[Advaita-l] Mumukshu lakshaNam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Feb 23 11:38:04 CST 2010

श्रीगुरुभ्यो नमः

It is well known that sAdhana-chatuShTaya sampatti, or the four-fold
requirement, is the qualification an aspirant after liberation is said to
possess.  The Vedantic works like Vivekachudamani give elaborate details
about this.  In this connection an observation made in the Chandogya
Upanishad Chapter 6 where the famous 'tat tvam asi' teaching occurs is
noteworthy -

In mantras 6.14.1 and 2 the Upanishad says: यथा सोम्य पुरुषं......(१) and
तस्य यथाभिनहनं.....पण्डितो मेधावी गन्धारानेवौपसम्पद्यते एवमेव इह आचार्यवान्
पुरुषो वेद....

The meaning of the mantras is:

*The Sixth question:*

Shvetaketu asks: If this is so, what is that extra-sensory means by which I
can know the Sat?

*The Reply:*

The mantras 6.14.1 and 2 bring out *the means and method of knowing the Sat.
*  An illustration is taken up to convey this.  A man from a city is
blindfolded and abducted by some robbers and left in a deep forest, without
removing the blindfold.  Hearing the victim’s wailing, someone taking pity
for this man removes his blindfold and freeing his tied hands, instructs him
the path he will have to take to reach his city. *The saved man, taking the
instruction, reaches his city, being guided by several others on the
way.  Similarly
does a mumukshu seek the guidance of the Guru and implements the teachings
and finally realizes his goal of freedom from transmigratory existence.*   The
teaching essentially is: The one endowed with an Acharya, a teacher, gets
the liberating knowledge. Acharya upadesha is the unique means required to
gain this knowledge. ‘Such a Sat, are you, Tat tvam asi’ is the *seventh
time* teaching.

   - The example brings out the truth that ignorance consists of not knowing
   the truth about oneself (and taking the unreal for the real).  When one
   is ‘blindfolded’ by ignorance, what results is misery, signified by the
   victim’s wailing in the wilderness.  The misery ends only when one gets
   the right knowledge of his self through the teaching of the Acharya.  This
   reminds one of the verse: ajnAnAntargahana patitAn AtmavidyopadeshaiH… where
   the Lord Himself comes in the form of the Guru to give this Atma vidya
   thereby freeing the jiva from anAtma adhyAsa and abhimana (that is, wrong
   identification with the non-Self and taking that to be one’s true nature).

   - In the example we find that the savior instructs the suffering man on
   the path to his destination.  *The Bhashyam says the word PanditaH means
   the one who has gained the right instruction.  The word MedhAvin of the
   mantra denotes the capacity on the individual to implement the instruction
   without flaw and reach the destination.** * Bhagavatpada adds that only
   such a one with the right instruction and capacity reaches the goal and not
   the one who is मूढमतिः, a dull-witted one, and who gets distracted by what
   he sees on the way and thereby loses the enthusiasm to reach the goal. The
   ‘distraction’ comes from the anAtma.

The points to be noted with reference to the Mumukshu are:

1. He should be fortunate enough to have an AchArya to teach him the
'tattva' and significantly, the method to attain it.

2. He should be possessed  of enthusiasm to know the truth, and most
importantly the intellectual equipment that is well cultivated, sharp and
capable of intuiting the Truth that is 'सूक्ष्मात् सूक्ष्मतरं’ requiring an
अग्रा बुद्धिः.as the Upanishads say. This is stressed by the Upanishad and
Shankarabhagavatpada because one might get the teaching from an exalted
Acharya but the grasping of the teaching, ग्रहण of the upadesha, धारण,
retaining it in the intellect, and most crucially, the application of the
method of realizing it are of supreme importance.  If this latter
qualification is not there, however great the Acharya's Upadesha is, it will
remain unutilized.  The Upanishad providing the analogy of a blindfolded man
is very telling.  In the analogy, the compassionate guide just removed the
victim's blindfold and only instructed the way he will have to take to reach
his city.  But this man has to be intelligent enough to grasp the details of
the way instructed to him, make no mistake in implementing it, otherwise he
might end up missing his way and reaching some other place.  He will have to
also use his own discretion in asking people on the way for more
directions.  All this requires a keen, sharp and clear intellect.  This is
what is stressed in the mantra and Bhashyam.

The Vivekachudamani too says:

मेधावी पुरुषो विद्वान् ऊहापोहविचक्षणः ।
अधिकार्यात्मविद्यायां उक्तलक्षणलक्षितः ॥  16

//An intelligent and learned man skilled in arguing in favour of the
Scriptures and in refuting counter-arguments against them – one who has got
the above characteristics is the fit recipient of the knowledge of the

Noted Vidwan Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal in his Brahmasutra bhashyam classes
in Chennai recently said:

தத்துவ உபதேசம் ஆசார்யரிடமிருந்து வந்தாலும் அதை மனதில் வாங்கிண்டு அவர்
சொல்லிய வழியில் நடந்து தத்துவ ஸாக்ஷாத்காரம் அடைய தகுந்த புத்தி ஸாமர்த்யம்
பொருந்தியவனாக இருக்கணும் முமுக்ஷு. இதைக் காண்பிக்கவே ’பண்டித:, மேதாவி’ என்று
இன்த மந்திரத்தில் உள்ளது.

The meaning of the above Tamil sentence is covered already in the foregoing
explanation.  I heard this very recently and this appealed to me greatly.
Hence I reproduced these words so that Tamil-knowing members could also read
and appreciate the purport of the Chandogya Shruti we studied in this


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