Mandukya Upanishad (Gaudapa Karika and Shankara Bhashya)

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

This is verse 3.42 of the Mandukya Karika English translation, including commentaries by Gaudapada (Karika), Shankara (Bhashya) and a glossary by Anandagiri (Tika). Alternate transliteration: Māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad 3.42, Gauḍapāda Kārikā, Śaṅkara Bhāṣya, Ānandagiri Ṭīkā.

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

उपायेन निगृह्णीयाद्विक्षिप्तं कामभोगयोः ।
सुप्रसन्नं लये चैव यथा कामो लयस्तथा ॥ ४२ ॥

upāyena nigṛhṇīyādvikṣiptaṃ kāmabhogayoḥ |
suprasannaṃ laye caiva yathā kāmo layastathā || 42 ||

42. The mind distracted by desires and enjoyments as also the mind enjoying pleasure in oblivion (trance-like condition) should be brought under discipline by the pursuit of proper means. For, the state of oblivion is as harmful as desires.

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

Is untiring effort the only way for bringing the mind under discipline? We say, in reply, no. One should, with untiring effort, follow the means, to be stated presently, in order to bring the mind under discipline, that is to say, bring it back to Ātman,1 when the mind turns towards objects of desires and enjoyments. The word “Laya2 in the text indicates Suṣupti, i.e., deep sleep in which state one becomes oblivious of all things. The3 (injunction implied in the) words “should be brought under discipline”, should also be applied in the case of the mind when it feels happy, that is to say free from all worries in the state of Laya or oblivion. Why should it be further brought under discipline if it feels pleasure (in that state)? It is thus replied: Because the state of oblivion is as4 harmful as desire, the mind should be withdrawn from the state of oblivion as it should be withdrawn from objects of enjoyment.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

One practising Yoga meets with four kinds of obstacles which are in his way of realising the Highest Reality. They are known as Laya (a state of oblivion analogous to Yogic Samādhi or deep sleep), Vikṣepa (distraction), Sukha (happiness in temporary success) and Rāga (attachment to any particular phase of realisation). The mind should be trained to keep away from these obstacles. The means are described in the next Kārikā.

1 Ātman—It is because the ultimate aim of all spiritual practices is the realisation of Ātman or the true nature of the Self.

2 Laya—The state of Laya realised by the Yogi in Samādhi is non-different from the state of Suṣupti or deep sleep. Both are characterised by the absence of subject-object relationship. Again in both these states, the student is not aware of the real nature of his self. The difference between the two states is this: The Yogi can induce Samādhi at his mere will, but Suṣupti, for an ordinary man, is not under his control.

3 The words, etc.—The state of Samādhi induced by Yoga should not be considered as the goal. No doubt, one feels a sort of pleasure in such Samādhi on account of the absence of worries consequent on the withdrawal of the mind from external objects, but this does not indicate that the Yogi has realised the Supreme Truth. Seeking after pleasure or the avoidance of misery indicates the exhaustion of the inquiring mind. The real seeker after Truth cannot rest satisfied till he has attained to it.

4 As harmful, etc.—It is because both these states are characterised by the absence of the knowledge of Ātman. Thirst for external objects and attachment to the pleasure one feels in Samādhi are equally harmful for the realisation of Truth. A Yogi can realise Truth if he supplements his own method by the Vedāntic discipline of discrimination between the real and the unreal, and meditation on the nature of Ātman.

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