[Advaita-l] The purport of Br.Up.1.3.10 Bhāṣya

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Oct 9 18:51:01 EDT 2017

In the B.rhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad we have this mantra:

सा वा एषा देवतैतासां देवतानां पाप्मानं मृत्युमपहत्य यत्रासां
दिशामन्तस्तद्गमयाञ्चकार तदासां पाप्मनो विन्यदधात्तस्मान्न
जनमियान्नान्तमियान्नेत्पाप्मानं मृत्युमन्ववायानीति ॥ १० ॥

10. This deity took away death, the evil of these gods, and carried it to
where these quarters end. There it left their evils. Therefore one should
not approach a person (of that region), nor go to that region beyond the
border, lest one imbibe that evil, death.

Shankara's commentary to the mantra:

सा वा एषा देवतेत्युक्तार्थम् । एतासां वागादीनां देवतानाम् , पाप्मानं
मृत्युम् — स्वाभाविकाज्ञानप्रयुक्तेन्द्रियविषयसंसर्गासङ्गजनितेन हि पाप्मना
सर्वो म्रियते, स ह्यतो मृत्युः — तम् , प्राणात्माभिमानरूपाभ्यो देवताभ्यः,
अपच्छिद्य अपहत्य, — प्राणात्माभिमानमात्रतयैव प्राणोऽपहन्तेत्युच्यते ;
विरोधादेव तु पाप्मैवंविदो दूरं गतो भवति ; किं पुनश्चकार देवतानां पाप्मानं
मृत्युमपहत्येत्युच्यते — यत्र यस्मिन् , आसां प्राच्यादीनां दिशाम् , अन्तः
अवसानम् , तत् तत्र गमयाञ्चकार गमनं कृतवानित्येतत् । ननु नास्ति दिशामन्तः,
कथमन्तं गमितवानिति ; उच्यते — श्रौतविज्ञानवज्जनावधिनिमित्तकल्पितत्वाद्दिशां
तद्विरोधिजनाध्युषित एव देशो दिशामन्तः, देशान्तोऽरण्यमिति यद्वत् ;
इत्यदोषः । तत्तत्र गमयित्वा, आसां देवतानाम् , पाप्मन इति द्वितीयाबहुवचनम् ,
विन्यदधात् विविधं न्यग्भावेनादधात्स्थापितवती, प्राणदेवता ;
प्राणात्माभिमानशून्येष्वन्त्यजनेष्विति सामर्थ्यात् ; इन्द्रियसंसर्गजो हि स
इति प्राण्याश्रयतावगम्यते । तस्मात्तमन्त्यं जनम् , नेयात् न गच्छेत्
सम्भाषणदर्शनादिभिर्न संसृजेत् ; तत्संसर्गे पाप्मना संसर्गः कृतः स्यात् ;
पाप्माश्रयो हि सः ; तज्जननिवासं चान्तं दिगन्तशब्दवाच्यम् , नेयात् —
जनशून्यमपि, जनमपि तद्देशवियुक्तम् , इत्यभिप्रायः । नेदिति परिभयार्थे निपातः
; इत्थं जनसंसर्गे, पाप्मानं मृत्युम् , अन्ववायानीति — अनु अव अयानीति
अनुगच्छेयमिति ; एवं भीतो न जनमन्तं चेयादिति पूर्वेण सम्बन्धः ॥

The translation of the commentary of Shankara by Swami Mādhavānanda is:

This deity-already explained-took away death, the evil of these gods such
as the god of speech, identified with the vital force. Everybody dies
because of the evil due to the attachment of the organs to contact with the
sense-objects, prompted by his natural ignorance. Hence this evil is death.
The vital force is here spoken of as taking it away from the gods, simply
because they identified themselves with the vital force. As a matter of
fact, evil keeps away from this knower just because it is out of place
there. What did the
vital force do after taking away death, the evil of the gods? It carried it
to where these quarters, east and so forth, end. One may question how this
was done, since the quarters have no end. The answer is that it is all
right, for the quarters are here conceived as being that stretch of
territory which is inhabited by people possessing Vedic knowledge ; hence
'the end of the quarters' means the country inhabited by people who hold
opposite views, as a forest is spoken of as the end of the country.
Carrying them, there it, the deity, vital force, left their evils, the
evils of these gods.The word 'Pāpmanah' is accusative plural.-'Left,' lit.
placed in various humiliating ways, and, as is understood from the sense of
the passage, among the inhabitants of that region beyond the border who do
not identify themselves with the vital force. That evil is due to the
contact of the senses (with their objects) ; hence it must reside in some
living being. Therefore one should not approach, i.e. associate with by
addressing or seeing, a person of the region beyond the border.
Association with him would involve contact with evil, for it dwells in him.
Nor go to that region beyond the border, where such people live, called
'the end of the quarters,' although it may be deserted; and the implication
is, nor to any man out of that land. Lest one imbibe that evil, death, by
coming into contact with such people. Out of this fear one should neither
approach these people nor go to that region. 'Ned' (lest) is a particle
denoting apprehension.

When the above commentary is studied, one is invariably reminded of the
Bhāgavatam instance where the evil called 'kali' begs of the righteous
ruler Parīkṣit to assign it 'places' where it could survive, thrive.


//*Sūta said:*

*Petitioned thus, Parīkṣit gave Kali: places of gambling and contest,
places of drinking, places of sexual promiscuity, and slaughterhouses.*

*Begging for a little more, the Master gave him a fifth place: wherever
money accumulates. In such places there is always cheating, maddening
desire, passion, and enmity.*


*The Son of Uttarā gave Kali to the order to live only in those five
places, through which Kali could certainly encourage immorality. *


*Therefore a person who desires his own well-being must never, ever go to
such places. Especially not those who protect morality: kings, leaders, and

No one who wishes to truly improve their lives should become a fan of
making money, competing with others, getting drunk, trying to have sex, and
eating meat. Do not become intimate or close with anyone who seriously
values any of these things!//

Now one can easily see that the Br.Up and bhashya accords well with the
The Gita says:

BGB 13.10:

मयि चानन्ययोगेन भक्तिरव्यभिचारिणी।


13.11 And unwavering devotion to Me with single-minded concentration;
inclination to repair into a clean place; lack of delight in a crowd of

Shankara says:

Vivikta-desa-sevitvam, inclination to repair into a clean place-a place
(desa) naturally free (vivikta) or made free from impurity etc. and snakes,
tigers, etc.; or, place made solitary (vivikta) by being situated in a
forest, on a bank of a river, or in a temple; one who is inclined to seek
such a place is vivikta-desa-sevi, and the abstract form of that is
vivikta-desa-sevitvam. Since the mind becomes calm in places that are
indeed pure (or solitary), therefore meditation on the Self etc. occurs in
pure (or solitary) places. Hence the inclination to retire into clean (or
solitary) places is called Knowledge. Aratih, lack of delight, not being
happy; jana-samadi, in crowd of people-an assemblage, a multitude of people
without culture, lacking in purity and immodest-, (but) not (so) in a
gathering of pure and modest persons since that is conducive to Knowledge.
Hence, lack of delight in an assembly of common people is knowledge since
it leads to Knowledge.

Thus reading all the above three texts we conclude that the purport of the
scripture is in seeing the aspirant after Truth does not give room to
anything that pollutes his mind. The 'going to an 'alien' land is thus
figurative, for such 'alien' can very well be even next door and not
necessarily in a far off continent.

And the essence of the Vedic culture can be anywhere and not necessarily in
only one geographical area. A person living abroad can very well contact
that centre and be insulated from adverse effects that country might have
on him. Such centres are there everywhere and most importantly one has to
create it within oneself.

Thus what matters most is not the geographical land where one resides but
the company he keeps. That is the purport of the Br. Up. cited above.

On Tat Sat

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