On Mundaka Upanishad: Watch the truth to become the Truth
Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
यदा पश्यः पश्यते रुक्मवर्णं कर्तारमीशं पुरुषं ब्रह्मयोनिम् ।
तदा विद्वान्पुण्यपापे विधूय निरञ्जनः परमं साम्यमुपैति ॥
yadā paśyaḥ paśyate rukmavarṇaṃ kartāramīśaṃ puruṣaṃ brahmayonim
tadā vidvānpuṇyapāpe vidhūya nirañjanaḥ paramaṃ sāmyamupaiti
When the seer sees the golden-hued, the maker, the Lord, the Spirit who is one with Brahman, then he becomes the knower and shakes from his wings sin and virtue; pure of all stain he reaches the supreme identity.
~ Verse 3.1.3
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Acharya Prashant (AP): So, the previous two verses have talked of the two birds perched on the same branch of the same tree — very similar, very alike, brothers of the same breed. One of the birds is busy enjoying the fruit of the tree, and the other bird just dispassionately watches. The sage very poetically clarifies that the bird that engages in consumption is the ‘I’ we typically identify with and call as aham or ego, and the bird that just watches is the ‘I’ that remains our calling, our coveted yet unreached destination: the Self, the Truth, Ātman.
So, these two selves have been talked of, the false and the real, the passionate and dispassionate, the engaged and the witness. The difference between the two has been very eloquently stated, and this verse at hand now touches upon the union of these two birds. How the two are different, what their respective characteristics are — that has been the subject matter of the previous two verses. Now we come to how the two birds get to be one with each other. What does the sage say?
“When the seer” — which is the bird engaged in consumption — “sees the golden-hued, the maker, the Lord, the Spirit who is one with Brahman, then he becomes the knower and shakes off from his wings sin and virtue; pure of all stain he reaches the supreme identity.”