Sunday, September 14, 2014

AN UPANISHAD TEXT.

    Atmanam aranim kritva, pranavamcha uttararanim

    Gnana nirmathanabhyasath, pasam dahati pandithah.

    

IN our Tamil edition was appearing an excellent translation of Kaivalyopanishad by that great Tamil and Sanskrit scholar of Jaffna, Srimath Senthinathier, who is now staying in Benares. His commentary is a most valuable one, tracing as it does the passages in Kaivalyopanishad to other similar passages in various other Upanishads. This Upanishad is by some called a sectarian and a modern one. This we deny and we will take some other fuller opportunity to expound our views on the age of the Upanishads. At least this is older than the time of Sri Sankara who includes it among the Pancharudram which he has commented on. The Mantra,

Atmanam aranim kritva, pranavamcha uttararanim

    Gnana nirmathanabhyasath, pasam dahati pandithah.


 

following as it does Mantra 13 and 14, Part I. Swetaswatara Upanishad, and with Mantra 11 above would completely demolish the theory of that talented lady Mrs. Besant, that the Ishwara evolves and the sole purpose of his so evolving is that he make himself manifest from his unmanifest condition like butter from cream, fire from sticks &c. The passage as it occurs in her last beautiful Adyar lecture is as follows "As salt in the water, in which it is dissolved (Chandogya VI, 14) as fire in the wood before the fire sticks are rubbed together, as butter in the milk that is brought forth by churning, (Swetas I, 14 to 19) as cream in clarified butter (Ibid IV, 14) so is Brahman concealed as the Self of every creature" (Hinduism p. 16). No doubt the form in which she has quoted herself has misled her. The passages themselves are these (we quote from Mr. Mead's translation and from no other).

    "By knowledge of God, cessation of all bonds

    With sorrows perishing, birth and death's ceasing comes

    By contemplating him, with body left behind,

    All Lordship, Pure Passionless is He" – (Mantra 11).


 

    How is this knowledge of God to be obtained? The next verse says,

    "This is to be known as ever surely settled in the (self, soul); beyond this surely nought is knowable at all. When one hath dwelt upon what tastes, what is tasted, and what doth ordain, all hath been said. This is the three-fold Brahm (Sat, Chit and Ananda) (Mantra 12)." The unbelieving may ask, "how do you say God is concealed in our soul, body, we do not see it. No it is not there." The answer is given, illustrating it at the same time and explaining the mode of realization, in the next Mantra No. 13.

    "Just as the (outer) form of fire, withdrawn into its source, cannot be seen, yet there is no destruction of its subtle form, - once more indeed out of the upper and lower stick it can be drawn, - so both indeed (are to be found) by means of the word's power within the body."

    This is more fully explained in the next Mantra.

    "One's body taking for the lower stick and for the upper Om (the word), by meditation's friction well sustained, let me behold the God, there lurking, as it were."

    In the next Mantra, several similes are heaped together to illustrate the same subject.

    "As oil in seeds, butter in cream, water in springs, and in the fire sticks fire, so is that Self (Paramatma) found in the Self (Jivatma) – by Him who seeks for Him with truth and meditation – The Self pervading all, as butter milk pervades, in meditation and self-knowledge rooted, that Brahman, theme sublime of sacred teaching, of sacred teaching theme sublime."

    We will quote again Mantra 16 in part IV, relied on by Mrs. Besant, as well as the Mantra preceding it before we finish our comments.

    "Surely is He the guardian of all, in every creature hid; in whom the seers of Brahm, powers divine are (all) conjoined. Thus knowing Him, one cuts the bonds of death. Most rare, like as it were that essence rarer far then butter clarified, Him knowing (in his form) benign (Siva) in every creature hid, though one (yet) all embracing knowing Him God, from every bond one is free."

    Any one reading these verses together as we have read it, will fail not to see that the theory of Mrs. Besant gets no footing here at all. This simply explains the way of salvation of the bound Soul (Jivatma) and the nature of the Supreme. The bound Soul which cannot see the 'subtler than Shiva' (IV 14), by pursuing the Sadana herein indicated, namely the search after Him with all one's heart and with all one's soul in all love and in all truth, with the aid of the divine word, will surely behold the Supreme, hid in himself, not the Supreme as himself, and then his bonds will be cut-off, and the darkness will vanish as the Sun rises in one's horizon. Butter is butter whether it remains in the milk or separately. It itself gains little in one condition or other, but it makes a vast deal to the person who has to eat it. No sane man will think that it matters anything to the Supreme, whether he remains or unmanifest but it matters a great deal to his creatures who are wallowing in the murky darkness of sin and misery. There are those again who think Pasatchaya is alone that occurs in Moksha and that the freed Soul is in itself and with no knowledge or enjoyment of any sort. No doubt, the moment of Pasatchaya is also the moment when he recovers his own self (one of the two comprised in 'both',* of Mantra 13, the other being God) and at the same moment is the Divine Effulgence cast full on him, enveloping him on all sides and swallowing him up wholly. "I know the great Purusha, sun-like beyond darkness, Him and Him only knowing one crosseth over death; there is no other path at all to go." – (Mantra 8, Part III).

[* Mr. Mead absurdly supposes that both refers to the lower Brahm and higher Brahman, that the God of Mantra 14 is the lower Brahman or Ishwara, the 'Self" of Mantra 15 and 16 is the higher Brahman. Reading again these verses together could any discover any difference in the nature of Godhead in these Mantras?]

    Nothing can be clearer than this passage, as to the person seeking salvation, the object of the search, and the mode of attainment, and the only path of securing it. But is one's powers all sufficient? No. "Smaller than small, yet greater than great in the heart of this creature the Atma (G0d) doth repose. That, free from desire, He (creature) see, with his grief gone, the mighty Isa, by His Grace." (Mantra 20, Part III).

    These two mantras are reproduced in the famous verse No. 7 "House of God" in Tiruvachakam a valuable translation of which we printed in our August number.

    "Light of Truth that entering body and soul has melted

        all faults, and driven away the false darkness,

    "O Splendor that rises in my heart, as asking I melt."

    "This day in Thy mercy unto me, thou didst drive away the darkness

        and stand in my heart as the Rising Sun."


 

    And the let reader ponder well again on the whole verse 7. Every blind man's heart desire is to regain his eye sight (His own self-atma) but suppose he regained his eye sight will the darkness be removed, which formerly pressed on his eye. Not surely, unless the Glorious Sun (God) deigns to show to him in His Supreme Mercy (அவனருளாலே அவன்றாள் வணங்கி), And the Sun is of course of no use to the blind man so long as his blindness lasted. So he has to realize himself by இருவினையொப்பு (being balanced in pleasure and pain) and மலபரிபாகம் (Removal of his Egoism) and to realize His maker, till now hid in his heart. And people have asked and will ask always, whether there is pleasure from this passage from bondage to Freedom. And Saint Meikanda Deva asks us to consider the case of blind man passing from darkness to sudden Light. Will there be pleasure or not? Did it ever matter to the Sun, in any whit when it was hid from the blind man and now when it shines fully on his newly opened eyes?

    "It was Thyself Thou didst give and me Thou didst take.

    Beneficent Lord, who is the gainer?

    Endless bliss I have gained. What hast Thou gained from me?

    O Lord, that hast made my heart Thy temple, Siva,

        dweller in the great holy shrine,

    O Father, Sovereign, Thou hast made Thy abode in my body.

        For it I have nought to give it in return."*


 

[* Verse 10 of the song Thiruvachaka Hymn. "The House of God."]

    To remove all doubts that the Being to be sought after is not one's own self, the passage 'Atmanam Aranim Kritwa' refers to the self (Atma) itself as the lower piece of firewood. In the Swetaswatara, it was the body that was the lower piece in which case both, Soul and God could be realized, but generally the phrases, in my body, in my eye, in my heart, in my mind, and in my soul mean almost the same thing, including soul and all below it.

    Our Saint Appar puts in beautiful and unmistakable Tamil, the idea conveyed in these Upanishad Texts:-    

    விறகிற்றீயினன் பாலிற்படு நெய்போல்

    மறைய நின்றுளன் மாமணிச் சோதியான்

    உறவுகோல் நட்டுணர்வு கயிற்றினால்

    முறுக வாங்கிக் கடைய முன்னிற்குமே.


 

    (Like the fire latent in firewood and ghee in milk,

    Non-apparent is the Great Light

    With the churner of love and rope of knowledge

    One excites friction, He will become manifest before him.)