Kaivalya Upanishad, Class 2


Swamiji continued with his introductory talk. He talked about necessity of self-inquiry. Our idea of our selves and vision of scriptures about us are different. I feel “I am full of defects”. I am searching to free myself of these defects. Scriptures say, “You are free of Doshas.” There is a contradiction between what I am and what scriptures say.

The instrument to know this knowledge (via self enquiry) is known as Pramanam. There are five types of Pramanam’s also known as Pancha Pramanani. All these are Paurusheya Pramanani or human instruments.

The Pancha Pramanani are:

pratyaksha = direct perception or cognition

anumana = inference, reasoning, deduction

agamah = authority, testimony, validation, competent evidence

pramanani = valid means of knowing, proofs, sources of correct knowing

viparyaya = Incorrect knowledge or illusion. Perceiving a thing as being other than what it really is.

Other than Pratyaksha all other four instruments are derived from perceptual data. Can anyone of them help me with self-enquiry? All five are human instruments and are extrovert in nature. Thus, an eye can see outside but not itself. Science also depends on extrovert sense organs. When we get data based on objective world, knowledge will be of the object. What I need is subjective data. The five instruments are inadequate for Self Knowledge. Every instrument can perform only in its field of operation. Self is not in the field of any instrument.

Why not meditate and get knowledge? Stopping thought cannot produce any new knowledge. Available instruments do not help. Meditation also does not do it. What should I do?

There is a sixth Pramanam. It is not of human origin. It is from outside. It is called Shabda Pramanam. It is a spoken or oral pramanam.

Shabda Pramanam are of two types:

  • Laukika Shabda Pramanam, of human origin.
  • Shastriya Shabda Pramanam that comes from God.

Laukika pramanam can only deal with objects. Example given was gravitational force. How did newton get this knowledge? He got it from Paurusheya pramanam or from human evidence.

Shastriya Pramanam is unique and is meant for revealing my true nature. Veda is a unique instrument of knowledge. It is not available from any other source. One who is performing self-enquiry has to use Shastriya Shabda Pramanam. When eye cannot see it self unless you use a mirror. Using the mirror, this is wisdom. I use Shastriya knowledge or Upanishad or Vedanta as a Pramana or mirror. Shastriya knowledge is looking into myself or looking inwards. The clearer I look the clearer is my knowledge. So, I need to study Shastriya Pramanam thoroughly.

Now there are some difficulties in obtaining this clarity of understanding.

Primary difficulty is our own habits. We always assume Shastra is talking about a new object. So, we tend to objectify it and then want to experience the object. We, thus obtain a bookish knowledge, while what we need is experiential knowledge.

Why does this mistake happen? Because we think Brahman is a new object without realizing that it is my own true nature. I should own up to my true nature. Our method of listening to Shastras also should be somewhat different, therefore Shastras insist upon following:

  1. You require a Guru. He will constantly point out Brahman is You and not outside.
  2. Since I, the self, am an observer, I am different from everything else, observed. I am unique. I cannot be observed. For this we do not have an example to fall back upon. Scriptures use of peculiar methods of communication that makes it difficult to comprehend. Words like dvaita and advaita are often used. Extracting information from scriptures is not easy and a specific method is followed. This method is called Sampradya or mimamsa or Vichara. The scriptures have six indicators that tell me what is the revelation about my true nature. The six indicators are known as Tatparya Lingani. The six indicators reveal the central theme of Upanishads. It requires study of beginning portion (Upakrama) and ending portion ( Upasamhara) and this reveals what is in central portion as well. An example of this is, while listening to the news in TV or Radio; the main points are brought out at beginning and end of the news.

A good speaker should follow the following rules for the six indicators

  1.  Upakrama and Upasamhara.
  2. Abhyasa or repetition. An aspect of scripture is repeated again and again indicating its importance.
  3. Apoorvata or Uniqueness. Scriptures reveal what science cannot reveal. Science cannot study consciousness. Vedanta reveals about consciousness and the observer. The subject is not available to science.
  4. Phalam: The benefits. The study of scriptures provides benefits. Also called Prayojanam from Advaitam.
  5. Arthavadaha: Ninda stuthi.  This means glorification and criticism.  If you look at yourself as a finite being it should be condemned. If you consider yourself infinite, it should be glorified.
  6. Upapathihi: Knowledge supported by logic. It is not a blind logic. Example: Scriptures say life in heaven is eternal. This is illogical. Whatever is acquired in time is also lost in time. Consciousness is eternal. It is logical. It cannot be disproved.

These above six are called Shat-tatparya -Lingani.

The body, mind and world are perishable. Behind the Observed, is the consciousness. Example: Camera is not in photo; does not mean camera does not exist. So, also, proof of object is proof of consciousness.

Aham Brahma Asmi. If I get this knowledge I need not get anything else for Poornatvam.So struggles for Poornatvam (or end of samsara) will a also end.  Therefore end of Vedas is called Vedantaha. It is also called Gyana Kandam or Atma Vidya or  Brahma Vidya.

After this knowledge all my struggles end. Giving example of puri (the flat bread), the flat dough when it is placed in hot oil rises up and becomes a big round puri. It is so with us too. Now, I live with Poornathvam and life becomes a Lila.

Hence it is called Upani-shad.Upani means wisdom or bringing together (you and knowledge).

This wisdom, Upanishad, occurs at end of each of the four Vedas. Since a Guru is compulsory, A Guru Shishya dialogue occurs in all Upanishads.

Ashvalayana is a Guru. Even Rama and Krishna had Guru’s. One or a group of dialogues is called Upanishad. Originally many Vedas were reportedly there. Many were lost in time. Now there are supposed to be 280 Upanishads. Of these 11 are very important and Shankaracharya, Ramanuja and other Acharyas wrote commentaries on them. Of these 11, six are usually studied. They are: Isha, Kena, Mandukya, Katha, Prasna and Brihadaranyaka.  Kaivalya is over and above the six. Between these seven Upanishads the essence of Vedanta is imparted. Kaivalya belongs to Atharvana Veda.

With best wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy