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"A Study of Upanishads"-5.







Mantra-4.

 

ISAVASYOPANISHAD (Continued) :


The Atman is motionless, one alone, swifter than the mind. It is not overtaken by the senses, because it is prior to them. It is ahead of them. Others run fast to overtake it, but it is before them even while sitting. On the basis of this Self does Hiranyagarbha make actions possible.

 

The Self is motionless, because it is eternal. It is one, because duality is non-eternal. Individuality and motion mean changing from one condition to another, which means death. The Self, being permanent, is free from individuality and motion. Because the Self is omnipresent it exists wherever the mind goes and is even beyond the province of the mind. The mind may run with the greatest speed to any place or time, but the Self is already there, it being the very implication of the existence and activity of the mind. The senses cannot overtake the Self because the senses have got two defects. One is that they always run away from the Self, and the other is that they cannot work except on the basis of the Self. The Self is prior to every conception and function. Even before we begin to think properly consciousness is already there, because, without it, even thinking is not possible. The external instruments of sense are very quick in their activities of reaching their respective objects, but they cannot reach even an aspect of the true Self, because they are less than the mind which again is less than the Self. The whole meaning of the mantra is that there is nothing but the Atman and hence there is no question of reaching it through any activity of the mind and the senses. This Atman can be known not by struggling through the senses but by pacifying the senses and withdrawing the mental functions. The actions of the ego cannot win final victory, because the ego is not true to the Self.

 

The Self is like ether, everywhere, and therefore its characteristics as described in this Mantra stand for this one main characteristic, viz., Omnipresence, which explains every other attribute belonging to the Self. The Self is free from all the dharmas of samsara, being not subject to any transformation. It is one, ever changeless, and appears to be many only to the deluded mind, because of its conjunction with diverse bodies. It is present already at the destination of the mind and the senses, even before they reach it. It goes beyond all functions and their results even without itself performing any function and ever resting in itself.

 

On the basis of this Self, the creator, Hiranyagarbha, makes possible the manifold activity of the universe. Hiranyagarbha is the active agent who grounds Himself in the Absolute Self in the execution of cosmic functions. The Absolute, when it is translated into the creative principle of the cosmos, becomes the dynamic and omniscient organiser and master thereof. In short,


Hiranyagarbha is the Absolute set into action. The meaning of all this is that every function of the universe is carried on properly, merely through the very existence of the Absolute, even if it does not perform any act. 

 

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