[Advaita-l] NIRVIDYA- Be Like a Child

KAMESWARARAO MULA kamesh_ccmb at yahoo.co.in
Sun Jul 11 19:36:19 EDT 2021

Dear Members,                          The Brihadāranyaka Upanishad (3-5-1) contains a beautiful saying which has been mistranslated and misunderstood. Tasmād Brāhmanah pāndityam nirvidya bālyena tishthāset. "Therefore let the Brahman-knower who is satiated with knowledge of the Self remain like a child," that is, simple, free from all conceit and guileless. Brāhmana should reject learning and be a child. What connection is there between such rejection and childhood? The  word Nirvidya does not mean to reject or to abandon. It comes from the root vid, to know. The word Nir signifies intensity, fullness and the like. Nirvidya therefore means having fully and detachedly known and thus attained the state of Nirveda or satiety of knowledge. This Nirveda is detachment from the world due to full knowledge. It has thus two meanings, namely, full mastery of the subject, and the indifference to further enquiry and argument, which is the result of such full knowledge. Then who is the subject of the verb Nirvidya? Sangkara says that it is a Brāhmana by which is meant a man entirely devoted to Brahman- Knowledge (Brahma-nishtha purusha). The object of Pānditya, which does not mean any learning but knowledge of the Self (Ātmatattva).

Bhāskararāya cites the text in his Commentary on the Nityashoda- shikārnava Tantra when discussing the stages or Bhūmikā of knowledge. He says that a man advances from one stage of secular knowledge to another and higher stage until he reaches the highest. He finds that even this is inadequate for the understanding of the ultimate Reality (paratattva). He therefore pursues the path of Devotion (Bhakti mārga). When he has got beyond all these, there is nothing for him to learn or do, but he should live as a simple and guileless child in constant communion with the Divine Mother.
There is a very fine thought expressed in this saying. There are two kinds of children, the natural child before the acquisition of available knowledge and after such acquisition the man-child. There are two kinds of ignorance — the ignorance of the child which as such may be removed. The ignorance which attaches to man however learned is irremovable so long as he remains man. There are two states of knowledge - the state of the child who does not know because he does not know and the state of the wise who does not know because he knows. He knows how little he knows and that some matters are wholly beyond his ken. He knows that he does not know. The child is ignorant but is not aware to what extent. The beautiful simplicity and guilelessness of childhood is due to its innocence. The child-man regains this state after knowledge of evil. Both simplicities are beautiful; — the spring-like beauty of the natural child so unconsciously close to nature, and the autumnal richness of the mind which has known and understood all, has achieved freedom from all conventional and partial judgments and which battling through all confusions has won to simplicity. To continue childlike is to continue young, the natural child's youth being the youth of years, and the childhood of age being the youth which is the reward of the wise. The outlook of the child is natural and therefore beautiful. Beautiful also is the vision of the sage-child in which naturalness is transfused and enriched by knowledge.Learned are requested to contribute their views.From the Book: SIR JOHN WOODROFFE & BENGAL 'An Indian Soul in a European Body'? BY   Kathleen TaylorSource: Vedanta Kesari (Madras:1992)

Sri Guru Padaravindarpana MastuKameswara

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