[Advaita-l] Two significant analogies in the bhAShyam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Feb 19 05:51:51 CST 2013

While commenting on the mantra 3.1.8 of the MunDakopaniShat -

 'na chakShuShA gRhyate nApi vAchA
 na anyairdevaiH tapasA karmaNA vA.
jnAnaprasAdena vishuddhasattvaH
tatastu taM pashyate niShkalaM dhyAyamAnaH.'

// Brahman is not grasped by the eye, nor by speech, nor by the other
senses, nor by penance or good works. A man becomes pure through serenity
of intellect; thereupon, in meditation, he beholds Him who is without
parts. //

Shankara raises a question, in the context, thus:

'kim punastasya grahaNe sAdhanam?'  [What then is the means to
know/apprehend Brahman?] and delineates on the mantra-word 'jnAnaprasAdena'
[by serenity of the mind] thus:

AtmAvabodhana-samarthamapi svabhAvena sarvaprANinAM jnAnaM
bAhyaviShaya-rAgAdidoSha-kaluShitam aprasannam ashuddham sat na
avabodhayati nityam sannihitamapi Atmatattvam, malAnavaddhamiva Adarsham,
vilulitamiva salilam.

[Though the intellect in all beings is intrinsically able to make the Self
known, still being polluted by such blemishes as attachment to external
objects etc., it becomes non-placid and impure and does not, like a *stained
mirror or ruffled water*, make the reality of the Self know, though It is
ever at hand.]

tadyadA indriyaviShayasamsargajanita-rAgAdimalakAluShyaapanayanaat
Adarshalalilaadivat prasAditaM svaccham shAntam avatiShThate tadA jnAnasya
prasAdaH syAt.

[The favourableness of the intellect comes about when it continues to be
tranquil and pure on having been made clean like a mirror, water, etc. by
removal of the pollution caused by the dirt of attachment that springs from
the contact of the senses and sense-objects.]

So much from the bhAShyam.

Here, what is worthy of noting is the appropriateness of the two analogies
Shankara uses in respect of the state of the mind:

1. The mirror covered/stained by dust, etc. and 2. Ruffled water.

In Vedanta sAdhana, we have known that two important aspects are involved:
1. Chitta shuddhi and 2. chitta ekAgratA.  The former is brought about by
karmayoga and the latter by upAsana/dhyAna yoga.  Coming to the analogies
Shankara uses, the stained mirror requires cleaning it and this corresponds
to the cleansing of the mind, chitta shuddhi, by karma:  chittasya
shuddhaye karma...(vivekachUDAmaNi).  And the state of the ruffled water
has to be remedied by the calming, or settling of the water by attaining to
placidity.  This is akin to the resorting to dhyAnayoga of the sixth
chapter of the Bh.Gita for attaining chitta ekAgratA and shAntatA.

That this twin-discipline is a sine qua non for realizing the Truth is what
the mantra in reference is all about.   The very mantra-words '
vishuddhasattvaH' and  'dhyAyamAnaH' are so very nicely adorned,
embellished, as it were, by the two analogies Shankara gives in the

Om Tat Sat

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