[Advaita-l] The prAj~naH of the Mandukya Upanishad - Part 2

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Apr 7 07:02:53 CDT 2010

 Continued from Part 1BhAvarUpa kArya and kAraNa :

In the bhashya to kaarikA 1.11 Shankaracharya derives the etymological
meaning of the terms कार्यम् , कारणम् thus: कार्यं – क्रियते इति – फलभावः ।
कारणं – करोतीति – बीजभावः.  We have provided the translation for these in
the foregoing. What, however, we must notice here is that the Acharya is
specifying the कर्तृ-कारकम् and the कर्म-कारकम्.  In any endeavour there are
several elements like the doer, the object of action, the instrument of
action, the locus, etc. These are called ‘kAraka-s’.  In our kArikA, the कारणम्
is the P. The Acharya denotes this as ‘the one who does, initiates,
produces, transforms’.  P is the individual jiva, in the vyaShTi, micro
realm.  He is associated with the deep sleep state.  He, being ignorant of
the Reality, has the potential, avyakta, of wrong-perception of Reality as
the world of duality.  This is the vyakta samsAra.  This is experienced in
both the waking and dream states.  The ultimate teaching of the Upanishad is
that ‘one consciousness alone dons different roles in different states’.  So,
P transforms into V and T.  This is exactly the micro-version of the macro
scenario of Ishwara appearing as the entire world, vishvarUpa.  Ishvara,
Brahman in association with avidya/maya, is both the nimitta and upAdAna
kAraNa of the world.  In the micro level, P is the nimitta and upAdana
kArana for the waking and dream.  P is in association with ignorance,
avidya, tattva-agrahaNa.  The basis for this delineation is the way in which
the Upanishad, in mantras 5 and 6 teaches the Third PAda by clubbing the
vyaShTi and samaShTi.

The Acharya, after specifying the कर्तृ-कारकम् in respect of P, goes on to
state that the V and T are the ‘objects’ of this action of creation,
कर्म-कारकम् of P.  That which is created is the phalam, kAryam.  In both the
terms we find the Acharya using the word ‘bhAvaH’.  That is to show that
according to the Acharya the prapancha/samsara kAraNam is a bhAvarUpa
mAyA/avidyA and the prapancha/samsara as kArya too is a bhAvarUpa vastu.  The
Acharya is adhering to the principle, the universal rule ‘A bhAva vastu
cannot originate from an abhAva kAraNa’ that He has consciously invoked in
innumerable instances across His bhAshya literature.

In this expression of the Bhashya, प्राज्ञस्तु बीजभावेनैव बद्धः, the Acharya
is specifying that the characteristic of P is causehood – material as well
as efficient.  Again the word ‘bhAva’ is significant here.  A non-existent
‘entity’ cannot have any status assigned to it and does not qualify for the
suffix ‘bhAva’; it is ‘a-bhAva’.

In this analysis we see that there is a ‘sambandha’ between P and V and T as
kArya-kAraNa.  It must be obvious to the student of this analysis that no
‘sambandha’ is possible to be specified between one abhAva and another bhAva

What is the ‘material’ with which P creates V and T?  We have the answer for
this in the bhashya for the mantra 5:

...तथारूप-अपरित्यागेन अविवेकापन्नं नैशतमोग्रस्तमिवाहः
सप्रपञ्चकमेकीभूतमित्युच्यते ।  [The whole host of duality, that are
diversified as the two states (of waking and dream) and are but
modifications of the mind, become non-discernible (in the deep sleep state)
without losing their aforesaid characteristics, just as the day together
with the phenomenal world becomes non-discernible under the cover of
nocturnal darkness.]

…प्रज्ञानानि घनीभूतानीव सेयमवस्था अविवेकरूपत्वात् प्रज्ञानघन उच्यते । [As
such conscious experiences, that are but vibrations of the mind in the
waking and dream states, become solidified, as it were. This state is called
‘prajnAnaghanaH’, a mass of consciousness, since it is characterized by the
absence of discrimination.]

The expression अविवेकरूपत्वात् ‘absence of discrimination’ means this: In
the state of deep sleep the residue/samskara of the variety of experiences,
knowledge, etc. of the waking and dream states will have become one mass.  One
will not be able to distinguish between one experience/knowledge and another
in that state.  Thus, a man endowed with the knowledge of several  skills
like music, sculpture, painting, computer programming, etc. will not be able
to access these in the state of deep sleep.  This is the meaning of the term

It is this mass of various knowledges/experiences, prajnaana-ghana, that
forms the material for  P to create V and T.  P cannot be conceived of being
without this material; it is its characteristic.  Without this material, in
the indistinguishable mass form, P can never be P.  P can never be a ‘cause’
of V and T.  This is what is specified by the kArikA as ‘प्राज्ञः
कारणबद्धस्तु’ , P is ‘bound’ by being the kAraNa of V and T.

While this is the vyaShTi scenario, the samaShTi scenario is not very much
different.  For P, the material is the ‘ghana prajnAna-s’ for creating V and
T.  For Brahman (Iswara), the material to create the world is the ‘avyAkRta
nAma-rUpa’.  In the larger picture of Vedanta, as this very Mandukya
Upanishad teaches through the mantras 5 and 6, by clubbing together the
Ishwara aspect and the P-jiva aspect, creation of the world by Iswara is no
different from creation of samsara, characterized by the triad of states, by
the jiva.  In the case of Iswara, the ‘sleep’ state is MahApraLaya; for the
jiva, it is the daily deep sleep state.

Since this अभिन्न-निमित्त-उपादान-कारणम् status of Ishwara and P is not
something that is assigned at any point of time, this kaaraNatva, causehood,
is called ‘anAdi’.  The material, whether it is ‘ghana prajnaana’ or
‘avyAkRta nAma rUpa’, it is anAdi.  And since no description of the material
content can be made, it is called ‘anirvAchya’.  This characteristic of
‘anAdi anirvAchya’ is specified for Ishwara’s Maya and jiva’s avidya/tattva
apratibodha/ agrahaNa.

Another noteworthy feature of the Bhashya is this sentence:
हि बीजं प्राज्ञत्वे निमित्तम्.  Here, the Acharya is giving the reason why P
has got this status:  As the kArikA teaches, P has only one ‘characteristic’
– not knowing the Reality.  V and T are characterized by: 1. Not knowing the
Reality and 2. Apprehending the duality. If P were also endowed with both
these, P would not have been designated as P.  Since only ‘tattva
apratibodha’ alone is there for P, it is designated so.  This is brought out
by the bhashya word ‘mAtram’.  This word enables us to compare P with T and
V and conclude that P has ‘only’ one ‘trait’ whereas T and V have this one
trait plus the other one of ‘seeing duality’.

>From the above analysis it becomes easy to determine that the
‘nimitta-naimittika’ bhAva proposed by SSS between jnAnaabhAva and samsAra,
with the example of ‘when the sun shines/rises, I wake up’ is completely at
variance with the teaching of the Upanishad, Gaudapada and Bhagavatpada.
While SSS admits of just a passive role for P in creating V and T, the
scriptural (and bhashya) teaching is an active, material cause-endowed role
for P.  While there is no basis for denying the ‘anAdi anirvAchya’
characteristic of avidya/mAya as the material, upAdAna, of jagat/samsara,
the scripture and the Bhashya provide the firm basis for this
characteristic.  This has been elaborately stated and established in the
foregoing analysis.

A synopsis:

·         P is the efficient and material cause for V and T

·         The material for P is the samskaras of the waking/dream

·         The Bhashyam clearly specifies the efficient causehood by the word
‘करोति’ and the material causehood by the word ‘बीजम्’

·         The Upanishad too, in the mantra 6 specifies these by the
words सर्वेश्वरः,
अन्तर्यामि and योनिः, प्रभव-अप्ययौ respectively.

·         The P has the Ghana-prajnaana-s as the viShaya.This makes P the
viShayi, thereby making P a ‘bhAvarUpa kAraNa.’

·         The Bhashyam uses the word ‘bhaava’ several times to confirm that
the ‘tattva apratibodha’ is a bhAvarUpa entity that goes into the creation
of V and T (vyakta samsara)

·         There is no place in the Upanishad, KArikA and the Bhashya for
SSS’s proposition of a passive nimitta-naimittika relationship.



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