Chapter 2, Anuvakaha 1, Shloka # 2.
Om, the knower of Brahman attains the Supreme. With reference to that, is the following hymn recited. Brahman is Truth, knowledge and infinity. He who knows It as existing in the cave of the heart in transcendent akasa, realizes all his desires along with omniscient Brahman.
Continuing his teaching of the Upanishad Swamiji refreshed our memory about last week’s class. He said we are in anuvakaha # 1 of the second chapter also known as Brahmanandavalli that has an important sutra that reads as follows: Brahmavit Apnoti Param. The Shloka goes on to say that Brahman is Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam. The Upanishad also quotes a Rig Veda mantra “tadeshsa Abhiyukta” meaning “On my own sutra vakyam”.
The Upanishad asks three questions & answers them as well:
- What is Brahman? Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam, each respectively is Brahman.
- How to know Brahman? The Brahman has to be known as the witness consciousness to the presence or absence of thought. Sakshi Chaitanyam Eva Brahman. One cannot search for Sakshi Chaitanyam as one does not experience it as an object. It is claimed as “ I am”. To convey the idea of Sakshi Chaitanyam the Upanishad uses the word Atma. Atma is Self or Aham. Brahma gyanam is “Aham Brahma Asmi”.
- What is Poornatvam? I am the greatest and highest. The one, who knows Brahman, simultaneously fulfills all sensory desires. Fulfilling our desires one after another is an endless process as new desires keep coming up. Brahma gyanam, however, fulfills all desires, simultaneously.
How is it possible to fulfill all desires at the same time? Brahmananda happens to be Poorna ananda. When you have a lake full of water why run after the Corporation water, asks Swamiji? What is the proof that Brahmananda includes all Vishayananda? Once I have Brahmanada, all my desires for Vishyananda drops. This Vairagyam or dispassion that one develops towards finite pleasures is an indication of Poornatvam.
Brahman is Vipaschit or is the all-illuminating consciousness that also illumines the entire world.
So, total fulfillment is Poornatvam.
Thus, all three questions have been answered. Now the Upanishad elaborates on answers to these three questions by a process known as Vakhyanam.
Chapter 2, Anuvakaha 1, Shloka # 3 and first line of shloka # 4: (swamji’s shlokas are numbered differently from the book we are reading).
From that (which is) this Atman, is space born; from akasa, air; from air, fire; from fire, water; from water, earth; from earth, herbs; from herbs, food; and from food, man. He indeed is this man consisting of the essence of food.
Here we are addressing what is Brahman? We already know that Brahman is Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam. This topic is further elaborated upon, now.
Here Srishti prakaranam is being discussed. Brahman (Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam) is also Jagat Karanam or the cause of the Universe. Universe is born out of Brahman. When Brahman is “I” consciousness it is called Atman. Therefore, Brahmatma is jagat karanam.
What kind of cause is it?
Every product has two causes. One is an intelligent cause and second is a material cause. Thus, in furniture made by a carpenter out of wood the carpenter is the intelligent cause and the wood is the material cause. These two causes come together to produce wood. Both causes are required. Before creation there was only Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam. Brahman is unique in that it has within it both the intelligent cause and the material cause. Citing an example a spider also has an intelligent cause and material cause within it.
Here we are focusing on material cause alone. From material cause the universe appears. It is like ornament appears from gold. The ornament also goes back to Gold.
Even if Brahman is cause of Universe, it is it’s own Maya Shakti (present in Brahman) that causes this universe. It is just like our own dreams. We create our own dreams.
Maya is Srishti Shakti. Thus, any power is not separate from the powerful. Maya Shakti Ukta Brahman is Maya Shakti.
Now, in creation the five elements were created first. The elements are known as Bhutas. Then the elementals were created known as Bhoutika. The subtlest element is created first then the gross ones. Thus, Akasha is created first then Prithvi. How do we know this?
Prithvi can be perceived by all sense organs or all our senses. Akasha (space) has only one Guna; Vayu (air) has two gunas; Agni (fire) has three gunas; Apaha (water) has four Gunas and Prithvi (earth) has five gunas. Brahman being subtler than Akasha has no gunas.
So, if I can appreciate space that means I am ready to appreciate Consciousness as well. Akasha is a positive material entity. Now, since akasha is born out of Brahman it means Brahman was there before it. If so, where is the location of Brahman? Let us remember that location involves space. If I cannot conceive the location of space, how can I conceive the location of the subtler Brahman? Therefore, Brahman is unlocatable.
From Brahman, as Maya, comes Akasha with the one guna of hearing (sound).
From Akasha comes Vayu with two gunas of hearing (sound) and feeling (touch).
From Vayu comes Agni with three gunas of hearing (sound), feeling (touch) and seeing (sight).
From Agni comes Apaha with four gunas of hearing (sound), feeling (touch), seeing (sight) and tasting (tongue).
From water (Apaha) comes Prithvi with five gunas of hearing (sound), feeling (touch), seeing (sight), tasting (tongue) and smelling (nose).
Prithvi represents all solids in universe and not just the earth.
So, at first there is pancha sukshma bhuta shakti. Thus, the subtle elements create the subtle body.
Then, comes pancha sthula bhuta shakti. Here the gross elements create the gross body. Thus, plants or herbs are born. From plants food is born. From food the physical body is born.
The word Purusha has several meanings. One meaning is Atma. Another meaning is the physical body born out of anna rasam.
Why is it called anna rasamaya? Food cannot be converted directly into a physical body. Annam enters the father’s body and becomes the seed. Annam enters the woman’s body and becomes the egg. When man and woman join, the egg and seed combine, to create a child. Hence, a child is also called annarasamayaha. The physical body is bhautika shariram.
What other ideas are implied in the shishti prakaranam shloka or shloka # 3?
When I say gold is Karanam and ornament is the Karyam, it means gold is inherent in all ornaments. Thus, wood is inherent in furniture. So, Karanam is inherent in all karyam. Therefore, when I perceive a karyam, I should also perceive the karanam, choicelessly. Thus, when I see jewelry I see the gold.
In this context, if Brahman is karanam and creation is karyam then Karanam Brahman must be appreciated as inherent in creation. Now, what is it that I am appreciating in creation? What is it that is inherent in everything? When I say there is a table, the inherently appreciable thing is the “is”. Thus, Karanam appears in karyam as the existence of Karanam. Thus, gold appears in all ornaments as “is”. Remove the gold and the ornament does not exist anymore. So, Karanam alone lends existence to Karyam. Thus we appreciate Brahman in everything as “ that which is available as existence in all Karyam”. Brahman, as Karanam, alone is Satyam or pure existence and it is inherent in all substances.
You cannot talk of the existence of a thing without being conscious of it. Pot existence pre-supposes pot knowledge. If there is a thing, which no one knows about, at any time, then we cannot know about its existence. Thus, man-existence pre-supposes man-consciousness. Similarly, pure-existence pre-supposes pure-consciousness. Therefore, Brahman is Gyanam.
If there is a cause and effect, then the ornament is not a substance separate from gold. Then, the ornament is just a new name for gold. It is the same for furniture as well; it is just wood with a new name. No product is substantial. It is just a name and a form. Thus, Karyam is not a separate substance; it is just Karanam. The very fact that we cannot separate means a substance is just a name. A new substance cannot be created. It is just re-shaping an existing one. Thus, there is no substance called world other than Brahman. The only thing is Brahman. Therefore, Brahman is Anantam. Thus, through Srishti Prakaranam it is shown that Brahman is Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam.
- There is no substance called world other than Brahman.
- Brahman, as Karanam alone, is Satyam or pure existence and it is inherent in all substances.
With Best Wishes,