On Mundaka Upanishad: At the center, the divided stands united
Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
अरा इव रथनाभौ संहता यत्र नाड्यः स एषोऽन्तश्चरते बहुधा जायमानः ।
ओमित्येवं ध्यायथ आत्मानं स्वस्ति वः पाराय तमसः परस्तात् ॥
arā iva rathanābhau saṃhatā yatra nāḍyaḥ sa eṣo’ntaścarate bahudhā jāyamānaḥ
omityevaṃ dhyāyatha ātmānaṃ svasti vaḥ pārāya tamasaḥ parastāt
Where the nerves are brought close together like the spokes in the nave of a chariot wheel, this is He that moves within, there is He manifoldly born. Meditate on the Self as AUM and happy be your passage to the other shore beyond the darkness.
~ Verse 2.2.6
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Acharya Prashant (AP): “Where the nerves are brought close together like the spokes in the nave of a chariot wheel, this is He that moves within.”
The nerves, the nāḍis are being referred to. So, what do these nerves indicate here? They indicate the separation that is present in the bodily, embodied person. The nerves that are being talked of here are not really the nerves that modern science, modern medicine refers to and deals with; these are invisible nāḍi that have been talked of classically in India. But what is it that they are pointing to in a Upanishadic context?
Just as nerves rush to your brain from all your limbs, from all your organs to carry messages, and the presence of the nerves denotes the presence of the limbs themselves — and what are the limbs? The limbs are separations, divisions. And the nerves remain separate. What happens to your leg doesn’t happen to your hand. What your left ear experiences, the right one does not. You get hit in the shoulder, it is not your knee that swells up.
Similarly, everything about the existence of the person is fragmented, and each fragment refers only to itself; each fragment has a desire for its own well-being. You put your…