Chapter 2, Anuvakaha # 2, Shloka # 1.
All beings that exist on earth are born of food. They, hereafter, live by food; again, they ultimately go back to it and merge to become food. So, verily, food is the eldest of all creatures. On that ground it is called the medicament for all. Those who meditate on Brahman as food, indeed obtain all food. From food all beings are born, having been born, they grow by consuming food. Food is that which is eaten by the beings and also that, which in the end eats them; therefore, food is called annam.
Continuing his teaching of the Upanishad Swamiji refreshed our memory about last week’s class. In Anvakaha # 1, shloka # 4, of Brahmananda valli, in Chapter 2, annamaya was introduced. The Physical body and its five elements were also introduced. Purusha means physical body. Physical body is introduced as the Atma in the beginning. We travel through each of the five Pancha Koshas in our mind. At first Annamaya is treated as Atma, our goal. The body has five parts such as the head, the left side, the right side, the trunk and the hind side.
Then in Chapter 2, Anuvakaha 2, shloka # 1, we were introduced to the Rg Mantra. It says Annam is the material cause of annamaya. The physical body is born from the physical universe. The external world, in a modified form, becomes the physical body. Karya and Karanam sambandam exists. Annam is the microcosmic (Vyashti) and Annamaya is the macrocosmic entity (Samashti). Both are of the same material. The word Pragya means Annamaya Atmas. They come out of annam and go back to annam. Upanishad wants us to meditate on Karana annam, the Macro entity. Upanishad now glorifies annam as it is the entity that is meditated upon.
Glorification of Annam:
First glory: is that it is Karanam or Karanatvam.
Second glory: Is that Karyam is inherent in Karanam. Thus, gold pervades all ornaments. So also, Karanam pervades all karyam. Annam is Sarvagatham, also known as Brahma, the all pervading. This is also called Brahmatvam.
Third Glory: Since annam is Karanam it must have existed before arrival of annam. Thus, again, gold existed before ornament; Clay existed before pot and so on. Therefore annam is eldest to all annamaya atmas hence it is called Jeshtam. Generally, elder brother is respected. This is Jeshtatvam.
Fourth Glory: Annam is called Sarva Oshadham. Osha means fire or Agni. There are two types of Agni. External Agni and internal agni (Vaishvanara agni).
If hunger is not quenched it burns your stomach. Swaha in mantra is used as offering to Agni. If food is not offered stomach lining will be eaten up, causing ulcer. The ulcer is caused by Hunger fire. Food is that oblation that quenches the internal fire. Food is inner fire extinguisher or Jatharagni. In the word Oshadham, the dham means quencher in all living beings. Therefore, annam is sarva Oshadham. Thus, Sarva Oshadatvam is fourth glory.
Upanishad says meditate on annam brahma with all these glories.
Now, how to visualize this all pervading annam? My vision is limited. How can I visualize the cosmic annam? Here, I need a symbol of the Virat Annam or an Alambanam. India is saluted through its flag. The flag symbolizes India. You visualize the nation in the flag. Therefore, visualize the virat on your own physical body. Virat Annamaya is your own body. Teacher says, “Vishwa virat aikyam upsana Kuru”. Now, what benefit do I get from this upsana? Two types of benefits are indicated.
- Material benefit accruing from Sakama upsana. Meditator gets material benefits. He will get plenty of annam. He will not starve. This benefit comes to all meditators.
- Spiritual benefits accrue to a meditator who performs Nishkama Upasana. Narrow minded, divisiveness, goes away. The mind expands. Since you see the annam as Brahman it gives you Gyana Yogyata Prapthihi.
Annam is eldest among all material things. All beings are born out of annam. All bodies grow due to annam. It is the Sthithi Laya Karanam. Annam is derived from the world.
The word Adha means eaten and Atti means to eat. Annam is eaten and it is also the eater. Explaining this further, when we are growing we are eating from material coming from earth that is converted to food. After death, body is buried or cremated and it goes back into earth. Thus, the Earth gives us food for the body and it is also the eater of the body. Therefore, entire world of matter is called annam.
Chapter 2, Anuvakaha # 2, Shloka # 2.
Other than that (soul) made up of the essence of food there is an inner soul (sheath) made up of Prana. With it this is filled. This (pranamaya) is of the same form as the previous. Its human form is exactly as human form of the former. Of that, Prana is the head, vyana is the right side, apana is the left side , akasa is the trunk, earth is the tail or the support. About this also there is the following Vaidika verse.
Annamaya and annam are essentially the same. Matter that is outside of annam and inside of annam are the same. Fire, air, water, space and earth, the Pancha Bhautikam, or matter, are in both. Thus, there is no death for body. Physical body remains Pancha Bhautika before and after death. When wave is destroyed it remains as ocean. There is only a temporary vision of separation. Wave is a temporary appearance. Destruction means existing in some other form. Fear of death is born out of delusion and over identification with form. The variation of form varies in nature. Everybody ages with time. After death also the body exists but in a different form. The more I meditate on total content (Fire, water earth etc.) then I am focusing on content only. Nama Roopa Drishti causes fear of death. The stronger the ego is the greater is the fear of death. Once my abhimana becomes weak there is no fear of death. When the wave identifies with water, it is not worried about wave death. Deha abhimana is loosened through this meditation. Fear of death comes down. The stronger is Deha abhimana the more it is against Brahma Upasana.
Death is a natural event and does not require sorrow. Even worry about death of physical body is meaningless. This knowledge makes me ready for the next step.
Previously we said annamaya is atma. Now, the Upanishad says, atma is something different. It is “in” annamaya but subtler than annamaya. This subtle one is Pranamaya and it is the Atma. It is interior to annamaya. Now, we are on Step # 2, Pranamaya. Now, we have to leave step # 1 as well.
What does it mean when we say leave step # 1?
It is an intellectual journey of understanding. Once we say pranamaya is atma and annamaya is not atma; we mean annamaya is anatma or it is Annamaya kosha. The word kosha also means Anatma.
In previous shloka the Upanishad said Atma is the cause of everything. The entire Anatma Prapancha is also born out of atma. All anatma is a product of atma. So, if annamaya is anatma it is also a product of atma or Atma Karyam. Any product is nothing but a name and a form alone and not a substance at all. All ornaments are only names and forms while the substance is only gold. Substance is not the bangle but the gold. It is the same with furniture and so on. Matter cannot be produced. What are produced are only a new shape and a name. Therefore, annamaya is anatma; it is karyam; it is nama and roopa alone.
Once a karyam is a nama roopa, it does not have a separate existence of its own. It depends on something else. Bangle depends on gold. This phenomenon is known as Mithya. Thus Anatmatva, Karyatva, Nama Roopatva, Mithyatva and Pravilapanatva are all attributes of mithya annam.
Whatever is dependent is on borrowed existence. Borrowed existence does not have its own existence. Without its own existence it is as good as non-existence.
Citing an example, when I say,” You are beautiful with the ornaments”, it means, without ornaments, you will not be beautiful. It means you have borrowed beauty or you can say you have no beauty.
Perception of this non-existence is called resolution. Because of clay vision the pot vision is resolved. When I saw the elephant I thought it was real until I saw the wood; then the elephant went away. Karana drishti resolves Karyam and this phemonenon is called Pravilapanam.
Annamaya is resolved, as annam is Mithya. Now, I have to practice pranamaya upsana before I can go to next step of Manomaya. Like dream world is resolved when I wake up so also after going through all five kosha’s I come to atma.
- Destruction just means existing in some other form. Fear of death is born out of delusion and over identification with form.
- When the wave identifies with water, it is not worried about wave-death anymore.
With Best Wishes,