On Mundaka Upanishad: To keep the highest seat vacant is to invite the Absolute
Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
स वेदैतत्परमं ब्रह्म धाम यत्र विश्वं निहितं भाति शुभ्रम् ।
उपासते पुरुषं ये ह्यकामास्ते शुक्रमेतदतिवर्तन्ति धीराः ॥
sa vedaitatparamaṃ brahma dhāma yatra viśvaṃ nihitaṃ bhāti śubhram
upāsate puruṣaṃ ye hyakāmāste śukrametadativartanti dhīrāḥ
He knows this supreme Brahman as the highest abiding place in which this radiant universe is placed and appears. The wise who are without desire and worship the pure mind pass beyond this seed.
~ Verse 3.2.1
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Acharya Prashant (AP): “He knows this supreme Brahman as the highest abiding place in which this radiant universe is placed and appears. The wise who are without desire and worship the pure mind pass beyond this seed.”
We do not know the universe, nor do we ever think of the universe as a composite entity. The word ‘viśva’, ‘jagat’, ‘saṃsāra*’, is very common in Vedantic literature. Sometimes it is read as the world, sometimes as the universe; in fact, synonymous is even the use of *Prakriti (physical nature). How are these to be read?
Viśva, saṃsāra, jagat, Prakriti, world, universe — these are to be read as the objects that exist in our mindspace. Remember that all the verses are to deal with the subjective entity that the little self is, that I am and you are, we all are.
So, when it is talking of the universe, it is talking of our subjective universe. The objective universe, as we said, we anyway do not know of. Even the best cosmologist on our planet today knows very little about the entire universe objectively, and that’s going to be the situation even a thousand years from now. It’s a vast space, and to make things even more unfathomable for us, it is probably an expanding universe. How will you ever come to know of the entire thing?