[Advaita-l] Mahavakya in Kathopanishat

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Apr 26 20:22:58 CDT 2012

In the Kathopanishat the mantra 2.1.10: 'yadeveha tadamutra yadamutra
tadanviha | mRutyoH sa mRutyumApnoti ya iha nAneva pashyati ||' enjoys the
status of a mahAvAkya.  The mantra means:

// What is here, the same is there and what is there, the same is here. He
goes from death to death who sees any difference here. //

Shankara explains:  That consciousness which is experienced 'here' in this
body as endowed with body-mind apparatus and with the attributes of being a
samsAri (experience of happiness and misery, disease, birth, death, etc.)
owing to non-discrimination is the very same consciousness that shines with
the ever-luminous nature of Pure Consciousness free of the attributes of
samsara which is 'there', called Brahman.  Contrariwise, that alone which
is 'there' is the consciousness that experiences the body-mind upAdhi.
There is no real difference between the one 'here' and the one 'there'.

This sentence in the Kathopanishad teaches the 'aikyam', unity, of the
'jiva' and 'para'.  The rest of the mantra teaches: He who, owing to
ignorance, perceives difference in 'this' Brahman which is free of all
differences as 'I am different from That and That is different from me',
because of this ignorant view, verily confines himself to samsara - the
cycle of births and deaths.

What indeed is the purport of the mantra?  Shankara concludes: Therefore,
one aught not to perceive difference.  One should have the conviction:
'vijnAnaikarasam nairantaryeNa AkAshavat paripUrNam brahmaiva aham asmi'
['I am indeed Brahman which is homogenous Consciousness and which pervades
everything through and through like space.']

Thus, the cause of samsara, the nature of samsara and the means to end
samsara are all taught in the mantra / bhashya.

Eminent Vidwan MahAmahopAdhyAya Dr.R.Krishnamurthi SastriNaH highlighted
the above in a talk held at Chennai during the current Shankara Jayanthi


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