Namaskaar. Part 29 of Kathopanishat commentary by Shri V. Subrahmanian on website of Vedanta Academy gives further insight into the subtle topic of Brahman, Atman. The Upanishad itself provides analogies to explain the topic and the commentator completes the job by elaborating so well.
This is the central message of the upaniShad. He who grasps it correctly is instantly released from the error and the error-born effects called samsara.
The Guru, Yama, is delineating the topic of ‘brahman’ that he has commenced already a few mantra-s before.
य एष सुप्तेषु जागर्ति कामं कामं पुरुषो निर्मिमाणः तदेव शुक्रं तद्ब्रह्म तदेवामृतमुच्यते ।
तस्मिल्लोकाः श्रिताः सर्वे तदु नात्येति कश्चन । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ८ ॥
य he एष who सुप्तेषु while asleep जागर्ति keeps awake कामं कामं desirable objects पुरुषः the sentient being निर्मिमाणः producing तत् that एव alone शुक्रं Pure तत् that is ब्रह्म brahman तत् that एव alone is अमृतम् immortal उच्यते said to be.
तस्मिन् In It लोकाः the worlds श्रिताः contained सर्वे all तदु that न do not अत्येति pass beyond कश्चन none एतत् that वै indeed is तत् That.
He, the puruSha, who remains awake while the sense-organs are asleep, shaping one lovely form after another, that indeed is the Pure, that is brahman and that alone is called the Immortal. All worlds are contained in Him and none can pass beyond. This, verily, is That.
When the individual sleeps, is it that there is nothing in that state? There is one entity that keeps awake. Doing what? It keeps producing and supplying all that the individual desires as objects of enjoyment. Such an entity has to be a sentient one which is not part of the inert group consisting of the mind-body. The mantra is referring to the state of dream when the sense organs are at rest but only the mind is functioning. Still, for the mind to be functional, there is the need for the sentient Atman to be in the background. And it is this Atman that is spoken of as the Pure and nothing else that is beyond comprehension. All the upaniShad-s have for their ultimate purport this eternal, indestructible Self.
Further, all the different worlds including this world of ours, are contained in It which is the ultimate Cause. Just like all the clay-products can be understood to exist in clay. This is one way of the upaniShad to teach the ‘existence’ of brahman. Since the effect cannot exist in any other entity than its material cause, so too there has to be a cause in which all this manifest world exists. That cause is brahman, the sat. This word ‘sat’ verily means ‘Existence’. It is not merely the existence of something that comes into being and exists, like a pot, but the Pure Eternal Existence that exists irrespective of the existence of the effects. Everything else derives its existence from this. It is the knowledge of this sat that constitutes the liberating knowledge.
The veda makes an incessant and sincere effort to bring this knowledge within the grasp of seekers. Mere ratiocinating will not help. Nor will be of help those who have a crooked mental outlook. It is a sincere and committed application of one’s mental and intellectual resources to the serious study and understanding of the Atman through the upaniShad-s with the help of competent masters that can bring this knowledge within one’s ken. With this central message in the background the veda makes untiring efforts to present the Atman in a number of ways with the wish, hope, that the seeker succeeds in getting the knowledge through some or the other method: Continue reading