Mandukya Upanishad, Class 46


Handling the mind is called amani bavaha or mano nasaha; atma gyanam helps in two ways:

  1. The mind does not see duality as sathyam and it sees it as mithya.  Then the mind does not create any problem.  Ignorant and problematic mind is dissolved by atma gyanam
  2. When the whole duality is seen as mithya, it includes the mind also.  The mind also falls within dwaida prabanja; therefore, gyanam helps see the very mind as mithya; seeing mind as mithya is as good as destroying mind.

Atma gyanam viswa, taijasa, pragya and thuriya atma; Thuriya atma gyanam alone will solve problem.  This is discussed in verses 36, 37 and 38.  Giving and taking represents all transactions or vyavahara; Thuiryum is defined in seventh mantra as avyakaragam.  There are not even thoughts in thuriyum.  Thoughts are possible only in sukshama sareeram; Thuriyum is beyond sareeram.  This is the atma a wise man recognizes.  Knowledge abides in thuriya atma and it does not objectify anything.  Abiding in atma means thought is centered on Thuriyum.  Aham Thuriyum asmi.  At the time of gyanam, look up on everything as Brahman with different nama roopa; nama roopa may be many and varied but the substance is only one thuriyum brahman.  At the time of knowledge I look up on the whole word as thuriyum; I look up the body, mind and knowledge (aham brahma asmi)  as thuriyum brahman.  Every knowledge takes place in the mind in the form of a thought.  World, body, mind, thought, knowledge are all Brahman plus nama roopa.  All of this is caused by mithya nama roopa.

Verse 39

Gowdapadha gives a new title for atma gyanam asparsha yogaha:  Thuriya atma is asparshaha; or asnagaha or relation-less.  Thuiryua atma is relations-less.  All the realtionships are possible only in duality.  Viswa, the waker is in duality and therefore the waker relates to the body and with the body he relates to few people; Taijasa is also in duality, but he develops relationship with swapana objects and people; in Pragya manifest relationships are in potential form.  In Thuriyum all relationships are falsified.  One who claims as thiriya atma never claims any relationship.  Gyani never claims I am father, husband, etc.  This discovery of relation-less I the thuriyum is called asparsha yogaha.  Thuiryum is extremely subtle and very difficult to comprehend and it not available for all the seekers.  Many of the seekers are afraid of this knowledge.  This is because every human being thinks that I am insecure by myself and to find security I should have people around me.  For this I should strike a relationship.  If I have many relatives around, then I will be secure.  When I say atma gyanam takes you away from all relationships, people are afraid of losing relationships and be without security.  Advantage of dwaidam is I can have all relationship.  Common man thinks that relationship is security and freedom from relationship is insecurity.  That is why advaidam and sanyasa frightens people because there is no relationship.  Vedanta says relationship is insecurity and samsara; that is why vedanta calls every relation as bandhu.  Previously you are worried about your own security; after striking relationship, you are worried about others security.  That is why majority of people are afraid of advaidam and advaida moksha does not appeal to everyone.  People afraid of advaidam can remain in dwaidam as long as they want and go through all the experiences.

Verse 40

From 40th to 47th verse, Gowdapadha discusses nidhithyasanam.  Normally, if a sincere seeker listens to vedanta properly, the teaching is capable of producing gyanam.  If atma gyanam, arises in the mind, the gyanam will produce the palam also.  The benefit of this gyanam is twofold:

  1. Primary benefit is the knowledge that I am asanga thuriyum, the reality which is ever free from bondage or samsara.  Sthula sareeream, sukshuma sareeram and the karana sareeram and their problems are mithya.  These can never touch me, just like the dream fire can’t burn the sleeper’s body.  Mithya can’t affect sathyam.  I am mithya vidhehaha.  Dheha thrya rahitha; This is vidheha mukthi; Even though a gyani gets vidheha mukthi after death, but a wiseman knows that he is ever free from dheha all the time; this atma gyana palam is instantaneous.  Moksha is not an event, but it is the very nature of thuriyum.
  2. Secondary benefit is when the atma gyanam takes place in the mind, this knowledge can bring about transformation in the mind, in the form of shanthi – peace of mind.  Freedom from fear; ever feeling secure or samthvam:  poise of mind is another benefit; there are many emotional benefits which take place at the level of mind.  This emotional refinement is a benefit of this gyanam.  But this is secondary because improving the mind is not the primary aim of vedanta.  Primary aim of vedanta is telling you that you are not the mind; therefore, this is only incidental benefit that makes the mind stronger and this is called jivan mukthi.  Majority of the people are interested in this secondary benefit alone, In Baghawad Gita, Krishna talks about this jivan mukthi many times.  Even though many students study vedanta, all the students do not get the same degree of jivan mukthi; some will get a high degree of emotional benefit; some will get lower emotional benefit; there is a gradation in getting the mental transformation.

A student ignores sadhana chadhustaya sambathi (SCS), fourfold qualifications of the student, is extremely important and that alone determines the degree of jivan mukthi palam.  Even though there is no gradation is gyanam, in gyana palam or emotional transformation is heavily dependent on sahdahna chadhustha sambathi.  Students are classified as

  1. Mandha adhikari:  When SCS is low.  The problem is vedantic teaching is not received properly.  They feel vedanta is irrelevant teaching for our day to day life.  Vedanta appears mostly impractical.  These people should acquire SCS by karma yoga and upasana.  For these people vedanta sravanam will also be a karma yoga.  For a mandha adhikari, there is no gyanam or gyana palam (jivan mukthi) through vedanta.
  2. Madhyama adhikari when SCS is reasonable.  Vedanta appeals to him; knowledge also comes to him but he doesn’t get the gyana palam.  Jivan mukthi is not there.  Gowdapadha deals with this madyama adhikar.  Gyanam but no gyana palam.  Gyanam and samsara co-exist.  There is a block in converting gyanam into benefit because there is a block.  What is removing the block which is insufficient SCS.
  3. Uthama Adhidkari. when SCS is high.  He gets gyanam and gyana palam from vedantic study.  He gets intellectual knowledge and emotional transformation.  These people do not require any other sadhana.  Gyanam is gyana palam.