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Verse 17 (of the 87th chapter)


dRtaya iva Svasanty-asubRto yadi te'nuvidhA

mahad-aham-Adayo'NDam-asRjan-yad-anugrahataH /
purusha-vidho'nvayo'tra caramo'nnamayAdishu yaH
sad'asataH paraM tvam-atha yad-esh-vavaSesham-RtaM/


People live (justify their existence) only if they follow your commandments or else they simply breathe like bellows. You are That by Whose Grace mahat-tattvaand aham-kAra have brought into being this egg-like universe; it is you who animate the (five) sheaths (koSas)  assuming the shape of those sheaths  in sequence  and permeating them  although You are the Ultimate substance underlying everything, beyond the gross as well as the subtle, that which remains as the Reality. 

anuvidhAH:-  followers, devotees.
eshu  (bAdhyamAneshu api) avaSeshaM :- that remains even after these physical, etc. sheaths have disappeared.
anvayaM anu + ayaM :  according to this one.;  loosely, 'sequence'.


Reader, be ready now for something very profound.  Recall that the vedas are now talking (to you) in person. The vedas contain the most profound ideas in themselves. So when pouring out the praise on the Absolute, they pull out from their armoury 'without mercy'! This verse pulls out a beautiful analysis from the taittirIya-Upanishad, known as the panca-koSa analysis. 

The Upanishad mentions  the physical sheath first. And then it says there is a vital sheath within. Within that again there is the mental sheath; again, the intellectual sheath within; and finally within that, the sheath of bliss. All these five sheaths are permeated by brahman.  But according to the Upanishad the reality is not so simple as we have presented it just now.  In its characteristic stately style the Upanishadic presentation goes as follows.

The brahman which is permeated in everything can be 'visualised' in the purusha, namely our own person. First we have the physical body. We seem to understand it well.  This physical body is made up of the food that we consume.  What we see as this body is the corporeal self (anna-maya koSa). Within this corporeal self there is a subtler self called the vital self (prANa-maya koSa). It  (the vital self) fills the corporeal self like heat filling a metal piece put in the fire. So the vital self (or sheath, koSa) permeates the corporeal self totally. The upanishad uses the word 'purusha' for each of these 'selves'.  So the vital purusha fills up the corporeal purusha. Within the vital 'purusha' there is the manomaya purusha (the mental self). Within the latter one there is the vijnAna-maya purusha (the intellectual self). And within the vijnAnana-maya there is the Ananda-maya purusha (the blissful self).  The word 'within' here  in each case is an understatement, a failure of words. In each case the succeeding sheath fills up the preceding one. Each 'purusha' follows the preceding one, is more subtle than the preceding one, and fills up the preceding one. This  subtle sequencing is referred to by the terminology 'anvayaM purusha-vidhaH' repeatedly by the Upanishad. In each case the particular purusha is imagined to be a bird with wings, head, tail, etc. We shall not get into  these details here. 

In a 'pseudo-scientific' way we may understand the whole sequencing as follows. In every cell of the body it is the life-force that is functioning. This life-force in every cell sends responses to the mind from every sensation it receives. So the mind is permeating the life-force in every cell. But there is an agent of the mind, who cognizes that it is 'I' and that it is the owner of all these sensations and responses. That is the vijnAna-maya self.  He is the agent and experiencer.  He is proximate, in a metaphorical sense, to the Atman, the pure Spirit within.  But it is not itself the pure Spirit. It has the notion of agency. Stripped of this notion of agency it is only the experiencer of joy. That is the bliss-self (the Ananda-maya koSa).  Even this is not the Atman. The Upanishad says that the Atman is the support, base, substratum of even this Ananda-maya-koSa. 

Coming back to our present verse  of Sruti-gItA, we notice that the same words 'purusha-vidhaH anvayaH' are used as in the Upanishad. Why not? It is the Upanishads (i.e., the vedas) that are speaking! So the vedas are saying here that You, the Absolute, who are the final  (carama) support  for the sheaths of Self, starting from the physical self, going all the way upto the bliss-self, each succeeding one having the same extent of permeation as the preceding one -- as described in the panca-koSa analysis.


Verse No.18:  (of 87th chapter)

udaram-upAsate ya Rshi-vartmasu kUrpa-dRSaH
parisara-paddhatiM hRdayam-AruNayo daharaM /
tata udagAd-ananta tava dhAma SiraH paramaM 
punar-iha yat-sametya na patanti kRtAnta-mukhe //



Out of the many paths chalked out by the Seers,  men of gross vision contemplate  on (the spiritual center) in the abdomen, while the sons of the sage Aruna contemplate on the cavity of the heart, the organ 

from which the veins and arteries branch out. Thence proceeds upwards , O infinite Lord, the artery leading to the head (in fact, to You). Reaching this path men do not fall again into the jaws of Death here. 

kUrpa-dRSaH  : Those whose vision is clouded by the quality of rajas and therefore cannot see the subtleties of the Spirit
kUrpa also means 'subtle' . If we take this meaning then kUrpa-dRSaH will mean those who have a subtle vision; they start with meditation on the maNipUraka located on the sushumna-nADi opposite the navel  and rise up. 
parisara-paddhatim  :  that which is the royal route for the nADis which are spread in all quarters.

The meditation referred to is the standard path of rAja-yoga  which makes the kundalinI rise through the six cakras and finally reach the sahasrAra cakra in the head.  It is the meditation on the Absolute attributeless brahman. 

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