CHAPTER 3 SECTION 2
Thibaut translates the opening statement of this section, as In the intermediate place there is (a real) creation; for (scripture) says (that). The commentator says that by the expression, intermediate place we have to understand the place of dreams, where the place of waking and the place of deep sleep or bliss join. He draws attention to the debate on whether the creations that take place in dreams are real ones or only illusions.
The concept of dream is not to be introduced as the discussion in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad between Yajnavalkya and Janaka, which was on an intricate socio-political issue veering round the dilemma that an intellectual who had become a social leader, purusha, faced when he was elevated to the position of a ruler. (Vide Ch.20 in this work on the conversation between Yajnavalkya and Janaka on the role of the scholarly king as a jurist, Brahma.)
This personage, purusha belonged originally to the commonalty. His leadership talents raised him to the threshold of the aristocracy and he secured the right to mingle with the nobles and know their views but was not granted membership of the aristocracy. He was an unattached individual (an atma) though he was a member of a social group (sarira) that belonged to the insentient commonalty (mrtyu). Janaka was such an individual though he was aware of the outlooks and orientations of the aristocracy. When he was asleep he looked like an insentient (dead, in common parlance) being. But even in that state he was aware of his talents that placed him above the commonalty. (B.U. 4-3-7)
Yajnavalkya points out that when that personage (purusha) is born, that is, when the unattached individual (atma) becomes a purusha, he enters a higher social body (sariram) and gets traits, which make him a sinner. But when he leaves that (social) body and rises to a higher status, the evils that he has committed as a commoner (as one who has to die) are left behind (B.U. 4-3-8).
This personage (purusha) with leadership traits has two statuses, that of a commoner (idam lokam) and that of the patriciate (para lokam). There is a third status in between; that is when he is asleep but not insentient and when he has not brought his leadership traits into activity. As he awakes (becomes aware of his abilities) he sees both the statuses (idam and para), that of a commoner as well as that of a noble. That is, he is able to meet the expectations of these two social worlds of the core society.
The social leader (purusha), having ascended to the status of the aristocracy and adopted its way of life, sees its vices (papa) as well as its happiness (ananda). Both aspects, vices and noble and innocent pleasures mark the life of an aristocrat. In other words, he does not try to make the cadre of social leaders (purushas) a replica of the aristocracy. During that period of reflection he endows it with its own brightness and light. In that status of purusha, which is in between that of a commoner and that of a noble, he becomes self-illuminated. (BU 4-3-9)
Yajnavalkya describes the status of the social leader who has come out of the social groups belonging to the commonalty and has experienced both the good and the bad aspects of the life of the ruling aristocracy and reflected on them. The social leader (purusha) finds that he is but in a wilderness as he returns to the middle status after a brief life among the rich aristocrats known for the hedonist nature of their life of conspicuous consumption. The social leaders, purushas, who had returned to the commonalty, had now no chariots and no steeds yoked to them or paths where they could drive those chariots. They had to obtain these by their own efforts.
The way of life of this cadre of talented and trained leaders who were intellectuals as well as administrators had to be defined and instituted de novo, this allegory implies. (B.U. 4-3-10) (samdhye srushtiraha hi B.S.3-2-1)
Thibaut interprets the next statement as And some (state the Self to be) the shaper (creator); sons and so on (being the lovely things which he shapes). The concept of creation of new and superior social cadres through interactions between different social ranks facilitated by the return of the trained social leaders, purushas, as unattached individuals, atmas, to their original cadres is disputed by some thinkers. They hold that no new and higher cadre can be created and only the older one can be continued even though that leader has gained new experiences and enriched his personal calibre by association with nobles and senior citizens. In other words, according to them the calibre of an offspring depends on hereditary traits rather than on the acquired traits of its progenitor. (nirmataram ca eke putradayasca B.S.3-2-2)
Thibaut translates the next statement (3-2-3) as But it (viz. the dream world) is mere illusion (maya), on account of its nature not manifesting itself with the totality (of the attributes of reality). What is constructed in a state of non-awareness or dream can be only illusory (maya) as it lacks the manifestation of all its features. The teacher draws attention to the limits of the creation of a new and superior social structure through bringing the higher experiences of the purushas, social leaders, to bear on the native propensities of their original ranks.
Emergence of a higher social cadre requires it attaining through its inner power a definite structure and a stable position with well-defined obligations and privileges in a reconstructed social hierarchy. Else it will have only an ephemeral existence with vain hopes and dreams incapable of being realized and converted into permanent gains. A social group, which belongs to the commonalty, cannot gain a lasting higher calibre by the infusion into it of leadership that is essentially aristocratic or too intellectualistic to give it definitiveness. The dialogue between Janaka of Videha and Yajnavalkya in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad needs to be studied in this light.(Vide Ch.20 of this work).
Yajnavalkya implied that the purusha who had not become aware of his talents had given up his association with the social bodies and then became aware of those talents. This made him look down on those social bodies with which he was associated when he was a member of the insentient commonalty. (B.U. 4-3-11).
The talents of the purusha are not noticed when he is part of a social group whether it belongs to the commonalty or to the nobility. The bird flying high in the sky watches its nest below and would protect it with even its life (breath). The social leader (purusha) though in a higher position than the commonalty whose welfare is close to his heart would protect its interests and welfare, the sage implies. But this is not expected of a noble who has gone away from his nest, the aristocracy. The nobles do not function as families or as clans or as a class.
But there is a vital distinction between the unattached noble and the talented leader who has the welfare of his social group in his heart even as he soars high as an individual. Yajnavalkya was drawing the attention of Janaka to this weakness of the nobility.
Yajnavalkya and Janaka were discussing the role of the purushas in correcting the nobles as well as the commoners. The nobles (devas) needed to be freed from the grip of hedonism while the commoners had to be freed from insentience. The social leader (purusha) was even when he seemed to be asleep reflecting on how to free them and he had personally (svayam) become a brilliant light (jyoti), a social guide. Janaka was pleased that the sage had enlightened him and freed him (vimoksha) from his dilemma on how to stop the decadence of the nobility and rouse the commonalty to conscious noble activities.
The intellectuals are far above the level of the insentient commonalty but are to be on guard while moving amongst the rich and hedonist aristocracy. The social leader (purusha) of Yajnavalkyas vision was such an intellectual. After having stayed (samprasada) amongst the nobles and tasted their pleasurable ways of life and roaming about amidst them and seen the vices (papa) they are addicted to and the good things (punya) they did, this purusha should return to his original position and stay as if asleep and reflect on what he had experienced and seen. While he is thus reflecting on his experiences amidst the (hedonist) aristocracy, these experiences do not affect him, for this social leader (purusha) is not a member of any class and is not attached to either the commonalty or to the aristocracy. Janaka was pleased with this instruction that Yajnavalkya had given him on the role of the independent and stoic ruler as a social leader (purusha). Such a purusha is free (vimoksha) from personal needs and prejudices.
Yajnavalkya did not demand that the independent intellectual who had the talent to be a social leader (purusha) should avoid the company of aristocrats. But such association was a period when that purusha would be asleep and not active as a social leader. The purusha should after observing the merits and demerits of the life of the aristocrats, return to the place from where he set forth, that is, to the company of the commoners before he became aware of his talents. Whatever he noticed in that period does not influence his character and way of life for the (ideal) social leader (purusha) is not attached to anything.
Janaka was glad to receive this instruction that a stoical leader was expected to be with the (insentient) commonalty and not be away from it though he is aware of his own superiority and has had experiences in the company of the ruling elite. The purusha had a duty to the ranks from which he rose. Badarayana was dwelling on what should be considered as a definitive contribution of the trained social leader. His students and critics were required to note this aspect. (mayamatram tu kartsnyena anabhivyaktasvarupatvat BS.3-2-3)
Thibaut interprets the next formula (3-2-4) as, (Not altogether) for it (the dream) is indicative (of the future), according to Sruti; the experts also declare this. The commentator interprets that dreams are not to be held as not containing any particle of reality for they are prophetic of future good and bad fortune as mentioned in the Srutis and as many learned persons declare. Badarayana was not dealing with this note of dreams foretelling the future. The Vedas might not have developed the concept and theory of social uplift through trained social leadership. But there were suggestions made about it. And there have been scholars who have presented in unequivocal terms the ways in which such uplift could be achieved. Nothing beyond or different from this is to be read in this formula. (sucakasca hi sruteracakshate ca tad vida B.S.3-2-4)
Thibaut interprets the next statement (3-2-5) as But the meditation on the highest that which is hidden (viz. the equality of the Lord and the soul, becomes manifest); for from him (the Lord) are its (the souls) bondage and release. It is not sound to introduce the concepts of God and human soul, paramatma and jivatma and their being equal or the same. It is also not sound to talk here about the bondage of the soul to the body and worldly life and its release from this bondage. The interpretation that From meditating on Him there arises, on the dissolution of the body, a third state, that of universal Lordship; he who is alone is satisfied is not relevant to this context and is off the mark
As one pays constant attention to the role of the higher moral authority who is not engaged in worldly activities and who is not manifest and follows its directions one secures freedom from social bonds, that is, is not required to be always bound by the codes of his social groups and is able to function independently for the best development of his personality by being guided only by the dictates of that authority, that is, his conscience. (para abhidhyanattu tirohitam tatohi asya bandha viparyayau 3-2-5)
The commentator translates the next epigram (3-2-6) as Or that (viz. the concealment of the souls powers springs) from its connexion with the body. The argument, But if the soul is a part of the highest Self, why should its knowledge and lordship be hidden? We should rather expect them to be as manifest as the light and the heat of the spark is irrelevant. And so to the reply, But the state of concealment of the souls knowledge and lordship is due its being joined to a body, sense-organs, mind, sense-objects, sensations etc. is off the mark. The activities of a person who is asleep, that is, who is not aware of his potentials are related to physical exercise and not to development of ones personality and to exercising moral influence over his social group, according toBadarayana. (deha yogatva sa api B.S.3-2-6)
The commentator translates the next formula (3-2-7) as The absence of that (i.e. of dreams, i.e. dreamless sleep) takes place in the nadhis and in the Self; according to scriptural statement. In the absence of the above awareness of ones high potentials what one personally experiences deep in the veins (nadis) of his body (atmani) is referred to by the Vedas (Srutis), Badarayana tells his students. It is not necessary to dilate on the concept of deep sleep that is akin to death or to raise the issue of how many veins are there and what their roles are in aiding one to become one with the Brahman. (tad abhavo nadhishu tat srute atmani ca B.S.3-2-7)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (3-2-8) as Hence the awaking from that (viz. Brahman). The issue of what one has to be aware of, with respect to his potential Uddalaka brings out succinctly in his counsel to Svetaketu in Chhandogya Upanishad. All things in this cosmos (idam) have their individuality, atma (self or soul, in common parlance), in the minute atom (anima) (of which all things are made). That is the eternal truth (satyam). Uddalaka holds that this soul (atma) is what is true. He however does not try to drive a wedge between matter and soul. Uddalaka asked Svetaketu to realize that he was that. Tat tvam asi, That art thou. Svetaketu requested his father and teacher, Uddalaka, to instruct him further on this theme. (Vide Ch.42 of this work for an exposition of this famous and highly important exhortation.)
The comment, Ignorant persons, despite their being united with Pure Being in deep sleep, do not know Pure Being on account of their ignorance is not relevant to the theme and purport of this dialogue. It is not sound to interpret that Svetaketu entertained doubt on why should not living beings lose their individuality and be destroyed at death or during sleep or at the time of cosmic dissolution when they merge in Pure Being. Badarayana was referring to the above counsel that awakened the inherent potential of the intellectual-cum-leader and induced him to rise to the highest position. (atra prabodha asmat B.S.3-2-8)
Thibaut translates the next formula (3-2-9) as But the same (soul returns from Brahman); on account of work, remembrance, text and precept. The commentator is not to the mark when he says, Hence we have to enquire whether the soul when awaking from the union with the Brahman is the same which entered into union with Brahman or another. Badarayana was discussing the issue of whether there was a radical difference between the traits that an individual had when he commenced his journey to the abode of the intellectual aristocracy, Brahmaloka, and those he had when he returned from it.
The individual who proceeded to join the academy was humble, disciplined and eager to learn and the student who returned from the academy continued to be so. He did not conduct himself as one superior to the other members of his stratum or cadre.
If he had only gone through a life that had given him personal happiness for that duration and not secured any lasting benefit that he could transmit to his original stratum, this union with the high and noble intellectuals (that is, acquisition of true knowledge) cannot be deemed to be of any social use. His societal duties, his remembrance of his stay with the great intellectuals, their words of counsel and the rules pertaining to admission to the academy and the conduct prescribed for its graduates are of great importance. (sa eva tu karmanu smrti sabdavidhibhya 3-2-9)
The commentator interprets the next formula (3-2-10) as In him who is senseless (in a swoon etc.) there is half-union; on account of this remaining (as the only possible hypothesis). He says that in addition to the four states, the waking state, dreaming, deep dreamless sleep and death, there is a fifth state, swoon. As this is not mentioned either in Sruti or in Smrti, it must be one of the four states, it is argued by some. He explains that the state of senselessness is a half-union (between living and death). The long discussion engaged in by the commentators of medieval tomes is off the mark. But it is helpful to note what Uddalaka told his son and disciple, Svetaketu.
Uddalaka asked his son, Svetaketu, to learn from him what the meaning of the expression, end of sleep (dream, as often interpreted imprecisely) was. When in this world, a social leader (purusha) who is expected to be aware of his personal talents, sleeps, (as it is termed), he has become endowed with (sampanna) his true (sat) traits. He has reached the status that is his own (that is, he has become a noble, sva, who is not subordinate to any other person). Therefore in common parlance it is said when one sleeps, that he has gone to his own.
The social leader (purusha) is at a stage between ordinary men who are not aware of their talents and are therefore inert and nobles who refrain from mingling among men and playing the roles of ordinary persons. (Chhandogya Upanishad 6-8-1) This view has to be given the credit due and not the issue of half-union. The trained leader who has returned to his original cadre from the academy of intellectuals does retain the knowledge he had gained there and the effect of the training though not fully and hence he can contribute to the cultural development of that cadre effectively. (mugdherdhe sampatti pariseshat 3-2-10)
Thibaut interprets the next formula (3-2-11) as, Not on account of (difference of) place also twofold characteristics can belong to the highest; for everywhere (scripture teaches it to be without any difference). The commentator says, We now attempt to ascertain on the ground of Sruti, the nature of that Brahman with which the individual soul becomes united in the state of deep sleep and so on and the consequences of the cessation of the limiting adjuncts.
The other social world of nobility (para) had two characteristics. It was a cultural aristocracy vested with political authority and also an intellectual aristocracy capable of guiding all sections of the population. The training received by temporary stay in its midst wherever it was located was beneficial to the social leader, purusha, and he could impart those benefits at least partly to his original cadre or to any other cadre or rank that he may find himself in.
In Chhandogya Upanishad we find the teacher explaining that the status of an enlightener, jyoti was higher than those of all other social cadres but it was marginally lower than that of the chief of the judiciary, Brahma, who interpreted the socio-political constitution. This status was assigned to a personage (purusha) who was on the threshold of the cadre of these judges (Brahma). This purusha had earlier got trained in the posts of all the five officials who selected and admitted the eligible aspirants to the fold of the cultural aristocracy.
It may be also noted that the personage (purusha) who had held the positions of Agni, Aditya, Soma, Parjanya and Vayu was yet only at the threshold of the nobility (divam) and was not its full member. This personage had risen from the commonalty. [These were not mere personification of aspects of nature like fire, sun, moon, rain and wind.]
The teacher draws the attention of his students to the statement, All this is Brahma (sarvam idam brahma). He asks them to calmly meditate on it, that is, think of the implications of this statement. The teacher was dealing with the calibre of the members of the judiciary, Brahma. Why was a social leader, purusha, finding it difficult to gain entry to it despite his immense popularity? A social leader (purusha) is a talented person and has a plan and purpose (kratu). He is committed to a cause and represents certain interests. But the intellectual who is a member of the judiciary (Brahma) has no such purpose and is not committed as a partisan to any particular cause. (Vide Ch.35 of this work on the implications of the allegory of the honey-comb)
The teacher does not denounce the traits and limitations of the cadre of social leaders who have definite interests. He permits them to pursue those interests but cautions that such persons would not be eligible to enter other cadres on the completion of their present tenures as representatives and leaders. He would advise the leader (purusha) to draw a plan of action that would help him to rise in the social ladder and not be merely a spokesman and promoter of the interests of the groups he is attached to.
The teacher was dealing with the calibre of the personage who had not left his social body but tried to be unattached to it and become eligible to enter the cadre of the high judiciary. This personage had resolved (samkalpa) to adhere to truth (satya).
The individual (atma) who was getting ready to enter the ranks of the impartial jurists was not a member of the organized commonalty but was a member of the open areas (akasa) whose residents were more independent than the members of organized social groups of the organized commonalty. He was an expert in all occupations and duties and had already experienced all desires and pleasures and tastes. In other words he was in the stage of a monk who had gone through all that worldly life (sarvam idam) as a married man and householder offered. He is not a spokesman of any group. He is not dependent on any group. (C.U. 3-14-2,3) It is not sound to interpret that the term, sthana, meant sleep. It meant status. This stand of the sage is in tune with the implications of this formula. (na sthanata api parasya ubhayalingam sarvatra hi B.S.3-2-11)
Thibaut explains the next formula (3-2-12) as, If it be objected that it is not so, on account of the difference (taught by the Veda), we reply that it is not so on account of the declaration of (Brahman) being not such, with reference to each (declaration of difference). The students note that the explanation given by the teacher is contrary to what has been described about the role and status of Brahma in other authoritative works of the past. It was alleged that there was a contradiction between the status held by the highest officer of the judiciary, Brahma, in the earlier constitution and that in the new one advocated by Badarayana. The sage refutes this charge.
He asks them to note that this high authority (Brahma) is described in different ways by the different schools. Chhandogya Upanishad (3-18-1) drew attention to its four feet. Prasna Upanishad (6-1) described what its sixteen parts were. Katha Upanishad (5-3) treated Brahma to be a dwarf. Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (1-3-22) pointed out that it had three worlds for its body. Chhandogya Upanishad (5-11-2) identified Brahma with Vaisvanara. All these statements are in tune with his stand that Brahma was the highest intellectual and social authority. (na bhedat iti ca enna pratyekamat tad vacanat 3-2-12)
Badarayana accepts that some advocate the concept of Saguna Brahma and that others speak of Nirguna Brahma. (api ca evam eke B.S.3-2-13) Thibaut reads this as Some also (teach) thus.
Thibaut translates the next epigram (3-2-14) as For (Brahman) is merely devoid of form, on account of this being the main purport of scripture. It is not necessary to claim that the concept of a formless God is prescribed by the Vedas, the Sastras (scripture). Samkhya dialectics postulates the existence of two primordial features, purusha and prakrti. Many scholars have presumed that both these have form. Badarayana would however deal with the spirit and purpose behind the concept, primordial (pradhana) rather than with the Purusha who has different forms as presented in the statuettes exhibited. (arupavat eva hi tat pradhanatvat 3-2-14)
Thibaut translates the next statement as And as light (assumes forms as it were by its contact with things possessing form, so does Brahman), since (the texts ascribing form to Brahman) are not devoid of meaning. Badarayana draws attention to the stand that as the sun rises, it lights the entire sky. If this enlightening by the purusha is absent there is no use in a social leader coming in close contact with the cultural and intellectual aristocracy and getting trained by it. That association would be proved to have not been gainful to the larger society and even to that trainee, Badarayana says. (prakasavat ca avaiarthyat B.S.3-2-15)
Thibaut translates the next formula (3-2-16) as And (scripture) declares (Brahman) to consist of that (i.e. intelligence). Following the medieval commentators he says, That Self has neither inside nor outside any characteristic form but intelligence; simple non-differentiated intelligence constitutes its nature. The term, prajna is to be translated as awareness rather than as intelligence.
Yajnavalkya points out to his wife, Maitreyi (in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 4-5-13), that the soul (atma) is not matter and has no interior or exterior. It is constituted of awareness (prajna). It has arisen out of the discrete individuals or elements (bhutas, later treated as senses). [An individual (bhuta) who is aware that he is not bound by the codes of any social group is referred to as atma.] When its force dwindles it vanishes into those basic units.
Yajnavalkya implied that one who was aware represented all the discrete individuals of the larger society. When he lost this status he became again an insignificant unit of that society. As he left the scene no one else could take his position and the society slid into insentience, even as the body is declared to be a corpse when the soul leaves it. [The interpretation of this passage as, As a mass of salt is without inside, without outside, is altogether a mass of taste, even so is this Self without inside, without outside, altogether a mass of intelligence (prajna) only. Having arisen out of these elements (the Self) vanishes again in them. When he has departed there is no more (separate or particular) consciousness, fails to bring out the above note.] (aham ca tanmatram B.S.3-2-16)
Thibaut reads the next epigram as (This scripture) also shows, and it is likewise stated in Smrti. The commentator explains that, That Brahman is without any difference is proved by those scriptural passages also which expressly deny that it possesses any other characteristics. That the soul has no physical traits or ability to experience feelings or even judge things and hence is not affected by merit or demerit, virtue or sin but is eternal and is aware of its identity and as a power not attached to any social or physical body is shown in the Vedas and their adjuncts and also in the Smrtis, Badarayana asserts. He was drawing attention to the total detachment from worldly bodies and worldly activities that characterised the independent intellectual that Brahma was. (darsayati ca atha api smaryate.3-2-17)
Thibaut reads the next statement (3-2-18) as For this very reason (there are applied to Brahman) comparisons such as that of the images of the sun and the like. The commentator says, Because that Self is of the nature of intelligence, devoid of all difference, transcending speech and mind to be described only by denying it of all characteristics, therefore the Moksha Sastras compare it to the images of the sun reflected in the water and the like, meaning thereby that all difference in Brahman is unreal, only due to its limiting conditions.
The relation between the human soul and the divine soul, jivatma and paramatma has to be examined without being required to distinguish them on the basis of association with human body vis-a-vis non-association with any matter. But Badarayana was interested in explaining the relation between the ancient social constitution, Brahma, and the one he was advocating. The former was too tough to be adhered to even as it is difficult to see the sun, surya, directly. The reflection of the latter, suryaka, may be seen by all with naked eyes. Similarly the rules prescribed in the new code based on the original constitution can be adhered to easily. (ata eva ca upama suryakadivat B.S.3-2-18)
Thibaut interprets the next epigram (3-2-19) as But there is no parallelism (of the two things compared), for (in the case of Brahman) there is not apprehended (any separate substance) comparable to the water. According to the commentator, the teacher counsels that no strict comparison should be made between the sun (paramatma, great soul) and its reflection (jivatma, human soul) in the water, as there is no medium like water involved in the relation between the two souls.
Badarayana was dealing with the role of Aditya (Surya) in the Vedic social polity and that of the official designated as Surya in the new polity recommended by him. The latter has less power and is hence referred to as Suryaka and is accessible while the former was not to be even seen directly. The new polity is humane and its cultural aristocracy and governing elite headed by Surya is accessible to the commoners. The concept of water as the reflecting medium is introduced to draw attention to this gentleness. This note has been missed by the commentators. (ambuvat agrahanat tathatvam 3-2-19)
Thibaut interprets the next statement (3-2-20) as Since (the highest Brahman) is inside (of the limiting adjuncts), it participates in their increase and decrease; owing to its appropriateness (thus resulting) of the two (things compared) it is thus (i.e. the comparison holds good). The moon grows and after becoming full begins to become smaller. But unlike the water that reflects the sun and also gets hot the moon reflects the light it receives from the sun but does not get hot. This is a better comparison between the human soul and the divine soul, according to the commentator.
While the new Aditya (Suryaka) does not have the same authority as Aditya (Surya) had in the Vedic polity and is head of only the cultural aristocracy and does not control the administration or the army, the new polity has Soma as the head of the sober intelligentsia drawn from all social sectors. It does not bask in reflected glory. Those who have developed their personality as required may be admitted to this new intellectual aristocracy and as their talents wane they have to return to their original cadres. Thus a correlation between the waxing and waning of the moon and the rise and fall of the intellectual may be read here. (vrddhirha sa bhaktatvam antar bhavat ubhaya samanjasyat evam B.S. 3-2-20)
The commentator explains the next expression (3-2-21) as And on account of the declaration of (the scripture). Badarayana says that the above note is brought out in the new code. The elaborate discussion entered into by commentators on whether the soul is with traits or has no traits, saguna or nirguna, is not warranted here. (darsanat ca 3-2-21)
The commentator interprets the next formula (3-2-22) as For (the clause, not so, not so) denies (of Brahman) the such-ness which forms the topic of discussion; and (the text) enounces something more than that. He draws attention to Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (2-3- 1ff). As the interpretation given by the medieval commentators and their modern adherents falls short of a rational and holistic societal approach, we have to note what these passages did mean. (Vide Ch.17 of this work on Purusha and Brahma school of thought, a critique of the dialogue between Ajatasatru, ruler of Kasi and Gargya, a political thinker)
The sage of the Upanishad states that there are two forms (rupa) of Brahman, one of which has got a physical shape (murtam) and the other has no such shape (is amurtam). The sage treats the former as belonging to the insentient world (martya) and the other to the non-insentient but high order (amrtam). He treats the former as settled communities (sthitam) with definite social structure. But the other does not have such a definite structure and has individuals who are constantly on move.
The former is governed by the codes based on truth, satya. The other is not governed by such an orientation. The sage takes into account two social sectors. One is at the subsistence level with no high ambitions, but is honest and stable and has definite social structure. The other sector has individuals with high ambitions who are however constantly on the move and do not have definite social structure or binding social codes. The former were referred to as the social world (loka) of commoners (manushyas) and the other as a social universe (jagat) of dynamic individuals (like gandharvas) (B.U. 2-3-1).
Brahmana referred to the unwritten but permanent constitution of the Vedic polity that was applicable to all social sectors (whether settled communities or individuals and groups who were constantly on move). The term, Brahmana, referred also to the jurist who enforced it for the commonalty, which was settled in clans and communities.
The Brahman jurist was a personage (murti) who had jurisdiction over social sectors that did not come under the jurisdiction of the open territories (Vayu) and the frontier society (antariksham). His domain extended only to the settled (sthita) communities of the commonalty (martya, the insentient society) and not to the patriciate (amrtam) or to the groups and individuals constantly on the move. This commonalty of the Vedic times was governed by the laws based on truth, satya.
Brahmanaspati (Brhaspati) enforced them. Those who did not belong to this commonalty were governed by codes that were severe and were enforced by the yonder sun, that is by Aditya. The poet-sage points out that this is the essential trait (rasa) of the codes based on truth (satya). They were under the political state dominated by the nobles, who did not tolerate violations. (B.U. 2-3-2)
The jurist, Brahmana, exercised control over only the commonalty. The unwritten constitution, Brahma, however had jurisdiction over the open areas (akasa, which was under Vayu) and the frontier society (antariksham, which was under Soma) also. It was implemented by the patriciate (amrtam) over the groups and individuals who were on the move and who followed the provisions other than those based on satya or truth affirmed on oath.
The personage, Purusha, who heads the circle (mandala) of states, belongs to the patriciate (amrta) and his jurisdiction is not defined or limited (amurta). his essential trait of Purusha who heads all the members of the integrated elite (adhidaivatam) is to be recognized as being different from the role of Brahmana, the jurist who directed the activities of the commonalty.
The concept, adhidaivatam, refers to the essential traits of the ruling elite. The concept, adhyatma, refers to the essential traits of the individual, especially a commoner who is not totally bound to abide by the codes of his clan or community. In this commonalty (idam, here) he has a distinct personality, murti. He is different from those who merely exist or breathe (prana) and who do not have distinct personalities.
The term, adhyatma is distinct from (antaratma), conscience which is said to be deep in the space (akasa) inside mans body. Adhyatma refers to the commoner (who has death, mrtyu) and is stable, that is, belongs to a settled community and is a concrete person (sat). It is not an abstract notion. The essence of the traits of this commoner is his ability to observe and his being observed (chakshu). Adhyatma is not a concept without form. It is the observable personality that a commoner has developed (B.U. 2-3-4).
While adhyatma thus would refer to the mortal body, antaratma and prana are visualized as constituting the soul that moves everywhere and is immortal. The poet-sage clarifies that he indeed treats the personage who is looking after the sections of the population other than the commonalty of settled communities, as one with a form.
The disciple is directed (adesa) to follow the methodology, neti, neti, not this, not this, nothing higher than this, not this but is that. The designation (namadheyam) of this personage whose features are distinguished by this method is truth of truth. The sage asserts that only soul (prana) is true. This Purusha is the truth of this truth (satyasya satya). In other words, he is a living personage and not an abstract concept. (B.U. 2-3-6)
Badarayana was dealing with the traits expected of the personage who was to be at the apex of the larger social polity that was envisaged in the new constitution outlined by him. He was imbued with a high level of wisdom and knowledge. (prakrta etavatvam hi pratishedhati tata braviti ca bhuya 3-2-22)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (3-2-23), as That (Brahman) is un-evolved; for (thus scripture) says. Such a scholar emerges, manifests his knowledge and power because he has honed his talents. He is not the product of mutation of nature. The interpretation, It is held to be un-evolved, not to be apprehended by the senses; for it is the witness of whatever is apprehended is unsound. (tad avyaktamaha hi 3-2-23)
The commentator interprets the next phrase (3-2-24) as, And in the state of perfect conciliation also (the Yogis apprehend the highest Brahman) according to Sruti and Smrti. He explains that the expression, perfect conciliation, means the presentation before the mind (of the highest Self), which is effected through meditation and devotion. This is far-fetched. The teacher says that from the extant works it may be inferred that the talents become manifest as the contradictions between the personage (purusha) who wields authority and the invisible intellectual and moral authority (Brahma) are annulled and reconciled. !api ca samradhane pratyaksha anumanabhyam 3-2-24)
Thibaut interprets the next formula (3-2-25) as And as in the case of (physical) light and the like, there is non-distinction (of the two Selfs), the light (i.e. the intelligent Self) (being divided) by its activity, according to the repeated declarations of scripture. There is no need to claim that this stand is in accordance with the scriptures. Similarly the concept of the two souls, jivatma and paramatma need not be brought into focus here.
Badarayana was expected to explain whether there was any distinction to be made among those who guided the people in their capacity as officials designated as Surya, Agni, Vayu, Soma, Varuna etc. He told them that the distinction was in the type of duties that they carried out through constant practice like enlightening. He was not prepared to distinguish them on the basis of which social sector an official represented. Whether the official was trained enough to perform his assigned duty (karma) was what was important. (prakasadivat ca avaisyam prakasa ca karmanyabhyasat 3-2-25)
The commentator translates the next phrase (3-2-26) as Hence (the soul enters into unity) with the infinite (i.e. the highest Self); for this scripture indicates. This formula does not seem to be connected with the human soul becoming one with the eternal soul (God). There are distinguishing marks that indicate that some of these officials held permanent positions though social positions were ordinarily assigned only for limited duration in the then social polity. It is not sound to claim that scripture indicates that the human soul, which has definite duration of life in this world, gets united with the infinite. (ata anantena tatha hi lingam 3-2-26)
Thibaut reads the next phrase (3-2-27) as implying But on account of twofold designation, (the relation of the highest Self to the individual soul has to be viewed) like that of the snake to its coils. The explanations that treat the two, the infinite and the finite, as not distinct from one another are according to Badarayana, like mistaking a snake for a coil. Nothing beyond this is to be read here. (ubhaya vyapadesat tu ahi kundalavat 3-2-27)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (3-2-28) as Or else like that of light to its substratum, both being fire. As some in the audience protested that the above simile was not apt, Badarayana advised them to treat the higher authorities like Aditya who held office in the Vedic social polity as members of the governing nobility as endowed with heat (tejas) that was an innate trait of that elite while the new incumbents who had risen on their own merit from the lower ranks of the larger society on the basis of their intellectual training were able to shed light (prakasa) and guide the commonalty without using awesome power. (prakasa asrayavatva tejastvat B.S. 3-2-28)
The commentator explains the next expression (3-2-29), as Or else (the relation of the two is to be conceived) in the manner stated above. If any one objected to conceiving a new authority with no power to punish or deter the deviants, Badarayana would advise that the executive should seem to deter them though he would have no real power to harm. (purvatva B.S.3-2-29)
The interpretation, the conclusion arrived at above that the soul is not different from the highest Self is confirmed by the fact of scripture expressly denying that there exists any intelligent being apart from the highest Self is totally off the mark.
In Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (3-7-22) Yajnavalkya envisaged the presence within the permanent cadre of nobles (amrta), of intellectuals, every one of whose individual calibre as representative of a particular social stratum or sector could be recognized correctly and respected only by the other members of that internal and high governing body. They knew (vijnana) aspects of nature that were not known to those who had only formal education (jnana). They could claim mastery over vijnana. This passage does not deal with the issue of the distinction between the absolute self (paramatma) and the individual selves (jivatmas), with the former being the ruler and the latter, the ruled. (Vide Ch.17 in this work on Yajnavalkya and his detractors.)
Yajnavalkya explains to Uddalaka that the new generation too is a part of the larger society and is included in the concept atma (soul in common parlance). This atma too controls itself (that is, the growing child) imperceptibly since even before the semen is cast in the womb. It too, according to the sage, has the traits of nobility (amrtam), everlasting noble thoughts. (B.U. 3-7-23) He was clearing the doubts about his knowledge entertained by Uddalaka, son of Aruna, who had been trained under Kabandha, an Atharvan ideologue-cum-socio-political activist.
The argument that the new social code that placed the supreme power necessary to regulate the conduct of all members of the larger society in the intellectual aristocracy, especially, in the judiciary could not succeed was refuted by Yajnavalkya. He was not dealing with the relation between jivatma and paramatma. (pratishedhat ca B.S.3-2-30) Thibaut reads this statement as And on account of the denial.
Thibaut explains the next formula (3-2-31) as Beyond (Brahman, there is something) further, on account of the designations of bank, measure, connexion, separation. The commentator says that the teacher proposed to examine whether there was anything beyond the highest Self, called Brahman. He drew attention to a statement in Chhandogya Upanishad. What Narada was teaching the Vipra was not a eulogy of Brahman. (Vide Ch.44 in this work on the description of the Brahmaloka, academy of scholars.) The students of Narada and his trainee wondered whether it was possible to move from one social stratum or cadre or world (loka) to another. The teacher says that the individual (atma) [who is not attached to any social body] is to be viewed as a dam (setu), which keeps these social worlds (lokas) apart.
When one enters the academy of the highest intellectuals (Brahma-loka) he does not carry with him the sins he might have committed when he was in his earlier stratum. He does not carry with him weaknesses like blindness (ignorance), injury or ailment when he moves to the social world of intellectuals (especially jurists). In the Brahma-loka there is only day, for every one of its members is an enlightened person. But only those persons who have practised the disciplined life of an initiated student (brahmachari) can become members of this academy, Brahma-loka. They may move freely in all social worlds (lokas). (C.U.8-4-1, 2, 3)
Badarayana explained that the new social constitution, Brahma, proposed by him was an extension of the older one, outlined in the Atharvaveda. There was a bridge between the two and there was also a gradient that placed the new one that enveloped the entire larger society at a higher plane. The two were connected though diifferently. (paramata setu unmana sambandha bheda vyapadesebhya B.S.3-2-31)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (3-2-32) as But (Brahman is called a bank etc.) on account of (a certain) equality. The commentator says, If the mere fact of the Self being called a bank (of a river) implied the existence of something beyond it, we would be compelled to conclude that the Self is made of earth and stones. But the Self is not something produced. The proper explanation is that the Self is called a bank because it resembles a bank. It supports the world and its boundaries. This interpretation is inane. Badarayana was cautioning his students not to read more than an ordinary simile about the two levels of social organisation that the two constitutions dealt with. (samanyat tu 3-2-32)
Thibaut interprets the next epigram (3-2-33) as (The statement as to Brahman having size) sub-serves the purposes of the mind in the manner of the four feet (quarters). It is not sound to interpret that the purposes of the mind meant purposes of meditation. Badarayana counsels that the trainees should note that the purpose behind this simile that could be grasped through application of the intellect, even as the concept of the four feet of Purusha is an allegory that calls for exposition.
Since the commentators draw attention to Chhandogya Upanishad (3-18-1) in this connection it is necessary to grasp what was the advice Ghora Angirasa gave Krshna, son of Devaki. (Vide Ch.35 of this work for a critique on this counsel.) The essential individual (adhyatma) who has an identity of his own deems and honours the thinker (manas) in himself as the highest interpreter and jurist (Brahma). The essential aristocrat (adhidaivata) of the enlarged society deems the vast space with all its varied denizens and social segments (akasa) as Brahma.
In neither situation, with reference to life among the thinkers of the commonalty or the enlarged and universal aristocracy, is the term, Brahma, used to indicate God.
This is the twofold (ubhayam) instruction (adishta) with reference to the essential individual (adhyatma) and the essential noble (adhidaivatam). Both the will of the individual (adhyatma) and the will of the large society as upheld by its integrated aristocracy (adhidaivatam) are to be honoured as constituting the spirit of the socio-political constitution, Brahma. (C.U. 3-18-1)
As far as the essential individual (adhyatma) is concerned, the four aspects of the code that regulates his life are what have to be uttered (vak), how one has to secure his living (prana), what he has to notice (chakshu) and what he has to hear (srotra). As far as the essential noble (adhidaivatam) is concerned, the views of the officials designated as Agni, Vayu and Aditya who represent the three social worlds, prthvi, akasa or antariksham and divam, should be taken into account while arriving at an appraisal of the common will. The fourth factor is the view of the people in the different directions, (disa).
This twofold instruction pertains to the essential individual (adhyatma) who regulates his personal life and the essential noble (adhidaivatam) who regulates the lives of the peoples of the varied larger society. (C.U. 3-18-2)
The teacher correlates what this individual has heard (srotra) from different sources with the reports that the essential noble and his cadre of governing nobility of the larger society have received from the different provinces. The former aspects are connected with the will of the essential individual (adhyatma). They become influential when they follow the lines set by the latter aspects that are connected with the will of the larger society exercised through the governing elite (adhidaivatam).
A ruler or a judge who knows this and conducts himself according to this expectation becomes famous and succeeds in his enterprises and also gains the qualifications that are essential for functioning as an interpreter and upholder of the socio-political constitution (Brahma-varchas).
The translation of this expression as Brahma-knowledge is imprecise. Ghora Angirasa was a socio-political ideologue-cum-activist, Brahmavadi. The commentators of the medieval times and their modern adherents have failed to recognize the distinctions in the roles of the Brahmarshis, Brahmavadis and the ordinary cadres of Brahmans who were scholars in Vedas and functioned as teachers or as priests. (C.U.3-18-3 to 6) Badarayana would in his cryptogram call upon his students to keep this implication in mind. (buddhi artha padavat 3-2-33)
The commentator (Thibaut) explains the next formula (3-2-34) as, (The statements concerning connexion and difference) are due to difference of place, in the manner of light and so on. Whatever reference is made to the officials of the new social polity who enlighten etc. its members are distinguished on the basis of where they are stationed in that polity. Badarayana would not favour grading them on any other basis. The interpretation, For the light of the sun or the moon also is differentiated by its connexion with limiting adjuncts, spoken of as divided, and when the adjuncts are removed, it is said to enter into connexion (union) and so too ether, fails to bring the correct note. (sthanaviseshat prakasadivat B.S.3-2-34)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (3-2-35) as And because (only such a connexion) is possible. Badarayana asserts that only this interpretation about the statuses and roles of the officials of the new polity is valid. The commentator draws attention to the statement in Chhandogya Upanishad (3-12-7) and translates it, as The ether which is outside man is the ether which is inside man, and the ether within the heart. The teacher of that Upanishad says that the society of the commoners, which is visualized as cow and described as Gayatri, has four feet. [Each foot of this metre has four syllables.] (C.U. 3-12-5) (Vide Ch.35 of this work for a critique on this concept)
The society of the commoners including the individuals in the periphery and those at the subsistence level is great but its leader (purusha) is greater than it. One fourth of the entire commonalty and which comprises (all) the individuals (sarva bhuta) is under the supervision of a leader (purusha). The teacher implies that the commoners are placed under nobles like Vasus, Rudras, Adityas and Maruts. These commoners who are organized groups form three-fourths of this society. The discrete individuals (bhutas) of the social periphery are placed under purushas, independent leaders (C.U. 3-12-6).
The teacher explains that the people in the outer areas who are not led by such independent leaders are directly under the judiciary whose head is designated as Brahma (C.U.3-12-7). The students had heard that the term akasa was used to indicate the space within the heart of a person. The teacher does not discard that concept.
He says that the personage (purusha) within the heart is called Brahma. It is more apt to treat the conscience by which individuals in the core society too are guided as Brahma. The teacher explains that the jurist (Brahma) who protects the interests of those people who are outside organized social groups through the socio-political constitution is a complete scholar and does not pursue personal or sectarian interests. He adopts a holistic approach while performing his constant duties (apravarta). The inner conscience too is similarly impersonal while guiding the individual leader (C.U. 3-12-8,9). A correct appreciation of the concept of akasa is imperative. (upapatte ca B.S. 3-2-35)
Thibaut interprets the next epigram (3-2-36) as (The same thing follows) from the express denial of other (existences). The commentator says that a grat number of Vedic passages, considering the context in which they stand, cannot be explained otherwise. They distinctly deny that there is anything apart from Brahma, the commentator says. Following the commentators of the medieval times, he draws attention to Chhandogya Upanishad (7-25-1,2). This section needs close scrutiny.
It deals with the counsel given by Sanatkumara to Narada. (Vide Ch.43 of this work for a critical appreciation of this highly significant counsel on polity.) Sanatkumara was for a socio-economic system where every one had personal wealth and there was also collective wealth to which every one had equal rights. A classless egalitarian society could be prosperous and at the same time permit every one to have personal property distinct from his right in collective property. [The commentators of the medieval ages and their followers of the modern times have failed to distinguish between bhuma and bhumi.] (C.U. 7-24-2)
Narada seems to have wondered where such an eldorado could be found. Sanatkumara points out that it is possible to have such a prosperous egalitarian society established everywhere, in all regions, whether lower or higher, western or eastern, southern or northern. He was proposing this concept, bhuma, for adoption in all areas. Would not possession of personal property lead to egotism (ahamkara)? On this issue he had to give the following instruction. Sanatkumara would extend the rights of the individual to have his personal identity (aham) to all strata and to all regions. Egalitarianism would not annul or stifle individuality (C.U. 7-25-1).
Then he instructed Narada on the concept, atma, the individual who was functioning as a member of a social body but yet kept his identity intact. Every one, everywhere, would have this individual identity even if he was functioning as a member of a group. The concept of svaraj (self-government, as it is imprecisely translated) meant that one should be able to get sensuous delight of his choice (atma-rati), have sport of his own (atma-krida), have a companion of his choice (atma-mithunam) and bliss (atma-ananda) of his own.
He would be free to move in all social worlds (lokas). The social and political barriers among the different economic sectors are no longer recognized. But those persons who know about (and follow) social systems other than this one are under systems of governance (rajana) other than svaraj (as described above). They live in decadent (kshaya) social worlds (lokas). They do not have the freedom to move in all social worlds at will, Sanatkumara points out. (C.U. 7-25-2) He was a guide of Prthu, the agrarian king, who was selected by the ideologues under a new democratic constitution after the autocrat, Vena, was killed.
The commentator refers to the cryptogram, Brahman alone is all this found in Mundaka Upanishad. What did the teacher of Brahma, the constitution, mean by this statement? (Vide Ch.25 of this work for a critique of this concept.) The flawless intellectual, Brahma, which the Viraj is, is a member of the golden treasury (hiranmaya kosa) of the other social world, that is, of the aristocracy. [The new aristocracy had accepted in its fold the plutocracy, which controlled the mines and ores of the forests and mountains.] As Viraj (virajam), he is free from desires. He is pure (subhra) and is the light of lights (jyoti), that is, is the guide of guides. Those persons who know their own abilities (atma-vidu) know (vidu) this (through informal education). (Mu.U. 2-2-10)
The social cadre of jurists, Brahmans, is not under the jurisdiction of Surya, the head of the governing council appointed by the aristocracy (divam). It is also not under Chandra or Soma who had jurisdiction over the other society of forests and mountains (antariksham) and the intelligentsia stationed there. These guides, vidyut, did not shine in that social world, Brahmaloka,
that is, the academy of jurists was not influenced by either the armed aristocracy or by the larger but sober intelligentsia. Hence there was no question of their being under the jurisdiction of Agni whose writ ran only amongst the commonalty (manushyas, prthvi). All these three guides, Surya, Chandra and Agni follow the directions given by Brahma. His wisdom guides all the members of this social world of high jurists. (Mu.U. 2-2-11) This larger society (visvam) follows the socio-political constitution, Brahma, which covers the codes of all the social worlds and the persons outside them. This constitution is superior (varishta) to the codes governing the discrete social worlds and the individuals outside them. (M.U.3-2-12)
The commentator has referred to a statement of Yajnavalkya in the exposition of the famous madhu-vidya, honey-doctrine in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad. (Vide Ch.18 of this work for a critical analysis of this doctrine). Badarayana would advocate a rational approach to the resolution of contradictions. (tatha anya pratishedat B.S.3-2-36)
Thibaut translates the next formula (3-2-37) as implying Thereby the omnipresence (of Brahman is established), in accordance with the statements about (Brahmans) extent. The commentator seeks to gather references to the concept that the entire cosmos is Brahma and that his influence is felt everywhere. He does not approve of a high authority whose power and jurisdiction are limited.
As pointed out earlier, the new constitution, Brahma brings under its fold all regions and all sectors of the larger society. Even isolated and discrete individuals are under its purview. This is indicated by the words used in different works.
The teacher of the Isa Upanishad was dealing not with the Supreme but with the relationship with the social leader and pioneer who was ahead of even the intellectual aristocracy and whose activities were pronounced by some to be circumspect.
The issue was the restraints placed on the native population by the feudal lords, asuras who had taken over the tapaloka, the academy of scientists who were engaged in discovering new principles and inventing new means and were waiting for others to follow them.
These creative thinkers were ahead of the intellectual aristocracy of planners but were cut off from the highest social and academic cadre, the ideologues, Brahmavadis and were stranded. The teacher asserts that the potential for pioneering leadership is present in every individual. (Vide Ch.48 of this work for a critical analysis of this Upanishad)
The commentator draws attention also to a phrase occurring in the Kena Upanishad but fails to interpret it correctly. The teacher tells his student who is a member of the ruling elite, a rajanya that by developing ones talents an individual (atma) may gain courage and a place in the class of warriors (viryam) but to enter the class of (cultural) aristocracy (amrta) he needs formal education in the (different) disciplines of study(vidya). (Kena U.2-4) If in the academy a student learns the non-formal discipline of study, then he masters the codes based on truth (satya). If he fails to learn it, a great destruction awaits him, the teacher warns. (Vide Ch. 31 of this work for a critical analysis of Kena Upanishad.)
The academy that was located in the social periphery brought the student in contact with the individuals (bhutas) of that sector. By reflecting on the ways of life of those individuals who differed from one another and had diverse origins and diverse orientations, the scholar who is able to discriminate between good and bad (dhira) would be able to join the intellectual aristocracy (amrta) on his leaving that academy (loka). (anena sarvagatatva mayama sabdadibhya 3-2-37)
Thibaut interprets the next epigram (3-2-38), as From him (i.e.the Lord, there comes) the fruit (of works); for (that only) is possible. The commentator discusses at length when the fruit of action can be enjoyed by an agent. It is possible to come to the conclusion that the deeds of a person are requited because there is a God who witnesses and judges these deeds and requites them. This seems to be a stand taken by Badarayana to warn his students against concluding that one is free not to do any duty as he has been asked not to expect any fruit or personal gain from performance of a duty. (phalamata upapatte 3-2-38 )
Badarayana asserts that there can be no act done without a result and hence the concept of performing a duty without it affecting the doer in any manner, good, or bad is untenable. According to him, this was the stand of the Vedas. The interpretation that we assume the Lord to bring about the fruits of actions, not only because no other assumption appears plausible, but also because we have direct scriptural statement on our side, is untenable and unwarranted. The commentator does not state which Vedic statement endorses this. (srutatvat ca B.S.3-2-39) Thibaut reads this statement as And because it is declared by scripture.
According to Thibaut Jaimini (thinks) for the same reasons that religious merit (is what brings about the fruits of actions). (3-2-40) Jaimini could not endorse the stand taken by Badarayana that the concept of performance of duty without personal gain (a concept advocated by Krshna) was within the framework of traditional thought that is enshrined in the Vedas (Srutis). But he would treat it as one within the framework of Dharmasastra.
The commentator notes that scripture proclaims injunctions like, He who is desirous of the heavenly-world is to sacrifice. But there is no relationship between the purpose of an action and the effect of that action. What is the result of the action or duty performed, whether it is good or bad, is what Dharmasastra is concerned with, Jaimini holds. Some commentators draw attention to Isa Upanishad. (Vide Ch. 48 of this work for a critical appreciation of this Upanishad.)
The teacher of this Upanishad points out that all that moves (jagat) in this moving (social) universe (jagat) is enveloped by Isa (God) and therefore one should seek enjoyment in renunciation. The student is advised not to covet the wealth of others. (I.U.1) In the social universe (jagat), that is, in the mobile populations of the Vedic and Upanishadic times there were no permanent attachments or vocations or possessions. Even marriages were not permanent and families had not come into existence.
Consequently there was no need to have socio-economic codes and courts to regulate the activities of its members. But the individuals who were the constituents of this jagat had to look up to the charismatic chief, Isa, for protection of their lives and property if any. (It is inadvisable to overlook the fact that the terms, Isa and Isvara, indicated charismatic chieftains especially of the social periphery who were liberal to their followers and who could also be menacing to their detractors. These terms are not to be interpreted as god.)
There was no personal property but there could be collective property that was guarded by this Isa. If any individual had acquired personal wealth he had to renounce it in favour of the social universe. He is warned against coveting wealth whether that of another person or of the collective and holding to wealth as personal property.
The annotators have failed to note the essential difference between jagat (social universe of individuals on the move) and loka (social world of organized clans and settled communities). The teacher discouraged formation of economic communities and creation of personal property. Renunciation of personal interests and accruals was advocated. The teacher counsels, Always performing duties (karma) here one should wish to live a hundred years.
In other words he should not seek to retire from his duties or to become a monk (sanyasi). Only if one lived so, performing his duty and not seeking wealth, the effects of his deeds (karma) would not adhere (lipyata) to him. That is, an individual who performs his duty without seeking rewards and wealth will not be hauled up for any errors in his actions even as he cannot hope to gain personal wealth by performing that duty (I.U.2).
This advice is given to the free man, nara and not to a commoner, manushya. Manushyas were attached to families and communities and these had property and it belonged to the commonalty. They followed the vocations that their families were assigned traditionally. A nara was one who had walked out of such families and had chalked out a course of action and life of his own. This verse refuses to permit him to acquire wealth. The naras were required to serve the state and were assured immunity against any punishment for faults in performance of duties in return for the loyal service that they rendered to the society. Dharmasastra was aware of these nuances. Jaimini was an ardent advocate of the new socio-cultural code, dharmasastra. (dharmam Jaimini ata eva B.S.3-2-40)
According to Thibaut, Badarayana, however, thinks the former (i.e. the Lord to be the cause of the fruits of action), since he is designated as the cause (of the actions themselves). (3-2-41) The commentator says that according to all Vedanta texts declare that the Lord is the only cause of all creation and that his creating all creatures in forms and conditions corresponding to and retributive of their former deeds is just what entitles us to call the Lord the cause of all fruits of action. This statement is untenable for Badarayana holds as valuable the purpose behind the performance of the duties. (purva tu Badarayano hetu vyapadesat 3-2-41)