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The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

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CHAPTER II

Fifth Brahmana: Madhu-Vidya – The Honey Doctrine (Continued)

  1. ayaṁ dharmaḥ sarveṣām bhῡtānām madhu; asya dharmasya sarvāṇi bhῡtāni madhu; yaś cāyam asmin dharme, tejomayo'mṛtamayaḥ puruṣaḥ, yaś cāyam adhyātmaṁ dhārmas tejōmayo'mṛtamayaḥ puruṣaḥ, ayam eva sa yo'yam ātmā, idam amṛtam, idam brahma, idaṁ sarvam.

The law that operates outside is the law of the cosmos. There are no two laws – God's law and man's law; universal law and individual law. No such thing is there. Such thing as 'my law' or 'your law' does not exist. There is only one law operating everywhere, in all creation, visible or invisible, in all realms of being. The same law is there for the celestials, the humans and the subhuman creatures. Everyone is controlled by a single principle of ordinance. That is called Dharma. It operates as gravitation in the physical level; it operates as love in the psychological level; it operates as chemicals in the chemical level and it operates as integration of thought in our mental level, the level of cognition and thinking. It ultimately operates as the connecting link between the subject and the object, on account of which there is knowledge of anything at all. That is called Dharma. Dharma is an integrating force of anything that is even apparently in disparity. Anything that is disconnected, apparently isolated, not visibly connected, is actually connected, and that connecting principle is called Dharma. And Dharma becomes an integrating principle because of the presence of the Ātman that is behind it. There is no such thing as Dharma independent of the operation of the Ātman. What you call Dharma or law is the Ātman working. Its own law is its Being; its Being is its law; they are not two different things.

  1. idaṁ satyam sarveṣām bhῡtānām madhu; asya satyasya sarvāṇi bhῡtāni madhu; yaś cāyam asmin satye tejomayo'mṛtamayaḥ puruṣaḥ, yaś cāyam adhyātmaṁ sātyas tejōmayo'mṛtamayaḥ puruṣaḥ, ayam eva sa yo'yam ātmā, idam amṛtam, idam brahma, idaṁ sarvam.

What you call truth is one. There cannot be two truths, three truths, four truths, five truths, etc. There is only one truth – satyameva jayate. The truth that succeeds is that correlative, integrating principle, Satya, which is, again, a manifestation of the Ātman. Ātman is truth, and Ātman is Dharma. So, Satya and Dharma are identified as it was mentioned earlier in a preceding passage.

  1. idaṁ mānuṣaṁ sarveṣām bhῡtānām madhu; asya mānuṣasya sarvāṇi bhῡtāni madhu; yaś cāyam asmin mānuṣe tejōmayo'mṛtamayaḥ puruṣaḥ, yaś cāyam adhyātmaṁ mānuṣas tejōmayo'mṛtamayaḥ puruṣaḥ, ayam eva sa yo'yam ātmā,  idam amṛtam, idam brahma, idaṁ sarvam.

The humanity that you speak of is also of the same nature. There are two types of humanity which we study in psychology. We find mankind as it is totally construed, and mankind as it is in itself. It is a subject of psychology. Mankind, as it is in itself, is connected with the spatially construed humanity. The psychological mankind and the real mankind – the Jīva-Sriṣti and the Īshvara Sriṣti -are also interconnected, correlated vitally, and this correlation is possible on account of the Self, the Ātman.

  1. ayam ātmā sarveṣām bhῡtānām madhu; asyātmanaḥ sarvāṇi bhῡtāni madhu; yaś cāyam asminn ātmani tejomayo'mṛtamayaḥ puruṣaḥ, yaś cāyam ātmā tejomayo' mṛtamayaḥ puruṣaḥ, ayam eva sa yo'yam ātmā, idam amṛtam, idam brahma, idaṁ sarvam.

Ayam ātmā sarveṣām bhῡtānām madhu: The Cosmic Being is feeding upon the individual and the individual is feeding upon the Cosmic. They are interrelated like the mother and the child and much more correlated with each other in an organic unity which is incapable of understanding. ayam ātmā sarveṣām bhῡtānām madhu; asyātmanaḥ sarvāṇi bhῡtāni madhu, etc.: This Ātman is not your Ātman or my Ātman. The Ātman that we are speaking of is the Ātman of all beings. Rather it is not the Ātman of all beings; but it is the Ātman, which is all beings, ultimately. It is the Lord of all beings.

  1. sa vā ayam ātmā sarveṣām bhῡtānam adhipatiḥ; sarveṣāṁ bhῡtῡnām rājā; tad yathā ratha nābhau ca ratha-nemau cārāḥ sarve samarpitāḥ evam evāsminn ātmani sarvāṇi bhῡtāni sarve devāḥ sarve lokāḥ sarve prāṇāḥ sarva eta ātmanaḥ samarpitāḥ.

Sa vā ayam ātmā sarveṣām bhῡtānam adhipatiḥ: Everything is controlled by the very existence and presence of the Ātman, without any movement on Its part. Sarveṣāṁ bhῡtῡnām rājā: It is the Emperor of all. Tad yathā  ratha nābhau ca ratha-nemau cārāḥ sarve samarpitāḥ: As the spokes are connected to the hub of a wheel, everything visible or invisible is connected to this Ātman. Evam evāsminn ātmani sarvāṇi bhūtāṇi: All beings, whatever can be conceived of or not conceived of – sarve devāḥ, all celestials, gods – sarve lokāḥ – all the worlds that can be conceived of in any level of manifestation – sarve prāṇāḥ – everything that is vital and real – sarva eta ātmanaḥ samarpitāḥ – everything, all beings, whatever is, in any form, are located in this Ātman, in the same way as every spoke is located in the hub of the wheel.

This is the Madhu-Vidyā in quintessence – the contemplation of all things by the contemplation of anything. And, one need not be surprised that this is the secret of success, because success is the materialisation of a cause in a given direction, and the materialisation is possible only if the part moves in the direction of the cause which is not yet manifest as effect. If the object is outside the thought, how can it materialise? So, whatever you think, if the object is thought to be 'outside' your mind, it will not materialise. The contemplation by the mind, of the internal organic connection of the object with its own being, is the way to the success of any thought. Any thought can materialise; anything can become true, provided that which is affirmed or asserted in the mind is contemplated upon as a vital reality, inescapable from the 'being' of the mind; inseparable from the mind.

  1. idaṁ vai tan madhu dadhyaṅṅ ātharvaṇo'śvibhyām uvāca. tad etad ṛṣiḥ paśyann avocat: tad vām narā sanaye daṁsa ugram. āvis kṛṇomi, tanyatur na vṛṣṭim. dadhyaṅṅ ha yan madhv ātharvaṇō vām. aśvasya śīrṣṇā pra yad īm uvāca iti.

Idaṁ vai tan madhu dadhyaṅṅ ātharvaṇo'śvibhyām uvāca. This is the Madhu-Vidyā which Dadhyaṅṅ Rishi, the Sage Ātharvaṇa taught to the Aśvins, the two celestials, who wanted to learn this Vidyā, by placing a horse's head on his trunk. Tad vām narā sanaye daṁsa ugram. āviṣ kṛṇomi, tanyatur na vṛṣtim: The Sage says: "My dear children, you have performed a terrific feat in wanting to know this wisdom from me. Verily, you are really very virile. You have performed a terrific act in severing my head and replacing it by a horse's head temporarily. You worked this miracle for the sake of this knowledge that you wanted to gain from me. All right, here is this knowledge for you." Tad vām narā sanaye daṁsa ugram. āviṣ kṛṇomi, tanyatur na vṛṣtim: "Like clouds rain water, I shall rain prosperity upon you by this knowledge that I impart to you." Dadhyaṅṅ ha yan madhv ātharvaṇō vām. aśvasya śīrṣṇā pra yad īm uvāca iti. By the head of the horse was this knowledge spoken by Dadhyaṅṅ, the Sage Ātharvaṇa.

This, therefore, is known as the Madhu-Vidyā, the sense of the 'honey' of all beings, the knowledge of the interdependence of things and the vital connection of everything, under every condition, at every time, everywhere. This is what the great Rishi Dadhyaṅṅ Ātharvaṇa communicated to the celestials known as the Aśvins.

  1. idaṁ vai tan madhu dadhyaṅṅ ātharvaṇo 'svibhyām        uvāca. tad etad ṛṣiḥ etad-ṛṣiḥ paśyann avocat: ātharvaṇāyāśvinā dadhīce aśvyaṁ śiraḥ praty airayatam. sa vāṁ madhu pra vocad ṛtāyan, tvāṣṭraṁ yad dasrāv api kakṣyaṁ vām iti.

Through the mouth of the horse, the great Master spoke.

  1. idaṁ vai tan madhu dadhyaṅṅ ātharvaṇo 'śvibhyām uvāca, tad etad ṛṣiḥ paśyann avocat: puraś cakre dvipadaḥ, puraś cakre catuṣpadaḥ. puraḥ sa pakṣī bhῡtvā puraḥ puruṣa āviśat iti. sa vā ayam puruṣaḥ sarvāsu pῡrsu puriśayaḥ, nainena kiṁ ca nānāvṛtam, nainena kiṁ ca nāsaṁvṛtam.

This, the Ātharvaṇa Rishi spoke, and in conclusion, he said: "This Being which is responsible for the interconnectedness of things has become, what you call, the living and the non-living; the visible and the invisible; the creatures which are two-footed and those that are four-footed. He became the subtle body and then the gross body by means of a subtle instrument known as the Linga Śarīra or Sukshma Śarīra. The very Being became the vital consciousness of all physical bodies, and He is present in everybody. The Body that is Universal and the body that is particularised – there is nothing that it is not enveloping. Nainena kiṁcanānāvṛtam, nainena kiṁcanānsaṁvṛtam: Everything is covered up by That – idaṁ sarvam."  

  1. idaṁ vai tan madhu dadhyaṅṅ ātharvano' śvibhyām uvāca, tad etad ṛṣiḥ paśyann avocat: rῡpaṁ rῡpaṁ pratirῡpo babhῡva, tad asya rῡpam praticakṣaṇāya; indro māyābhiḥ puru-rῡpa īyate. yuktā hy asya harayaḥ śatā daśa iti. ayaṁ vai harayaḥ, ayaṁ vai daśa ca sahasrāṇi bahῡni cānantāni ca, tad etad brahmāpῡrvam, anaparam, anantaram, abāhyam, ayam ātmā brahma sarvānubhῡḥ, ity anuśāsanam.

Idaṁ vai tan madhu dadhyaṅṅ ātharvano' śvibhyām uvāca: This again is the knowledge which Dadhyaṅṅ Ātharvaṇa taught to the Aśvins. He said like this: rῡpaṁ rῡpaṁ pratirῡpo babhῡva, tad asya rῡpam praticakṣaṇāya: "In every form He appears in a corresponding form." This is a very important passage in the Upaniṣhad. He casts Himself into the mould of every creature and becomes formulated into the structure of that particular creature. He can be conveniently made to assume any shape under any condition. When He casts Himself into the mould of a bird's body, it looks as if He is a bird. When He casts Himself into the mould of a human body, it looks as if He is a human being. When He shines as a celestial, it looks as if He is an angel. He is, then, that which you visualise with your eyes.

These forms, these bodies, these visible individualities of things, are really intended for the recognition of His presence in all things – tad asya rῡpam praticakṣaṇāya. He has not created this world merely for nothing, as if He has no other work to do. It is intended to give an indication of His presence; an indication of the variety which He can comprise within Himself; an indication of the contradictions that can be reconciled in His Being; an indication of the Majesty which is in His own stature, and an indication of the inscrutability of His nature. All these forms are visualised by us directly with our own eyes, a contradictory world where nothing is clear; everything is enigmatic, if considered in isolation. However, everything is reconcilable if it is connected in its proper context in the manner which we have just described in the Madhu-Vidyā. So, there is no contradiction in the world; everything is harmonious. We, unfortunately, find it impossible to see the harmony as we are not in a position to harmonise ourselves with the harmony that is His. But His intention is something different. His intention is to make it possible for us to visualise the harmony and the interconnectedness through every finite form.

Indro māyābhiḥ puru-rῡpa īyate: Due to the magnificence of His nature and the variety of His manifestation we are unable to see the truth of things. We visualise only one particular form and are not able to connect this form with other forms. So we are not able to see things as they ought to be seen. We are not supposed to see one thing only, or a few things only, or a hundred things only. We are supposed to see anything in its connection with other things. If this connection is lost, it is as if we see nothing and know nothing, and one day we will be full of sorrow. "So, let it be understood," says the great Rishi, "that the Master magician who can be called great Mayavi, the Supreme Being who is designated here as Indra, the Lord of all beings, appears in such manifold forms that it is impossible for the physical eyes to connect the forms with the circumstances in which they are really placed."

Yuktā hy asya harayaḥ śatā daśa iti. All the sense-organs are He only. They are not outside Him. It is He that appears as the senses; He appears as the forms and He appears as the perception of the objects, and in His Masterly variety, He has cast Himself into the mould of even the senses. He is Hari. Hari means the Lord Supreme, or it may mean the senses which drag you away to the objects. Harayah Hari: He may take away the ignorance of a person, and then He will be called Hari; or He may take away your consciousness towards the objects outside; that is also another function of His, and so He is called Hari. He is tens and hundreds and thousands; not one, two, three, four, merely. Any number is He, and all these numbers are capable of reconciliation in the One that He really is.

Ayaṁ vai harayaḥ, ayaṁ vai daśa ca sahasrāṇi bahῡni cānantāni ca, tad etad brahmāpῡrvam, anaparam, anantaram, abāhyam, ayam ātmā brahma sarvānubhῡḥ, ity anuśāsanam: This Supreme is tens and hundreds and thousands and manifold and variety and what not. Everything is that glorious resplendence which appears as these colours and forms that move in various directions, in many ways. It is manifold and it is infinite in Its variety; It is the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute – tad etad brahma. He has neither a beginning nor an end – anaparam. Anantaram: You do not know what is before It; you do not know what is after It; you do not know what is inside It. It is all things – anantaram. Abāhyam ayam ātmā brahma: This is, verily, your own Self. This manifold Majesty, which is regarded as inscrutable, is seated in your own heart, not outside you. It is the experiencer of everything. Sorrows and joys, varieties, differences, apparent irreconcilabilities confusions – everything is Its experience. It is experiencing everything in Its own totality, and if you could experience through Its eyes and through Its forms, through Its Being, then you would not see the variety in the world. You would not see any contradiction nor any irreconcilability It is a One single interconnectedness that is Cosmic Being.

This is the subject of the great Madhu-Vidyā instructed by Dadhyaṅṅ Ātharvaṇa to the gods, Aśvins, through the mouth of the horse.