Mandukya Upanishad (Gaudapa Karika and Shankara Bhashya)

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

These are verses 3.34-35 of the Mandukya Karika English translation, including commentaries by Gaudapada (Karika), Shankara (Bhashya) and a glossary by Anandagiri (Tika). Alternate transliteration: Māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad 3.34-35, Gauḍapāda Kārikā, Śaṅkara Bhāṣya, Ānandagiri Ṭīkā.

Mandukya Karika, verse 3.34-35

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

निगृहीतस्य मनसो निर्विकल्पस्य धीमतः ।
प्रचारः स तु विज्ञेयः सुषुप्तेऽन्यो न तत्समः ॥ ३४ ॥

nigṛhītasya manaso nirvikalpasya dhīmataḥ |
pracāraḥ sa tu vijñeyaḥ suṣupte'nyo na tatsamaḥ || 34 ||

34. The behaviour of the mind that is under control, i.e., which is free from all imaginations and that is endowed with discrimination, should be known. The condition of the mind in deep sleep is of another sort and not like that.

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

It has been stated before that the mind, free from imagination on account of the knowledge1 of Truth, which is Ātman, becomes tranquil for want of external objects, like the fire not fed by fuel. Such mind may be said to be under control, It has been further stated that duality disappears when the mind thus ceases to act. The Yogis should particularly know the behaviour2 of the mind which is thus brought under discipline, which is free from all imaginations and which is possessed of discrimination.

(Objection)—In3 the absence of all specific consciousness the mind, in the state of deep sleep, behaves exactly in the same manner as does the mind under control. What is there to be known in the absence of all specific knowledge?

(Reply)—To this objection we reply thus:—Your objection is not valid. For, the behaviour of the mind in deep sleep, overcome by the darkness of delusion caused by ignorance, and still full of many potential desires which are the seeds of numerous future undesirable activities, is quite different from the behaviour of the mind well under control and free from the ignorance which produces activities that give rise to numerous afflictions, and from which has been burnt away by the fire of self-knowledge the ignorance which contains the harmful seed of all potential tendencies to act. The behaviour of the latter kind of mind is quite different.4 Therefore it is not like the mind in deep sleep. Hence the behaviour of such mind should be known. This5 is the purport.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Knowledge, etc.—This implies the discrimination between real and unreal.

2 Behaviour—The word “Prachāra” in the text implying behaviour or activity shows that by “Nigraha” or discipline is not meant the Yogic discipline leading to Nirvikalpa Samādhi; for, in that state the mind loses all activity and movement. To a Jñāni the Prachāra or the ideation of the mind is also Brahman. Therefore these ideations should be examined or analysed.

3 In the, etc.—The opponent evidently mistakes the Vedāntic tranquillity of mind arrived at by discrimination, etc., for the Yogic Samādhi which is cultivated by controlling the activities of the mind. Hence his objection to Yogic trance, like deep sleep, is associated with absence of mental ideation. Śaṅkara in his commentary on the Brahmasūtra (2. 1. 9) and in various other places puts Yogic Samādhi and deep sleep under the same category.

4 Different.It is because the mind of the Jñāni is always established in Brahman.

5 This, etc.—The purport is that the mind of a man, who has not known the Truth of Self, becomes absorbed in Avidyā at the time of deep sleep or Samādhi. Such mind is free from all activities and remains in a motionless, i.e., inactive condition, concealing within it all the seeds of future dual activities. But the mind of a Jñāni is well under discipline by the constant practice of discrimination. That mind is always saturated with the thought of Brahman. Hence the mind of a Jñāni does not lose its activities which are identical with the non-dual Brahman itself.

Verse 3.35

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

लीयते हि सुषुप्ते तन्निगृहीतं न लीयते ।
तदेव निर्भयं ब्रह्म ज्ञानलोकं समन्ततः ॥ ३५ ॥

līyate hi suṣupte tannigṛhītaṃ na līyate |
tadeva nirbhayaṃ brahma jñānalokaṃ samantataḥ || 35 ||

35. As the mind is withdrawn at the time of deep sleep and not so in the case of the (Vedāntic) discipline, (therefore there is a difference between the condition of the mind of a sleeper and that of a Jñāni). That (mind of a Jñāni) becomes identical with fearless Brahman whose all-round illumination is conciousness alone.

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

Now is stated the reason for the distinction between the behaviour (of the mind of a sleeper and that of a Jñāni). The mind in deep sleep, with the desires which are the cause of all experiences during the state of ignorance, goes1 back to the seed-like condition of potentiality characterised by the undifferentiated2 feature of darkness; but the3 mind (of a Jñāni) which is disciplined by discrimination is not so withdrawn, that is to say, does not go back to the seed-like state of darkness. Therefore is made the distinction between the behaviour of the mind in deep sleep and that of a Jñāni whose mind is under control. When the mind becomes free from all ideas of the perceiver and the perceived—the dual evils caused by ignorance—it verily becomes one with the Supreme and the non-dual Brahman. Therefore the mind becomes free from all fear; for, in that state, the perception of duality, which is the cause of fear, is absent. Brahman is peace and fearlessness. Having realised Brahman, the Jñāni is not afraid of anything. This is thus further amplified: Jñānam means the essence of Knowledge, i.e., the consciousness which is the very nature of Ātman or the Self. Brahman is that whose expression is the Knowledge thus described. In other words, Brahman is the one mass of sentiency. The word, “all-round” in the text, implies that this knowledge of Brahman is without4 break and all-pervading like the ether.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

It is implied in the previous text of the Kārikā that there is a difference between the mind of a Jñāni and that of a deep sleeper. The reason for this difference is stated in this Kārikā.

1 Goes back, etc.—For, an ignorant man, when he wakes up from deep sleep, again experiences these desires. Therefore the desires are said to remain in a potential state in deep sleep.

2 Undifferentiated, etc.—It is because the experience of deep sleep is characterised by the absence of all that is known. The man describing the condition of deep sleep says, “I know nothing during that state.”

3 The mind, etc.—But the case of a Jñāni is quite different. By the practice of discrimination, he can distinguish reality from unreality. All objects of cognition, being changeable and negatable, are known to the Jñāni as unreal. Therefore the knowledge of Brahman does not denote a state in which the desires remain in potential condition. For, the desires of a Jñāni are destroyed for ever by the knowledge of the non-dual Brahman. Hence, a man having attained to the knowledge of Brahman does not experience any desire, which implies cogniser and cognised. The Jñāni knows the activities of his mind as identical with the non-dual Brahman.

4 Without break, etc.—That is to say, the Jñāni may be engaged in any activity, but in everything he realises Brahman alone. The experiences of a Jñāni have thus been described in the Gita (4. 24): “Brahman is the offering, Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman. Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in action.”

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