Prashna Upanishad (Madhva commentary)

by Srisa Chandra Vasu | 1909 | 11,393 words | ISBN-13: 9789332869165

The English translation of the Prashna upanishad (Prashnopanishad) including the commentary of Madhva called the Bhasya. It is one of three classical Upanishads associated with the Atharva Veda and contains six prashnas or ‘questions’ directed to Sage Pippalada. The text discusses topics such as creation, cosmogony and the unity of the microcosm an...

Chapter 5 - Fifth Prashna

Mantra 5.1.

1. Next Śaibya Satyakāma asked him: “O Master! what world does he conquer by such (meditation) who amongst men unceasingly meditates on Oṃkāra, up to his death.—53.

Note.—This chapter teaches the Great Ineffable Name by which the Supreme Brahman is to be meditated upon. It also teaches the fruit obtained by such meditation.

Mantra 5.2.

2. O Satyakāma! that which is denoted by “Om” is this Brahman, both the Higher and the Lower. Therefore, the knower of it, through this vehicle alone, reaches one of these two.—54.

Mantra 5.3.

3. If he meditates on one measure (realises Brahman in His one aspect only) then by that meditation alone, (after death) he is welcomed by (the Supreme), and soon obtains another birth on this earth. The Devās of the Rig-veda lead him to a human body. He in that (birth) endowed with austerity, celibacy, and faith, realises the greatness (of the fruit of these).—55.

Note.—If he meditates on one (of the Measures of praṇava), being illumined by such meditation alone, he quickly and surely attains all prosperity on this earth. Him the Ṛks (verses) give (all) human joys. He then being endowed with austerity, celibacy and faith, realises the greatness (of his humanity)—Śaṅkara.

If he meditates on one Mātrā (the Apara Brahman), being purified by that alone, soon he attains a high state on this earth. The Ṛk (Mantras) lead him to the Man-birth. Being born as a man, if he be endowed with austerity, celibacy and faith, he experiences the greatness (of meditating on Para Brahman)—Rāmānuja.

Mantra 5.4.

4. Next, if he meditates in his mind with two measures, he is carried up by the Yajuṣ-mantras to the Antarikṣa or the world of the Moon. Having enjoyed the vast powers of the Moon-world, he returns again.—56.

Mantra 5.5.

5. But he who understands this Aum to consist of three measures, should, with this Imperishable syllable, meditate on the Supreme Puruṣa alone, for thereby he would reach the tejas or the sun. As a snake becomes fully liberated from its old skin, thus he verily becomes liberated from all his sins. By the Sāman verses he is carried up thence to the Satya-loka. From that High Being, the Group-soul of all Jīvas, (from the Caturmukha Brahmā) he gets instruction about the Supreme In-dwelling Puruṣa. To that effect are the following two verses.—57.

[Note.—Jīvaghanāt, from the Jīva-mass, i.e., Brahmā, the Inner-soul of all Jīvas. “saṃsāra maṇḍalāt”—from the Saṃsāra-sphere, “the sphere of causation, where a body must be assumed in accordance with one’s Karma. Brahmā is not above it,” ghana-mūrti, or form, or solid, in other words, it means “body”. Jīva-ghana=“land of the Jīvas”, the Highest of all Jīvas, i.e., the Prāṇa or Brahmā. That is from the instructions received from Brahmā]

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

Worshipping Hari through the Ineffable Name, he reaches the Brahma-loka, and there receives the final Initiation in wisdom from the Caturmukha Brahmā, and thus undoubtedly gets salvation.

Note.—Thus the salvation or mukti depends upon this last teaching given by the Jīvaghana, the Great Group-soul, the Last Teacher, the First Begotten.

Mantra 5.6.

6. The three notes become fatal, when uttered either singly or in couples, and without harmony. But when properly uttered in high, or low, or middle tones, there is no fear to the wise.—58.

[Note.—Anyonyasaktāḥ (“another-another-related, joined in couples or pairs or chords of two”).—Each connected with the other. Interdependent. One clinging to the other, one sound merged in the other owing to the too rapid utterance.]

[Note.—Anaviprayuktāḥ, properly used. Those who are one-pointed at the time of meditation, too much distinct or separated).—Singly, “viprayukta” means separated, detached. Aviprayukta [aviprayuktaḥ]—“Not separated, not detached”. Anaviprayukta [anaviprayuktaḥ] means not-not-separated, i.e., separated, the same as viprayuktāḥ. When the letters are very quickly pronounced, there takes place a blurring and indistinctness of utterance, one sound becomes merged in the other, this should be avoided. But if each letter be pronounced separately and with not a proper but a long interval between each, then one goes to the other extreme, the inter-connection of syllables is broken up. The AUM should be pronounced with the inter-connection of syllables kept intact, but each syllable uttered distinctly. According to Madhva this word means: “not related to each other:” one who knows them separately, but does not know their harmony. Anyonyasaktaḥ means joined with each other in couples. He who knows them in couples—“a” and “u”, or “a” and “m”, etc. The high or shrill tone or treble, the low tone or bass and the middle are the three octaves. The three syllables should be pronounced in these notes.]

[Note.—Bāhyābhyantaramadhyamāsu, external, internal, and intermediate (waking, dreaming, and deep sleep, or external sacrifices, internal regulation of breath, etc., and the intermediate mental japa, etc.). High, low, and middle tone]

Note.—The three measures are all temporary (in their effect) when separately employed. But each in conjunction with the other, and not separately but conjointly employed, in actions external, internal and intermediate—(produces immortal effect)—that knower does not tremble. (Śaṅkara School).

The three measures (notes) are fatal when uttered (with too much rapidity) one note intermingling with the other; or too separately, one note sounded after a long interval from the other. But when properly uttered, in all actions, whether external, internal or intermediate—the wise (need) not tremble. (Rāmānuja School).

Mantra 5.7.

7. By the Ṛk (one gains) this (physical), by the Yajuṣ, the Soma loka (the astral), by the Sāman that which the wise (only) know (the Brahma loka). (But) the Brahma-knower, by the vehicle of the word AUM alone, reaches also that which is Peace, Undecaying, Free from fear, and the Supreme.—59.

Note.—Thus the Vedas denote knowledge—the Ṛg Veda would mean all the sciences dealing with the physical or objective plane; the Yajur-Veda—all the sciences dealing with the subtler or finer planes, the non-objective planes; and the Sāma-Veda—the knowledge or the science of God, the Theosophy or Brahma-Vidyā. All sciences deal witli mātrās or measures, and the knowledge of all the vibratory measures of AUM leads to the knowledge of all the forces of nature. The Praṇava is the key-note of the universe.

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