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Truth of things || On Mundaka Upanishad (2021)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
4 min
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तदेतत्सत्यं यथा सुदीप्तात्पावकाद्विस्फुलिङ्गाः सहस्रशः प्रभवन्ते सरूपाः । तथाक्षराद्विविधाः सोम्य भावाः प्रजायन्ते तत्र चैवापि यन्ति ॥

tadetatsatyaṃ yathā sudīptātpāvakādvisphuliṅgāḥ sahasraśaḥ prabhavante sarūpāḥ tathākṣarādvividhāḥ somya bhāvāḥ prajāyante tatra caivāpi yanti

This is that, the truth of things: as from one kindled fire thousands of different sparks are born and all have the same form of fire, so, O fair son, from the Immutable manifold becomings are born and even into that they depart.

~ Verse 2.1.1

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Acharya Prashant: “This is that, the truth of things: as from one kindled fire thousands of different sparks are born and all have the same form of fire, so, O fair son, from the Immutable manifold becomings are born and even into that they depart.”

Just as from one kindled fire thousands of different sparks arise, similarly from that one Truth called Brahman manifold becomings are born, and into that one Truth all the manifold becomings depart, unbecome. From the Immutable come all things that mutate, and all things that mutate ultimately perish into the Immutable. That is the truth of things, says the verse. That is the truth of things.

From the Truth we come, into the Truth we go; from the Immutable we come, into the Immutable we go, and in between there is the game of time. Between timelessness and timelessness flows the stream of time. It is a very peculiar stream. It arises from timelessness and ends in timelessness; comes from, you could say, nowhere, ends into nowhere, and in between there is so much commotion. Between no happening and no happening everything happens.

Somebody once asked a wise man, “Where do we come from? What do we disappear into?” They were talking in the night and there was a lamp by their side. The wise man just put out the lamp. Having put out the lamp he asked, “Where is the flame now? That is how we come, that is how we go.”

The flame was just an appearance; the appearance is no more. The substance of the flame existed before the flame and exists after the flame. The flame has been blown out, the substance exists, and from that substance, a million more flames would again arise. And irrespective of how many more flames arise from the substance, no flame is going to be everlasting; it is the nature of flames to be put out. It is the nature of the substance to keep generating flames.

The flame is not really a thing, it is a manifestation of something that was always there. Therefore, this world is not really a thing, it is just a manifestation. Something that is not in the world but is at the foundation of the world manifests the world. And the world, like all things manifested, does not stay manifested forever. You could say we are talking of material things, or you could say we are talking of the consciousness that perceives all material things. You could say we are talking about the origin of the universe and things in the universe, or you could say we are talking of the origin of the mind.

That which presents itself again and again, if you will observe, is just various forms of a central principle. We talk of Prakriti (physical nature) and Sat-Raj-Tam (the classical three qualities of physical nature). We see how everything that is present, manifested, ultimately just boils down to either a few subatomic particles or forces or, classically, tendencies. So, all that is manifested is limited to a certain set, circumscribed by a prakritik boundary, within which all coming and going, rising and falling, is constantly happening.

Then why must we talk of Brahman ? Brahman is at most a conjecture when it comes to the intellect. But when it comes to the yearning of the ego, then Brahman is the only reality. Why? Because the boundaries do not offer you rest and relaxation. Your consciousness is always hitting against those boundaries. Nothing within those boundaries really suffices.

So, to your finality, to your origin, and to your dissolution, you give a name that is outside the boundary. That name is Truth or Brahman .

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