Namaskaar. In this part 12 of Kathopanishat Commentary by Shri V. Subrahmanian, we now get to learn the logic behind Lord Yama’s statements and get into the teaching of Atman, the Self.
After glorifying the vidyA, the AchArya and the shiShya, Yama takes up the special glorification of the Atman:
न नरावरेण प्रोक्त एष
सुविज्ञेयो बहुधा चिन्त्यमानः ।
अनन्यप्रोक्ते गतिः अत्र नास्ति
अणीयान् हि अतर्क्यम् अणुप्रमाणात् ॥ ८
न never नरावरेण by an unaccomplished person प्रोक्त when taught एष this Self सुविज्ञेयो becomes precisely known बहुधा (for It is) variously चिन्त्यमानः (mis) understood. अनन्यप्रोक्ते when taught by someone who has become one with It गतिः cogitation अत्र with regard to It नास्ति ceases. अणीयान् For It becomes very subtle हि indeed अतर्क्यम् cannot be argued about अणुप्रमाणात् (subtler) than an atom.
Atman, when taught by an inferior person, is not easily comprehended, because It is diversely regarded by disputants. But when It is taught by him who has become one with Atman, there can remain no more doubt about It. Atman is subtler than the subtlest and not to be known through argument.
By ‘inferior person’ the upaniShad wants to say that this knowledge about the Self is to be imparted only by someone who is perfectly qualified to do so. One who is endowed with mere worldly knowledge is therefore unfit to deliver this knowledge. Without realizing the Self as It is taught in the scripture and instructed by a truly qualified AchArya the Self remains unknown. There is also the danger of the Self being wrongly comprehended thereby resulting in the aspirant remaining in samsara for ever. The reason behind the scripture being so particular about this is that the Self that is to be taught and understood is extremely difficult to properly comprehend being variously thought of as ‘it exists’, ‘it does not exist’, ‘it is the doer’, ‘it is not the doer’, ‘it is pure’, ‘it is impure’ etc. Disputants take up one or the other of these alternatives and try to fit it into the nature of the Self. When this is the case with the wrong understanding, what indeed constitutes right apprehension? The upaniShad proceeds to explain: When It is taught/expounded by a Self-realized AchArya, that is he who has realized his identity with the Self thereby dispelling the erroneous vision of duality, there will be no room for the various kinds of misapprehension spoken of above such as ‘it is, it is not’. With these wrong understandings ceasing to be there, there arises a clear perception of the Self. Continue reading