How does Ishopanishad mantra 17 refute impersonalism?

by Chaitanya CharanAugust 6, 2014

From: Anuj Agrawal

Purport to mantra 17 of Sri Isopanisad mentions following – “This mantra verifies the fact that the living entity exists after the annihilation of the material body.”

How does the mantra verifies this fact? Also how does this mantra text defeat mayavada philosophy?

Transcribed by: Geetanjali Nath

Question: From Anuj Agarwal Prabhu, this is based on Isopanishad mantra 17, Prabhupada in the purport mentions that this mantra verifies the fact that the living entity exists after the annihilation of the material body, so how does this mantra verifies this fact ? and how does the mantra refute mayavad philosophy ?

Answer: Let’s look at the mantra , mantra seventeen in Isopanishad says “vāyur anilam amṛtam, athedaṁ bhasmāntaṁ śarīram, oṁ krato smara kṛtaṁ smara, krato smara kṛtaṁ smara. Let this body perish, so athedam bhasmantam sariram,   this is the prayer is made when one is at the level of about to die and one is meditating what is going to happen at the moment of death. The body is going to perish, let the body perish. and then let the air merge into totality of the air, let the body merge into ashes, and then after that what happens ? Om krato smara , Oh absolute truth, remember what I have done for you, please remember the sacrifices I have done for you. Now the first thing that strikes from this verse is that there is a perishable component and there is a imperishable component, so basically this verse is a request and a acceptance both, that the perishable and the imperishable is going to be separated at the time of death. and so let that separation happen and let the perishable perish and let the imperishable attain the imperishable realm, that is the implicit prayer within this. So Oh. Lord when you remember what I have done for you means, Please help me attain you, that will me mentioned in the next verse that, please remove obstacles from my path so that I can come to you. Now regarding the refutation of the impersonal-ism or talking about the personal aspect of the living entity, the fact is , that when this verse is talking about the imperishable realm, its talking about oneself and the desire that whatever one has done be remembered. This itself indicates that at the time of separation of the body and the soul, the aspiration is not for merging into transcendence, that means, now this whole upanishad is actually a meditation that is done by Syambhu Manu, when he is being attacked by rakshas then he is praying to yagnavtar, so it is a realized soul, and the realized soul knows the nature the transcendence, and that realized soul is meditating on the absolute truth. So focusing on one’s own nature also , the idea is not that , “now that my body is going to perish let me merge in you|” , you are there, I am here and you please remember me and bless me. so that indicates that even in the transcendental realm , once even when the body separates from matter , at that time, the duality of the worshipable and the worshiped still remains. and the advancement in the spiritual realm still dependent on the mercy coming from the worshiped to the worshiper. So that is the direction of the grace not from before one attains transcendence, but even after one attains transcendence.. Even after one becomes the idea let me give up my body, this itself indicates a very high level of detachment, but even after detachment there is no aspiration for merger , but there is aspiration for mercy and the aspiration for mercy is the basis of advancement. So by asserting the existence of personality and the presence of the worshipable , the worshiper and the worshi……, the presence of all three , this asserts the individuality of the living entity and the eternity of the process of bhakti and therefore this refutes the idea of impersonal-ism, where in one is expected to merge into the absolute truth. Thank you

Hare Krishna.

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Chaitanya Charan

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