v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Jul 21 20:10:40 CDT 2010
On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 12:53 AM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Namaste Shrinivas,
> I meant to respond to this mail quite a few days ago, but got distracted
> with other
> things. To me it seems that the usage of akshara in gItA verse 15.16 is a
> case, as it is only there that akshara purusha is identified with kUTastha.
> all other usages of akshara in Sruti and smRti refer to parabrahman.
Here is at least one usage of the word 'akshara' in the sense of an entity
other than Parabrahman:
The mantra of the Mundaka Upanishad 2.1.2:
दिव्यो ह्यमूर्तः पुरुषः .....अक्षरात् परतः परः ॥
Here the word 'akshara' is used in the sense of: 'avyAkRta' the unmanifest.
This 'avyAkRta' called in this mantra as 'aksharam' is itself higher in
status compared to the 'kShara' that is the perishable nAma-rUpa that is
'vyAkRta', manifest world.
The manifest world is subject to destruction in pralaya. Yet the unmanifest
akshara that is the source of the manifest world does not get destroyed as
it is the seed for the next creation.
Parabrahman is taught in this mantra as the one that is superior even to
this akshara: अक्षरात् (परतः) परः. So, aksharam is itself superior to the
nAma-rUpa world and Parabrahman is greater than even this aksharam.
This paragraph could even be skipped:
//There is a good amount of discussion on the above in the Brahmasutra too.
[The Sankhya wants to somehow show that the Upanishad admits of the
PradhAna. He tries to show that this mantra has the word akshara to denote
an entity that is similar to the Sankhya's pradhAna. And since the Purusha
here is taught as superior to akshara, and as the Sankhya too holds the
Purusha to be diffeent and superior to pradhana, why would not the Upanishad
admit the pradhAna?] //
The Gita15.16 usage of the word aksharam is not different from the above
Mundaka usage. The commentary too is very consistent in both the places:
the usage of the word 'beejam'. it is the seed containing the samskaras of
the karma-s of jiva-s.
Here too we get the information from the scripture that what constitutes the
basic material for the creation of the manifest world is the samskara, born
of the karma, of the jiva-s.
Again, to just show the position of akshara of this context, the prAjna
(deep sleep) (Ishvara) of the Mandukya Upanishad, the third pAda just
preceding the Turiya, is corresponding to the akshara (kUTastha) of the Gita
15.16 and the above described Mundaka mantra. Praajna/Ishvara is the seed,
therefore superior, to the earlier two pAdas- the vishva and taijasa (waking
and dream constituting the manifest world of nama rupa) . And Turiya, the
transcendental Truth, is superior even to Ishvara (kUTastha).
Thus, the Gita 15.16 is a fine condensed edition of the entire scheme of the
Mandukya Upanishad. The Mundaka mantra quoted above is also a brief
re-stated version of the Mandukya scheme.
An additional point: From the Bhashyam of the Mundaka Mantra quoted above
we get another information: This akshara is also called 'AkAsha' in the
(Brihadaranyaka - Gaargi context?) Upanishad. Shankaracharya writes:
यस्मिन्स्तदाकाशाख्यमक्षरं संव्यवहारविषयमोतं प्रोतं च ...
[The akshara also called AkAsha is present in the Supreme Brahman as wharp
With a view to give so many details I made the presentation a bit too
lengthy. I hope the readers will pardon me.
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