[Advaita-l] Knowledge of Brahman

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Nov 10 21:57:02 CST 2015

On Tue, 10 Nov 2015, Harsha Bhat via Advaita-l wrote:

> Please tell the meaning of this matra in advaitha point of view..
> dva suparna sayuja sakhaya
> samanam vriksham parishasvajate
> tayor anyah pippalam svadv atty
> anashnann anyo ‘bhicakashiti
> here what second bird represent in moksha?
> One which watches is surely brahman.but what is second bird is?
> Surely not bhudhi as it is not there in moksha...so which is that second
> bird in this mantra...in advaitha point of view?

short answer: the atman as sAkShi or as Ishvara.

Here is MM Ganganath Jha's translation of the mantra and Shankara bhashya 
thereon.  (Footnotes are by me.)

"Two inseparable companions of fine plumage perch on the self-same tree. 
One of the two feeds on the delicious fruit.  The other not tasting of it 
looks on."

The Paravidya has been explained by which the immortal 'Purusha' or the 
Truth could be known, by whose knowledge, the cause of saMsAra such as the 
knot of the heart etc.[1] can be totally destroyed.  Yoga which is the 
means to the realization of the Brahman has also been expolained by an 
illustration "taking the bow and the rest".[2]  Now the subsequent portion 
is intended to inculculate the auxiliary helps to tthat yoga as truth etc. 
Chiefly the truth is here determined by another mode as it is extremely 
difficult to realize it.  Here, though already done, a mantra (brief) as 
a sUtra is introduced for the purpose of ascertaining the absolute entity.

suparNau = two of good motion or two birds; (the word "suparna" being used 
to denote birds generally); sayujau = inseperable, constant companions; 
sakhAyau = bearing the same name or having the same cause of 
manifestation.  Being thus, they are perched on the same tree. ('same', 
because the place where they could be perceived is identical.) 'tree' here 
means 'body'; because of the similitude in their liability to be cut or 
destroyed. pariShasvajAte = embraced; just as birds got to the same tree 
for tasting the fruits.  This tree as is well known[3] has its root high 
up (i.e. in Brahman) and its branches (prANa etc.) downwards; it is 
transitory and has its source in avyakta (mAya). It is named 'kShetra' and 
in it hang the fruits of the karma of all living things.  It is here that 
the Atman conditioned in th subtle body to which ignorance, desire, karma, 
and their unmanifested tendencies cling, and Ishvara are perched like 
birds.  Of these two so perched, one, i.e. kShetraGYa occupying the subtle 
body eats i.e. tastes from ignorance the fruits of karma marked as 
happiness and misery, palatable in many and diversified modes; the other, 
i.e. the Lord, eternal, pure, intelligent and free in his nature, 
omniscient and conditioned by mAya does not eat; for, He is the director 
of both the eater and the thing eaten, by the fact of His mere existence 
as the eternal witness (of all); not tasting, He merely looks on; for His 
mere witnessing is direction as in the case of a king.[4]

[1] See Mundaka II.2.8

[2] See Mundaka II.2.3-4

[3] See Gita XV.1 and onwards.

[4] When a king inspects his troops on parade, he is not really actively 
leading them like a general would but the very fact that they present 
themselves for review shows that he is the leader.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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