Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 1.djvu/430

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entail any further consequences." So far he agrees with Uvata's explanation[1]. He allows, however, another explanation also, so that the second line would convey the meaning: "If a man lives thus (performing good works), then there is no other way by which an evil deed should not be engrained; i.e. in order to escape the power of sin, he must all his life perform sacred acts."

Next follows a description of the lot of those who, immersed in works, have not arrived at the highest knowledge, and have not recovered their true self in the Highest Self, or Brahman. That Brahman, though the name is not used here, is then described, and salvation is promised to the man who beholds all things in the Self and the Self in all things.

The verses 9-14 are again full of difficulty, not so much in themselves as in their relation to the general system of thought which prevails in the Upanishads, and forms the foundation of the Vedânta philosophy. The commentators vary considerably in their interpretations. Sankara explains avidyâ, not-knowledge, by good works, particularly sacrifice, performed with a hope of reward; vidyâ, or knowledge, by a knowledge of the gods, but not, as yet, of the highest Brahman. The former is generally supposed to lead the sacrificer to the pitriloka, the world of the fathers, from whence he returns to a series of new births; the latter to the devaloka, the world of the gods, from whence he may either proceed to Brahman, or enter upon a new round of existences. The question then arises, how in our passage the former could be said to lead to blind darkness, the latter to still greater darkness. But for that statement, I have no doubt that all the commentators would, as usual, have taken vidyâ for the knowledge of the Highest Brahman, and avidyâ for orthodox belief in the gods and good works, the former securing immortality in the sense of freedom from new births, while the reward of the latter is blessedness in heaven for a limited period, but without freedom from new births.

This antithesis between vidyâ and avidyâ seems to me so firmly established that I cannot bring myself to surrender it here. Though this Upanishad has its own very peculiar character, yet its object is, after all, to impart a knowledge of the Highest Self, and not to inculcate merely a difference between faith in the ordinary gods and good works. It was distinctly said before (ver. 3), that those who have destroyed their self, i.e. who perform works only,

  1. Uvata explains gigîshivisheh for gigîvishet as a purushavyatayâ.