[Advaita-l] 'I am the impeller of the samsāra tree'

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Sep 9 06:04:32 CDT 2016

On Sep 9, 2016 3:08 PM, "V Subrahmanian" <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:
> 'I am the impeller of the samsāra tree'
> In the Taittiriyopanishad there is a contemplation that results in
Advaita jnāna according to Shankaracharya. The outstanding feature of this
contemplation, given out in a mantra, is that the aspirant visualizes
himself to be the Impeller of the entire creation.
> Taittiriyopaniṣad 1.10.1.अहं वृक्षस्य रेरिवा । कीर्तिः पृष्ठं गिरेरिव ।
ऊर्ध्वपवित्रो वाजिनीव स्वमृतमस्मि । द्रविणं सवर्चसम् । सुमेधा अमृतोक्षितः ।
इति त्रिशङ्कोर्वेदानुवचनम् ॥ १ ॥
> 1.     I am the mover of the tree of the universe. My fame rises high,
like a mountain peak. My root is the Supremely Pure Brahman. I am the
unstained essence of the Self, like the nectar of immortality that resides
in the sun. I am the brightest treasure. I am the shinning wisdom. I am
immortal and undecaying.
> Thus did Trisanku proclaim after the attainment of the Knowledge of the
Self of the Self.

This mantra is part of the ShAnti pATha chanted by Advaitins everyday
before and after the study/teaching of the prasthanatraya.

> Bhāṣyam:
> अहं वृक्षस्य रेरिवेति स्वाध्यायार्थो मन्त्राम्नायः । ..... अहं वृक्षस्य
उच्छेद्यात्मकस्य संसारवृक्षस्य रेरिवा प्रेरयिता अन्तर्याम्यात्मना ।
> The very significant part of the bhāṣyam is that Shankara says 'I am the
impeller of the entire creation.' How? As the antaryāmin it is I, the Pure
Consciousness, that am at the basis of the whole creation with all its
> How is it that the aspirant says that he, the Pure Consciousness, is the
antaryāmin since the very term 'antaryāmin' involves an action on the part
of the impeller? This question is answered by Shankara in the Bṛ.Up.
antaryāmi Brāmaṇam as 'It is by being a mere witness, the impelling
happens.' And that Impeller is the Ātman of everyone.
> The true meaning of impelling is known from the first four mantras and
bhāṣyam of the Kenopaniṣad.  There the Pure Consciousness is taught as the
power behind every organ, prāṇa, etc. In the crucial fifth mantra the
Upaniṣad teaches: Know 'that' alone to be Brahman which is the Impeller of
all organs but That which the organs themselves do not know. And most
importantly, Brahman is NOT that which people meditate upon as a deity
distinct from themselves.
> Shankara here says that the Upanishad teaches that any deity that is
different from oneself is anātmā, a-brahma.
> Shankara says in the antaryāmi Brāhmaṇam that 'such Īśvara, known as
Nārāyaṇa... is the Immortal Self of everyone.'
> In the light of the Kenopanishat mantra too, it is clear that this
'Nārāyaṇa' is not any deity, for if it is understood to be so, it will be
anātmā, a-brahma.  Hence alone Shankara says in the Bhagavadgita bhashyam
'I am non-different from Vāsudeva'.
> Thus, the Taittiriya mantra shown above is a fine Advaitic contemplation
where the aspirant knows that he, the Pure Consciousness, is the Power
behind the entire creation.  This Power is a passive presence and not any
active entity. This Power is Brahman, the substratum of the entire creation.
> Om Tat Sat

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