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Talk 2 October 07, 2007

There are various forms of scriptures and in that Vedas are the mula sastram
ie, fundamental scriptures because all other sastras are based on vedas.
Vedas are divided into two - the first portion is called Karma kanda and the second
portion is Jnana kanda otherwise called Vedanta. The subject matter of Karma Kanda
and Vedanta are different.The Adhikari for both is different, prayojana or benefit is
different and sambanda is also different.

Upanishad is another word for Vedanta. There are many Upanishads. Out of them 10
upanishads are considered to be major Upanishad - Isa, Kena, Katha , Mundaka,
Mandukya, Tittiri, Aitriyam cha chandogyam, brhadaranyakam tata. These 10
upanishads are considered to be the main Upanishads because they have been
commentated upon by Shankaracharyaji. They are discussed very elaborately. Among
these 10 upanishads, one is Mandukya Upanishad which is considered to be very
important, a profound upanishad.

It is said in Muktikaupanishad - Mandukyam ekam eva alam mumukshunam vimuktaye.
Mandukya Upanishad alone is enough to give you liberation. In fact any upanishad is
enough. So Mandukya also is enough.The sentences of many upanishads are analysed in
Brahma Sutra. But Mandukya is not analysed in Brahma Sutra. One reason is that
Upanishad's vakyas are so clear that it does not have any ambiguity and therefore it is not
analysed. The message given is so direct and so profound that many people find it
difficult to relate to. It is a very strong dosage in only 12 mantras. That is why it is
considered to be a very advanced upanishad. Generally it is taught at the end of the
course. If 3 year course is there, generally it will be taught in the end because it requires a
certain maturity, certain background to understand this Upanishad.

This upanishad itself is very small consisting of 12 mantras, but generally it is studied
with a commentary called Karika. Karika means a commentary in verse form. This
commentary will not be like other commentaries which is giving explanation of every
word. But it will be analysing the subject matter discussed in the original text. So karika
is a commentary in verse form on some text dealing with the subject matter of the
original text. And this commentary is authored by Gaudapadacharya who is the grand-
guru of Adi Shankarachya who is the great acharya of Advaita sampradaya. He was there
1200 years ago and his guru's guru is Gaudapadacharya. Shankaracharya's guru is
Govindapadacharya and Govindapadacharya's guru is Gaudapadacharya. Nothing much
of his personal history is known. In those days people did not care. Now-a-days they will
write a copyright - No part of this text should be reproduced without the written
permission of the author, otherwise it will attract legal action. In those days they did not
care, they just produced. They will not even write their name at the end. It is then taught
to the disciples. That is how the sampradaya was. We do not know much about
Gaudapadacharya though there are some speculations of where he was from, but we do
know that he was a great acharya. He is considered to be the disciple of Sukadevacharya.
In the guru stotram - Narayanam Padmabhuvam vashistam , shaktimca tatputra
parasharanca, vyasam sukam gaudapadam mahantam... He may be the immediate
disciple of Sukadeva. Sukadeva was the son of Veda Vyasa. Or may be in his tradition
this Gaudapadacharya was there.

Anyway Gaudapadacharya has written this commentary called karika and since this is
written by Gaudapadacharya, we call it Gaudapada karika. Since it is a karika on the
upanishad called Mandukya. Therefore it is also called Mandukya Karika . This karika
has got 215 slokas in 4 chapters. First chapter is called Agama prakaranam. The second
is called Vaitathya prakaranam. The third is called advaita prakaranam. The fourth is
called Alatashanthi prakaranam.

We will briefly see the ideas contained in every chapter.

1. The first chapter is called agama prakaranam because it is containing the
Upanishad. The text we are going to study will be a combination of upanishad and
karikas. The 1st six mantras will be from the Upanishad, then some karikas or
slokas will be there. Then 7th mantra will be there, then some karika will be there.
Again mantras will be there. Again karika will be there.

So the first chapter, first prakaranam is containing this upanishadas as its main
part. Upanishad is also called agama. Therefore the first chapter is called agama
prakaranam. Agama pradhanatvad agama prakaranam. Upanishad is called
agama because it is not authored by a particular person at a particular time. It is
handed over to the disciple by the teacher. Guru shisya paramparaya agatah iti
agama - That which has come down through the tradition of Guru and shishya is
called agama. Therefore the first chapter is called agama prakarana. In the
agama prakarana there are 29 slokas in which the ideas contained in the upanishad
are elaborated. Totally 12 mantras plus 29 slokas are there. That is agama
prakaranam. How this non-dual Brahman alone is reality is presented.

It is presented in the upanishad and it is commented by these karika slokas. That
is agama prakaranam.

2. In the second chapter which is called Vaitathya prakaranam with the help of
reasoning , it is established how dvaita is unreal. Advaita means non -duality.
Non-duality can be established only when experiential dvaitam ie, duality is
negated. Otherwise there will be a question. How can you say Brahman is non-
dual when there is experience of dvaita ? That particular doubt is answered by
various reasonings and this chapter is Vaitathya prakaranam. It is called Vaitatya
prakaranam because Vaitathyam means unreality or unreal status. Vitatha means
unreal, vaitathya means the state of being unreal, Vitathasya bhavah vaitathyam -
the state of being unreal is called vaitathyam. In this chapter, the unreal nature of
this duality is established through reasoning. Therefore the second chapter is
called Vaitathya prakaranam. Prakaranam means chapter. The chapter dealing
with the unreal nature of the world is called Vaitathya prakarnam. Here mainly
yukti is used.

The first chatper is agama sastra pradhana - mainly shruti. In the second chaper,
what has been said by Shruti is substantiated by reasoning. Yukti itself is not the
pramanam for non-duality of Brahman. But yukti helps us to clarify the doubts
regarding what has been said by the scripture. That is why the second chapter is
manana pradanah wheras the first chapter is sravana pradanah. Shravanam
means listening to the scripture. Mananam is resolving the doubts of how this
duality experience is unreal. Therefore the second chapter is vaitathya prakarnam
and resolves doubt about the unreality of duality. And the logic given is how
duality is just assumed without enquiry. Whatever assumptions we have are

3. Here somebody may have a doubt that if dvaitam is unreal, then why not advaita
be also unreal. Whatever reasoning is given to dismiss the reality of dvaitam, we
can apply the same to advaita also and dismiss advaita. Dvaitam is gone, let
advaita also go. I lose, but you also should lose. Like in the world cup, Pakistan
lost then India also lost. Both were relieved. Sometime we have got this mentality.
I lose, but my enemy also should lose. Similarly the opponent may say this is
OK. My dvaitam is mithya but your advaita also is mithya. Whatever logic you
have given to dismiss dvaitam can be applied to advaita also. So advaita also will
be dismissed. Dvaitam is dismissed and advaitam also is dismissed. What will
remain is sunya vadah. Zero is the reality. You came as Hero and end up as
Zero. Sunya vadah can be the doubt which is accepted by one part of Baudhas.
They say zero is the reality. Drishyam, the seen is unreal; drista, the seer also is
unreal. There is no reality at all. If at all some reality is there, it is zero. Nothing
is the reality. Everything is in reality nothing. That is their contention.

That particular contention is dismissed by giving the reasoning to establish
advaita. That is done in the third chapter called Advaita prakaranam. It has got
48 slokas. First chapter has 29 slokas and 2nd has 38 slokas. The third chapter has
got 48 slokas.

4. In the fourth chapter called Alatashanti prakaranam, the contentions of various
opponents are dismissed and it is established that advaita alone is reality. And
then to establish advaita and to explain the experience of dvaita, the example
given is alata or fire brand. When that firebrand is moved fast, you see various
shapes - round, square. It can give any type of share. But really there is no shape,
really there is no object, but you have an experience of shape. Yu can draw a
circle or any animal. But reality of the shapes is alatha or fire brand. Similarly
the reality is Paramatma alone but Paramatma not understood is appearing as this
world. Understanding takes place when your vision is only on Brahman like that
firebrand. Then really the world is not there. That is established in this chapter.
Therefore the 4th chapter is called alathashanthi prakaranam. Alata means
firebrand, shanti means quietening or ceasing. So the world which is like the
movement of this alata gets dismissed into the wake of knowledge. That idea is
contained in the fourth chapter. Therefore, the 4th chapter is called alatashanti
prakaranam. It has got 100 slokas.

The four chapters together add upto 215 slokas. This is the development of the Text. It
is not like a 20-20 match nor 50. It is like a test match - A long innings.

I) The first chapter is Agama prakaranam. It begins with these upanishad mantras. And
this upanishad along with the karikas is introduced by Shankaraji by saying -
Vedantartha sara sangrah bhutam idam prakarana chatustayam omiti etataksharam
ityadi arabhyate. So this text consisting of 4 chapters is vedantartha sara sangrah
bhootam - it is in the form of collection of essence of the subject matter of Vedanta.
Means it contains the essence of all Vedantas. In Vedanta ie, in Upanishads so many
topics are dealt with. Here only the essential part is given. And the essential part is
Non- dual Brahman. Other parts are not dealt with here. That is why this text is
considered to be a prakaranam. Upanishad is not a prakaranam. But the text along with
upanishad is considered to be prakaranam.

Prakaranam is a type of text which is dealing with one part of the original sastram. In
Vedanta so many topics are disucussed. Here one topic is discussed elaborately.
Therefore this text can be considered to be prakaranam because it contains the essence of
all Vedantas. And this text as I said begins with the upanishad mantras. When I refer to
the word text, what I mean here is this Upanishad plus Karika. It begins with the
upanishad mantra.

Sloka 1
Om ityetadaksharam idagum sarvam, tasyopavakyanam, bhutam bhavad bhavisyaditi
sarvamonkara eva, yachanyat trikala titam tadapyomkara eva.

In this upanishad, the first 2 mantras are pratijna vakyas. Pratijna vakyas, are statements
which are to be substantiated. Proposition is called pratijna. When something which is to
be established is stated, then that type of statement is called pratijna. Suppose I say
sabdah pramanan -Word is a means of knowledge. This is called pratijna vakya. I make
a statement. I have not yet proved it. Then it is called pratijna vakyam. Any such type of
statement is pratigna vakyam. This party is good is Pratijna vakyam. Afterwards I have
to substantiate. Many times we just make a statement and afterwards we dont
substantiate. In vyavahara it is Ok. Other person will guess how to substantiate it. But
in sastra generally pratijna statement is made first and then it is substantiated. In our life
also, when we make statement we should have sufficient stuff to substantiate it. You
cannot get away with saying I think therefore it must be like this.
Not enough. It should be substantiated.

So the first two mantras are pratijna vakyas or propositions or Statements to be
substantiated. The pratigna made has got the essential idea of Vedanta that Brahman is
reality and that reality is non-dual. Ekam eva advitiyam brahma. Neha nanasti kinchana.
The reality is non dual and there is no duality in this Brahman. There is only one non-
dual Brahman. This is the essence. Then the question would be if non-dual Brahman is
the reality, then what about the experience of duality. You have to account for the
experience of duality. You cannot brush it aside. Sastra cannot say that you have
experience, so it is your problem. Experience has to be accounted for. In vyavahara also
we see this. We might have certain principles, but if the other person does not agree with
us, then we have to address his points of disagreement. We should have the mind to see
on what basis he disagrees with us. Some people are so much obsessed with their own
ideas, they are not ready to see the other point of view. This is fanaticism. Pujya
Swamiji says that when we want to convert somebody, we make them stop thinking. I
want to push my ideas to you, first thing I should do is I should make you stop thinking.
But in Vedanta we dont do that. We in fact encourage, motivate the person to think.
Think but think properly. So the experience of duality has to be explained. The reality is
non-dual. Non dual means there is no duality, there is no difference. Then how to
account for the experience of this duality ? For that sastra says that even though Brahman
is non dual. But this Brahman is misunderstood means it is wrongly taken and therefore it
appears as the world. So what is the world ? Brahman misunderstood is the world. So
we dont deny the experience of the dualistic world. But we say that the world which is
experienced by you is nothing but the same non-dual Brahman mistaken. What is there is
Brahman. It is not like there are two entities - One is Brahman and the other is the world.

There is only one reality when non-understood we call it world. When understood, we
understand it as Brahman. So the same entity, the same reality is called world by
ignorant people and the same reality is called Brahman by wisemen ie, the people who
have understood the truth. So it is not world and Brahman. Brahman alone
misunderstood is the world. And how long will this world continue ? As long as there is
misunderstanding about the world, the world will continue appearing. When the
misunderstanding goes away then the world is dismissed. There is no world. There is
only Brahman. But Brahman does not depend upon my understanding to be Brahman.
The world depends upon my misunderstanding. If I misunderstand this Brahman then
there is world. When understanding comes, the world is negated. But Brahman does not
get negated whether understanding is there or not. So we can say the world is negated in
the wake of understanding of Brahman. Therefore the world is badhyam. Badhyam
means negatable. The world is negatable, because in the wake of understanding it is
negated. Whereas Brahman is abadhyam ie, unnegatable. Brahman is not negated.
When I experience the world, Brahman is not negated. This means that when I experience
the world, Brahman is and when the world is negated, then also Brahman is. Brahman is
never negated. Brahman is abadhya or non-negatable. But that which is badhya or
negatable is unreal. Unreal alone can be negated. Real cannot be negated. So this world
is unreal because it is negated. Unreal is called mithya in Sanskrit. So when we say,
jagat is mithya what we mean is, it is unreal and it is unreal because it is negated in the
wake of knowledge. Jnanabadhyatvam mithyatvam - that which is negated by knowlege
is mithya.The world is negated by the knowlege of Brahman. Therefore the world is
called mithya. Whereas the Brahman is not negated. Therefore Brahman is satyam.
Satyam means that which is not available for negation. That which cannot be negated is
called satyam. So Brahman is Satyam and jagat is mithya,

This particular vision is explained with the help of the example of rope and snake. It is a
very popular example used in Vedanta. In fact Vedantis can be called as rope-
snakewalla because it is their stock example . When rope is not understood as rope, then
one can have the experience of snake. Really it is not that there is one thing called rope
and another thing called snake. The rope misunderstood is the snake. It is not the rope
and the snake. In the wake of knowledge, this snake is negated. Therefore snake is
badhyam. Badhyam means negatable and therefore it is mithya. In this example, we
dont have problem because this is what we experience also. Anyway it is rope and
snake, it is not me. So snake is mithya ie, unreal because it is negated in the wake of
knowledge of rope and the rope is sathyam because it is not negated. When I was
experiencing this particular snake, that time also rope was. When I was not experiencing
the snake, that time also the rope was. Therefore the rope is unnegatable and therefore it
is satyam. Sarpah is mithya. This sarpa which is seen in the rope is mithya and rajju is

Similarly the world is like rope-snake because it is negated. Brahman is satyam like the
rope because it is unnegatable. Let us analyse the example further. When you are
experiencing the vedantic snake, you are not really experiencing the rope-snake. Means
you cannot say I am experiencing the rope snake. If you know there is a rope, you will
not experience the snake. So when you are experiencing the snake really you are
experiencing the snake only at that time. So when there is experience of snake at that
time are you experiencing the rope or not ? That is the question. Most of us will say , Yes
we dont experience the rope. But if you dont experience the rope at all, you will not
have the experience of snake also. How is that possible ? Suppose there is a rope and
there is complete darkness. Then you are not experiencing the rope at all.
Will you see the snake there ? If rope is not there then also no experience of snake. But if
rope is there but suppose you dont experience the rope then also there is no experience
of snake. So if rope is not experienced at all, then also there is no experience of snake.
Then question would be if rope is experienced how can there be an experience of snake.
Because you will experience unreal only when the real one is missed. So either way
there is problem. If I am experiencing the rope, I will not have the experience of snake.
If I am not experiencing the rope then also there will not be the experience of snake. But I
have the experience of snake. How is it possible ? Either way you are in trouble. If
there is no experience of rope, there is no experience of snake. If you are experiencing
the rope, then also there should not be experience of snake. Only these two possiblities
are there. Atleast that is how it appears.

For that Vedanta has got the answer. It says a funny thing has happened. That is why
there is a mistake. When we commit many mistakes, we ourselves are surprised how we
did this ? You are experiencing the rope at the same time you are not experiencing the
rope. How is that possible?. They are two opposite things. Either you are experiencing
or not experiencing. Then Vedanta says that you are experiencing the rope but partly.
You are not experiencing the rope completely. You have got samanya jnanam - general
idea there is. This is possible only when rope is there. That part there is - is called
samanya jnanam. There is something and that experience is the experience of the rope.
But you are not experiencing the rope as rope. You are experiencing the rope as
something but you are not experiencing the rope as the rope. So in this
in-between situation there is problem. This is a middle class problem. People say
Swamiji, poor people dont have problems. They dont have formalities. They dont have
status problem. They dont have money worry. They will go and work. One day work
they get money, they eat and they can stay wherever they want. Rich people also dont
have this type of problem. Middle class problem. Most of the people consider themselves
to be middle class.

Similarly here they say ignorance is bliss. And wisdom also is bliss. The in-between
people with half wisdom, half ignorance is a problem. That is what has happened in the
example. The rope is experienced, but not experienced as the rope. And therefore there is
appearance of snake. Similarly Brahman is experienced therefore there is experience of
the world. And thus any experience of unreal thing is the experience of the mixture -
satya and mithya. Sathyanrute mithuni kritya. Combination of satya and mithya is
experienced, whenever you experience an unreal thing.