Namaskaar. We continue to Part 13 of Shri V. Subrahmanian’s commentary on Mundaka Upanishad. In previous part 12 he concluded by mentioning a very popular verse known as “Two Birds on a Tree” in which the Upanishat very nicely and poetically compares one bird to the Jiva and another to Paramatma. Here the author starts with a detailed explanation of that verse and goes on to explain few other verses.
The muNDakopaniShat – Part 13
The first mantra in the third section of the first chapter of this Upaniṣat is about the ‘two birds’ that are perched on the ‘tree.’ This imagery conveys the idea that the jīvātmā and the Paramātmā (the two birds), have the body apparatus as the tree where they reside. The body is the abode, locus, where the two, jīva and Īśwara, are manifest. They can be known, realized, too, in the body. The body is called a ‘tree’ since just as a tree, the body too, gets destroyed. The two entities are clinging together the same tree. This tree has its root in the ‘high’ and the shoots in the ‘low’. Its origin, source, is the ‘avyakta’, unmanifest, which is the ‘high’. It, the body, is called ‘kṣetra’, the field, for it is the platform where the experiences of joy and sorrow, as a result of one’s actions, are had by the jīva (ref. Bhagavad gītā 13.1), which, put together is the ‘low’. The jīva resides in the body that is the abode for the subtle body, sūkṣma śarīra, which also has the basic avidyā (causal body, kāraṇa śarīra), the desires, actions and the nascent tendencies that are produced constantly owing to engaging in actions. Continue reading