Kathopanishad by Swamini Svatmavidyananda

Video Recording – http://livestream.com/Swaminiji/events/5324372

Class on June 2nd 2016. This is a continuation from the earlier class. 2nd Adhyaaya’s 3rd Valli’s first shloka along with Shankara’s commentary has been completed in the earlier class.

Other references:


Chapter 2 — Canto 3Verse 1

ऊर्ध्वमूलोऽवाक्शाख एषोऽश्वत्थः सनातनः ।
तदेव शुक्रं तद्ब्रह्म तदेवामृतमुच्यते ।
तस्मिँल्लोकाः श्रिताः सर्वे तदुनात्येति कश्चन ।
एतद्वै तत् ॥ १ ॥
ऊर्ध्व-मूलः अवाक्-शाखः एषः अश्वत्थः सनातनः | तदेव शुक्रं तद्ब्रह्म तदेव अमृतम् उच्यते ।
तस्मिन् लोकाः श्रिताः सर्वे तद्-उन अत्येति कश्चन । एतद्वै तत् ॥ १ ॥

This is the सनातन ancient Asvatha-Peepal tree whose ऊर्ध्व-मूलः roots are above and अवाक्-शाखः whose branches spread below. एतद्वै तत् – This verily is that!   This is the mahaa vaakya that is repeatedly mentioned. Here तत् – the pronoun “that” does not refer to the earlier noun which is the samsaara tree that is present upside-down. Rather, तद्ब्रह्म “that” refers to Brahman. तदेव शुक्रम् –That is verily purity. It is un-afflicted. तत् उ न अत्येति कश्चन – none can transcend it – It is not outside the scheme of things. Ignorance makes Jagat into Samsaara. Brahman is not outside this samsaara. Brahman is the truth of this samsaara. Ishwara is neither inside nor outside space. Space is Ishvara. उ is for emphasis. तदेव अमृतम् उच्यते – It is also called the immortal. Free from birth and death. तस्मिन् लोकाः श्रिताः सर्वे – All the worlds of this Samsaara are as-though realities that lean on Brahman.

Samsaara is very addictive. Samsaara causes affliction. We continuously seek the infinite in the finite due to our ignorance. In this verse, like the aversion therapy carried out for de-addiction, an aversion or distaste for the Samsaara, the very object of addiction, is being developed. Shabda Pramaana is an important therapy for the afflicted individual. Poorva Punya is required even to realize that one is caught up in Samsaara and to have the desire to get out of it. रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य – B.G. 2.59 (After the sense objects leave), the longings also leave the abstinent man (on seeing the Supreme). The Guru takes the person out of samsaara. But taking the samsaara out of the person is a slow process. The guru does it by truly enabling them to discover distaste for this samsaara. The guru shows how upside down the priorities are. This is Nitiddyaasanaa – overcoming the habitual orientation to Samsaara. The first part of the mantra creates this distaste for samsaara and the second part talks about what the person really wants – “Tat”. That is Brahma. That is called immortal. Yama always deals with mortality. So as though he does not have the right to talk about immortality he says this in passive form that it is said to be immortal. तस्मिन् लोकाः श्रिताः सर्वे – Samsaara is an incidental projection that leans on Brahman. Brahman is the refuge of Samsaara. Just like the shadow clings on to the light, the samsaara clings onto the Brahman. तत् उ न अत्येति कश्चन – No one can transgress it. The cause is unaffected by the effect.


यदिदं किं च जगत् सर्वं प्राण एजति निःसृतम् ।
महद्भयं वज्रमुद्यतं य एतद्विदुरमृतास्ते भवन्ति ॥ २ ॥
This mantra responds to a poorvapaksha that questions the existence of this Brahman. Shankara mentions this in the Sangathi or the connection to this verse :

सङ्गतिः — यद् विज्ञानात् अमृताः भवन्ति इति उच्यते तत् जगतः मूलं ब्रह्म नास्ति एव, (इदं जगत्) असतः एव निःसृतम् इति | तन्न |

यद् विज्ञानात् अमृताः भवन्ति – That knowing which one becomes immortal; जगतः मूलम् – that is also the root of Samsaara, that which is un-afflicted by everything, ब्रह्म नास्ति एव if that Brahma does not exist, then how is this Jagat created. This is not so. This vaada is called Tera vaada which denies the existence of anything. To them the whole universe has come out of nothing.

In Chandokyopanishad, in the sixth chapter, it is stated, तदेव सौम्य, इदमग्रे आसीत् – before all these came into manifestation, only Sat was there. स आत्मा त्वमसि श्वेतकेतो … That Atma is you, O Svetaketu ! Later on in the same chapter, असत्वा इदमग्रे आसीत् | तस्मात् सत् अजायत | All that was there was non-existence. From non-existence, existence came. This could be confusing. The non-existence here means it was free from name and form.

The creation of the jagat cannot happen in random. There is a नियति and hence a नियन्ता – the ruler who sets the rules. Questioning the existence of Brahman is to question one’s own existence. This existence does not require any proof as the knowledge that I exist can never be denied. Ishwara’s existence is not a matter of anumaana or inference. Shabda Pramaana is the proof for its existence. This verse answers why we should say that the Jagat has come from Brahman and not nothingness.

यत् किञ्च इदं जगत् सर्वं प्राणे (सति) निःसृतम् एजति । ये एतद् महद्भयं वज्रमुद्यतं विदुः ते अमृताः भवन्ति ।

यत् किञ्च इदं जगत् सर्वं What all is there in this whole jagat, प्राणे (सति) निःसृतम् एजति – Here प्राणे means परस्मिन्ब्रह्मणि – in the life force | एजति means कम्पते  moves | This whole universe evolved from the Brahman, moves or vibrates in the Prana i.e., the highest Brahman. The whole world is as-though exhaled निःसृतम् by Bhagavan. It does not happen in random. Shankara adds how it happens – क्रमेण – नियमेन  – in an orderly way. प्राण एजति – प्राणे एजति – the ए is elided. Praane is interpreted in two ways. प्राणे सति – Praana being present;  The other meaning indicates in the Praana or from the Praana.

यदेवं जगदुत्पत्त्यादिकारणं ब्रह्म तत् महद्भयम्, महच्च तत् भयं च बिभेति अस्मादिति महद्भयम्,

The orderly universe that has come out is an object of great fear. It is big and it is a cause of fear. We do not fear the creator. We fear our own karma phala. That is why we pray to Rudra – नमस्ते रुद्र मन्यवऽ उतोतऽ इषवे नम: ॥१॥ Salutations to your arrows. Please keep them to yourself. Sickness, disease, death – are all the result of Karma Phala. Hence we are helplessly trapped in this life cycle. What is to be done to overcome this fear?  (TO BE CONTINUED)




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