Mandukya Upanishad, Class 24


Karika # 12:

कल्पयत्यात्मनाऽऽत्मानमात्मा देवः स्वमायया
एव बुध्यते भेदानिति वेदान्तनिश्चयः १२

12. Ātman, the self-luminous, through the power of his own Māyā, imagines in himself by himself (all the objects that the subject experiences within or without). He alone is the cognizer of the objects (so created). This is the decision of the Vedānta.

Continuing his teaching Swamiji said, Gaudapada made a startling revelation about the world. Any world we experience has only a relative reality also known as vyavaharika satyam or also known as mithya. Even our dream state, waking state, waking to another level of state, or a super new world, all of them are mithya. Any experienced object has only empirical reality, including the 14 lokas. Gaudapada gives following reasons for this:

  1. These worlds you experience will be interpreted by instruments of your experience and since instrument varies it (world) will be seen differently. Thus, with eyes I will see color and form; with ears I will experience sound. So it is a reality as interpreted by instrument. X Ray vision will see only the atoms that are knocking around and not humans; if so, what is reality? So the world you see depends on instrument; so you are seeing an interpreted truth.

To experience a world without interpretation, one has to experience it without instruments. So, you have to knock off the instruments. Thus, an un-interpreted world can never be experienced.

  • The very existence of world depends upon the perceiver; the moment dream perceiver chooses to wake up, his dream world disappears. Similarly, even this world depends on the pramata. Therefore, world is not absolutely real. If so, what is absolute reality? Even reality experienced through meditation is dvaitam. Even meditation is an experience, experienced by a particular mind.

Gaudapada says if all observed worlds are relative reality then absolute reality should be different from relative reality. What is the difference? The difference is the “perceiver”. So absolute reality is pramata not prameyam. Is observer the absolute reality? If observer is related to the experience, then I, the pramata, am related to jagrat prapancha; then I, am waker and I, am not absolute. Similarly I, am dreamer and I, am not absolute. “I”, without being dreamer or Waker is absolute reality; it is the Consciousness principle in Waker, dreamer and the sleeper. I, become relative, when I am associated with any of the three states.

Swamiji says, I, get teacherhood when I teach, but at end of class, I, just continue as a human being. “I” am absolute reality when I don’t relate to any thing or any state; Objectless Consciousness is known as Turiyam; unrelated consciousness is Turiyam. Related consciousness is Vishwa, Taijasa and pragyaha. Eliminate relationship and you get Atma. Relation less I, is Sakshi. Related I, is ahamkara. Sakshi is atma, as well as Turiyam.

“I” have to separate from Jagrat, Taijasa and Pragya respectively. I am the atma in the green room. I get bored and then I play role of Vishwa, So, I use maya to create jagrat prapancha. I use Nidra Shakti to create swapna prapancha. I, the producer, become director and the hero of drama as well. Thus, every individual is hero of his autobiography. He experiences Vishwa, this world; this has been stated by the Vedas.

Who dreams with knowledge that he is dreaming?

Karika # 13:

विकरोत्यपरान्भावानन्तश्चित्ते व्यवस्थितान्  
नियतांश्च बहिश्चित्त एवं कल्पयते प्रभुः १३

13. The Lord (Ātman), with his mind turned outward, variously imagines the diverse objects (such as sound, etc.), which are already in his mind (in the form of Vāsanas or Saṅkalpas or desires). The Ātman again (with his mind turned within), imagines in his mind various (objects of) ideas.

And how do I create this world? I create internal world of dream; I create external world of waking. I, Turiyam, with maya Shakti, create the world. I, use the mind as an instrument, to create both the external and internal worlds.

How do I decide which world to create first, internal or external? Mind is like a remote control that controls two channels, external and internal.

How do you know mind creates?

In sleep both channels are in a resolved state in mind.

How do you select a channel? When mind is introvert (not operating through sense organs), within mind there are vasanas. They are activated and one gets dream. Vasana dominated mind is introvert mind; here one lives in his own world. In some cases, psychological ones, they always live in this state.

Extrovert mind functioning through the sense organs is open to jagrat prapancha. The common observer in both is Chaitanyam. If you remain as illuminator, it is Turiyam. But if you get attached to a role, say as father, brother, mother etc, then you have become Vishwa; in dream you become Taijasa. I, by myself, am the realtion-less principle.

Where is Maya located?

It is located in Turiyam. Maya is used by Atma (prabhu) to create dream objects, a subjective reality, that exists only for a few hours. Science says dream objects live only for 1.5 minutes. All dream objects were in mind as vasanas; Vasanas can come from previous life as well. Once swapna is experienced, you get bored and you change channels; then it drops vasanas to a dormant state; then mind begins functioning as an extrovert, through sense organs; creating world of waking.

Both states are created by atma with help of maya, as such; it is all relative reality alone.

Both prapanchas are real in their respective states.

A Gyani will say, “I am Ishwara, creator of everything”. It does not mean his body is god; it just means he is in a state of Chaitanyam.

Karika # 16:

जीवं कल्पयते पूर्वं वचो भावान्पृथग्विधान्  
बाह्यानाध्यात्मिकांश्चैव यथाविद्यस्तथास्मृतिः १६

16. First of all, is imagined the Jīva (the embodied being) and then are imagined the various entities, objective and subjective, that are perceived. As is (one’s) knowledge so is (one’s) memory of it.

We saw karikas # 14, 15 and have now come to # 16. In this karika Gaudapada answers a possible question that may come up. He says creation has two parts.

  1. Sentient, individual or the Jiva
  2. and the jagat or the objective universe.

Any experience requires jiva (chetana) and Jagat (achetana). Of these two parts, which was created first, is considered a paradox. Between consciousness and matter, which is created first, is the question? Normally, we say, we can’t tell their order of arrival as it creates problems of logic. Thus, there are other paradoxes such as: Seed or tree; Chicken or egg; Faith or freewill, all these also create logical entanglements.

We say, they are both either simultaneous or in a cyclical process; it is jiva jagat or jagat jiva.

Gaudapada talks of a working arrangement. It is like talking about Srishti, Sthithi and Laya karanam; we can’t say which came first? With freewill and fate, Vedas say, start with freewill and then come to faith.

In case of Jiva or jagat, start with jiva, says Gaudapada; it is a working arrangement only. Why jiva first; because of our common experience. Citing an example, there are many continents on the earth; in beginning some were not habited. Once humans came, they wanted stuff to live. So, human settlements were created. So an inert thing is meaningful only in a sentient being. Every infrastructure created is according to the need of humans. Water, hospitals, roads, all exists for humans. Heaven is created for certain jivas’ karmas. Similarly hell is also created. So too, all 14 lokas were created. Thus, for jiva’s sake, all these things came up. Hence, from a working-order point of view, Jiva came first, in beginning. Punya jiva requires a loka, as does a papa jiva as well as a Mishra jiva. In creation, there maybe no hierarchy, but for our understanding, Jivas came first.

Citing example of mosquito, a pregnant mosquito requires blood; others don’t require blood. Therefore when a mosquito bites you we are giving a blood donation to a pregnant woman, a punya karma, per Swami Dayannda Saraswati.

Variations depend upon Jivas’ requirements. Every body has relevance only to exhaust punyams and papams.

There is creation of an external world of objects and internal world of vasanas (character and personality).

It is my individualistic mind that looks at world in different patterns. I live in a world interpreted by personality; so some parts of world, I like and some parts, I dislike. It is like hearing Carnatic music versus pop music. The world by itself is neither joy nor sorrow. Therefore, creation means an objective universe and a subjective personality.

Once created, I develop, likes and dislikes. So, Raga and dvesha are created; Karma comes up; punyam and papapam come about and with it comes punarapi jananam and punarapi maranam starts. Thus, world remaining same our experiences vary.

Take Away:

So the world you see depends on instrument; so you are seeing an interpreted truth, a relative truth.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy