[Advaita-l] meaning of paramam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun May 27 20:43:03 CDT 2012


Here, if not renunciation, tyAga, concentration of mind and sense organs,
is shown as the highest means to liberation:

In the Taittiriya Upanishad 3.1 (commencement of the BhRguvallI) bhashya
Shankara cites a smRti verse:

'manasashchendiryANAm hyaikAgryam paramam tapaH.
tajjyAyaH sarvadharmebhyaH sa dharmaH para uchyate'

' ['the concentration of the mind and the sense organs is indeed the
highest tapas. Since it is higher than all the virtues, it is called the
highest virtue.]. Mahabharata Shanti parvan 250.4.

The citation is made in the following context:

BhRgu approaches his father VaruNa for instruction about Brahman.  The
father gives certain indicators of Brahman.  The son, even though not
instructed so by the Father, engages in 'tapas'.  Shankara comments: Of all
the means for attaining Brahman- Knowledge tapas alone is the highest means
('sAdhakatamam sAdhanam iti prasiddham loke') as is well known in the
world  And such tapas involves the quietening, samAdhAnam (tranquil) of the
outer and inner organs. Since Brahman-realization is of this means,
taddvArakatvAt brahmapratipatteH.

So, we get the meaning 'highest' for the term/adjective 'paramam' in the
above case.

In the Bh.Gita 10.12 for the word 'paramam bhavAn' Shankara comments:
prakRShTam.  Here too the meaning is 'high,supreme.'

It looks like the word 'paramam' in the Mahanarayana Upanishad (paramam
vadanti) is just a qualifier/adjective, without explicitly stating the
qualified/substantive. We will have to supply 'sAdhanam' (paramam sAdhanam
vadanti) assuming that the word   'paramam' is in the neuter gender.  Or it
could be seen as 'tasmAn nyAsarUpatapaH eshAM tapasAm (madhye) paramam
utkRShTam/uttamam mokShasAdhanam vadanti' .


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