Rope-snake example in Upanishads




Further to the blog entry रज्जुसर्प rope-snake about the Shruti examples used for the creation of the world, here are the specific mantras of the Upanishads in which the rope-snake example is used. Some of them are clearly in the context of creation itself while others are in the context of मोक्षकारक ज्ञान (liberating knowledge). Please note that all these Upanishads are considered authentic in the tradition since they occur in Muktika's list of 108 Upanishads. And since Shrutis have एकवाक्यता (status of being for the same highest goal) as per सिद्धान्त (traditional Advaita Vedanta stance), no Upanishad can be placed above the other to disqualify the same. 

Most people seem to be unaware as to why Bhashyakara chose those 10 Upanishads only for commenting upon and not others. This is clearly seen in Muktikopanishad which lists Mandukya as enough for ज्ञानोत्पत्ति rise of knowledge, but if not so, then those 10 Upanishads listed, which are commented upon by Bhagavatpadacharya, are to be studied for मोक्ष (liberation). Even then, if knowledge is lacking, then the other Upanishads are introduced in groups till the number reaches 108. However, Upanishad Brahmendra Yogin, who is considered to follow Bhashyakara's interpretation, elaborating further, has commented on all 108 Upanishads. Those interested further may kindly refer the same.

Niralambopanishad
अज्ञानमिति च रज्जौ सर्पभ्रान्तिरिवाद्वितीये सर्वानुस्यूते सर्वमये ब्रह्मणि देवतिर्यङ्नरस्थावरस्त्रीपुरुषवर्णाश्रमबन्धमोक्षोपाधिनानात्मभेदकल्पितं ज्ञानमज्ञानम् ॥ १४ ॥
And [as to what is] अज्ञान is [answered as follows]: अज्ञान is the [delusory] knowledge, [that causes] superimposition of varieties of non-selves based on the manifold adjuncts, gods, animals, immovable (trees), women, men, varNas, stages of life, bondage and liberation, upon ​​​non-dual, all-pervasive, all-inclusive, ​ब्रह्म, like ​the delusion of snake in the rope.

Yogakundalinyupanishad Translated by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar
जायाभवविनिर्मुक्तिः कालरूपस्य विभ्रमः ।
इति तं स्वस्वरूपा हि मती रज्जुभुजङ्गवत् ॥ ७९॥
1.79: Like the conception of the snake in a rope, so the idea of the release from life and Samsara is the delusion of time.

Tejobindupanishad Translated by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar
गगने नीलिमासत्ये जगत्सत्यं भविष्यति ।
शुक्तिकारजतं सत्यं भूषणं चेज्जगद्भवेत् ॥ ७६ ॥
रज्जुसर्पेण दष्टश्चेन्नरो भवतु संसृतिः ।
जातरूपेण बाणेन ज्वालाग्नौ नाशिते जगत् ॥ ७७ ॥
4/6.76-77 (continues till 98): When the blueness of the sky really exists in it, then the universe really is. When the silver in mother-of pearl can be used in making an ornament, when a man is bitten by (the conception of) a snake in a rope, when the flaming fire is quenched by means of a golden arrow, ... then the world really is.

Rudrahridayopanishad
यः सर्वज्ञः सर्वविद्यो यस्य ज्ञानमयं तपः ।
तस्मादत्रान्नरूपेण जायते जगदावलिः ॥ ३३॥
सत्यवद्भाति तत्सर्वं रज्जुसर्पवदास्थितम् ।
तदेतदक्षरं सत्यं तद्विज्ञाय विमुच्यते ॥ ३४॥
33-35: From that all-knowing, omniscient Lord, whose being endowed with knowledge itself is the penance [=visualisation], the whole world is created in the form of food [that is consumed by all sense organs]. That entire [world] shines [=appears] as-if real, superimposed [on the Lord] just like a rope on a snake. That is this imperishable reality, knowing which, one is liberated.

Nirvanopanishad Translated by Prof. A. A. Ramanathan
अनित्यं जगद्यज्जनितं स्वप्नजगदभ्रगजादितुल्यम् । 
तथा देहादिसंघातं मोहगुणजालकलितं तद्रज्जुसर्पवत्कल्पितम् । 
28. The phenomenal world is impermanent as it is produced [from Brahman which alone is real]; it is similar to a world seen in a dream and an [illusory] elephant in the sky; similarly, the cluster of things such as the body is perceived by a network of a multitude of delusions and it is fancied to exist as a serpent in a rope.

Nadabindupanishad Translated by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar
अज्ञानं चेति वेदान्तैस्तस्मिन्नष्टे क्व विश्वता ।
यथा रज्जुं परित्यज्य सर्पं गृह्णाति वै भ्रमात् ॥ २६ ॥
26 (1/2) -27. As a person through illusion mistakes a rope for a serpent, so the fool not knowing the eternal truth sees the world [to be true]. When he knows it to be a piece of rope, the illusory idea of a serpent vanishes.

Katharudropanishad Translated by Prof. A. A. Ramanathan
ब्रह्मभूतात्मनस्तस्मादेतस्माच्च्ह्क्तिमिश्रितात् ।
अपञ्चीकृत आकाशसंभूतो रज्जुसर्पवत् ॥ १३॥
13/17. From this Self which is one with Brahman and which is possessed of Maya power arose the unmanifest Akasa like a rope-serpent.

Atmabodhopanishad Translated by Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier
विवेकयुक्तिबुद्ध्याहं जानाम्यात्मानमद्वयम् । तथापि बन्धमोक्षादिव्यवहारः प्रतीयते ॥ ११॥
निवृत्तोऽपि प्रपञ्चो मे सत्यवद्भाति सर्वदा । सर्पादौ रज्जुसत्तेव ब्रह्मसत्तैव केवलम् ॥ १२॥
प्रपञ्चाधाररूपेण वर्ततेऽतो जगन्न हि । यथेक्षुरससंव्याप्ता शर्करा वर्तते तथा ॥ १३॥
II-1-11-13. I know myself without a second, with discrimination. Even then bondage and liberation are experienced. The world has gone away that appears to be real like serpent upon rope; only Brahman exists as the basis of the world; therefore the world does not exist; like sugar pervaded by the taste of the sugarcane, I am pervaded by bliss. All the three worlds, from Brahma to the smallest worm are imagined in me.

Atmopanishad Translated by Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier
अमुष्य ब्रह्मभूतत्त्वाद्ब्रह्मणः कुत उद्भवः ।
मायाक्लृप्तौ बन्धमोक्षौ न स्तः स्वात्मनि वस्तुतः ॥ २६॥
यथा रज्जौ निष्क्रियायां सर्पाभासविनिर्गमौ ।
अवृतेः सदसत्त्वाभ्यां वक्तव्ये बन्धमोक्षणे ॥ २७॥
नावृत्तिर्ब्रह्मणः क्वाचिदन्याभावादनावृतम् ।
अस्तीति प्रत्ययो यश्च यश्च नास्तीति वस्तुनि ॥ २८॥
II-26-27(a). Because that Yogin has become Brahman, how can Brahman be reborn? Bondage and liberation, set up by Maya, are not real in themselves in relation to the Self, just as the appearance and disappearance of the snake are not in relation to the stirless rope.


Annapurnopanishad
रज्जुसर्पदर्शनेन कारणाद्भिन्नजगतः सत्यत्वभ्रमो निवृत्तः ॥ १.१६॥
1.10 The delusion of the reality of the world, as different from its cause, is negated, by [way of example of negation of] the vision of the snake in the rope [as different from its cause].

Annapurnopanishad Translated by Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier
अधिष्ठाने परे तत्त्वे कल्पिता रज्जुसर्पवत् ।
कल्पिताश्चर्यजालेषु नाभ्युदेति कुतूहलम् ॥४.१०॥
4.10. (The whole world) is superimposed on the supreme Reality, the Ground, as the snake is on the rope. No curiosity is aroused as regards these superimposed wonders.

ॐ तत् सत्।


गुरुपादुकाभ्याम्।



Post a Comment