Madhu Vidya

April 2, 2018 | Author: Astrologer Rajesh Banta | Category: Brahman, Upanishads, Ātman (Hinduism), Advaita Vedanta, Universe


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CHAPTER-3MADHU VIDYA : THE VISION OF HONEY The Upanisads present an integral view of the world and life. The universe with all its diversities is not, in reality, different from Brahman. The five elements come out of Brahman which is not only transcendent but also immanent in the world. In fact, both these manners of conceiving Brahman are found in the Upanisads. Transcendence and immanence are but two views of the same Reality. The negative method, the method of neti neti (not this, not this) is not in opposition to the all-inclusive view of Brahman, since both are equally upheld by the sages of the Upanisads. While in maitreyi brahmana of BU (BU, 2.4 and BU, 4-5) the former method is emphasised, madhu brahmana (B.U., 2.5) gives stress on the all-inclusive vision. While the former method seeks to prove that this world of difference and diversities are nothing but illusory which has its basis, the one unconditioned Reality, Brahman, the latter method seeks to comprehend the world of diversities as the manifestation of the one Reality. For the upholders of the former view the world is the vivarta of its Real ground, while for the upholders of the latter view it is the unmesa, unfolding or manifestation. t Advaita Vedanta as interpreted by Sankara and his followers is the final point of extension of the former view, where as the ultimate result of the latter view is the latter Tantric Philosophy, especially the Pratya- bhijha school1 of Kashmir. Both these trends as they are seen in the Upanisads and also both the latter schools mentioned above, have Advaita as their ultimate view, only the methods of approach have been different. Madhu vidya is a sort of vision that perceives the intimate connection between the subjective and the objective as well as their basic 68 7) is meant for sravana (hearing).4. that prior to madhu brahmana is for manana (reflection) and this present chapter. it is all but the Self. the effect of one cause. the secret knowledge that has been handed down to us from the early Vedic traditions. A Plenary Vision : Ordinary empirical knowledge grasps everything in fragments. While Sankara rejects the separate enjoining of meditation he agrees on this point that this present brahmana is the conclusion of the first two chapters of the Upanisad. so they are. viz. whose / view Sankara refers to in his commentaiy. because of their mutual helpfulness. It is a sort of perception as well as a form of meditation which makes us awake to the ‘mystic honey’. existent in one and have their origin and dissolution in the same one Reality. All the things of the world are mutually cause and effect to each other. 2. Since. Bhartrprapanca. pata (a cloth). their essential oneness. as disconnected from each other.7. It cannot perceive the underlying unity of all. unity. Thus. is of opinion that the text which precedes the illustration of the drum (dundubhi) (BU. the whole universe has its origin. existence.. Even • • • V 69 . etc. This statement is the pratijna (the first statement of Indian syllogism) which is supported by this present chapter which supplies arguments (tarka) for its establishment. madhu brahmana is meant for meditation.2). We grasp the objects such as ghata (a pot). another commentator previous to Sankara.U. this section is only the re-affirmation of the statement “All this is but the Self’ (C. 25. madhu vidya sums up the entire subjects discussed in the madhu kanda which consists of the first two chapters of the Brhadaranyaka. and dissolution in the Self. / According to Sankara. we cannot grasp them as the manifestation of one basic principle. Here the earth is described as the honey of all beings and all beings are said to be the honey of earth. This madhu. without which the things of the world would have been a mass of confusion. the ‘honey’ {madhu) as it is depicted here. this is Brahman and this is all. it is itself everything. As the honeybees 70 . it is necessary to posit such a link. we may perceive the things in their mutual connection or relationship such as cause and effect. it cannot grasp the all-pervasive connection underlying all the objects of the world. and all beings are the honey of this earth. This is that which the Self is. transcending all differences. This plenary vision. this trans-empirical and trans-rational knowledge of the all-pervasive Reality. “This earth is indeed honey of all beings. Though metaphysical speculation postulates such a link. through rationalisation.though sometimes. it is therein more or less a possibility. it presents a teleological view of the world. the essence and the fulfillment of all.”4 This is the first passage of the madhu brahmana. This is immortal. The word honey is taken as a symbol. The purpose of the world is the attainment of the Self. Thus. the cosmic order of the things of the world. But the seers of the Upanisads had discovered and perfected a method through which they could comprehend this cosmic link directly. etc. The shining immortal being that is in this earth and the shining immortal being who is in this body are the same. is not only inherent in all. Even though such a link is indispensable it is not possible to grasp it either through sense-experience or through reasoning. both the inner and the outer. is madhu-vidya. It stands for something which is attained through much labour. Though discursive reasoning tends us to perceive the objects with their mutual connections. But to explain the cosmos. thus. for the fruition of their karma. their so-called body is nothing more than ail effect of the earth. The radiant and immortal being that animates the body of the individual is essentially one with the radiant being that remains latent in 71 . the unity between the physical being of the individual and the earth. it is the result or the effect of all beings concerned with it. the much besought fruit of labour is as sweet as honey. All the beings. which is relishing as well as an accomplishment. The non-living things seem to be inert and devoid of consciousness as life has not manifest in them. Even the gross earth is not bereft of the ‘Inner Light’. on the other hand who live in it are created by the earth since their physical being. an effect of a long and laborious endeavour. The sweetness of honey shows that the achievement of the process. even though the same life-spirit is latent in them. likewise through a laborious process of activity something is achieved or built up.collect honey from hundreds of flowers and deposit there in one place. The Vedic and the Upanisadic worldview does not conceive anything as bereft of consciousness which not only animates all but is the ground and the essence of all the things both living and non-living. After showing the parallelism. The seer of the BU goes on to point to the oneness of the radiant beings which are present inside both the earth and the individual made of earth. Therefore ‘honey’ stands for any final achievement. achieved or made by all the beings either living in it or connected with it. the earth (earth as an element or as the Earth) is said to be the honey. Beyond the Physical or the gross level there exists a subtle level. In the lines referred to above. the Upanisad proceeds on to the subtler level of this relation. Why it is their ‘honey’? For the enjoyment of their action. So. the earth is created. on account of this mutual helpfulness. both these are identified with the Self. Sankara’s argument regarding the mutual dependence of all the things of the world and their final identification is worth-noting : “Because there is mutual helpfulness among the parts of the universe beginning with the earth. the principle of immortality. and because it is noticed from common experience that those things which are mutually helpful come out of the same cause. the earth. all beings which are the ‘honey’ of water and the radiant being latent in water and that who pervades the liquid part of the bodies of all beings are one. the inter connectedness of the things make it clear that the entire universe is a system. The mutual causal relation. must be like their first cause. the Reality of all life and existence. manifested as everything is the world. the inner principle. . the radiant being which means consciousness that animates the body and the Cosmic Consciousness termed as atman or Brahman are essentially one. Finally these four are nothing but the Self. belong to the same unity and dissolve into the same cause. describing this mutual cause- effect relationship among other things of the universe in other levels.”5 Thus. the earth. animated and sustained by the same principle. that has manifested as all the world. the radiant being. Then in a third level of synthesis. the individual body made up of earth. Brahman. 72 . water which is said to be the ‘honey’ of all beings. Thus. Then the Upanisad proceeds on. their unification in another higher level and finding the connectedness of all the apparently fragmentary things is the basic method of exposition / adopted in the Upanisads. therefore this universe consisting of the earth and others. Parallelism between the individual and the universal. the adhidevata of the earth. an organic whole. Brahman. the four principles.. clouds. are described as the ‘honey’. the moon.6 Thus the psycho-physiological beings dwelling inside the cosmos are said to be the product or creation of the cosmic counter-parts and vice versa. fire which is the ‘honey’ of all and all beings which are the ‘honey’ of fire are one. air. the radiant and immortal being pervading vak (speech is described as the counterpart of fire in the individual level) and the radiant deity. there would be no world. In the individual level. are the product of the individuals. since. It is noteworthy that the Upanisadic worldview supports a teleological explanation of the cosmic process. the sweet product of the cosmic elements and forces depicted earlier. both gross and subtle) are said to be the ‘honey’. and inversely the individuals (their bodies. Thus. Finally these two are one. in turn. Likewise. the sun. So they are each other’s mutual product. it is a system with a purpose working inherent in it. Had there been no karma of the individuals. adhidevata in fire are one. It is noteworthy that madhu vidya not only shows the complementarity and the interdependence of all the individuals and the 73 . The Upanisadic theory holds that not only the individuals are the product of the cosmic elements and forces they. the sweet product of the individuals viewed as physical bodies. The world is not really a congregation. Brahman. Underlying everything a purpose tends to manifest. etc. relative to each other for their existence and their accomplishment. so all these four are nothing but one with the ultimate principle. since the cosmic counterparts are not also independently existent apart from the individual beings. lightning. It is the forerunner of the modem scientific theory that everything in the universe is connected to every other thing how much remote they may be. they are created by the combined latent karmas of all beings for their enjoyment. such as the earth. so it is said 74 . so it is the complementary cosmic counterpart of the eye. Likewise. which make the activities of the senses. It shows that in every elemental force of nature there remains hidden an inner and immortal being that sustains and controls its nature. which makes them compatible to each other. The BU is emphatic in all these passages in declaring this identity - “Whatever is the radiant immortal being in the universe and the radiant immortal being in the individual. The second is the adhibhautika. air. mind. no other than the Absolute. subtle and causal) of him. his psycho- physiological being. Both the objective and subjective counterparts are thus controlled by a supreme force. it is but one and identical.”7 It is to be noted that the three levels of realities in the Upanisadic framework is a fundamental scheme of interpretation found in the Upanisads. vital air and the senses. on the other hand. Thus. termed as the bodies (gross. The first is the reality of the individual side. This supreme force is.world outside. after showing the mutual dependence and relative existence of the gross and manifest realm. the all-pervasive Consciousness that is termed as atman from the individual point of view and Brahman from the cosmic stand point. it points to the inner realities of the things unperceived so far by sense-experience or discursive reasoning. consisting of the body. Thus. Without air from outside the breathing activity in the individual is impossible. water. without the light from the sun the eyes cannot see. in the individual counterpart. the gross and subtle bodies are also controlled by an inner principle which is radiant and immortal. the sky. the sun. pertaining to the cosmic elements and the forces. fire. it also intends to make us aware of a deeper truth. the inlaying identity of all the fragments of the universe. mind and limbs of the individual beings possible. It is known as the adhyatma or pertaining to the psycho-physiological individual. etc. sarvesam bhutanam raja in this passage in madhu vidya in BU. This vision of the universe as manifest in three aspects. the Self. etc. They are termed as gods in the Vedic and Upanisadic texts. as Brahman is described as sarvesam bhiitdnam adhipati. are not inert forces of nature. this is. the humanistic stand point. as cast in the vision of a relationship. wherein everybody or everything is the effect of every other being and everybody is the enjoyer of everything other. the sun. mutually creating and fulfilling each other. to be the cosmic counterpart of breath. are the manifestation of the Supreme Consciousness termed as God from the saguna aspect of view. According to this. as has been stated earlier. the Ruler of the universe. etc. The earth. in the individuals. which is the same as Brahman. the waters. air. This is the description of the wheel: “Just as the spokes 75 . etc. is well depicted by Suresvara in his Vartika . breath. adhibhautika and adhidaivika. Here. From. the Absolute. But the vision culminates in a higher consciousness. thus. nothing in the world is bereft of some conscious controlling force. are the adhibhautika aspect of the 2dhydtmika eye. they are also presided by radiant living forces termed as gods. established.adhyatmika. adhidaiva and adhibhuta (in its infinite proliferations) exists as for each others’ enjoyment. it is God. What is viewed from the individual point as the essence of all selves is the Self. a perception of a higher order where the entire universe is seen as contained within a vast unbound reality.”8 Madhu Vidya : The Mystic Honey : Madhu vidya. viz. Apart from these two there is the adhidaivika aspect. the sun.“The entire universe consisting of the adhyatma. who on the other hand. the inner controlling spiritual forces of the apparently inert elemental principles and forces. is thus the all-pervasive vision of ‘honey’ in all things and all things as non-different from the all-inclusive Reality. all gods. We cannot say which one among them is the correct one..It has been stated that Vamadeva (BU. An example is being given as to how on this knower who is the Self of all and has realized this truth. It is to be noted that the linear. all vital forces and all individual beings fixed in the Self (atman)”9 Commenting on this passage. which supports the entire universe as the inner and the outer basis of all.. Some thinkers are even 76 . If at all anything exists inside and outside.. Sankara says: “The import of the scriptures has been indicated briefly for which the chapter began. 1... The Self is both the inner and the outer support as the nave and the rim of a wheel.. it is nothing but the all-pervasive Self. It is only given as an example. this is famous in the example where the spokes are fixed within the nave and the rim of a wheel. It is to be borne in mind that the example of the wheel is given to show that as the spokes of a wheel cannot be operative or exist as such without being fixed in the nave inside and in the rim outside of a wheel. so are all things. Actually there is nothing outside or inside in the Reality as the empirical conception of space and time does not hold good there.4. are fixed in the nave and rim of a chariot-wheel.10) who was the knower of Brahman realised that he had been Manu and the sun earlier. all worlds. This identification with all is thus explained.”10 It is to be noted that this line refers to the famous mantra of RV ascribed to the sage Vamadeva quoted in the BU. likewise the entire ranges of the things and beings of the universe cannot exist outside of this Cosmic Self. the whole universe rests. circular or the spherical conceptions of space which influence our perception of the universe are variously conceived and held by the scientists and the philosophers.. that terrible deed you committed. the twin gods of healing and illumination and alludes to the Vedic anecdote how they got the secret knowledge from the sage Dadhyanc Atharvana. the ‘Bliss’ or Ananda that fulfills all seeking.keeping his words he taught you the ‘honey’ {madhu vidya Pertaining to the sacrifice) . it is the ‘honey’ (the secret knowledge) which Dadhyanc instructed you with the head of a horse. I am disclosing as a cloud does rain. The Advaita Vedanta view of space is not confined to any special conception.”11 The next mantra quoted from the RV (1. which was diligently guarded by Indra lest anybody gets the secret.12): “This is indeed that ‘honey’ (the sweet secret knowledge) that Dadhync Atharvana spoke to Asvins. such examples are only given to make one understand the basic truth.117. Perceiving this the seer said ‘O. since it is the ultimate ‘honey’.22) runs like this : “O Asvins. as according it. beyond space and time. the mutual products and fulfillments for each other. which can present themselves in myriad forms and conceptions. Since. you set head of a horse on Dadhyanc Atharvana . presenting a holographic conception of the universe.116. Madhu vidya which has a gross meaning as well as a subtle meaning is depicted as a great secret. Madhu Vidya and Asvins : Madhu vidya is closely associated with Asvins. The BU alludes to the Vedic upakhyana by quoting a mantra from RV (1. where not only the things are conceived as ‘honey’. endeavours and knowledge. space and time are nothing but false appearances. the ultimate Reality is beyond all conceptions. the vision • T of the mystic honey. Asvins in human form. according to which the world appear to be different from different angles of vision. the Self is also grasped as the sweetest of all. This all-encompassing vision is termed as madhu-vidya. where as in this portion of BU it is explicitly dealt with. infuriated by this. the moon and fire. The secret knowledge of honey was guarded by Indra with great efforts. cut his head. the keeper of the divine honey. The first is termed as tvastra. The seer Dadhyanc knew the secrets.“The one of the thousand parts of the solar rays that gets reflected on the moon and that which resides in the earth in fire is the honey (madhu) that rests on tvasta *> * • So 78 . Tvasta is a Vedic god related to the sun.”12 it is to be noted that the first ‘honey’ is the gross one and the second one is the esoteric vidya dealt with in the Upanisad. they set the head of a horse on his shoulder and heard him telling the vidya when Indra. which delights the gods and soothes the mortals. the Asvins besought him to instruct the secrets. and the second is termed as kaksya. 'But Indra had warned him not to disclose it to anybody. to be kept in secrecy. So Sankara says that there in the previous chapters the secret vidya was indicated but not explained in details. the esoteric knowledge) which was to be kept in secrecy. The ‘honey’ that he guards is nothing other than ‘light’ that gets reflected on the moon. colour and forms.. they again joined the original head in his body. concerning Tvasta and also that (madhu vidya. However. Knowing that Indra would cut the head of the sage. Otherwise he would cut the seer’s head. The Brahaddevata thus explains the concept . ✓ _ In the previous chapters of Satapatha Brahmana where the pravargya karma is described this madhu vidya of the gross form was depicted. the god of light. He is known as the revealer of forms (rupa-vikarta).13 The story runs like this. concerned with tvasta. This Vedic episode is referred to in the BU In relation to the description of madhu vidya. the gross form of madhu is the cosmic light # that reveals in the form of the solar rays.it is clear that the gross meaning of honey that rests on tvasta. » • ■ ■ The Asvins. ' S'. we see that it is nothing other than the Self. which is thus described in the Upanisad . Perceiving this the sage said: “He made '' 79 ’ ' . It is noteworthy that these natural events were not taken in their face-vaiue by the Vedic seers. Madhu vidya is the intuitive knowledge of that madhu. the cosmic event of illumination. it is the cosmic ‘‘madhu' that enlivens and sustains life on earth. the interminable source of bliss and knowledge. the day and the night or the earth and the heaven. which is the same as Brahman. Their covetousness of light (the cosmic honey) that reveals and enlivens is well understood from the fact that they are said to precede the sunrise. the sun and the moon. got converted also into moon­ beams and the energy of fire. . thus known as tvastram madhu is nothing other than the solar light that reveals and delights. the day and night. . enlivening and healing forces pervading the earth and heaven.15 Their time is said to be between dawn and sunrise. Thus they are the forerunners of light. Coming to the honey that is contextual to Self-knowledge depicted in the Upanisads. From the external stand point. they wanted to penetrate into the mysteiy and beauty of every event or thing that they confronted.“This is indeed this madhu that Dadhyahc Atharvana taught Asvins. being reflected on the moon. They may be taken as the revealing. Thus. and reveals as light in fire oh the earth. and the energy that gets converted into fire on earth is the transformation of the solar energy. the twin gods of healing and light are sometimes identified with the sun and the moon. all that covers the entire world in dual forms. It is well known that the light of the moon is nothing other then the rays of the sun reflected on its surface. giving light and heat on the earth. Indra (Paramesvara). as he sleeps (dwells) in all the puras (houses. for to him are yoked tens and thousands of horses (infinite senses of the infinite living beings).dwelling (bodies) with two feet and with four feet.47. without interior or exterior. bodies). This is the (sum of the) teaching of the Upanisads”.” The BU explains the cryptic meaning of the mantra . the Purusa.” He is called Purusa. This is Brahman. Brahman. 80 .”18 Madhu vidya is the all-inclusive vision of ‘honey’ a form of A upasana through which one perceives the multitude of things within a cosmic unity which is pervaded by “Madhu”.“He himself is the horses (the sense organs).”16 Madhu vidya concludes with a famous mantra quoted from the RV (6. nothing not covered by him. many and infinite. This is the Self. thus becoming every form. his powers of knowledge or through superimposition as Sankara explains). the Bliss and Beauty that gives meaning and value to all the things of the world. is perceived as manifold. the perceiver of everything. There is nothing not covered by him. He is verily the ‘tens’ and the ‘thousands’.18) .“He assumed one form and the other. on account of his mdyas (mysterious / powers. assuming the form of a bird. entered'these bodies. without prior or posterior. That Supreme Being. Sutra 2. 116.V.U.U 12. B.4-14 7.5. PP. 492-493 16. ibid.597 11. 2.14 8.17 R.5.V. 4. 2.15 10. 2.18 18 B.117-22 quoted in B. 3. 2. Vaidika Safcitya Aur Samsktfi (Hindi) Baladev Upadhyaya.5.12 quoted in B.5. PP 603-604 14.17 15. P. ibid.U.U. ibid. R. REFERENCE 1. B.19 81 .1 5. Sankara’s Comm.5. B. PP. 6.B.5.5 28-29 9.5) 3. 1.18 17. B.5. ibid. 2. Sankara’s comm.V.U. Sankara’s Comm. Pratyabhijna-hrdayam.U. 2.U.U. 2. B.U.5. on B. B.19. 580-581 6. Brhaddevata. B.U.16 R.V.47. B. 2. 1.U 13. Sankara’s introduction to Madhu Brahmana of B. 2. (2.U.5. 2. svecchaya sva-bhittau visvam unmilayati J 2.U. 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