Mandukya Upanishad Class 66


After negating all the other systems of philosophy, Gowdapadha is summarizing vedantic teachings of Mandukaya Upanishad, from 29 to 46th verses.  He summarized with the help of dream example.  From 47th verse to 56th verse, he is summarizing the same teaching by changing the example.

Alantham means torch – a flaming fire with a handle.  For our study, we will take incense stick as alantham, instead of the fire with a handle.  The glowing fire tip is compared to Brahma Chaithanyam.  We are taking this incense stick with a glowing tip in a dark room.  You are moving in the dark room, creating many patterns.  These patterns are generated by the motion of the fire tip.  These patterns can be straight, circular – you can get any number of patterns with the motion of fire tip.  These pluralistic patterns are compared to dwaida prabanja – objects of the world.  So alandham is compared to Brahman and the patterns are compared to dwaida prabanja.

  1. Ekam and anekam:  This incense stick has one glowing stick whereas the patterns are anekam or dwaidam.  Similarly, Brahman is ekam and the dwaida prabanja is anekam.
  2. Swayamparakasam and paratha prakasam:  The glowing fire tip is self-effulgent or self-revealing or self-evident; similarly Brahman is also self-effulgent or self-evident or self-revealing..  Dwaida prabanja is paratha prakasm.
  3. Karanam and kariyam:  When this glowing tip is in motion because of its motion, varieties of pattern are generated.  Therefore, the moving fire tip becomes the karanam or cause.  The patterns are kariyam.
  4. Sudandaram and parathantharam:  This alantham or fire tip can exist independently in the dark room; whereas the patterns can’t exist independently.

We can extend this that one fire tip in motion appears as many patterns; similarly, chaithanyam is responsible for the appearance of the prabanja.  In jagrath and swapna, the chaithanyam is in motion because of thought and therefore there is the appearance of jagrath prabanja and swapna prabajna; in shusukthi, chaithanyam is not in motion, because thoughts are not in motion and we do not experience jagrath prabajanja or swapna prabanja.  There is no dwaida prabanja other than chaithanyam.

  1. In the case of fire tip, the motion is a real phenomenon; in the case of chaithanyam the motion is an apparent motion caused by thoughts or maya.  When the maya ends, when there are no thoughts in sushukthi, there is no objects.  Chaithanyam sathyam and jagath mithya.  Chaithanyam doesn’t have real motion only seeming motion.
  2. We do say that the fire tip is the karanam and the patterns are kariyam.  We initially accept this karana kariya sambandha.  But later we reject this karana kariya sambantha because sambandha requires two things; but alandham and abasa can’t be counted as two because the patterns do not exist separate from the incense stick.  They are together as one substance.  We initially accept clay as the karanam and pot as the kariyam.  Later we do not accept this because there is no substance called pot.  They are two names for the same substance.  Similarly, we do not accept karana kariya sambandha between Brahman and Jagath; they are both one and the same.  Motionless consciousness is Brahman, moving consciousness is world; there is not kariya karana sambandha.  Brahman is beyond kariyam and karanam

At micro level, this is caused by thought and at macro level is is caused by maya.  There is no world separate from consciousness in motion.

In the next sloka, the vethireka logic is discussed.  When there is no fire tip, there is no pattern.  When consciousness is absent, the world doesn’t exist.  Therefore, there is no world separate from the consciousness.  Anvaya is co-present and vethireka is co-absent.

Verse 48

Patterns are no more created or generated when there is no fire tip.  Only the motion of fire tip causes the pattern.  If the patterns are not there, this fire tip can no longer be called the cause or akaranam.  When there are no patterns, kariyams are not there and therefore there is no kariyam.  In the same way, when the consciousness is without motion – when maya is not there in cosmic lever (pralayam) or when thoughts are not there (sushukthi) – there is no objective world.  When it is without dwaida prabanja, consciousness is not even a karanam.  Only when there is a prbanja then alone you can say it is a kariyam.  Therefore, there is no jagat separate from chaithanyam.

Verse 49

When you try to analyze the nature of the appearance of those patterns, when the alantham is in motion, the patterns appear.  Do the patterns come from outside and they are sticking to the alantham.  Can you say the patterns come from inside out of the fire tip?  Patterns do not come from inside or outside of the fire tip.  Similarly, when the alantham comes to rest, then all the patterns disappear.  Where did they go?  Do the patterns go outside the alantham or did they go inside the alantham?  You can’t say they come from outside; or inside; you can’t say they go inside or outside.  Similarly, when the world appears and disappears, you can’t say the world come from inside or outside of Brahman.  When the pralayam happens, you can’t say it went inside or outside of Brahman.  Because there is no substance called pattern; since there is no substance called pattern, you can’t discuss its arrival or departure.  Similarly, you can’t discuss the arrival or departure of the world, because there is no substance called world.

Verse 50

  1. Patterns do not come from inside the fire tip.  The patterns do not emerge from the fire tip.
  2. Patterns do not come from outside the fire tip.  When the fire tip is in motion, you do see the pattern, but they do not come outside.
  3. Patterns do not go outside the fire tip.  When the fire tip is not in motion, the patterns disappear, but they do not go outside.
  4. Patterns do not go inside the fire tip.

Why is it we are not able to logically explain the pattern?  Because we assumed that the pattern is a substance similar to assuming bangle is a substance.  We have made a similar assumption regarding the world also.  All these problems are because patterns are not substantial; it is a mere nama and roopa.  When substance is not there, how can you talk about arrival or departure.  World never comes, never goes because world never is.  Pattern never comes; pattern never goes; because pattern never is.  The patterns do not have an isness of their own and that isness belongs to fire tip.  This is mithya.  If you practice this method of thinking, you will understand that bangle, table etc. are nama roppa.  Later you have to extend this to the whole universe.

With regards to Brahma chaithanyam, you have to extend the same argument also.  Dwaida parbanja is also an appearance like the pattern.  Consciousness in motion appear as akasa, vayu, agni, jalam, earth, sthula sareeram, sukshma sareeram, sthula parabanja, shukshma prabanja.  This is difficult but the ultimate truth

Verse 51

Gowdapatha gives the same four statements for consciousness also.  Verse 51 and 52 are similar to verse 49 and 50.

When consciousness is in motion, the dwaida prabanja appears but you can’t say it is real.

Because there is no substance called world.  It is nothing but nama and roopa; consciousness itself in motion is mistaken is world.

  1. Dwaida prabanja does not come from consciousnes
  2. Dwaida prabanja does not from outside consciousness
  3. dwaida prabja does not go inside the consciousness
  4. Dwaida prabnja does not go outside the consciouss.