Saturday, April 2, 2016

Īśāvāsyopaniṣat - 4

asuryā nāma te lokā andhena tamasā~~vṛtāḥ |
tāṃste pretyābhigacchanti ye ke cā~~tmahano janāḥ || 3 ||

ye ke ātmahano janāḥ = Those people who have destroyed themselves or their souls.

We are not talking about people who commit suicide. Also, the Upaniṣat does not appear to imply that the soul is something that can be destroyed. So, the slayers of the soul are those who lose their deeper consciousness. The Supreme Soul or Paramātmā is the core of all, pervading everything. This has already been taught in the first hymn. People who do not live in the higher conscious self are said to have slayed it because to them, it does not exist. 

te tān pretya abhigacchanti = after death they attain these worlds.

Here, it is interesting to look at the word 'pretya'. It need not imply death. It could be taken figuratively in the same manner as 'self-slayers'. Those who have slayed themselves are dead. They are not literally dead; they are extremely unconscious of the Brahman.

The Taittirīya allows this interpretation through its statement:
"asanneva sa bhavati asad-brahmeti veda cet"

[A person is non-existent if one does not know the Brahman to exist.]

Which worlds do they attain?

asuryā nāma te lokā andhena tamasā āvṛtāḥ = They are the worlds of demons. To be demons is to be in violence, and without peace. These violent worlds are engulfed by great blinding darkness. Darkness is figurative of unconsciousness of Brahman. 

To summarize, the hymn teaches that those who are not conscious of the Brahman experience the world as violent, and do not attain peace or bliss.

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