Tuesday, July 21, 2015



Dr. DurgaprasadaRao Chilakamarthi


This Upanishad belongs to Atharvaveda. It is called Prasnopanishad because it consists of highly philosophical and intriguing questions.

          1) What is the ultimate cause of the world?
          2) What is the nature of the Supreme Being?
          3) What are the nature and power of the sound Om?
          4) What is the relation of the Supreme Being to the mundane world?
                   This Upanishad is more in prose form than in verse.
Here is a sloka of Ramarayakavi from the Prasnopanishad.

स्थूलं जागरितं ह्यकारमयते विश्वं च वैश्वानरं          
सुक्ष्मं   स्वप्नमुमेति तैजसमथो हैरण्यगर्भात्मकम् |         
मायां सुप्तिपदं च यं कलयते प्राज्ञं च योsपीश्वरं
प्राज्ञा यं न हि कम्पते भवति यत्सर्वात्मभूत: पुमान् ||

           (The divine symbol 'AUM' has three attributes - 'A', 'U' and 'M'. The wakeful state is identified with 'A', the dreaming state, with 'U' and the deep sleep with 'M'.  A  fourth state, both different from and a remnant after the demolition of 'A', 'U' and 'M', is identified with Atman.)


                   This Upanishad is a part of Atharvaveda and its main purpose is to distinguish between higher knowledge (Paravidya) and lower knowledge                      (Aparavidya). This Upanishad asserts that Atmajnana (the knowledge of Brahman) can be realized through renunciation and not acquisition of worldly objects. This Upanishad consists of three chapters available in two parts. Among them who wrote commentaries on the Upanishad may be picked up the following.  . A sloka from Mundakopanishad authored by Ramaraya reads:

तन्तूनुद्वमति स्वयं गिलति वा कावूर्णनाभिर्यथा
भूतान्युत्सृजति प्रसंहरति च स्वस्मिन् स्वयं ब्रह्म तत्
भूम्यामोषधिवज्जगद्भवति च ब्रह्मण्यधो लीयते
देहान्मूर्धजलोमवत्स्थितिभृतां लोको sक्षराज्जायते    

(Just as a spider disengages its woven web or devours it at its pleasure, Atman creates as well as destroys the world. Just as trees sprout from the earth and ultimately dwindle and disappear, this ever-changing world has sprung from the unchanging or Perpetual Brahman.)


                   This Upanishad also belongs to Atharvaveda and it comprises 12 mantras. The sage Mundaka is believed to be the exponent of this Upanishad. The Upanishad helps one to comprehend the significance of the word Om through which Atmajnana can be achieved. There are also Karikas on this Upanishad by Gaudapada who was the paramaguru (teacher's teacher) of Sankaracharya.

 The Karikas are in four chapters:

          The first chapter, Agamaprakarana , explains, that ' Om ' is conducive to self- knowledge and deals with scriptures.

          The second chapter, Vaitathyaprakarana,  shows the unreality of duality on the           analogy of the rope and snake.
          The third chapter, Advaitaprakarana ,shows the reality of non-duality by           reasoning.

          The fourth chapter, Alatasanthi, adduces arguments and refutes those systems that hold views conflicting with Advaita.

Ramarayakavi also composed a commentary on this Upanishad. An important verse of Ramaraya from Mandukyopanishad reads as follows.

यो ब्रहमात्मतुरीयपाद इति स द्वैतोपशान्तिश्शिवोs
द्वैतश्चाव्यवहार्य एष परमोंकारो ह्यमात्र: पुन: |
ॐकारो विदुषोदित: प्रविशति स्वात्मानमात्मैव स
न्नेवं वेद य एष आत्मनि गतो नो वा पुनर्जायते ||
 :   :
(One experiences the natural three states of wakefulness, dream state and deep sleep. Atman is to be understood as a fourth state which, however, is not new but is something that remains by obliterating their attributes. One who realizes this supreme truth will be bereft of the cycle of births and deaths.)


                   The Taittiriyopanishad forms part of the Taittiriyaranyaka of the Black Yajurveda. The first chapter Sikshavalli is sometimes referred to as the Samhitopanishad and the latter two chapters together are called  Varuni upanishad.

                   Sankaracharya wrote a commentary on the Taittiriyopanishad. This Upanishad has a speciality in that. Sureswaracharya, the disciple of Sankara, wrote Vartikas on this Upanishad basing on the Bhashya of Sankara. His work is known as Taittriyopanishadbhashyavartikam.

                   Ramarayakavi's Vedantamukthavali embodies the essence of the Taittiriyopanishad in Sardula metre and follows in the lines of Sankara. A verse of Ramaraya from the Taittiriyopanishad is given here for its sheer beauty.

सत्यं त्वं वद धर्ममाचर कृधां मा च प्रमादं क्वचित्
कर्तव्यं गुरवस्त्वयाप्यतिथय: पूज्या: परं मातर: |
निन्द्यं  मा कुरु कर्म पूजय  धिया श्रेष्ठान् ह्रिया श्रद्धया
भीत्या तत्पदवीमनुव्रज गुरु: शिष्यं प्रशिक्षे दिशि ||

 (This sloka's injunction encompasses all the age-old virtues - truth, charity, devotion to one's duty, obeisance to teachers and parents and all such noble duties.)

                                                                          (To be continued)

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