Mandukya Upanishad Class 8


Karika # 4:  Tripti Trayam:

 स्थूलं तर्पयते विश्वं प्रविविक्तं तु तैजसम्  
आनन्दश्च तथा प्राज्ञं त्रिधा तृप्तिं निबोधत

The gross objects satisfy the Viswa, whereas the subtle objects satisfy the Taijasa, while the bliss satisfies the Prajna, Thus the bliss is threefold.

Swamiji said in these karika shlokas Gudapada is summarizing the five mantras. The three padas or

The three quarters were explained as: first quarter, Vishva and Virat; second quarter, Taijasa and Hiranyagarbha; third quarter, Prajna and Ishvara. In each of the mantras, the Upanishad pointed out that each quarter is the name of “I”, the atma, and the consciousness principle. I am called Vishva when associated with the waking state, Taijasa when associated with the dream state and Prajna when associated with the sleep state. It is my threefold association that makes me Vishva, Taijasa or Prajna.  All of them are one and same consciousness. The differences are only in name and form like bangle, chain and a ring are finally only gold. Similarly, essential consciousness is Turiyam.

In this summary Gaudapada talked about Pada Trayam, Sthana Trayam, Bhoga Trayam and Tripti Trayam as well.

Karika # 5:

त्रिषु धामसु यद्भोज्यं भोक्ता यश्च प्रकीर्तितः  
वेदैतदुभयं यस्तु भुञ्जानो लिप्यते

One who knows both the experiencer and the experienced just as they have been described so far, as associating with the three states of Consciousness he is not at all affected even when he is experiencing (enjoying) the respective objects of the three states. 

In the following verses, Gaudapada gives some extra information, which is not actually in the mantras. The one who has the knowledge of these three pairs, waker and the gross universe, dreamer and the subtle universe, sleeper and the reflected happiness, i.e., the experiencer and the experienced, knows. In all the three states, there is a distinct experiencer, Vishva, Taijasa or Prajna and distinctly experienced objects. If a person knows all these three pairs very well and the substratum of these three pairs, the Turiyam, the original consciousness, he clearly grasps. Such a Gyani is never affected by any karma or any karma’s benefit even when the Gyani experiences the world.

Shankaracharya clarifies for a better understanding that Bhokta is “ one” and same in all three states.

One who knows Bhojyam is also same I consciousness with a different set of nama and rupas. In Svapna, I divide myself into subject and object. Thus, in svapna avastha, I create the tiger, I perceive the tiger, and I am the perceived tiger as well. I alone exist. A Gyani is not affected by anything he experiences.

Bhunjanah in karika means he is not affected by the experiences. He is not affected because he knows that I am conscious principle who is not tainted by the illumined object. It is like a light that is not polluted by the object it illuminates.

Na lipyate in shloka means he is an Asanga Rupa or one not affected.

Karika # 6:

प्रभवः सर्वभावानां सतामिति विनिश्चयः
सर्वं जनयति प्राणश्चेतोंशून्पुरुषः पृथक्

It is well established that something can come out as an effect only from a cause that is existent (not non-existent). The Prana manifests in all insentient things; the Pursusha creates separately the conscious beings, the egos, in their manifold forms.

In following four karikas, that is from karika # 6 to #9, Gudapada is giving us the significance of mantra # 6. It is a very important mantra. Mantra # 7 is an even more important mantra. Mantra # 6 is discussed later, again, in greater detail.

In this shloka, Gaudapada mentions a topic of creation briefly; it will be elaborated upon later as well. Creation or cosmology is a big topic in philosophy and science. In every philosophy creation is very important topic. In modern science it is called cosmology, which has many theories such as big-bang theory, steady state theory, etc. But none of them explain creation with clarity; it is all still a mystery.

Here, Gaudapada is talking about Vedantic theory of Creation. Gaudapada is hinting at the topic taken from the sixth mantra of Mandukya Upanishad. In that mantra, the third quarter was talked about, which is atma associated with the causal body and the causal universe. In sleep, everything is in resolved condition. During sleep, even though we are experiencing blankness, sleep is not blankness. Mandukya Upanishad says that everything is in potential condition in sleep. From that potential condition alone our experience in dream and waking states arises. Therefore, we are making an important conclusion that if you have to create anything, that product must exist in potential form. This is an important Vedantic principle. If out of a lump of clay, you are able to create a variety of earthenware, all those forms have to be in the clay in potential form. Thus creation always exists, which means that there is no creation of anything new. So there is no creation at all! What is called creation is a big misnomer because matter cannot be created nor destroyed. What is in unmanifest form coming into manifestation is wrongly called creation. When butter is made from milk, it is only the unmanifest butter in milk that comes out. Otherwise if butter can be newly created, it can be done so from anything. Butter cannot be created from water because water does not contain butter in potential form. Butter comes out of milk because it is in milk in potential form. Similar analogy of oil hidden in seed was given.  This is a very important Vedantic doctrine. It says that you never create anything new; you only convert unmanifest into manifest. Any law true to humans also applies to God as well. God also can’t create matter. So, where is question of Creation? Consciousness is eternal. It can’t be created. Matter can’t be created. Nothing is created.

In the third quarter, which is the deep sleep of the individual is called laya while the deep sleep state of the total cosmos called pralaya, where everything is in potential condition. All the five elements are also in potential condition. That potential form of the material creation is called maya, prakrti, avyaktam etc.

Maya will be used here. During laya and pralaya, the whole universe is in maya in seed form along with consciousness called Turiyam, Brahman or atma. Thus Atma plus maya is equal to the third quarter, the Prajna-Ishvara, in which, everything is in seed form. Every state of sleep is followed by a waking-up. When you wake up in the current body, it is called waking up. If you wake up in some other body it is called rebirth. Manifestation always follows every dissolution.  At the time of manifestation, everything dormant rises back. What happens to consciousness? Consciousness does not and cannot do anything. It cannot undergo any change. When the body-mind complexes are manifested, consciousness lends reflected consciousness to the body-mind complex. Thus, as many minds there are, as many reflected consciousness’s will form. Gaudapada says that objects, that exist in potential form in the Prajna-Ishvara, referred to in the sixth mantra, become the manifest world. Un-manifest world is not useable as such it is as good as nonexistent.

Why do we use the word Creation wrongly? When a thing is in potential form, it is utterly useless with no utility value. Oil in seed can’t be used; hence it is as good as non-existent. In Pralaya, creation has no utility value; after manifesting, it is useful. So manifestation is considered newly created, which it is not. Thus from Avyakta avastha (unmanifest) comes Vyakta avastha (manifests). This is figuratively called Creation. Sri Krishna says in the Gita,” I never created you, Arjuna! You were always there.” This Ishwara creates all Jivas as well as both chetana and achetana beings. Creation means Sthula, sukshma etc were in potential form; now they manifest as bodies and minds. RM (reflected matter) and RC (reflected consciousness) are also generated. Chetan, Achetan prapancha are thrown out or manifested. How is this possible? It is just like our dream creation. Sleeper throws out dream world with chetana and achetana beings. In the shloka Prana means Ishwara.

Karika # 7:

विभूतिं प्रसवं त्वन्ये मन्यन्ते सृष्टिचिन्तकाः  
स्वप्नमायासरूपेति सृष्टिरन्यैर्विकल्पिता

Some creationists believe it to be the projection of the glory of God’s own superhuman power, while others consider the world to be of the same nature as dream or illusion.

In previous shloka how the potential creation is manifested by Ishwara was discussed.

Next topic is “nature of manifestation”.  Is it real or unreal? Later, Gaudapada will say manifested creation is Mithya; like dream creation is also not real; my thought appears as dream objects or mithya. But people consider this as real creation. Some theories of Creation include:

  1. Creation is glory of God, as such it is as real as God. This is known as Vibhuti Mahima.
  2. Creation is comparable to swapna or Maya. It is materialized by a magician and is called Maya. Materializing power is called Maya. Thus, Ishwara creates by his Maya.
  3. World is like a dream where dream is a real one. So God creates this real dream, this universe.

Karika # 8:

इच्छामात्रं प्रभोः सृष्टिरिति सृष्टौ विनिश्चिताः
कालात्प्रसूतिं भूतानां मन्यन्ते कालचिन्तकाः

The creationists attribute this manifestation to be caused by the mere will of God, while there are others who, looking upon time as real, declare that time is the cause for the manifestation of all things.

Item # 4: Some others say that creation is sankalpa of God; by his sheer will he creates; it is as real as God himself.

5: Don’t blame God’s will. It has nothing to do with God. It is time (kala) alone that creates Creation. Creation emerges due to Kala, say time specialists.

Karika # 9:

भोगार्थं सृष्टिरित्यन्ये क्रीडार्थमिति चापरे  
देवस्यैष स्वाभावोऽयमाप्तकामस्य का स्पृहा

Others think that the world is being created fore the purpose of God’s enjoyment, while others still attribute it to a mere play of the Lord. But it is the very nature of the effulgent Being, the Atman; for what desire is possible for Him, whose desires are always in a state of perfect fulfillment?

Point # 6: Others say creation is for enjoyment of God. It has the issue that god’s enjoyment comes in part from human suffering. This is a dilemma.

Point # 7: Others say it is God’s Leela or for fun.

Gaudapada says all these theories of Creation have problems, if you describe God as ever fulfilled. If God is full, why should he get happiness from Creation? He says all these theories are meaningless. Then, why did he create?

Gaudapada says, God has not created the world. It has always been there as an intrinsic part of God. If creation is not a fresh arrival but has been a part of God in a potential form and later manifests, then do all sufferings also belong to God? Since whole creation is inseparable from God, he will also have all its sufferings?

Answering this Gaudapada says, Creation is a lower order of reality, even as the shadow cannot affect a person, similarly creation can’t affect God. Mithya world does not affect God.

         Take Away:

  1. An important Vedantic principle is that if you have to create anything, that product must exist in potential form.
  2. What is called creation is a big misnomer because matter cannot be created nor destroyed. What is in unmanifest form coming into manifestation is wrongly called creation.
  3. God has not created the world. It has always been there as an intrinsic part of God.
  4. Creation is a lower order of reality, even as the shadow cannot affect a person, similarly creation can’t affect God. Mithya world does not affect God.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy