[Advaita-l] A wonderful string of adjectives for Brahman
Siva Senani Nori
sivasenani at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 16 04:30:11 EST 2017
Translation: To make the translation clear, we will take the core of the sentence and expand it.
Sanskrit: त एते कर्माणि (Those and these karmas - rites or actions) विज्ञानमयश्च आत्मा (and the Atman which is of the nature of vijnana) उपाध्यपनये सति (when the adjunct is removed)... ब्रह्मणि ... (in Brahman) सर्वे (all - i.e. karmas and Atman) एकीभवन्ति (become one), अविशेषतां गच्छन्ति (reach a stage of non-differentiation) एकत्वमापद्यन्ते (attain oneness).English: When the adjunct is removed, those and these karmas and the Vijnanamaya Atman become one in Brahman, i.e. they reach a stage of non-differentiation and attain oneness.
In the last part of the sentence, two examples are being offered (that of reflection and delimitation).S: जलाद्याधारापनय इव (just like upon the removal of media like water) सूर्यादिप्रतिबिम्बाः (reflections of Sun) सूर्ये ([merge] in Sun), घटाद्यपनय इव (like upon the removal of limiting adjuncts like pot) आकाशे (in Akasa) घटाद्याकाशाः ([merge the] various Akasas like pot-akasa).E: just like upon the removal of media like water, reflections of Sun merge in Sun, and just like upon the removal of limiting adjuncts like pot, pot-akasa etc. merge in Akasa.
In this above sentence, Brahman is described by 16 adjectives (in locative absolute case). The words (in nominal case) and their meanings are:
1. param = ultimate2. avyayam = changeless3. anantam = without end4. akshayam = without decay5. AkASakalpam = like AkASa = all pervading, a base for everything else, but without a basis for oneself6. ajam = unborn7. ajaram = without old age or degradation8. amRitam = without death9. abhayam = without fear = without a perception of the second (Ta. Up. explains that fear is rooted in the perception of the second. In one's bedroom if one leaves a wallet/necklace there is no fear since a wife/husband is not seen as different; however if a maid, seen as the "other", were to enter the bedroom one locks up the wallet/necklace in a safer place.10. apUrvam = without prior11. anaparam = without posterior12. anantaram = homogeneous (some people, esp. Max Muller while translating this term in Br. Up. and others who follow him, translate this as "without anything inside" or something like that. Such a translation would make Brahman the same as Sunyam. Sankaracarya explains this term (in Br. Up. where it occurs, don't have references handy now) as without differences of jAti etc. within Itself. Swami Gambhirananda correctly translates this term as "homogenous" in his translation of Brahmasutrabhashya where this particular sentence from Br. Up. is quoted)13. abAhyam = without anything outside = all encompassing14. advayam = without a second15. Sivam = auspicious16. SAntam = unagitated
The full translation would be:
When the adjunct is removed, those and these karmas and the Vijnanamaya Atman become one in the ultimate, changeless, end-less, decay-less, AkASa-like, unborn, age-less, death-less, fear-less, prior-less, posterior-less, homogeneous, all-encompassing, second-less, auspicious, unagitated Brahman, i.e. they reach a stage of non-differentiation and attain oneness, just like upon the removal of media like water, reflections of Sun merge in Sun, and just like upon the removal of limiting adjuncts like pot, pot-akasa etc. merge in Akasa.
RegardsN. Siva Senani
From: V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
To: Advaitin <advaitin at yahoogroups.com>; A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Wednesday, 15 February 2017 3:35 PM
Subject: [Advaita-l] A wonderful string of adjectives for Brahman
A wonderful string of adjectives for Brahman
In the Mundaka bhashya 3.2.7 Shankara while stating the process of
realization the the Truth writes a beautiful sentence filled with 'rasa':
त एते कर्माणि विज्ञानमयश्च आत्मा उपाध्यपनये सति *परे अव्यये अनन्तेऽक्षये
ब्रह्मणि आकाशकल्पेऽजेऽजरेऽमृतेऽभयेऽपूर्वेऽनपरेऽनन्तरेऽबाह्येऽद्वये शिवे
शान्ते *सर्वे एकीभवन्ति अविशेषतां गच्छन्ति एकत्वमापद्यन्ते जलाद्याधारापनय
इव सूर्यादिप्रतिबिम्बाः सूर्ये, घटाद्यपनय इवाकाशे घटाद्याकाशाः ॥
A total of 16 viśeṣaṇa-s for Brahman!! No doubt they are all strewn across
various upaniṣadic texts. Yet to state them all in one place must be due to
a special inspiration that the Acharya had at that moment.
These are all svarupa lakṣaṇa words, mostly in the niṣedha mode and
sparsely vidhi mode. Members can give more explanation on analyzing these
I was drawn to this sentence while reading the nice Kannada book
'śānkarabhāṣyāmṛtam', a collection of 60 passages from the prasthānatraya
bhāṣya by Vidvan Sri K.G.Subraya Sharma. This book is in commemoration of
his sixty-day discourse during the Shankara Jayanti Celebrations 2016 at
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