23. Not the two others, on account of distinction and statement of difference.
The section distinguishes the indestructible being, which is the source of all, &c., from the Pradhâna as well as the individual soul, in so far, namely, as it undertakes to prove
that by the cognition of one thing everything is known; and it moreover, in passages such as 'higher than the high Indestructible,' explicitly states the difference of the indestructible being from those other two.--The text first relates that Brahmâ told the knowledge of Brahman, which is the foundation of the knowledge of all, to his eldest son Atharvan: this introduces the knowledge of Brahman as the topic of the section. Then, the text proceeds, in order to obtain this knowledge of Brahman, which had been handed down through a succession of teachers to Angiras, Saunaka approached Angiras respectfully and asked him: 'What is that through which, if known, all this is known?' i.e. since all knowledge is founded on the knowledge of Brahman, he enquires after the nature of Brahman. Angiras replies that he who wishes to attain Brahman must acquire two kinds of knowledge, both of them having Brahman for their object: an indirect one which springs from the study of the sâstras, viz. the Veda, Sikshâ, Kalpa, and so on, and a direct one which springs from concentrated meditation (yoga). The latter kind of knowledge is the means of obtaining Brahman, and it is of the nature of devout meditation (bhakti), as characterised in the text 'He whom the Self chooses, by him the Self can be gained' (III, 2, 3). The means again towards this kind of knowledge is such knowledge as is gained from sacred tradition, assisted by abstention and the other six auxiliary means (sec above, p. 17); in agreement with the text, 'Him the Brahmattas seek to know by the study of the Veda, by sacrifice, by gifts, by penance, by fasting' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 22).--Thus the Reverend Parâsara also says, 'The cause of attaining him is knowledge and work, and knowledge is twofold, according as it is based on sacred tradition or springs from discrimination.' The Mundaka-tcxt refers to the inferior kind of knowledge in the passage 'the lower knowledge is the Rig-veda,' &c., up to 'and the dharma- sâstras'; this knowledge is the means towards the intuition of Brahman; while the higher kind of knowledge, which is called 'upâsanâ,' has the character of devout meditation (bhakti), and consists in direct intuition of Brahman, is
referred to in the clause 'the higher knowledge is that by which the Indestructible is apprehended.' The text next following, 'That which is invisible, &c., then sets forth the nature of the highest Brahman, which is the object of the two kinds of knowledge previously described. After this the passage 'As the spider sends forth and draws in its thread' declares that from that indestructible highest Brahman, as characterised before, there originates the whole universe of things, sentient and non-sentient. The next soka (tapasâ kîyate, &c.) states particulars about this origination of the universe from Brahman. 'Brahman swells through brooding'; through brooding, i.e. thought--in agreement with a later text, 'brooding consists of thought'--Brahman swells, i.e. through thought in the form of an intention, viz. 'may I become many,' Brahman becomes ready for creation. From it there springs first 'anna,' i.e. that which is the object of fruition on the part of all enjoying agents, viz. the non-evolved subtle principles of all elements. From this 'anna' there spring successively breath, mind, and all other effected things up to work, which is the means of producing reward in the form of the heavenly world, and Release. The last sloka of the first chapter thereupon first states the qualities, such as omniscience and so on, which capacitate the highest Brahman for creation, and then declares that from the indestructible highest Brahman there springs the effected (kârya) Brahman, distinguished by name and form, and comprising all enjoying subjects and objects of enjoyment.--The first sloka of the second chapter declares first that the highest Brahman is absolutely real ('That is true'), and then admonishes those who desire to reach the indestructible highest Self, which possesses all the blessed qualities stated before and exists through itself, to turn away from other rewards and to perform all those sacrificial works depending on the three sacred fires which were seen and revealed by poets in the four Vedas and are incumbent on men according to caste and âsrama. The section 'this is your path' (I, 2, 1) up to 'this is the holy Brahma-world gained by your good works' (I, 2, 6) next states the particular mode
of performing those works, and declares that an omission of one of the successive works enjoined in Druti and Smriti involves fruitlessness of the works actually performed, and that something not performed in the proper way is as good as not performed at all. Stanzas 7 and ff. ('But frail in truth are those boats') declare that those who perform this lower class of works have to return again and again into the Samsâra, because they aim at worldly results and are deficient in true knowledge. Stanza 8 ('but those who practise penance and faith') then proclaims that works performed by a man possessing true knowledge, and hence not aiming at worldly rewards, result in the attainment of Brahman; and stanzas 12 a, 13 ('having examined all these worlds') enjoin knowledge, strengthened by due works, on the part of a man who has turned away from mere works, as the means of reaching Brahman; and due recourse to a teacher on the part of him who is desirous of such knowledge.--The first chapter of the second section of the Upanishad (II, 1)then clearly teaches how the imperishable highest Brahman, i.e. the highest Self--as constituting the Self of all things and having all things for its body--has all things for its outward form and emits all things from itself. The remainder of the Upanishad ('Manifest, near,' &c.) teaches how this highest Brahman, which is imperishable and higher than the soul, which itself is higher than the Unevolved; which dwells in the highest Heaven; and which is of the nature of supreme bliss, is to be meditated upon as within the hollow of the heart; how this meditation has the character of devout faith (bhakti); and how the devotee, freeing himself from Nescience, obtains for his reward intuition of Brahman, which renders him like Brahman.
It thus clearly appears that 'on account of distinction and statement of difference' the Upanishad does not treat of the Pradhâna and the soul. For that the highest Brahman is different from those two is declared in passages such as 'That heavenly Person is without body; he is both without and within, not produced, without breath and without mind, pure, higher than what is higher than the
[paragraph continues] Imperishable' (II, 1, 2); for the last words mean 'that imperishable highest Self possessing invisibility and similar qualities, which is higher than the aggregate of individual souls, which itself is higher than the non-evolved subtle elements.' The term 'akshara' (imperishable) is to be etymologically explained either as that which pervades (asnute) or that which does not pass away (a-ksharati), and is on either of these explanations applicable to the highest Self, either because that Self pervades all its effects or because it is like the so-called Mahat (which is also called akshara), free from all passing away or decaying.--Here terminates the adhikarana of 'invisibility and so on.'