Prasna Upanishad, Class 21


Greetings All,

Swamiji continued his talks on Chapter 6 of Prasna Upanishad.

Sukesa Bharadwaja asks the sixth and last question. Before asking his question he narrates an incident. The Rajput prince Hiranyanabha asked him about the sixteen-part Purusha. Sukesha told him he did not know about this Purusha.  Now, Sukesa, asks his Guru, Pippilada, about this sixteen-part Purusha.  Swamiji asked why narrate the incident at all?

Two reasons were presented:

1)  To teach the value of Satyam. When one does not know the answer, one should not give the wrong answer. One should accept one’s ignorance.

2)  A prince approached Sukesha Bharadwaja. This indicates he , Sukesha, was held in high esteem. The fact that he did not know the answer indicates that it is a rare knowledge. Here rareness of knowledge is emphasized.

Finally student asks where the sixteen-part Purusha is? He does not ask who the sixteen-part Purusha is first. Swamiji says, this maybe because he may have some idea about whom he is. So the question is who is he? And where is he?

Shloka # 2:

To that student, who has approached his Guru properly, who is truthful and deserving this knowledge, Guru Pippilada says:

O Somya, or Pleasing one, He is within the body within Hridayam as the awareness.

Note: Shankara says: When a student is deserving, the teacher has to impart him knowledge.

Brahman in Antahakarana means it is manifest in anatahakarana. It is outside as well and as such all-pervasive. Being all-pervasive does not mean it manifests everywhere. This is the answer to the question where is the Purusha.

Now, who is this Purusha? Purusha, here, means Brahman. Upanishad says Purusha is Niravyavam or Niskalaha. Student is asking about Sakala Purusha, while Brahman is Nishkala.

Teacher is going to reveal Nishkala (without limbs) Brahman. How can Teacher reveal a Brahman without Limbs? Where eyes do not go, intellect does not go, how can one reveal such a Brahman? So, an extraordinary method is used. It is called Adhyaropa Apavada. It is a four-step process.

First step: Introduce the world itself as an effect or Karyam. Material world, according to our experience, is always there. The world of matter is always there. It is also called Jada Prapancha.

Second step: If the world is a Karyam, then there must be a Karanam, which people do not know about. The cause of the Material universe is Satyam or Gyanam. Gyanam or Chaitnaya is the cause of matter.

Note: As per Science, matter is the basis and Consciousness is the product of matter or life.

First and second step together are called Adyaropa or Srishti.

Third Step: Karyam does not have an existence separate from Karanam. I have to show this. I am negating Karyam as separate from Karanam.There is no matter separate from Consciousness.

Fourth Step: Once Karya Budhi is negated, Karana kartavyam is negated from Karanam.

The third and fourth steps together are known as Apavada.

From Pot thought to Clay thought or Clay Budhi. Keeping clay thought , where is the pot? It does not exist. Keeping eye on clay, I negate the Pot (Karyam). Clay can be the cause only as long as Pot is there.

Therefore Clay thought is> Clay was>Clay will be. The word pot caused the confusion.

At this stage Avasishtam or Jada Rahita Chaitanya remains or Adhyaropa Chaitanya or consciousness alone is. Adhyaropa Parkriya begins as Srishti.

Srishti is explained in different Upanishads in different ways. Thus, there are Krama, Akrama, and Vikrama Srishti’s. Why this inconsistency in Upanishads? It is only a temporary introduction, eventually it is all negated.

In Prasna Upanishad Srishthi is introduced as the sixteen parts. Using the sixteen parts Purusha, the teacher reveals the Nishkala Purusha.

Thus, the sixteen-part Purusha is born from Nishkala Purusha and then again resolved in Brahman.

Thus: Sixteen part Purusha> Born from Brahman> Again Resolved in Brahman.

Sodasha Kala Adishtanam Param Brahma is a new name for Brahman.  Swamii says Shodasha Kala is only an indicator for Brahman.

One more question can come up. When we say Brahman is Karanam, how can Brahman be the Karanam? Karanam undergoes change. Thus, Clay becomes pot or changes to pot. Here Shankara says: Brahman is Karanam. It does not mean Brahman is Karanam. Karanatvam is only a temporary status assigned to Brahman. So, don’t go deep into it. It is for this that the concept of Maya is introduced. Karanathvam is Maya.

This sixteen part Material universe is the basis for Universe. What are the sixteen Kalas?

{My Notes: Got this from internet on Adhyaropa Apavada. In the Vedanta, even though the Supreme Purport is in Advaita, we do encounter passages declaring creation implying the duality of a created world (and jIva-s) and the Creator Brahman. This suggests a cause-effect relationship between Brahman and the world. One can appreciate this seeming contradiction, that is, the declaration of Advaita on the one hand and the presence of creation passages on the other, by understanding the principle of adhyAropa – apavAda or the Method of Deliberate Superimposition and Negation.

The source of this idea is the explanation of the principle by Swami Paramarthananda in the course of his mANDUkya kArikA discourse.

The example of a pot is considered for the purpose of understanding the principle. I have a ‘pot’ vision. The teacher wants to change this vision of mine as he wants me to have the correct vision, that of the clay. This is accomplished in FOUR stages:

Stage 1. The pot is presented as the effect of clay.

Stage 2. Clay is presented as the cause of the pot.

Stage 3. Now, the teacher asks me to find out if I can see the pot without the clay. I look at the pot on all sides and conclude that everywhere it is clay alone. It is not available as different from clay, its cause. The conclusion: the effect is non-different from the cause.

Stage 4. This much is not enough, for the concept of cause and effect does exist. Now the teacher states that since it was concluded that the effect does not exist apart from the cause, it would be correct to hold that the cause alone really exists. But this still limits the cause as a cause. The vision born of wisdom is: There is no longer any need to call the clay as the cause. As clay alone matters in that wise vision, it would be appropriate to divest the clay of its status of a cause. Thus, divested of this status, clay remains as the one that transcends the cause-effect duality.

The first two stages are the ‘adhyAropa’ stages where the ‘effect’- hood of the pot and the ’cause’-hood of the clay were superimposed deliberately. This is done in order to afford the foundation for finally negating them and driving home the non-dual nature.

The latter two stages constitute the ‘apavAda’ stages where the supposed effect-hood of the pot is negated and even its substantiality is shown to be only in the clay. The pot is shown to be insubstantial as apart from its substance, the clay. Next, and finally, even the causehood of the clay is negated, for when the effect-hood is admitted to be of no consequence, to accord the cause- status to the clay is meaningless. The clay can exist without that definition as the cause.}

{My Notes: More From Internet on Adhyaropa Prakriya:

“May I add my own (2 cents), more with the idea of learning more on the fundamentals of Advaita Vedanta.

Adhyasa is not Knowledge. Adhyasa leads to �mithya-gnanam� and because of this �mithya-gnanam� one makes wrong conclusions about himself and the world. It is mithya-gnanam because such knowledge changes (budhi vyabhicharati) when one enquires into it.

Adhyasa takes place, just like cooking takes place, when the various factors required for adhyasa to take place are present. This is a natural law.

Adhyaropa and Apavada is the methodology or prakriya used in Vedanta for one to understand that Adhyasa exists and it is like a natural law, but it leads to mithya gnana and fools people. The prakriya is used only to correct the mithya-gnana, (and not to remove Adhyasa) because the appearance of one thing as another thing, or one thing appears as having the qualities of another thing and vice-versa, can continue. The prakriya has nothing to do with the objects, as all it does is to correct one�s Budhi, i.e. intellect, so that one does no more get fooled by the mithya-gnana resulting from Adhyasa.

Samsara, rather Samsara Budhi, takes place only because of Adhyasa i.e. Atmani Anatma Budhi and Anatmani Atma Budhi,(intellectual appreciation of what is real as unreal and what is unreal as real). The Adhyaropa-Apavada Prakriya removes this wrong intellectual appreciation, and corrects it with Atmani Atmabudhi and Anatmani Anatmabudhi (intellectual appreciation of what is real as real and what is unreal as unreal). “}

With best wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy