Faith

Special kind of union

In Chandogya Upanishad, Uddalaka explains to his son Svetaketu, that Brahman is the cause for tejas, water and food. He then explains that all sentient beings too have Brahman as their cause. When a jivatma is in the state of deep sleep (sushupti), he is free of all the defects of nama, roopa, raga, dwesha and all other limiting factors. He loses dharmabhuta jnana (attributive consciousness) and is free from identities such as manushya, deva and so on, explained M.K. Srinivasan, in a discourse.

In short, the jivatma is shorn of identity and also of all limitations he is subject to in the waking state. The jivatma unites with the Paramatma in the state of sushupti.

In the state of sushupti, the mind flies in all directions, but finds no resting place, and finally settles in mukhyaprana or vital airs. An analogy is used in the Chandogya Upanishad to explain this. If a bird is tied with a string, that is held by a hunter and the bird attempts to fly in different directions, it cannot find a resting place other than the hunter’s hand. Likewise is the mind tied to prana. During deep sleep, the mind and indriyas cease to function and attain union with prana. The prana unites with jiva united with subtle elements, and they unite with Paramatma. So this is a special kind of union, and does not signify merger of jivatma into Paramatma. They do not attain oneness. They remain differentiated.

What the Upanishad means is that all jivatmas constitute the body of Brahman, which is the root cause of the Universe.

To substantiate this, the Upanishad then states everything in reverse order too. The cause of the body is food, the cause of which is water, the cause of which is tejas, the cause of which is Brahman. Thus Brahman is the originating point for everything.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 4:30:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/faith-column-mk-srinivasans-discourse-on-chandogya-upanishad/article17763329.ece

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