[Advaita-l] Seeking clarification on Bri. Up. Mantra 1-4-2

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 17 07:24:53 CDT 2014

PraNAms - As I was preparing for my Bri. Up. camp during Memorial Day, I was looking carefully some of the mantras - Here is some reflection and comments and seeking some clarification on Shankara Bhashya. 

Bri. Up. Mantra 1-4-2. – it starts – sO2bibhEt, tasmat EkAkI bibhEti, sa hAyamIkshAm chakrE, yat madanyannAsti, kasmAnnu bibhEmIti? tata EvAsya bhayam vIyAya, ksamAt bibhEshyat? dvitIayAdvai bhayam bhavati||  - my typing may be bad - one has to check the original. 

He was afraid. Therefore people (still) are afraid to be alone. He thought – If there is nothing else but me, what am I afraid of? From that (thinking) alone his fear was gone, for what was there to fear? It is from a second entity that fear comes – from Swami Madhavanandaji.

In the commentary based on Shankara bhAsya, that virAj – understood after thinking that he is one without a second – because fear comes from the second entity, and that the notion of second entity was removed by the knowledge of unity. Thus after thinking viraJ knew that there is no second entity in creation. 

But yet his knowledge is incomplete even though he has understood that there is no second entity in the creation – since he is the born – in fact the first born. If he was a jnaani before he should not have born. 

An objection is therefore rightly raised. How did viraj gained the knowledge of unity or who instructed him about that knowledge. If he has that knowledge from prior samskaara then he was a jnaani and therefore should not have taken another birth as first born? If he is still born with that knowledge, then the knowledge is of no use since one can be born again. Hence objector says – knowledge of unity serves no purpose since one takes birth again in spite of that knowledge. 

The response to this objection – is somewhat confusing to me. Obviously to take this birth as virAj, he has neutralized most of his sins in his previous life as Shankara says – he excels in knowledge, intelligence and in memory and this is a prefect birth – Hence he might well have the knowledge of unity without instruction. 

 Further objection – if that is so he should have fear. 

The response to this is somewhat lengthy and does not directly addresses the objection, as I see. 
It boils down to either to say he does not have full knowledge that he is Brahman and therefore has only partial knowledge that he is one without a second but not that he is infiniteness or aham brahmaasmi, even though he knows that he is one without a second. Hence he is still born, since he did upaasana (Bri. Up. 1-3-28 on asatoma satgamaya,.etc) with a desire to become Hiranya garbha in the next life.

 I felt that the discussion in Shankara bhaashhya does not directly addresses the objection that was raised. From my understanding he has the knowledge similar to who am I inquiry where one can arrive at the I am all alone since anything else  is not I and hence inert – that is just tvam padaartha vichaara and does not yet involve tat padartha vichaara and the mahavaakya vichaara. But Bhaashya seems to imply something else, unless I misunderstood its implication. 

In Uddhava Geeta of Bhagavatam – there is Hamsa Geeta where the same situation is depicted but with sanatkurmaaras also, all trying to find out the truth. Supreme Brahman comes in the form of a hamsa teaches both Brahmaji and sanatkumaaras the supreme knowledge. Hence there is a teaching from a guru to impart the oneness that pervades the universe and therefore there is no reason to fear. 

Would welcome any thoughts clarifying Shankara’s response to the objection he himself poses, as discussed above. 

Hari Om!

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