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In this Blog we will cover KHANDA-II and III. KHANDA-I has been discussed in my earlier Blog “ Essence of Aitareya Upanishad- Part-A “
In Khanda II, the creation of human body is described in order to inculcate a sense of dispassion by showing the impermanence of the body. Creation continues through procreation. A man is born, he gives birth to a son and he takes rebirth after death. This signifies that a person has really three births. The procreative fluid of a father is said to be the essence of his Self. The mother looks after it during pregnancy as her own Self. After birth, the parents nourish the child so that he can be their substitute for performance of pious deeds. Hence the importance of natal care and oneness of the father and the son are emphasized.
In Khanda III, we will learn that “Consciousness is Brahman”. This Consciousness is Pure. This creation is unreal in nature. Creation is mere a superimposition upon Consciousness.
वाङ् मे मनसि प्रतिष्ठिता मनो मे वाचि प्रतिष्ठितमाविरावीर्म एधि ॥ वेदस्य म आणीस्थः श्रुतं मे मा प्रहासीरनेनाधीतेनाहोरात्रान् संदधाम्यृतं वदिष्यामि सत्यं वदिष्यामि ॥ तन्मामवतु तद्वक्तारमवत्ववतु मामवतु वक्तारमवतु वक्तारम् ॥ ॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥
Three Births of the Self [ Three incarnations]:
Verse: 4.1- First Birth :”The Pregnant Father”
This Jiva in the male body of his father first becomes semen. This semen is the vigour extracted and transformed from all the limbs. First the father holds and nourishes it in his own body and rears it which is not different from him. When he injects this in mother’s body he procreates himself in the form of a foetus. This is his first birth.
Verse: 4.2- :”The Development of the Foetus”
That semen becomes one with the woman-just like a limb of her own. That is why it does not hurt her. She nourishes this self of his that has come into her.
Verse: 4.3- Second Birth :”The Pregnant Mother”
She, being the nourisher of the child , should be nourished. The woman nourishes the embryo. Immediately after its birth the father nourishes the child. Nourishing the child from birth onward, he thus nourishes himself for the continuation of these worlds. For thus alone are these worlds perpetuated. This is one’s second birth.
Verse: 4.4- Third Birth :”The Pregnant Son”
Father himself becomes son. When son comes of age, father entrusts him with all the family duties and responsibilities and frees himself from parental debt. As life span of father shortens, father departs from this world and takes birth in another womb according to his Karma. This is his third birth. Thus the cycle of birth and death continues and become a bondage till he does not realize the truth, the reality.
Verse: 4.5- “Breaking Through Iron Fetters”
Rishi Vamadeva realized the truth while he was in mother’s womb.
Rishi said ” While yet in embryo, I knew all the births of these Deities!, i.e. the inner senses and Indriyas are subjected to birth and death and not the Atman. Before I realized this secret I had to pass through several Births which are compared with cages made of Iron. I was so attached with them that it was very difficult for me to get rid of those iron gates. Now by applying full strength of knowledge I broke all the fetters, became detached. Like a hawk, I escaped, being free and now I have no relation with the body. I am not the Body.”
Verse: 4.6- ” The Jivanmukti and Videhamukti of Vamadeva”
Having gained the knowledge of Atman, and freedom from Body Consciousness, Vamadeva took his Upward path. He attained the heavenly world of Bliss and fulfilled all his desires. He became immortal, yes He became immortal !!!
” Freedom from Body” : We can understand this in two ways:
- Death: This is applicable to a mortal
- Freedom from Body-Consciousness: Upward path towards Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
For a man, once the highest state of True realization is reached, the attainment of the Heavenly worlds of Bliss accompanies him, while still in the Body. While still in the body, the realized state experiences the Supreme Bliss. He enjoys all he desires.
Self Realization is the only way to come out of the bondage of repetitive cycle of Birth and Death. For that one should have Vairagya.
The three “Aavasthas”(states) and “Swapnas”(Dreams): in relation to Three Births:
Three Aavasthas are three dwelling places occupied by the Supreme Being after HE enters the body. The three Swapnas are three states as below:
- Right Eye: This is where He dwells during the waking state.
- The Mind: This is where He dwells during the dream state.
- The Heart: This is where He dwells during the deep sleep state.
- All the states are considered to be DREAM state (Swapna Aavasthas) because of ignorance.
Until man realize the Supreme truth and awakens to his spiritual destiny, he is considered to be in the state of Dream(Swapna).
PrajnAnaM Brahma: ” Consciousness is Brahman”
Brahman, The Self (Supreme Consciousness) can be known from two approaches. (A) Upahita Chaitanya and (B) Visishta Chaitanya.
Upahita Chaitanya: This is to be known as Pure Consciousness. Not associated with any upadhis, attributes and indestructible. It is known as Shuddha Brahman. It is the common substratum of all the three states of consciousness.
Visishta Chaitanya: This Self is associated with the various Upadhis and known as Visishta Brahman. Visishta means particular. This Self has two divisions and each has three sub divisions:
A) Samashti: Macrocosmic Level: It’s three sub-divisions are: i) Ishwara or Brahma at the causal level. ii) Hiranyagarbha or Pranaat , the subtle level. iii) Virat at the gross level.
B) Vyashti: Microcosmic Level: It has three sub-divisions, which are: i) Prajnaat- the Causal; ii) Taijasaat – the subtle level; and iii) Vishwaat -the gross level. These three sub-divisions correspond to Deep Sleep, Dream and waking state of Consciousness respectively.
Verse: 5.1- “Un associated(Upahita) Consciousness at Individual level “
OM! Who is this Self we are worshiping? Which of the two is He? A) The Atman: Or B) Is He ” That” (Atman) by which one sees? Or by which one hears? Or by which one smells fragrance? Or by which one knows what is tasty and what is not tasty?
Upahita Chaitanya: The Sakshi (Witnessing Consciousness )witnesses all the bodily and mental functions, but does not get involved in them. It remains untouched. It is That by which, one sees, hears, smells, thinks. This alone is the True Self at the Vyashti level.
Verse: 5.2- ” Associated Consciousness at Individual level “
In this Sloka, Consciousness in association with the body, mind, intellect, memory and ego-sense is described. This Consciousness is reflected Consciousness. This has a Visishta relationship that produces Jeeva. Rishi describes here sixteen faculties in which Jeeva differ from each other. The faculties are inner instruments, chiefly the Mind and the Intellect which have their vast range to cover.
Sixteen faculties are as below.
i) Samjnaanam, ii) Aajnaanam, iii) Vijnaanam, iv)Praajnaanam, Comprehension, intelligence, v ) Medha, Memory retention, vi) Drishtih, vii) Dhritih, viii) Matih, ix) Maneeshaa, x) Jootih, xi) Smritih, xii) Samkalpah, xiii) Kratuh, xiv) Asuh, xv) Kaamah, xvi) Vashah.
All the faculties are considered to be different names and forms through which PrajnAnaM operates as Visishta Chaitanya in Jeeva. Faculties from i to xiv are part of Subtle body . Last two faculties xv and xvi constitute Causal body. These two are bundle of desires, attachments which causes the man take birth again and again.
Therefore we can summarize the sloka in this way: “He is that other, living in the mind or in the intellect as imagination, discrimination, knowledge, continuity, intuition, conviction, contemplation, will, emotion, memory, desire, resolution, being, living, loving, longing: all names for one intelligence”.
Verse: 5.3- “Un associated (Upahita) and associated Consciousness at all levels.” PrajnAnaM Brahma at all levels”
प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म :
Verse: 5.3: एष ब्रह्मैष इन्द्र एष प्रजापतिरेते सर्वे देवा इमानि च पञ्चमहाभूतानि पृथिवी वायुराकाश आपो ज्योतींषीत्येतानीमानि च क्षुद्रमिश्राणीव । बीजानीतराणि चेतराणि चाण्डजानि च जारुजानि च स्वेदजानि चोद्भिज्जानि चाश्वा गावः पुरुषा हस्तिनो यत्किञ्चेदं प्राणि जङ्गमं च पतत्रि च यच्च स्थावरं सर्वं तत्प्रज्ञानेत्रं प्रज्ञाने प्रतिष्ठितं प्रज्ञानेत्रो लोकः प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठा प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म ॥ ३॥
In this Sloka, Rishi emphasize that PrajnAnaM Brahma is present in all levels.
“He is Brahma , He is Indra, He is Prajapati; He is all these gods; He is the Five great elements- Earth, Air, Akasha, Water, Light; He is all these small creatures and the others which are mixed; He is the origin-those born of an egg, of a womb, of sweat and of a sprout; He is horses, cows, human beings, elephants- whatever breathes here, whether moving on legs or flying in the air or unmoving. All the basis of the Universe is Consciousness. Consciousness is Brahman. PrajnAnaM Brahma. प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म.
प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म. This is one of the four MahaVakyas:
Consciousness is Brahman. This Consciousness is Pure. Upahita Chaitanya. When it becomes associated Consciousness (Maya + Upahita Chaitanya). This creation is unreal in nature. Creation is mere a superimposition upon Consciousness.
Verse: 5.4- ” Jivanmukti & Kramamukti”
स एतेन प्राज्ञेनाऽऽत्मनाऽस्माल्लोकादुत्क्रम्यामुष्मिन्स्वर्गे लोके सर्वान् कामानाप्त्वाऽमृतः समभवत् समभवत् ॥ ४॥
He having realized oneness with Pure Consciousness, soared from this world and having obtained all desires in yonder heavenly world, became immortal! Yes immortal.
Verse: 6- ” The Peace invocation”
ॐ वाङ् मे मनसि प्रतिष्ठिता मनो मे वाचि प्रतिष्ठितमाविरावीर्म एधि वेदस्य म आणीस्थः श्रुतं मे मा प्रहासीरनेनाधीतेनाहोरात्रान् संदधाम्यृतं वदिष्यामि सत्यं वदिष्यामि तन्मामवतु तद्वक्तारमवत्ववतु मामवतु वक्तारमवतु वक्तारम् ॥ ॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥
॥ इत्यैतरोपनिषदि तृतीयोध्यायः ॥
The End of Aitareya Upanishad.
- Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.**
- THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
- Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
- Commentary of Aitareya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
- Aitareya Upanishad By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
- EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
- THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
- A-U-M Awakening to Reality : By Dennis Waite***
- Panchadasi: Swami Vidyaranya:
- Information available on internet.
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