Mundakopanishad-3

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SrI:

By U. Ve. , MahAmahOpAdhyaya, Dr. Sriman Srirangam Nallan Chakravarthy Raghunathacharya Swami: Translated into English by Sriman K.S. Rajaji I.A.S.,

Khanda-3
In this Khanda is described again, in a detailed manner, what was stated in Khanda-1, namely the process of creation by the Supreme Lord. Thousands of sparks, which have the effulgence of fire, are emerging from the burning fire. In the same manner, the various JivAs which are coalesced (absorbed) in the Brahman, before creation, are released from the Brahman at the commencement of creation. There are many things to be learnt from the comparison with the release of sparks of fire. Just as the sparks are joined with the fire and are part of the fire, the jivAs are part of Brahman. Just as the sparks of fire have effulgence just like the fire; the jivAs have knowledge, as is the case with Brahman. Like the sparks are merged in fire, before they are released, the jivAs, before creation are merged in (are part of) Brahman. The fire, the source of the sparks has intimate connection with the wooden logs or the heated Iron ball. Likewise, Brahman, the cause of the universe, has an intimate connection with the sentient – the Chit and insentient – the Achit. Both of them in the subtle form are merged in the Brahman. But there is one essential difference between the fire and Brahman. The sparks and the fire are not of permanent nature, whereas the jivAs and Brahman are eternal. Hence there is no destruction of the jivAs and they get merged in the Brahman. This is the majestic message conveyed in the 1st Mantra of this Khanda.
The Brahman, which is immensely glorious than the sentient and insentient, creates the five elements, mind, the vital breaths, the senses and the physical senses, and with their help, created several BrahmANdas and each of them has  fourteen worlds within them. He then pervades all of them. The Lord’s cosmic has then been described. As has been described in the Vishnu sahasra Nama StOthra, bhooh paadau yasya naabhih etc., the Brahman has the Dyuloka as His head, has Sun and moon as His eyes. The directions are His ears. The vEdas are His speech. The wind is life. The entire universe is the Heart and the earth is His feet. Since Brahman has created the universe which has several forms, has permeated it and is inseparably joined with it, those who are knowledgeable (about the Reality), say that all this is Brahman. When we know about the Brahman, who has created and permeated this entire universe, it is same as knowing all about everything, the universe.  This is the reply given by sage Angirasa to the question posed by Saunaka, viz., what is the meaning of “by knowing One thing, one can know everything”.  That knowing One thing is knowledge of Brahman. One who is able to worship such a Brahman located in the inner parts of the heart and is able to attain Him (is able to see Him or directly visualise Him), will be devoid of the threefold afflictions, anxieties and attain liberation from the routine of births and deaths.

Khanda-4
This part, primarily explains the method of meditating upon the Brahman.  The Akshara Brahman, in a subtle form is the Indweller in the cavity of the hearts of all living beings. In their awakened state, as well as when they are asleep, this Brahman, who has entered the beings is very close to (is intimate) and is the support of all beings. There are some who are not able to recognize or realize Him, by the power of their Yoga. The manner in which such a Brahman, who is to be sought to realise all human ends, is to be attained is explained with the help of two interesting examples.
1. An archer holds the bow, sets a sharp arrow in position, aims at the target carefully, pulls the string to the ear, releases the arrow and hits the target. The target that was hit by the released arrow is broken up and comes under the control of the archer. One has to apply this analogy to the present scene. The PraNavam (Aum) is the bow for the seeker after liberation. His Atma which has been rendered pure by his Yoga is the sharpened arrow. This arrow has to be placed in the bow viz., the PraNavamantra (Aum), very carefully aimed at the target, i.e., the Brahman and released. The meaning is that one has to surrender the Atma to the Brahman, who is the target to be attained, reciting the PraNavam The Lord, pleased by the total surrender of the Atma, would then become subordinate to (comes under the control of) the devotee.
2. The sacred fire, which is required for a Yajna, the sacrifice, is ignited by rubbing “Khadira (Botanical-Acacia catechu Wild (Fam., Leguminosae) Tamil-Karungali, Telugu-Chandra” and Sami (Tamil- parambai/ jambu, Telugu- Jammi) wooden logs against each other. In Sanskrit these wooden logs are called araNi. When one churns one log into hollow made in the other rigorously, due to the friction, heat is generated and fire erupts. This fire is considered to be sacred and is used for the yajna. In the same manner, one has to churn his Atma, one of the araNi against the PraNavam, the second araNi. Here churn means meditate. As the meditation continues progressing stage by stage into a serious DhyAna etc, the effulgent Brahman, who is in the Aum and the Atma will emerge and manifest. The meaning is that this meditation, which is practised in the form of churning, should be continued till the Brahman manifests.
The Conclusion which emerges from these two examples is that while chanting the PraNavam, the seeker should through his meditation surrender his Atma to the Supreme Lord. The manifestation of Brahman by such meditation is the paravidya referred to in the 1st Khanda. The meditation which is done in a loving manner, with devotion and adherence to principles is what is called Bhakti Yoga.
The Supreme Lord, who has been so worshipped, is like the dam which enables us to cross the ocean of SamsArA and reach the other shore, namely the liberation. The Shore on the other side is SriVaikuntam which has been variously proclaimed in the Vedas as Paramapadam, Paramavyoma and as Divya Brahmapura. That divine residence where the Supreme Lord in an exceptionally divine auspicious Form is shining (glowing) is full of effulgence. It is place of eternal bliss due to experiencing the Brahman. One need not have doubts as to how one is to meditate on the Lord, who is in a far-away place, in some divine abode. Though in His glorious, divinely auspicious Form, He is in that world only in a subtle form, as the Indweller, He is present (has pervaded Himself) in the cavity of the heart of every being. Just as the rim of a wheel is dependent on the nave, every being along with the body, senses and their functions is dependent on the Indweller. Hence, such an Indweller needs to be worshipped by the chanting of the PraNavam. By such a meditation, the impurities which we entertain in the form of anger, greed, jealousy etc., the various sins which are glued to us from times immemorial get totally destroyed and cleaned. The cavity of the heart is like a lotus bud. It will be hanging upside down, about nine inches (distance between the stretched out thumb and little finger) above the navel. A subtle place, inside the cavity, is the residing place of this Indweller.

…. to be continued

Courtesy —  Srinivasa Ramanuja Dasan

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