Mandukya Upanishad (Gaudapa Karika and Shankara Bhashya)

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

This is verse 3.38 of the Mandukya Karika English translation, including commentaries by Gaudapada (Karika), Shankara (Bhashya) and a glossary by Anandagiri (Tika). Alternate transliteration: Māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad 3.38, Gauḍapāda Kārikā, Śaṅkara Bhāṣya, Ānandagiri Ṭīkā.

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

ग्रहो न तत्र नोत्सर्गश्चिन्ता यत्र न विद्यते ।
आत्मसंस्थं तदा ज्ञानमजाति समतां गतम् ॥ ३८ ॥

graho na tatra notsargaścintā yatra na vidyate |
ātmasaṃsthaṃ tadā jñānamajāti samatāṃ gatam || 38 ||

38. In that Brahman which is free from all acts of mind there is neither any idea of acceptance nor any idea of giving up (of anything). Established in the Ātman (Self), knowledge attains to Jhe state of birthlessness and sameness, that is to say, changelessness.

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

As Brahman alone has been described in the previous text as Samādhi (i.e., the sole object of concentration) and as free from activity and fear, therefore in that Brahman there1 is nothing to accept nor is there anything to give up. For, acceptance or abandonment is possible only where there is change or the possibility of change. But both these are inconsistent with Brahman—as nothing else exists which can cause a change in Brahman, and further because Brahman is without parts. Therefore, the meaning is that in Brahman there is no possibility of either accepting or giving up anything. The purport of the Kārikā is this: How can there be any acceptance or abandonment (in Brahman) where, in the absence of the mind, no2 mentation whatsoever is possible? When the knowledge of Reality which is the Self, ensues, then Knowledge, for want of any object to rest upon, becomes3 established in Ātman, like the heat of fire (in the absence of fuel). Ajāti, i.e., free from birth. It attains to the state of supreme non-duality. Thus is concluded, by means of reasoning and Scriptural authority what was stated before as a proposition in the following words: “Now I shall describe the non-dual Brahman which is free from limitation and birth and which is the same everywhere.” Everything else, other than the knowledge of Reality which is the Self, birthless and homogeneous, implies limitation. The Śruti also says, “O Gārgi, he who departs from this world without knowing that Imperishable One, is, indeed, narrow-minded.” The purport is that everyone, realising this knowledge, becomes established in Brahman and attains to the fulfilment of all desires.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

This Kārikā tells us that the changeless non-dual Brahman is beyond all injunctions, mandatory or prohibitory, as enjoined by Scriptures or society. These injunctions apply only to the realm of ignorance.

1 There is, etc.—All ethics, prescribing moral codes to be followed or immoral acts to be shunned, apply to the dual world. They have no meaning in respect of Brahman or the Knower of Brahman, which are identical.

2 No mentation—For, it is the activities of the mind alone which conjure up the phenomena of a dual world with all its injuctions, prohibitory or mandatory.

3 Becomes, etc.—Knowledge of Brahman is the same as Brahman.

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