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Durable Link to this BlogSaturday, May 17, 2008

Hinduism; Vedanta

Hinduism; Vedanta

Message of Mundaka Upanishad

Mundakopanishad is one of the 10 important Upanishads. The common message of all the Upanishads is self-realisation. Various modes or methods of meditation and actions are recommended, to attain this. Mundaka suggests that actions are to be performed as long as the soul is not awakened to inner introspection which leads to self-realisation. This leads to total freedom from the cycle of birth and death, which is final goal of the aspirants.

Mundaka provides a beautiful illustration to explain this point. There are two birds of beautiful plumage perching on the same tree. One bird goes on eating the fruit of the tree, some sweet and some sour. While the other bird sitting on the top of the tree, just looks on, without eating. It watches and remains unattached.

The lower bird eating the fruit all the time stands for cravings of human mind. Every now and then this bird looks up at the bird on the higher level, which is peaceful, unattached and ready to fly any moment. The fruit-eating bird has great love towards the detached bird and longs to reach him but changes its mind as soon as it sees a riper fruit. Finally, losing all desire to eat, it succeeds in joining the bird on the upper branch, only to discover that both of them are really one and the same! In this analogy, the lower bird is the individual soul and the upper bird is the Supreme Soul or Reality.

This mantra is interpreted by many as the beginning of dwaita or dualism as against adwaita or monism of Shankaracharya. The bird in the lower branch is jivatman and the one on upper branch is Paramatman the Supreme.

The next mantra in Mundaka makes the message clearer. “Seated on the self-same tree the Ego sunk in ignorance grieves its impotence. But when it sees the other, the Lord, and his Glory, it becomes free from dejection.

Jivatman could reach the state of peace of the other bird only by discovering its own real nature.

Amma's Column by Jyotsna Kamat

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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