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M¡³±¥KYA UPANI½AD by Dr. Paul YF Loke
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A person who is not accustomed to anintrospective life would find the provision of a fixed locus,in the symbol of Om, on which the mind can direct itsthoughts more amenable and easier to handle.


MKYA UPANIADbyDr. Paul YF Loke2ContentsPage1. Introduction2. Mantra 1 ................................................... 13. Mantra 2 ......................................................4. Mantra 3 ......................................................5. Mantra 4 ......................................................6. Mantra 5 ......................................................7. Mantra 6 ......................................................8. Mantra 7 ......................................................9. Mantra 8 ......................................................10. Mantra 9 ......................................................11. Mantra 10 ....................................................12. Mantra 11 ....................................................13. Mantra 13 ....................................................3 1One of the Upaniads of the Atharvanaveda. 2Varua is the deity who presides over water. 3Upaniad-brahma-yogin who wrote commentaries on 108Upaniads, described the Mkya Upaniad as "the essenceof all the Upaniads' (sarva- Vedanta-saristha). 4Muktik Upaniad 1, 26-29IntroductionAccording to tradition, the Mkya Upaniad 1 agreat work expounding the quintessence of Advaitic thoughts was revealed to Varuna2 who was said to have assumed theform of a frog (Muka) to felicitate Lord Nrya.Indeed, its inclusion as one of the principal Upaniads is atestament to its significance. Furthermore, not only is thisshort work of twelve cryptic mantras commented upon byeminent teachers3 , such as akara, Madhva,etc., itsimportance for the realization of the highest truth is eulogizedin the Muktik-Upaniad, wherein it is declared that TheMkya alone is sufficient for the final release of thosewho seek liberation.4 In his commentary on the Upaniad (as part of theMakya-krik, a gloss by Gauapda), Sankara pointsout before commencing on the commentary proper that thebenefit to be derived by the study of the Mkya Upaniadis to gain the direct experience (anubhava) of non-duality.In other words, advaita-bhava, which in essence is nothingbut the falsification of phenomenal existence characterizedby the matrix of pluralistic relations. In the words of theUpaniad, this negation of the world of names and forms is4called prapaca-upaamam.5 With all the adventitiousattributes6 (adhyropa), such as the three bodies7 sublated(apavda), the ultimate ground of pureconsciousness(svarpa-caitanya), bereft of all illusorysuperimpositions, shines forth in its full effulgence. Thischange in vision, from the many (a distinct feature ofempirical life or vyavahrika) to the One (pramrthika)can only be realized through the knowledge of Brahmanrevealed in the sacred texts of the Upaniads. It is similar tothe restoration to health of a sick person through theministration of appropriate medication. The holy scriptureis likened to the medication which relieves the person of theaffliction. And in the spiritual context, the affliction is avidyor (ignorance), with the only difference in that throughknowledge of the Upaniads the relief is permanent. Withignorance removed, the reality falsely imputed to the worldis abrogated and the person is restored to his original nature;regaining the oneness with the Self which was never reallylost. As will be seen, the role of the Mkya Upaniad inthis regard is unique compared to the other scriptural texts.The twelve mantras of the Mkya Upaniad arestrung together breathe life to the most sublime and timelesstruth enunciated by the rsis of yore. The Upaniad can be 5See mantra 7. 6 Provisionally accepted as real from the standpoint of relativity. 7 These are the gross body (sthla-arra), the subtle body(skma-arra) and the causal body(kraa-arra). They are in turnmade from five interdependent sheaths (koas), namely, thephysical sheath(annamaya-koa), the vital-airsheath(pramaya-koa), the mental sheath (manomaya-koa), the intellectual sheath (vijnamaya-koa) and theblissful sheath(nandamaya-koa).5broadly looked at as two sections. The first seven mantrasare structured to give a comprehensive examination of thetotality of human experience. It is the undeniable experienceof every person that temporal life is characterized by the ever-changing states of waking, dream and sleep. However, onewho is more sensitive would be alert to the presence of someunderlying principle which enables the cognition of changesnot only within the waking state (the flux of thoughts andevents), but also changes from one state to another. And forthis awareness of falling asleep from the waking state andthen drifting into dream or emerging from sleep towakefulness, there must necessarily be a sentient principlethat is ever present and permeating all these states. It couldwell have been based on such empirical observations thatprompted the rsis to develop a framework closely reflectingthe conditions of human life, integrating the variedexperiences on the phenomenal plane with the unitary realitysubsisting in them. The result is a theory positing four pads(quarters or aspects) of the Self (tm)8 Just as the illusory 8It is worth noting that some semblance of a four-pda theoryof the Self was already in currency at the time of the g-veda.In the tenth mandala, it is stated, Thus is his greatness. ButPuraa(synonymous with the Self) is even greater. All thingsare one-fourth of him; the immortals in heaven are the threequarter. And in the Maitri Upaniad, one finds a furtherdevelopment of this doctrine but not in the sophisticated formso clearly and congently expounded in the Mkya Upaniad.The text found in the final verse (7.11) of the Maitri Upaniadreads, "He who sees with the eye (i.e. the Self in the wakingstate), who moves in dream (i.e. the Self in the dream state),who is in deep sleep (i.e. the Self in the state of deep sleep),and he who is beyond deep sleep (i.e. Turya or the Fourth),these are a person's four distinct conditions. Of these, theFourth is greater than the rest'.6snake which makes its appearance when the as raya(substratum) of the rope is not known, the pads are in facterrors in perception arising when the ultimate ground ofones being is not realized. Therefore, with the displacementof the spurious names and forms which condition anddifferentiate the world into categories9 , such as macro (thetotal environment), micro (the individual), gross (thewaking state), subtle (the dream state) and causal (the deepsleep-state), all that remains is the unconditioned Self alone,Turiya or the Fourth in the words of the Upaniad. Whatcomes and goes cannot be real. Truth or reality, on the otherhand , can never be conditioned or negated. And the messageof the Mkya is clear: go beyond the ephemeral and abidein the ever-existent tm and everything will be knownsince the Self is verily Brahman (Ayam tm Brahma10).All it takes is a change in vision. But this change is muchmore than just a superficial endorsement or a mereintellectual understanding of the Upaniadic truth. To seeunity in the manifoldness entails a fundamental overhaul ofall the cherished values and beliefs of the person, acquirednot only in the present life, but from countless previousbirths. Indeed, it goes far beyond the intellect. Hence, forignorance (avidy) to be annihilated, the knowledge (vidy)has to be internalized, becoming ones very nature.The second section, like the seven mantras of the first,also addresses the same subject realization of the Self, thehighest goal (pururtha) of man but from a different 9 All these are mere notions having no substantiality of theirown. Their relative existence is borrowed from the groundupon which they appear. 10 Mkya Upaniad mantra 2. One of the major texts of theUpaniads (mahvakyas).7 11 Om first occurs in the Taittirya Sahit of the Black YajurVeda, where it is called Praava. 12 Taittirya Upaniad 1.8.1perspective. Here the sacred symbol of Om11 is introducedand examined. The significance of Om, as the basis of allsounds/ words and therefore all objects, was pointed out inthe first mantra of the present Upaniad. Aum it Brahma(Aum is Brahman), Aum itidamsarvam (Aum is this alli.e. the universe),12 declares the Taittirya Upaniad whenit was dwelling upon the contemplation on the Praava. Andgiven the affirmation of the non-difference of tm andBrahman as expounded in the second mantra, Om verily istm too. Once this tm-Brahman equation has beenestablished, the remaining mantras, particularly the eighthto the eleventh, take the sdhaka on a different path. It isrecognized that not everyone will take to the discriminativeenquiry of the first section. Indeed, for those who have pureminds and keen intellect, the first seven mantras aresufficient in themselves to bring about realization of thehighest truth. It is,however, important to point out here thatin order to have the knowledge arising from the Upaniads,which is indirect and mediate in nature, to do its work oferadicating ignorance and bringing about the direct andimmediate experience of Brahman, the seeker must beequipped with what is known as the sdhana-catustaya.These are the four prerequisites of discrimination betweenthe real (or eternal) and the unreal (or transient), i.e.nityanityavastuviveka, detachment (ihmutrrthabhogavirga), a group of six disciplines (amdisampat)comprising control of the senses, renunciation, etc., and theintense desire for liberation (mumukutva). Indeed, the8scripture is but one of two wings. The sdhana-catustaya,necessary for a pure, focused and discerning mind, is the other.And in the absence of either, the flight to be freed of theshackles of ignorance, which keep one mired in the thick ofworldly life, can never take off. For those who may not havethe mental purity or penchant for philosophical reflection,the meditation on Om (Okra-upsan) is presented hereas an alternative. A person who is not accustomed to anintrospective life would find the provision of a fixed locus,in the symbol of Om, on which the mind can direct itsthoughts more amenable and easier to handle. But even withthis approach, the Upaniad has made a provision forknowledge-based enquiry, since knowledge is ultimately theonly antidote to ignorance. This point, that the meditationon the symbol Om as Brahman does not vouchsafe the directexperience of Brahman, is reiterated by akara in hiscommentary on the Brahma-stra, where the attainmentfrom Okra meditation is seen as only a stage in onesjourney towards final release13. In the Mkya Upaniad,Okra is presented as suitable for both meditation(upsan) as well as knowledge-based enquiry(jna). Inthe former, the sound components (mtrs) of Om (akra,ukra and makra) are meditated upon as identical withthe aspects(pdas) of the Self (Vaivnara, Taijasa andPrja). In the ninth mantra (the first of three mantras givento Okra-upsan) for instance, the sdhaka is asked tomeditate on the akra component of the Om upon which issuperimposed Vaivnara, the Self in the waking state. Inother words, visualizing the entire gross world whilemaintaining ones thoughts on the locus of akra. Therationale for equating the matra with the pda is based on9certain common features. Akra is said to be identical withVaivnara because they share the traits of being the first aswell as being all-pervasive. Notwithstanding, the attainmentof worldly gains, which are the primary benefits of anymeditation, it is envisioned by the Upaniad that over timethe practice would bring about a positive change in theindividual, rendering the sdhaka fit in terms of mentalpurity and discriminative power for taking up the higherendeavour of contemplating on the soundless Om (amtr),where all the mtrs (and the states of consciousness,namely waking, dream and sleep) have resolved. Here thereis no constant cogitation on a single notion superimposed onthe given locus. Instead, the mind is made to abide in thesilence which is clearly understood to be the substratumsupporting and permeating the entire illusory phenomenalexistence. Therefore, unlike effort-based meditation, whatis recommended in the twelve and final mantra of theUpaniad is the natural abidance1 4 in the pure underlying 13 The text reads, "The result vouchsafed for one meditating onBrahman with the help of Om, as constituted by three letters,is the attainment of the world of Brahman, and the emergencesubsequently of complete realization by stages. In this waythis is meant for leading to emancipation by stages, so thatthere is nothing faulty'. (Brahma-stra 1.3.13) The worldof Brahman belongs to the realm of the conditioned i.e. theLower Brahman. In relation to this, the pure unconditionedBrahman is termed Higher Brahman. 14This abidance once established is an all-expansive unitaryexperience and it is verily Turiya. Cognitions and thoughtsappear but there is no more than the mere witness of theirrising and passing. In the absence of judgement, the Brahmaviddoes not react and even when he acts it is never out ofattachment or aversion.10consciousness which comes with knowledge andunderstanding. This contemplation on ones true nature iswhat is meant by nididhysana15It is beyond any doubt that the Mkya Upaniadis an exceptional work containing the highest teachings ofthe Advaitic tradition and presented in a systematic, logicaland concise manner. Therefore, for the suitably qualifiedseeker who has the fervent aspiration to leap-frog, as itwere, from the hollow relative existence of mundane livingto the unconditioned plenitude of the absolute, the Upaniadis an indispensable companion. Indeed, when welded in thehands of a teacher who truly knows, it is a lethal instrumentassured of severing the knot of the heart and dispelling alldoubts16 and giving one the vision where there is nocessation of the seeing of the seer17 15As part of the upadea(teaching) to his wife Maitreyi, whowanted to know the way to immortality, Yajnavalkyaempathically points out that, The Self should be seen orrealized (draavya), heard of (rotavyo), reflected on(mantavyo) and contemplated upon (nididhysitavya).Bhadaranyaka Upaniad (BU) 2.4.5 16 Muaka Upaniad 2.2.9 17 BU 4.3.2311Mantra 1r |-- +c|-x -- --r --r-r- - --x|-- -r| -- -r rc - i -r--f-+rrt -r rc - iiom ityetad akaram ida sarvatasyopavykhyna bhta bhavad bhaviyad itsarvam okra eva/ yaccnyat trikltitatadapyokra it - Ometat akaram - this word/syllableida sarva - (is) all thistasya -it (i.e. the word Om)upavykhyna - a clear expositionbhta - the pastbhavat - the presentbhaviyat - the futureit sarvam - all thatokra eva - is Omkra onlytrikltita - three periods of timecu tad anyat - and anything elsetat - thatapi - alsookrah eva - (is) omkra onlyThe syllable Om is all this. A clear exposition of it(Om) (now follows). All that (which is) the past, the presentand the future is okra only. And anything else (beyond)the three periods of time (is) also okra only.12CommentaryThe entire vocabulary of every language, includingall vowels and consonants, is contained in the syllable Om.In other words, whatever is said i.e. the entire world of wordsor abda-prapaca is verily Om. When a word is articulated,one has first to open the mouth, and this, according to themantra, is identical to the first mtr (sound) a(akra).After the word is verbalized, the mouth naturally comes to aclose, and this corresponds to the third mtr m (makra).In between the two movements i.e. when the mouth ismomentarily opened, the sound is said to be u (ukra), thesecond mtr of Om. It is common knowledge that everyword denotes an object or a state of mind. A word and what itrefers to (or its meaning) is determined by convention. So,when one says pencil, there is an object an instrumentmade of graphite for writing which corresponds to it andevery English speaking person knows what is referred to bythe word. It is clear, therefore from the above analysis that inOm, not only is the word included, the object (or the mentalstate) referred to by the word is also included. Indeed,reference to the past, the present, or the future1 , which is athought process, is covered by Om too since thinking is 1Both the past and the future are founded upon the present.The past is nothing but the present that has already beenexperienced. The future is an extrapolation of the present,13essentially a word-based activity. To reiterate the all-encompassing nature of Om, the mantra ends with thedeclaration that what is beyond time is also verily Om. Inshort, Om is everything, representing all that which is withintime i.e. the temporal world, and also that which is beyondwhich is essentially an instant in empirical life defined by theimmediate cognition or perception by a subject of an object.In other words, it is only with reference to a specific cognition,and in particular the inseparable connection between the name(a mental notion based on consensus) and the object (a sensory-mental construct) it refers to, that the present moment issaid to be experienced. This instant, however, is not a pointbecause as the temporal locus, where the past and the futuremeet, it is impossible to determine where one ends and theother begins. Indeed, can anyone even imagine when timebegan or rationally speculate when it will end? Given theabsence of clearly distinguishable segments or periods, onecannot truly speak of the three divisions of time (past, presentand future) as is commonly understood. In the final analysis,one has to concede that time is only an idea, a relative notiondependent on the body and the mind, which man finds usefulin his empirical transactions. It is also pertinent to note herethat time is invariably associated with space because it is onlythrough the medium of space that the appearance of objectsi.e. corporeality is possible. Indeed from ordinary experience,everyone knows that in the absence of body, or without referringto an object, one cannot meaningfully speak of either time orspace. In fact, it is only in relation to a fixed object,conventionally referred to as "here' or "this', that spatialindications, such as "above' and "below', "front' and "back',etc., become useful and practical. The same can be said oftime14time i.e. the trans-temporal absolute or Brahman. Om,therefore, is the means to both Sagua Brahman i.e. theLower Brahman endowed with attributes and Nirgua Brahman, the attributeless Higher Brahman2 . For mostpeople, meditation (upsan)3 on Om, which leads to theattainment of the Lower Brahman, is recommended.However, for those who are more spiritually mature, withsufficient mental purity and discrimination, inquiry into Omalone i.e. Okra-vicara 4 takes one to the ultimate reality. 2 The ultimate ground or Brahman is non-dual, all pervasiveand free from any parts or distinctions. Therefore, thebifurcation into a "lower' and a "higher' is only a concessionmade when the focus is turned towards empirical existence,which is governed by the limitations of time, space andcausation. In other words, it is to account for creation thatthe Lower Brahman with attributes of omnipotence, etc.,assumes importance. 3See mantras 9, 10 and 11 for details. 4Okra-vicara is a knowledge-based approach where thespiritual significance of Om is enquired into. It takes theform of merging the mtrs of Om together with the pdas(aspects of the Self) they signify into the silence of Om(amtr),which is the Turya wherein all duality is absent. More wouldbe said of this in the following mantras.15Mantra 2-- x - --r-r - -r :--r-r risarvag hyetad brahma ayam tm brahma so' yamtm catuptsarva etat All thishi brahma (is) indeed Brahmanayam tm brahma This tm (Self) is Brahmansa ayam tm This tm (Self)catupt has four quarters or statesAll this is indeed Brahman. This tm is Brahman.This tm has four quarters.CommentaryAlthough the two words world(referred to by Allthis or sarva etat), and Brahman are different, there isidentity between them. And this oneness is revealed throughsublation, or what is technically known as badhayam-smndhikaraya1 . The world which is unreal, is sublatedto reveal the ever-existent ground, namely Brahman, in thesame way the rope becomes evident when the snakeappearance is sublated in the rope-snake illusion. What itmeans is that if one wants to have the knowledge ofeverything in the world (including those belonging to the 1samna means the same, and dhikaraa means the ground.The tool of badhayam-smndhikaraya is therefore used toreveal the common ground of the terms through sublation ofall adventitious characteristics.16internal world of the mind), this can be realized through ananalysis of, or inquiry into, Brahman. The logical questionwhich follows is, What is Brahman? And the mantra goeson to categorically affirm This tm is Brahman. Unlikeworld and Brahman, which are of different ontologicalstatus (the former being of the nature of insentience and thelatter pure sentience), tm and Brahman are identical innature (samna-svarpa) and therefore have the sameontological status (samna-satt). In other words, both theterms tm and Brahman refer to the absolute reality,beyond words and conceptualization, from which both themacro updhis (limiting adjuncts responsible for theappearance of the three states of waking, dream, and sleep)and the micro updhis ( which define the waker, dreamer,and sleeper) borrow their existence. Given this oneness inthe primary sense of the words, the full import andsignificance of the very important Upaniadic declarationAyam tm Brahma (This Self is Brahman), one of thefour mahvkyas (great sayings), is realized. The tool oflanguage analysis used here is technically called mukhya-smndhikaraya2 . 2Another illustration of two words in mukhya-smndhikaranya is the identity of the space within the pot(ghaka) and the greater unconditioned space (mahka).Notwithstanding the differentiation into pot-space and greaterspace, it is verily space only. The apparent difference perceived17Since Brahman is everything and is verily tm, itlogically follows that everything can be known throughtm, and specifically through enquiry into it i.e. tm-vicara (Self-enquiry). In other words, to know the truth ofeverything, one has to delve into, and realize the true natureof ones being, the ever-existent Self. The Self is non-dual,free from divisions and attributes. It is therefore beyondconceptualization and description. However, for the purposeof analysis and understanding, the Self is presented as havingfour aspects (pdas). Each aspect has its own set of updhis(conditioning adjuncts of name and form or nma-rpa),which ultimately do not have any substantiality. When thenames and forms are gross, the Self seemingly associatedwith these is called Viva (waker). Taijasa (dreamer) is thename of the Self apparently having a subtle body andtransacting in the subtle world of dream. And when the Selfis as if associated with names and forms in their latent orpotential conditions, it is called Praja (sleeper). It must bereiterated that tm being one (homogeneous whole)without a second is beyond relations. Therefore, anyassociation with tm has necessarily to be illusory i.e. anby some (who lack discrimination) is essentially due to thelimitation of the pot, which gives the erroneous impressionthat the space within is somehow different from the spacesurrounding the pot.18apparent phenomenon given to experience but ultimatelyunreal. The fourth aspect (called, Turya), however, iscompletely devoid of any names and forms, either gross,subtle or latent. In the absence of differentiation whichcharacterizes the three other states, Turya is of the natureof pure consciousness. These four aspects of tm, unlikethe four legs of a cow which are unrelated to each other, areseamlessly related like the four quarters of a krpaacoin. As a matter of speech, it can be said that the krspaais the composite of merging the quarter in the half, the half inthe three-quarter and finally the three-quarter in the onewhole coin. In the same way, although the Self-in-itself is anundivided whole, it is spoken of as though qualified by threedifferent states. In reality, waking, dream and sleep are errorsof perception (i.e. false) arising from ignorance. As pointedout earlier, it is the updhis, themselves unreal, whichdistract ones attention from the unitary ground of pureexistence. Indeed, when these artificial constructs areresolved one into the other, finally merging into that whichis absolutely real (pramrthika), the empirical existence(vyavahrika3 ) is transcended, and the realized one 3 The vyavahrika is only an appearance with no independentexistence, which only Brahman- the absolute reality(pramrtha-satya) enjoys. As long as Brahman is not known,the empirical world appears to be real and takes center-stage.19(a jvan-mukta) is totally free. That beyond is called theFourth. The Fourth is a mere number (and not a state) usedin the context of the first three aspects (pads) to indicatethe pure experience upon which they appear. From the abovediscussion, it becomes clear that the term pda is used bothin the sense of an instrument or a means as well as in the senseof an object or goal. The first three pdas are therefore themeans i.e. sdhana, and the fourth is the goal. In other words,there is a means-end relationship (sdhya-sdhana-sabandha) between the first three pads (Viva, Taijasaand Praja), and the last (Turya). Having said this, it shouldbe qualified that from the highest standpoint, the Self orTurya is transrelational and beyond any predication.However, at the level of human activities, especially in thecontext of the seeker, who although is intensely desirous tobe free i.e. moka is nevertheless still operating in the contextof phenomenality, some concession has to be made to speakof means for realising that which is in reality ever-existentand ever-attained.20Mantra 3rr|c--r-r -|r r: -rr: +r -|- -r|- : -- - - r-c: --: r: iij garitasthno bahiprj a saptgaekonaviatimukha sthlabhugvaivnara prathamapdajgaritasthna field (of experiences) is the waking statebahi praja aware of the externalsapta aga (who has) seven limbsekonaviatimukha with nineteen mouthssthlabuk- enjoyer of gross objectsvaivanara - is Vaivnaraprathama- firstpda quarter or aspectThe first aspect (of the Self) is Vaivnara whose field(of experiences) is the waking state, who is aware of theexternal, who has seven limbs, nineteen mouths, and who isthe enjoyer of gross (objects).CommentaryThe first aspect of the Self is now examined in thismantra. When the Self is apparently conditioned by the grossnames and forms, it is called sthla-tm (gross-Self). Everyperson is familiar with the two-fold division in the wakingstate (jgrat-avasth), where there is a macro environmentin which the individual i.e. the micro aspect transacts within.21Therefore, on the micro-level (vyai) there is a knowingprinciple or a knower i.e. pramt operating in a widerenvironment (samai) which serves as an object ofknowledge, or what is known as prameyam. It is importantto point out here that the prameyam has no existence apartfrom the pramt, who itself is not independent of the Self.In other words, it is verily the absolute Self appearing1 asboth the knower and the known. The Self is called the wakingknower when conditioned by the gross names and forms atthe individual level i.e. vyai-sthla-nma-rpa. And whenconditioned by the gross names and forms at the macro leveli.e. samai-sthla-nma-rpa, it appears as the premeya-prapaca (the known universe).As a waking knower, theSelf is called Viva, the individual waker, and the totalenvironment in which Viva transacts in is called Virt orVaivnara. When the Self is in the mode as Viva i.e.jgrat-pramt, it is turned outwards (bahipraja2 ) and contact 1This appearing or becoming is an error which results fromignorance. When one's true nature is not known i.e.ignorance, there arises the erroneous cognition that one isan individual with a body-mind complex transacting inempirical life defined by the states of waking, dream andsleep. 2This externalization is only an appearance since motioncan never be attributed to the Self which is pure and bereftof attributes or relations. Bahipraja is therefore a termused from the standpoint of ignorance, where both the world22with the gross world is through nineteen mouths3 orgateways (ekona viatimukha). And since the externalworld is made up of the five gross elements, the Self in thewaking state i.e. assuming the status as a waker (Viva) issaid to be sthla-bhuk (the enjoyer of the gross world).Until now, the discussion has been on the level of thevyai-sthla-nma-rpa (the level of the gross individualnames and forms). The present mantra goes on to state thatthe total gross external world (the jgrat-prapaca includingthe totality of all beings) cognized and perceived by the wakerand the jva are erroneously taken to be real. Indeed, whatgoes out through the indriyas (sense organs) is only themind in the form of vrtti. And when this is superimposed onPraja (consciousness or Self), it is said that the Self isextroverted. 3There are the paca-jnendriyas (the five senses ofknowledge, namely seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting andfeeling). These are the "entrances' through which the worldenters as it were and is cognized. Then, there are the paca-karmendriyas (the five organs of action) which are "exitgates' through which the Self contacts the world. The fiveorgans of action are : the organ of speech or voice, thehands, the feet, the organ of evacuation, and the organ ofgeneration. Supporting the physiological function of thekarmendriyas are the paca-pras (the five vital airs, namelypra, apna, samna, vyna and udna). Finally, there isthe antakaraa (the internal organ) with its four aspects ofmanas (the emotional principle), citta (the memory principle),ahakra (the ego/individuality principle) and buddhi (theintellect principle).23is also of the nature of the Self. Indeed, it is the non-dual all-pervasive consciousness which appears as the sun, the stars,etc., (collectively known as Virt or Vaivnara) when it isconditioned by the samai-sthla-nma-rpa (the totalgross names and forms). Vaivnara, the Self in conjunctionwith the samai-sthla-nma-rpa (i.e. the first aspect(pda) of the Self in its macro or total phase) is said to haveseven limbs (saptga). The details of these are found in theChndogya Upaniad,4 where it states that the head ofVaivnara is the upper world or heaven. The sun and theair are the eye and breath( i.e. nose) respectively. Thehavanya fire is said to be the mouth5 of Vaivnara. Theentire space (ka) is its body. And the ocean and the earthare the bladder/kidney and the feet of Vaivnararespectively. It is important to note that by juxtaposing theterms saptnga' and ekonaviatimukha', the intentionof the mantra is to show the identity of Vaivnara (endowedwith seven limbs) and Viva ( the individual waker equipped 4 Chndogya Upaniad 5.18.2 5 There are two plausible reasons for this. Firstly, fire illumines.And speech, like fire, illumines too. Therefore, fire and inparticular the deity of fire (agni-devat) is taken to be themouth of Vaivnara. Secondly, the association of the twocould have come from the Agnihotra rite, where the oblationofferings (essential for the success and efficacy of theceremony) are consigned to the sacrificial fire, just as food(necessary for one's physical well-being) is taken throughthe mouth.24with nineteen mouths), since both are of the nature of pureconsciousness. This indeed is the thrust of many Upaniadicpassages which aim to show the oneness of the adhytma(the individual) and the adhidaiva (the cosmic) forms ofthe Self.25Mantra 4-- --r-r :-: r: -rr: +r -|- -r|- : |-|-- -r|t-: r: iisvapnasthn ntapraja saptga ekona-viatimukha praviviktabhuktaijaso dvityah pdah.svapnasthnah (whose) field is the dream stateantahpraja-(who is) conscious of the internalsaptgah who has seven limbsekonaviatimukha who has nineteen mouthspraviviktabhuk enjoyer of subtle objectstaijasah - is Taijasa (dreamer)dvitya pda the second quarter or aspectThe second aspect (of the Self) is Taijasa, whose fieldof (experience) is the dream state, who is conscious of theinternal (objects), who has seven limbs and nineteen mouthsand is the enjoyer of subtle objects.CommentaryThe experience of the external world through thesense-organs in waking invariably leaves a correspondingimpression (vsan) in the mind. It is said that the mindbecomes completely tainted by the experiences of waking inthe same way a piece of cloth takes on the dye in which it isdipped. When the person goes into the dream state, the26physical sense-organs (jnendriyas) and the organs ofaction (karmendriyas) no longer function and only the mindis active. In that state, the Self conditioned by the subtle namesand forms, now called the subtle Self or skma-tmapparently divides into two principles; the dream knower(svapna-pramt) or the dreamer, and the dream object(svapna-prameyam) i.e. the dream world. As the dreamer,equipped with the subtle updhis of the individual1 , theSelf is called taijasa. And in its aspect as the dream world(svapna-prapaca), with the subtle updhis of the macroscale2 , the Self is given the name of Hirayagarbha.In dream everything is projected out of the mind.Both the subject experiencing the dream as well as the objectsexperienced are of the nature of knowledge. The cognition ofthe dreamer is therefore turned inwards i.e. antapraja andthe dream world is experienced through the nineteen subtleorgans of interaction (ekonaviatimukha), which arecreated out of the vsans gathered in waking. Since theperson has access to them in the waking state, the knowledgeof the nineteen principles is also available when in dream. Itis for this reason that the dream world experienced by thedreamer is very similar to the physical world which the 1vyai-skma-nma-rpa (individual subtle names and forms) 2samai-sukma-nma-rpa (macro subtle names and forms)27dreamer finds himself operating in as a waker3 . The samai-nma-rpa (macro names and forms) are the same albeit insubtle forms. Given its introversion, the dreamer ortaijasa(i.e. the Self in association with subtle names andforms) is also called praviviktabhuk ( the experiencer orenjoyer of the subtle objects i.e. skma-prapaca-bhokta).Whilst on the topic of dream, it is perhaps pertinentto pointed out that in the krik, a gloss written to elaborateon the subtle points of the Upaniad attributed toGauapda, a whole chapter (Vaitathya Prakaraa) isdevoted to dispel the commonly held belief that relative tothe illusory dream experience, the waking world is real. Oncloser examination, one will find that the ascription of realityto the waking state is based on several criteria, such as utility,clarity and vagueness, time, etc. For instance, in the case ofutility, it is reasoned that since an object, like pot is used forcarrying water from one place to another in the waking statei.e. having utility, it cannot be unreal. This accordingtoGauapda is unsound because it is illogical to establishreality based on the sole standards of the waking state. Thereis no valid ground for imposing the standard of one state of 3The concept of time-space in dream is different from that inthe waking state. Therefore, from the standpoint of time-space, one cannot truly speak of any relationship betweenwaking and dream.28experience onto another. Food may serve a very importantpurpose in the waking state, but its utility of appeasing hungerdoes not extend to the dream state. And conversely, food inthe dream world would be of no use to a hungry person in thewaking state. Therefore, the utility of an object in one state isclearly contradicted in another. Then, there is the argumentthat whatever is seen in the waking is real because it isperceived without distortions (sphuta). And since dreamobjects usually lack clarity (avyakta), they are deemed to beunreal. Both conclusions are erroneous because clarity andvagueness are visual traits which are dependent on theinstrument of perception and nothing else. They are,therefore, not suitable yardsticks for establishing reality orotherwise. Indeed, if one is very objective and carefullyexamines the matter, it will be seen that both waking anddream have a lot in common. In both these states, theexperience of either the waking world or the dream world isdependent on the observer. From ordinary experience,everyone knows that the waking world is displaced in theabsence of the waker (i.e. the waking observer) when there isa change in state from waking to sleep or dream. Andsimilarly, there can be no dream world in the absence of thedreamer i.e. the dream observer. The experiences of dreamand waking are therefore not independent phenomenabecause if they were, they would not have suffered29displacement in the absence of the respective observers.Given the interdependence of the seer and the seen in thesetwo states, the waker (and all the objects observed therein)and the dreamer (and all the dream objects) have necessarilyto be illusory in nature. Furthermore, a little discriminationwill show that the contents of waking and dream are in essencethe same. Both are of the nature knowledge. In the absence ofthe body and the senses, the dream experience is a creationand projection of the mind. In fact, the waking experience isultimately a mental process too since it is only an imageformed in the mind from the sensory perceptions which arisewhen the gross sense organs contact objects of the so-calledexternal4 world. From the above discussion, it is quite clearthat there is nothing further from the truth when it is saidthat waking is real and dream is unreal. Besides through logicand reasoning, the unreality of the waking world is alsocorroborated by the testimonies of those who havetranscended the limitation of the upadhis, the elementsgiving form to the states of experience. Indeed, from thestandpoint of the unconditioned Self, all the gross objects,which collectively give the impression of the external world, 4Even the distinction of external and internal is an arbitraryone based on the standpoint of the body. In reality i.e. whenempirical existence is transcended, both these concepts aremere imaginations, which are commonly assumed to exist inempirical transactions.30are just as illusory as those appearing in dream Therefore, inthe final analysis, that the world is real can only be a popularnotion in the vocabulary of the ignorant.31Mantra 5-- - rr - +-- +r- +r-- - +-- -- --| - r-i- r--r- +- : rr-- -r----r r--- + r - : rr- t-: r: iiyatra supto na kacana kma kmayate nakacana svapna payati tat susupta/ suuptasthnaekbhtah prajnaghana evnandamayo hynandabhukcetomukha prjastrtiya pada.yatra supta where the sleeperna kmayate does not desirekacana kma any external objectskacana svapna any dreamna payati does not seetat susupta the state of deep sleep is thatsuuptasthna whose field is deep sleepekbta - unifiedprajnaghana eva there is only a mass of consciousnessnandamaya who is full of blisshi nandabhuk who is indeed the enjoyer of bliss (ananda)cetomukha who is the gate to the experienceprja- is Prjattiya pda The third quarter or aspectThe state of deep sleep is that where the sleeper(ignorant of the Self) does not desire any external objectsnor does he see any dream. The third aspect (of the Self) isPrja, whose field is deep sleep, (in whom all experiences)have become unified, who is only a mass of consciousness,32who is full of bliss, who is the enjoyer of bliss, who is the gateto the experience of (waking and dream).CommentaryThis mantra deals with the third aspect of the Selfwhen it is in the so-called deep-sleep state (suupti-avasth),where all the names and forms (both on the individual levelas well as the macro level) are in dormancy. The Self in thisstate is called Prja1 . In the absence of the updhis normallyavailable in waking and dream (i.e. the body, the mind andthe senses), the sleeper (suupta) has neither the experiencesof external objects, which characterize the waker, nor theexperience of the internal world privy to the dreamer. Withthe quiescence of the mind and the five sense-organs2 ,differences and distinctions are absent. Indeed, all specificcognitions and knowledge have become unified. The termused to described this undifferentiated condition is ekbta.In the deep-sleep state, the individual(vyai) and cosmic(samai) distinction perceived in waking and dream is notdiscernible. In other words, both Prja(the Self conditionedby the individual potential names and forms) and Ivara(the 1 As everything is in its causal condition, the term kraa-tmis also used to describe this state. 2 It is through the five senses, namely auditory(ear), visual(eye),olfactory(nose), gustatory(tongue) and tactile(skin) that theuniverse is differentiated into the special qualities of sound,colour, smell, taste, and touch respectively.33name given to the Self conditioned by the cosmic potentialnames and forms) or Antarymi (the Self in its immanentaspect) cannot be distinguished from each other. The state ofdeep sleep is verily a mass of consciousness. And the sleeperis completely enveloped by non-discrimination or ignorance.This lack of knowledge(agrahaa) is referred to by the termprajna-ghana'. The world, however, is still presentalthough everything is in its seed form. This can be comparedto furniture kept in a darkened room. The chairs and tablesmay be present, but it appears as though there is nothing inthe room since everything is covered by darkness. So just asthe furniture is not seen in the darkness, the sleeper too is notgiven to the experience of either the external or the internalworld. All the defining nma-rpa have become unmanifest(avyaktam). However, the moment the sleeper wakes up,all that which had been latent immediately become manifestand the duality of empirical life takes center stage.The mantra goes on to declare that in that state whereall defining updhis have lost their potency to limit, theperson is free from the sense of being an individual. Thesleeper is free from all mental activities. There is neither theaham-vtti' (the mental modification which gives rise toones distinct identity) nor the idam-vtti' (the mentalmodification responsible for the sense of the other). Thesleeper is given a respite from the restlessness arising from34the interaction between the I ( the ego sense) and the other.As a result, a temporary limitlessness is experienced in sleep.The term to describe this bliss is nandamaya. And thesleeper is called nandabhuk(an enjoyer of bliss). It should,however, be pointed out here that the bliss (nanda)3 experienced in sleep is only a peace consequent of the lack ofmental activity when the mind is in its causal condition.Unlike true nanda, which is verily the Self (nanda-svarpa), the bliss experienced in sleep is within time andspace. There is a beginning and an end. And it is onlyexperienced when one is in the deep-sleep state. In otherwords, it is relative joy (pekika-nanda) conditioned uponcircumstances. Both waking and dream are characterized bydivisions in the forms of the subject-object duality(dvaitam), and the triad comprising the subject, the object, 3 The bliss is not a reflection of tm because for any reflectiona reflecting medium is necessary. In deep sleep, the mind isnot available. As such, there can be neither suka-vtti (mentalmode of happiness) nor duka-vtti (mental mode of sadness).It is also pertinent to note here that when nanda is experiencedin waking and dream, both the experience and the awarenessof it occur simultaneously. When the bliss is experienced theperson is able to immediately articulate it through theexpression "I feel happy'. In sleep, however, where the body-mind complex is in its causal condition, the nanda is merelyregistered. The awareness of it only comes later as a recollectionwhen the sleeper wakes up and reports "I felt happy'. In sleep,therefore, there is a time lapse between the experience ofnanda and the awareness of it.35and the instrument (tripui). The very presence of divisionsgive rise to attachment(or aversion), and all its auxiliarytraits, which inevitably lead to suffering. Deep sleep,however, is free from any mental agitations since the objectsresponsible for the differences and distinctions of the othertwo states are in dormancy. But alas, the bliss of nirvikalpa4 is short-lived, and the person once again becomes mired inthe anxiety and stress of worldly life upon waking.The mantra then points out that sleep (Prja) is agateway (cetomukha5)1 because both the states of wakingand dream emerge from, and eventually withdraw into, it.As explained earlier in the commentary on the presentmantra, deep sleep is verily a mass of undifferentiatedconsciousness, where the micro and macro upadhis of boththe gross and subtle levels are in their casual forms. It istherefore from this antecedent condition of pureconsciousness associated with the casual body - mind 4The freedom from vikalpa(imagination or mentation) is astate which comes and goes. It is for this reason that the stateof deep sleep is also known as nirvikalpa-avasth, and notnirvikalpa-jnam the permanent freedom from vikalparesulting from knowledge which is the nature of one who isrealized. 5"Mukha' is mouth or gateway and "ceta' is the vtti - jnamwhich gives rise to the cognition ofobjects in the waking and dream states.36complex which merely witnesses62 the totality of unifiedpotentialities that the distinctive knowledge of being a wakeras well as being a dreamer is projected before once againbecoming the undiversified consciousness in the state of deepsleep. From ordinary experience, everyone knows that adirect change of status, say from a waker to a dreamer, or adirect change of a state, say from waking to dream, is notpossible. In waking, the Self is associated with the gross body.In dream, where the gross body is not available, a dream bodyis projected by the mind for transaction in the dream world.What then needs to happen in the transition from waking todream is that the association with the gross body has first tobe given up before the association with the dream body cantake place. As the gateway, Prja therefore provides thenecessary hiatus which allows for the disidentification withone body before identification with another is possible. 6This witnessing by Prja, it might be added, is also thatwhich is responsible for the cognition of the absence ofobjects in deep sleep. And it is this cognition and the resultingpeace which give rise to the expression, "I did not knowanything. I slept soundly' upon waking.37Mantra 6 --c --r r:--r-- -r|-: ---- --r--r |r- r-r-iea sarvevara ea sarvaja eo'tarymyea yonisarvasya prabhavpyayau hi bhtnmea this or Hesarvevarah is the Lord of allea sarvaja He is all-knowingesah antarymi He is in-dwelling spirit or inner- controllerea yoni He is the womb i.e. sourcesarvasya of allprabhavpyayau origination or birth and dissolution ordeathhi verily or thereforebhtnm things, including beingsHe is the Lord of all. He is all-knowing (omniscient).He is the inner-controller. He is the source of all. In Himverily all things originate and also merge.Commentary.Having examined the kran-tm (causal Self) inits individual phase, where it is known as Prja, theUpaniad now continues to look at the kra-tm in itstotal or cosmic aspect. The Self, when associated with thecosmic causal names and forms, is called vara (the Lord).And vara is said to be the womb (yoni) from which both38the gross world experienced in waking, and its subtlecounterpart in dream arise. Indeed, Prja in essence (sincethe updhis which characterize waking and dream are all intheir latent states) vara, who having created the universe isalso immanent in it. The spiritual import of this is that if onecan give up the identity as an individual sleeper(Prja), theperson is verily vara.1 This oneness of the individual andthe total is experienced daily in sleep, where every beinggives up the false sense of individuality (the source ofsuffering) and becomes one with the ground of pureconsciousness i.e. the Self 2 . To support this view of theidentity of tvam-padrtha and tat-padrtha (the individualand the total), akara in his commentary on this mantraquotes from the Chndogya Upaniad 3 the analogy of a 1The same can be said of Viva and Vaivnara, and of Taijasaand Hirayagarbha. In the former, if one can give up theidentity as the gross individual waker (Viva), then the personknows that he is verily the consciousness or the deity associatedwith the entire gross world. In other words, he becomesVaivnara, or the sthla-prapaca-abhimani-devat. Similarly,in the latter case, if the dream individual(Taijasa) cantranscend the limitation of being a dreamer, then he isHirayagarbha. 2It should, however, be pointed out that this experience ofoneness is only a temporary one, since ignorance has notbeen completely eradicated and the sleeper soon becomesidentified with the upadhis and once again reconnects withthe phenomenal world. 3Chndogya Upaniad 6.8.239bird tied to a post, which returns to rest on the post afterflying about in all directions having looked in vain for arefuge elsewhere. In the same manner, the jiva finding nosupport or abode in its experiences in the waking and dreamstates returns to its causal or original source i.e. sleep forsolace and rest. The second half of the said Chndogya textdepicts the restlessness of the jiva as a mind flying in variousdirections and goes on to state that finding no resting placeelsewhere, (it) takes refuge in Prna alone. The termPrna is used in the sense of Paramtman. The state ofdeep sleep therefore offers man a foretaste of what it is to betotally free from any limitation, where in the absence of asubject (a waker, etc.), the notion of an object (a widerenvironment, such as the waking state, etc.) is irrelevant andmeaningless.vara, as the Lord of creation, is not only the materialcause (updna-kraa), but is also the efficient cause(nimitta-kraa). Being all knowing or omniscient(sarvaja) and all powerful or omnipotent (sarvevara),vara has both the knowledge and skill to create the wakingand dream worlds together with their inhabitants andobjects. Furthermore, the Lord having created the sentientbeings is also present in them as the inner40controller(antarymi)4 . And having created and sustainedthe universe, vara is also the locus in which every livingbeing and object resolve at the time of dissolution. Thisindeed is experienced in sleep, where the individuality ofeveryone becomes latent, and with it the entirephenomenality resolves into its source.It is clear from the analysis so far that the third pdaof the Self is the kraa-pda (causal aspect), and the firstand second pds are the karya-pdas (effect-aspects). Thepairs of Viva and Vaivnara and Taij asa andHirayagarbha are therefore products of the kraa-tm.The ultimate reality (presented in the next mantra as thefourth pda, of the Self) is, however, free from any limitationand conditioning. Being one without a second, the fourthpda or Turya as it is called, is therefore absolute5 , beyondthe constrain of time, space and causation. 4 The root "antar' denotes entering. And inhering in everyindividual, the inner controller is the principle responsible forall knowledge and experiences. Hence, it is said that theentire world emerges from Him(vara). 5 The absolute is free from any divisions, such as cause andeffect i.e. karya-kraa-vilakana, and other forms of dualityand multiplicity.41Mantra 7-r-: r - -|r r -r --: r - rr-- - r -r r-ic ----rr--r r-+rr|- |--- -- --- i+r- ---rc -r -r- -rr- |-r-- - ---- - r-r- |-r -: inntapraja na bahipraja nobhayata-praja na prajanaghana na praja naprajam/adam avyavahryam agrhyam alakanam acintyamavyapadeyam ektmapratyayasra prapancopaamanta sivam advaita caturtha manyante sa tmsa vijeyana antapraja not conscious of internal cognitionna bahiprajam not conscious of the external (world)nobhayatahprajam neither conscious of bothna prajnaghana not a mass of consciousnessna praja not the all-knowing consciousnessna apraja not unconsciousness (either)adam beyond perceptionavyavahryam beyond transaction i.e. unrelated to anyobjectagrhyam beyond grasp (of any organs of action)alakaam uninferable (by any sense-organs)acintyam beyond thoughtsavyapadeyam indescribable (through words)ektmapratyayasra perception of that awareness whichremains unbroken despite all the changes in the statesof waking, dream and sleep42prapacopaama negation of the worldnta peaceful/tranquilivam - auspiciousadvaita non-dualcaturtha the fourth or Turyamanyate considered or knownsah tm this Selfsa vijeya has to be known/realizedTurya (is that which is) not conscious of internalcognition, not conscious of the external (world), notconscious of both, not a mass of consciousness, not the all-knowing consciousness nor unconsciousness, (it is) beyondperception, beyond transaction, beyond grasp (of any organsof action), uninferable (by any sense-organs), beyondthoughts, beyond description through words; (it is) thatawareness (or Self) which remains unbroken (in all the threestates), free from the world, peaceful, auspicious and non-dual. This is known as the Self. It is to be realized.CommentaryAs explained earlier, the Self, when it is apparentlyconditioned by the gross updhis in the waking state, is calledViva. And the outwardly oriented Viva is said to be thefirst aspect or manifestation (prathama-pda) of the Self.In the dream state, although the Self is free from the43association with gross elements, it nevertheless is stillconditioned by subtle upadhis and is called Taijasa ordreamer. The dreamer whose field of activity is confined tothe internal world is the second aspect (dvit iya-pda) of theSelf. And as both these states are characterized by ignorance(not knowing the true nature of the Self) and error (erroneousknowledge), the oneness or non-duality of the Self appearsto be fragmented. In deep sleep, however, both the gross andsubtle forms of limitation are absent. Having gone intolatency, the updhis have temporarily lost their potency toact. As a result, there is neither external nor internalcognition. Although sleep is error free, it should beemphasized that ignorance is still present because the falseidentification with both the gross and subtle body-mindcomplexes, and the assumption that they are real, have notbeen completely eradicated. The Self in this condition ofundifferentiated and undirected awareness is called Prjaor sleeper. And Prja is the third aspect (ttiya-pda) ofthe Self. However, beyond these fleeting states is the Self-in-itself or the Self per se, and the present mantra declaresthat this ever-present,unchanging and homogeneous groundof existence, where both ignorance and error are absent, iscalled Turya. The all-important question which follows is:how does one know the Self, subsisting in all the three statesof experience, since it is free from any44attributes1 ? And indeed, being the very essence of the mindand the senses, the Self is beyond conceptualization andunderstanding. The scripture clearly points out that Wordsreturn along with the mind, not attaining it.2 The senses andthe mind are designed only for the knowledge of the world3 1 Generally, there are five conditions, and at least one of whichmust be met for the meaningful employment of a word forcommunication or giving knowledge. These are:rudh, jti,gua, kriy and sabandha. Rudh is the word or nameagreed upon by everyone for a particular object. A chair, forinstance, is a term which, through common experience andconsensus, refers to an object for sitting. Everyone knowswhat is being referred to, and no elaborate explanation needbe made, when the word "chair' is uttered. In the absence of acommonly agreed term, especially when it involves theidentification of a living thing never seen before, the genus(jti) i.e. group with common characteristics to which it belongswould be very helpful. An organism with six legs is likely tobe some kind of an insect. An object can also be revealedthrough its property (gua) e.g. colour. A person with blondhair can be easily identified in a crowd of people with blackhair. Motion or function (kriy) is another condition. A personwho is running can be spotted with ease especially when theothers are either standing or walking. Finally, the unknowncan be revealed through its relationship (sabandha) withanother object that is known. The book on the sofa, forexample, clearly refers to the one at the specific location,namely on the sofa, and not to any of the books foundelsewhere. 2 Tattirya Upaniad 2.4.1 3 Worldly knowledge is available to one through any of thefollowing means of knowledge (pramas): perception45and not for that which is trans-empirical. Notwithstandingwhat has been said, words is still the only tool available forthe intimation of the absolute reality. The role of words inthis regard is, however, different from the way they arenormally used i.e. as a direct means of communication.Usually words are employed to directly reveal an object, anidea or an emotion. But in the case of the attribute-free-Self,it is indirectly known through the negation of all the falsenotions superimposed on it. When the unreal is negated, whatremains is the real. Indeed, the real, call it tm (Self),Brahman, or the pure ground of consciousness, is ever-existent. However, when one is deluded (seeing the world asreal) and becomes ensnared by the false4 , the underlyingreality is largely lost sight of. But the moment one realizesthe transciency of phenomenal existence with its phantomobjects and characters, the effulgence of the ever-luminousSelf shines forth unobstructed. This is liberation (moka). Itis pertinent to point out here that the locus in which the erroris perceived (seeing a thing as something else) is also thevery place of its resolution. The rope is the support of the(pratyaka), inference (anumna), comparison (upamna),postulation (arthpatti), or non- apprehension (anupalabdhi).For the knowledge of the Self, one has to resort to scripture(gama or verbal testimony) which is the sole prama for it. 4 The oneness is fragmented and the jva (the particularizedmode of the Self) becomes identified with the many roles it ispresented with in empirical existence.46snake appearance. Once the illusion of the snake is realized,only the rope will be seen. One need not convert the snakeinto rope because the snake has never come into existence. Itis due to ignorance that the rope which alone exists is seen assomething else. Similarly, the knowledge of the Self(Turya) is concomitant with knowing that one is not awaker, etc., operating in a state known as waking, etc., whichare notions falsely superimposed on the absolute. Notionsare mere names with no substantiality. The truth, as thesubstratum of space, time and object, exists independently,is eternal and there is nothing apart from it5 . Turya istherefore not an effect which comes about after the cause,namely ignorance, is removed.The constant witness of the ever changing states6 i.e.the Self or Turya, has then to be presented in the only waypossible, which is through the negation of all the conceivableattributes conventionally known to be associated with it. In 5 Even the mind, with its every single thought and every latentimpression (vsan) is ultimately of the nature of pureawareness. 6 The three states are conditions defined by the updhis of themind, the senses and the body. When the full complement ofthe updhis is present the jva is said to be in the wakingstate. Dream is a condition when only the mind is available.When all the three updhis are not available, having goneinto their latent states, the condition is called sleep. Thestates are in reality wrong notions which have to be given up.47 7Bhadrayaka Upaniad (BU) 2.3.6 "Now therefore thereis the teaching ""not this, not this'' (na iti na iti) for there isnothing higher than this, that he is not this.' 8Ibid.the tradition of the Upaniads, this method is calledadhyropa-apavda (superimposition and subsequentdenial). Its application is perhaps best explained by akarain his commentary on the text from the BhadarayakaUpaniad wherein the teaching of na it na iti or not thisnot this is expounded7 . According to akara, Brahmanhas none of the distinguishing marks (such as, name, form,etc.). Hence, it cannot be described as, It is such and such aswe can describe a cow by saying, There moves a white cowwith horns. Brahman is described by means of name, formand action superimposed on it, in such phrases and terms as,Brahman is consciousness and bliss, Brahman isconsciousness throughout, etc. However, if the essentialnature alone is intended to be pointed out, free from allspecific features due to the limiting adjuncts, then this is anutter impossibility. Thus, there is only one way left and thatis to point out (Brahman) by negating all the conceivableattributes that are known to be associated with it.8 The mantra begins with the negation of dream andwaking when it declares that Turya is free from theconsciousness of both the internal(na antapraja) and48the external(na bahispraja). Then, it goes on to say thatTurya is not conscious of either (na ubhayata-praja).By this, even should there be an intermediate state betweendream and waking, this too is excluded. It is also not a massof undifferentiated consciousness(na prajnaghana). Inother words, Turya is not a state of deep sleep. Andcontinuing with the na it na iti approach of theBhadrayaka text, the mantra points out that the purerelationless experience is neither the all-knowingconsciousness (na prajam) i.e. not vara9 who isomniscient, nor is it insentience (na apraj am oracaitanyam).To reiterate the fact that Turya is the non-dual changeless reality, the negation henceforth takes adifferent form. Turya is now said to be beyond perceptionof any of the sense-organs i.e. adam. And as a result ofthis, it is beyond transaction (avyavahryam) and is alsobeyond grasp(agrhyam). Furthermore in the absence of anyattributes or predicates, the mantra goes on to point out thatTurya is not only beyond inference (alakaam), it isbeyond mentation (acintyam) as well as beyond description(avyapadeyam).Having elaborated in much details what Turya is not,the student may come to the erroneous conclusion that it is 9It is only from the standpoint of creation that one brings inthe creator or vara.49void i.e. nyam10, a Buddhist concept of the Mahynatradition. To avoid this pitfall, the ultimate reality ishenceforth described in positive terms. Turya is the ever-existent awareness subsisting in all the three states. The termused in the Upaniad is eka tm, the one Self. Indeed, itis the Self alone one must realize (or to know fully, asindicated by the word pratyaya) in the consciousexperience of I am, the unitary subject 11common inwaking, dream and sleep which everyone is aware of. In hiscommentary on the mantra, akara gives another meaningto the phrase eka-tm-pratyaya-sra, based on hisinterpretation of the term sra to mean that which enablesone to gain the knowledge of Turya. And that which iscapable of giving the liberating knowledge is the Self. It isverily through the knowledge of the Self alone i.e. tm- 10The Advaitin gives a very simple explanation to dispense withthe idea of voidness. The very claim of voidness presupposesthe existence of a wider consciousness, in the absence ofwhich one cannot speak of either emptiness (absence) orfullness(presence). 11 The subjective sense of existence (Sat) and awareness(Cit) isin every cognition and experience. The third aspect is infinitebliss (nanda), and like Sat and Cit is beyond the experienceof most people because as long as there is even the slightestattachment to the body, the preoccupation with its well-beingtakes precedence and one loses the equipoise so vital for theabidance in the highest truth i.e. pure consciousness ofexistence.50pratyaya, that the highest truth can be realized. This is indeedthe essence of the Upaniadic statement which implies thatThe Self alone is to be meditated upon for all these are unifiedin it.1 2The mantra goes on to declare that in the pure groundof knowledge (the cit-vastu), all the three states i.e. wakingstate, etc., and their subjective forms i.e. waker, etc., areabsent. The term used to describe this is prapancopaamam.In other words, in whatever way the world is perceived, thatparticular state which is available to the perceiver e.g. wakingworld to the waker, is not there in the homogenous Self. Andto ensure the complete understanding of this negation ofphenomenality, especially for those who need furtherexplanation, Gauapda expanded upon it and elaboratelydiscussed the subject (the illusoriness of the world) in 38 12BU 1.4.7 The term meditation in the text means knowledge,which should be understood as the removal of ignorance oreradication of the false impressions obscuring the ultimatereality. And the eradication of ignorance is done throughnegation as prescribed in scriptural passages, such as "notthis, not this' (BU 2.3.6). The Self should never be treatedas an object of meditation in the commonly understood sensesince it is beyond the senses and the mind. The phrase "allthese' refers to both the adventitious features, such as prna,sense organs, etc., at the micro-cosmic (or individual) level aswell as the total upadhis responsible for the macro environmentin the three states.51kriks which form the second chapter (VaitathyaPrakaraa) of his Mkya krik.This knowledge being the ultimate truth, is devoid ofany differentiation1 3 .And in the absence of duality, such aslove and hate, happiness and suffering, etc., Turya iseternally peaceful (ntam) and is therefore auspicious(ivam). Having negated the reality erroneously imputed tothe experienced world (due to lack of discrimination andknowledge), the mantra ends by reiterating that non-duality(advaita) is the ultimate teaching. And since non-duality is the very fundamental tenet of Advaita Vednta,Gauapda had devoted a separate chapter (AdvaitaPrakaraa) comprising 48 kriks for its detailed discussionand analysis. Finally, to show that it is the pure substantiveground upon which the three illusory states appear, Turyais said to be the Fourth (caturtha). The import of labelingit the Fourth is to reinforce the point that Turya is totallydistinct from the three states of waking, dream and sleepwhich have no independent existence of their own.Notwithstanding the fact that Turya is distinct from the threestates, it is not separate from them as pot may be distinct 13 Be it difference between two objects of the same class i.e.sajatiya-bheda, difference of one object from another objectof a different class i.e. vijatiya-bheda or internal differencei.e. svagata-bheda.52from clay but is never separate from clay. The Fourth istherefore not a separate state which one can aspire to reach orattain. Indeed, being the substratum and content of allphenomenality, Turya is present in every experience. It isabiding in each and every cognition, be it in the gross, subtleor causal. However, most of us are so caught up with themovie that the screen upon which it is shown is completelyignored. Just as in reality only the rope exists, but in its placeone sees the snake instead. The knowledge of Turya, the onewithout a second, must be known. When the Self is notknown as Turya, then credence and importance will be givento the waker, the dreamer, or the sleeper. akara in hiscommentary on the mantra at this juncture appropriatelypoints out that the true purport of the mahvkya Tat TvamAsi is to show the non-difference of jiva (after negation ofall the incidental features of the body, the senses and the mind)and Brahman (pure consciousness). Stripped of all the falseand limiting factors You (Tvam) are verily That(Tat). Forthe one who truly knows this (the sole reality of the Self)beyond an iota of doubt, the duality which continues to beexperienced is clearly seen as a dream without any trace ofsubstantiality. In the absence of ignorance, there can be nomore errors. As a result, there is neither the desire to possessi.e. no attachment, nor the urge to avoid i.e. no aversionsince in the absence of a second, the notion of relation is53completely irrelevant. There can no longer be the knowledgeof the other. Instead, the liberated person (jvan-mukta)remains forever established as Brahman i.e. knowledge asBrahman1 4. This non-difference of knowledge and the objectof knowledge is called jeyabhinna-jna. And this highestrealization, where there is no knower, no known and noknowing is succinctly encapsulated in, and elegantlyconveyed through, the mahvkya Prajna Brahma(The absolute is awareness). 14This knowledge is of the nature of pure unconditionedawareness, where even the seer-seen distinction is transcended.54Mantra 8-r :--r-r-+c-r rcr :|-r- rr -r-r -r-r rr +rc+rcr -+rc r| iiso' yam tmdhyakaram okaro'dhimtra pdmtr mtrca pda akra ukro makra itsa ayam tm The same Selfadhyakaram from the standpoint of the (total) syllablesonkara is Okraadhimtram from the standpoint of the individual letterspda -quartersmtr -lettersca mtr and the letterspda (are) the quartersakra aukra umakra mit thatThe same Self (described in the previous mantras withfour pads or aspects) is Okra from the point of view of(the) syllables. From the standpoint of the individual letters(i.e. mtras which constitute Om), the quarters (or aspectsof the Self) are letters, and the letters are quarters. The letters(mtras), here are a, u and m.CommentaryIn the first mantra, Om, the compound syllableinclusive of all sounds, is said to be everything within and55beyond time and space. The Upaniad then goes on to declarethat tm (the Self), comprising as it were fourpdas(aspects), is verily Brahman too. Hence, given thecommon denotation of Om, Brahman and tm, it logicallyfollows that Om is also a symbol denoting the Self. Om1 ,therefore is a very potent means which can lead one either tothe highest unconditioned truth i.e. the Higher Brahman orTurya, or to the conditioned truth i.e. the Lower Brahmanor vara, the cause of the Universe. To realize the ultimatereality, one needs to enquire into Om from the perspectiveof the three aspects of the Self, which are indicated by, andidentified with, the three mtras (sounds) of Om. Details ofthis Omkra-vicara (enquiry into Om) which results in thetranscendence of all limiting updhis 2 in the soundless Omwill be examined in the twelfth and last mantra of theUpaniad. As for the attainment of the Lower Brahman,one should instead meditate on the constituent sounds (i.e.the three mtrs of akra, ukra, and makra) of Omand their correspondence and identity with the pdas 1From the present mantra, the enquiry into, as well asmeditation on Om is introduced, leaving behind the enquiryinto the Self(tm-vicara), which started with the third mantra,and culminating in the seventh with an elaborate discussionof the absolute Turya. 2The limiting updhis of the body, the mind, etc., areresponsible for the illusions of waking, dream and sleep; thesum of which defines men's entire empirical existence.56(aspects) of the Self. According to the mantra, akra3 ,the first mtr of Om, is verily Vaivnara, the first pdaof the Self. The second matra ukra is none other thanTaijasa, the second pda. And likewise, makra the thirdmtr is Prja, the third pada. It is important to point outhere that the correspondence of each mtr with each padais said to be one of tdtmya i.e. the identity of essence of aname or word (vcaka), and that which is referred to by it(vcya). By providing a symbol as a support (labana)for meditation certainly makes it easier for one who is notaccustomed to the rigour of spiritual discipline to make thegradual transition from a predominantly worldly existenceof external orientation to one which is more introspective.Therefore, through Praava-dynna or Omkra-upsan(meditation on Om), even those less philosophically inclinedwho do not take easily to enquiry are not forgotten. Indeed,maintaining the stream of cognition on a single thought,invariably makes the mind more and more focused andincreasingly pure. And with spiritual maturity, the sdhakawill in due course be ready for not only the mediateknowledge of Brahman conveyed through the major texts ofthe Upaniads (mahvkyas), but also the direct experience(anubhava) or the immediate knowledge of the highest truth. 3The first sound made whenever a person opens the mouth toarticulate a word.57Mantra 9rr|c--r-r - -cr :+rc: --r -r-rr cr|--rr r | r ---r -+r-r-r| --| - - - iijgaritasthno vaivnaro kara prathammtrpte-rdimatvd vpnoti ha vi sarvan kmndica bhavati ya eva vedajgaritasthnah locus or field (of activity) is the wakingstatevaivnarah - Vaivnaraakra is apratham mtr the first letter (of Om)pte (due to its) all-pervasivenessv dimat-tvt and it being the firstpnoti ha vai surely attains/fulfillssarvn kmn all desiresdhi foremost/bestca bavati and becomesya the seekerevam -thusveda knowsVaivnara, whose field (of activity) is the waking state,is a (akra) the first letter of (Om) due to (the similarityof) all-pervasiveness and on account of being the first. Theseeker who knows thus (i.e. the oneness of akara andVaivnara) fulfills all desires and becomes the best.58CommentaryThe identity of akra, the first mtr of Om, withVaivnara1 the first pda of the Self having the wakingstate as the sphere of activity is now alluded upon. And twocommon features, namely all pervasiveness and primarystatus, are cited for establishing the oneness between the two.According to the rules of Sanskrit phonetic (as well asordinary experience), akra (or a) is the basic soundproduced whenever one opens the mouth to utter any word,alphabet or sound. It is therefore the material cause of allother sounds. And as the effect has necessarily to be pervadedby the cause, so all sounds and alphabets are in essenceakra, in the same way all gold ornaments are gold only.There is an Upaniadic statement which declares that, Thesound a is indeed all speech.2 As Lord or Vir-vara, Vaivnara is verily the Selfpervading the whole universe. Indeed, it is only in the wakingstate that the full complement of updhis (the body, the mindand the senses), necessary for the experience of the three statesof waking, dream and sleep which define the totality of thehuman existence, are available. It is in this sense that 1The Self obtaining in the gross-cosmic context i.e. the physicaluniverse 2Aitareya ranyaka 2.3.759Vaivnara is said to be all- pervasive since it is these veryupdhis which enable the jiva to make the expressions, Iam awake, I was dreaming and I slept soundly in thewaking state. There is also scriptural support for this. Thepassage from the Chndogya Upaniad, Of this UniversalSelf (i.e. the Vaivnara-tman), the head is the effulgentlight, the eye is the universal form. The feet are the earth3 clearly attests to the all-pervasiveness of Vaivnara..Primacy, or being the first (dimatvt), is the secondfeature which both akra and Vaivnara have in common.Akra, the first mtr of Om, is the beginning sound4 ofany verbal expression because it is the first sound producedthe moment the mouth is opened. Indeed, even the cry of anew born begins with akra. In the same way, Vaivnarais also the first because both the states of dream and deepsleep are preceded by the waking state.As an incentive to induce interest in this upsan, themantra vouchsafes that the one who meditates on the onenessof akara and Vaivnara will not only have all the worldlydesires fulfilled but shall also emerge foremost amongst allthe great people5 . It should, however, be pointed out here 3 Chndogya Upaniad 5.18.2 4There are no other sound or alphabet which precedes "akra'. 5The attainment of worldly gains and pleasures cannot be thetrue import of the mantra. The real purport is to entice those60that the meditation is not just on the sound of akra, butupon the sound symbol6 one must visualize the wholephysical universe. In other words, one should be meditatingon the akra aspect of Om as the universe, and not purelyon the sound only. This technique is technically called akra-vivnara-ikai-upaanam.who are not spiritually inclined to embark on some form ofspiritual practice, like meditation. And hopefully over time,they become imbued with more sattvic qualities whichpredispose them to further pursue the inward life. Butnotwithstanding the implied objective , one who meditates onOm as akra with the corresponding visualization ofVaivnara, given the identity of the two as described, willattain Viva-Vaivnara as the immediate benefit. And therewill be mastery over both the individual and total names andforms of the gross waking state. In other words, one will havecontrol not only over the individual waking life, but also themacro environment of the gross universe. 6The akra functions as a tangible support which the mindcan focus on. And it is a rule of meditation that whatever onemeditates upon one ultimately attains or becomes.61Mantra 10-----r-- - +rcr |t-r -r-r +rr ---rr + | r- rr---| --r- --| -r--r- |-+ --| - - - iisvapnasthnastaijasa ukro dvitya mtrotkardubhayatvd votkarati ha vai jnasantatim samnacabhavati nsyabrahmavit kule bhavati ya eva vedasvapnasthnah locus or field of (activity) is the dreamstatetaijasa - Taijasaukara dvitiy mtr is the second letter uutkarat - superiorityv ubhayatat on account of it being in the middle (of wakingand sleep)utkarati ha vai he thus excelsjnasantatim his range of knowledgesamna equal (to all)ca bhavati and becomesna -noasya in thisabrahmavit one ignorant of Brahmankule lineage or familybhavati will beya that one/ the seekereva - thusveda knowsTaijasa, whose field (of activity) is the dream state, isthe second letter u due to it being in the middle (of wakingand sleep) and on account of its superiority (in relation to the62waking state). One who knows thus i.e. the identity of "ukra'and Taijasa excels in his (scope and depth) of knowledge andbecomes equal to all. In his family no one will be ignorant ofBrahman.CommentaryThe oneness of ukra and Taijasa is examined here.And the mantra points out that there are two features whichthey both share in common. The first is superiority. Both thesecond mtr of Om and the second pd of tm areidentical on account of being superior. The second commoncharacteristic is the intermediate status of both ukra andTaijasaNotwithstanding the fact that as the first sound, akrais superior to all other sounds and alphabets, ukra is stillsaid to be greater or more superior in an implied sense. Thiscan be best understood through the illustration of thefoundation of a building and the many floors built above it.Akra the building-block of all sounds can be compared tothe supporting sub-structure and ukra is the first floorconstructed on it. It is therefore, in this sense of being thefirst floor relative to the foundation below that ukra is asit were superior to akra. The superiority of Taijasa overViva is based on the fact that dream, being a subtle state ofexperience, is an effective means for understanding the63illusoriness of the world. Indeed, when the experience ofdream, which mirrors the waking life, is clearly known to beunreal when the person wakes up, there is the realizationthat the external world of names and forms characterized bythe same relationships and dualities as in dream is probablynothing more than a projection of the mind.1 Hence, whendream is seen in the correct perspective i.e. with sensitivityand discrimination, it can be a powerful tool which bringsthe sdhaka closer to knowing the highest truth.The second common feature of 'being in between' isobvious enough and needs no further explanation. "Ukra',the second mtr comes after akra the first mtr, andbefore makra, the third mtr. Similarly, dream is a statebetween waking and sleep.The mind of one who meditates on ukra as Taijasawill over time become increasingly subtle, focused and moreknowledgeable2 . At the same time, attachment to, and desire 1That the world is but an idea or a thought of the mind iseasily substantiated by the fact that nothing of the so-calledexternal or internal world can be known independent of thesenses and the mind. 2 These are the benefits which come with the attainment ofTaijasa-Hirayagarbha for one who meditates on om as"ukra'.The person will have the knowledge of both the totaland the individual names and forms of the subtle state. Inother words, the nature of the macro dream environment i.e.the subtle universe(Hirayagarbha) as well as that of theindividual dreamer(Taijasa) will be known.64for, external objects and mundane pursuits will graduallydecline. The world no longer has such a strong hold on theindividual. And with the natural development of dispassion,equipoise and other positive traits, there can be no envy orhatred towards such a person, who now lives a life of quietintrospection and is treated in the same way by all. It is alsovouchsafed that none of the descendents of such one will beborn without the knowledge of Brahman.65Mantra 11- r--r-: rrr -+rc- t-r -r-r |- ct -r |--r | r -rr x -- -t| --| - - - iisuuptasthna prjo makrasttiya mtrmiterapterv minoti ha v idam sarvam aptica bhavatiya evam vedasuupta sthnah whose locus or field (of activity) is thesleep stateprjah - Prjamakrah trtya mtr is the third letter mmite being a measurement ofv apte mergence/ where all mergesminoti ha v -knowsidam sarvam all thisapti ground of dissolutionca bhavati and becomesya evam veda one who knows thisPrja, whose field (of activity) is the sleep state, is thethird letter m on account of it being a measure (of bothwaking and dream since it is from sleep these two statesappear to emerge) as well as the ground of dissolution (whereeverything becomes unified). One who knows this (identityof makra and Prja) knows (the truth) of all this (i.e. thereal nature of empirical life) and becomes the ground intowhich all merges i.e. vara.66CommentaryThe two common features now cited for establishingthe identity of makra and Prja are conveyed by theterms miti and apti of the mantra. The term miti meansto measure or measuring. And to measure is to know.For instance, to quantify grains or cereals, a measuringcontainer (traditionally known as prastha) has to be used.By measuring out the contents from the prastha one knowshow much grains there is. In the present mantra, it is declaredthat just as grams and cereals are measured by the measuringvessel, so too the waking and dream states are said to bemeasured out by Prja, after having resolved into,subsequently manifest from their causal conditions in thestate of deep sleep. Indeed, as discussed in the sixth mantra,Prja is verily vara who is both the material cause as wellas the efficient cause of the waking and dream worlds.Similarly, in the articulation of Om, particularly when it isuttered in uninterrupted succession, both the sounds ofakra and ukra first merge as it were into makrabefore re-emerging from it to form the following Om.The other common feature indicated by the term apticonveys the sense of resolving into, or becoming unifiedwith, the ground. And going back to the fifth mantra, Prjais the ground where the waking and dream states arewithdrawn and become unified as one undifferentiated massof consciousness (ekbhta prajnaghana). In the sameway, when Om is uttered, the first two mtrs, of akra67and ukra seemingly appear to resolve and lapse intomakra, the third and last mtr.As with the preceding two mantras, where the fruits(phala) were addressed, the present mantra points out thatthe clear understanding of the oneness of makra andPrja brings with it two important benefits. First of all,there is the realization, although still intellectual in nature,that the gross world of waking, like the dream experience, isonly a manifestation arising from the depth of deep sleep. Inthe state of deep sleep, all updhis which define waking anddream have become dormant in their undifferentiated causalforms. Therefore, one who truly knows Prja will have allthe knowledge of empirical life which is qualified by thethree states of experience. Having understood theinsubstantiality of the world of names and forms i.e. the truenature of the universe, the sdhaka now realizes that he isnone other than the conditioned Self from where (or whom)phenomenality manifests. In other words, the practitionerknows, albeit as mediate knowledge, that he is in fact vara.What it comes to is this: one who meditates on Om asmakra attains Prja-vara. Indeed, from the foregoingdiscussions, it is clear that one of the chief benefits from themeditation on Om is the gradual purification of thesdhaka's buddhi, rendering it increasingly subtle so thatit is fit for the saving knowledge expounded in the hallowedtexts of the Upaniads.68Mantra 12-r- -r :---rr- : -r -r-: |-r-r : --r rc r- -- |--r-r--r-r- - - - iiamtracaturtho'vyvaharya prapacopaamahsivo'dvaita evam okra tmaivaavitytmantmna ya eva veda.amtrah no parts (soundless)caturthah fourth or Turyaavyavahrya beyond all phenomena/ transactionsprapacopas'amah free from the worldsiva - auspiciousadvaita non-dualevam - Thusokarah Okratm eva Self alonesaviati enters/mergestmana by through (his own) Selftmanam the Selfyah veda He who knowseva thusThat which has no parts (soundless), which is beyondall transactions, free from the world, auspicious, non-dual isTurya. Thus Omkra is verily the Self. He who knows thusenters the Self through the Self.CommentaryThe soundless (amtr), free from any parts orcomponents, is verily the Fourth(caturtha), the pure tm.69And according to the present mantra, it is beyond empiricaltransaction (avyavahrya) because in that which is free fromall sounds, both names and the objects they refer to are alsoabsent. Indeed, with the negation of the mtrs1 and thecorresponding upadhis swhich arbitrarily demarcate theseamless Self into the illusory states, what is left is amtr,the pure non-dual underlying consciousness, the Turyam.This dissolution of the three prapacas (worlds), namelythe gross, the subtle and the causal is technically calledprapacopaamam . In their absence, all diversity anddifferentiation, such as cause-effect, subject-object, etc., aretranscended. Where there is no second (advaita), the amtrhas necessarily to be of the nature of infinite bliss since thereis no other to cause fear. It is therefore said to be auspicious(iva).It is clear from the above discussion that one who knowsOm in the way addressed i.e. through enquiry into the amtr,will merge in his true nature. This emerging or entering isindicated by the term saviati of the text. One should,however, note that in this entering no spatial