Mandukya Upanishad (Gaudapa Karika and Shankara Bhashya)

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

This is verse 2.38 of the Mandukya Karika English translation, including commentaries by Gaudapada (Karika), Shankara (Bhashya) and a glossary by Anandagiri (Tika). Alternate transliteration: Māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad 2.38, Gauḍapāda Kārikā, Śaṅkara Bhāṣya, Ānandagiri Ṭīkā.

Mandukya Karika, verse 2.38

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

तत्त्वमाध्यात्मिकं दृष्ट्वा तत्त्वं दृष्ट्वा तु बाह्यतः ।
तत्त्वीभूतस्तदारामः तत्त्वादप्रच्युतो भवेत् ॥ ३८ ॥

tattvamādhyātmikaṃ dṛṣṭvā tattvaṃ dṛṣṭvā tu bāhyataḥ |
tattvībhūtastadārāmaḥ tattvādapracyuto bhavet || 38 ||

38. Having known the truth regarding what exists internally (i.e., within the body) as well as the truth regarding what exists externally (i.e., the earth, etc.) he becomes one with Reality, derives his pleasure from It and never deviates from the Real.

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

The truth1 regarding external objects such as the earth, etc., and the truth regarding internal objects characterised by body, etc., is that these are as unreal as a snake seen in the rope, or objects seen in dream or magic. For, there are such Śruti passages as, “modification being only a name, arising from speech, etc.” The Śruti further declares, “Ātman is both within and without, birthless, causeless, having no within or without, entire, all-pervading like the Ākāśa (ether), subtle, unchanging, without attributes and parts, and without action. That is Truth, That is Ātman and That thou art.” Knowing it to be such from the point of view of Truth, he becomes one with Truth and derives his enjoyment2 from Truth and not from any external3 object. But a person4 ignorant of Truth, takes the mind to be the Self and believes the Ātman to be active like the mind, and becomes active. He thus thinks his self to be identified with the body, etc., and deviated from Ātman saying, “Oh, I am now fallen from the Knowledge of Self.” When his mind is concentrated he sometimes thinks that he is happy and one with the Self. He declares “Oh, I am now one with the essence of Truth.” But,5 the knower of Self never makes any such statement, as Ātman is ever one and changeless and as it is impossible for Ātman to deviate from its own nature. The6 consciousness that “I am Brahman” never leaves him. In other words, he never loses the consciousness regarding the essence of the Self. The Smṛti supports this view in such passages as “The wise man views equally a dog or an outcaste.” “He sees who sees the Supreme Lord remaining the same, in all beings.” (Gītā)

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Truth, etc.—Body, mind, etc., and the earth, the sun, etc., when looked upon as separate from the self, are as illusory as the snake seen in the rope, etc. But every unreal superimposition, from the standpoint of Truth, is identical with the substratum as dream objects are one with the mind and the snake is one with the rope.

2 Enjoyment—There being no existing entity other than Ātman, this thought makes a man happy.

3 External objects—It is because no objects external or separate from him exist.

4 Some person, etc.—This is the case with those yogis or mystics who think that the Ātman can be realised only by withdrawing the mind from external objects and concentrating it on something within.

5 But, etc.—It is because even when the mind is active and creating ideas, the man of realisation knows it to be the Ātman. If one sees multiplicity, this multiplicity is nothing really existent which can make the non-dual Ātman become dual. The act of becoming, creation or manifestation is an illusion. The rope never becomes the snake.

6 The consciousness—Even when a Jñāni eats or drinks or does any other act he only sees the non-dual Brahman. He never deviates from the real. His condition has thus been described in the Gītā: “Brahman is the offering, Brahman the oblation, by Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman; Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in action.” The state of a student has been described in the previous verse. A student, when urged by hunger and thirst, thinks himself as something different from Reality. A mystic or a yogi thinks that he can realise Truth only by withdrawing his mind from the external objects. But a man of the highest realisation, who knows that he is the Supreme Reality, never loses that consciousness and even in the midst of the world keeps intact the Knowledge of his identity with the non-dual Brahman.

Here ends the Gauḍapāda Kārikā on Illusion and Shankara Bhashya (commentary) on the Chapter.

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