Thursday, February 11, 2016

Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.9 & 1.410; Brahmakandika Aham brahmasmi and Shankara Bhashya

Verse 1.4.9:
तदाहुः, यत् ‘ब्रह्मविद्यया सर्वम् भविष्यन्तः मनुष्या मन्यन्ते, किमु तद्ब्रह्मावेद्यस्मात्तत्सर्वमभवदिति ॥ ९ ॥
tadāhuḥ, yat ‘brahmavidyayā sarvam bhaviṣyantaḥ manuṣyā manyante, kimu tadbrahmāvedyasmāttatsarvamabhavaditi || 9 ||
9. They, say: Men think, Through the knowledge of Brahman we shall become all.[22] Well, what did that Brahman know by which It became all?
In the words, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (I. iv. 7), the knowledge of Brahman which it is the aim of the whole Upaniṣad to impart, has been briefly indicated. With a view to explaining this aphorism, the Śruti, in order to state the necessity of this knowledge, makes this introduction: They say. ‘Tat’ (that) is preparatory to what is going to be unfolded in the next clause. ‘They’ refers to- those seekers of Brahman who, on getting a teacher who is like a boat on that boundless ocean which has for its water the painful struggle due to rotation in the cycle of birth, decay and death, desire to cross that ocean, and being disgusted.with thejworld of means and ends consisting [Page 144] or righteousness and unrighteousness, their means and their results, long to attain the eternal, supreme good which is entirely different from the above. What do they say? This is being stated: Men think,‘Through the knowledge of Brahman or the Supreme Self we shall become all, excluding nothing.’ The use of the word ‘men’ indicates their special aptitude for this as they are specially qualified for the achievement of prosperity and liberation, This is the idea. As those seekers think with regard to rites that they would bring sure results, similarly they think that the knowledge of Brahman is sure to lead to identity with all, for the Vedas are equally the authority for both. Now this seems to be something inconsistent, hence we ask, what did that Brahman by knowing which men think they will become all,know by which It became all? And the Śrutis say that It is all. If It became all without knowing anything, let it be the same with others too, what is the use of the knowledge of Brahman? If, on the other hand, It became all by knowing something, then this identity with all which is the result of the knowledge of Brahman, being the product of knowledge, becomes just like the resuít of an action, and therefore transitory. There would also be a regressus in infinitum, viz. that too had become all by knowing something else, that earlier thing, again, by knowing something else, and so on. We take it for granted that It did not become all without knowing something, for that would be distorting the meaning of the scriptures. But the charge of the result being transitory stands, does it not?—No, none of those charges can be levelled at it, for there is a particular meaning to it.
[Page 145] If indeed that Brahman became(?) all by knowing something, we ask, what was it? T(?) is objection the text gives the following absolutely flawless(?) reply:

An assembly of Brahmanas - seekers of Brahman - got together. They had a doubt or a question "Some men manuṣyā manyante say that by brahmaviyda we can become everything; brahmavidyayā sarvam bhaviṣyantaḥ We see Brahman is everything. So if Brahman is everything then how does Brahman become everything - with or without knowledge. Then the look for problems with this.
If Brahman became everything without gaining knowledge then why cannot we become everything without gaining knowledge
If Brahman became everything by knowledge - of something else - like we become everything by knowledge of brahman - then the problem that something else will have to know something else to become everything.. and this will lead to infinite regress
If Brahman becomes everything by knowing itself - the problem is subject and object become one and the same and it is illogical - subject and object are ever different.

If it becomes anything it will become impermanent.
So question is How did brahman become everything.

Next sloka is Brahma-kandika -  a very very famous and important mantra.This is because it contains the most famous mahavakya aham brahmasmi.

Verse 1.4.10:
ब्रह्म वा इदमग्र आसीत्, तदात्मानमेवावेत्, अहम् ब्रह्मास्मीति । तस्मात्तत्सर्वमभवत्; तद्यो यो देवानाम् प्रत्यबुभ्यत स एव तदभवत्, तथार्षीणाम्, तथा मनुष्याणाम्; तद्धैतत्पश्यन्नृषिर्वामदेवः प्रतिपेदे, अहम् मनुरभवं सूर्यश्चेति । तदिदमप्येतर्हि य एवं वेद, अहम् ब्रह्मास्मीति, स इदं सर्वम् भवति, तस्य ह न देवाश्चनाभूत्या ईशते, आत्मा ह्येषां स भवति; अथ योऽन्यां देवतामुपास्ते, अन्योऽसावन्योऽहमस्मीति, न स वेद, यथा पशुरेवम् स देवानाम् । यथा ह वै बहवः पशवो मनुष्यम् भुञ्ज्युः, एवमेकैकः पुरुषो देवान् भुनक्ति; एकस्मिन्नेव पशावादीयमानेऽप्रियम् भवति, किंउ बहुषु? तस्मादेषाम् तन्न प्रियम् यदेतन्मनुष्याविद्युः ॥ १० ॥
brahma vā idamagra āsīt, tadātmānamevāvet, aham brahmāsmīti | tasmāttatsarvamabhavat; tadyo yo devānām pratyabubhyata sa eva tadabhavat, tathārṣīṇām, tathā manuṣyāṇām; taddhaitatpaśyannṛṣirvāmadevaḥ pratipede, aham manurabhavaṃ sūryaśceti | tadidamapyetarhi ya evaṃ veda, aham brahmāsmīti, sa idaṃ sarvam bhavati, tasya ha na devāścanābhūtyā īśate, ātmā hyeṣāṃ sa bhavati; atha yo'nyāṃ devatāmupāste, anyo'sāvanyo'hamasmīti, na sa veda, yathā paśurevam sa devānām | yathā ha vai bahavaḥ paśavo manuṣyam bhuñjyuḥ, evamekaikaḥ puruṣo devān bhunakti; ekasminneva paśāvādīyamāne'priyam bhavati, kiṃu bahuṣu? tasmādeṣām tanna priyam yadetanmanuṣyāvidyuḥ || 10 ||
10. This (self) was indeed brahman in the beginning. It knew only I(?) as. ‘I am Brahmaṇ.’ Therefore It became all. And whoever among the gods knew It all became That; and the same with sages and so on. The sage Vāmadeva, while realising this self) as That, knew, ‘I was Manu, and the s(?)’ And to this day whoever in like manner knows It as, ‘I am Brahman,’ becomes all this (?)verse). Even the gods cannot prevail against him, for he becomes their self. While who worships another god thinking, ‘He is one, and I am another,’ does not know. He is like an animal to the gods As many animals serve a man, so does each man serve the gods. Even if one animal is t(?)n away, it causes anguish, what should one; (?) of many animals? Therefore it is not liked by them that men should know this.
Prima facie view: Brahman here must be the conditioned Brahman,[23] for then only can the identity with all be t(?)roduct of effort. The Supreme Brahman cannot (?)me all as a result of knowledge. But this identity (?) all is spoken of as a result of knowledge: ‘There (?) It became all.’ Hence the Brahman referred to i(?) passage, ‘This was indeed Brahman in the beginn(?) must be the conditioned Brahman.
Or, since(?)n alone are qualified (for this identification with(?)the word ‘Brahman’ may refer to a future knowe(?) Brahman who will be identified with It. For in (?) passage, ‘Men think... we shall become all’ ((?). 9), men have been introduced, and it has alread(?)en said that they alone are specially qualified for (?) practice of the means of prosperity and liberatio(?)neither the Supreme Brahman nor Hiraṇyagarbha(?)he conditioned Brahman. Therefore by the word (?)ahman’ is meant a man who through the knowledge(?) the conditioned Brahman—identified with the who(?)niverse—combined with rites, attained identity with(?)e conditioned Brahman (Hiraṇyagarbha), and (?)ing away from all enjoyments (in that ! [Page 147] state) and having broken his ties of desire and action by attaining everything, sought unity with the Supreme Brahman through the knowledge of It. It is a common occurrence in the world that words are used having reference to future states, as in the sentence, ‘They are cooking rice,’[24] and in the scriptures too, ‘The monk,[25] after performing a sacrifice in which wishing fearlessness to all beings is his fee to the priests,’ etc. (Va. X.). Similarly here also Brahman means a man desiring to know Brahman and aspiring identity with It. This is the view of some.[26]
Reply: Not so, for that kind of identity with all would be open to the charge of transitoriness. There is no such thing in the world that really assumes a different state through some cause and still is eternal. Similarly, if identity with all be due to the knowledge of Brahman, it cannot at the same time be eternal. And if it be transitory, it would be, as we have already said, like the result of an action. But if by identity with all you mean the cessation, through the knowledge of Brahman, of that idea of not being all which is due to ignorance, then it would be futile to understand by the term ‘Brahman’ a man who will be Brahman. Even before knowing Brahman, everybody, being Brahman, is really always identical with all, but ignorance superimposes on him the idea that he is not Brahman and not all, as a mother-of-pearl is mistaken for silver, or as the sky is imagined to be concave, or [Page 148] blue, or the like. Similarly, if you think that here also the idea of not being Brahman and not being all that has been superimposed on Brahman by ignorance, is removed by the knowledge of Brahman, then, since the Vedas speak the truth, it is proper to say that what was really the Supreme Brahman is referred to in the sentence, ‘This was indeed Brahman in the beginning,’ for that is the primary meaning of the word ‘Brahman.’ But one must not think that the word 'Brahman' here means a man who will be Brahman, which would be contrary to the meaning of that term. For it is wrong to give up the plain meaning of a word used in the Śruti and put a new meaning in its place, unless there is a higher purpose behind it.
Objection: But the fact of not being Brahman and not being all exists apart from the creation of ignorance.
Reply: No, for then it cannot be removed by the knowledge of Brahman. This knowledge has never been observed either directly to remove some characteristic of a thing or to create one. But everywhere it is seen to remove ignorance. Similarly here also let the idea of not being Brahman and not being all that is due to ignorance, be removed by the knowledge of Brahman, but it can neither create nor put a stop to a real entity. Hence it is entirely futile to give up the plain meaning of a word used in the Śruti and put a new meaning in its place.
Objection: But is not ignorance out of place in Brahman?
Reply: [Page 149] Not so, for knowledge regarding Brahman has been enjoined. When there has been no superimposition of silver on a motheṛ-of-pearl, and it is directly visible, no one takes the trouble to say it is a mother-of-pearl, and not silver. Similarly, were there no superimposition of ignorance on Brahman, the knowledge of unity regarding Brahman would not be enjoined in such terms as the following: All this is Existence, All this is Brahman,[27] ‘All this is the Self' (Ch. VII. xxv. 2), and This duality has no existence apart from Brahman.[28]
Objection: We do not say that there is no superimposition on Brahman of attributes not belonging to It, as in the case of a mother-of-pearl, but 1hat Brahman is not the cause of the superimposition of these attributes on Itself, nor the author of ignorance.
Reply: Let it be so. Brahman is not the author of ignorance nor subject to error. But it is not admitted that there is any other conscious entity but Brahman which is the author of ignorance or subject tc error. Witness such Śruti texts as, ‘There is no ether knower but Him’ (III. vii. 23), ‘There is no other knower but This' (III. viii. 11), ‘Thou art That’ (Ch. VI. viii. 7), ‘It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman”’ (this text), and ‘He (who worships another god thinking), “He is one, and I am another,” does not know’ (Ibid.). And the Smṛtis: ‘(Living) the same in all beings’ (G. XIII. 27), ‘I am the self, O Arjuna (dwelling in the minds of all beings)’ (G. X. 20), [Page 150] and ‘(Wise men are even-minded) to a dog as well as a Caṇḍāla’ (G. V. 18). And the Vedic Mantras: ‘He who (sees) all beings (in himself)’ (Iś. 6), and ‘When all beings (have become his self)’ (Iś. 7).
Objection: In that case scriptural instruction is useless.
Reply: Quite so, let it be, when the truth has been known.
Objection: But it is also useless to know the truth.
Reply: No, for we see it removes ignorance.
Objection: If there is unity, this removal of ignorance also is impossible.
Reply: Not so, for it contradicts experience.
We actually see that the knowledge of unity alone dispels ignorance. If you deny an observed fact, saying it is impossible, you would be contradicting experience, a thing which nobody will allow. Nor is there any question of impossibility with regard to an observed fact, because it has actually been observed.
Objection: But this observation also is impossible.
Reply: There also the same logic will apply.
Objection: ‘One indeed becomes good through good work’ (III. ii. 13), ‘It is followed by knowledge, work’ (IV. iv. 2), ‘The individual self, the Puruṣa, is a thinker, knower and doer’ (Pr. IV. 9)—from such Śruti and Smṛti texts as well as from reason we know that there is a transmigrating self other than and distract from the Supreme Self. And the latter is known to be distinct from the former from such Śruti texts [Page 151] as the following: ‘This (self) is That which has been described as “Not this, not this,”’ (III. iv. 26), ‘It transcends hunger etc.,’[29] ‘The Self that is sinless, undecaying, deathless’ (Ch. VIII. vii. 13), and ‘Under the mighty rule of this Immutable’ (III. viii. 9). Again, in the systems of logic (Vaiśeṣika and Nyāya) advocated by Kaṇāda and Gautama, the existence of a God distinct from the transmigrating self is established through argument. That the latter is different from God is clearly seen from its activity due to its desire to get rid of the misery of relative existence. Also from such Śruti and Smṛti texts as: ‘It is without speech and without zeal’ (Ch. III. xiv. 2), and T have no duties, O Arjuna’ (G. III. 32). And from the distinct mention of God as the object of search and the individual self as the seeker, in such (Śruti) passages as: ‘That is to be sought, and That one should desire to realise’ (Ch. VIII. vii. 1, 3), ‘Knowing It one is not touched (by evil action)’ (IV. iv. 23), ‘The knower of Brahman attains the highest’ (Tai. II. i. 1), ‘It should be realised in one form only’ (IV. iv. 20), ‘He, O Gārgī, who without knowing this Immutable’ (III. viii. 10), ‘Knowing It alone the sage’ (IV. iv. 21), and ‘The syllable Om is called the bow, the individual self the arrow, and Brahman the target' (Mu. II. ii. 4). Another reason for the difference is the mention of a journey, particular routes and a destination for a seeker of liberation. If there is no difference, who should make the- journey and how, and in the absence of this, two particular routes, viz. the southern and northern, are meaningless, and the destination as [Page 152] well. But if the individual self is different from the Supreme Self, all this would be consistent. Also they must be different because the scriptures prescribe the two means, viz. rites and knowledge. If the individual self is different from Brahman, the teaching of rites and knowledge as means to prosperity and liberation respectively may aptly apply to it, but not to God, for the objects of His desire are eternally attained. Therefore it is proper to understand the word ‘Brahman’ in the sense of a man aspiring to be Brahman.
Reply: No, for then instruction about Brahman would be useless. If a man subject to transmigration and only aspiring to be identified with Brahman became all by knowing himself to be Brahman, although he was not It, then instruction about the Supreme Brahman is certainly useless, for he attained identity with all as a result of knowing only the transmigrating self, and the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman is never utilised[30] for attaining human ends.
Objection: The instruction is only meant for the man subject to transmigration, so that he may practise the meditation based on resemblance[31] with regard to Brahman as, ‘I am Brahman.’ For if he does not fully know the nature of Brahman, with what can be identify himself in fancy as, ‘I am Brahman’? This [Page 153] meditation based on resemblance is possible only when the characteristics of Brahman are fully known.
Reply: Not so, for we know that the words ‘Brahman’ and ‘self’ are synonymous, being used thousands of times in co-ordination in such texts as the following: ‘This self is Brahman’ (II. v. 19), ‘The Brahman that is immediate and direct’ (III. iv. 1-2; III. v. 1), The Self (that is sinless)’ (Ch. VIII. vii. i, 3), ‘It is truth, It is the Self’ (Ch. VI. viii. 7 etc.) and ‘The knower of Brahman attains the highest’ (Tai. II. i. 1), these last introductory words (to Tai. II.) being shortly after followed by the words, ‘From this Self,’ etc. (Ibid.). The meditation based on resemblance is performed when the two things concerned are different, not when they are identical. And the sentence, ‘This all is the Self’ (ii. iv. 6). shows the unity of the Self under consideration that is to be realised. Therefore the Self cannot be regarded as Brahman through the meditation based on resemblance.
Nor do we see any other necessity for instruction about Brahman, for, the Śruti méntions identification with It in the passages, ‘(He who) knows (that Supreme) Brahman becomes Brahman' (III. ii. 9), 'You have attained That which is free from fear, O Janaka’ (IV. ii. 4), and ‘He... becomes the fearless Brahman' (IV. iv. 25). If the meditation based on resemblance were meant, this identity would not take place, for one thing cannot become another.
Objection: On the strength of scriptural statements, even the meditation based on resemblance may lead to identity.
Reply: [Page 154] No, for this meditation is only an idea. And knowledge, as we have said, only removes the false notion, it does not create anything. Nor can a scriptural statement impart any power to a thing. For it is an accepted principle that the scriptures are only informative, not creative.[32] Besides, in the passage, ‘This Self has entered into these bodies,’ etc. (I. iv. 7), it is clear that the Supreme Self alone has entered. Therefore the view that the word ‘Brahman’ means a man who will be Brahman, is not a sound one. Another reason is that it contradicts the intended' meaning. The desired import of this whole Upaniṣad is the knowledge that Brahman is without interior or exterior and homogeneous like a lump of salt, as is known from the assertion made at the end of both Madhu and Muni Kāṇḍas,[33] ‘This is the teaching’ (II. v. 19), and ‘This much indeed is (the means of) immortality, my dear’ (IV. v. 15). Similarly, in the Upaniṣads of all recensions the knowledge of the unity of Brahman (self) is the certain import. If, therefore, the passage in question is interpreted to mean that the transmigrating self, which is different from Brahman, knew itself, the desired meaning of the Upaniṣads would be contradicted. And in that case the scripture, having its beginning and end not tallying with each other, would be considered inconsistent. Moreover, the name would be out of place. In other words, if in the passage, ‘It knew only Itself,’ the word ‘It’ is supposed to refer to [Page 155] the transmigrating self, the name given to the knowledge would not be ‘the knowledge of Brahman’ for then, ‘It knew only Itself,’ should mean that the transmigrating self was the entity that was known.
Objection: Suppose we say that the word ‘Self’ iefers to an entity other than the knower.[34]
Reply: Not so, for there is the specification, ‘I am Brahman,’ If the entity known weie other than the knower, the specification should be, ‘It is Brahman,’ or ‘That is Brahman,’ and not T am Brahman.’ But since it is, ‘I am Brahman,’ and there is the assertion, ‘It knew only Itself,’ we know it for certain that the self is Brahman. And then only the name ‘the knowledge of Brahman’ would be appropriate, not otherwise. In the other case it would be ‘the knowledge of the transmigrating self.’ Nor can the same entity really be both Brahman and not Brahman, just as the sun cannot be both bright and dark, for these are contradictory features. And if both were the cause of the name, there should not be the sure appellation 'the knowledge of Brahman.’ It should then be ‘the knowledge of Brahman and of the transmigrating self.’ Nor in proceeding to expound the knowledge of Truth should one present the reality as an absurdity, like a woman, for instance, being one-half old and one-half young. That will only cause doubt in the mind of the listener. Whereas it is sure knowledge that is regarded as leading to liberation, the goal of human life, as is evidenced by the following Śruti and Smṛti [Page 156] texts: ‘He who really has (the conviction that he will attain the conditioned Brahman after, death) and has no doubt about it (does attain him)’ (Ch. III..xiv. 4), and ‘The doubting man perishes’ (G. IV. 40). Hence one who wishes to do good to others should not use expressions of a doubtful import.
Objection: To think that Brahman, like us, is a seeker of liberation, is not proper, and that is what we see in the passage, ‘It knew only Itself.... Therefore It became all.’
Reply: Not so, for by saying this you will be flouting the scriptures.. It is not our idea, but that of the scriptures Hence your fling hits them. And you who wish to please Brahman should not give up tfie real  meaning of the scriptures by fancying things contrary to it. Nor should you lose your patience over this much only, for all plurality is but imagined in Brahman, as we know from hundreds of texts like the following: ‘It should be realised in one form only' (IV. iv. 20), ‘There is no difference whatsoever in Brahman’ (IV. iv. 19; Ka. IV..11), ‘When there is duality, as it were’ (II. iv. 14; IV. v. 15), and ‘One only without a second’ (Ch. VI. ii. 1). Since the whole phenomenal world is imagined in Brahman alone and is not real, you say very little when you condemn this particular idea as improper.
Therefore the conclusion is that the word ‘Brahman’ refers to that Brahman which projected the universe and entered into it.
This, the Brahman (self) that is perceived as being in this body, was indeed—this word is emphatic—[Page 157] Brahman, and all, in the beginning, even before realisation. But owing to ignorance it superimposes on itself the notion that it is not Brahman, and that it is not all, and consequently thinks, through mistake, that it is an agent, possessed of activity, the experiencer of its fruits, happy or miserable, and transmigrating. But . really it is Brahman different from all the foregoing and is a 11. Being somehow awakened by a merciful teacher who told it that it was not subject to transmigration, ‘It knew only Itself ,’ its own natural Self, that is, which is free from differentiations superimposed by ignorance. This is the meaning of the particle ‘eva’ (only).
Objection: Tell me, what is that natural Self which Brahman knew?
Reply: Do you not remember the Self? It has been pointed out as the one that entering into these bodies does the function of the Prāṇa, Apāna, Vyāna, Udāna and Samāna.[35]
Objection: You are describing It as one would describe a cow or a horse by simply saying, ‘It is a cow,’ or ‘It is a horse.’ You do not show the Self directly.
Reply: Well then, the Self is the seer, hearer, thinker and knower.
Objection: Here also you do not directly point out the nature of that which does the functions of seeing etc. Going is surely not the nature of one who goes, nor editing that of a cutter.
Reply: In that case the Self is the seer of sight, [Page 158] the. hearer of hearing, the thinker of thought and the knower of knowledge.
Objection: But what difference does it make in the seer? Whether it be the seer of sight or of a jar, it is but the seer under all circumstances. By saying ‘The seer of sight’ you are simply stating a difference as regards the object seen. But the seer, whether it be the seer of sight or of a jar, is just the same.
Reply: No, for there is a difference, and it is this: If that which is the seer of sight is identical with that sight, it always visualises the latter, and there is never a time when sight is not visualised by the seer. So the vision of the seer must be eternal. If it were transitory, then sight, which is the object visualised, may sometimes not be seen, as a jar, for instance, may not always be perceived by the transitory vision. But the seer of sight never ceases to visualise sight like that.
Objection: Has the seer then two kinds of vision, one eternal and invisible, and the other transitory and visible?
Reply: Yes. The transitoty vision is familiar to us, for we see some people are blind, and others are not. If the eternal vision were the only one in existence, all people would, be possessed of vision. But the vision of the seer is an eternal one, for the Śruti says, ‘The vision of the witness can never be lost’ (IV. iii. 23). From inference also we know this. For we find even a blind man has vision consisting of the impressions of a jar. etc. in dreams. This shows that the vision of the seer is not lost with the loss of the other [Page 159] kind of vision. Through that unfailing eternal vision, which is identical with It and is called the self-effulgent light, the Self always sees the other, transitory vision in the dream and waking states, as idea and perception respectively, and becomes the seer of sight. Such being the case, the vision itself is Its nature, like the heat of fire, and there is no other conscious (or unconscious) seer over and above the vision, as the Vaiśeṣikas maintain.
It, Brahman, knew only Itself, the eternal vision, devoid of the transitory vision etc. superimposed on It.
Objection: But knowing the knower is self-contradictory, for the Śruti says, ‘One should not try to know the knower of knowledge’ (III. iv. 2).
Reply: No, this sort of knowledge involves no contradiction. The Self is indeed known Ihus, as ‘the seer of sight.’ Also it does not depend on any other knowledge. He who knows that the vision of the seer is eternal, does not wish to see It in any other way. This wish to see the seer automatically stops because of its very impossibility, for nobody hankers after a thing that does not exist. And that sight which is itself an object of vision does not dare to visualise the seer, in which case one might wish to do it. Nor does anybody want to see himself. Therefore the sentence, ‘It knew only Itself,’ only means the cessation of the superimposition of ignorance, and not the actual cognising of the Self as an object.
How did It know Itself? As ‘I am Brahman, the Self that is the seer of sight.’ ‘Brahman’ is That which is immediate and direct, the Self that is within all, beyond hunger and the like, described as ‘Not this,[Page 160] not this,’ neither gross nor subtle, and so on. ‘I am, as you[36] said, That and no other, not the transmigrating self.’ Therefore, from knowing thus, It, Brahman, became all. Since by the cessation of the superimposed notion of not being Brahman, its effect, the notion of not being all, was also gone, therefore It became all. Hence men are justified in thinking that through the knowledge of Brahman they would become all. The question, ‘Well, what did that Brahman know by which It became all?’ has been answered: ‘This was indeed Brahman in the beginning. It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman.” Therefore It became all.’
And whoever among the gods knew It, the Self, in the manner described above, that awakened self also became That, Brahman. And the same with sages and men. The words ‘gods’ etc. are used froin the conventional point of view, not from that of the vision of Brahman. We have already said that it is Brahman which has entered everywhere, as set forth in the passage, ‘That Supreme Being first entered the bodies’ (II. v. 18). Hence the words ‘gods’ etc. are used from the conventional standpoint determined by the limiting adjuncts such as the body. Really it was Brahman which was in those divine and other bodies even before realisation, being only looked upon as something else. It knew only Itself and thereby became all.
To strengthen the import of the passage that this knowledge of Brahman leads to identity with all, the Śruti quotes some Mantras. How? The sage Called [Page 161] Vāmadeva, while realising this, his own self, as identical with That, Brahman, knew, from this realisation of Brahman, i.e. in that state of realisation of the ideṅtity of the self and Brahman, visualised these Mantras, ‘I was Manu, and the sun,’ etc. (Ṛ. IV. xxvi. i). The expression, ‘While realising this (self) as That’—Brahman—refers to the knowledge of Brahman. And the words, ‘I was Manu, and the sun/ refer to its result, identity with all. By the use of the form,[37] ‘While realising’ It he attained this result, viz. identity with all, the Śruti shows that liberation is attainable through the aid of the knowledge of Brahman, as in the expression, ‘While eating he is getting satisfaction.’ Someone may think that the gods, who are great, attained this identity with all through the knowledge of Brahman because of their extraordinary power, but those of this age, particularly men, can never attain it owing to their limited power. In order to remove this notion the text says: And to this day whoever, curbing his interest in external things, in like manner knows It, the Brahman under consideration which has entered into all beings and is indicated by the functions of seeing etc., i.e. his own Self, as, ‘I am Brahman,’ which is untouched by the attributes of the phenomenal universe, is without interior or exterior and absolute, by discarding the differences superimposed by the false notion created by limiting adjuncts, becomes all this, owing to his notion of incompleteness—the effect of ignorance—being removed by the knowledge of Brahman. For there is no difference [Page 162] as regards Brahman or the knowledge of It between giants like Vāmadeva and the human weaklings of to-day. But, one may suppose, the result of the knowledge of Brahman may be uncertain in the case of the present generation. This is answered as follows: Even the gods, powerful as they may be, cannot prevail against him, the man who has known Brahman in the manner described above—have not the capacity to stop his becoming Brahman and all, much less others.
 The gist of the brahmakandika
Brahman becomes everything by knowing itself.
Brahman alone is jivatma during ajnana avastha and hence when jivatma gains knowledge who is gaining knowledge  - brahman alone is gaining knowledge.

Who is ajnani jiva? Brahma Who is samsari? Brahman
Brahma eva avidya samsarati
Brahma eva avidya avasthayam samsari jivatma ityuchyate; shishyo bhavati; shravanam karoti; tad brahmaiva upadeshat shrnoti tasmat brhamiva janaati aham bramasmi iti; jnana avasthayam tad brahmaiva sarvam abhavat. That Brahman alone is a samsari, becomes a student when he finds a Guru, does shravanam and thus Brahman alone gains the knowledge aham brahmasmi and with this knowledge Brahman alone then becomes all

One and the same Brahman is called jiva during ajnana avastha and as Brahman during jnana avastha.

Upanishad talks about ajnana avastha and so assumes we are all now jnanis. Assuming this condition we read this mantra and only then it makes sense...
Agre - in the past - referring to ajnana avastha, Brahma alone was here Idam. Idam jeevatma avastha. chaitanyam in mind as sakshi obtaining in shareeram given name kshetrajna - this is the idam that was brahma alone.
Now after idam - tat - that jivatma brahman atmanam aved came to know itself And with this knowledge sarvam abhavat that Brahman Itself became everything
During ignornace Brahman was everything
Because of ignorance sarvatvam was not known and in its place asarvatvam was there. Asaravatvam was limitation and this superimposed limitation goes away with knowledge and leads to sarvatvam.

Here Shankara enters into a debate with Bhrtrprapancha who had written a commentary on this mantra.

Here Bhrtrprapancha idam refers to jivatma who is samsari and ignorant and this jivatma is going to become Brahman later after he gets knowledge. Since he is going to become Brahman later now itself Upanishad calls him Brahman.   
This jivatma as a result of aham brahmasmi knowledge attains sarvatma bhava and becomes Brahman. 

This is Bhrtrprapanchas view
He supports this with reasons
Jivatma during ignorance is different from Brahman as Shruti clearly says he "became" brahman.
Shruti also described Brahman and clearly differentiates by saying all virtues satykakama satyasankalpa sarvavyapi sarvaniyanta etc
And jivatma is clearly a samsari - alpajnah;  carried here and there because of power of karma. So he has to become paramatma only later
Scirptures also say Paramatma is something to be attained sa anveshTavyah, sa vijnjAsitavyah – ChAndogya. 8.7.1 He is to be searched for; so if jivatma has to search for Paramatma he has to be necessarily  be different
Third reason he gives- all philosophers agree that Paramatma is different from Jivatma. In tarka sangraha atma is of two types - one is Jivatma and Paramatma. In yogasutra Ishwara is described as different from jiva.
Fourth - anubhava or experience also shows that jivatma is a samsari because he experiences sorrow etc.

So Shankara has to refute these four main arguments.

First he takes the sentence tadātmānamevāvet aham brahmāsmīti tasmāttatsarvamabhavat
which means Atma knew itself and he points out that as per Bhrtrprapancha if this is taken to be separate jivatma then it means Jivatma knew itself as jivatma before. That means after knowing "I am jivatma" he gets sarvam. Shankra questions how can you call this brahmavidya? If jivatma jnana alone is required for sarvam then what need is there to know Paramatma. Discussion on Brahman becomes redundant. Brahmavidya upadesha vyatya.
If BP argues the 1st brahman refers to jivatma. the 2nd brahman i.e. aham brahmasmi.. refers to Paramatma. Now Brahmavidya becomes relevant, is it not? Hence as a result of jivatma of knowing aham brahmasmi becomes sarvam
Shankara counters saying - aham brahmasmi knowledge comes to jivatma. that means aham jivatma paramatma asmi. Now if jivatma is different from paramatma then can he ever say aham brahmasmi? It will be bhranti jnanam
BP further counters. Ok I accept that it is wrong knowledge. Even though it is wrong it is willingly entertained as a upasana. Every upasana is based on erroneous idea. Nonfactual idea. When I look upon saligrama as Vishnu it is erroneous idea - saligrama is jadam Vishnu is chetanam. Prayer goes not to stone but goes to Vishnu. But still we do the upasana we invoke or imagine Vishnu in saligrama. Every upasana is nonfactual Every error is nonfactual
When it is born of ignorance it is bhranti or error
When it is done knowingly it is upasana.
BP here says we should willingly imagine or visualize or imagine that. Then law tam yatha upasate tad bhavati what one upasana does he becomes that.
Shankara says upasana can never lead to limitless Brahman. This law can only apply to limited objects parichinna vastu.
Thus the only correct interpretation is that during ignorance also jivatma is Paramatma only but there is a superimposition of limitation abrahmabhava adhyasa 
Veda differentiates jivatma and paramatma due to seeming difference based on adhyasa.
And solution for this erroneous imagination is knowledge - with knowledge the imaginary or erroneous notion that i am not brahman goes away abrahma abhava adhyasa nivrtti.
Now BP comes back with a bigger objection.
He points out this interpret also has a problem

You say Brahman alone is there. Brahman alone was there in the beginning. That Brahman knew itself. When you say Brahman knew itself there are problems
One Brahman becomes associated with ignorance.

When a I know a tree. Tree is object. And I am the subject. Tree knowledge is located in me - jnanasya ashrayah. Object tree is jnanasta vishayah.
You can extend the same for ajnanam. When I am ignorant of a mango then also there is similarly vishayah and ashrayah.
Brahman knew itself - That means before this knowlege there must be ignorance. In this knowledge what is the object itself i.e. Brahman and subject is also Brahman. Also means when brahman was ignorant of itself before this knowledge, subject or ashrayah is Brahman and vishayah is also Brahman. Brahman ajnanasya ashraya and ajnanasya vishayah. How can Brahman be the object of ignorance it being svayam jyoti prakasah svatsiddhah - or more simply how can there be ignornace in Brahman and of Brahman. There are elaborate discussions elsewhere based on logic but here Shankara does not go to logic because BP is a astika and so he uses the Upanishad itself

How can Brahman be object of ignorance? Shankara says Veda says everyone should know Brahman and Brahman knowledge gives Moksha.Brahmavit apnoti param. (Taitt) Brahmveda Brahmaiva bhavati (Mundaka). If Shruti asks a person to know Brahman that means according to Shruti Brahman is a object of ignorance. The fact that Shruti wants to give knowledge of Brahman then by arthapati Brahman ignorance has to be a fact. Now what about locus?
Here also Shankra bases his argument on Shruti. Ajnana can only be in a chetana vastu. Only a conscious being can be ignorant or knowledgeable. Inert matter can never have ignorance. There is only one Chetana vastu sAkshi chetaH kevalo nirguNascha (Shvet Up), there is no other chetana vastu other than Brahman. So Brahman alone can be the ashraya of ignorance. That Brahman alone superimposed abrahmatvam seemingly and poornatvam seems to come with knowledge.

Lastly now BP raises another objection - kartr karma virodhah. subject object contradiction.
No process can have identical subject and object
Even atma anatma drg drysa viveka is based on this law alone. Subject can never be object.
Then how can Brahman know itself - how can Brahman be both object and subject.
Sankara says - Brahman can never know itself.

Therefore Brahman knows itself - means knows has to be "knows" - this knowing is not regular knowing which involves objectification or involves phala vyapti. Here knowing only means removal of false superimposition. Anatma tad dharma adhyaropa nivrtti eva atma jnanam
Brahman is ever evident as aham I . No mental process is required . no mental experience is required. Pratibodha viditam matam. Shruti negates the limitation. There is no subject object contradiction. And Shankara says his interpretation alone is in keeping with shruti yukti anubhava

With this mahavakya bhashyam is over. And this discussion can be connected with 9th mantra. How does Brahman become all. That question also is answered. Brahman "knows" itself and "becomes" everything.


तद्यो यो देवानाम् प्रत्यबुभ्यत स एव तदभवत्, तथार्षीणाम्, तथा मनुष्याणाम्; तद्धैतत्पश्यन्नृषिर्वामदेवः प्रतिपेदे, अहम् मनुरभवं सूर्यश्चेति । तदिदमप्येतर्हि य एवं वेद, अहम् ब्रह्मास्मीति, स इदं सर्वम् भवति, तस्य ह न देवाश्चनाभूत्या ईशते, आत्मा ह्येषां स भवति; 

In sarvatmabhava jnana - I am everything - and nothing is different from me and thus bheda buddhi is destroyed - notion of difference is destroyed. When the idea of difference or division is gone then samsara is also gone udaram antaram kurute (Taitt Up)

For doing Karmas many restrictions are mentioned - as karmas are based on varna and ashram. Benefit will accrue only if karma is appropriate for that varna
Jnana is not dependent on varna or ashrama. Whoever desires jnana can get it. Jnana is based on atma which is same in all. Karma is based on anatma. From atma standpoint atma is ever akarta. Anyone who desires knowledge and who has qualification to get this knowledge can get this knowledge. Even devas - who don't have right to karma and phala - have right to knowledge. 
Among the devas whoever yo yo gains this knowledge he becomes Brahman he becomes everything. He alone eva can get Moksha. Also similarly for Rishis and men. Upanisad now quotes a arthavada mantra to support this idea. Vamadeva Rshi knew this and having gained that knowledge declared - I am Manu, I am the Sun, I am everything. Upanisad here shows there's thus a precedence. Even devas cannot stop the liberation.
Moment a person gets knowledge liberation is definite.

Here Shankara takes up a small discussion.
Liberation is definite for a jnani - devas cannot obstruct.
If at all they want to obstruct they can obstruct the gain of knowledge.
They cannot obstruct moksha once jnana is obtained. There is no time gap between jnana and moksha.
After jnana if there is a gap or process involved in Moksha then only it is possible for Devas can interfere - but since jnanam eva moksha na tu jnanat moksha... jnana itself is liberation and moksha is at the very moment of rise of knowledge. 
Many philosophies do not accept moksha while living. Vishishta-advaita never accepts jivanmukti, Other philosophers have a gap between sadhana and moksha. 
Shankara answers them by looking at the Upanishad itself -Seeing Brahman as Himself Vamadeva attained sarvatmabhava or MOksha...तद्धैतत्पश्यन्नृषिर्वामदेवः प्रतिपेदे, ...
.Here pashyan seeing (or knowing) is present participle. such as "Sitting we listen" sitting is present participle and there are two actions. According to grammar when present participle is used it means the sitting action and listening action are simultaneous. So from this sentence we understand knowing is present participle and attainment of sarvatmabhava is the main verb and knowing and attainment have to be simultaneous. If there is a time gap the Upanishad would have said "having known". Thus based on grammatical analysis indicates simultaneity.No one can stop moksha after jnanam. For gaining knowledge there can be numerous obstacles to shravanam manananm and nidhidhyasanam. So devas cant obstruct jnani - this is the first reason.
A second reason is given by the Upanishad. After jnanam the jnani becomes the atma of all. Jnani has become one with the devas also. Harming a jnani means harming themselves. ātmā hyeṣāṃ sa bhavati; . 

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