Mundaka Upanishad I & II

Mundaka Upanishad II

In part I it was said that Brahman is omniscient. The universe is his creation. Life evolves from his will.

  1. The path of rituals based on Mantras was discovered by the wise ones. One is advised to perform the rituals hoping for beneficial results. This path leads to the fruits of karma acquired by one.
  2. The flame shoots up when the fire is kindled. At that time one should offer the oblation in the middle.
  3. If a ritual is performed without observing the prescription it proves destructive.

    The details of the prescriptions are given. These are not relevant.
  4. The next seven shlokas (4-10) describe the results of the ritual observances. They limit one’s vision and prevent one from realizing the ultimate. Though the observations relate to Hindu rituals they are relevant in the context of other religions also. In particular shloka 6 describes how the limited ‘Gods’ mislead people with delusion of a chosen people. I am leaving the technicalities in the descriptions unchanged.

    The seven different Agnis with flaming tongues are: Kaali Karaali, Manojavaa, Sulohita and Sudhoomravarna spulingini and Vishwaruchi.
  5. When one performs these yagnyas according to the rules in proper time the fires turn into rays of the sun and carry him to the regions where the single lord of the gods presides over all.
  6. They welcome him with pleasant words, “Come, Come! Here is your well-earned reward- the path to heaven.” They offer him adoration. The scintillating oblations carry the performer along the rays of the Sun.
  7. These eighteen constituents of a sacrifice (yagnya) are perishable. They are fragile. The ignorant people get elated with the idea and mistake it for eternal bliss. They are ensnared in the existential constraints.
  8. These people remain within the folds of ignorance. They think themselves to be learned and wise. Buffeted on all sides the fools wander through their life. They are like blind men led by blind men.
  9. These infantile individuals congratulate themselves that they have attained the highest achievement. Deluded by desires they are afflicted with sorrow and lose the effects of their karma.
  10. The deluded fools think that their rituals are the highest. They are ignorant of the other paths that lead to liberation. After a period of enjoyment they enter the world of misery.
  11. One goes by the path of the Sun to the region of the un-decaying and immortal Purusha. That learned one is endowed with faith and meditation. He retires from active life and depends on charitable public support.

    A Sannyasi is not limited by ideology, social norms and even by the need to sustain his body. That is why he depends upon anonymous public charity.

    Monks living in Ashrams or belonging to the Catholic Church or nuns in convents suffer from the above limitations. In addition they are committed to the organization. Such enforced discipline may look socially productive.

    Hinduism depends upon individual self-control. It may appear anarchic. The survival of the religion against Islamic onslaught is mainly owed to this individuality. Buddhism fell because it was centralized at Nalanda.

    As they say, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
  12. A Brahmin intent on realization should examine the world limited by committed action. With the conviction that there is nothing more to be achieved, he should approach a scholar well versed in the Brahman.
  13. That enlightened teacher would impart the knowledge of the imperishable Brahman to the calm and collected seeker.

    To sum up: Different forms of delusions are described. The path to realization is open to those who have examined the world carefully and concluded that there is nothing to be done by energetic commitment. They should seek instruction from an experienced teacher.  


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