Mundakopanishad – Part 2



The second issue of the Mundakopanishat. Adiyen expresses his sincere gratitude to Sriman Raghunathacharyaswamy for the permission to share the book with the group members. Thanks to Sriman Rajaji Swamy for the translation into English. The second part is given below-
Continued from previous posting.
This may be true. But how is the supernatural womb and how was the universe born out of it? Due to a combination of factors like the soil, the seed and the water, a seed may sprout and grow into a tree, but from the Brahman who has been described by the S’ruthis as immutable is it possible for the universe to be born or created? Equally, is it possible for it to merge in Him? Angirasa Commented on these matters also. The Akshara Brahman is not perceptible to the sense organs or to the motor organs. The Brahman is very subtle and unlike the human beings, is not limited by the body limbs or physical senses. He is eternally all-pervasive and very subtle. The elders say that the Brahman is the material cause for the entire universe. There is nothing more majestic, more pervasive or subtler than the Brahman. It is the sentient Form of the Supreme Lord. He has an amazing divinely auspicious Form and there is a place (SriVaikuntam) where He abides with great Majesty. He is omniscient; He does not have to put in any effort for the creation. Just by His will, He is capable of creating in a perfect manner this expansive universe. The manner in which this universe which has different forms was created and the manner in which it is dissolved (resumed) is explained in a very appropriate manner in the 8th mantra of the 1st Khanda. Let us study the examples given therein.

1. The spider brings out of its mouth some liquid matter (saliva) and weaves a web. After some time, the spider withdraws that web into itself. The spider needs no help of others for the weaving the web, nor does it require any external material. In the same manner, the Lord without any extraneous expectation or help, He by Himself, has become the Cause for everything.
2. Many creepers, bushes, plants, trees are born from the earth. Subsequently, they merge with the earth. For these trees, plants etc., which among themselves are different, the cause (the source) is the earth, which remains stable, suffering no change and is of the same form. In the same way, the immutable Brahman could be the cause for the Universe.
3. Even though the nails, the skin and hair are growing from the human body, it is not possible to say that for all of them, the body is the principal cause. All this happens only when the JivA is in the body. In absence of the JivA in the human body, the above are not created, is it not? It is seen thus that the sentient being is the cause for these insentient to come up and grow. In a similar way, it is possible that from the Akshara Brahman, the Universe, which is of different nature than Brahman, consisting of Chit and Achit, may be born.
These three examples explain the mystery of the universe. While explaining, the fact that the Brahman is the main cause (for the Universe) also is justified. These examples are majestic in the meaning, which is embedded in them. The readers may study in the main book a special discussion of these matters and a detailed philosophical analysis of the statement “by knowing One, one can know everything.”  Expatiating on it from the angle of VisishtAdvaita would be most enlightening.

Khanda- 2

The second and third Khandas begin with the sentence “tadetat sathyam”. In this Upanishad, Brahman is principally discoursed on. This Brahman has no birth, no growth and no decay. It has no change and is always in the same form. It is called Satyam (the one without any change).  All those who wish to attain such a Brahman, need to perform the Yajnas – the sacrifices and other rituals, which are prescribed in the Mantras.  Many of the grihasthas – the householders are having the three eternal fires in which the sacrificial offerings are being offered.  They should perform with those sacrificial fires the rituals especially the Yajnas, not for the sake of temporary ephemeral and transient fruits to be obtained in this nether world but for the sake of attaining the Eternally Existent Brahman.  This is the safe path (means) to attain the permanent abode of the Brahman. Please perform with sincerity, as is prescribed in the SAstras, the Darsa, Purnamasa Agrayana and Vaisvadevams etc., with Agnideva, in the form of sacrificial fires, glowing with the seven flames.  Honour the guests. If through the Homa you do not satisfy the three fires in your house with oblations, these fires, dissatisfied with your inattention, would punish your family for seven generations, making it devoid of happiness.

If you perform the Yajnas, seeking the joys of attaining upper regions like heaven, up to that of the four-faced god, the offerings given by you join the rays of Sun and take you to the realms; but you will find that even those worlds are non-permanent. Hence seeking those transient joys is ignorance. After the merits earned by them are spent and exhausted, rebirth is certain for them. They cannot escape it. If following such ignorant persons, others also do seek through their Yajnas temporary pleasures, (fruits of sacrifice) it would be like a person taking the help of a blind person and will not be able to see the thing he desires. Hence only when a person is not seeking any fruit (reward) and with such intent is performing these Yajnas purely out of the love for the Lord, the seeker will obtain knowledge of Brahman, due entirely by the grace of the Lord. As has been said in GitA “dadaami buddhiyogam tam” will be rid of his sins and obtain knowledge of the Brahman. The seeker would be able to travel beyond the sUrya mandalam, the region of the Sun, and reach the SriVaikuntam, the residence of the Supreme Lord. Hence, he, who has no desire to attain the impermanent pleasures of heaven etc., should seek a good AchArya to acquire the knowledge of Brahman, who is the means for obtaining the eternal liberation. The good AchArya, who is endowed with the knowledge of the Vedanta and devotion to the Brahman should test the fitness of the disciple and then impart the knowledge of the Akshara Brahman. The qualities of an AchArya and SishyA are discussed in length in the text.
…….to be continued.

Courtesy — Srinivasacharyulu

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