Kaivalya Upanshad, Class 13 – Summary



Swamiji summarized the Kaivalya Upanishad’s teachings today. This Upanishad is known by its name as it gives Kaivalyam or Moksha or non-duality to the seeker. There is no second thing in the cosmos to limit me, not space, nor time nor object to limit me. Spatial, temporal and objectal limitations do not exist for me. This Upanishad is from the Atharvana Veda. It has all essentials of Vedantic teachings, although it is not part of the 10 important Upanishads
mentioned by Shankaracharya. Being a part of Atharvana Veda it has the same Shanthipatha (opening hymn) as others. The Shantipatha seeks to make the mind, body and thought capable of obtaining knowledge. Vigna- nivrithihi and Karana Yogyata are its goals.
Mantra 1:

The first mantra is introduction of the student Ashvalayana Rishi approaching Brahmaji himself. The Student knows what he wants. He is a prepared disciple. Indications of a well-informed disciple are:

  1. He primarily wishes moksha.
  2. He knows moksha can be obtained only through Gyanam.
  3. Gyanam can only be obtained only through Shastra Pramanam.
  4. He knows that Shastram will reveal its content only under a competent Acharya.

Mantras 2-4:
Brahmaji presents Gyana Sadhane (means) and Gyana Phalam (benefits).  Gyana Sadhane: There are two means available. They are:
1.   Primary or direct or Sakshat.
2.   Sahakari or supportive cause.

Citing an example, for a mango tree the primary cause is the mango seed. Secondary causes can include the soil, water, pesticides etc. Secondary causes cannot, however, produce a mango.

Primary Sadhanani:  Sravanam is a consistent and systematic study under a competent Guru.
Mananam is until I am convinced of all my doubts. It is turning knowledge into conviction by removal of intellectual obstacles.
Nidhidhyasanam is removal of conditioning or reorientation. My poornatvam does not depend on external factors. This re-orientation or de-conditioning may take decades. Removing emotional obstacles is Nidhidhaysanam.

The above three together are called Vedanta Vichara.

The three sadhanas (the primary means) prescribed by Brahmaji are:
1)    Shradha Yoga also called Vedanta   Sravanam.

2)    Bhakthi Yoga also called Mananam Yoga.

3)   Dhyana Yoga also called Nidhidhyasanam yoga.

The Sahakari (secondary means) Sadhanani are all the values mentioned in shastras. Brahmaji places emphasis on one value namely Tyaga or gradually learning to drop all your dependencies. The fewer supports I use, the better. Citing example of memory, years ago one memorized, however, today one depends on computers. In this process we have lost our ability to perform simple mental mathematics. We use TV, Computers etc. as external supports to cure our loneliness.  There is nothing wrong with being lonely. Go for a walk, alone. Live in an Ashram, alone. This training to drop dependencies is called Tyagaha.

The advantage of Tyaga is I am ready to lose anything at any time. This can be born out of discrimination or devotion. Shankara emphasizes the Sanyasa aspect of Gyanam. Sanyasa is our inner preparedness to lose. Shankaracharya’s four Ashram’s are for this purpose.

Gyana Phalam: Is Moksha or freedom.  Freedom from emotional issues is Jivan mukti. Freedom from cycle of birth and death is Videhi Mukti.

Mantras 5-10:
Dhyanam is the topic discussed. Three topics are discussed. They are:

1.   Dhyana Sadhanani
2.   Saguna Dhyanam and
3.   Nirguna Dhyanam

Dhyana Sadhanani include:

Desha-Or place of meditation, should be quiet and clean.

Kala: Or time of meditation, should be when the mind is Satvic. When the mind is alert and non- wandering.
Asanam: Or seat of meditation, it should not be too soft or too hard.
Sharira Sthithi: Or the condition of body, sense organs, mind and intellect should be receptive.

Meditate as a Sanyasi not as a worldly person. Mediate free of worries. Drop all roles such as wife, husband etc., during meditation. If at all, evoke role of Shishya or Devotee. Offer namaskara to Guru before meditation so that his teaching is evoked.

Saguna Dhyanam:

This is meditation on Ishta Devata. Kaivalya recommends Shiva Dhyanam. One can choose any Devata. Aneka Roopa and Vishwa Roopa Ishta Devata are the same.

Nirguna Dhyanam: Means meditating on Brahman without roopam.

Which Dhyanam to perform is a question that can come up? It depends. If one is in early stages, Saguna Dhyanam before Vedanta study may work. After the study, Nirguna Dhyanam will benefit.

Phalam: Saguna Gyana Yogyata.

Nidhidhyasanam: or Gyana Nishta is when Gyanam gets assimilated. Aham Brahma Asmi becomes spontaneous. Ramana Maha Rishi said “ If 100 people call me a donkey, I still do not have any doubts that I am human.” This is conviction or Nishta.

Mantra 12-15:

Brahmaji introduces Sravanam and Mananam. He uses The Arani Manthanam or churning as an example. There is only one consciousness that manifests as Jiva (micro) and Ishwara (macro). Due to two reflecting mediums we have this Jiva and Ishwara distortions.  It is only a seeming distortion. Just as the face is same even when it reflects on
a convex or concave mirror.

What type of distortion is it?

In micro it is the Sharira Trayam with inferior attributes or Nikrishta Guna such as Limited knowledge, Power etc., resulting in the Created.

In macro distortion it is with superior attributes or Utkrishta Gunas such as Sarva Shakthi, Vyapak etc., resulting in the Creator.

While Original Consciousness (OC) does not have attributes, attributes come from the distorting media. Our goal is to see Jiva without attributes. Karanatvam of Ishvara and Jiva are all seeming attributes of OC evident through media. Thus OC is the Karta, Bhokta and Bhogam. Removal of attributes and maintaining Consciousness results in Jivatma Paramatma Aikyam.

Mantras 16-23:
This is the Mahavakya portion. It also discusses Jivatma Paramatma Aikyam. Each mantra is a Mahavakya.

To this Atma is added the prefix Jiva and Parama. Removal of Jiva and Parama is called Vilakshanam. Once you remove the name and form there is neither the wave nor the ocean.  This is “Aham Brahma Asmi”. The Wave is not afraid of mortality. The phalam is Moksha.

Mantras 24-24:

This is the conclusion of Upanishad or the Upasamhara. Brahmaji says, suppose one does not understand the teaching, do not give up. One has to go through some additional coaching. Karma and Upsana are the preparatory classes. Shastra Parayanam is one such Karma. Kaivalya Upanishad Parayanam itself will make you prepared. Other Vedic or Non Vedic Parayanams can also help. This Karma will remove all obstacles of mind also called Duritham. Our past Karmas are usually the cause of these obstacles. After preparation come back to Kaivalya sravanam, mananam and nidhidhyasanam.

While the Upanishad recommends Sri Rudra Parayanam it is not compulsory.

Thus the seeker gets the knowledge and the impact of teaching increases. Then he obtains Jivan mukti and eventually Videhi mukti. The word Kaivalyam is mentioned in the concluding mantras.

With Best Wishes,
Ram Ramaswamy