Mandukya Upanishad and Creation (Part-III)

Mandukya Upanishad and Karika is studied in four distinct chapters. We have covered the first chapter in last couple of posts. Second chapter is named as वैतथ्य प्रकरण, which means chapter on illusion. In this very conceptual chapter, the illusoriness of dvaita is explained by logic. Karika ventures to establish it through pure reason and succeeds in doing so. It systematically takes up the topic and establishes first that the dream world is unreal and illusory because of the following:-

  • Paucity of space within the waker
  • Shortness of time
  • Dream objects are nowhere to be seen

It thereafter states the dream state to be unreal based on the criterion of having a definite time of origin and dissolution. That which does not exist before time α and which ceases to exist after time α+λ, cannot be said to exist during the interval of time λ. Thus, dream world is unreal though it appears as real based on the sole criterion of temporality. To put it simply, the logic of Vedanta holds temporality as equivalent of unreality. Further, waking state and dream state are identical. No difference can be figured out in their essential nature. They are same based on the definition of unreality, visibleness and any other parameter which can be thought of.

Once it is established that waking state and dream state are identical and are mere imaginations, then the next question arises as to who is the imaginer. The answer in Karika indicates that Atma does so. That sounds incongruous. However, the commentary by Shankaracharya explains that the word Atma is used in the sense of jiva. It says that Atma imagines through its own Maya. It imagines diversity in itself like snake in rope. Then Shankara says that ईश्वर आत्मा इति अर्थ:. This statement makes it abundantly clear that Karika is talking about Prajna while talking about Atma.

Very clearly Shankara says that jiva is imagined in Shuddha Atma (Turiya). This जीव कल्पना is सर्व कल्पना मूलम्. But why this जीव कल्पना is there at the first place? Just as rope is regarded as snake, stick, stream of water etc in dim light,similarly because of non-apprehension of आत्मा, it is imagined as Jiva, prana etc. It is, therefore, very clear that because of non-apprehension of Turiya, jiva and jagat are imagined.

Origin and dissolution can only be of सत् and never for असत् because असत् is non-existent like the horn of hare. However, सत् too cannot have origin and dissolution because it is always there. Therefore, nothing is ever born or destroyed.

All dvaita is imagined in Turiya like snake in a rope. Dvaita is merely the imagination of mind. This is adhyas and it happens because of avidya.

 

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