Mandukya Upanishad, Class 54


In the first five verses, Gowdapadha offered namaskara to guru and talked about the glory of teaching.  From the sixth verse to 10th, Gowdapadha summarizes the vedantic teaching.  Verses 6, 7 and 8 are repetition of the third chapter verses 20, 21 and 22.

If the nature of paramatma is not clearly understood, it will create several misconceptions and the idea of moksha itself will be long; converting moksha to a future event, which is logically not possible.  If our sadhana is in proper direction, the nature of paramatma should be very clear.  People commit two mistakes:

  1. First mistake is thinking that Paramatma now has becomes jivatma due to maya or avidya.  One day we will become paramatma.  Parmatma becoming jivatma is samsara and jivatma becoming paramatma is moksha.  However, paramatma can never become jivatma therefore there is no question of jivatma becoming paramatma.  Paramatma is not subject to modification, therefore he can’t become anything.  Paramatma misunderstood is jivatma and jivatma properly understood is paramatma.
  2. Second mistake is thinking Jivatma was with parmatma before and that jivatma was separated from paramatma.  Jivatma has to trek and toil and gradually go nearer and nearer to paramatma.  This implies some kind of merger with jivatma and paramatma and that is moksha.  This is blunder number 2 because there is no question of anything coming from paramata because paramatma is all pervading principle.  In the field of two finite things, separation and unit is possible; but in the case of infinite all pervading paramatma there is no separation and unity.  Separation is not a physical event, but a misconception.

First point is there is no question of becoming paramatma; second point is there is no question of joining paramatma.

Verse 7

Immortal paramatma can never become mortal jivatma.  Mortal jivatma can never become immortal paramatma.  Finite can’t become infinite through a process; infinite can’t become finite.  When we say I want to become liberated means “become” immortal.  Does immortal want to become mortal or mortal wants to become immortal.  Very attempt for liberation is misconception.  Liberation is from the idea that I need to get liberated.  That idea itself is wrong and understanding that idea is wrong is moksham.  The essential nature of a thing can never undergo a change.  If mortality is my essential nature, I will remain mortal; if immortality is my real nature, I need not work for immortality.

Verse 8

Gowdapdha makes a supposition to satisfy others:  For the sake of argument, let us assume that paramatma has become jivatma.  By doing sadhanas, struggling jivatma trying to become paramatma.  Immortal paramatma has becomes mortal jivatma; If immortal paramatma can becomes mortal jivatma once, what is the guarantee that the immortal paramatma will not become mortal jivatma.

The same argument holds true for merger also; If you join the paramtama by joining, what is guarantee that you will be with paramatma all the time.  If you separated once, what is the guaratee you will not be separated again?

There is no question of becoming or joining paramtams; Moksha is not becoming or joining paramatma.  It is knowing that I was paramtma, I am paramatma and I will ever be paramatma.  It is pure ignorance and error.  What we need to do is correct the error.  Gyanam is the only solution.   Vedanta does not fulfill your expectation; it says your expectation is wrong.

Verse 9

Here Gowdapadha defines essential nature.  Paramatma’s essential nature is immortality.  He gives four examples for essential nature:

  1. Extraordinary powers accomplished by sidha purusha, which he accomplished through many sadhanas in previous births.  When a person practices those sadhanas in the previous jenma, they get miraculous powers.  Those powers are his own intrinsic nature.
  2. Intrinsic properties of certain materials like heat of the fire.  Similarly paramatma’s intrinsic nature is immortaltiy
  3. Inborn faculties of certain living being.  Like flying capacity of birds; swimming capacity of fish;
  4. Certain natural traits of certain objects in the creation.  Like water flowing downwards.  These traits will never disappear.

Similarly, paramatma’s intrinsic nature is immortality.

Verse 10

Gowdapadja concludes the summary of vedanta.  Whatever is natural, I will be comfortable with that.  If anything, unnatural enters the system, then the system struggles.  Mortality is not my nature, but immortality is my nature.  But I have conditioned myself to the thought that I am mortal.  Ignorance is an unique principle which does not have a beginning but can have an end.  Because of the beginning-less ignorance, there is the mistake that I am mortal, and you eliminate that mistake.   Understanding that there is no samsara to remove, is figuratively called removing samsara.