The Standpoint of the Knower of the Eternal

Sri Aurobindo translates Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmanandavalli, Chapter 9:  “The Bliss of the Eternal from which words turn back without attaining and mind also returneth baffled, who knoweth the Bliss of the Eternal?  He feareth not for aught in this world or elsewhere.  Verily to him cometh not remorse and her torment saying ‘Why have I left undone the good and why have I done that which was evil?’  For he who knoweth the Eternal, knoweth these that they are alike, and delivereth from them his Spirit; yea, he knoweth both evil and good for what they are and delivereth his Spirit, who knoweth the Eternal.  And this is Upanishad, the secret of the Veda.  Together may He protect us, together may He possess us, together may we make unto us strength and virility!  May our reading be full of light and power!  May we never hate!  OM! Peace! Peace! Peace!”

The Upanishad repeats the statements of Chapter 4 as it reminds us that divine Bliss, Ananda, is beyond words and beyond the power of the mind to comprehend.  It proceeds then to analyze the state of mind of the seeker who has realized the Eternal.  Such an individual recognizes the Oneness of the entire manifestation and thus, has gone beyond the experience of difference, and the fear that arises therefrom.  Also overpassed are the moral and ethical rules and considerations that rule in the framework of the mind.  This is not a prescription for wanton license, as has been mistakenly taken up in certain philosophical developments, particularly in the interpretation of Nietzsche, where “beyond good and evil” was interpreted to mean that a superior man could basically do anything without moral scruples, essentially an unbridled ego-personality; rather, the Upanishad guides the seeker to a standpoint beyond the mind where the Eternal Truth is both known and acted upon, and the rigid rules of the mind are recognized as steps along the path of development, now no longer required, just as a young tree is staked to protect it from the gusts of wind, but the mature tree no longer needs such protection.  The knower of the Eternal is at peace, as he recognizes the entire play of universal forces of creation and his role within that play.

Sri M. P. Pandit observes:  “He who has realised his oneness with Brahman, and thus knows by identity of his being the Bliss of Brahman, has no fear from anywhere because to him all is one Bliss; there is no break in his extension which creates the ‘other’ giving room for fear. … He has risen above the dualities of pleasure and pain, good and evil.  Good and Evil are values that are pertinent as long as one’s consciousness is in a state of development where they are necessary to educate and process it towards its self-development.  Once the individual transcends the belt of Ignorance in which good and evil, right and wrong, are the necessary signposts, they cease to be. … The knower of the Eternal moves and acts directly from the Base of Brahman-Knowledge, the Eternal Truth, and whatever he does is the Right, whatever he expresses is the Truth.  It is the flawless, self-effectuating Truth that acts in him in its undeflected Power.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmanandavalli, pp.265-274, M. P. Pandit, Upanishads: Gateways of Knowledge, pp. 109-182

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