2 – Viswa is he who cognizes in the right eye, Taijasa is he who cognizes in the mind and Prajna is he who constitutes the akasa in the heart. Thus the one Atman is (conceived as) three fold in the (One) body.
Shri Sankara comments:
This verse is intended to show that three fold experience of Viswa etc. (Taijasa & Prajna) is realised in waking state alone.
दक्षिणाक्षिमुखेविश्वो – The means of perception (of gross objects) is the right eye. The presence of Viswa, the cognizer of gross objects, is chiefly felt there. The Sruti also says, “The person that is on the right eye is known as ‘Indha’ – the luminous one” – [Brihadaranyaka Upanishad]. Indha, which means the effulgent one, who is the ‘Vaiswanara’& also known as ‘Virata’ (the totality of gross bodies), the perceiver in the sun, is the same as the perceiver in the eye.
From ordinary empirical stand point, ‘Viswa’, ‘Taijasa’ & ‘Prajna’ are generally related to three states, viz. waking, dream & deep-sleep. But these three states are comprehended from the standpoint of ‘waking state’ alone. That ‘dream’ & ‘deep-sleep’ are two states, having different characteristics, is known in the ‘waking state’ alone. Therefore, these two become known to the waking consciousness. Besides ‘jagrata’ (waking), in so far as it denotes the absence of the Knowledge of Reality, covers the dream & deep-sleep states as well. The three apparent cognizers known as ‘Viswa’, ‘Taijasa’ & ‘Prajna’ are really one, because a plurality of perceivers in the same state, namely, the waking and in the same body is an absurdity, as that will preclude the possibility of the continuity of operation as reveled through memory. Therefore, the apparently three different perceivers are identical and their apparent distinction is due to their identification with the three states.
The ‘Viswa’ & ‘Virata’ as well as ‘Prajna’ (deep-sleep) & ‘Iswara’ (unmanifest) are identical, has already been known. Now it is pointed out that ‘Hiranyagrabha’ is identified with ‘Taijasa’. They (‘Hiranyagrabha’ & ‘Taijasa’) are only what are termed as cosmic mind and the individual mind respectively. Really speaking, macrocosm & microcosm, both being mere forms of thought, are identical. Therefore, the perceivers ‘Hiranyagrabha’ & ‘Taijasa’ are identical, for both forms of thought only. Their different appellations are due to their identification with various ‘Upadhis’ (adjuncts) namely, the thoughts of macrocosm & microcosm.
Here comes Gaudapada’ Karika in explanation to Mandukya Upanishads. Goudapada takes us the preceding six verses of Mandukya Upanishads & comments upon those. We will have the Karika verses only with comments of Sri Sankarcharya.
[Verse – 1]
Viswa (the first quarter) is he who is all pervading and who experience the external (gross) objects. Taijasa (the second quarter) is he who cognizes the the internal (subtle) objects. Prajna is he who is a mass of consciousness. It is one alone who is thus known in the three states.
The implication of this passage is this: That Atman is (as witness) distinct from the three states and that he is pure and unrelated, is established by his moving in three states, in succession, and also on the account of knowledge, “I am That”, resulting from the experience which unites through memory. The Sruti also corroborates it by illustration of the ‘great fish’.
He is pure & unrelated (The Atman ) –
The idea of pure & impure, weal & woe, pleasure & pain etc. are the characteristics of the state and do not, in any way pertains to the Atman, who is only the witness of the three states. The ‘Jiva’ or the reflected consciousness, which is identical with the Atman, identifies himself with the states, out of ignorance of its real identity, thus renders himself impure, miserable etc. though his real identity, the Atman remains ever pure.
No relation of any kind even causality exists between any of the three states & Atman as the latter alone exists. This is further known from the fact that the experiences of waking state do not affect the Atman in dream state & those of the dream state too do not affect the Atman in the ste of deep sleep.
Though it appears that Atman identifies itself with each of the three states for the time being, yet the fact that he moves from one state to another without being affected shows that he is the witness of the three states.
In Brihadaranyaka Upanishads it is described that,
It also gives another illustration of a bird, that flies unobstructed in the sky, yet unattached to the surrounding lands