Thursday, October 27, 2016

Contribution of Andhra to Mundaka Upanishad

   Contribution of Andhra to Mundaka Upanishad
                                              ( A Brief Study)

Dr. Chilakamarthi Durga Prasada Rao
                 Education occupies a very important role in human life.  Education is of two kinds- Paravidya and Aparavidya. Para may be defined as extra-mundane while the opposite, i.e., Apara is mundane.  The nature of Paravidya and Aparavidya is extensively dealt in the Mundakopanishad. This Upanishad is a part of Atharvaveda and its main purpose is to distinguish higher knowledge { Paravidya } and lower knowledge { Aparavidya }. The scriptures enjoin that both are equally worthy of acquisition, the supreme function of them being relief from worldly entanglements. Paravidya is said to lead the realization of Atman while Aparavidya can enable one to acquire knowledge of the physical world.    This Upanishad asserts that Atmajnana,  i.e., the knowledge of Brahman can be realized through renunciation not by the acquisition of worldly objects. This Upanishad consists of three chapters available in two parts.

                                         Among all Gods; Brahma, the creator of the world and protector of the Universe manifested first of all. He taught Brahmavidya, the essence of all knowledge to his eldest son Atharva. Atharva transmitted it to Agni, Agni passed it to Satyavaha and it ultimately reached to Angira.

             One day Saunaka, a well-known saint and owner of a very big monastery approached Angira and enquired. ‘O Lord! What is that supreme reality by knowing which every thing is known? Please tell me how to know it”. 
        Having been asked by Saunaka, Angira replied --- The knower of Brahman declared that there are two vidyas worth knowing to men -- Para and Apara.
                            Out of these two, that through which, the worldly and other worldly enjoyments are gained ; which also tells about the varieties of Bhoga, the various ways to enjoy, the construction of enjoyable materials and the various sources and means to obtain them is Aparavidya.  It constitutes

I. THE FOUR VEDAS: 1. Rigveda, 2.Yajurveda, 3.Samaveda and 4. Atharvana Veda.

II. SHADANGAS: ( Six Branches of Veda)
1.      Siksha: {the science of pronunciation.}
 It is like the nose to the Vedapurusha. It is the science of phonetics. It deals with the ways and means of pronouncing a word. The pitch, the mode, the cadence, the timings, the strength, with which are to be uttered are discussed in this sastra.   
2.     Kalpa,{treating rituals.}
It is like the hands of Vedapurusha. It reveals to us how a Vedic Act has to be performed in the form of Sutras [Aphorisms]. Kalpasutras are divided in to two types.  1. Grihyasutras 2. Srautasutras. Srautasutra deals with measurements, methods of constructing the Vedic altars, platforms for performing sacrifices etc, the method of performing yagnas etc. Sulbha sutras are a part of Srautasutras. Sulbhasutras contain the knowledge of Mathematics in general and trigonometry in particular. Grihya sutras deal with various purification ceremonies that a house holder has to perform like Seemantam, Namakaranam, Annnaprashana, Upanayanam, Vivaham, Sasthipurti, Dahanasamskaram and Sraddhakarmas.  Baudhayana, Apastamba, Mannava, Maitravaruna had written both Srautasutras where as Katsyayana, Drahyayana and others had written Grihyasutras.  
3.     Vyakarana: {grammar}.
 It is like the mouth of Vedapurusha. Sanskrit is a structured language Vedic nouns, adjectives and prepositions require accurate placement and pronunciation; hence grammar rules.  
4.     Chandas: {metric measurement of Vedic verses}.
It is like the feet of Vedapurusha. It reveals Prosody and metre of vedic - verses. Precise number of letters, that a vedic – verse   should contain etc., are dealt in this sastra. 
5.      Nirukta {etymology}.
 It is like the ear of the Vedapurusha. It gives the etymology of Vedic words. Meaning of Vedas, are contextual and cryptic. They differ from the meaning of ordinary usage.
6.     Jyotisha. {astronomy}
 It is like the eyes of the Vedapurusha. It reveals the time of performing the vedic sacrifices. It contains the Mathematical and Astronomical calculations. It is the science of light that co-relates the planetary influences on the earthly events and individual.   
Here Vedas as well as Vedangas are treated as Aparavidya because they cannot take one to the Supreme Soul. Here Sivasvarodaya declares thus:
 The Veda is not to be called Veda for there is no Veda in Veda. That is truly the Veda by which the supreme Soul is known.  

न वेदं वेद इत्याहु: वेदे वेदो न विद्यते |
परात्मा विद्यते येन स वेदो वेद उच्यते   ‘
Lord Krishna also expressed the limitations of the Vedas thus:
The action of the three-fold modes is the subject matter of the Veda; but thou become free , O Arjuna, from this three fold nature; be free from the dualities.   
त्रैगुण्यविषया: वेदा: निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन ! ( 2 / 45)
That is the reason why the learned Narada approached Sanatkumara, lamented  before him and asked; venerable sir, I know the Rigveda, the Yajurvada, the Samaveda, the Atharvaveda, the epic and the ancient lore as the fifth Veda of the Vedas { Grammer }, propitiation of the fathers, the science of the numbers [Mathematics] the science of portents, the science of time [chronology], logic, ethics, and politics, the science of the God, the science of sacred knowledge, the science of elemental spirits, the science of weapons, astronomy, the science of serpents and the  fine arts but I am only like one knowing the words and not knower  of self.  It has been heard by me from those like you that he who knows the self crosses over sorrow.  Such a sorrowing one am I venerable sir.  Do you help me to cross over the other side of sorrow? Then, Sanatkumara, explained the method of Brahmajnana and initiated him. [ Chandogya  Upanishad]
                   By this episode it is known that the knowledge of Veda and other sastras is of no use as it is mere verbal and gives only the indirect knowledge. The direct knowledge i.e., experience of oneness with the highest reality can be attained through the grace of a perfect guru alone. 
 Paravidya is the science of Spirit through which the knowledge of the supreme soul, imperishable and supreme Brahman is acquired.
अथ परा यया तदक्षरमधिगम्यते
(“Atha para yaya tadakshsaramadhigamyate”)
 The higher is knowledge of that by which one knows the changeless reality.  By this is fully revealed to the wise that which transcends the senses, which is uncaused, Which is indefinable, which has neither ears nor eyes, neither hands nor feet, which is all pervading, subtler than the subtlest- the everlasting , the source of all,
As the web comes out of the spider and is withdrawn, as plants grow from the soil and hair from the body of man so springs the universe from the eternal Brahman.
Brahma willed that it should be so, and brought forth out of himself the material cause of the universe; from this came the primal energy, and from primal energy mind, from mind the subtle elements, from the subtle elements the many worlds, and from the acts performed by the beings in the many worlds the chain of cause and effect – the reward and punishment of works.
Brahman sees all, knows all; he is knowledge itself. Of him born cosmic intelligence, name, form, and the material cause of all created beings and things.
                                         Finite and transient are the fruits of sacrificial rites. The deluded men, regarding sacrifices and works of merits as most important, do not know any other good. Having enjoyed in the high place of heaven won by good deeds, they enter again this world or a still lower world.  
 But wise, self-controlled, and tranquil souls- who are contented in spirit and who practise austerity and meditation in solitude and silence – are free from all impurity and attain by the path of liberation to the immortal, the truly existing, the change less self.     
         Here is a question. How that the imperishable Brahma is known through Paravidya?
The answer is that though the imperishable Brahman which is beyond the reach of grasping, without gotra ; without colour and form ; without eyes and ears; without hand and feet; subtle; immutable; the primal cause of all being; the wise persons see Him everywhere.
To a disciple who approached reverently, who is tranquil and self controlled, the teacher imparts that knowledge, faithfully, by which the Changeless - Self is known.
                                                                                 Here one should keep in mind that both paravidya  as well as aparavidya  are equally important. Here para is known as jnana and apara as Vijnana. Knowledge pertaining to the highest Reality is Jnana while knowledge pertaining to all sastras is vijnana. Here both are worthy to be acquired. A man who tries for one will be deprived of the highest good. This idea is expressed by the Ishavasya Upanishad thus: those who worship avidya  go to pitch darkness, but to the greater darkness than this go those who are devoted to vidya . (Isavasya – ( mantra- 9).
 Worship of  avidya alone leads to one result while the worship of vidya leads to another.  Thus have we heard from the wise, who had explained it to us. They who worship vidya and avidya , by avidya  over come death and by vidya achieve immortality. 
  Bhagavadgita, the essence of the Upanishads stresses the same idea by saying thus:ज्ञानं विज्ञानसहितं यद् ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यतेsशुभात्
Jnanam vijnanasahitam yajjnatva mokshyase asubhat (IX-1

Among them who wrote commentaries on the Upanishad may be picked up the following.

Anandagiri's commentary on Mundakopanishad.
Upanishadbrahmendrayogi's Vivarana.
Ramarayakavi's Vedantamukthavali.
A sloka from Mundakopanishad authored by Ramaraya reads :

तन्तूनुद्वमति स्वयं गिलति वा कावूर्णनाभिर्यथा
भूतान्युत्सृजति प्रसंहरति च स्वस्मिन् स्वयं ब्रह्म तत् |
भूम्यामोषधिवज्जगद्भवति च ब्रह्मण्यधो लीयते
देहान्मूर्धजलोमवस्थितिभृतां लोकोSक्षराज्जायते ||

(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.)

The following are the translators:
Atmananda yogi.
Charla Ganapathi Sastry .
Pisupati Narayana Sastry.
Nori Srinatha Venkata Somayajulu.


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