Upadesha Sahasri

Olivia Cattedra omcatt at CIUDAD.COM.AR
Sat Sep 14 20:03:29 CDT 2002

Ken and all:

The critical text of mayeda was published by the Hokuseido Press, in Tokyo
1973. It wasnot easy to buy in another times (1985, when i bought it) it was
handly brought to me from Tokyo by a friend. I dont know it is  easy to get
through  internet now days....but you might try..

----- Original Message -----
From: ken knight <hilken_98 at YAHOO.COM>
Sent: Saturday, September 14, 2002 7:31 AM
Subject: Re: Upadesha Sahasri

> --- nanda chandran <vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> > Infact in my opinion Upadesha Sahasri is a must read
> > for all serious
> > Advaitins. While Shankara might follow
> > Baadaraayana's line of
> > Vedaantic exposition in his Shaareeraka Bhaashyam
> > and thus restrict himself,
> > the Upadesha Saahasri is a work where Shankara has
> > full freedom to expound
> > Advaita as he wishes. Also while the BSB is
> > volumnious, the Upadesha
> > Saahasri is short and concise - so much more
> > accessible.
> Namaste Nanda,
> Agree with everything you say except 'short'.  At
> nearly 700 verses I rate that as long for my slow
> typing.
> Anyway, here are the first verses of the prose part as
> promised. Available typing time is short at the moment
> as I will be away from home for the next three weeks
> starting tonight. I will post the next verses and pick
> up on any discussion next week, if the university
> computer systems ar up and running. So apologies for
> the rather limited intro. of my own thoughts on these
> verses but if you have arrived here without looking at
> the prelude posting please have a glance at that.
> I hope that there is adequate material here for  those
> fresh to advaita as well as those with some long
> experience of such study.
> Om sri ram
> ken Knight
> Upadesha Sahasri( a few personal ken thoughts)
> Alston begins the first section of the prose part with
> ShishyanuShanaM whereas Jaganandanda has
> ShishyapratibhodhavidhiprakaranaM.  Hence we could
> immediately start by looking at the difference implied
> by the words 'teaching' and 'enlightening'.  Maybe
> Olivia will be kind enough to let us know how Mayeda
> begins this section.
> Let us consider though the shishya part that is common
> to both. Translated as 'pupil' it is also well known
> that it also means 'remainder.'
> In the flow of True Knowledge which is all-pervading
> and ever fluid, there comes a dualistic moment
> crystallised by such statements as 'I Know'.  This is
> ignorance and it sets up an encapsulated form of
> knowledge which is a remainder, as it were, and this
> needs to be destroyed. The English word 'remainder'
> comes from  're' and  'manor' so is to do with a
> dwelling place.  In our common dualistic vision of
> life we seek a place to let our attention dwell on an
> object, and before we know where we are we are lost in
> the ocean of 'I like' and 'I do not like'.
> When teaching a maths class then the pupil.I as a
> teacher am just as much a pupil in the play.......is
> the remainder, that is a particle of knowledge that
> needs to be destroyed. ie. Thoughts such as  ' I do
> not understand fractions'  or 'I do not like Maths' or
> 'I like Maths' have to go. After a momentary flash of
> understanding there will be a claim with the idea, 'I
> do understand fractions.' This is also ignorance and
> will have to go in due course.  This is why the Kena
> Upanishad has this dialogue:
> 2.1,2( Teacher): If you think, "I have known Brahman
> well enough," then you have known only the very little
> expression that It has in the human body and the
> little expression that It has among the gods.
> Therefore Brahman is still to be deliberated on by
> you.'
>  (Disciple): "I think (Brahman) is known." "I do not
> think, 'I know (Brahman) well enough': (ie. I
> consider) 'Not that I do not know; I know and I do not
> know as well.'  He among us who understands that
> utterance, 'Not that I do not know: I know and I do
> not know as well,' knows Brahman.'
> If we can begin our study, aware of the play of the
> mental world, then we can present ourselves before the
> teacher as pupils, ready to be destroyed.
> When Shankara approached the cave of Govindapada he
> was asked 'Who are you?' and he replied, 'Revered Sir,
> I am neither the earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air,
> nor any of their properties.  I am not the senses and
> the mind even.  I am Siva, the divisionless essence of
> Consciousness.'  (Swami Tapasyananda, 1996: 47,48)
> When we introduce ourselves on this site we correctly,
> out of politeness, name ourselves but we hold in mind
> that being students of advaita, our real answer is
> that of Shankara.
> So the first 17 verses of 'UpSa' establish this
> approach of the pupil to the teacher, the
> characteristics of each and the Self, which they both
> are.
> I am interested to see that Shankara clearly states
> the Gita as sm^Riti is this discourse. There are many
> references here for study of Shruti and for myself, as
> someone not brought up with this tradition, they are
> useful to memorise, to give the mind something useful
> to dwell in.
> Part 1 (Prose)
> 1.      We shall now explain a method of teaching the means
> to liberation for the benefit of those aspirants who
> deeply desire liberation, who have asked for this
> teaching and are possessed of faith (in it).
> 2.      That means to liberation, Knowledge, should be
> explained again and again until it is firmly grasped,
> to a pure Brahmana disciple, ( Alston notes:this
> should not be interpreted in a purely caste sense. At
> BS comm.. 3.4.38 Sankara quotes Manu SmR^iti 2.87
> 'Whoever practices universal benelovence and
> friendliness is a brahmana ),  who is indifferent to
> everything that is transitory and achievable through
> certain means, who has given up the desire for a son,
> for wealth, and for this world' and the next, (Br.U.
> 1.5.16) who has adopted the life of a wandering monk
> and is endowed with control over the mind and senses,
> with compassion etc., as well as with the qualities of
> a disciple well-known in the scriptures, and who has
> approached the teacher in the prescribed manner, and
> has been examined in respect of his caste, profession,
> conduct, learning and parentage.
> 3.      The  Shruti (Mu.U 1.2.12,13) also says, "A Brahmana
> after examining those worlds which are the result of
> Vedic actions should be indifferent to them seeing
> that nothing eternal can be achieved by means of those
> actions. Then, with fuel in his hands he should
> approach a teacher versed in the Vedas and established
> in Brahman in order to know the Eternal. The learned
> teacher should correctly explain to that disciple who
> has self-control and a tranquil mind, and has
> approached him in the prescribed manner, the knowledge
> of Brahman revealing the imperishable and the eternal
> Being." For only when knowledge is firmly grasped, it
> conduces to one's own good and is capable of
> transmission. This transmission of knowledge is
> helpful to people, like a boat to one who wants to
> cross a river. The scriptures too say, "Although one
> may give to the teacher this world surrounded by
> oceans and full of riches, this knowledge is even
> greater than that." Otherwise (if it were not taught
> by a teacher) there would be no attainment of
> knowledge. For the srutis say, "A man (Chh.U. 6.14.2)
> having a teacher can know Brahman," "Knowledge
> (ChhU.4.9.3) received from a teacher alone (becomes
> perfect)," "The teacher is the pilot," "Right
> Knowledge is called in this world a raft,"
> (Mahabharata 12.313.23)etc. The smR^iti (Bh.G. 4.34)
> also says, "Know this through long prostration,
> through enquiry and through service, those men of
> wisdom who have realized the truth," will be impart it
> to you.
> 4.      When the teacher finds from signs that knowledge
> has not been grasped (or has been wrongly grasped) by
> the disciple he should remove the causes of
> non-comprehension which are: failure to observe the
> spiritual law, (dharma), carelessness with regard to
> worldly activities, want of previous firm knowledge of
> what constitutes the subjects of discrimination
> between the eternal and the non-eternal, courting
> popular esteem, vanity of caste etc., and so on,
> through means contrary to those causes, enjoined by
> the Shruti and smR^iti, viz., avoidance of anger etc.,
> and the vows (yama:  harmlessness, truthfulness,
> non-stealing, continence and non-acceptance of gifts)
> also the rules of conduct that are not inconsistent
> with knowledge.
>       5.   He should also thoroughly impress upon the
> disciple qualities like humility, which are the means
> to knowledge.
>      6. What is the nature of the teacher. The teacher
> is one who is endowed with the power of furnishing
> arguments pro and con, of understanding questions and
> remembering them, who possesses tranquillity,
> self-control, compassion and a desire to help others,
> who is versed (through the tradition handed down) in
> the scriptures and unattached to enjoyments both seen
> and unseen,who has renounced the means to all kinds of
> actions (ritualistic etc.), who is a knower of Brahman
> (brahmavit) and is established in it, who is never a
> transgressor of the rules of conduct, and who is
> devoid of shortcomings such as ostentation, pride,
> deceit, cunning, jugglery, jealousy, falsehood,
> egotism and attachment. He has the sole aim of helping
> others and a desire to impart the knowledge of Brahman
> only. He should first of all teach the Shruti texts
> establishing the oneness of the self with Brahman such
> as, "My child, in the beginning it (the universe) was
> Existence only, one alone without a second,"ChhU
> 6.2.1) "Where one sees nothing else" ChhU 7.24.1. "
> All this is but the Self," (ChhU 7.25.2) " In the
> beginning all this was but the one Self"(ChhU
> Ai.U.1.1.1) and "All this is verily Brahman." (ChhU.
> 3.14.1)
> 7, 8. After teaching these he should teach the
> definition of Brahman through such Shruti texts as
> "The self, devoid of sins," (ChhU 8.7.1)  "The Brahman
> that is immediate and direct,"(BrU 3.4.1) "That which
> is beyond hunger and thirst," (BrU3.5.1) "Not-this,
> not-this," BrU 2.3.6) " Neither gross nor subtle,"
> (BrU 3.8.8) " This Self is not- this," (BrU3.9.26) "
> It is the Seer Itself unseen,"( BrU 3.8.11) "
> Knowledge-Bliss,"(BrU 3.9.27ff)
> "Existence-Knowledge-Infinite," (Tai.U. 2.1)
> "Imperceptible, bodiless,"(Tai.U. 2.7) "That great
> unborn Self," (BrU 4.4.22) " Without the vital force
> and the mind," (Mu.U 2.1.2) "Unborn, comprising the
> interior and exterior," ((MuU2.1.2) " Consisting of
> knowledge only," (BrU 2.4.12) " Without interior or
> exterior,"(BrU2.5.19) "It is verily beyond what is
> known as also what is unknown" (Ke.U. 1.3) and "Called
>  AkASha (the self-effulgent One) " (ChhU 8.14.1) and
> also through such smR^iti texts. as the following: "It
> is neither born nor dies," (BhG 2.20) " It is not
> affected by anybody's sins,," (BhG 5.15) "Just as air
> is always in. the ether," (BhG. 9.6) "The individual
> Self should be regarded as the universal one," (BhG
> 13.2) "It is called neither existent nor nonexistent,"
> (BhG BhG 13.12) "As the Self is beginningless and
> devoid of qualities,"(BhG 13.31) "The same in all
> beings" (BhG 13.27) and "The Supreme Being is
> different" (BhG 15.17)-all these support the
> definition given by the Shruti and prove that the
> innermost Self is beyond transmigratory existence and
> that it is not different from Brahman, the
> all-comprehensive principle.
>   9.    The disciple who has thus learnt the definition
> of the inner Self from the Shruti and the smR^iti and
> is eager to cross the ocean of transmigratory
> existence is asked, "Who are you, my child?"
> 10, 11. If he says, "I am the son of a Brahmana
> belonging to such and such a lineage; I was a student
> or a householder, and am now a wandering monk anxious
> to cross the ocean of transmigratory existence
> infested with the terrible sharks of birth and death,"
> the teacher should say, "My child, how do you desire
> to go beyond transmigratory existence as your body
> will be eaten up by birds or will turn into earth even
> here when you die? For, burnt to ashes on this side of
> the river, you cannot cross to the other side."
> 12, 13. If he says, "I am different from the body. The
> body is born and it dies; it is eaten up by birds, is
> destroyed by weapons, fire etc., and suffers from
> diseases and the like. I have entered it, like a bird
> its nest, on account of merit and demerit accruing
> from acts done by myself, and like a bird going to
> another nest when the previous one is destroyed I
> shall enter into different bodies again and again as a
> result of merits and demerits when the present body is
> gone. Thus in this beginningless world on account of
> my own actions I have been giving up successive bodies
> assumed among gods, men, animals and the denizens of
> hell and assuming ever new ones. I have in this way
> been made to go round and round in the cycle of
> endless births and deaths, as in a Persian wheel by my
> past actions, and having in the course of time
> obtained the present body I have got tired of this
> going round and round in the wheel of transmigration,
> I have come to you, Sir, to put an end to this
> rotation. I am, therefore, always different from the
> body. It is bodies that come and go, like clothes on a
> person." The teacher would reply,"You have spoken
> well, you see aright. Why then did you wrongly say,' I
> am the son of a Brahmana belonging to such and such a
> lineage; I was a student or a householder, and am now
> a wandering monk'?"
>  14, 15. If the disciple says, "How did I speak
> wrongly, Sir?," the teacher would reply, "Because by
> your statement, 'I am the son of a Brahmana belonging
> to such and such a lineage etc.' you identified with
> the Self devoid of birth, lineage and purificatory
> ceremonies, the body possessed of them that are
> different' (from the Self)."
> 16, 17. If he asks, "How is the body possessed of the
> diversities of birth, lineage and purificatory
> ceremonies. (different from the Self) and how am I
> devoid of them?" The teacher would say, "Listen, my
> child, how this body is. different from you and is
> possessed of birth, lineage and sanctifying ceremonies
> and how you are free from these." Speaking thus he
> will remind the disciple saying, "You. should
> remember, my child, you have been told about the
> innermost Self which is the Self of all, with its
> characteristics. as described by the Shruti such as
> 'This  was existence, my child' (ChhU. 6.2.1) etc., as
> also the smR^iti, and you should remember these
> characteristics also."
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