[Advaita-l] sapta-mAtR^ika-s in ShAnkara GItA BhAShyam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jul 14 01:25:41 CDT 2011

On Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 9:20 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> >
> > As an aside, does shankara ever mention the topic of kuNDalinI or
> shaTchakra-s
> > anywhere in vedAntic works? I will imitate a response to this for fun :)
> :
> >
> > Is it appopriate to talk about Mathematics in a work on Grammar?   or
> some
> > similar question will be asked to counter this. :)
> Sure, parallels may be drawn between some principles in grammar and
> some in mathematics, but the appropriateness of a cross-talk need not
> extend to every single detail of each discipline.
> To address your question with a textual citation, you will not find the
> words kuNDalinI or cakra in the bhAshya-s. However, you WILL find
> references to sushumnA nADI (by name) or more generally, the
> UrdhvagAminI nADI, in taittirIya, kaTha, chAndogya, bRhadAraNyaka
> and brahmasUtra bhAshya-s, as also in the 8th chapter of the gItA-
> bhAshya. The last text even has an additional reference to raising the
> prANa through the upward rising nADI, stabilizing one's attention
> between the eyebrows (bhruvor madhye AveSya), by mastering the
> process in stages (bhUmijaya krameNa). Only the reference to fixing
> the prANa between the eyebrows is from the gItA, the rest is provided
> by the bhAshya. In the taittirIya upanishat and bhAshya, a meditation
> on brahman as manomaya focused on the throat is described. All of
> this is part of saguNopAsana in advaita vedAntic terms.

Here is the translation of the above cited bhashyam:

//8.10 Prayana-kale, at the time of death; after first brining the mind
under control in the lotus of the heart,* and then lifting up the vital
force-through the nerve going upward-by gradually gaining control over (the
rudiments of nature such as) earth etc. Space, air, fire, water and earth.
and after that, samyak, avesya, having fully fixed; pranam, the Prana (vital
force); madhye, between; the bhruvoh, eye-brows, without losing attention;
acalena manasa, with an unwavering mind; he, the yogi possessed of such
wisdom, yuktah, imbued; bhaktya, with devotion, deep love; ca eva, as also;
yoga-balena, Yoga means spiritual absorption, the fixing of the mind on
Reality alone, to the exclusion of any other object. with the strength of
concentration-i.e; imbued with that (strength) also, consisting in
steadfastness of the mind arising from accumulation of impressions resulting
from spiritual absorption; *upaiti, reaches; tam, that; div yam,
resplendent; param, supreme; purusam, Person, described as 'the Omniscient,
the Ancient,' etc.The Lord again speaks of Brahman which is sought to be
attained by the process going to be stated, and which is described through
such characteristics as, 'What is declared by the knowers of the
Vedas,'etc.: //

In this connection these Brahmasutras and the ShAnkara BhAShyam too could be
studied:,18 - तदोकोग्रज्वलनं.......शताधिकया । etc.

The Kathopanishat too says:

 शतं चैका च हृदयस्य नाड्यस्तासां मूर्धानमभिनिःसृतैका ।
तयोर्ध्वमायन्नमृतत्वमेति विष्वङ्ङन्या उत्क्रमणे भवन्ति ॥

(*Katha Upanishad*, 16th Mantra, Canto 6)

(also found in the Chandogya Upanishat 8.6.6)
 *Hundred and one are the nerves of the heart; of them one has extended
towards the crown of the head. Going out by it upwards (at death), man
attains immortality; (going out) through others, leads to different forms of

      Yogīs speak of a subtle nerve going to the crown of the head known as
*sushumnā* which is located in the centre of the spinal column. When the
life energy of a yogī, it is believed, passes through sushumanā and goes out
through the aperture in the crown of the head, known as *brahmarandhra* or
‘the opening leading to Brahman, he will not be reborn in the world, but
will steadily reach *brahmaloka*, the world of the cosmic Mind, by stages
and be absorbed in the immortal Brahman at the final dissolution of the
universe. This is the theory of *kramamukti*, gradual emancipation. The path
thus traversed is known as ‘the northern path’ or ‘the path of light’. This
*brahmarandhra* remains ordinarily closed in the case of all people and
opens only for this type of yogī who stands only next in spiritual eminence
to the highest yogī mentioned earlier, the one who realizes Brahman and
achieves spiritual freedom and universality here and now. Except these two,
all others depart through either ‘the southern path’, known also as ‘the
path of smoke’, or through a ‘third path’ leading to lower existences, and
have to be reborn after spending varying periods in heavens or in less
edifying planes of existence, depending on the quality of actions done and
knowledge gained by each during his or her earthly life’, : यथाकर्म
यथाश्रुतम् , as verse seven of chapter five of this Upanishad told us



> The distance between Sankara bhagavatpAda's texts and tAntrika
> descriptions is much narrower than usually imagined. Of course, if you
> step out of the bhAshya-s and go to independent vedAntic texts, you
> will find a lot of additional references, but you immediately land on
> the tendentious issue of authenticity and textual attribution. And of
> course, the mere presence of nADI or sushumnA in a prakaraNa text
> will cause those who worry about these issues to raise their eyebrows,
> if not to fix their attention between them! I for one, firmly believe that
> this is only because they keep their eyes tightly shut to these references
> in the bhAshya-s.

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