[Advaita-l] kena Upanishad(1)

ken knight hilken_98 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 29 03:29:16 CDT 2003

--- Nagarjuna Siddhartha
<nagarjunasiddhartha at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >And Mandala 10. 129.
> >7 He, the first origin of this creation, whether he
> >formed it all or did not form it,
> >Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he
> >verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.
> Is there an inconsistency here between RV and the
> Kena U? While the KU clearly identifies the
> taTastha-lakshaNa (accidental nature, acording to
> advaita) of brahman as the director of everything
> (and by implication also the creator), the RV leaves
> an agnostic note while talking of creation. Is it
> possible to explain this real or apparent
> inconsistency?

Good morning from sunny England,

Is it possible that we are operating at the limits of
the spoken word here?  Could it be that both are
pointing to the same?  The last line of the Hymn:
yo asyAdhyakSaH parame vyoman so aN^ga veda yadi vA
seems to me to be there to stop us drawing any
definite conclusion in language which by its very
function can only be dualistic; ie. 'this' and/or
'that'.  The Kena Upanishad does the same later when
we read in the second section:

1.	( 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.”

2.	“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.’

But maybe we are going too quickly.

Back to the first verse of the first part when the
pupil approaches the teacher.
As do we ourselves, the pupil is coming with a belief
in the objectivity of the physical and mental worlds.
He may, like us, have heard of advaitin teachings and
may be striving to be a 'human being' and not a 'human
doing' but this state has yet to be realised.
Effortless effort has yet to be understood. Hence his
question phrased as taTastha-lakshaNa.

I think the pupil's/our state of questioning may be
highlighted by the following which is taken from a
monograph by Dr T.N.Ganapathy ( on the desk before me
now) in which he is setting out the kevalAdvaita
interpretation of the mahAvAkyas:

'Before we proceed further let us make clear the
meanings of the words ‘Tat’ and ‘Tvam’ in ‘Tat tvam
asi.’ Caitanya is either associated with antaHkaraNa
or not. Caitanya associated with antahkarana is jIva.
Caitanya not associated with antaHkaraNa is pure
Brahman. The jIva (associated with antaHkaraNa) is the
primary meaning (vAcyArtha) of the word ‘tvam’ and
Brahman is the secondary meaning (lakShyArtha) of
tvam. Similarly, the words  denoting jIva in the other
mahAvAkyas have both vAcyArtha and lakSyArtha.
Caitanya is either associated with mAyA (nescience) or
free from mAyA. 
The Caitanya associated with mAyA is iShvara; and the
Caitanya not associated mAyA is pure Caitanya. The
pure Caitanya is called Brahman. The vAcyArtha of
‘Tat’ is iShvara; the lakSyArtha of ‘Tat’ is Brahman.
Similarly the words denoting ‘iShvara’ (Brahman) in
the other mAhAvikyas have both primary and secondary
meanings. iShvara is the primary meaning, and Brahman
the secondary meaning. When associated with the
limiting adjunct (antaHkaraNa or mAyA), jIva as well
as iShvara is different from Brahman. Without the
limiting adjuncts, jIva and iShvara are identical with

In the prose section of the 'upadeSha sAhasrI',
Shankara makes it clear that the pupil must repeatedly
examine himself in order to prepare to ask questions
of the teacher and the pupil in the Kena Upanishad
seems to be such a one. May we be also.

I hope that is relevant to your own point and that we
move forward to the next verses of the first part in
which the teacher begins the instruction.

A little aside.

My early morning reading today was 'Hindu Dharma',
talks by HH ChandraShekharendra SarasvatI and a
chapter:'Preserving the Vedas: Why it is a lifetime
Mission'.  Some of it was relevant to this mail
inasmuch it is reminding us how we need to approch the
Vedas in our lives.  The whole text is on the Kanchi
Peetham website if you wanted to have a look. His
words are very simple, the simplicity of the wise man
with insight.

Thank you for your attention,

Ken Knight

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