Sunday 13 November 2016

Ishavasyopanishad - 11

Mantras 9 to 11

अन्धन्तम: प्रविशन्ति येSविद्यामुपासते

ततो भूय इव ते तमो ये उ विद्यायाम् रता: ||९||

अन्यदेवाहुः विद्यया अन्यद् आहुः अविद्यया

इति शुश्रुम धीराणां ये नस्तद्विचचक्षिरे ||१०||

विद्यां च अविद्यां च यस्तद्वेदोभयं सह |

अविद्यया मृत्युं तीर्त्वा विद्ययाऽमृतमश्नुते ||११||

Into dense darkness they enter, who worship avidya, into greater darkness, as it were, they enter, who worship vidya. The results achieved through the worship of vidya and avidya are different from each other. One who knows vidya and avidya together crosses over death through avidya and becomes immortal through vidya. Avidya is lack of knowledge of the Self, giving rise to desire and action. It is ignorance which extends through various degrees in the world of manifestation. Absence of Self-knowledge always expresses itself as a desire or a wish for something external, whether seen or unseen. The experiences of those who believe in the reality of these phenomenal worlds are always negative and objective. They try their best to develop relationships and contacts with the objects of these worlds, thinking that they can acquire perfect happiness thereby. All contacts end in sorrow, all actions give rise to perishable fruits. Nothing that is the result of the struggle of the ego is long-lasting. Therefore, people who worship and love the world and its contents enter into dense darkness, viz., death after death. Their experiences are painful because of the lack of the light of knowledge. But, there is one advantage in this state of ignorance, viz., the absence of egoism. There is opportunity for these ignorant ones to rise to higher states, if only they get proper guidance. They have no egoism because their intellect is not developed. They follow merely the instincts of nature.

Those who worship vidya, i.e., the knowledge of different divinities or celestial beings, appear to fall into greater darkness. They have knowledge, and hence egoism, too. Here knowledge does not mean the knowledge of Brahman, but lower, relative knowledge. Those who worship a celestial being, a divinity or God himself with form are led to the belief that their state is the all. Because what they aspire for is superior to the human region it appears as though it is good and worth coveting. In fact this knowledge is imperfect, capricious and perishable, because it is objective and not absolute. There is no hope of further rising up in the case of those who are satisfied with the present lot. This vidya is worse than avidya, because avidya at least produces pain and makes one understand that the present condition is unsatisfactory, while vidya deceives a person into the belief that he is perfect and there is no need for further progress. A little knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge. Those who are satisfied with the celestial region have to be reborn as individuals performing action for the attainment of happiness, because the effect of upasana or this lower knowledge has an end. One cannot rejoice in heaven eternally.

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