Mandukya Upanishad (Gaudapa Karika and Shankara Bhashya)

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

This is verse 3.39 of the Mandukya Karika English translation, including commentaries by Gaudapada (Karika), Shankara (Bhashya) and a glossary by Anandagiri (Tika). Alternate transliteration: Māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad 3.39, Gauḍapāda Kārikā, Śaṅkara Bhāṣya, Ānandagiri Ṭīkā.

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

अस्पर्शयोगो वै नाम दुर्दर्शः सर्वयोगिभिः ।
योगिनो बिभ्यति ह्यस्मादभये भयदर्शिनः ॥ ३९ ॥

asparśayogo vai nāma durdarśaḥ sarvayogibhiḥ |
yogino bibhyati hyasmādabhaye bhayadarśinaḥ || 39 ||

39. This Yoga, which is not in touch with anything, is hard to be attained by all Yogis (in general). The Yogis are afraid of it, for they see fear in it where there is really fearlessness.

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

Though1 such is the nature of the knowledge of the Supreme Reality, yet it is described in the Upaniṣads2 as Yoga not in touch with anything; for, it is free from all touch implying relations (with objects). It is hard to be attained by the Yogis 3 who are devoid of the knowledge taught in the Vedānta philosophy. In other words, this truth can be realised only by the efforts culminating in the knowledge of Ātman as the Sole Reality. The Yogis shrink from it, which is free from all fear, for4 they think that this Yoga brings about the annihilation of their self. In other words, the Yogis, being devoid of discrimination, who, through fear, apprehend the destruction of their self, are afraid of it which is, in reality, fearlessness.5

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Though, etc.—The word “Yoga” signifying union, generally means contact between two. But derivatively Jñāna-Yoga is not in touch with any idea or object, as there exists nothing else but the non-dual Brahman. Therefore it is called the Asparśa-Yoga, i.e., a spiritual discipline which does not admit of relation or touch with anything else.

2 Upaniṣads—The Upaniṣad says that the knowledge of Ātman is ever uncontaminated by any touch of action sinful virtuous.

3 Yogis—That is to say, those who are called Yogis according to Patañjali. Their aim is to attain to the trance-condition by some mystical or mechanical means and thereby become oblivious of the miseries of the world. But Vedānta says that the world as it is, if seen in its true character, is Brahman.

4 For, etc.—The Yogis are afraid of losing their individual consciousness which is the pivot of enjoyments in the world. But Vedānta says that the true nature of an individual is his identity with the non-dual Brahman. The idea of individual existence is due to the ignorance of one’s own nature.

5 Fearlessness—Brahman is fearless because it is ever-free, ever-illumined and ever-pure. There is nothing else of which it can be afraid. Fear comes from the sense of duality.

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