Mundakopanishad – 11

By U. Ve. , MahAmahOpAdhyaya, Dr. Sriman Srirangam Nallan Chakravarthy Raghunathacharya Swami: Translated into English by Sriman K.S. Rajaji I.A.S.,
 we continue with the justification by Sri Sudarsana Bhattar – Sri S’ruthaprakAs’ikAcharya for the Brahman to be the material cause and the further objection raised on this statement and the justification-
The objection-
Whichever entity becomes directly the repository for the future gross forms of the subtle materials without any intermediary can be called as UpAdAna – the material cause in mukhya vyavahara – the primary usage. Brahman becomes the repository through the sentient and insentient for all the direct changes or transformations in them and not directly. Such being the case, how can you call Brahman as material cause in the primary usage? It can become at the most in gauNa vyavahara – a secondary usage only.
The reply-
This is a small matter. The question itself is very insignificant. There is no compulsion that a material cause has to be the repository only for the direct transformations from subtle stage into the gross stages. The causatives like the karthA – the doer, karma – the done and KriyA – the doing are becoming the generators of the kArya – the gross stages,  only along with the necessary other objects.  Without the associated other catalytic agents, it is not possible for the doer and done items to get transformed into gross entities. Hence the scriptures are stating clearly and emphatically, that even with the association of other catalytic agencies, such transactions are termed as mukhya vyavahara – the primary only. There are plenty of illustrations supporting this statement. A few of them are given below
1.       “The potter is making a pot”. In this illustration, the pot is the kArya – the transformed object. The potter becomes the doer along with the various other objects like his hands, the potter’s wheel, and the wooden staff to spin the wheel etc. If there is no association with these objects, it is not possible for the pot to be produced at all. The grammar says the subject in this illustration to be the potter only.
2.       “The servant is carrying the water.” In fact what the servant carries is the pot. The water is being carried through the pot only. Thus even though the pot is associated the water getting carried by, the water alone is becoming the primary object.
3.       “He is cooking the food using the dried fire wood”. Here, the firewood is the instrument for change only. But firewood is becoming the instrument for the transformation only through its flames. So if there is no association with the flames the firewood cannot become instrument of change.
4.       “The creation is happening because of the sun.” Here in this illustration, the sun through his rays and through the clouds is becoming the cause for the creation. The sun is not directly becoming the cause, not directly but indirectly only. The sun is becoming the material cause of the fifth dative case.
5.       “The animal is brought for the sacrifice.” Here the animal is not directly used for the sacrifice. Here the vapa – a special fatty part of the goat, is used as the sacrificial offering in the Homa.
6.       “This entire earth is ruled by the Ikshwaaku clan.” Here the rulers belonging to the Ikshwaaku clan are not directly ruling the earth but through their obedient regal and viceroys only. Thus their ruler ship is through their viceroys and regal only. In spite of such being the connection, it has been accepted grammatically on the basis of the relative dative of the sixth case.
7.       “He is lying on the taped cot.”  In this usage, the cot is not becoming direct object for the action of lying down. There in between is the bed sheet and bed as well. Even then it is considered as the primary support by the seventh dative case.
Thus for all the actions to take place, the causes are acting through intermediaries only. Similarly the Brahman also is becoming the material cause for transformation through the sentient and insentient which are inseparable parts of Him. Stating so, is considered to be confirming to primary causative only and not of a secondary in nature. When a man is carrying the water with the pot, it cannot be denied that the man is the base for the water being carried. Though there is an intermediary in the form of a pot, it is the person, who carries the weight of water; he spends his energy in carrying. When carrying the pot only there is no spending the energy of carrying the water. So the man is the support for the water being carried. Likewise, the Brahman is the repository for all the gross sates of the sentient and insentient through His inseparable parts, the sentient and insentient. Hence statement that Brahman is the primary material cause for the transformation into the gross states is acceptable and the objection raised is not sustained.
In this case, there is a very significant point, worth noting.  It is grossly wrong to consider an entity to be the main material cause only because it becomes the direct base. When an intermediary, does not have the capacity to sustain the change, the object which becomes the base for sustaining the change through the intermediary becomes the main repository as per established conventions. In such a case, we consider that the incapable direct repository to be unimportant or as secondary only. Though the bed sheet spread on the bed becomes the direct recipient of a person lying on the bed, it cannot hold him directly. A bed sheet spread on a big hole in the earth, cannot hold the person if he steps on to it directly above the hole. So for the person lying down on the bed sheet the main support or refuge is the cot below the bed and bed sheet. In such a case, it is a fact that the cot becomes the prime refuge or repository for the person and not the bed sheet or bedroll. When it is said – “he is walking on grass”, it is the established practice to call the hard earth on which the grass had grown, as the prime support or refuge for the walker and not the grass with which the walker has direct relationship. In the same way, the subtle sentient and insentient do not have the capabilities to hold the wider gross forms of the sentient and insentient.So it is the Omnipotent Brahman only who can hold the gross forms of the sentient and insentient. Is this not the most appropriate conclusive statement?
Thus it is established that the Brahman, the prime repository for all the subtle and gross forms of sentient and insentient, is the material cause. Thus it is quite obvious that it is possible to know everything about the gross forms of the sentient and insentient, which are derived from the subtle sentient and insentient parts of Brahman only, if one has the knowledge about such Omnipotent, Omniscient Brahman. Thus the statement – “eka vijnAnena sarva vijnAnam” has been proved to be a valid and true statement.
In the next posting we shall see how in this case the qualified monism is justified
Courtesy– Srinivasa Ramanuja DAsan
…To be continued


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