya Karika, verse 2.25:

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

मन इति मनोविदो बुद्धिरिति च तद्विदः ।
चित्तमिति चित्तविदो धर्माधर्मौ च तद्विदः ॥ २५ ॥

mana iti manovido buddhiriti ca tadvidaḥ |
cittamiti cittavido dharmādharmau ca tadvidaḥ || 25 ||

25. The Cognizers1 of the mind call It the mind;2 of3 the Buddhi (intellect) the Buddhi4; of the Chitta (mind-stuff), the Chitta5; and the Knowers6 of Dharma (righteousness) and Adharma (unrighteousness) call It the one7 or the other.

1 Cognizers, etc.i.e., a sect of the materialists.

2 Mind—This theory is also not tenable as mind is also an object, an instrument of the perceiving ego.

3 Of, etc.—They are a class of Buddhists.

4 Buddhi—This is also a wrong view of the Reality, as the functionings of Buddhi disappear at the time of deep sleep. Further Buddhi is also an object cognized by the perceiver.

5 Chitta—Chitta is an aspect of mind which has no particular •external form. It cannot be Ātman for the reasons given regarding mind.

6 Knowers, etc.i.e., the Mimāmsakas.

7 The one, etc.—None of these can be the Ultimate Reality because one cannot be conceived without the other and they have no absolute standard. They vary with different conditions of time and country.

Mandukya Karika, verse 2.26:

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

पञ्चविंशक इत्येके षड्विश इति चापरे ।
एकत्रिंशक इत्याहुरनन्त इति चापरे ॥ २६ ॥

pañcaviṃśaka ityeke ṣaḍviśa iti cāpare |
ekatriṃśaka ityāhurananta iti cāpare || 26 ||

26. Some1 say that the Reality consists of twenty-five categories, others2 twenty-six, while there are others3 who conceive It as consisting of thirty-one categories and lastly people are not wanting who think such categories to be infinite.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Somei.e., the Sāṃkhyas according to whom the Reality consists of twenty-five categories, viz., Prakṛti, Mahat, Ahaṃkāra, five Tanmātras (subtle elements), five organs of perception, five organs of action, five objects, mind and the Puruṣa.

2 Othersi.e., the followers of Patañjali who add Īśvara to the categories of the Sāṃkhyas.

3 Othersi.e., the Pāsupatas who add to the categories of Sāṃkhyas six more, viz., Rāga, Avidyā, Kāla, Kalā, Māyā and Niyati.

The mutual contradictions among these different schools prove the fallacious character of their theories. The difference of opinion is due to the ignorance of the nature of Reality.

Mandukya Karika, verse 2.27:

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

लोकाँल्लोकविदः प्राहुराश्रमा इति तद्विदः ।
स्त्रीपुंनपुंसकं लैङ्गाः परापरमथापरे ॥ २७ ॥

lokām̐llokavidaḥ prāhurāśramā iti tadvidaḥ |
strīpuṃnapuṃsakaṃ laiṅgāḥ parāparamathāpare || 27 ||

27. Those1 who know only to please others call It (Reality) such2 pleasure; those3 who are cognizant of the Āśramas call It the Āśramas; the grammarians call It the male, female or the neuter, and others know It as the Parā4 and Aparā.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Those, etc.i.e., a sect of the atheists.

2 Such, etc.—This is also a delusion as it is impossible to please everybody on account of the different tastes of the people.

3 Those, etc.i.e., men like Dakṣa, etc.

4 Parā, etc.i.e., the Brahman who is regarded as high and low. An entity, subject to division of any sort, can never be the Supreme Reality.

Mandukya Karika, verse 2.28:

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

सृष्टिरिति सृष्टिविदो लय इति च तद्विदः ।
स्थितिरिति स्थितिविदः सर्वे चेह तु सर्वदा ॥ २८ ॥

sṛṣṭiriti sṛṣṭivido laya iti ca tadvidaḥ |
sthitiriti sthitividaḥ sarve ceha tu sarvadā || 28 ||

28. The Knowers1 of creation call It creation; the Knowers of dissolution describe It as dissolution and the believers in subsistence believe It to be subsistence. Really speaking, all2 these ideas are always imagined3 in Ātman.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Knowers, etc.i.e., the Paurāṇikas (the believers in Mythology) who believe in the reality of creation, preservation and destruction.

2 All thesei.e., those enumerated above and which may be enumerated by others in future.

3 Imagined— So long as men are given to imagining, they have recourse to all such imaginations regarding Ātman. But Ātman, from its own standpoint, does not imagine anything. Tt is because all these ideas, described above, are mere imaginations, that they cannot be the underlying Reality.

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

20-28. Prāṇa means Prājña (the Jīva associated with deep sleep) and Bījātmā (the causal self). All the entities from Prāṇa to the Sthiti (subsistence) are only various effects of Prāṇa. These and other popular ideas of their kind, imagined by all beings, are like the imaginations of the snake, etc., in the rope, etc. These are through ignorance imagined in Ātman which is free1 from all these distinctions. These fancies are due to the lack of determination of the real nature of the Self. This is the purport of these ślokas. No attempt is made to explain the meaning of each word in the texts beginning with Prāṇa, etc., on account of the futility of such effort and also on account of the clearness of the meaning of the terms.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Free from, etc.—Ātman is free from all these imaginations. It is because of the ignorance of the real nature of the Ātman that it is thought to be the substratum (another entity) of all imaginations.

No useful purpose can be served by the discussion of imaginations which are unreal and illusory.

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