Sunday, March 22, 2009

Katha Upanishad: Shankara bhashya; Chapter 1 Valli 3 Mantra 11

Mantra 11

Mahatah param avyaktam avyaktaat purushah parah
Purushanna param kincit saa paraa gatih

Sarva karya shaktir …avyakta…paramatma..
The Up wants to point out in these three mantras that when moksha is the destination the travel of the seeker is only a intellectual inward travel gradually shifting the abhimana from the outer anatama to the inner kosha – and then finally from anatma to atma.
It is an intellectual job of disidentifying from the previous anatma and claiming the next one as myself. This panchakosha viveka is presented in 2 mantras – initially at the vyashti level – indriya manaha buddhi etc and then the Up switches from vyasthi to samashti when it comes to vijnanamaya kosha when it comes to Hiranyagarbha. Why does the Up do this shifting? Because if that is not done there will be a problem – when the atma is revealed as the inner essence of only the vyashti panchakosha a person may include we will end up in atma bahutvam exactly like sankhya philosophy. Atma the purusha cannot be plural. To avoid the plurality of Sankhya the Up quietly switches form micro-intellect to macro-intellect so that when you come to the adhistanam you will get only one adhistanam which is the support of the entire Cosmos. Hence in 11th mantra mahataparam avyaktam – from macrointellect or macro vijnanamaya you go to macroanandamayaha – it is also called samashti anadamayaha or samashti karana-shareeram. This samashti anandamaya kosha alone is called avyaktam in this mantra (syn: maya or prakrti or mula avidya) Shankaracharya defines avyakta here and it is very important to note as it is very very important – maya description is as important as brahman description. And it is rare so we should pay close attention.
Difference between sankhya and Vedanta avyaktam – Br. Sutra 1.4.1-1.4.7 this is elaborated in detail – for sankhya avyaktam is basic matter which is independent of brahman, but for Vedanta the prakrti is resting on and dependent on Brahman. Paramatmani samashritam – is resting on and supported by brahman – brota prota bhavena with paramatma being the warp and woof of maya. Here an example vatavrksha shakti…..
Just as the potential power of producing a tree is very much in the seed of the tree. Why potential? Because it is unseen - only after seeing the tree I infer that this generating power must be present in the seed in unmanifest form – similarly Maya is the capacity to jagatvrksha shakti – and this Maya is resting in Paramatma the upadana karanam.
This example – the seed and the potential power have the same order of reality. But Brahman and Maya do not belong to the same ordfer of reality. Maya cannot be said to be a part of nor a product of nor a property of Brahman. Maya is adhyastam on Brahman – it is of a lesser order of reality. Maya is a seeming or apparent power of Brahman.
Tasmat avyaktat parasukmatarah sarvakaranakaranatvat prtyagatma tvaccha mahamscha ataeva purusha sarvapooranat
Now we go to the 2nd quarter Compared to that avyaktam called Maya (the most rudimentary or fundamental form of matter) Purusha is greater parah. Purusha is atma. Superior because it is subtler, it is more inner, and it is more pervasive or extensive. Sarvakaranakaranatvat – Atma is the cause of the cause! Sarvakaranam refers to Maya – Maya is the cause of the entire material Universe. Brahman is sarvakaranakaranam – it is the cause of that Maya as well. Now there may be a problem – doesn’t this contradict that Maya is not a product of Brahman – hence it has to be understood that here karanam refers to adhistanam. Just as karanam support karyam similarly adhistanam supports maya so it is said to be karanam only figuratively.
Purusha – so called because it is sarvapuranat. Pususha fiils up both maya and the mayakaryam the prapancha/Universe – how? by lending existence. The “is”ness is Brahman. Sat rupena chid rupena Ananda rupena brahmaeva sarvam purayati iti purushah.
Tatonyasya parasya prasangam nivaranaha purushanna param kinchit iti
Now the 3rd qtr of the mantra. At every stage of the journey the Up has been saying greater than, greater than etc Because the expectation or curiosity (prasangam) of the next or higher level may be there – the Up wants to negate this possibility of a superior entity other than the Atma. Therefore there is nothing superior(subtler, more inner, and extensive) to Purusha. And when I say it is closest to me, it means it is Me. I am the adhistanam of the Creation the consciousness principle on which the sublte and gross matter are resting. We have to switch over from triangular format to binary format.
Yasmat nasti purusha chinmatra ghanat paramkincit api tvatanatram tasmat sukshmatmahatva prthyagatmatvana sakashta nishta paryavasanam
Now 4th qtr of the mantra is taken up. Yasmat – because of what is said in 3rd qtr – i.e. there is nothing superior to Purusha – chinmatraghanat – which is nothing but pure homogenous mass of consciousness – sajaatiya vijaateya bhedarahitam – with no internal or external divisions. Kincit ai tvatantaram nasti – there is no second or other entity. We have reached the destination – with atma the journey is ever. You travel all over only to find in ourselves. Only real peace is myself. Journey starting from me should end in me.
Tasmat sukshmatva – the journey of subtlety, mahatva the journey of expansion and prthyagatma – the journey of inwardness sakashta – has got the culmination/zenith – paryavasanam in Atma.
Now AS adds a note
Atre indriyebhyah aarabhyah sukshmatadiparisamapti ata eva cha gantrnam samsarinam sarvagatimatam samsAri yatgatva nivartante iti smrte
In this Atma that is I alone parisamatpihi – culmination of the three characteristics beginning with subtlety, which started with the sense organs – indriyebhyah aarabhyah
Ata eva because of that for all the samsAri travelers’ gantrnam samsarinam who is associated with many types of margas shuklagati, etc sarvagatimatam once they arrive at the Atma they have reached the ultimate destination paragati there is no return to samsara marga (BG 8:21, and 15:6)
With this panchakosha viveka topic is over
Avyaktam mahatah param (bhavati). Purushah avyaktat parah (bhavati). Purushat parah kinchit na (asti). Sa kashta (bhavati). Sa parAgatih (bhavati).

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