35.3 THE LIGHT OF ALL LIGHTS - 3
(Summary of Br. U. (4.3.6. 4.3.7. etc.) Bhashya by Adi Shankara)
On the word ‘prANeshhu’ in 4.3.7 of Br.U. This does not mean ‘among the prANas’ or ‘in the prANas’. According to Shankaracharya the grammar here is ‘sAmIpya-saptamI’. That is, it is the closeness that is implied, not location. The Atman is ‘intimately close’ to all the prANas and here again ‘prANas’ include all the sense organs, the mind, and of course the five prAnas. That is why in B.G. 13-22, the word ‘upa-drashhTA’ is used, ‘upa’ meaning intimately near. A corollary of this interpretation is given by Shankara himself: namely, since the Atman is declared to be ‘close to’ all the organs and the mind and the prANas, none of these is the Atman ! Also the word ‘hRdi’ (obtaining in the mind) shows that Atman is different from the mind!
On the word ‘vijnAna-mayaH’. This word indicates the jIvAtmA. Cit (the ParamAtman) which is the Absolute Reality, (which is not available for vyavahAra ) obtains in our phenomenal (= empirical) level as Cid-AbhAsa (the jIvAtmA) which is so intimately associated with our vijnAna (buddhi) that it may be called ‘vijnAna-mayaH’. The chidAbhAsa is so inseparably appearing as one with the buddhi. This oneness is because the reflection and the reflecting medium are inseparable. ‘saH samAnaH san …’ means, this jIvAtmA now has obtained an identity with the buddhi (buddhi-tAdAtmyam ApannaH san). So for all practical purposes, buddhi is jIvAtma, cidAbhAsa is jIvAtmA, or buddhi plus chidAbhAsa is jIvAtmA.
This is the reason that we are often tempted to say that caitanyam is in us but is not there in the table before us. Whereas Caitanyam is all-pervading, why do we say that Caitanyam is not there in the table? Why do we think it is only in the minds of living beings? That is because of the above ‘tAdAtmyaM’ (oneness) of CidAbhAsa with our mind-buddhi and our mistaking that cidAbhAsa is nothing but cit. This oneness formulates a location for cidAbhAsa and we wrongly think that cit also has a location, namely, in our mind! Wherever there is ‘sat’ there is ‘cit’ also. The table cannot exist without the ‘cit’. But the difference between the table and a living being is that there is no ‘cidAbhAsa’ in the table, whereas it is there in every living being. Thus caitanyam (The Absolute) is unlocated whereas the reflected consciousness is located. So the Upanishat says ‘sa samAnaH san’, meaning, the original cit, which is now in the form of cidAbhAsa, becomes one with the buddhi and moves between the two worlds (‘ubhau lokau anusamcarati’). The two worlds can also be interpreted as the world of the waking state and the world of the svapna state.
On the very important statement ‘dhyAyatIva, lelAyatIva’ (in 4.3.7. Br.U.) This statement is quoted by Shankaracarya hundreds of times in his writings to show that AtmA is akartA (actionless). 'There is no other direct statement in the Upanishads to this effect, though we have many in the Gita' says Swami Paramarthananda. So wherever Actionlessness for the Atman has to be established, Shankara quotes this. ‘dhyAyati’ here means ‘jAnAti’, ‘knows, cognises’. ‘LelAyati’ here means ‘karoti’, ‘does action’ though the word’s primary meaning is ‘moves’ ‘wavers’. All our actions can be classified into two kinds, namely, the knowing function and the doing function. The first one, supported by the antaH-karaNa (Inner organ, the mind), is that of the jnAnendriyas and the second one, supported by the prANas, is that of the karmendriyas. Both actions are ‘MithyA’ says the Upanishat. That is the purport of the two words ‘iva’ ‘iva’, meaning, ‘as though as’. The ParmAtmA does neither the knowing function nor the doing function. It is its reflection in the buddhi which is doing all these. The false identification of cidAbhAsa with buddhi makes it appear as if the ParamAtmA is doing everything. The shlokas of B.G. 5 -8, 9 encompass all the functions of both jnAnendriyas and karmendriyas.