Mandukya Upanishad, Class 32


Continuing his teaching Swami Paramarthananda said, having completed chapter # 2, now we will enter chapter # 3 known as Advaita Prakaranam. This chapter has 48 Karikas and is an important chapter related to Karika’s and entire Vedantic literature.

Our clarity of Advaita relies on clarity of this chapter. If we have to understand this chapter thoroughly, we have to follow certain conditions:

We have to review chapter 1 completely, each week. We have to review first seven mantras of Ch. # 1, as they are very important. We must do so, to better understand the meaning of each mantra. Nine Karikas are very important, especially Karikas # 10-#18 in Chapter # 1. Thus, seven mantras and nine karikas, we must review each week to obtain most benefit from this chapter’s teaching.

I am insisting on this because chapter # 3 is built on foundation of Chapter # 1 (the seven mantras and nine karikas). If foundation is weak, building will not be strong. Chapter # 3 is the building built on Chapter # 1. I will very often refer to chapter # 1. So, I will assume you are reviewing the seven mantras and nine karikas each week.

The previous chapter # 2, Vaithatya Prakaranam, is a commentary on the word Prapancha Upashamam occurring in mantra # 7. This was explained as Jagat Vaithatyam meaning it is Pada Trayam Mithyatvam.

(Note: Prapanchopasamam means world-mithyatvam. This mithyatvam was analyzed in the second chapter. Instead of using the word prapanchopasamam, Gaudapada used the word vaitathyam. Vaitathyam and mithya are synonymous. Mithya means that the waking world we experience now is only a conditional reality like the dream world. The waking world is real only in the waking state just as the dream world is real only in the dream state. Since both of them are real only in their respective states, they are not absolutely real. This conditional reality is called mithyatvam. If the waking world and the dream world are both mithya, conditionally real, what is absolutely real? It is ‘I’ the observing consciousness principle alone. I, the Turiya atma alone am the satyam. I am the projector, sustainer and the experiencer of the waking world. This was established in Vaitathyaprakaranam.)

Ch 3 is also a commentary on another word in mantra # 7; Advaitam; hence chapter # 3 is called Advaita Prakaranam. Here, in this chapter # 3, Gaudapada is going to deal with Turiyam, the fourth pada.

In Chapter # 2 he dealt with the first three Padas and their unreality while here the focus is on Turiyam, the fourth Pada, and its reality.

I will now give you a general direction that Gaudapada takes in this chapter.

Referring to chapter # 1, we have mentioned that Pada 1 and Pada 2 are known as Karya padas, the effect or product, as mentioned in Karika # 11.

Pada # 3 is Karana Pada that corresponds to the cause of all effects. The fourth Pada is Turiyam or Karya Karana Vilakshanam; here Karya means effect; Karana means Cause; Vilakshana means different from.

This can also be stated as follows:

Pada # 1 and # 2: Karya Brahma (effect, manifest)

Pada # 3: Karana Brahma (cause, unmanifest)

Pada # 4: Karya Karana Vilakshana (different) Brahma.

Then, the next important principles are:

Both Karya and Karana are subject to modifications. Every effect will go through modification to become karanam. Thus, both are subject to modifications, meaning they are within time. So, the first three Padas, all exist in time.

Thus, Karya Karana Rupam is Savikaram (modification, decomposition). This explains first three Padas.

In jagrat, swapna and taijasa, all three states, there is dvaitam and division

Karanam (cause) also is Dvaitam because; cause produces effect, thus duality. Therefore, cause must contain duality in potential form. Thus, in one seed there are many potential trees; it is a hidden duality. In every parent many children are present as potential, due to the potential duality. So, Karanam (cause) is unmanifest duality. Karyam (effect) is manifest duality.

Is there duality in sleep? Even if I don’t experience duality, it is present in potential form in sleep; thus when I wake up, I experience duality; so it is a hidden duality.

Hence Karya Karana Rupam is dvaita Rupam.

In Samadhi we don’t give significance to Advaita anubhava; the reason is, in Samadhi, unmanifest Dvaitam is the one experienced. It is unmanifest dvaitam because when we come out of Samadhi, we say, I was in advaitam.

Four words have been introduced: Karana Pada Trayam; Karya Karana Rupam; Savikaram and Dvaitam; all are in realm of time.

Turiyam, the fourth pada is Karya Karana Vilakshanam; it transcends cause and effect field; so there is no change in it. So, it is Nirvikaram.

Turiyam=Karya Karana Vilakshanam= Nirvikara= Advaitam; Turiyam transcends time and is the Fourth Pada.

Now Gaudapada says that first three Padas fall within Samsara, Karya Karana Dvaitam=Samasara.

Why do we say so? Reason is as follows:

Duality is Samsara where even if there is a second thing, there is fear. The second thing can be an object of attachment or an object of aversion. If we move with a person, you develop Raga or Dvesha towards him. If it is aversion it will result in sorrow. Thus, arrival of a mosquito gives sorrow or Dvesha.

Ragaha also gives fear due to fear of departure. The very thought of losing Drona and Bhishma caused great sorrow to Arjuna. Dvaitam is cause of Savikara (modification); and Savikara is Samsara.

Whatever is subject to modification is samsara, including our body. The body grows old and we feel the difference in our joints. All my faculties are also slowly taken away. Thus, Savikara is Samasara.

Karya Karana Rupam=Samsara. As long as I look upon myself as within Karya Karana Rupa, my past karmas become cause and their effect, as such, subject to Prarabhda. I look at myself as a victim of fate without any freedom. I feel I am a helpless victim as I am worried which Karma is going to fructify for me today. So as karyam, I am a Samsari.

If I look at myself, using free will, as cause of my future, when I look at myself as a responsible karta then I am worried about how I will discharge my duties? How will I get my daughter married? Send son to college? Etc. This causes anxiety in me. More responsible you are (cause), more stressed you are (product). Neither as a Karta or Bhokta can you be free from stress. Hence, Dvaita= Samsara; Savikara= Samsara; Karya Karana= Samsara.

So for moksha, you have to go to Turiyam alone. Advaita is never afraid. In Nirvikaram there is no fear of time. Therefore, Turiyam can’t be touched by time. Thus, Karya Karana Vilakshanam= Moksha. I am not a product or cause, nor Karta nor Bhokta. So Gaudapada wants to reveal Turiyam that alone can give moksha, in chapter # 3.

Karika # 1:

upāsanāśrito dharmo jāte brahmaṇi vartate | 
prāgutpatterajaṃ sarvaṃ tenāsau kṛpaṇaḥ smṛtaḥ || 1

1. The Jīva betaking itself to devotion (upāsanā) thinks itself to be related to the Brahman that is supposed to have manifested Himself He is said to be of narrow intellect because he thinks that before creation all was of the nature of the unborn (Reality).

In first two karikas of this chapter, Gaudapada introduces the subject: that dvaitam is samsara; Savikara equals Samsara; and that Pada Trayam equals Samsara.

Any type of duality is samsara, secular or religious. Even a great upasaka, considered a great devotee of Lord, even he is within realm of duality. It is a religious duality based upon scriptures. Even here duality is dvaitam, Savikaram etc and hence under samsara. This is a disturbing part of Chapter # 3. Advanced Advaita scriptural texts criticize Karma and Upasana as Dvaitam.

(Note: There are two types of dvaitam. One is called secular dvaitam and the other is sacred dvaitam. Secular dvaitam consists of I, (the jivatma) and the observed world (the anatma). This jivatma-anatma dvaitam is secular dvaitam because everyone knows this as ‘I am here and the world is there’. In addition to the secular dvaitam, shastra also introduces another type of dvaitam in the context of karma-yoga and upasana-yoga. Veda-purva section consists of karma-section that deals with karma-yoga and upasana-section that deals with upasana-yoga, which also involves duality. In the karma-section, I, the jivatma, am the worshipper of the Lord and the paramatma is Ishvara; introduced as Someone, to be worshipped. This is worshipper-worshipped dvaitam, is sacred dvaitam. In the upasana-section, even when we drop the rituals and take up meditation, there also we have dvaitam: I am the meditator and Ishvara is the meditated called meditator-meditated dvaitam. Gaudapada says that even though the sacred dvaitam is considered very sacred and auspicious, that sacred dvaitam also will be a cause of samsara only. Any dvaitam is cause of samsara, secular or sacred. Therefore, everyone will have to transcend the secular and the sacred dvaitam and come to advaitam.)

So every upasaka is a religious samsari. This creates confusion in our minds. Hence beginners should not come to Mandukya Upanishad where it implies that conducting Pujas etc don’t matter.

We say, Upasana Dvaitam kept, as an end by itself, is samsara. But we are willing to allow Upasana when it is a means to move from Dvaitam to Advaitam. The problem is that in the name of sacredness many people remain in Dvaitam.

By the way, these are secret verses are not to be publicized.

 (Further Notes: The Upanishad points out that atma is advaitam and that everyone should compulsorily know the advaita atma. Why does the Upanishad say this? Gaudapada answers that dvaitam is the cause of several problems called samsara and so advaita-Gyanam is the only solution for this samsara. All the Upanishads have repeatedly said the same thing. Kathopanishad says: whoever is in dvaitam will go from mortality to mortality. In Taittiriya Upanishad, it is said: even if the slightest duality is perceived, you will feel insecurity (limitation, helplessness, fear, anger and depression). In Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, it is said: dvaitam is the cause of insecurity, fear, etc. This is everyone’s problem and for that problem advaita gyanam is the only remedy. The problem is not the absence of advaitam but it is the absence of advaita gyanam. When it is said that dvaitam is the problem, we should carefully note the following: Experience of duality is not a problem. In fact, it is enjoyment. Variety is enjoyment. Dvaita transaction is also not a problem. Dvaita experience and transaction are not problems. Then what is problem? Taking dvaitam as satyam alone is the problem because dvaitam is not satyam but it is only mithya. When mithya dvaitam is mistaken as satyam, one expects stability that leads to emotional leaning or dependence on the mithya dvaitam. Being nama-rupa, mithya dvaitam is not stable, and it is always changing. Relying on unstable things for stability creates a lot of problems. Relying on the unreliable things is the definition of samsara. The reliance happens because of mistaking mithya to be satyam. Therefore, we should stop emotionally relying upon mithya dvaitam and start relying on satya advaitam. That satya advaitam is Turiya atma. This advaita-gyanam is important for everyone. )

The word Dharma in karika means the Jiva who is committed to Upasana or Saguna Ishwara Dhyanam. He looks at deity as an object of superior attribute while looking at himself as an ordinary Papi; this is the upasya upasaka dvaitam.

In the karika, the word Jate means with dvaitam comes Karya Karanam as well. He is in Virat, Vishwa, Taijasa, and Hiranyagarbha etc.

The word Utpate means before origination of world; or before Srishti, sthiti and laya, everything was in Ajam Karanam; meaning Brahma Rupam. His mind is in Karya Karana Brahma. I exist is Karya Karana Brahma; this is thinking of Upasaka.

As long as he is in dvaitam, he is within time or savikaram. He thinks, now he is away from God and that in moksha he will join God. This concept is wrong.

His concept of Moksha is going and coming. He has not understood moksha. Merger into God, a time bound event, is not Moksha. Real moksha is that: I am Turiyam, ever free, and not an event in future. But Upasaka does not understand this.

Gaudapada pities the Upasaka as an unfortunate person; although whole world had placed him on a pedestal; from a Turiya Drishti; he is just a samsari.

So Gaudapada is going to ask us if we are ready for a journey beyond Karma and Upasana to a place where there is no Jiva Ishwara Bheda.

Take Away:

Taking dvaitam as satyam alone is the problem because dvaitam is not satyam but it is only mithya. When mithya dvaitam is mistaken as satyam, one expects stability that leads to emotional leaning or dependence on the mithya dvaitam.

With Best Wishes

Ram Ramaswamy