[Advaita-l] snake-rope example

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 18 00:16:25 CDT 2006

You're right that this analogy does not occur in the 10 principal
Upanishads, but only the Vaitathya Prakarana of the Mandukya

But among the 108 Muktika Upanishads, it occurs frequently, e.g.,

#18 Atma Upanishad:


"II-26-27(a). Because that Yogin has become Brahman, how can Brahman
be reborn ? Bondage and liberation, set up by Maya, are not real in
themselves in relation to the Self, just as the appearance and
disappearance of the snake are not in relation to the stirless rope."

#37, Tejobindu Upanishad:


"76-98. When the blueness of the sky really exists in it, then the
universe really is. When the silver in mother-of pearl can be used in
making an ornament, when a man is bitten by (the conception of) a
snake in a rope,..."

#70, Anna Purna Upanishad:


"IV-10. (The whole world) is superimposed on the supreme Reality, the
Ground, as the snake is on the rope. No curiosity is aroused as
regards these superimposed wonders."

#86, Yoga Kundalini Upanishad:


"79. Like the conception of the snake in a rope, so the idea of the
release from life and Samsara is the delusion of time."

--- "S.N. Sastri" <sn.sastri at gmail.com> wrote:

> Sub: Rope-snake example.
> The oft-quoted example of the rope appearing as a snake is not
> found in any
> of the ten major upanishads. It is not generally known that it
> appears in
> one of the 'minor' upanishads, known as 'nirAlambopanishad'. 108
> upanishads
> have been listed in a certain order in muktikopanishad which is the
> last,
> i.e. 108th upanishad. nirAlambopanishad is No.36 in this list. The
> rope-snake example is mentioned in mantra 8 of that upanishad. The
> sentence
> is:--
> rajjau sarpabhrAntiriva advitIye sarvAnusyUte sarvamaye brahmaNi
> jnAnam ajnAnam.
> S.N.Sastri
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