Taitreya Upanishad, Class 44


Ch 3, Anuvakaha 1,  Shlokas 3:

 To him (Bhrgu) he (Varuna) again said: that from which these beings are born; that by which, having been born, these beings live and continue to exist; and that into which, when departing, they all enter; that seekest thou to know. That is Brahman.” He Bhrgu performed penance; and after having done penance….

Continuing his teaching, Swamiji said, we are in anuvakaha #1 of Brghuvalli (Ch 3) in which the student Bhrgu approached his father Varuna and asked him for Brahma Vidya. Varuna taught him Brahma Upalabdi dwarani that provide clues to recognize Brahman through Pancha Maha Koshas. He also provided him the definition of Brahman as Brahma lakshanam consisting of Jagat, Srishti, Sthithi, Laya Karanam. Such a definition is a known as Tataksha Lakshanam. He said, Brahman is the cause of creation, sustenance, and destruction of the universe.  In chapter 2, a different definition was given as: Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam.  This definition is called swarupa lakshanam, a direct definition. The definition in chapter 2, the direct one, point’s to Brahman’s nature while the second definition is revealed in relation to Universe. Karanam is a relative definition and can be understood only through Karya prapancha. This is called indirect definition or Tatkshaya definition.

Srishti Sthithi Laya karanam is upadana karanam. Nimitha karanam is intelligent cause while upadana karanam is the material cause. The difference between intelligent cause and material cause is that intelligent cause is only responsible for production of creation as such it is also known as Srishti karanam or Srishti matra karanam. Citing an example, while a carpenter produces furniture he is not responsible for maintenance and survival of furniture.

Material cause is required for production of product but even survival of product depends on this material cause. Thus, without wood as material cause, furniture can’t survive and without gold, ornament can’t survive. So, material cause is srishti and sthiti karanam. Not only is material cause responsible for sthithi karanam it also absorbs all destroyed products. Upon destruction all destroyed products are again absorbed in material cause alone. Thus, all melted gold goes back into gold, wave goes back into water etc. It is the swallowing, resolving cause or Laya Karanam as well.

Thus, material cause, Upadana karanam, is Srishti Sthithi Laya Karanam. Here Brahman is defined as Upadana karanam or Srishti Laya Karanam.

In chapter 2, Brahma has been defined as Gyanam (as in satyam, gyanam anantam,) the consciousness principle. Consciousness Brahman is material cause of universe. Thus, the material cause is consciousness itself. No other philosophy or religion has come to this unique conclusion. Ultimate stuff or content of the universe is consciousness. Cause of the tangible world is this intangible Consciousness.

 Another important point here is, when we say Brahman is ultimate cause of universe, it means Brahman is it’s karanam. Here Karanam does not mean in its literal sense. This is called Gauna (secondary) Pragya. Citing an illustrative example of this: When we say a person is a pillar of the organization it means, he is like a pillar in some aspects but not so, in some other aspects. This is known as Sadharmyam (common feature) Vaidharmyam (uncommon feature).

When we call him a pillar it means he supports the organization. It also means he supports like a pillar only in the supporting aspect alone .He, however is not an insentient matter, like a regular pillar. A normal pillar does not move from place to place, but this person does move. So, here too Brahman is the karanam, it is only a substance, while karyam is always nama and rupa alone.

Therefore Brahman is the only substance available, all the rest, such as Akasha, Vayu, Lokas are all just nama and rupa alone. None of them have substantiality of their own.

In such cases which aspects to take and which aspects to reject? When something is called karanam, it means it can be modified. Thus, wood changes to furniture under a carpenter; gold changes to an ornament under a gold smith; a seed grows into a tree; food changes into flesh, bone, blood and thus into a body. Generally karanam conveys vikaraha or change. With reference to Brahman, we should not take the modifications part attributed to Brahman; thus inertness of pillar is not extended to man, only the supporting part is extended. Similarly any modification is not extended to Brahman.

Brahman is nirvikaram. So, Brahman is called the changeless cause of creation. Vivartha Upadana karanam is Brahman. Brahman is the ultimate substance of Creation, but it is not a changing substance.

Wood can change; hence it is called Parinami upadana karanam. Brahman however does not change. This is the difference.

(Note: Maya undergoes change to create the world hence it is called the pariNAmi upAdAna kAraNam; meaning a cause, which changes, to produce effects. Atma does not undergo any change to manifest the world and hence is called vivarta upAdAna kAraNam; meaning a cause that does not undergo change to produce effect.)

Therefore, knowing Brahman is the ultimate changeless material cause of the universe and having got the clues of pancha maha koshas, keeping all this in mind, Brghu had to do his home work. He had to meditate on this Brahman.

Brghu is going to go in the direction of Pancha Kosha Viveka. This chapter will go through this viveka although in an abbreviated manner, as this topic has been elaborated upon in CH 2.

Chapter 3, Anuvakha 2, Shloka # 1:

Brghu learnt that food is Brahman because it is from food that all beings are born; by food, when born, do they live and having departed, into food they enter. Having known that, he approached his father Varuna, and said: Revered Sir, teach me Brahman. Varuna told him:” By deep thinking (tapas) seek thou to know Brahman. Tapas is Brahman.”He performed tapas and having performed tapas…

Brghu took up annamaya kosha for study. He wanted to find Srishti, Sthithi, Laya Karanam of annmaya kosha. He found annam or gross matter as the cause of the kosha.

Thus, earth converts to food that converts to Purusha or annamya kosha. Annam is material cause of body. Annam enters father’s body via his seed and enters mother’s body via her egg. Seed and egg come together and create a body or a being.

Body survives due to annam. At death body, buried or cremated, goes back to earth as fertilizer. We then become food for the next generation. Thus Srishti, Sthithi, Laya Karanam is for all beings.  Brghu thus understood Annam Brahma.

Brahman also means all pervading. All annamaya koshas are born out of annam. They survive due to annam. Word Prayanti is a present participle or in Sanskrit known as Shatru pratyantha. Prayanti means “while dying”; it is not a verb. So all beings while dying merge into annam. So, annam is Laya karanam.

Having done the homework Brghu was happy. However, on rechecking he found he had not arrived at Brahman. The problem discovered by Brghu was:

While annam is srishti, sthithi, laya karanam it is not the ultimate karanam. Brahman, by definition is the ultimate (mula) karanam while annam is only an intermediary karanam.

Upon enquiring, using different pramanams, we find annam itself is a product. Pramanas used were:

  1. Shruti pramanam. It says annam is matter.
  2. Yukti pramanam or Logic: Anything subject to change is a product.    How do we know this? If anything changes, it should have six fold modifications. Thus, birth of furniture is a modification of wood. Anything with six fold changes means it has birth, which is a change. Gross food is Sa-vikaram, hence it is a product as such it can’t be the ultimate cause as well.

(Note: Tatva bodha: Gross body undergoes six modifications like asthi (existence), Jayathe (birth), vardhathe (growth), viparinamathe (maturity), apaksheeyathe (decay) and vinashyathi (Death).

Ultimate cause, (mula karanam), does not have any cause.

So, Brghu was disappointed that he did not identify the ultimate cause. Citing a story in this context, Anjaneya searching for Sita in Ravana’s palace saw Mandodari; thinking she was Sita, he jumped with joy. Seeing Mandodari sleeping; confusing her as Sita, he was disappointed that sita would sleep in Ravana’s palace. Similarly Brghu was also disappointed.

Brghu does not know what to do? So he goes back to his father to clear his dissatisfaction. He tells Varuna, “ Please teach me Brahma the mula Karanam”. Then Varuna said, “ I have explained Brahma Upalabdi Dwarani and Swarupa lakshanam. I have nothing more to add. But you are seeking in the right direction. May you seek to find Brahman through Tapas. Tapa here means Brahma Gyana Sadhana.

Explaining the word tapas; it is like saying, money is everything; but you can’t eat money; however, money can get you every thing you need. Similarly tapas too is a sadhana to obtain Brahman. So, Brghu went back to his tapas.

Commenting on Varuna’s comment to Brghu, swamiji said, one should remember the phrase,” When all doors to a solution are closed, remember all doors are not closed”.

Chapter 3, Anuvakha 3, Shloka # 1:

Brghu understood that prana is Brahman; because it is from prana alone that all living beings are born; having been born from it, they live by it and (in the end) on departing, they go towards prana and become one with it.. Having known that, he again approached his father Varuna saying: “O Revered Sir, instruct me about Brahman”. He, Varuna, told him: “Desire to know Brahman by tapas, tapas is Brahman.” He performed tapas and having performed tapas….

His father gave him another clue. Keeping pranamaya kosha, he found samashti prana is cause of all beings or prana maya kosha. So, Prana Tatvam, subtler cause, is Brahman.

Thus from gross material one comes to its elements then to molecules; then to atoms; then to subatomic particles and lastly to energy; the subtlest of them all.

Prana is a nonphysical, intangible entity. So Brghu is happy. All individual prama maya koshas are born out of prana. They sustain due to prana; and at death, they go back to prana. At that point prana merges into samashti prana.

Having discovered this Brghu was happy at first but then he discovered this too was not the mula karanam. So, he goes back to his father with his doubts.

Take away:

Ultimate stuff or content of the universe is consciousness. Cause of the tangible world is this intangible Consciousness.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy