Posted by: adbhutam | August 2, 2017

VISHNU IS SAMASHTI JIVA: SHANKARA IN MUNDAKA BHASHYA

In the Mundakopanishat 2.1.4 there is the description of the Virāt puruṣa:

अग्निर्मूर्धा चक्षुषी चन्द्रसूर्यौ दिशः श्रोत्रे वाग्विवृताश्च वेदाः ।
वायुः प्राणो हृदयं विश्वमस्य पद्भ्यां पृथिवी ह्येष सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा ॥ ४ ॥

4 The heavens are His head; the sun and moon, His eyes; the quarters, His ears; the revealed Vedas, His speech; the wind is His breath; the universe, His heart. From his feet is produced the earth. He is, indeed, the inner self of all beings (pancha bhūta-s).

Shankara’s commentary is:

सङ्क्षेपतः परविद्याविषयमक्षरं निर्विशेषं पुरुषं सत्यम् ‘दिव्यो ह्यमूर्तः’ (मु. उ. २ । १ । २) इत्यादिना मन्त्रेणोक्त्वा, पुनस्तदेव सविशेषं विस्तरेण वक्तव्यमिति प्रववृते ; सङ्क्षेपविस्तरोक्तो हि पदार्थः सुखाधिगम्यो भवति सूत्रभाष्योक्तिवदिति । यो हि प्रथमजात्प्राणाद्धिरण्यगर्भाज्जायतेऽण्डस्यान्तर्विराट् , स तत्त्वान्तरितत्त्वेन लक्ष्यमाणोऽप्येतस्मादेव पुरुषाज्जायत एतन्मयश्चेत्येतदर्थमाह, तं च विशिनष्टि —

The Supreme Brahman, Akṣaram, free of all attributes, that is the subject matter of the Parā vidyā, was stated concisely as ‘divyo hyamūrtaḥ puruṣa…’ Mundaka 2.1.2. Now, in the sequel, with a view to present that Puruṣa alone along with attributes, in an elaborate manner, the Upaniṣad proceeds. This manner of consice-elaborate presentation, like sutra-bhāṣya, will enable one to grasp the tattva easily. He who is born of the First-born Hiraṇyagarbha, within the Cosmic Egg (Golden Egg), who is called ‘Virāt’, even though shown as born once-removed (that is, through the medium of Hiranyagarbha), is actually born of the Supreme Puruṣa alone and thus is of that content alone. With a view to state this, the current mantra describes him (virāṭ)-

अग्निः द्युलोकः, ‘असौ वाव लोको गौतमाग्निः’ (छा. उ. ५ । ४ । १) इति श्रुतेः । मूर्धा यस्योत्तमाङ्गं शिरः, चक्षुषी चन्द्रश्च सूर्यश्चेति चन्द्रसूर्यौ ; यस्येति सर्वत्रानुषङ्गः कर्तव्यः अस्येत्यस्य पदस्य वक्ष्यमाणस्य यस्येति विपरिणामं कृत्वा । दिशः श्रोत्रे यस्य । वाक् विवृताश्च उद्घाटिताः प्रसिद्धा वेदाः यस्य । वायुः प्राणो यस्य । हृदयम् अन्तःकरणं विश्वं समस्तं जगत् अस्य यस्येत्येतत् । सर्वं ह्यन्तःकरणविकारमेव जगत् , मनस्येव सुषुप्ते प्रलयदर्शनात् ; जागरितेऽपि तत एवाग्निविस्फुलिङ्गवद्विप्रतिष्ठानात् । यस्य च पद्भ्यां जाता पृथिवी,

[The cosmic Puruṣa, Virāṭ’s description is: His head is the heavenly region, his eyes are the sun and moon, etc. ]
एष देवो विष्णुरनन्तः प्रथमशरीरी त्रैलोक्यदेहोपाधिः सर्वेषां भूतानामन्तरात्मा । स हि सर्वभूतेषु द्रष्टा श्रोता मन्ता विज्ञाता सर्वकरणात्मा ॥

This god Viṣṇu, Ananta, is the first-embodied one with the three worlds as his upādhi and is the self of all beings (pancha bhūta-s). He is the seer, hearer, etc. in all beings. [Anandagiri says for the bhāṣya passage: त्रैलोक्यदेहोपाधिः सर्वेषां भूतानामन्तरात्मा । …self of pancha bhūta-s]

It is here Shankara identifies the Virāṭ puruṣa (born of Hiranyagarbha, who himself is the one born of the Supreme Brahman), as the deity Viṣṇu, ananta. In Advaita, as per the Mandukya Upanishad scheme, the virāṭ is the total gross body, in the waking state. Hiranyagarbha is the total subtle body in the dream state. Ishwara is the total causal body in the deep sleep state. All three, along with the composite of all individual jivas, in the three states, known by the names viśva (jāgrat), taijasa (svapna) and prājña (sleep) state, along with their bhogas and their worlds where they live and experience the bhogas, are anātmā, mithyā. The Turiya alone is satya, Atma, that is the adhiṣṭhānam for the three states along with their contents. It is realization of this Turiya as prapanchopashamam, shāntam, advaitam, as one’s true self that constitutes liberating knowledge as per advaita.

Seen in this background, the deity Viṣṇu that Shankara names above is the samaṣṭi jīva of the waking state. He has above him the Hiranyagarbha and Ishwara within samsāra, and of course, the Turiya as the adhiṣṭhānam.

With a view to get a clear idea as to the status of  ‘Virāṭ’, references to this Virāt in the various other bhāṣyas of Shankara are given hereunder, as a sample:

प्रजापतिः विराट् त्रैलोक्यशरीरो ब्रह्मा समष्टिव्यष्टिरूपः संसारमण्डलव्यापी । Tai.up.2.8.4

[This closely corresponds to the Mundaka bhāṣya cited above]

अग्निः सोऽण्डस्यान्तर्विराट् प्रजापतिः प्रथमजः कार्यकरणसङ्घातवाञ्जातः ; ‘स वै शरीरी प्रथमः’ इति………Bṛ.up 1.2.2

स च पुरुषविधः पुरुषप्रकारः शिरःपाण्यादिलक्षणो विराट् ; स एव प्रथमः सम्भूतोऽनुवीक्ष्यान्वालोचनं कृत्वा — ‘कोऽहं किंलक्षणो वास्मि’ इति, नान्यद्वस्त्वन्तरम् , आत्मनः प्राणपिण्डात्मकात्कार्यकरणरूपात् , नापश्यत् न ददर्श । केवलं त्वात्मानमेव सर्वात्मानमपश्यत् । तथा पूर्वजन्मश्रौतविज्ञानसंस्कृतः ‘सोऽहं प्रजापतिः, सर्वात्माहमस्मि’ इत्यग्रे व्याहरत् व्याहृतवान् । Bṛ.Up.1.4.1  This virāṭ is of the form of a human, with head, hands, etc.and is the first to be born. He asked himself ‘who am I, what is my nature’? etc. He is also endowed with his knowledge of the Veda, acquired in his earlier birth in the form of ‘I am prajāpati and the self-of-all’ as he would say later.

न क्षीरस्य सर्वोपमर्देन दधिभावापत्तिवद्विराट् सर्वोपमर्देनैतावानास ; किं तर्हि ? आत्मना व्यवस्थितस्यैव विराजः सत्यसङ्कल्पत्वादात्मव्यतिरिक्तं स्त्रीपुंसपरिष्वक्तपरिमाणं शरीरान्तरं बभूव । स एव च विराट् तथाभूतः — ‘स हैतावानास’ इति सामानाधिकरण्यात् ।  Bṛ.up.1.4.3  This virāt alone divided himself into man and woman.

तस्यैव बाह्यः पिण्ड एकः साधारणः — विराट् वैश्वानरः आत्मा पुरुषविधः प्रजापतिः कः हिरण्यगर्भः — इत्यादिभिः पिण्डप्रधानैः शब्दैराख्यायते सूर्यादिप्रविभक्तकरणः । Bṛ.up.2.1 introduction.

तत्र प्रथमान्तः शिष्यः पञ्चम्यन्त आचार्यः ; परमेष्ठी विराट् ; ब्रह्मणो हिरण्यगर्भात् ; ततः परम् आचार्यपरम्परा नास्ति । Bṛ.up. 2.6.3 [Here it is clear that virāt is the disciple of Brahmā who is Hiranyagarbha. This also is in accordance with the Mundaka bhashyam cited above.]

देवलोकेषु देवलोकाः, इन्द्रलोकेषु इन्द्रलोकाः, विराट्शरीरारम्भकेषु भूतेषु प्रजापतिलोकेषु प्रजापतिलोकाः, ब्रह्मलोकेषु ब्रह्मलोका नाम — अण्डारम्भकाणि भूतानि…… Bṛ.up.3.6.1 Here too virāṭ  (prajāpati) is differentiated from Brahmā.

प्रजापतिः देवान् , स विराट् प्रजापतिः देवानसृजत ; यस्मात् सर्वमेवं क्रमेण सत्याद्ब्रह्मणो जातम्   ,Bṛ.Up.5.5.1 Here again Virāṭ, prajāpati, is shown as the progenitor of gods.

तदेतत्प्रत्यस्तमितसर्वोपाधिविशेषं सत् निरञ्जनं निर्मलं निष्क्रियं शान्तम् एकम् अद्वयं ‘नेति नेति’ (बृ. उ. ३ । ९ । २६) इति सर्वविशेषापोहसंवेद्यं सर्वशब्दप्रत्ययागोचरं तदत्यन्तविशुद्धप्रज्ञोपाधिसम्बन्धेन सर्वज्ञमीश्वरं सर्वसाधारणाव्याकृतजगद्बीजप्रवर्तकं नियन्तृत्वादन्तर्यामिसंज्ञं भवति । तदेव व्याकृतजगद्बीजभूतबुद्ध्यात्माभिमानलक्षणं हिरण्यगर्भसंज्ञं भवति । तदेव अन्तरण्डोद्भूतप्रथमशरीरोपाधिमत् विराट्प्रजापतिसंज्ञं भवति । तदुद्भूताग्न्याद्युपाधिमत् देवतासंज्ञं भवति । तथा विशेषशरीरोपाधिष्वपि ब्रह्मादिस्तम्बपर्यन्तेषु तत्तन्नामरूपलाभो ब्रह्मणः । Aitareya Up. bhāṣyam 3.5.3  This is a very important passage where the distinction across various entities is specified by the bhashyakara.  The highlighted line tallies with the Mundaka passage cited already.

प्रजापतिः विराट् कश्यपो वा, Chā.bhā 2.23.2 Here again, virāṭ is identified with prajāpati, kaśyapa. [reminds one of the kaśyapa prajāpati of the Bhāgavatam]

अधुनाग्निं स्तौति — अनन्तलोकाप्तिं स्वर्गलोकफलप्राप्तिसाधनमित्येतत् , अथो अपि प्रतिष्ठाम् आश्रयं जगतो विराट्स्वरूपेण, तम् एतम् अग्निं मयोच्यमानं विद्धि विजानीहि त्वं निहितं स्थितं गुहायाम् । Kaṭhopaniṣat bhāṣyam 1.1.14 Here the fruit of the agnividyā, an upāsana, is stated to be attainment of the position of Virāt.

इष्यते च सर्वोपनिषदां सर्वात्मैक्यप्रतिपादकत्वम् ; ततो युक्तमेवास्य आध्यात्मिकस्य पिण्डात्मनो द्युलोकाद्यङ्गत्वेन विराडात्मनाधिदैविकेनैकत्वमित्यभिप्रेत्य सप्ताङ्गत्ववचनम् । ‘मूर्धा ते व्यपतिष्यत्’ (छा. उ. ५ । १२ । २) इत्यादिलिङ्गदर्शनाच्च । विराजैकत्वमुपलक्षणार्थं हिरण्यगर्भाव्याकृतात्मनोः ।   Mandukya bhāṣya 1.3. Here the explanation of virāṭ corresponds with the Mundaka bhashya/mantra cited already.

We have the Puruṣasūkta declaring: तस्माद्विराडजायत …From him Virāṭ was born…..स जातोऽत्यरिच्यत…He became many after being born…
Sāyaṇāchārya’s commentary for some passages of the Puruṣasūkta:

I am giving the purport of the selected passages.
सर्वप्राणिसमष्टिरूपो ब्रह्माण्डदेहो विराडाख्यः यः पुरुषः सोऽयं सहस्रशीर्षो..[Virāṭ is the samaṣṭi having the body of the brahmāṇḍa  ..तस्मादादिपुरुषाद्विराडजायत ब्रह्माण्डदेह उत्पानः । The virāt is born of the Primordial Puruṣa  विविधं राजन्ते वस्तूनि अत्र इति विराट् । विराजो अधि विराड्देहस्योपरि स्थितमेव देहमधिकरणं कृत्वा पुरुषः तद्देहाभिमानी कश्चित्पुमान् अजायत । A person is born by having identificatin, abhimāna, with the Virāt-body. [That virāṭ is born, created, is admitted by Shankara too in the Mundaka and other bhāṣya-s cited above]    योऽयं सर्ववेदान्तवेद्यः परमात्मा स एव स्वकीयया मायया विराड्देहं ब्रह्माण्डं सृष्ट्वा तत्र जीवरुपेण प्रविश्य ब्रह्माण्डाभिमानी देवतात्मा जीवोऽभवत् । The Paramātman who is knowable through all the Upanishads, he alone, by his māyā, creates a virāt body, that is brahmāṇḍa, and enters that body as a jīva, became the one identifying with the brahmāṇḍa.  एतच्चाथर्वाणिका उत्तरतापनीये स्पष्टमामनन्ति – स वा एष भूतानीन्द्रियाणि विराजं देवताः कोशांश्च सृष्ट्वा प्रविश्यामूढो मूढ इव व्यवहरन्नास्ते माययैव । इति । . This is clearly stated by the Nṛsimha uttara tāpanīya Upaniṣad: He indeed created all these beings – virāt, the devatā-s and the pancha kośā-s and entering them, though himself beyond delusion, appears, out of māyā, doing his actions, as though he is deluded ..तस्य प्रजापतेः योनिं जगत्कारणरूपं वास्तवं स्वरूपं ध्रीराः धैर्यवन्तः योगेन निरुद्धेन्द्रिया महात्मानः जानन्ति । Whoever is an adept in the adhyātma sādhana, knows the true nature of the prajāpat through mind control.वेधसो विधातारः सृष्टिकर्तारः तमेवोपास्य मरीचीनां मरीच्यत्रिप्रमुखाणां महर्षीणां पदं जगदुत्पादकत्वलक्षणमिच्छन्न्ति । ..By meditation they desire to secure the position of creator that is attained by Marīchi, Atri, etc.[This idea is also present in the Shankara bhāṣya-s: that the virāṭ post is attainable by upāsana..यः परमेश्वरो देवेभ्यो देवार्थमातपति सर्वत्र प्रकाशते, देवानां देवत्वसिद्धये तत्तद्धृदयेषु चैतन्यरूपेण प्रविश्याविर्भवति ।  The Parameshvara enters the heart, mind of all the deva-s as consciousness, with a view to make them deva-s and thereby makes himself known to them. [This idea is present in the Panchadashi 10.2:
विष्ण्वाद्युत्तमदेहेषु प्रविष्टो देवताभवत् । मर्त्याद्यधमदेहेषु स्थितो भजति त्यताम् ॥ २ ॥[ 2. Entering the superior bodies like that of Vishnu, He (Brahman) became the deities; and remaining in the inferior bodies like that of men He becomes human, etc. subject to death, etc.]

Here are the points to be noted from the above passages:

Shankara’s specifying Viṣṇu-ananta as the samaṣṭi jīva in the Mundaka bhāṣya cited above as एष देवो विष्णुरनन्तः प्रथमशरीरी त्रैलोक्यदेहोपाधिः finds support in the Kaṭharudropaniṣad.

The Kaṭharudra Upaniṣad, at the beginning itself details the Sannyāsa krama. The ‘Yatidharma sangraha’ on p.19 of the pdf (by Sri Viśveśvara Saraswati, Guru of Sri Madhusūdana Saraswati 15CE) cites from this Upaniṣad:

// यज्ञोपवीतं वेदांश्च सर्वं तद्वर्जयेद्यतिः // [This is the line cited by Shankara in the Br.Up.bhāṣyam stated above] [Only smārta and madhva sannyasins follow the practice of discarding the yajñpavīta and śikhā in sannyāsa).
That the bodies such as  Viṣṇu are entities within creation is brought out by many Upaniṣads such as the Atharvaśirā/śikhā, etc. The Kaṭharudropaniṣad too says explicitly:

अस्यैवानन्दकोशेन स्तम्बान्ता विष्णुपूर्वकाः । भवन्ति सुखिनो नित्यं तारतम्यक्रमेण तु ॥ २९॥

[All (jīva-s) up to the tiniest creature, starting from Viṣṇu (instead of Brahmā) onward, always derive joy from this ānanda kośa on a relative scale depending on their status.] In the Taittiriya we have the ānanda tāratamya from the human up to Brahmā. The ānanda derived by these entities are finite and Brahman-Ānanda alone is infinite.

From the Panchadashi 10.1:

परमात्माऽद्वयानन्दपूर्णः पूर्वं स्वमायया । स्वयमेव जगद्भूत्वा प्राविशज्जीवरूपतः ॥ १ ॥

1. Before the projection of the world the Supreme Self, the secondless, all-bliss and ever complete, alone existed. Through His Maya He became the world and entered into it as the Jiva, the individual Self.

The ‘entering’ the bodies is only ‘after’ creation: तत्सृष्ट्वा तदेवानुप्राविशत् of the Taittiriya Upanishad. In this sequence, the Panchadashi says:

विष्ण्वाद्युत्तमदेहेषु प्रविष्टो देवताभवत् । मर्त्याद्यधमदेहेषु स्थितो भजति मर्त्यताम् ॥ २ ॥

2. Entering the superior bodies like that of Vishnu, He became the deities; and remaining in the inferior bodies like that of men He experiences attributes of a human, like death.

The status of Virāt is a result of a jīva-s’ karma/upāsana in an earlier life. Shankara’s bhāṣyas from other upaniṣads cited above brings out this fact. In fact a purāṇa too says that the states of viṣṇutva, etc. are attainable by karma. Also the Sāyana commentary to the Puruṣasūkta too states this. Hiraṇyagarbha and Virāt are sometimes overlapped, as can be seen in the passages cited above. This perhaps could be because the source texts like śruti and smrti could themselves be having such overlaps. In any case, both these entities Hiranyagarbha and Virāṭ are born at the beginning of creation and are posts attainable through karma-upāsana and hence are finite and do not survive mahāpralaya. The Mundaka bhāṣya is perhaps the only place where Shankara has identified Viṣṇu as the virāt, trailokyaśarīri (someone who has a śarīra is called śarīri).  Of course, just as other jīva-s like humans and animals, the prathamaśarīra/prathamaja (first born) are all in truth Nirguna Brahman alone, appearing as these due to those specific upādhi-s. The difference in such upādhi-s is attributed to difference in avidyā-kāma-karma. Anandagiri specifying at that juncture that this Viṣṇu-virāt is the self of the panchabhūta-s is also reasoned, by himself, that the virāt is that samaṣṭi jīva who has abhimāna, identification, with the totality of the gross bodies of all the jīva-s in creation. The difference between Virāt and Hiranyagarbha is that the latter is also a samaṣṭi jīva but has the abhimāna in all the subtle bodies, sūkśma śarīra (prāṇa-manas), of all the jīva-s. To reiterate, the Turiya alone is ever free of all upādhis, abhimāna, etc. and hence to be realized as oneself for liberation. And that Turiya in Advaita is nirguṇa Brahman. All deities, including Viṣṇu, are anātmā, abrahma, as stated by Shankara in the Kenopaniṣad 1.5 bhāṣya. Thus, the deity Viṣṇu is not the Parabrahman in Advaita. As stated by Shankara in the Mundaka bhāṣya, the purpose of detailing creation, with all the components, is with a view to help comprehend the Upanishadic Brahman which is Nirguṇam. The scheme is: this Nirguna Brahman alone is shown as taking so many forms such as the various jivas, the inert objects, the bhoga, etc. This is the adhyāropa-apavāda krama. Seeing the multifarious variety, the aspirant is able to appreciate that there is a cause for this huge vast expansive creation. Once the astitiva of the cause is grasped, the creation is collapsed into the Nirguna Brahman as apavāda.

Om Tat Sat

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