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 2.1.2

दिव्यो ह्यमूर्तः पुरुषः स बाह्याभ्यन्तरो ह्यजः ।
अप्राणो ह्यमनाः शुभ्रो ह्यक्षरात्परतः परः ॥ २ ॥

divyo hyamūrtaḥ puruṣaḥ sa bāhyābhyantaro hyajaḥ |
aprāṇo hyamanāḥ śubhro hyakṣarātparataḥ paraḥ || 2 ||

2. He is bright, formless, all-pervading, existing without and within, unborn, without prana, without mind, pure and beyond the avyakrita, which is beyond all.


Shankara’s Commentary:

Com.—With a view to describe the nature of that akshara, i.e., which is beyond what is known as avyakrita (the unmanifested), the seed of all name and form and transcending its own modifications which is devoid of all varieties of conditions and bereft of all forms like the akas and which is capable of being only negatively defined, the text says thus. ‘Divyah,’ bright, being self-resplendent, or born of itself or distinct from all that is wordly. ‘Hi’, because; ‘amurtah,’ having no form of any kind. ‘Parusha,’ all-pervading or seated in the city of the body. ‘Sabahyabhyantarah’ means ‘existing both without and within.’ ‘Unborn’ is ‘not born of anything,’ i.e., neither from itself nor from any other, there being no other, from which it could be born. As wind, etc., in the case of water bubbles, and as the pot, etc., in the case of the different cavities of akas, so modifications of things, have birth for their source, and all these modifications are denied when birth is denied. The drift is that he is both without and within, unborn and therefore undecaying, immortal, changeless, constant and fearless. Though he appears to be in the various bodies with prana, with mind, with senses and with their objects owing to the ignorance of those who perceive difference of conditions, such as bodies, etc., as they see in the akas the colour etc., of the surface; but still to those who see the reality, he is without prana, etc.; he is without prana, i.e., in whom the mind, which has various active powers and whose characteristic is motion, does not exist. He is without mind because in him the mind with its various powers of knowledge and with its characteristics of voltion, etc., does not exist. It should he understood that of him are denied the varieties of winds such as prana, the active sensory organs, their objects and accordingly intelligence, mind, the organs of knowledge and their objects. Accordingly, another Sruti says ‘It seems to think and move.’ He is suhhra or pure, because both these conditions are thus denied of him. The Akshara which is beyond all, the Avyakrita whose nature is indicated as the seed condition of all name and form, as it is known to be the seed of all effects and causes; ‘param’ because the akshara known as avyakrita is in its condition above all its modifications. The Purusha is beyond even this unmanifested akshara, i.e., not subject to any conditions. In whom is the akshara known as akas with all the objects of duality strung together as warp and woof. How then could it be said to be without prana, etc? It prana, etc., existed as such in their own forms before their creation like the purusha. then the purusha can be said to be with prana because of their then existence; but they, the prana, etc., do not, like the purusha, exist in their own forms, before their creation. So the highest purusha is without prana, etc.

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