Mandukya Upanishad, Class 23
अव्यक्ता एव येऽन्तस्तु स्फुटा एव च ये बहिः ।
कल्पिता एव ते सर्वे विशेषस्त्विन्द्रियान्तरे ॥ १५ ॥
(Things) which are (experienced) within are not clear. (Things) which are (experienced) outside are clear. All of them are projected only. The distinction is due to a different sense organ.
In chapter 2 Gaudapada wants to establish Jagan mithyatvam; he wants to convey, “ I”, the subject Turiyam, am absolute reality; everything else, other than me, that is an object or an experience, is not absolute reality. This idea that world is not a reality, is called mithya. The word unreal is not an exact translation of mithya; however, it means relative reality; that is, it is real from a particular point of view and when that standpoint is shifted, it becomes irrelevant.
Citing an example, sunrise and sunset in India is relevant in India but it will be different from a USA perspective. The day is not a day, from USA perspective. Similarly, dates are different, after crossing the international dateline. Date is only a relative date. Pournami is only true from Earth’s point of view, but on the moon it has no relevance. This is called empirical reality.
Gaudapada says waking world is real only from point of view of physical body, where Jagrat prapancha is real. Since humanity looks at world from physical body’s standpoint, therefore, we see it as reality. A relative reality becomes absolute to a section when all people have same reference point of view; thus day and night is same to all people in Madras, but it can’t be true for some other countries.
For physical body, Jagrat prapancha is real, but if you shift to Dream physical body, it becomes unreal; for him dream world becomes real. So, for each physical body its reality is real; but if you change your physical body, your reality changes. This is true of virtual reality as well.
We get this experience in dream, when we are in another reality. Vedanta says, this world is also a virtual reality; change the body and reality changes. So, what is definition of absolute reality? Relative reality changes, what is changing and passing is not absolute reality. Eternity is the definition of absolute reality. Changelessness is definition of absolute reality.
Other suggestions were entertained; they were looked at and then dropped by Gaudapada. They were:
1. Utility is reality. Jagrat prapancha has utility only for jagrat shariram.
That the dream world is useful in dream but not in waking cannot be used to say that it is mithya, similarly the waking world is useful in waking state alone but not in dream, making it mithya also. Both of them are objects of experience, arriving and departing, and conditionally useful. Therefore, It is only a relative reality.
2. Externality: it can’t be true as Jagrat prapancha is external only in jagrat shariram. The same is true with swapna prapancha as well. It is a relative reality.
So just because these worlds appear outside, they cannot be said to be real.
- Objectivity is reality. What is objective is available to all. Thus, this mike is available to all of us to see; hence it is reality. Gaudapada does not accept this definition. He says, thus, Swapna Prapancha is objective and available only in dream and for all people in dream; however, it is not available in Jagrat prapancha. Hence, it is also only a relative reality.
- Clarity is defined as reality. World is clearly perceptible, hence real. Gaudapada says Jagrat prapancha is real only in jagrat shariram. Similarly Swapna Prapancha is clear only in Swapna body. Swapna prapancha is not clear in Jagrat body. Clarity is also a relative reality only or a vyavaharika Satyam. But, here we are discussing paramarthika satyam. Eternity alone is absolute reality.
We rearranged the karikas for better continuity. Thus Karikas # 6 through 8, 7, 9,10, 14 and 15 were studied. Except # 6, all others are suggestions from questionersthat are not accepted by Gaudapada. Crucial karika is # 6. After denouncingother suggestions Gudapada is answering other questioners, so, we go back toKarika # 11.
Swamiji gave us a pre-view of karika # 11. In Karika # 11, a disturbed person raises a question. Jagrat prapancha and Swapna prapancha, both are relative realities. This questioner says, you say whatever I see is relative; you say a perceived god is a relative reality; If you saw god, it is real, but only a relative reality. He wants to know what is absolute reality? Whatever is eternal is real but whatever I see is not eternal. Everything I imagine is in time and space. Even a mystic’s experience is non-eternal, scientific experiences are also non-eternal. What then is eternal is the question?
Gaudapada says Vedanta will disturb you, as whatever you considered important is changed.
Karika # 11:
उभयोरपि वैतथ्यं भेदानां स्थानयोर्यदि ।
क एतान्बुध्यते भेदान्को वै तेषां विकल्पकः ॥ ११ ॥
11. If the objects cognized in both the conditions (of dream and of waking) be illusory, who cognizes all these (illusory objects) and who again imagines them?
Teacher, I am disturbed. You are dismissing everything in swapna prapancha and jagrat prapancha as mithya or relative reality.
When you discuss Swapna Prapancha you are discussing the objects and subjects in a dream. Pramata and prameyam are both discussed. Similarly, Jagrat prapancha when you discuss, you are discussing Jagrat pramata, prameya and Prameyam. If all are false what is real? Who is projector of relative reality or mithya? Changing reality requires a changeless substratum; who is the projector? I can say Waker is projector of dream world. Who is knower, experiencer of the relative universe? What is substratum of absolute reality?
Another way of explaining this Karika # 11, notes from another source:
This verse contains a very profound question. The answer that is equally profound may be difficult to accept. The objector says that he agrees with Gaudapada temporarily that the waking world also is mithya like the dream world. That means questions come up. I know that the dream world is projected by me because we all know that dream is nothing but vasanas, impressions in our minds that we project at the time of dream. Thereafter I myself support the dream world. I am the projector, supporter and later I alone enter the dream world and experience the dream world also. I alone experience my dream using my dream body. I am the projector, supporter, and experiencer of the dream.
If the waking world also is mithya like dream, then who is the projector, supporter and experiencer of the waking world? If I am the projector, supporter and experiencer of the mithya dream world, then for the waking world also, the same rule should apply because both are mithya. If that rule applies, I am the projector, supporter and experiencer of the waking world.
If I am the PSE (projector, supporter, experiencer), what is the meaning of the word ‘I’, physical body or mind? The ‘I’ is neither of them because the body itself is a part of the waking world, which is projected. The mind is also not the projector because the mind is also a part of the projected waking world. I, the projector must be different from the body and mind. The ‘I’ is the consciousness principle, atma. Then the question is how do I do such a thing? It is unbelievable. But then, how do I create a dream world? It is effortless because I have a special Shakti called nidra-shakti. With the help of nidra-shakti, I project a dream universe consisting of dream space, time, stars, moon, etc. Similarly to project the waking world also, I, the atma, have a Shakti called maya-shakti. In previous Upanishads, this maya-shakti is referred to as maya-shakti of Bhagavan. But
in Mandukya Upanishad, it is referred to as maya-shakti of mine. I, as the atma, am capable of doing that.
The body is limited, and the mind is limited but I, the atma, with maya-shakti, project the waking world. With two shaktis, I project two different worlds and both of these worlds are mithya. Once I know that they are mithya, the greatest advantage is that mithya cannot harm the satyam. This is the fourth capsule of Vedanta: I am never affected by any event that takes place in the material world and in the material body. Then the fifth capsule of Vedanta: By forgetting my real nature, I convert life into a burden and by remembering my real nature I convert life into a blessing because I can claim my glory. This is a profound topic
Regarding this topic the objector raises a question. Suppose the objects in both the waking and the dream states are mithya, who is the projector of the waking world? Anything mithya has to be projected.
I know that I am the projector of the dream world. The next questions are who is the supporter and who is the experiencer of the waking world. Gaudapada answers the question of the projector, supporter and experiencer of the waking world in karika # 12. In all the other Upanishads we learnt that there was a Bhagavan who created the world. Now Gaudapada is changing that stand and revealing disturbing news.
Karika # 12:
कल्पयत्यात्मनाऽऽत्मानमात्मा देवः स्वमायया |
स एव बुध्यते भेदानिति वेदान्तनिश्चयः ॥ १२ ॥
12. Ātman, the self-luminous, through the power of his own Māyā, imagines in himself by himself (all the objects that the subject experiences within or without). He alone is the cognizer of the objects (so created). This is the decision of the Vedānta.
This is a very important Karika. Here Gaudapada says. the only reality is you the observer, the Consciouness principle. It alone is not a passing thing. It is there in all three states. In and all through the changing states, only the “I” is constant. What is this “I” must be clear.
When I look at myself from physical body stand point of view, I am a Waker; I am Vishwa. When I am identified with physical body, I am Waker, and it is only temporarily; thus, I, as waker, am relative. I identified with body is only a relative reality. But I, as Consciousness principle, without identification with body, am the eternal principle.
Tatva Bodha says:
- Consciousness is not part, product or property of a body.
- It is eternal.
- It is not limited by boundaries of body.
- It continues even after body ceases to function in sleep or death.
I am not Vishwa, Taijasa orPragya; I am Turiyam, the eternal Consciousness. Through dream body I experience dream world; I continue in sleep as well; I as Turiyam am neither waker or dreamer or sleeper.
When I function as waker, I have time and space. In dream I have a different time and space. Only when I operate through body, do time and space arise. When I don’t function through body I am beyond time and space; I have no duality. In sleep also there is no duality.
Gaudapada says Turiya Atma is absolute reality. After knowing the absolute reality one can put on Vesham of father, brother, son etc. So have the drama; but when actor forgets he is an actor, go to green room and remember your real motive.
Gaudapada says, “I”, the Turiyam, alone has power of Maya. When I choose to operate maya, I am ishwara; without maya, I am Turiyam. When I choose to operate through body, I am karana Ishwara or Vishwa.
I create swapna prapancha and become Taijasa. I create Jagrat prapancha and become Vishwa. Thus Vishwa and Taijasa both are my projections.
When I set aside Maya, I am Turiyam. This I, the atma, I project this world out of myselfeven as I project a dream world out of my own power of vasanas. I project myself from myself by myself. I am subject; I am Object and I am instrument as well.
I create dream world and this swapna prapancha as well. “I” am not this body. Body is also just a creation of mine. I identify with this body and enjoy this world. It is the same with jagrat prapancha as well.
How do I do all this? I do all this through maya. When I operate through maya, I am Saguna Ishwara.
In Upanishad every Gyani has said, I am god. “Be still and know I am god”, says Bible.
As per our vedas every jiva can say, I am god. Having created the universe, this atma comes down as observer,the vishwa or Taijasa.
We are all in this manner avataras.
How do you know this Turiyam?
The moment I try to know, I become a pramata, pramanam and prameya.
You have to use Vedantapramana; it tells you the consciousness is Turiyam. When you look at yourself as “I” the conscious principle, without being knower of something, you are in Turiyam.
When you don’t use any instrument such as eyes, ears, all hoods (fatherhood, brother hood) then you don’t have any experience. Youare the illuminator of absence of all particular experiences or knowledge; this is Turiyam.
This Turiyam is whichavastha? It is available all the time in all three avasthas. I am a human being whether I enjoying teacher hood, I am still human after my teacher status goes. It is same with Vishwa role and Taijasa role etc. Actor is an actor despite role he plays. My Turiyam status can’t be displaced. When Vishwa role goes, I am still Turiyam. Relative roles can’t disturb my absolute status. If it does, then absolute status becomes relative. Vishwa can’t displace Turiyam. I am, I was and I will be Turiyam.
Another way of explaining this Karika; notes from another source:
The answer is whoever is projecting the dream world is the same one that projects the waking world also. Therefore, atma alone projects out of itself the waking world with the help of atma itself. Other than maya-shakti, atma does not need anything else for this projection. The dreamer does not need anything else external to himself other than nidra-shakti for projecting the dream world. In the same way, atma does not require anything other than maya-shakti to project this world. Where does maya come from? Gaudapada says that it is already there in atma similar to the nidra-shakti. That atma alone is called
Bhagavan in the Bhagavad Gita and the puranas. Bhagavan creating is only an expression in puranas, etc. That Bhagavan is not outside in some loka. Bhagavan is nothing other than atma. That is why the upanyasakas use the word Krishnaparamatma to indicate that the creator is not outside but the atma itself.
In the Gita, Krishna says: “ I am the Self, who resides in the hearts of all beings and I am the cause of the creation, sustenance, and resolution of allbeings/things”. Thinking that Bhagavan is outside, people go in search of Bhagavan and do not find him and then they conclude that there is no Bhagavan. It is like the wave going in search of water. The wave going in search of water, the cloth going in search of
thread, and the jiva going in search of Brahman are all foolish efforts. That Bhagavan is none other than I, the atma. Therefore, I am the projector and supporter. I am also the experiencer. I project the dream. To experience the dream world, I need a dream body. Similarly to experience the projected waking world, I use my own physical body. I create the dream and support the dream but my own dream threatens me. This world has become a huge problem for me because of ignorance.To solve the problem, I have to wake up. I am the only truth and I am the essential truth of the creation. This is the final teaching of Vedanta. I have been looking down upon myself as an insignificant creature. Gaudapada says that I am the significant creator. Spiritual journey is from creature to creator.
So, what is definition of absolute reality? Relative reality changes, what is changing and passing is not absolute reality. Eternity is the definition of absolute reality.Changelessness is definition of absolute reality.
Whatever is eternal is real but whatever I see is not eternal.
When I set aside Maya, I am Turiyam. I project myself from myself by myself. I am subject; I am Object and I am instrument as well.
Vedanta tells you the consciousness is Turiyam. When you look at yourself as “I” the conscious principle, without being knower of something, you are in Turiyam.
When you don’t use any instrument such as eyes, ears, all hoods (fatherhood, brother hood) then youdon’t have any experience. You are the illuminator of absence of all particular experiences or knowledge; this is Turiyam.
Thinking that Bhagavan is outside, people go in search of Bhagavan and do not find himand then they conclude that there is no Bhagavan. It is like the wave going in search of water. The wave going in search of water, the cloth going in search of thread, and the jiva going in search of Brahman are all foolish efforts.
With Best Wishes,