UPANISHADS! This first mantra, Shanthi Mantra of Ishavasya Upanishad, which is in the Fortieth Chapter of Yajur Veda, it is given first place in the series of Upanishads. I should just say a few words about these Upanishads and mantras.
There are four major Commenatries on Upanishads. Four major Commentaries: Neelakanta Shivacharya, Adi Guru Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhwacharya. All four of them are great enlightened beings, incarnations. No question of comparing anybody with others. All four of them made Upanishads user-friendly for a different type of group at different times. So, please understand, the differences you see in the different Commentaries of the Masters is not because of the Masters, it is because of the disciples.
When Neelakanta Shivacharya – he is the first one who wrote the Commentary, much earlier to Adi Guru Adi Shankaracharya, Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya – when Neelakanta Shivacharya was writing the Commentary, what was the need of the society, human society at that time, what needs to be highlighted for them, what is the best way they will all be able to experience the Upanishads, from that angle he presented the Upanishads. And then comes Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya. He is one of the greatest incarnations. He reveals the Upanishads for that time and for that human society. Please understand, ‘Why the differences between the Masters?’, should be understood.
Somebody came to me. He came for a debate, and straight he started asking, ‘Swamiji, even among our own acharyas there is no one conclusion. How can we follow anything? Hinduism is just chaos and confusion!’
I said, ‘Who funded your education?!!’
These people, the Hindus educated by the anti-Hindu forces, are most dangerous than any anti-Hindu forces! These people confuse the common man and destroy Hindu Tradition, understand? As an inheritor of Hindu wisdom – not “self-styled”; I am born Hindu, brought up as Hindu! – I am telling you, please understand, the differences between the acharyas’ Commentaries are not because all the acharyas’ “anubhoothi”, experience, was different. No! The need of the society, need of the disciples, need of the human society at that time was different! So, when each acharya happened – the Upanishads are like an ocean – each one of them made the Upanishads user-friendly for that time and society. The differences of the acharyas and their Commentaries should be taken as the richness of Hinduism, and not as chaos or confusion of Hinduism. So, they provided paths for different mindsets.
When I was going through – fortunately I was able to access all the four: Ramanuja, Shankara, Neelakanta Shivacharya and Madhwacharya – all their “bhashyas”, Commentaries, I tried my best to find some difference between them. Please understand, with all my integrity I am telling you, in the main core truths, all four of them are not at all differing! Not at all differing! When it comes to applying or achieving that experience, the methodology they are deriving, the methodology they are developing, asking us to practice to reach that space and trying to make those great truths into a user-friendly way of practicing, and trying to make that as a cognition of us, our inner-space, only at that point all four of them have their own methodology.
Please understand, one acharya says, ‘Only when there is a green signal in the road, drive.’ The other acharya says, ‘When there is red, don’t drive.’ The other acharya says, ‘When there is yellow, don’t drive, but be ready to drive.’
These anti-Hindu intellectuals, they go on telling us that our acharyas are all different and there is no single conclusion. I am telling you, our acharyas, neither they have conflict, nor they have confusion, or they are contradicting each other in the core experience. When they tried to make it as user-friendly for each society based on that time, requirement, the instructions differ, explanations differ. Like, one acharya says, ‘When there is a red light, don’t drive.’ Another one acharya says, ‘When there is a green light, only then drive.’ Another one acharya says, ‘When there is a yellow light, don’t drive, but be ready to drive.’ These anti-Hindu intellectuals, they go on saying, ‘See, see, see, all the acharyas giving three different versions! Better you don’t drive on that road at all! Come to our road!’ And, I tell you, the more acharyas’ “bhashyas” (Commentaries) you read, you will only have more clarity and depth. I have not seen a single person who read Neelakanta Shiva’s bhashya, Shankara’s bhashya, Ramanuja’s bhashya, Madhwa’s bhashya, after reading all the four he says he is confused. No! I have not seen a single person like that! After reading all the four, he only achieves the maturity to write his own bhashya!
The Hindu Tradition was so pure, so vast, each of the acharyas made these Upanishads user-friendly at different times. So, for that particular time’s human society, they revealed the truth as people can live it, radiate it, and achieve that original space of Completion, Complete Completion, the “Brahman Jnana”, “Atman Jnana”, “Shivapadha”, “Vishnupadha”. Neelakanta Shivacharya is an Adi Shaiva. So he calls it as “Shivapadha”. Adi Shankara is a Smartha Brahmin. So he calls it as “Brahman”. Madhwacharya and Ramanujacharya, they call it as “Vishnupadha” – “achieving the space of Vishnu, grace of Vishnu”. With different words: Salokya Mukthi, Sarupya Mukthi, Samipya Mukthi, Sayujya Mukthi. But, ultimately, the Commentaries are not written to establish their ego; it is written to cater as per the need of the human mind at that time.
Ishavasya Upanishad! And this I have to mention, this first mantra:
पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदम् पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते |
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ||
Poornamadhah Poornamidham Poornaath Poornam Udhachyathey |
Poornasya Poornamaadhaaya Poornamevaavasishyathey ||
This mantra, all four acharyas were not able to write different Commentaries. Please understand, all four of them, they are not able to write different Commentaries for this mantra! Because it was so clear, you don’t need to write a Commentary! You don’t need to write a Commentary! This Upanishad, eighteen verses, only based on this Upanishad, Shri Krishna makes his Gita as eighteen chapters.
And, as I already declared, I am not going to comment, I am not going to interpret, I am just going to intercept the conversations which happened about this sathya, truth, by the rishi who originally revealed this mantra, the “Sutrakaaraa”, then the great Masters who wrote Commentaries, the “Bhashyakaaras”, then the great Masters who wrote the Commentary on the Commentary, the “Teekakaaras”, “Varthikakaaras”. See, the person who revealed the original Sutra is “Sutrakaara”; the person who writes the first “bhashya” (Commentary) is “Bhashyakaara”; the person who writes the Commentary on the Commentary is “Vartikakaara”; and the person who writes the Commentary on the Commentary of the Commentary is “Teekakaara”. I am just going to intercept the conversations which happened at the level of Sutra, Bhashya, Varthika, and Teeka, and reveal the essence to all of you, share the essence with all of you.