Mandukya Upanishad, Class 65


After negating other systems of philosophy Gowdapatha is summarizing the teachings of Mandukya Upanishads in verse 29 onwards.  He repeatedly asserted that Brahman alone is the ultimate reality and he is beyond time and space and therefore beyond cause and effect.  Cause and effect are possible only within time.  However, we experience dwaida prabanja and therefore we don’t question or negate the experience of duality; we don’t question or negate the utility of the duality; we don’t question the orderliness of the world.  We question its absolute reality; it can never be absolute reality because the real world can’t be born out of Brahman.  The world is experienceable and useful but not absolute reality and that is called mithya.  It is similar to dream, which is useful, experienced and orderly but it is not absolute reality.  Even though the world is not absolutely real, in the beginning stages a seeker will find it extremely difficult to accept this fact.  Veda recognizes this difficulty of the student; The students refuse to accept because the world is tangible, perceivable and orderly.  Even though they intellectually convinced of the absolute reality, Brahman, but emotionally they have difficulty in negating dwaidam.  Dwaidam is required for relationships.

Vedanta temporarily compromises with adwaidam and claim there is dwaida prabanja.  Upanishad declares the panja poodham came from Brahman; from that shuksham sareeram and sthula sareeram came.  This elaborate creation is mentioned in Upanishads as a compromise.  Several devadas are introduced for Bakthi etc.  Gowdapadha says this is temorary and not permanent.  This temporary acceptance is called adhya rohapa.  The later negation is called apavadhaha.

“Loneliness is samsara; Being alone is moksha”

Verse 43

The beginners continue to be afraid of advaidam and they argue against advaidam and in favor of dwaidam,.  The reasoning is because dwaidam is experienced, tangible, orderly, is useful; it provides for scope for relationship which gives security.  Vedanta compromises; any compromise will have dosham and teaching this dwaidam will have some dosha for the students; the students will get attached to those deities.  The students were attached to the world, but now they are attached to a few deities and their forms.  This disadvantage is there when dwaidam is first introduced.  This very same dwaidam will gradually take him out of it to advaidam.  Therefore, dwaidam is a necessary compromise in the initial stages for the sake of immature students.  This is similar to doctors prescribing medicine even though there are side effects.

Verse 44

Even though the world appears to be real because of its experience, orderliness, tangibility, utility etc. it is not absolutely real.  Gowdapadha gives another example of a magic show conducted by a magician.  A magical elephant appears as a real elephant even though there is no elephant at all.  Ignorant people argue that the dwaida pranbanja exists similar to this elephant.

Verse 45

The appearance of origination of the world; the appearance of the substantiality of the world; the materiality of the world; the motions of the world, in the form of arrival and departure; these are all are nonfactual; the fact is only Brahman.  Birthless Brahman alone appears as born universe; similarly, motionless brahman appears as the moving world; the non-material conscious alone appears as material universe.  The wall is made up of atoms, which are 90% space; but the wall appears solid, even though it is 90% space; similarly, brahman appears as material objects in the universe.

Verse 46

Gowdapadha concludes this series of discussion that started from verse 29.

Chaithanyam is never a cause or an effect; since consciousness birthless, all jivas are birthless.  If jivas are not born at all, there is no question of rebirth at all; there is no need to work to avoid puner jenma.  We don’t solve the problem of punar jenma, but we dissolve the problem; there is no problem requiring a solution; there is no punar jenmam to avoid.  This is the teaching of the Upanishad.  Every seeker has to come to this knowledge that I the advaidam Brahman; jiva, jagat eeswara division is mithya; swami, dasa, peda is mithya;

  • Soham:  I am god (Advaidam)
  • Dasoham: I am dasa of god (Dwaidam)
  • Sadasoham:  I am always god (Advaidam)
  • Dasadasham:  I am always dasa of god (Dwaidam)

This argument goes on forever.

Advaidam sees dwaidam as a means but not an end in itself.  Only by advaida gyanam a person can save from himself from falling into samsara; punar jenma;

Verse 47

Up to 46 verse, Godapadha presented the summary of vedanta with the help of dream example and magic example.  From 47th verse, he is taking another example to convey vedantic teaching:  Alatha dhrishta vadha; this example is from verse 47 to verse 56;  This chapter got the name because of this example.  In this example, Brahman is compared to a small tip of fire, agni.