Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sloka 31 and 32


sarvaGYatvaM pareshatvaM tathaa sampuurNashaktitaa .
vedaiH samarthyate yasya tadbrahmetyavadhaaraya .. 31..

Pada artha:

Avadharaya: Ascertain
Brahma iti: to be Brahman
Yasya: whose
Sarvajnatvam: all knowingness
Para-Ishatvam: Supreme lordship
Sampurna-shaktitaa-all powerfulness
Samarthyate: are supported
Vedaihi: by the Vedas

Learn that Brahman is the being which has been proved in the Vedas to be all knowing, all powerful and Supreme Lord of all.

In the pervious slokas, the guru explained to the disciple the real meaning of the word ‘TVAM’ of the Mahavakyas. The guru instructed the student to ascertain the real nature of Atman in many ways. All the wrong notions of the Self were removed and the true nature of Self was revealed by the Guru.

From this sloka, we shall learn the real meaning of ‘TAT’ of the Mahavakyas. The Guru here is explaining that the ‘TAT’ is the Brahman who is explained in the Vedas as ‘existence’ and also proved as all knowing, all powerful and Supreme lord of all.

In this Sloka, Brahman is described as the efficient cause of the universe. The all knowingness, all pervading and Supremeness of all are the qualities of Ishvara who is but Brahman. Brahman is the origin and substratum of all the creation and it is but Brahman which is described as all controller Ishwara through various forms in the puranaas also.

Brahman is that which is all knowing. It is that knowing which there is remains nothing else to be known and that which is everything. Brahman as we have learnt is verily existence and consciousness hence Brahman is also described as the all knowing.

The guru here also mentions that Brahman has been proved as thus by the Vedas which are the ultimate pramanas and hence there should be no doubts in ascertaining the nature of Brahman as thus. The importance given to scriptures as the ultimate authority is clearly seen here.
Brahman is described in the scriptures as not associated with anything as it is non dual. Hence it has to be all knowing and all powerful. It has to be known that all that exists is but Brahman which is non dual and verily existence and the substratum of the entire world. The Brahma sutras also point out Brahman as "that from which origin etc. of this world proceeds." It is the ultimate cause of all creations and is hence the all powerful, supreme controller of all.

The Guru is hence explaining to the student to without doubt ascertain that That Brahman in whom there is all birth, existence and destruction of all the creations and hence is the all powerful Supreme lord of all is denoted by the word ‘TAT’ in the Mahavakyas.


yajGYaanaatsarvaviGYaanaM shrutiShu pratipaaditam.h .
mR^idaadyanekadR^iShTaantaistadbrahmetyavadhaaraya .. 32..

Pada artha;

Avadharaya: ascertain
Tat: that
Brahma iti: to be Brahman
Yat jnaanat: by knowing which
Pratipaaditam: it is proved
Shrutishu: in the shrutis
Mrut-aadi-aneka-drushtantav: by means of several examples of earth etc.
Sarva vigjaanam: everything is known.

Ascertain that Brahman is what has been established in the srutis by means of several examples of earth etc. as one which, when known, makes a man knower of everything.

In the previous sloka, we learnt the Brahman as the all pervading, all knowing controller from the Guru. In this sloka, the Brahman is shown as the material cause. The Guru is again instructing the student here to know Brahman when known makes known everything which is established in the Shruti also through various examples. We can here clearly see that a Sadguru never deviates from the Shruti. The Guru is again giving reference to the Shruti and instructing the student to know the real meaning of Brahman as per the scriptures.

The scriptures explain Brahman as that by knowing which everything is known, that by which unheard becomes heard and un-thought becomes thought and that not understood becomes understood. By this it means that everything can be known by knowing ones true nature, as everything is but Brahman.

The guru is here giving examples from the scriptures. Just as by knowing a single lump of clay all the objects made of clay can be known since in all objects clay alone is real and the objects are nothing but various names and forms of the same clay. Through a single ingot of gold, all the objects made of gold can be known, as even though the ornaments are distinguished as bangle etc. the reality in them is only the gold and they are but names and forms of gold. Similarly, by knowing Brahman everything can be known everything.

All the names and forms perceived and all that exists has to be known as Brahman only. It is the substratum of the entire universe and all the creation. When this underlying Reality in known, then all the names and forms will also known. A goldsmith would see all objects as Gold only and irrespective of the name or the form, by knowing the nature of Gold, all the Gold objects will also be known by him. Similarly, when Brahman which is the ultimate reality and the ultimate cause is known, there remains nothing unknown.

Hence it is said that by knowing Brahman, one attains the highest and the Shruti thus instructs that Brahman is THAT knowing which everything becomes known. The Guru here is instructing the student to know Brahman which is explained through such examples as that which is the substratum of all names and forms.

Hari OM.

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God


Blogger vedanta said...

For Sloka 32:

Prostrations to all.

The Upanishads are called as Vedanta because of two reasons: (mentioning it again even though most of us know this) one is that they occur mostly at the end of the veda shaakas. Each of the four veda has different shaakaas. It is said in puranas that there are 1180 shaakaas in total most of which are extant today. Each of the shaaka has four parts in general - samhita portion which has prostrations or slokas speaking about Brahman through various forms, brahmana portion which explains different rituals and practices, aaranyaka portion where the import of the rituals, slokas and sadhanas are put forth clearly and finally upanishad portion where the ultimate reality of Brahman as such is propounded. Thus we find in the Talavakara Brahmana of Saama veda - the first 8 chapters are the chandogya upanishad where mostly sadhana, rituals etc. are propounded & the ninth chapter of Kena Upanishad where directly Brahman is propounded with a story and explanation.

Thus Upanishads are the last portion in a shaaka based on occurance as well as due to progressively leading a seeker to the ultimate truth.

The second reason for the word of Vedanta is that Upanishads is that portion of the Vedas where Veda itself ends. Here Veda doesn't mean scripture but knowledge. Veda's or knowledge's antha or end -- knowledge culminates in knowledge of Brahman. Thus we find in Mundaka Upanishad the disciple of Shaunaka (who was a householder) asking Sage Angiras thus "Kasmin u bhagavo vijnaathe sarvam idam vijnaatham bhavathi" - "O Lord! tell me that by knowing which everything is known". Angiras goes on to explain akshara brahman, creation etc. and then says that everywhere Brahman alone is there. It is interesting that to make it clear, Angiras doesn't just say that "everything is Brahman" but says "up is Brahman. bottom is brahman etc" -- such detailed explanation is really interesting and these are for those seekers who cannot believe when it is said that "everything is Brahman" and doubt where here everything denotes only antaraatman and not "everything". Angiras finally ends beautifully by telling that "sa yo ha vai tat paramam brahma veda brahmaiva bhavathi" - he who knows that ultimate Brahman verily becomes Brahman.

Even after being so clear, people object that here "paramam" or "ultimate" word itself shows duality as there are ultimate and non-ultimate Brahman -- as well as the word tells that it is not the non-dual Brahman which advaitins speak about.

This objection is wrong because here paramam only is meant to emphasize that Brahman is beyond everything and this is from the perspective of the ignorant seeker. Since the Upanishad already mentions previously that everything is Brahman, therefore there is no question of doubt here. But still if people object that way, whom to blame other than themselves????

As in Mundaka, Chandogya 8th chapter where Narada speaks to Sanatkumara and 6th chapter where Svetakethu is instructed by Uddalaka, we find mention about that which when known, everything becomes known.

Thus Vedanta is the knowledge of brahman, that by knowing which everything else becomes known.

As coming to the explanation of Brahman being the material cause of the world, this is propounded in the 6th chapter of Chandogya Upanishad where Uddalaka says to Svetakethu thus:

Yatha soumya ekena mrit pindena sarvam mrinmayam vijnaatham syaat - vachaarambhanam vikaaro naamadheyam mrittikethyeva satyam
O Dear! as by knowing a single piece of mud, all products made of mud are known (similar is the case with the world and Brahman) -- know that things made of name and form are mere creation of words & mud alone is real.

The above analogy says that name and form are mere illusions and what is present is only Brahman. Pot, wall etc. are mere names and forms of mud -- thus they are mud alone. The names and forms are mere illusions and not real. Similarly the world made of name and form is an illusion in the reality of Brahman. As mud is the material cause of pot, wall etc. and they are not different from the cause of mud, similarly the world filled with names and forms is nothing but Brahman alone as its material cause from the empirical view point.

Brahman being the material cause of the world is propounded in the second sutra of Brahma sutra as "Janmaadi asya yathah" - Brahman is that from which the world is created, stays and gets destroyed.

Any effect is not different from its material cause. In the case of Brahman and world, Brahman is the material cause only from empirical view point because material cause undergoes change whereas Brahman is without any change -- thus this upaadaana kaaranatva (material cause-hood) is only illusory and as long as world is accepted as real and existing.

It is worthwhile to point out here that Vishista advaita and Advaita accept Brahman as the upaadaana kaarana of the world whereas Madhva accepts Brahman as only the nimitta kaarana and not the upaadaana kaarana.

Sorry for the late reply to the mail.

PS: Detailed analysis of causation theory can be had from Satya Darshanam work.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

8:14 PM  

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