[Advaita-l] ’छद्मना’ in PrashnopanishadbhAShyam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Mar 23 06:42:25 CDT 2013

In the Prashnopanishat mantra 2.7 which reads:

*प्रजापतिश्चरसि गर्भे त्वमेव प्रतिजायसे *। तुभ्यं प्राण प्रजास्त्विमा बलिं
हरन्ति यः प्राणैः प्रतितिष्ठसि ॥

the bhAShyam for the highlighted portion is: यः प्रजापतिरपि स त्वमेव गर्भे
चरसि, पितुर्मातुश्च प्रतिरूपः सन् प्रतिजायसे, प्रजापतित्वादेव प्रागेव
सिद्धं तव मातृपितृत्वम् । *सर्वदेहदेह्याकृतिच्छद्मनैकः* प्राणः
सर्वात्मासीत्यर्थः ।

//Moreover even He who is called prajApatiH, the Lord of creatures, is but
you.  It is you who move in the womb, of the father (as seed) and of the
mother (as child), and (it is you, again, who) take birth after the image
of (the parents).  Since you are the Lord of creatures, your parenthood is
a pre-established fact.  The purport is this: You, PrANa, who are one, are
identical with all* in the guise of the form of all bodies and embodied
beings.* //

It is interesting to note that Shankaracharya has used this term छद्मना in
the BGB 18.61 too:  मायया = छद्मना भ्रामयन्स्तिष्ठतीति संबन्धः ।  In both
the instances the meaning of the term छद्मना is: not showing His real
identity, remaining hidden.  He is the One that is the innermost Self of
all, the source of all pravRtti of all beings.  The prashnopanishat/bhashya
gives the additional sense that even the body which actually consists of
the gross body-mind-organs, which is actually anAtmA, prakRti, kShetram, is
also an appearance of this Atman.  The One Principle alone appears as the
known/knowable and the Knower/Director.

Since the Atman/Brahman is the source for the pancha bhUta-s and the
body-mind apparatus is a product of the panchabhUta-s, based on the
principle of कार्यकारणानन्यत्वम् established on the basis of the Chandogya
Upanishad sixth chapter, Sat alone appears as the kArya-kAraNAtmakam
jagat.  The non-material principle, Consciousness, in each body, is, of
course, the Sat alone.  Since this truth is not known all the samsara
consisting of the wrong thinking 'I' and 'mine' with respect to the
individual body-mind complex and the differentiation 'you' as apart from
'me' persists.  When the underlying Unity is perceived, understood,
realized, all differentiation vanishes, intellectually, and the Sat alone
remains as Satyam.


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