[Advaita-l] Five kinds of 'bhrama' and their correction - Annapurna Upanishad

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Dec 4 11:58:02 EST 2023

In this minor upanishad there is a conversation between Ribhu (Guru) and
Nidagha (Disciple). Five kinds of errors are specified, that mark bondage
and their respective correction that marks liberation:

भ्रमः पञ्चविधो भाति तदेवेह समुच्यते ।
जीवेश्वरौ भिन्नरूपाविति प्राथमिको भ्रमः ॥ 12॥

आत्मनिष्ठं कर्तृगुणं वास्तवं वा द्वितीयकः ।
शरीरत्रयसंयुक्तजीवः सङ्गी तृतीयकः ॥ 13॥

जगत्कारणरूपस्य विकारित्वं चतुर्थकः ।
कारणाद्भिन्नजगतः सत्यत्वं पञ्चमो भ्रमः ।
पञ्चभ्रमनिवृत्तिश्च तदा स्फुरति चेतसि ॥ 15॥


*—Annapurna Upanishad 1.37–38Translated by AGK Warrier*

*Five delusions*

The *Annapurna Upanishad* asserts, in verses 1.13 to 1.15,
that delusions are of five kinds.

The first is believing in the distinction between Jiva (living being) and
god as if they have different forms.

The second delusion, asserts the text, is equating agency (actor-capacity,
person-ego) as Self.

 Assuming Jiva as equivalent - and permanently attached - to body is the
third delusion, states the text.

The fourth delusion is to assume the cause of the universe to be changing,
and not constant.

The fifth delusion, asserts the Upanishad, is to presume the unchanging
Reality in the universe to be different from the cause of the universe.
These five delusive premises, asserts the text, prevents the understanding
of Self.
Their correction is as follows:

1. बिम्बप्रतिबिम्बदर्शनेन भेदभ्रमो निवृत्तः ।

By recognizing the 'original' and the 'reflection' are really
non-different, the error of 'difference' between Jiva and Ishwara is

2. स्फटिकलोहितदर्शनेन पारमार्थिककर्तृत्वभ्रमो निवृत्तः ।

The analogy of redness in crystal teaches that the doership/agency,
katrutva, a person thinks is his true nature, is gone. The redness only
appears in the crystal due to proximity of the red flower. So too the
agency one experiences is actually in the body-mind complex, but wrongly
perceived in the Atman, due to proximity.

3. घटमठाकाशदर्शनेन सङ्गीतिभ्रमो निवृत्तः ।

By knowing that the pot-space and house-space are only conditionings of
unconditioned space,  the delusion that one is indeed endowed with the
three bodies/sharirams: kAraNa, sukshma and sthUla, is dispelled. The gross
and subtle bodies are only upadhis created by avidya (kAraNa sharira). Once
this is known the delusion of being a jiva is dispelled.

4. रज्जुसर्पदर्शनेन कारणाद्भिन्नजगतः सत्यत्वभ्रमो निवृत्तः ।

The cause-effect analysis teaches us that the effect does not have a
separate existence apart from the cause: This aspect of x having no
existence apart from its cause y, is analogous to the superimposed snake
having no separate existence from the substratum rope. Similarly the world,
the effect of, the superimposition on Brahman, has no separate existence
from Brahman. This realization dispels the false idea that the world is
real (just like the knowledge of the rope dispels the erroneous idea that
the world is real.)
Shankara has on several occasions equated the clay-pot analogy with the
rope-snake analogy.

5. कनकरुचकदर्शनेन विकारित्वभ्रमो निवृत्तः ।

The understanding that the ornament is non-different from gold dispels the
error that the world is a transformation of Brahman. When understood and
viewed from the teaching of the Chandogya Upanishad: वाचारम्भणम् विकारो
नामधेयम्, मृत्तिकेत्येव सत्यम्, the effect, ornament, is not really a
transformation of gold.

तदाप्रभृति मच्चित्तं ब्रह्माकारमभूत्स्वयम् ।
निदाघ त्वमपीत्थं हि तत्त्वज्ञानमवाप्नुहि ॥ 16॥

By contemplating on the above lines one would clearly realize he is Brahman
and the appearance of the world is not real, and will get established in
Brahman. The Guru Ribhu instructs and blesses his disciple Nidagha: You too
thus contemplating attain the knowledge of the Self.

This reminds us of the commentary of Shankara for the Bh.Gita 2.16: You too
Arjuna, on the lines of the Jnanis,  viewing the transformations in life as
mithya, practice forbearance. (Such a practice will result in the
actualizing of the Jivan-mukta state).

Om Tat Sat

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list