by A. Mahadeva Sastri | 1903 | 206,351 words | ISBN-10: 8185208115
The Taittiriya Upanishad is one of the older, "primary" Upanishads, part of the Yajur Veda. It says that the highest goal is to know the Brahman, for that is truth. It is divided into three sections, 1) the Siksha Valli, 2) the Brahmananda Valli and 3) the Bhrigu Valli. 1) The Siksha Valli deals with the discipline of Shiksha (which is ...
Lesson VI - Contemplation of Brahman
It has been said that the other Gods represented by Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ, and Suvaḥ are the limbs of Brahman, the Hiraṇyagarbha represented by Mahaḥ, the fourth Vyāhṛti. Now the śruti declares that the hṛdaya-ākāśa, the bright space in the heart, is the proper place for the contemplation and immediate perception of that Brahman whose limbs the other Gods are, just as the sālagrāma stone is the proper place for the contemplation of Viṣṇu. Indeed, when contemplated there, that Brahman is immediately perceived in all His attributes,—as formed of thought and so on,—as the āmalaka fruit is seen in full when held in the palm. It is necessary also to declare the path by which to attain to the state of the universal Self. With this end in view the śruti proceeds with the sixth anuvāka.
Brahman in the Heart.
sa ya eṣo'ntarhṛdaya ākāśaḥ | tasminnayaṃ puruṣo manomayaḥ | amṛto hiraṇmayaḥ || 1 ||
स य एषोऽन्तर्हृदय आकाशः । तस्मिन्नयं पुरुषो मनोमयः । अमृतो हिरण्मयः ॥ १ ॥
1. Here, in this bright space within the heart, is He, that Soul who is formed of thought, undying, full of light.
The heart is the lotus-like fleshy organ, the seat of life, with the apertures of many a nāḍī opening into it, with its head downward; and it is seen and well recognised by all when a sacrificial animal is dissected. There is ākāśa or bright space within it as there is in a vessel. Therein is the Puruṣa, the Soul, so called because He lies in the body, or because by Him the Earth and all other worlds are filled. He is mano-maya, formed of manas, thought or consciousness,— so described because He is known through thought or consciousness. Or, ‘manas’ may mean antaḥ-karaṇa, the organ of thinking, and the Manomaya is He who identifies Himself with thought, or whose characteristic mark it is. He is immortal. He is effulgent, full of light.
Brahman, who has been declared as if He were remote, is now said to be the immediate one.—Do thou see the Self by thyself in the space within the heart. This space within the heart is the abode of buddhi, the intellect. There dwells the Soul (Puruṣa) to be cognised immediately as one formed of thought (Manomaya). The Soul is spoken of as Manomaya because, just as Rāhu, the eclipsing shadow, is seen along with the moon, so is the Soul directly seen only along with the manas. Or, because the manas is the organ by which the Soul (Puruṣa) can think of objects, He is spoken of as Manomaya. Or, the Soul is spoken of as Manomaya because He identifies Himself with manas; or because the Soul is manifested through manas, which therefore forms the mark pointing to His existence.-—(S).
In the fifth lesson the contemplation of the subordinate Gods has been taught. The sixth treats of the contemplation of the paramount God.
In the middle of the heart-lotus there is ākāśa, the bright space, of the same capacity as the thumb of the individual to whom the heart belongs, and so often talked of in the Śrutis and in the Yoga-Śāstras. In this bright space is Puruṣa, the Paramātman, the Highest Self, the All-pervading. He is no doubt everywhere; but here the śruti teaches that the heart is the place where we may contemplate and realise Him. Indeed, manas can intuitively realise Him only when, having been restrained by samādhi in the middle of the heart, it becomes one-pointed, as the śruti elsewhere says “He is seen by the sharp intellect.” The word ‘this’ (Sanskrit ‘ayam’= this here) preceding the word ‘soul,’ signifies immediateness and therefore shews that the Soul is capable of being immediately realised in intuition. That Soul shines forth in all His grace and beauty when contemplated in the middle of the heart. Accordingly the heart is spoken of in connection with the Dahara-vidyā and Śāṇḍilya-Vidyā. Manas is the main feature of the Soul who is thus to be contemplated in the heart: those who seek knowledge realise Him by manas, and those who resort to contemplation have to meditate with manas. He transcends death and shines by His own light.
The Path of Light leading to Brahman,
Now the Śruti proceeds to show the path by which the sage attains to Brahman described above, as realised in the bright space of the heart, forming the very Self of the sage, and here referred to as Indra, the Lord:
अन्तरेण तालुके । य एष स्तन इवावलंबते । सेन्द्रयोनिः । यत्रासौ केशान्तो विवर्तते । व्यपोह्य शीर्षकपाले ॥ २ ॥
antareṇa tāluke | ya eṣa stana ivāvalaṃbate | sendrayoniḥ | yatrāsau keśānto vivartate | vyapohya śīrṣakapāle || 2 ||
2. In the mid-region of the throat’s two pillars, that which hangs down like a nipple,—that is the birth-place of Indra, where the hair-end splits up dividing the two regions of the skull.
There is a nāḍī (tube) called suṣumnā, passing upward from the heart, and often referred to in the yoga-śāstras. It passes through the mid-region of the throat’s two pillars, as also of that bit of flesh which hangs down like a nipple between the throat’s two pillars, and through the region of the skull where the roots of hair lie apart. When it reaches this last place, the nāḍī passes up breaking open the two regions of the head. That is the birth-place of Indra, that the path by which to attain to one’s own true nature.
The suṣumnā-nāḍī which starts up from the heart forms the path by which to reach Indra, the Lower Brahman presented here for contemplation. This path will be found described at length in the works on Yoga. The sage has to force his way up through the nipple-like piece of flesh hanging down in the throat with its face turned downward, and to pass by the path of suṣumnā filled with udāna-vāyu, the up-going current of the vital air. This, it should be known, is the path of Indra, and the sage can effect his passage through it by means of the Rechaka-Prāṇāyāma, that process of restraining breath which consists in driving the life-current upwards and outwards. Passing by that path, he breaks open the two regions of the skull and reaches the surface of the head where we find the hair-roots parted frorn one another—(S. & A.)
The right and left sides of the mouth’s interior situated just above the root of the tongue are called the tālukas, “the throat’s two pillars.” Between them lies a small piece of flesh hanging down like the nipple of a heifer, and often referred to in the Yogaśātras, quite visible to others, and even touched by an exper c in the Lambikā-yoga with the tip of his own tongue. That is the seat of Indra, of Parame-śvara, the Supreme Lord. This piece of flesh stands for the Suṣumnā nāḍī; and the śruti here speaks of it as if it were Suṣumnā itself which lies quite close to it, in the same way that, when pointing out the moon, we point to the end of a tree’s branch as the place where the moon is. And penetrating into this nāḍī, the mind becomes one-pointed, and is then able to immediately realise the Paramātman, the Supreme Self. To this end the Kṣurikā-Upaniṣad reads as follows:
“There are one-hundred and one nāḍīs. Of them suṣumnā is regarded the best, which rests in the Supreme, untainted, of the same form as Brahman. Iḍā lies to the left and Pingalā to the right. Between them is the Supreme Abode, and he that knows It knows the Veda.”
Thus, the Suṣumnā-nāḍī is the abode of the Supreme Lord. And it is His abode because it is also the path by which to attain immortality. That it is the path to immortality is declared by the Chhandogas and the Kaṭhas as follows:
“Of the heart there are a hundred nāḍīs and one more; of them that one pierces right through the head. Rising up by this, one reaches deathlessness; the others, leading in divers ways, are used for going out.”
The Suṣumnā-nāḍī forces its way up between the right and left portions ot the head especially there where the roots of the hair lie. Just as the tip of the hair beyond which there is no hair is spoken of as the hair-end, so here the root of the hair below which there is no hair is spoken of as the hair-end.
State of Brahman attained.
Having thus taught the path of the upāsaka’s exit for attaining the fruit of the contemplation, the śruti proceeds to declare what that fruit is:
भूरित्यग्नौ प्रतितिष्ठति । भुव इति वायौ । सुवरित्यादित्ये । मह इति ब्रह्मणि । आप्नोति स्वाराज्यम् । आप्नोति मनसस्पतिम् । वाक्पतिश्चक्षुष्पतिः । श्रोत्रपतिर्विज्ञानपतिः । एतत्ततो भवति । आकाशशरीरं ब्रह्म । सत्यात्म प्राणारामं मन आनन्दम् । शान्तिसमृद्धममृतम् ॥ ३ ॥
bhūrityagnau pratitiṣṭhati | bhuva iti vāyau | suvarityāditye | maha iti brahmaṇi | āpnoti svārājyam | āpnoti manasaspatim | vākpatiścakṣuṣpatiḥ | śrotrapatirvijñānapatiḥ | etattato bhavati | ākāśaśarīraṃ brahma | satyātma prāṇārāmaṃ mana ānandam | śāntisamṛddhamamṛtam || 3 ||
3. In Agni as Bhūḥ he rests, in Vāyu as Bhuvaḥ, in Āditya as Suvaḥ, in Brahman as Mahaḥ. He attains self-lordship ; he attains to the lord of manas, the lord of speech, the lord of sight, the lord of hearing, the lord of intelligence. Then he becomes this,—the Brahman whose body is the bright space, whose nature is true, whose delight is life, whose manas is bliss, who is replete with peace, who is immortal.
By that path, he who thus contemplates and realises that Self who is formed of thought makes his exit from the head and becomes established in Agni (Fire),— represented by the Vyāhṛti ‘Bhūḥ,’—who is the lord of this world, a limb as it were of the Great Brahman; i.e., in the form of Agni he pervades this world. Similarly in Vāyw, Air, represented by the second Vyāhṛti, ‘Bhuvaḥ,’ he is established. So, too, he is established in Āditya, the Sun, represented by the third Vyāhṛti, ‘Suvaḥ.’ He is also established in Brahman, the main body represented by the fourth Vyāhṛti, ‘Mahaḥ.’ Resting in them all as their very Self, becoming Brahman Himself, he attains to svārājya, selflordship; i. e. he becomes himself the lord of the subordinate Gods, in the same way that Brahman is their lord.
In this world, he who has none else for his king, who is himself the king, is said to be a svarāj, an independent lord. The contemplator becomes such a king here and attains to such kingship over manas, speech, sight, ear, intellect; there is no doubt of it. Such excellent results accrue from the contemplation of the Divine Being described above—(S.)
And to him all Gods will offer tribute in subordination to him, just as they offer tribute to Brahman. He attains to the lord of manas: he attains indeed to the Lord of all minds, to Brahman who is the Soul of all things, It is indeed Brahman who thinks with all minds. To Brahman he attains who contemplates Him in the aforesaid manner. Moreover, he becomes the lord of all organs of speech, the lord of all organs of sight, of all organs of hearing, and of all organs of understanding. As the Soul of all things he becomes the owner of the sense-organs of all beings of life.
Moreover, he becomes something even greater than that; he becomes, to wit, the very Brahman of whom we are speaking, whose body is ākāśa, the bright space,— rather, whose body is as subtle as ākāśa; whose nature is true whether expressed through matter with form or through formless matter; who sports in the prāṇas or life-functions, who is the pleasure-ground of all life-functions; to whom the mind causes nothing but happiness; who is peace and perfection, who is found full of peace and endued with the attribute of immortality.—It should be here understood that these additional attributes pertain to the same Being who has been already described as Manomaya and so on.
The Śruti here describes the form of Brahman represented by the Vyāhṛti, with a view to enjoin the contemplation thereof. As the life-giving Soul of the three worlds, this Brahman expresses Himself in as ‘sat-tya,’ as ‘sat’ and ‘tyad,’ as ‘rnūrta’ and ‘amūrta,’ as matter with form and as matter with no form. He has His pleasure-ground in the senses (prāṇas); or, in Him the senses have their pleasure-ground.—(S.)
By the contemplation of the three Vyāhṛtis the contemplator becomes established in Agni and so on: he attains the powers which Agni, Vāyu and Āditya possess. By the contemplation of the fourth Vyāhṛti he becomes established in' Brahman abiding in the Satyaloka: he attains the power of that Brahman. It is this power which is described at length in the words “he attains self-lordship” etc. He becomes himself the Lord of Agni and other subordinate Gods. Because he is their king, it is said that all the Devas offer tribute to him. Not only does he become himself the lord of all, he attains to lordship over the minds of all beings of life. As the very Soul of all living beings, he is the lord of all sense-organs.—The anthaḥ-karaṇa or inner sense which is one in itself, is spoken of as manas and vijñāna, in virtue of its two distinct functions: when acting as an organ, it is called manas, the mind, while acting as an agent it is spoken of as vijñāna, the intellect.—Formerly, he was the lord of the mind, speech and other organs pertaining to ah individual organism, whereas, now that he has by contemplation attained to the upādhi of the Virāj, to the state of the Universal Soul, he becomes the lord of the mind, speech, etc., pertaining to all organisms.
After attaining to the state of the Virāj, the Macrocosmic Soul, he will be endowed with a knowledge of the real nature of Brahman; and when nescience (avidyā) is thus destroyed, he attains to a state which the śruti proceeds to describe as follows: Like ākāśa Brahman is, in His nature, devoid of form. Or,—to interpret the śruti in another way,— as the basic Reality on wkich the imagination of the whole universe rests, Brahman is the essence of all; and, as such, may be said to be one with ākāśa in nature. In ākāśa there are two elements found, one being the Real Basic Substance that may be described as Sat, Chit, Ānanda,—or Existence, Consciousness and Bliss,—and the other being an imaginary element made up of nāma and rūpa, name and form. The latter of the two elements, composed of name and form, is false and cannot therefore constitute the nature of Brahman; but the Basic Substance is real and constitutes the nature of Brahman. The same thing is meant when Brahman is described as one “whose nature is true.” As the Reality whereon rests the whole imaginary universe, Brahman’s being is real, can never be reduced to a non-entity. So also, all life’s play, all its activity such as birth and the like, takes place in Brahman. That prāṇa or life is born of Brahman is declared as follows: “From Him is prāṇa born, manas and all senses.” The same thing is taught in the form of question and answer:
Question:—“Blessed Lord, whence is thisjprāṇa born?”
Answer:—“From Ātman is this prāṇa born.”
The śruti thus speaking of prāṇa’s birth also serves to account for the popular notions as to the Ātman being present in the body or departing from it. This, too, has been declared by the śruti as follows:
“On what staying shall I say?—Thus thinking, He evolved prāṇa.”
Brahman is the seat of all this play of life. And Brahman is the Being in whom lies the bliss of manas. When manas ceases to face sense-objects and turns towards Brahman, then it is that great happiness accrues to manas. And this is declared in the Maitreya-Upaniṣad as follows:
“That happiness which belongs to a mind which by deep meditation has been washed clean from all impurity and has entered within the Self cannot be described here by words; it can be felt by the inward power only.”
In this Upaniṣad, too, it is declared as follows:
“Nectar, in good sooth, this (soul) possessing a thing of bliss becomes”
And Brahman is replete with peace, the mind having ceased altogether to wander away. Indeed, Brahman being known, the mind, immersed as it is in the pure nectar of bliss, will never wander away. This kind of peace is described by the Śvetāśvataras in the words “knowing Śiva he attains unlimited peace.”
The Lord also has taught as follows:
“Thus always keeping the mind steadfast, the yogin, with the mind controlled, attains to the peace to be found in Me, culminating in Nirvāṇa.”
Wherefore, Brahman is full of peace obtaining in the mind.—Or, the peace now spoken of may be said to inhere in Brahman Himself. Unlike Māyā, which is subject to change, transforming itself into the universe, Brahman never changes; He is quite immutable (kūṭastha), as the śruti says,
”Unborn is Ātman, great and firm.”
Accordingly, Brahman is replete with peace inherent in Himself. And Brahman is devoid of death. Death means departure of the vital breath from the body, and this is possible only in the case of the Jīva who is associated with the vital air, not in the case of the Paramātman, unassocia- ed with the vital air. The absence of the vital air in Brahman is declared elsewhere in the śruti as follows: “He is without life,' without manas, pure.”
Contemplation of Brahman enjoined.
Having thus described the Entity to be contemplated, the path by which to reach to Him, as also the fruits of the contemplation, the Śruti proceeds to enjoin the contemplation as follows:
इति प्राचीनयोग्योपास्स्व ॥ ४ ॥
iti prācīnayogyopāssva || 4 ||
4. Thus, do thou, O Prāchīna-yogya, contemplate.
Thus do thou, O Prāchīna-yogya, contemplate Brahman described above, endued with the attribute of thought and so on.—This exhortation of the teacher implies the high regard he has for the truth here taught.
Thus does the Teacher named Māhāchamasya instruct the disciple who is prāchīna-yogya, i.e., who has prepared himself for the course of contemplation, having washed away all his sins by the observance of all obligatory rites prescribed in the former (or ritualistic) section, both nitya and naimittika, those which have to be practised every day of one’s life as well as those which have to be performed on particular occasions. The word “thus” shows that the disciple has to contemplate the Entity described as dwelling within the heart and so on, with the attributes described in the words “whose body is ākāśa,” and so on. No doubt, in the words “This then he becomes,” the śruti seems to imply that the state of Brahman is the result to which the contemplator will attain after having attained to the condition of theVirāj; and we should accordingly understand that the sequel—the portion commencing with “whose body is ākāśa —treats of mukti, the state of liberation. But, since the śruti—“In whatever form he worships Him, that he becomes,”—declares that the object of contemplation and the resultant state should be identical, the attributes described in the words “whose body is ākāśa” should also enter into the contemplation of Brahman here taught. Hence it is that the Teacher (Śaṅkarāchārya) has construed the passage as describing the attributes of Brahman here presented for contemplation.
The Fifth and Sixth Lessons treat of one and the same Upāsanā.
Now we have to discuss the following question: Do the Fifth and Sixth Lessons treat of one upāsanā or two different upāsanās?
(Prima facie view):—They treat of two different upāsanās, inasmuch as the things to be contemplated as well as the fruits of contemplation spoken of in the two lessons are different. In the fifth, the thing to be contemplated is a symbol, the Vyāhṛti, regarded as the worlds etc., whereas, in the sixth, the object of contemplation is Brahman formed of thought and endued with other attributes. In the former the fruit of the contemplation is described in the words “To him all Devas offer tribute; whereas the latter speaks of quite a different result, namely, the attainment of independent sovereignty. Therefore the upāsanās treated of in the two lessons are quite different.
(Conclusion):—Both being addressed to one and the same person, one upāsanā alone is taught in the two places. In the words “whoso contemplates them, he knows Brahman” (V. 9) the śruti declares that the contemplation of Brahman is intended for the same person for whom the contemplation of the Vyāhṛtis is intended. Further, the sixth lesson declares the fruits of the contemplation of theVyāhṛti as well, in the words “In Agni as Bhūḥ ha becomes established.” (VI. 3). Wherefore, one upāsanā alone is taught in both the lessons. As to the difference in the things to be contemplated, it may be easily explained by considering their mutual relation to be one of aṇgāṅgi-bhāva, that of chief and subordinate factors. Then, the offering of tribute by all the Devas may be regarded as the fruit accru ing from the aṇga or subordinate factor. In the case of the fruit of a subordinate factor spoken of in the passage “He who pours oblation with the leaf-ladle (parṇamayī juhūḥ), he never hears of evil repute,” it is but proper to maintain that the passage is intended merely to recommend the main act of sacrifice, but not to reveal any particular fruit accruing from the subordinate factor referred to, inasmuch as nobody ever seeks to know the fruit of the act of pouring oblations with a leaf-ladle, that act forming but an integral part of the main sacrifice and being therefore incapable of producing any fruit of its own, distinct from the fruits of the main act. But, here, contemplation ot Brahman, independent of the Vyāhṛtis, is possible, and it may therefore be concluded that the latter is taught with a view to a particular fruit of it's Own; and its fruits are spoken of not merely with a view to recommend the main factor in the contemplation. The two, therefore, together constitute one upāsanā, of which they are respectively the chief and subordinate factors.
Many are the Self-Comprehending Upāsanās.
We cannot, however, by extending the principle thus established to the contemplation of Brahman as earth &c. to be taught in the Seventh Lesson, hold that it constitutes one upāsanā with what is taught in the Sixth Lesson; for, on the principle discussed in connection with the Śāṇḍilya-Vidyā, the Dahara-Vidyā, and the like, it must be quite distinct from the other. This latter principle is determined in the Vedānta-Sūtras III. iii. 58. as follows:
(Question):—The Dahara-Vidyā, the Śāṇḍilya-Vidyā, the Madhu-Vidyā and the like, are described in the Chhāndogya and other Upaniṣads. Now a question arises as to whether all these vidyās (contemplations) together constitute one upāsana or each constitutes a distinct upāsana by itself.
(Prima facie view):—On the principle determined in the preceding section, all of them constitute together but one upāsana, inasmuch as a contemplation of all of them put together is the best course and there is but one Brahman.
(Conclusion):—Because it is impossible to practise all contemplations combined into one whole, the Vidyās must be different. And Brahman, the object of contemplation in these Vidyās, cannot be regarded as one and the same; for, He differs with the different attributes assigned to Him. Nor is it impossible to determine the scope of each Vidyā, inasmuch as in each case the upakrama and the upasaṃhāra, the opening and the concluding sentences, serve to cleārly define the limits of the Vidyā. Therefore the several Vīdyḍs are distinct from one another.
One alone of the Self-Comprehending Upāsanās should be practised.
The two Vidyās described in the Sixth and Seventh Lessons being thus distinct from each other, one alone of them should be practised, but not both. This point has been determined in the same work III. iii. 59.
(Question):—Now, Upāsanās are either Self-comprehending or symbolic. The former comprise all the contemplations of the Conditioned Ātman, in each of which the Being contemplated upon is, as pointed out in the Vedānta-Sūtras IV. 1. 3, regarded as one’s own Self; and the latter are concerned with the contemplation of the symbols (pratīkas),— of things external to the Self and elevated in thought by being studiedly regarded as some Devatā or God. Is there, or is there not, a restriction as to the number of the Self-comprehending Upāsanas which one should practise?
(Prima facie view):—Of the Self-comprehending Vidyās such as Śāṇḍilya-Vidyā, either one alone may be practised, or two, or three, as a person chooses, since no authority constrains us to practise any one or more particular upāsanās; and there is indeed no reason whatever why a person should practise the Śāṇḍilya-Vidyā alone or the Dahara-Vidyā alone, or any other Vidyā exclusively. The matter is therefore left to one’s own choice.
(Conclusion):—There is in the first place one determining factor, namely, the fact that no purpose is served by others. To explain: The object of the Upāsana is an immediate intuitive realisation of Īśvara. If it can be accomplished by a single upāsana, other upāsanas serve no purpose. Moreover, the realisation obtained by an upāsana is not one brought about by an organ of right knowledge; it is, on the other hand, generated by incessant meditation and consists in thinking of oneself as one with the Entity contemplated upon. How can this idea of identity remain firm, when, after practising one kind of upāsana, the person abandons it and resorts to another, and thus his mind passes from one idea to another? Thus, by reason of the practice of more than one upāsana having no purpose to serve and even causing unsteadiness of mind, it is necessary that one alone of the Self-comprehending upāsanas should be practised, and no more.
Contemplation of Brahman as the Self.
As in the case of the right knowledge of Brahman, so, even when contemplating Brahman, He should be regarded as one with the Self. That the right knowledge of Brahman consists in knowing that He is one with one’s own Self has been shewn in the Vedānta-Sūtras IV. i. 3:
(Question):—Should the knower apprehend Brahman as distinct from himself or as one with his own Self?
(Prima facie view)Brahman treated of in the scriptures should be known by Jīva, the knower, to be quite distinct from himself, inasmuch as Jīva and Brahman cannot be identical, the one being subject to misery, and the other being above all misery.
(Conclusion):—The difference lies only in the upādhi. It has been clearly shewn in the Vedānta-sūtras II. iii. 40 that Jīva, though Brahman in reality, is subject to the miseries of worldly existence as caused by his connection with the upādhi of antaḥ-karaṇa. As there is no real distinction between them, it should be known that Brahman is identical with one’s own Self. Hence it is that those who know the real truth understand Brahman to be identical with the Self, as declared in the grand propositions “I am Brahman;” “This Self is Brahman;” and they even teach the same thing to their disciples in the words “That, Thou art.” Therefore it should be known that Brahman is identical with the Self.
Accordingly, in the present case, the contemplation should be practised thus: “I am the Paramātman, the Supreme Self, formed of thought, immortal, full of light.”
How Paramatman is Manomaya, formed of thought.
In the Vedānta-sūtras I. ii. I. it has been discussed, with reference to the Śāṇḍilya-Vidyā, how the Paramātman can be spoken of as Manomaya, formed of thought.
(Question):—In the Chhāndogya-Upaniṣad, the Entity to be contemplated is described as “formed of thought, luminous in form, embodied in prāṇa.” Is it Jīva or Īśvara who is thus spoken of?
(Prima facie view):—It is Jīva; for, in the case of Jīva it is easy to explain his connection with manas and the like. The word “manomaya” meaning “formed of manas” refers to a connection with manas or thought, and the word “prāṇa-śarīra” meaning “having prāṇa for his body” refers to a connection with prāṇa or life. Neither of these can be explained in the case of Īśvara, owing to the denial of manas and prāṇa (in the description of Īśvara) in the words “Having no prāṇa, having no manas, who is pure.” Moreover, it can in no way be explained how He who has no place to rest in can have His abode in the heart, or how He who pervades all can be very small in size as declared by the śruti in the Śāṇḍilya-Vidyā: “This Ātman who is within the heart, and who is very small.” Hence it is Jīva that is spoken of in the passage referred to.
(Conclusion):—The very Brahman who is spoken of in the preceding passage—where peace (śama) is enjoined in the words “All this is Brahman, born from Him, dissolving into and breathing in Him; so let every one contemplate Him in peace”, —is the Thi ig to which the epithets ‘manomaya’ and ‘prāṇaśarīra’ refer. The meaning of the passage which enjoins peace may be explained as follows:—All that we see is Brahman, because from Him it is born, unto Him it dissolves, and in Him it breathes. Therefore, since Brahman who is Himself the All can have no likes or dislikes, one should be peaceful at the time of contemplation. Brahman being thus construed to be the subject of discussion in this passage, the next passage in which the epithet ‘manomaya’ occurs must also refer to Brahman. And there is no inconsistency in speaking of Brahman as associated with manas and prāṇa; for, though not applicable to the Unconditioned, the epithets can be ex-pl ained as shewing how Brahman should be contemplated in His conditioned form. Therefore, here as in all other Upaniṣads, Brahman is declared to be the object of worship. Nowhere, indeed, in the Upaniṣads, is Jīva declared to be the object of worship. The conclusion, therefore, is that it is Brahman who should be contemplated.
Just as, in the Chhāndogya-upaniṣad, it is to Brahman spoken of in the passage enjoining peace during contemplation that the epithet ‘manomaya’ refers, so also, here in this lesson, it is the Paramātman,—designated by the word ‘puruṣa’ which means ‘all-pervading’,—who is spoken of as ‘formed of thought’. That the word ‘puruṣa’ means ‘all-pervading’ is taught in the Śreyo-mārga as follows:
“Puruṣa is so called because of His lying in the body, or because He is full in Himself, or because all that we see is pervaded by Him.”
(Objection):—The first etymology “lying in the body” applies to jīva also.
(Answer):—No, because Brahman is here the subject of treatment, as shown by the opening words “whoso knoweth these, he knoweth Brahman,” as also by the concluding words “Brahman whose body is the bright space.”
How Brahman is full of light.
That the words “full of light” may be applied to Brahman has been determined in the Vedānta-Sūtras I. i. 20 as follows:
(Question):—In the first adhyāya of the Chhāndogya-upaniṣad, the śruti first taught all the subsidiary objects of contemplation connected with the Udgītha-Upāsana and then proceeds to speak of the main object of contemplation in the following words:
“Now that golden (i. e., full of light) Soul (Puruṣa) who is seen within the sun,” and so on.
Now, in the solar orb there dwells a certain jīva or individual soul who, in virtue of his works (karma) and knowledge (vidyā) of a superior kind, has attained to the position of a God (Deva) and is engaged in the government of the world. And, as present everywhere, Īśvara dwells in the solar orb also. Hence the question, which of the two is spoken of in the passage quoted above?
(Prima facie view):—It may be that the Devatā or the Individual Intelligence functioning in the solar orb is referred to here; for the soul (puruṣa) here spoken of is said to have a limited sovereignty, a seat and a colour. His limited sovereignty is referred to in the following words:
“And He is the lord of these worlds which are beyond it (the sun), as also of the desires of the Devas.”
And His seat is referred to in the words “who is seen (lying) within the sun”. The epithet “golden’ refers to His colour. Now, Parameśvara who is the Lord of all, who is the abode of all, who has no colour or form, cannot, indeed, be said to have a limited sovereignty, or to dwell in another as His abode, or to possess a colour or form. Wherefore it must be some Devatā or Individual Intelligence who is here spoken of.
(Conclusion):—The ‘golden Puruṣa’ here spoken of must be the Īśvara, for He is said to be the Sarvātman, Himself the all, to be one with all, to be immanent in all things as their very essence. In the passage, “That is the Rik, that the Sāman, that the Uktha, that the Yajus, that the Brahman (Vedas),” the śruti refers by the word ‘that’ to the golden Puruṣa, the subject of discussion, and teaches that He is one with the whole universe including the Rik, Sāman etc. And this can literally apply to the One Second-less Parameśvara, not to a Devatā or Individual Intelligence of the dual universe. And the attribute of being free from all sins, as described in the words “He has risen above all sins,” is a characteristic mark of Brahman. No doubt, the Devatā of the solar orb has risen above works (karma) and therefore generates no acts of virtue and sin in the present or in the future; but, as He is still subject to pain caused by the asuras (demons) and the like, we may presume that the accumulated sins of past births still cling to Him, giving rise to the pain. The limited sovereignty, seat, and colour pertaining to an up.ādhi can also apply to the Paramātman, the object of worship, when associated with the upādhi. Wherefore it is Īśvara who is spoken of as the golden Soul (Puruṣa).
Attributes of Brahman mentioned elsewhere should be borrowed.
Just as, in the passages of the Chhāndogya Upaniṣad under reference, oneness with all and the like attributes are regarded as characteristic features of Brahman, so, here in the Sixth Lesson, immortality and true-naturedness and the like may be regarded as characteristic features of Brahman. Therefore, it is the Paramātman who should be contemplated upon as endued with intelligence and other qualities. In the Śāṇḍilya-Vidyā the Chhandogas read as follows:
“Full of intelligence, embodied in life, luminous in form, of unfailing will.”
The Vājasaneyins, again, read in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka as follows:
“That person, full of intelligence, unfailing light indeed, is within the heart, small like a grain of rice or barley. He is the Ruler of all, the Lord of all; He rules all this, whatsoever exists.”
So that, on the principle † of the Panchāgni-Vidyā— contemplation of the five fires,—we should understand that, though the three Upaniṣads belong to different recensions, one and the same Vidyā (contemplation) is taught in all of them, inasmuch as the Being who is presented in them for contemplation is of the same nature—viz., fie who is full of intelligence, and so on. The principle of the Panchāgni-Vidyā has been discussed in the Third Lesson. The Vidyā being identical, each of the three recensions should borrow whatever new features are spoken of in the two others and contemplate the Being in all His features thus brought together. And this principle, too, of borrowing new features from other recension or recensions has been discussed in the same Lesson.
Upāsanā should be practised till death.
The contemplation should be practised till the attainment of sākṣātkāra or immediate perception, i.e., till the devotee comes to regard himself as one with Brahman endued with all the attributes gathered together as shown above. The word ‘upāsana’means “repetition of an idea,’ as has been shewn in the Third Lesson. And the śruti also— viz., “Becoming the Deva, he is absorbed in the Devas,”—speaks of the sākṣātkāra, or intuitive realisation of Divinity in this very birth. Even after attaining the sākṣātkāra, the upāsana of Brahman should be continued till death. This point is discussed in the Vedānta-sūtras IV. i. 12, as follows:
(Question): —Are upāsanas to be practised as long as one chooses or till death?
(Prima facie view):—The word ‘upāsana’ means a continued current of one and the same idea uninterrupted by any foreign idea. This can be accomplished in a limited period of time. Wherefore, it may be practised as long as one chooses, and it is not necessary to practise it till death.
(Conclusion):—The idea prevailing at the last moment of life is the one which determines the future birth; and that idea cannot arise easily except by practising upāsana till death. Hence the smṛti:
“Whatever object a man thinks of at death when he leaves the body, that, O son of Kuntī reaches he by whom that object has been constantly meditated upon”
(Objection): —How, then, can the idea of svarga possibly arise at the last moment of life in him who has to go to svarga in virtue of the Jyotiṣṭoma and other acts of sacrifice?
(Answer):—We say that the apūrva, the unseen effect generated by the sacrificial act, will produce the idea.
(Objection): —Even in the case of an upāsana there may exist some apūrva or unseen effect.
(Answer):—Yes, it exists; but then we should not, on this score, dispen;e with the constant repetition of the idea, which is a known and tangible means of obtaining the result. Otherwise, every kind of pleasure or pain or the like being the result of an apūrva or invisible cause, there is no use making an effort to obtain food etc., which is the known means of securing the pleasure. Wherefore, practice of contemplation till death is necessary, as it is the known means of obtaining the intended result.
Where the upāsaka’s path of departure diverges.
A special feature in the departure of the upāsaka, who has been thus repeating the contemplation till death, is discussed in the Vedānta-sūtras IV. ii. 17 as follows:
(Question):—Is there any or no special feature in the departure of one who has been practising contemplation, as compared with other men’s departure?
(Primafacie view)'. It has been said that an upāsaka’s departure is the same as that of others till they come to the starting-point on their paths. Now, it is but proper to hold that, even after they start on their paths, their departure is the same, inasmuch as, in the case of both alike, the śruti speaks of the flashing of the heart etc. Accordingly the śruti says:
“The tip of his heart flashes; with that flash this soul (Ātman/ makes his exit through the head or through other parts of the body.”
This passage may be explained as follows:—
The present birth closes when ‘the sense of speech attains unity with manas’ and so on, i.e., when the whole liṅga-śarīra combined with Jīva becomes absorbed in Paramāt-man, remaining in Him as a mere potentiality. Then; for the next birth, the liṅga-śarīra again manifests itself in the heart. At that moment, in the liṅga-śarīra which then rests in the tip of the heart, there occurs an illumination in the form of an idea of the future birth which is to come next, commonly spoken of as ‘antya-pratyaya,’ the idea of the last moment. With this idea in mind, the soul departs through the nāḍīs. And this is the same for all. Wherefore the upāsaka’s departure differs in no way from that of others.
(Conclusion): —As against the foregoing we hold as follows: An upāsaka makes his exit exclusively by the nāḍī in the head,—others making their exit by other nāḍīs only,—because of the upāsaka having constantly thought of the nāḍī in the head, and in virtue of the peculiar power of the contemplation of the Conditioned (Saguṇa) Brahman. This point is clearly set forth elsewhere in the śruti in the following words:
“Of the heart there are” etc.
That is to say, the other nāḍīs serve only for exit, but not for the attainment of immortality. Wherefore there is some speciality in the departure of an upāsaka.
How far the process of death is the same for all.
As to that part of the process of departure which precedes the point of divergence where the upāsaka makes his exit through the nāḍī of the head, five points are discussed in the Vedānta-Sūtras referring to a passage in another Upaniṣad. The passage referred to occurs in the Chhāndogya-Upaniṣad and reads as follows:
“The speech, my dear, of that departing person is absorbed in manas, manas in life, life in fire, and fire in the Supreme God.”
With reference to this passage, the five following points have been discussed and established:—
(1). The Upaniṣad does not mean that the ten senses of the dying man,—‘speech’ standing here for all the ten senses,—are not totally and substantially absorbed in manas. It only means that the action of speech, etc., ceases while manas is still active, their activity being thus absorbed as it were in the activity of manas. (Vedānta-sūtras IV. ii. 1-2).
(2) Similarly, when manas is said to be absorbed in life, the Upaniṣad only means that the activity of manas ceases when prāṇa or life-breath is still active. (IV. ii. 3).
(3). Life becomes absorbed, not in fire (the element of matter called tejas), but in Jīva, the man’s own conscious Ego, as declared in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka-Upaniṣad:
“To this Self, at the last moment, do all prāṇas go.’ (Vedānta-Sūtras. IV. ii. 4-6.)
(4). The process of departure—consisting in the cessation of one activity after another—up to the starting-point on the path of exit through a nāḍī is the same for all the three,—for him who is led by Dharma and Adharma, for an upāsaka, and for him who has attained to an intuitive knowledge of the truth. (IV. ii. 7).
(5). The activity of the external organs of sensation, manas, and prāṇa, having been absorbed in that of Jīvātman, the conscious individual Ego, the activity of this Jīvātman is in its turn absorbed in that of the five subtle elements of matter,—tejas or fire (in the passage quoted from the Chhāndogya-Upaniṣad ) standing here for all the five subtle elements, among which the element of fire predominates. These subtle elements of matter are then absorbed in the Paramātman. In the case of him who has not yet realised the true nature of Brahman, the elements of matter do not in their substance become absorbed in the Paramātman; it is only their activity that ceases, while in their substance they exist potentially in the Paramātman who alone is awake at the time (IV. ii. 8-11).
Thus in five sections has been discussed that part of the process of departure which is common to all.
The Path of Light.
The present birth closes with the absorption, in the Paramātman, of all activity of the liṅga-śarīra made up of the five subtle elements. Subsequently (IV. ii. 17) is discussed a special feature in the departure of an upāsaka who, wending his way to Brahma-loka, makes his exit through the nāḍī of the head. And the path of exit has been described here (in part) in the second passage of this lesson. We should understand that this portion of the path stands for the whole Path of Light which leads to the region of Brahman.
Concerning the path to the region of Brahman, six points are discussed in the Vedānta-sūtras with reference to a passage in the Chhāndogya-upaniṣad which reads as follows;
“Now, when he so starts up from this body, then, by these rays alone does he start upward.”*
The departing soul of the upasaka joins the sun’s rays even at night.
(i) In this passage the Chhandogas declare that, on making his exit through the nāḍī of the head, the soul joins the rays of the sun. One may perhaps think that, though it is possible for the upāsaka, dying during the day-time, to join the sun’s rays, it is not possible for him to do so if he should die at night. As against this it has been argued that, though at night the sun’s rays are not manifested, yet the soul does join them, since there exists a connection between the nāḍīs and the sun’s rays as long as the body exists (IV. ii. 18-19).
Even the upāsaka dying in Dakṣiṇāyana has access to the Northern Path.
(ii) In the Uttara-mārga or Northern Path which begins with the sun’s rays, the Uttarāyaṇa (i.e., the progress of the sun north of the equator) is mentioned as a stage. This may at first lead one to think that the upāsaka dying in the Dakṣiṇāyana does not attain the fruits of the upāsana. Against this it has been argued that the fruit does accrue to the upāsaka inasmuch as the term ‘uttarāyaṇa’ means here the Devatā or Intelligence who identifies himself with the period of time so called. (IV. ii. 20-21).
The Path of Light is but one.
(iii) In the Chhāndogya and Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣads, the Path is spoken of in connection with the Panchāgni-Vidyā, as commencing with light (archis), in the words “they arrive at light,” and so on. In connection with another Vidyā, the Vājasaneyins speak of the Path as commencing with the Vāyu-loka, the region ofVāyu ṭAir), in the words “He comes to Vāym” In the Paryanka-Vidyā, the Kauṣītakins speak of it as commencing with the Agni-loka, the region of fire, in the words “Betaking himself to this path gone by the Devas, he comes to the Agni-loka.” These passages may lead to the view that the Northern Path is of several kinds. Against this it has been argued that it is possible to construe the passages cited above by regarding the regions of Vāyu and Agni, etc., as definite stages on one path. (IV. iii. 1.)
[The stages on the Path of Light leading to Brahman are mentioned differently in different Upaniṣads as follows:
1. The Chhandogya-Upaniṣad: — The Light (Archis), the Day (Ahan), the Bright Half of the Moon (Āpūryamāṇa-pakṣa), the Six Months during which the Sun goes to the North, the Year (Samvatsara), the Sun (Āditya), the Moon (Chandramas), the Lightning (Vidyuth), Brahman.
2. The Brihadaranyaka-Upaniṣad: — The Light, the Day, the Bright Half of the Moon, the Six Months during which the Sun goes to the North, the Region of Devas (Devaloka), the Sun, the Lightning, Brahman.
3. The Kauṣitaki-Upaniṣad:— The Region of Fire (Agni), the Region of the Air (Vāyu), the Region of Varuṇa, the Region of Prajāpati, the Region of Brahman.
The ascending order of the stages as determined by the Vedānta-sūtras is as follows:
- The Light or the Region of Agni,
- the Day,
- the Bright Half of the Moon,
- the Six Months during which the Sun goes to the North,
- the Year,
- the Region of Devas,
- the Region of the Air,
- the Sun,
- the Moon,
- the Lightning,
- the Region of Varuṇa,
- the Region of Indra,
- the Region of Prajāpati,
- the Region of Brahman.—Tr.]
The Vāyu-loka precedes the Āditya-loka.
(iv). The question arising as to the situation, on the path, of the Vāyu-loka spoken of by the Kauṣītakins, it has been shewn that it is situated just below the Āditya-loka, the reigon of the Sun, because it is said in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka that the soul reaches Āditya by the path afforded by Vāyu. (IV. iii. 2).
The region of Lightning precedes that of Varuna.
(v). The Kauṣītakins place on the Path of Light the regions of Varuṇa, Indra and Prajāpati. There arising a question as to their relative situation on the path, it has been argued that inasmuch as the Lightning and Varuṇa (the Lord of w ater) are related to each other through rain, the region of Varuṇa should be placed next above that of the Lightning, and that the regions of Indra and Prajāpati should be placed above the region of Varuṇa, on the principle that new-comers should be placed last. (IV. iii. 3.)
The Light, etc., are the guiding Intelligences.
(vi). The Light, etc., placed by the śruti on the path, constitute neither sign-posts on the way (mārga-chihna), nor regions of enjoyment (bhoga-bhūmi); but they are Devatās or intelligences who lead the soul from one region to another on the way. (IV. iii. 4-6).
The Path of Light is common to all upāsakas of Saguṇa Brahman.
The path whose course has been thus determined is meant only for those who contemplate Saguṇa Brahman. He who has realised the true nature of Brahman by the right sources of knowledge has nothing to do with the path. This departure by the Path of Light applies to all upāsanas of Saguṇa Brahman, not to those upāsanas only in connection with which the path is mentioned in the śruti. By this Path, the upāsaka attains to Brahman; for, it has been declared that “a non-human Spirit dwelling in the region of the Lightning conducts the souls to Brahman. It has also been determined that the upāsaka’s (immediate) goal is not Parabrahman Himself, Who cannot be said to be reached by a path, but that particular region of Brahman which falls within the sphere of evolution. (IV. iii. 7-14.)
The worshippers of symbols cannot attain to Brahma-loka.
This region of Brahman in the evolved universe cannot be reached by those who contemplate symbols (pratīkas). It can be reached only by those who contemplate Brahman, not by others. (IV. iii. 15-16.)
The glory of the Brahma-loka.
It is this region of Brahman (constituting the Goal reached by the Path of Light) which is described by the śruti in para 3 of this lesson. On reaching the Brahma-loka, the upāsaka identifies himself with both the Individual Intelligences and the Universal Intelligence. As identifying himself wdth the Individual Intelligences, he becomes one with Agni, Vāyu, Āditya and other Intelligences and partakes of their powers. As identifying himself with the Universal Intelligence, he becomes Brahman, the Lord of the Earth (Bhūḥ) and all other worlds, and attains to Svārājya; i.e., he becomes an independent lord.
In saying that the Yogin attains to the state of Brahman now described the Kauṣītakins speak of him in the Paryanka-Vidyā as follows:
“Then five hundred Apsarases (celestial damsels) go towards him, one hundred with chowries in their hands, one hundred with garlands in their hands, one hundred with ointments in their hands, one hundred with garments in their hands, one hundred with fruits in their hands. They adorn him with an adornment worthy of Brahman, and wdien thus adorned with the adornment of Brahman the knower of Brahman moves towards Brahman.”
Concerning this very attainment of Brahman, this independent dominion (svārājya), the following four points have been discussed and settled in the Vedānta-sūtras:
In Brahma-loka, the Yogin secures objects of enjoyment by mere thoughts.
(i). The Yogin who dwells in the Brahma-loka attains ob jects of enjoyment by merely thinking of them. He does not stand in need of any external means to bring them about. —(IV. iv. 8-9)
In Brahma-loka, the Yogin can enjoy with or without a body.
(ii). Concerning the Yogin who has himself thus created objects of enjoyment by thought, one śruti declares that he assumes a body wherewith to enjoy the objects, while another declares that the Yogin does not assume a body for the purpose. To explain this difference, it is not necessary to suppose that there are two different classes of Yogins, to whom respectively they apply. The fact, on the other hand, is that one and the same person may, as he chooses, assume a body or not for the purpose. (IV. iv. 10 - 14).
The bodies of a Yogin’s creation have each a soul.
(iii). When the Yogin above referred to chooses to create simultaneously more bodies than one, it may be supposed that Jīva, the individual soul, is present only in one of them while the others are soulless. But, as a matter of fact, all bodies have their respective souls (Jīvātmans), all of these latter acting according to the will of one individual. (IV. iv. 15 - 16)
No Yogin can create the universe as a whole.
(iv). Though the Yogin can thus create, by mere thought, the objects of his enjoyment, his bodies, and his souls (Jīvat-mans), he cannot, in the same way, create the great elements of matter such as ākāśa (ether) or the Brahmāṇḍa (the Mundane. Egg) or the worlds made of matter. It is the beginningless, eternal Parameśvara, the Supreme Lord alone, but not a Yogin, who is the creator of the universe. (IV. iv, 17 - 22).
Thence the Yogin attains to Videha-kaivalya in due course.
The, Yogin who has become an independent Lord as shewn above attains, while still in the Brahma-loka, to the sākṣātkāra, immediate intuitive realisation of the true nature of the unconditioned Brahman; and then, on the Brahma-loka coming to an end, he attains Videha-kaivalya, the disembodied state of mukṣa. This state has been described in this lesson in the words “Then he becomes this,” etc. The same has been expressed by the Blessed Vyāsa in the following aphorism:
“At the close of creation, along with its Lord, (they go) then to the Supreme, as said (in the śruti).” (IV. iii. 10).
That is to say, on the dissolution of the Brahma-loka, they attain to the Supreme Brahman, along with Brahman, the Four-faced, the Lord of the world, as declared in the śruti and the smṛti:
“Those aspirants who by Vedāntic wisdom have well ascertained the Thing, and whose minds have been purified by the yoga of renunciation, they all, at the last moment of the Great Cycle, become released from the Great, the Immortal.”
“When the dissolution comes at the end of the Great Cycle, they all, perfected in soul, enter the Supreme Abode.”
Thus, he who contemplates Brahman first attains to Brahma-loka and then attains absolute salvation.
Footnotes and references:
Vide Chhāndogya-Upaniṣad VIII. 1-6; III. 14.
Vide Minor Upaniṣads Vol. II. pp. 62-66.
Ibid p. 128.
Kaṭha-Upa. 6-16. Chhāndogya-Upa. 8 - 6 - 6.
See Bṛh. Up. 2-3. The air and ether (ākāśa) are formless, while light, water and earth present themselves in forms.
Ibid. 6-3, 4.
Op. cit. 6-34.
Tait. Up. 2-7.
Op. cit. 4-14.
Bha. Gītā 6-15.
Bṛ. Up. 4-4-20.
Muṇḍ. Up. 2 - 1 - 2,
Taittirīya-saṃhitā III. 5. 7.
Chhā-Up. VIII. 1-6.
Ibid III, 14.
Ibid III. 1-11,
Op. cit. 3-14-2.
Muṇḍ. Up. 2-1-2.
Chhā. Up. 3-14-3.
Op. cit. (?)-6-6.
Chhā. Up. 3-14-2.
Bṛ. Up. 5-6-1.
Vide ante pp. 44-46.
Ante pp. 56-57.
Bṛ. Up- 4 - 1-2
Bha. Gītā VIII, 6.
Bṛ. Up. 4-4-2.
For the whole process read the sequel.
Kaṭh. Up. 6-16. Quoted in full on p. 84.
Op. cit. 6-8-6.
Op. cit. 4-4-1.
Chh. Up. 4-15-5; Bṛ. Up. 6-2-15.
Kau. Up. 1-3.
Kauṣ, Up. 1-4.
The physical body and the organs of external sensation.