Mundaka Upanishad with Shankara’s Commentary

by S. Sitarama Sastri | 1905 | 19,662 words

The Mundaka Upanishad is a collection of philosophical poems used to teach meditation and spiritual knowledge regarding the true nature of Brahma and the Self (Atman). It is composed of the three main parts (mundakas): 1) The first of three parts expounds the science of higher and lower knowledge. 2) The second part describes the true nature of t...

Verse 1.2.7

प्लवा ह्येते अदृढा यज्ञरूपा अष्टादशोक्तमवरं येषु कर्म ।
एतच्छ्रेयो येऽभिनंदन्ति मूढा जरामृत्युं ते पुनरेवापि यन्ति ॥ ७ ॥

plavā hyete adṛḍhā yajñarūpā aṣṭādaśoktamavaraṃ yeṣu karma |
etacchreyo ye'bhinaṃdanti mūḍhā jarāmṛtyuṃ te punarevāpi yanti || 7 ||

7. The eighteen persons necessary for the performance of sacrifice are transitory and not permanent and karma in its nature inferior, has been stated as resting upon these. Those ignorant persons who delight in this, as leading to bliss, again fall into decay and death.


Shankara’s Commentary:

Com.—This karma, devoid of knowledge, bears but this much fruit and being accomplished by ignorance, desire and action, is sapless and is the source of misery. Therefore it is condemned. “Plava” means ‘ephemeral’ because these are adridha, i.e., not permanent. Yajnarupa, the forms of sacrifice, i.e., necessary for the performance of the sacrifice. Eighteen in number, consisting of the sixteen Ritviks, the sacrificer and his wife. Karma stated in the sastras depends on these. Avaramkarma, i.e., mere karma devoid of knowledge; and as the performance of karma which is inferior depends on these eighteen who are not permanent. The karma done by them and its fruit are ephemeral, as, when the pot is destroyed, the destruction of milk, curd, etc., in it, follows. This being so, those ignorant persons who delight in this karma as the means of bliss, fall again into decay and death, after staying some time in Heaven.

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