Mandukya Upanishad (Gaudapa Karika and Shankara Bhashya)

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

These are verses 4.88-89 of the Mandukya Karika English translation, including commentaries by Gaudapada (Karika), Shankara (Bhashya) and a glossary by Anandagiri (Tika). Alternate transliteration: Māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad 4.88-89, Gauḍapāda Kārikā, Śaṅkara Bhāṣya, Ānandagiri Ṭīkā.

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

अवस्त्वनुपलम्भं च लोकोत्तरमिति स्मृतम् ।
ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं च विज्ञेयं सदा बुद्धैः प्रकीर्तितम् ॥ ८८ ॥

avastvanupalambhaṃ ca lokottaramiti smṛtam |
jñānaṃ jñeyaṃ ca vijñeyaṃ sadā buddhaiḥ prakīrtitam || 88 ||

88. There is another state (admitted by the wise) which is free from contact with (external) objects ana altogether free from the idea of coining in contact with objects. This state is beyond all empirical experiences. The wise always describe the three, Viz., Knowledge, Knowledge of objects and the knowable as the Supreme Reality (which is ultimately knowable).

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

The state in which one neither perceives any object1 nor possesses the idea2 of coming in contact with such object—a state free from the relationship of subject and object—is called the highest state, which is beyond all empirical experiences. All empirical experiences consist of the subject-object relationship. This state is free from all such relationship and is the seed of future experiences. This3 is known as the state of deep sleep. That alone is called knowledge? which is the realisation of essence, i.e., the Supreme Reality, as well as the means to do so, viz., the analysis of the states of gross experience, subtle experience and the condition beyond all experiences. The4 three states, mentioned above, are the objects of knowledge; for, there cannot be anything knowable besides these three states. All entities falsely imagined by the different schools of the disputants are included in these three states. That which is to be ultimately known is the truth regarding the Supreme Reality, known as Turīya, i.e., the knowledge of Self, non-dual and Unborn. The illumined ones, i.e., those who have seen the Supreme Reality have described these features (topics) ranging from the, objects of gross experience to the Supremely Knowable Self.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Object, That is to say, the waking state.

2 The idea, etc.i.e the dream state in which one, in the absene of external objects, seems perceive such objects,

3 This is etc.—in deep sleep one does not perceive any object, gross or subtle. There is no experience in deep sleep which when judged from the causal standpoint, consists of mental modification—as in the dream,—due to the perception of external objects in the waking state. Deep sleep is further characterised by the total absence of the subject-object relationship. In deep sleep there exists one’s real self. It has been characterised as containing the seeds of the two other states, only from the causal standpoint. Again it is from the relative standpoint that Turīya, the witness of the three states, is mentioned as the state of the Ultimate Knowledge.

4 The three, etc.—All experiences are limited to the three states. Therefore the Truth discovered by the study of the three states is the Supreme Reality.

Therefore the Vedāntic method of arriving at Reality is the co-ordinated study of the three states. All experiences are confined to the limits of the three states.

Verse 4.89

Sanskrit text, IAST transliteration and English translation

ज्ञाने च त्रिविधे ज्ञेये क्रमेण विदिते स्वयम् ।
सर्वज्ञता हि सर्वत्र भवतीह महाधियः ॥ ८९ ॥

jñāne ca trividhe jñeye krameṇa vidite svayam |
sarvajñatā hi sarvatra bhavatīha mahādhiyaḥ || 89 ||

89. Knowledge and the three fold knowable being known, one after another, the knower possessed of the highest reason spontaneously attains to the state of knowledge everywhere and in all things in this very life.

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

The word Jñānam signifies knowledge by which one grasps the significance of the three states. The word “Jñeya” or knowable, signifies the three states which should be known. The first (knowable) consists of the gross stated of empirical experience. Then comes the state of subtle2 experience in which the first state loses itself, i.e., merges. And last comes deep sleep which is beyond all empirical experiences (gross or subtle) which results in the absemce of the two previous states, i.e., i n which the two previous states merge. By the knowledge of these three, one after3 the other, and consequently, by the negation of the three states the Turīya,4 non-dual, birthless and fearless, which alone is the Supreme Reality, is realised. Thus the knower (possessed of the highest power of discrimination) attains in this5 very life the state of omniscience6 which is identical with the knowledge of Self. He is called Mahādhīḥ 7 or the man of the highest intellect as he has understood that which transcends all human experiences. His omniscience is constant and remains undiminished. For, the knowledge of Self once realised remains as such for ever. This is8 because the knowledge of the knower of the Supreme Reality does not appear and disappear like that of mere vain disputants.

The scriptural statements that the Ātman being known, everything else is known, is explained in the Kārikā.

Anandagiri Tika (glossary)

1 Gross state, etc.—That is, the waking state.

2 Subtle, etc.—That is, the dream state.

3 One after, etc.—That is to say, by knowing that the waking state merges in the dream, and both the states merge in deep sleep.

4 Turīya—Turīya is conceived to be transcendental from the relative standpoint.

5 In this, etc.—One need not wait for death or the other world for the realisation of the Ultimate Truth.

6 Omniscience—It is Ātman alone which appears as the three states. Therefore when Ātman is realised, all objects included in the three states are known.

7 Mahādhīḥ—The Knower of Truth is designated as the possessor of the highest intellect (buddhi): for, the keenest intellect alone can know Ātman.

8 This is, etc.—The appearance and disappearance of knowledge, often noticed in our empirical experience, is due to the ignorance of the real nature of the Self. As the Jñāni is free from ignorance, his knowledge is constant.

This Kārikā further elaborates the Advaita method of realising Self. To the man of the grossest intellect the object appears to be extraordinary. To the man of better discrimination, the object appears to be a mere idea or modification of the mind. The Jñāni sees only the mind, undifferentiated, changeless and non-dual in whatever manner the objects appear. That which appears as ideas, associated with the relationship of subject and object, is known to the Jñāni as mere non-dual mind or Ātman. This is better explained in the light of the three states, The gross external objects perceived in the waking state are known to be ideas—as in dream. And the ideas of dream are known to be pure mind, non-dual and unchanging, as in deep sleep ideas disappear in the mind. This is the meaning of the merging of the previous state of waking in the subsequent state of dream and the ultimate merging of both states in deep sleep, which includes all the states. This method has been explained in the second Mantra of the Upaniṣad with reference to A UM. “A” which stands for the waking experiences as merged in “U” which signifies dream state. “A” and “U” are merged into “M” which indicate deep sleep. All the three states merge in Turīya which is Ātman. From the absolute standpoint the undifferentiated mind, free from the subject-object relationship, is the Highest Reality. One who knows these becomes omniscient. He sees everywhere the non-dual Ātman alone. That which appears to others as name, form, object or idea, is realised by a Jñāni to be Self alone. Ātman alone exists.

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