Mandukya Upanishad (Gaudapa Karika and Shankara Bhashya)

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

This is verse 4.74 of the Mandukya Karika English translation, including commentaries by Gaudapada (Karika), Shankara (Bhashya) and a glossary by Anandagiri (Tika). Alternate transliteration: Māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad 4.74, Gauḍapāda Kārikā, Śaṅkara Bhāṣya, Ānandagiri Ṭīkā.

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

अजः कल्पितसंवृत्या परमार्थेन नाप्यजः ।
परतन्त्रादिनिष्पत्त्या संवृत्या जायते तु सः ॥ ७४ ॥

ajaḥ kalpitasaṃvṛtyā paramārthena nāpyajaḥ |
paratantrādiniṣpattyā saṃvṛtyā jāyate tu saḥ || 74 ||

74. Ātman is called unborn (Aja) from the standpoint of the illusory empirical experiences. It is, truly speaking, not even unborn. That unborn Ātman appears to be born from the standpoint of the belief of the other schools of thought.

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

(Objection)—If Scriptural teaching, etc., were illusory, then the birthlessness of Ātman, as taught by Scripture, is also due to illusory imagination.

(Reply)—This is, indeed, true. Ātman is said to be unborn only in relation to illusory empirical experiences which comprehend ideas of Scripture, teacher and taught. From1 the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality, Ātman cannot be said to be even unborn. Ātman 2 which is said to be unborn only as against the conclusion of those schools (which maintain that Ātman comes into existence), appears to be born to the ignorant. Therefore, the notion (based upon illusion) that Ātman is unborn has no bearing on the Ultimate Reality.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 From, etc.— The idea of birthlessness is the correlative of the idea of birth. Hence both the ideas belong to the realm of ignorance. Ātman, as it really is, cannot be described either as born or unborn. Nothing can be predicated of Ātman from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality.

2 Ātman, etc.—The Sāṃkhya School of Thought, believing in causality, asserts the birth of Ātman. As against this conclusion, it is maintained that Ātman is unborn (Aja). This assertion regarding the birthlessness of Ātman is also due to Avidyā inasmuch as it aims at the refutation of the opposite theory. This theory of Ātman being ever unborn is based upon the illusory idea regarding its birth. It may be contended that the birthlessness of Ātman is not an illusory idea but truth. In reply it is said that the predicate of birthlessness cannot have any application with regard to the Ultimate Reality. Ātman is considered to be unborn only from the standpoint of an illusion that it is born. Hence, being correlative of an illusion, the birthlessness of Ātman also becomes illusory. The real nature of Ātman cannot be determined by any instrument of knowledge which has its applicability only in the relative plane.

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: