Author Topic: Analysis of meaning of 'ataH' word - ataH shabda vichaaraH-  (Read 534 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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Analysis of meaning of 'ataH' word - ataH shabda vichaaraH-
« on: February 27, 2015, 12:51:17 PM »
Analysis of meaning of 'ataH' word - ataH shabda vichaaraH-

      The literal meaning of the second word 'ataH' is 'therefore'. We know that therefore always indicates a reason. Thus 'ataH' or therefore should be preceded by some reason for Brahman inquiry to be conducted. Vyaasaachaarya does not mention the reason since it is suutram where he has to be brief.

      Hence we have to supply the reason or reasons and once reason is provided we can say therefore Brahman inquiry should be done. Shankaracharya gives two reasons, one is the negation of alternates and the second is to ascertain the path of inquiry. The first reason is karma cannot give moksha and puurvamiimaa.nsa deals mostly with karma. The second is brahmaj~naanam alone gives moksha. Therefore Brahman inquiry should be done.

      Let us take each reason in detail. First, karma cannot give moksha. Why is it so? This aspect has been discussed in the last sections. It is established through shruti, yukti (logic) and anubhava (experience) pramaaNa. The well-known shruti statement is:

      na karmaNaa na prajyayaa dhanena tyaagena eke amR^itatvam aanashuH| (kaivalya upanishhat-I-3)
      Neither by action, nor by progeny nor by wealth but by renunciation alone the immortality can be obtained. Thus by karma moksha cannot be attained. Shankara gives another shruti's statement taken from Ch. U. (VIII:i:6)
      "... yatheha karma-jitaH lokaH kshiiyate evam eva amutra puNya-jitaH lokaH kshiiyate |"
      just as karmaphalam belonging to this world is anityam or impermanent, karma phalam belonging to swargaadi loka-s, heavens etc., are also are impermanent.

      Hence-iha karma phalam anityam, paraloka karma phalam anityam, sarvam karma phalam anityam - ataH nityamokshaH karmaphalam na bhavati |- The results of actions here in this life are impermanent, the results of actions belonging to next world are impermanent and results of all actions are impermanent, hence moksha which is permanent and eternal cannot be the result of any action, here and hereafter.

      Action being finite can only give finite result and series of finite actions can give only a series of finite results and sum of series of finite results can only be finite but not infinite. This statement is mathematically precise. Hence action cannot give eternal infinite result. This is shruti pramaaNa, which is also logical.

      Next yukti pramaaNa. Since karma itself anitya or impermanent, the anitya karma can only produce anitya phalam or impermanent result. As the cause so is the effect - karmaNaH anityatvaat karmaphalasyaapi anityatvam-. Why karma anityam? It is -anityam-, impermanent because -kaaraka janyatvaat- - karma is born out of ephemeral ingredients; the perishable man, the perishable priest, the perishable materials, the perishable fire or agni. Hence anitya kaaraka janyatvaat kriyaa api anityaa bhavati|. Since ephemeral impermanent is the cause the result is also ephemeral and impermanent and cannot give permanent eternal liberation.

      Next anubhava pramaaNa. Our experience also shows that whatever is produced out of work is also anityam. Civilization arose out of efforts but they all disappeared into oblivion. Kings came, dynasties grew, empires were built but they all got destroyed. None remained eternal. Thus from shruti, yukti and anubhava, one can prove that karma does not give permanent eternal happiness, moksha that one is seeking in all pursuits.

      The second reason is brahmaj~naanam alone gives moksha. Again we prove this using shruti pramaaNam, yukti pramaaNam and anubhava pramaaNam.

      Using shruti pramaaNam: Shankara quotes from tittiriiya upanishhat (II-i-1) - brahmavit aapnoti param| - knower of Brahman gains the supreme. From mundaka upanishhat (III-ii-9)- sa yo ha vai tat paramam brahmaveda brahmaiva bhavati - knower of Brahman becomes Brahman. From purusha suuktam: tamevam vidvaan amR^ita iha bhavati| naanyaH panthaa ayanaaya vidyate| Knowing Him only immortality can be obtained even in this life. There is no other path for liberation.

      From Kaivalya upanishhat-I:10: sarva bhuutastham aatmaana.n sarva bhuutaani ca aatmani | sampashyan brahma paramam yaati na anyena hetunaa || By knowledge of oneself alone in all beings and all beings in oneself alone, one attains the supreme Brahman, not by any other means. (a somewhat similar statement occurs in Bhagavad-Gita.6-29)

      Thus there are several shruti pramaaNa.

      Now yukti pramaaNa. Moksha means sa.nsaara nivR^itti - liberation means freedom from sa.nsaara. Freedom from sa.nsaara can only come through knowledge only because sa.nsaara is adhyastam, is due to an error (Please refer to Shankara's discussion of adhyaasa - adhyaasa bhaashhya). sa.nsaara will go only by knowledge, because it is adhyaasa or superimposition, like rope-snake case'. How do we destroy the superimposed snake or false snake? We cannot destroy using a stick or GaruDa mantra or Irula tribes men (who catch snakes). It can only be eliminated only by one method that is by j~naana maatrena -by knowledge alone since it is a superimposition or error. Similarly the sa.nsaara, as it is also due an error or adhyaasa. How do we say that sa.nsaara is adhyaasa? Shankarachaarya says you have to go back and study Ch. III again as this was discussed exhaustively there. He says only to explain this word 'ataH' - the whole adhyaasa bhaashhya was written.

      Next anubhava [or experience] pramaaNa. Any superimposed problem goes only by knowledge as we see in the case of rope-snake, mirage water. This is our experience - rajju-sarpa janya bhaya kampaadikam rajju j~naanena nashyati |-

      A person who was frightened out of rope-snake has got fear, shivering, sweat, thus suffering from sa.nsaara caused by the rope-snake. He gets out of these fears and the associated sa.nsaara once he learns that it is only a rope. Similarly the problems in the dream are superimpositions and we find all the dream sa.nsaara goes once awakened to the knowledge of reality. -yat saakshat kurute prabodha samaye |- Thus by knowledge alone many of the superimposition problems go. After listening to this, one fellow asked - sir, superimposed snake will go by knowledge gained by shedding the light, but if it is a real snake it will not go. Similarly the superimposed sa.nsaara can go by Vedanta knowledge but if there is a real sa.nsaara, it will not go ! (This is one of the arguments of the Dwaitins since for them experience is real and sa.nsaara is an intense experience). The answer is in the case of snake there is a possibility of real snake and a false snake but in the case of sa.nsaara there is only a false sa.nsaara and no real sa.nsaara - for this read Shankara's answer for puurvapakshi's arguments in Ch. III. There is no real sa.nsaara at all. The absolute reality is one and that is Brahman - ekam eva advitiiyam, one without second. Hence any second, including sa.nsaara can only be an adhyaasa or error. Hence sa.nsaara cannot be real.

      na nirodhaH na cha utpattiH na baddhaH na cha saadhakaH |
      na mumukshuH na vai muktaH iti eshhaa paramaarthataa || [Mandukya-Karika II:32]
      In reality there is neither obstruction for liberation, nor birth, nor bondage, nor a seeker of moksha, none liberated - Just the supreme transcendental truth.

      Thus by shruti, yukti and anubhava pramaaNa we have established that only by knowledge alone one can gain moksha or freedom from limitations. By the shruti, yukti and anubhava pramaaNa we have also established that karma cannot give moksha - 'ataH', therefore, -brahma jij~naasaa kartavyaa-, the inquiry into the nature of Brahman should be done. Thus, the word -ataH- directly signifies -therefore- implying the reasons for the study of Vedanta and indirectly signifies the -prayojanam- or purpose of the study as required in the anubandha chatushhTayam.

      With this the -ataH shabda vichaara- or the inquiry into the meaning of the word -ataH- is completed.