Monday, 12 December 2011

Kathopanishad - Chapter II


1st Valli

It has been stated – ‘He is hidden in all beings, and hence does not appear as the Ätmä. However, He is seen through a pointed and fine intellect (I.3.12). The question naturally is, what is the obstacle to the intellect, because of which obstacle the Ätmä is not known. The second chapter begins with the first mantra showing Ätmä as the cause of that non-perception. When the cause of the obstacle is known, effort can be made to overcome the same.
Lord Yama-Devi Jagadamba Temple-Khajuraho
Tr. - The Lord destroyed every possibility (of knowing the Ätmä) by making the sense-organs face outward. Therefore, people see the outer objects, and not the Ätmä within. Only a rare discriminating person, desiring immortality, turns his/her eyes within and sees the Ätmä within. (II.1.1)

Tr. - The unintelligent people pursue the external objects; and become entangled in the net of death. Therefore, the discriminating people who know what immortality is, do not desire impermanent objects. (II.1.2)

In the 1st Chapter, 2nd Valli, The moment Lord Yama said, ‘I got to know that nitya-tattva by performing the Naciketägni (I.2.10); immediately Naciketä said – ‘Please teach me that nitya-tattva.’(1.2.14)

In this chapter, Lord Yama then goes on explaining this in various manner by saying ‘etat vai tat’ – (that which you asked, O! Naciketä.)

Omniscience of Ätmä  

Tr. - That through people perceive form, taste, odour, sound, touch and conjugal pleasure, is indeed That, which you asked (O! Naciketä). (II.1.3)

Tr. - Having known the great and all-pervasive Self, through which a person perceives the objects both in sleep and waking state, a wise person does not grieve. (II.1.4)

Tr. - Anyone who knows this Ätmä as oneself, as the karma-phala-bhoktä-experiencer of all actions, bestowing life to all, ruler of the past and the future, and knowing Him to be near him, is not afraid of anything. (II.1.5)

Tr. - That which was before the five great elements, and manifested as Hiranyagarbha by His tapas, That who is in everyone’s intellect, one who knows thus alone knows – This is That. (II.1.6)

Tr. - This nitya-tattva is the Aditi. It manifests along with all beings and remains in the intellect. One who knows Him thus, alone knows - This is That. (II.1.7)

Tr. - Just as the pregnant women carefully protect their foetus, just as the fire is hidden within two aranis, That to whom people offer oblations daily – That Fire is That. (II.1.8)

Tr. - By which tattva, the Sun rises, sets, and into which all deities are offered, that which cannot be superseded by anyone – This is That. (II.1.9)

Tr. - That which is here is there; similarly, what is there is here. He who sees duality here goes from death to death. (II.1.10)

Tr. - This (tattva) is to be known through the mind indeed. There is no duality here. One, who sees duality here, goes from death to death. (II.1.11)

(‘manasä-evam-idam-äptavyam’ - II.1.11 is apparently contradicted by Kena mantra – ‘yam mansä na manute’, ---- This is clarified in the ‘Brahmasutra’)

Tr. - The Purusha, is of the size of the thumb, resides within the physical body. Knowing Him to be the ruler of the past and the future, one does not want to save the Ätmä. This is That. (II.1.12)

Tr. - The Purusha, who is of the size of the thumb, is like light without smoke. He is the ruler of the past and the future. He exists today and will exist tomorrow. This is That. (II.1.13)

The Upanishad again presents a refutation of the perception of duality with reference to Brahman,

Tr. - As water rained from an inaccessible height gets dispersed on the lower hilly regions, similarly, one who sees duality, pursues after the duality. (II.1.14)
(And to think that there are philosophy/ies about duality, which is evident to everyone unexposed to the Upanishad/s).

Now the Upanishad states as to how the Ätmä is known,

Tr. - O Gautama! Just as pure water poured on pure water becomes verily the same; so also the Ätmä of the wise man. (2.1.15)

One who understands this nitya-tattva goes back to that, just as the rainwater from the clouds.

Lastly one question emerges naturally – Why are we not being able to understand this nitya-tattva that was so well presented by Lord Yama? The explanations are given in the next Valli.

 2nd Valli



Recap
In the previous Valli, Lord Yama presented the nitya-tattva in various manner saying – ‘etat vai tat’. Still it is difficult to understand that nitya-tattva Brahman. Hence, Lord Yama continues to explain that tattva again in another method.

Tr. - That tattva remains in the city of eleven gates. Meditating on Him, one becomes free from grief, and free being already free – This is indeed That. (II.2.1)

(II.2.1 is pramäna-väkya for the law of Jivan-mukta in Advaita)

Tr. As the moving sun, He dwells in the sky, as Väyu He pervades all and dwells in the space, as the fire He resides on the earth, as Soma He stays in the container, He lives among people, among the celestials, in the truth, in the space. He is existent in the water and earth in various forms, in the mountains as the rivers. He is unchanging; He is great. (II.2.2 c.f. RV-IV.40.5)

Tr. - He that takes up the präna, and makes the apäna enter inside, all the deities worship Him, who sits in the middle. This that is in the heart of all. (II.2.3)

Tr. - That which remains after the falling of the physical body, This is That. (II.2.4) (meaning That makes the präna and the senses function)

Tr. - No mortal can live without präna-apäna, but all live by something else, due to which these two find base. (II.2.5)

Tr. - O Gautama! I shall tell you of this secret, Brahman; and also what happens to the Ätmä after death. (II.2.6)

Tr. - Some souls enter the womb for acquiring bodies, and others assume the motionless forms (trees), all in accordance with their deeds and in conformity with their knowledge. (II.2.7)
(This is pramäna-väkya for the theory/law of reincarnation.)

The Upanishad now speaks of the secret of Brahman about which it was promised, ‘I shall tell’.

Tr. - That Purusha who is awake when everyone is asleep, He who goes on creating desirable objects even when the senses fall asleep, That pure tattva Brahman, That is called Amrta (Immortal). The whole creation is based on Him, and there is nothing can transcend Him. That is indeed That. (II.2.8)

An analogy -

Tr. - Just as the fire, though one, entering the world assumes different forms, so also That remains as the Antarätmä in each being, and remains outside also. (II.2.9)

Another analogy -

Tr. - Just as the air, though one, entering the world assumes different forms, so also That remains as the Antarätmä in each being, and remains outside also. (II.2.10)

Since it should not be construed that if a single entity is the Ätmä of all, then all the sorrows of the world would belong to the Brahman Itself, Upanishad says - 

Yet another analogy –

Tr. - Just as the Sun, which is the eyes of the whole world, is not affected by the defective sight of the onlooker, similarly the Ätmä, that is but one in all being, is not affected by the afflictions of the world. (II.2.11)

Tr. - The wise person, who sees this Lord of all beings who controls all, and has become many in his heart always, obtains happiness, not someone else. (II.2.12)

Tr. - That who is the timeless amongst all temporary beings, That which is the consciousness of sentient jagat, That which makes the desires, the wise man sees that inside Him and obtains happiness, not someone else. (II.2.13)

Listening to this nitya-tattva and the peace it brings about to the knower, Naciketä asked,

Tr. - How can I know this tattva, which gives änanda and sänti. Is that self-effulgent, does it shine distinctly or not? (II.2.14)

To this question Yamaraj replied,
Tr. - The Sun does not shine there, neither the Moon nor the Stars; nor the flashes of lightening shine. What to talk of this Agni? He alone shines; everything else shines after Him through His lustre. (II.2.15)

This mantra II.2.15 is in other Upanishads in to to.

3rd Valli




In the first mantra of this Valli, Yamaraja gives another imagery of ‘etat vai tat’. The Upanishad presents the samsära as an Asvattha tree. Its root system if facing up and the branches are hanging down. The roots are in the nitya-tattva. That is Brahman, That is Amrta. All the regions are based on That. No one can transcend That. This is That (you asked). (II.3.1)

(This  imagery of Asvattha tree compared to the samsara, is repeated in the BhagavadGitä-XV.)




Yamaräja continues to present That Brahman thus,

Tr. - This is the präna. The whole universe emerges and moves because of This Brahman, which is a great terror like an uplifted thunderbolt. Those who know This become immortal. (II.3.2)

Yamaräja then explains how the order is maintained because of Its presence –

Tr. - Out of fear of Him fire burns, out of fear of Him the Sun shines, out of fear of Him, Indra, Väyu and Death perform their duties. (II.3.3)

(The concept of II.3.3 is repeated in Taittiriya Upanishad-II.8.1).

Tr. - If one succeeds in knowing Him before the fall of the physical body, one becomes free; else, because of that one continues to be born in the world of creatures. (II.3.4)

(This concept is a famous and oft-quoted mantra in Kenopanishad-II.5)

Yamaräja continues to explain the spirit of the mantras –

Clarity of Vision of Atma is maximum here

Tr. - That tattva is clearly seen here in the intellect, just as the reflection in the mirror, in the Pitrloka It is seen like in the dream, in Gandharva-loka as seen in water. However, in Brahmaloka It is seen as clearly as light and shade. (II.3.5) (Since it is very difficult to go to Brahmaloka, one should strive to know That in this life.)

Now Yamaräja explains how to know That and the necessity of that knowledge.

(This physical body functions with the help of the five senses.)

Tr. - The wise man who knows the differences of the senses and rising and setting, does not grieve. (II.3.6)

Tr. - The mind is superior to the senses, and the intellect superior to the mind and Mahat is superior to the intellect, and the Avyaktam (Unmanifest Creation) is superior to Mahat. (II.3.7)
(This is repetition of mantra I.3.10,  and the concept is repeated in BhagavadGita-III.42)

Tr. - The all-pervasive Purusha is superior to the Avyakta, and is devoid of any attributes. Knowing Him, a man becomes free and obtains immortality. (II.3.8)

Tr. - His form is not within the range of the vision, nobody sees Him with the physical eyes. When this Self is revealed through meditation, it is known by the intellect, the ruler of the mind. Those who know Him become immortal. (II.3.9)

But how can the ruler of the heart be known? For that purpose, Yoga is introduced,

Tr. - When the five senses along with the mind and intellect calm down, that is called the highest state. (II.3.10)

Tr. - Such a state of keeping the senses steady is called Yoga. One becomes alert and vigilant at that time, since Yoga is subject to rising and setting. (II.3.11)

Such a state is achieved through effort and practice,

Tr. That nitya-tattva is not attained through speech, nor mind (contradiction of  mantra II.1.11), nor the eyes. It is not available to anyone other than him, who knows that It indeed is. (II.3.12) (meaning the wise know it as himself/herself)

Tr. - First, the Self is to be accepted as existing, and then as It is really. Of these two aspects, the real nature of the Self that is known as mere existence becomes favourably disposed (for self-revelation). (II.3.13)

Tr. - When all the desires of the mind fall off, then the man becomes free even while alive. He attains the Brahman here. (II.3.14)

(2nd Pramäna-väkya for the theory/law of Jivanmukta in Advaita)

But when the desires will be totally uprooted? Upanishad says –

Tr. - When all the knots of the heart (mind/intellect) fall off, even while the man is alive, then a mortal becomes immortal. This much alone is the teaching of the Upanishad. (II.3.15)

Tr. - The nerves of the mind is 101 in number. Of them, one nerve passes through the crown of the head. Going up through that nerve, one gets immortality. The others who go through different directions, become causes of birth and death. (II.3.16)

Now, with the view to conclude the purport of the chapters, the Upanishad says -

Tr. - The Purusha, the indweller of the body is of the size of the thumb (for visualisation and meditation only) and is ever-seated in the minds of the people. One should unerringly separate Him from the physical body, just as the stalk is separated from the munjä grass. One should know Him as pure and immortal, one should now Him as pure and immortal. (II.3.17)

Tr. - Naciketä having first become free from virtue and vice, and desire and ignorance received this knowledge of Yoga in its totality revealed by Lord of Death, and attained Brahman. Anyone else, too, who becomes a knower like him (Naciketä) attains Brahman. (II.3.18)
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